“Watergate was a kindergarten picnic,” Cedwyn wrote here in a diary on January 3rd.

“Desmund Tutu,” continues Cedwyn, “has said that America’s current political climate reminds him of Apartheid South Africa.”

[Desmond Tutu speaking] “It’s unbelievable that a country that many of us have looked to as the bastion of true freedom could now have eroded so many of the liberties we believed were upheld almost religiously.”

…”I had naively believed all these many years that Americans genuinely believed in freedom of speech. [But I] discovered there that when you made an utterance that was remotely contrary to what the White House was saying, then they attacked you. For a South African the déjà vu was frightening. They behaved exactly the same way that used to happen here–vilifying those who are putting forward a slightly different view.”

Reported Amy Goodman today about Tom Delay, George Bush, Grover Norquist, and Ralph Reed’s good buddy Jack Abramoff, a racist if there ever was one:

A 1995 investigation by Newsday revealed that Abramoff helped run a think–tank called the International Freedom Foundation.

The organization was set up in 1986 and its goal was to improve the white South African apartheid government’s image in the West while demonizing Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress as communist tools.

The Newsday report also quoted sources saying that the South African military helped finance the 1988 movie “Red Scorpion” which Abramoff wrote and produced.

The movie was a sympathetic portrayal of an anti-communist African guerrilla commander and loosely based on Jonas Savimbi, the Angolan rebel leader who was an ally of both South Africa’s apartheid government and the U.S government. (DN!)

And that proud label, “Made in the U.S.A.”? … continued below …

From “Forced Abortions & Sweatshops: A Look at Jack Abramoff’s Ties to the South Pacific Island of Saipan & How Tom DeLay Became An Advocate for Sweatshop Factory Owners,” today on Democracy Now!:

BRIAN ROSS (ABC News Investigative Reporter who appeared on DN! today]: Well, it’s interesting to watch this unfold because the man behind the scenes in every case was Jack Abramoff.

In the footage we had on World News Tonight last night showing DeLay arriving in Saipan. He’s wearing a funny-colored floral hat and is greeted by a man in a beard who’s Jack Abramoff. Big bear hugs all around. And it was Abramoff then who shepherded him around the island, made sure he would see what he wanted him to see. And DeLay took his family along. It was New Year’s Eve. Temperatures were very nice, much nicer than back in the States. And that’s what Abramoff was able to achieve. DeLay then became active in blocking legislation that would have cracked down on some of those terrible labor practices in Saipan.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go to the issue of forced abortion, which is astounding given Tom DeLay’s stand on abortion. Can you talk about that?

BRIAN ROSS: Well, it’s completely counter to anything that DeLay or most Republicans seem to espouse, that was, on that island there were forced abortions. And the workers there who are all young women, who often had to pay to get these jobs, knew the rules. And they were barred from having boyfriends and certainly barred from having children if they became pregnant. They knew where to go, and there were a few essential back-alley abortion mills on the island. And that’s where these young Chinese women went in order to keep their jobs. And that was the deal. That’s part of the situation that was essentially endorsed by DeLay when he fought the laws. The laws were established essentially exempting Saipan, although it is a U.S. territory, from U.S. labor laws.

AMY GOODMAN: So, of course, the clothing that is made there says “Made in the U.S.A.”


BRIAN ROSS: Exactly right. They have the exemptions made in the U.S.A. Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, all the major brands have garment factories there, owned primarily by Chinese industrialists from Hong Kong who brought in Chinese material. And the Chinese workers who lived in something akin to — I don’t want to call it a labor camp, but it was surrounded by barbed wire. They were taken on the backs of trucks to these factories. They work 10, 12 hours a day, then brought back to their camps. An ugly scene there, one that was defended effectively by the garment manufacturers and by the government of Saipan at the time, with the expenditure of millions of dollars on Jack Abramoff.

AMY GOODMAN: You talk about how in a memo that ABC News got that Abramoff wrote to his law firm, Preston, Gates, Ellis (& Rouvelas, Meeds, at the time), that was paid $1.36 million by Saipan officials, said such congressional trips, talking about Tom DeLay, are one of the most effective ways to build permanent friends on the Hill.

BRIAN ROSS: Exactly what they did. And, of course, Abramoff has now admitted that he used these trips as ways essentially of providing favors to congressmen who in return would do favors for him on Capitol Hill. And it’s not just Saipan. Of course, other trips to Scotland, to Moscow, to Paris, all around the world. Abramoff was a very friendly travel agent for members of Congress who wanted to go somewhere.


BRIAN ROSS: Essentially what he accomplished was to stop legislation, which is easier to do than to get it through. He was able to block legislation that would have changed the labor and immigration laws in Saipan and made it illegal to have these kinds of contracts. You couldn’t have a contract like that in Los Angeles or anyplace else of the United States where the flag flies. But you could in Saipan. That was the loophole they were trying to close under the Clinton administration.

And in fact, when people at the Department of Interior attempted to do that, DeLay actually tried to introduce a bill to cut off funding for that particular section of the Department of Interior, to stop them from essentially backing the workers’ claims. And it became an ugly situation on Capitol Hill. And DeLay and others, but DeLay in particular, were involved in blocking the legislation and making sure that that status quo continued on Saipan.

Exploit one group, why not all.

0 0 votes
Article Rating