Friday, May 05, 2006

Porter Goss, Big Pharma, Iraq, Iran and the Money

Photo: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais


Porter Goss, CIA chief, was fired quit resigned today.

Shortly before he was put in the job in 2004 by George W, he had this to say about his qualifications (it's on film, for real. This isn't a "far-left" made up thing):

It is true I was in CIA from approximately the late 50's to approximately the early 70's. And it's true I was a case officer, clandestine services office and yes I do understand the core mission of the business. I couldn't get a job with CIA today. I am not qualified. I don't have the language skills. I, you know, my language skills were romance languages and stuff. We're looking for Arabists today. I don't have the cultural background probably. And I certainly don't have the technical skills, uh, as my children remind me every day, "Dad you got to get better on your computer."

Uh, so, the things that you need to have, I don't have.

-- Rep. Porter Goss, March 3, 2004, Washington, DC

He must've seen the light after only 2 years.

The involvement of a middle-echelon CIA agent, bumped up to 3rd in command after Goss took over, with former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., who was convicted and sentenced to more than eight years in prison for taking some $2.4 million in bribes, may have been an issue according to MSNBC. Can you believe Goss and Bush didn't bring that up at today's announcement?

Evidently the CIA guy was going to poker game parties at the Watergate complex in Washington, thick with cigar smoke, where he was friends with Cunningham and where prostitutes allegedly were present. Did Goss know about this? Based on his self-evaluation as a spy, maybe not.


While we're on the subject of money, 5 big pharma behemoths reaped a windfall government contract this week worth $1 billion.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $1 billion to drugmakers, including nearly $700 million to GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and MedImmune, to help them develop a faster method of producing an influenza vaccine to better protect the nation against the possibility of a pandemic...

The money from the five-year contracts will be used to develop vaccines in cell culture, a faster process than the decades-old method of growing the vaccines in chicken eggs...

The virus is transmitted among birds and then spread to humans, but there is no proven transmission from human to human.--CNN 5/4/06

Not a bad haul on spec!


That $1 billion is a drop in the bucket compared to the $100 billion just emergency-allocated by congress to continue the ill-advised occupation of Iraq. In the Foreign Policy May/June issue, William Odom takes the stock Bush reasons for staying in Iraq and answers each point to show why leaving immediately would be to everyone's, including America's, advantage. (Lt. Gen. William E. Odom (Ret.) is senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and professor at Yale University. He was director of the National Security Agency from 1985 to 1988.)

Among dozens of good arguments, he concludes:

First, invading Iraq was not in the interests of the United States. It was in the interests of Iran and al Qaeda. For Iran, it avenged a grudge against Saddam for his invasion of the country in 1980. For al Qaeda, it made it easier to kill Americans. Second, the war has paralyzed the United States in the world diplomatically and strategically. Although relations with Europe show signs of marginal improvement, the trans-Atlantic alliance still may not survive the war.--Cut and Run? You Bet. By Lt. Gen. William E. Odom May/June 2006 Foreign Policy

What's the money angle here? Besides the general oil issue of the Middel East? It's Iran and oil--not nukes! Skeptical? Surprised? Think Iran wants nukes? Think they have the time and wherewithal to actually get nuclear weapons?

Check out the piece in the same Foreign Policy issue by my friend Chris Dickey, Newsweek Paris Bureau Chief and Middle East and Terrorist expert:

Iran is commanding the world's attention as the ayatollahs accelerate their race for the bomb. But the timetable for talks--or a nuclear crisis--is not being shaped by centrifuges, uranium, or reactors. It's about the security only a barrel of oil can provide.--The Oil Shield By Christopher Dickey May/June 2006 Foreign Policy

[UPDATE MAY 8, 2006: NEWSWEEK -- Why Iran Is Driving Oil Up:
"Tehran could calm jitters by toning down its nuclear rhetoric—if the regime didn't need the money more."]

From cigars and prostitutes to nuclear war threats, it's all about the money--always has been. It's embarrassing to think that my dog is smarter than people--he knows what's really important, at least by his actions--he's happy when he's treated nicely, and he loves people unconditionally. And he doesn't have any money.

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