By Evan Blake
11 August 2016
On Tuesday, the conservative legal group Judicial Watch released 296 pages of State Department records spanning Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. These records include 44 email exchanges that were deliberately withheld from the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton gave the State Department for their investigation into her use of a private email server.
The newly released emails, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, implicate Clinton in incriminating conflict-of-interest deals, in which Clinton’s aides worked to hire a Clinton Foundation associate and provided political connections for at least one of the Foundation’s wealthy donors. Another email directly connects the finance giant and Clinton backer Morgan Stanley to her diplomatic maneuvers in China.
Upon being appointed secretary of state by Obama in 2009, Clinton sent a letter to State Department Designated Agency Ethics Official James H. Thessin that read in part, “For the duration of my appointment as secretary if I am confirmed, I will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter involving specific parties in which The William J. Clinton Foundation (or the Clinton Global Initiative) is a party or represents a party.”
The most recent email leak exposes this as a complete lie, as Clinton continually did the bidding of her Wall Street donors, while her office secured prestigious positions for those connected to the Clinton Foundation.
The most damning email exchange revealed Tuesday took place in February 2009, between Hillary Clinton and Stephen Roach, then chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia.
Shortly before Clinton began her first diplomatic tour in Asia, Roach sent her a copy of his upcoming testimony before Congress, requesting a meeting with her in person and saying, “Best regards and good luck on this important and timely trip.” Clinton then instructed one of her top aides, Huma Abedin, to set up a meeting between herself and Roach in Beijing, where Roach traveled on February 19 and 20.
In his statements before Congress, Roach condemned US efforts “to criticize Chinese monetary policy or enact trade barriers,” according to Judicial Watch.
Days later, evidently after meeting with Roach, Clinton pressured Beijing to continue its massive purchases of US Treasury notes, which by that time already exceeded $700 billion. As the WSWS wrote at the time, “On her first overseas trip since being tapped by President Barack Obama, […] Clinton assumed the role of an official high-pressure bond saleswoman.”
Over the course of her political career, Clinton has received over $550,000 from PACs affiliated with Morgan Stanley, as well as employees of the firm, making the firm her sixth biggest donor. In 2014, Morgan Stanley donated over $25 million to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), a subsidiary of the Clinton Foundation.
The other significant email exchanges involve Doug Band, a Clinton Foundation official and longtime personal advisor to former President Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton’s former top aides at the State Department, Abedin and Cheryl Mills.
While still working for the State Department in 2012, Abedin received a special designation that enabled her to hold positions at the Clinton Foundation and at Teneo, a global advisory firm founded by Band in 2011 with assistance from the Clintons. During her time with Teneo, she earned upwards of $15,000 per month as a consultant.
On April 22, 2009, three months after Hillary Clinton was sworn in as secretary of state, Band received an email from a source whose name was redacted by the State Department. The email, titled “A favor…” reads, “I really appreciated the opportunity to go on the Haiti trip; it was an eye-opening experience seeing both the depravity and the promise of that island.” The rest of the email was entirely redacted.
Ten minutes later, Band forwarded the email to Abedin and Mills, writing, “Important to take care of _____,” to which Abedin immediately replied, “We have all had him on our radar. Personnel has been sending him options.”
The Clintons and the Clinton Foundation have a long history in Haiti. During his time as president, Bill Clinton imposed three years of devastating economic sanctions against the country, in an effort to destabilize the military junta. With the failure of this policy, Clinton sent Marines to Haiti to restore Jean-Bertrand Aristide to the presidency. During Aristide’s term, Clinton demanded Haiti’s adherence to brutal IMF austerity policies, while cracking down on Haitian migrants trying to flee the devastated country to the US.
In the immediate aftermath of the 2010 Haitian earthquake, which killed upwards of 300,000 people, Clinton was dispatched as a UN special envoy and co-chairman of the Interim Haiti Recovery Committee to oversee the international aid and investment efforts in the country. Under his watch, there has been a continual looting of the country, with investment designed to exploit the country’s low-paid working class.
At the time that the email was sent, Band was a paid employee of the CGI, which he helped found in 2005. Clearly, the redacted associate of Band and the Clinton Foundation was sent to Haiti, and upon their return may have gotten a position within the Obama administration in a blatant conflict of interest. The State Department deleted details about the associate, including his name and the outcome of the job referral, when it turned over the emails to Judicial Watch.
Another incriminating email exchange released Tuesday was written on April 25, 2009, and is less heavily redacted. In this one, Band writes to Abedin and Mills, “We need Gilbert chagoury to speak to the substance person re lebanon. As you know, he’s key guy there and to us and is loved in lebanon. Very imp[ortant].”
Abedin replied, “Its jeff feltman. I’m sure he knows him. I’ll talk to jeff,” referring to Jeffrey Feltman, the American ambassador to Lebanon at the time. Band quickly responded, “Better if you call him. Now preferable. This is very important. ____________ He’s awake I’m sure.”
Gilbert Chagoury is a billionaire Nigerian-Lebanese construction magnate and friend of former President Bill Clinton who was closely connected to the military dictatorship of Sani Abacha in Nigeria during the mid-1990s. Chagoury was convicted of money laundering in Switzerland in 2000 and paid a $66 million fine in a plea deal. In 2009, his company pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative, and he has personally donated between $1 and $5 million, according to the Clinton Foundation’s website.
Seeking to curry favor with the Clintons, a broad swath of the international corporate and financial elite, including 168 individuals and organizations that have each given more than $1 million, donate to the Clinton Foundation. Some of the most influential donors include defense contractors such as Boeing and Booz Allen Hamilton, finance giants Barclays and Goldman Sachs, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Foreign governments, in particular the reactionary Persian Gulf monarchies, are some of the largest and most frequent donors to the Clinton Foundation. Last year, these included Saudi Arabia ($10 to $25 million), Kuwait, ($5 to $10 million), Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates ($1 to $5 million).
These favors were handsomely returned. The State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors while Clinton was at the helm.
The most recent Clinton email leaks—following those that detailed her numerous war crimes committed as secretary of state—reiterate Clinton’s thoroughgoing corruption and her political role as a lackey for Wall Street and the Pentagon.
The Clinton Foundation, which has raised roughly $2 billion since its inception 19 years ago, has been the vehicle through which the Clintons have amassed a vast fortune of over $111 million, placing them in the wealthiest 0.1 percent of society. If elected president in November, Hillary Clinton will continue to protect the interests of her fellow multimillionaires and billionaires.