donderdag 27 oktober 2016

Frank Westerman's Provinciale Schrijverij 31

There is nothing the political establishment will not do -- no lie that they won't tell -- to hold their prestige and power at your expense. And that's what's been happening.
— Donald Trump. 14 oktober 2016

‘Wat Hillary Clinton zei is ook terecht: “hij is ongeschikt,”’ zo stelde Geert Mak op de Nederlandse televisie over presidentskandidaat Donald Trump. Het orakel van Bartlehiem heeft misschien gelijk,  misschien ook niet, want zoals Mak zijn publiek in dezelfde uitzending verzekerde: 'De toekomst is altijd totaal onvoorstelbaar.' Bovendien is, afgaande op zijn voorspellingen voor Europa en de VS, zijn profetische gave nihil. Maar ook al zou hij gelijk hebben over Trump, dan nog blijft uitermate twijfelachtig of de Democratische tegenkandidaat wel een ‘geschikte’ president zal zijn, zo is de overtuiging van een aanzienlijk talloze, goed geïnformeerde Amerikaanse intellectuelen, van zowel Democratische als Republikeinse zijde. Het is ook niet verwonderlijk dat progressieve ‘pro-Sanders’ Democraten weigeren op haar te stemmen. Zij kennen namelijk Hillary Clinton’s doortrapte houding in het verleden. Tijdens zijn oproep om op mevrouw Clinton te stemmen, verzweeg Mak angstvallig de feitelijke opsomming van haar politieke machinaties zoals die zijn beschreven door onder andere de Amerikaanse hoogleraar Stephen Zunes, een bekende deskundige op het gebied van de Amerikaanse buitenlandse politiek. Betreffende de houding van Israel’s fanatiekste politieke ‘friend’ was hem het volgende opgevallen:

During and after her term as a U.S. senator, Hillary Clinton has developed a reputation as one of the most rightwing Democrats on the Israel-Palestine conflict. She has repeatedly sided with Likud-led governments against Israeli progressives and moderates. She has not only condemned Hamas and other Palestinian extremists, but has been critical of the Palestinian Authority (PA) as well. That has bolstered the Israeli right’s contention (bewering. svh) that there are no moderate Palestinians with which to negotiate.

As a U.S. senator, Clinton defended Israel’s colonization efforts in the occupied West Bank and was highly critical of UN efforts to uphold international humanitarian law that forbids transferring civilian populations into territories under foreign belligerent occupation, taking the time to visit a major Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank in a show of support in 2005. She moderated that stance somewhat as secretary of state in expressing concerns over how the rightwing Israeli government’s settlement policies harmed the overall climate of the peace process, but she has refused to acknowledge the illegality of the settlements or demand that Israel abide by international demands to stop building additional settlements. Subsequently, she has argued that the Obama administration pushed too hard in the early years of the administration to get Israel to suspend settlement construction. In 2011, Clinton successfully argued for a U.S. veto of a UN Security Council resolution reiterating the illegality of the settlements and calling for a construction freeze. On this issue, that fit a pattern of Clinton’s disregard for the UN Security Council, which was established precisely to be a vehicle for enforcing international law such as in matters of belligerent foreign occupation. ‘We have consistently over many years said that the United Nations Security Council — and resolutions that would come before the Security Council — is not the right vehicle to advance the goal,’ Clinton has said.

The favoritism toward Israel is all the more glaring given America’s failure or unwillingness to stop Israel’s colonization on its own. When the government of Likud Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reneged on an earlier promise of a temporary and limited freeze and announced massive subsidies for the construction of new settlements on the eve of Clinton’s 2011 visit to Israel, she spoke only of the need for peace talks to resume. She equated the PA’s pursuit of its legal right to have Palestine statehood recognized by the United Nations with Israel’s illegal settlements policy as factors undermining the peace process.

While rejecting Palestinian demands that Israel live up to its previous commitments to freeze settlements on the grounds there should be no pre-conditions to talks, Clinton has at times demanded pre-conditions for Arab participation. For example, in response to President Bush’s invitation for Arab states to attend the Annapolis peace conference in 2007, then-Senator Clinton went on record insisting that Arab states wishing to attend should unilaterally ‘recognize Israel’s right to exist and not use such recognition as a bargaining chip for future Israel concessions’ and ‘end the Arab League economic boycott of Israel in all its forms.’ The letter made no mention of the establishment of a Palestinian state, an end to the Israeli occupation, the withdrawal of illegal Israeli settlements, or any other Israeli obligations. As James Zogby of the Arab American Institute put it at the time, ‘if the goal is for Arab states not to participate in the upcoming conference, this would be the way to go.’ The Bush administration rejected her demands for such pre-conditions.

Another example of Clinton’s double standards has been in her pledge as a presidential candidate to increase U.S. military aid and diplomatic support for Israel’s rightwing government. This is a government that includes ministers from far right parties who support violent settler militia that have repeatedly attacked Palestinian civilians, oppose recognition of a Palestinian state, and reject the Oslo Accords and subsequent agreements by the Israeli government. However, Clinton insists, ‘We will not deal with nor in any way fund a Palestinian government that includes Hamas unless and until Hamas has renounced violence, recognized Israel, and agreed to follow the previous obligations of the Palestinian Authority.’

More recently, Clinton has been making a series of excuses as to why Israel cannot make peace despite the Palestine Authority’s acquiescence to virtually all the demands of the Obama administration. For example, the Washington Post noted how she ‘appeared to blame the collapse of direct Israel-Palestinian talks on the wave of Mideast revolutions and unrest during the 2011 Arab Spring, although talks had broken off the previous year.’ Clinton has also said that Israelis cannot be expected to make peace until they ‘know what happens in Syria and whether Jordan will remain stable,’ which most observers recognize will take a very long time; that line of thinking enables Israel to further colonize the West Bank to the point where the establishment of a viable Palestinian state is impossible. What kind of peace settlement she envisions has not been made clear, but she did endorse then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s 2004 ‘Convergence Plan,’ which would have allowed Israel to annex large areas of Palestinian territory conquered by Israeli forces in the 1967 war, despite the longstanding principle in international law against any country expanding its territory by force and the fact that the plan divides any future Palestinian state into a series of small, non-contiguous cantons surrounded by Israel.

As a U.S. senator, Clinton co-sponsored a resolution which, had it passed, would have established a precedent by referring to the West Bank not as an occupied territory but as a ‘disputed’ territory. This distinction is important for two reasons. The word ‘disputed’ implies that the claims of the West Bank’s Israeli conquerors are as legitimate as the claims of Palestinians who have lived on that land for centuries. And disputed territories — unlike occupied territories — are not covered by the Fourth Geneva Convention and many other international legal statutes. As a lawyer, Clinton must have recognized that such wording had the effect of legitimizing the expansion of a country’s territory by force, a clear violation of the UN Charter.

Hillary Clinton spreekt vaak en graag met de leden van AIPAC, de puissant rijke, fanatieke joods zionistische lobbygroep in de VS. 

Clinton has challenged the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). In 2004, the world court ruled by a 14-1 vote (with only the U.S. judge dissenting, largely on a technicality) that Israel, like every country, is obliged to abide by provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the Laws of War, and that the international community — as in any other case in which ongoing violations are taking place — is obliged to ensure that international humanitarian law is enforced. At issue was the Israeli government’s ongoing construction of a separation barrier deep inside the occupied Palestinian West Bank, which the World Court recognized — as does the broad consensus of international legal scholarship — as a violation of international humanitarian law. The ICJ ruled that Israel, like any country, had the right to build the barrier along its internationally recognized border for self-defense, but did not have the right to build it inside another country as a means of effectively annexing Palestinian land. In an unprecedented congressional action, Senator Clinton immediately introduced a resolution to put the U.S. Senate on record ‘supporting the construction by Israel of a security fence’ and ‘condemning the decision of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the security fence.” In an effort to render the UN impotent in its enforcement of international law, her resolution (which the Republican-controlled Senate failed to pass as being too extreme) attempted to put the Senate on record ‘urging no further action by the United Nations to delay or prevent the construction of the security fence.’

Overduidelijk is dat Hillary Clinton het internationaal recht alleen accepteert zodra het haar ideologische visie dient, voor de rest trekt zij zich nauwelijks iets aan van de juridische orde in de wereld en geldt voor haar het aloude fascistische adagium ‘might is right.’ Als jurist die staatsrecht doceerde aan de universiteit van Utrecht lapt ook Geert Mak de internationale orde aan zijn laars wanneer hij oproept op Clinton te stemmen, gelijk zijn vader in het interbellum het humanitaire recht schond door als dominee publiekelijk te verklaren dat de nazi-rassenwetten, die de joodse burgers in Duitsland uit het openbare leven verbanden, ‘staatkundig tolerabel’ waren. Maar niemand van de polderpers die Mak junior vraagt waarom hij het recht van de sterkste steunt. Die vraag is taboe, omdat de mainstream-journalist diep ervan overtuigd is dat 'might is right' noodzakelijk is om de bestaande neoliberale orde met massaal geweld te kunnen handhaven. En het onwetende uitsluitend witte publiek van het programma College Tour, behorend tot de 20 procent van de mensheid die over 80 procent van de rijkdommen op aarde beschikt slikte deze overtuiging als zoete koek. De veronderstelling van Mak is zo’n diep ingesleten banaliteit dat zij niet meer besproken hoeft te worden. Weliswaar mag zijn echtgenote, Mietsie Mak, dan wel volhouden dat haar Geert ‘altijd aardig en lief voor iedereen’ is, maar daarbij negeert zij bewust dat miljarden straatarme medemensen de dupe zijn van de ronduit misdadige opvattingen die de bestseller-auteur verspreidt. Het optreden van Geert Mak in College Tour was vanuit publicitair oogpunt een slimme zet, nu zijn nieuwste boek De levens van Jan Six (2016) onlangs op de markt verscheen, maar moreel gesproken was zijn tv-vertoning opnieuw rampzalig, zeker gezien zijn eigen stelling dat hij en de zijnen, ‘chroniqueurs van het heden en verleden, onze taak, het “uitbannen van onwaarheid,”' niet ‘serieus genoeg’ nemen. Een bewijs daarvan gaf de ‘chroniqueur van Amsterdam, Nederland, Europa, en Amerika’ door ook de volgende informatie van  Diana Johnstone te verzwijgen:

Clinton’s claim that ‘it makes no sense for the United Nations to vehemently oppose a fence which is a nonviolent response to terrorism rather than opposing terrorism itself’ was false in that the UN and the world court were only objecting to the barrier being built beyond Israel’s borders. Indeed, in her resolution and elsewhere, she appeared to be deliberately misrepresenting the ICJ’s published opinion, claiming that opposition to the plan of building a barrier in a serpentine fashion deep inside the West Bank as part of an effort to effectively annex large swathes of the occupied territory into Israel was denying Israel its right to self-defense and therefore was proof of an ‘anti-Israel’ bias. In a series of statements and in her resolution, she made no distinction between Israel’s legal right to defend its borders, which the world court upheld, and the land grab to which the court objected.

Clinton has also been an outspoken defender of Israeli military actions, even when the United Nations and reputable international and Israeli human rights groups have documented violations of international humanitarian law. While appropriately condemning terrorism and other attacks on civilian targets by Hamas, Hezbollah, and other extremist groups, she has consistently rejected evidence that Israel has committed war crimes on an even greater scale. For example, since becoming a U.S. senator in early 2001, she has publicly condemned the vast majority of the 135 killings of Israeli children, but not once has she criticized any of the more than 2,000 deaths of Palestinian children.
In the face of widespread criticism by reputable human rights organizations over Israel’s systematic assaults against civilian targets in its April 2002 offensive in the West Bank, Senator Clinton co-sponsored a resolution defending the Israeli actions that claimed they were ‘necessary steps to provide security to its people by dismantling the terrorist infrastructure in the Palestinian areas.’ She opposed UN efforts to investigate alleged war crimes by Israeli occupation forces and criticized President Bush for calling on Israel to pull back from its violent reconquest of Palestinian cities in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

She has vigorously defended Israel’s wars on Gaza. As secretary of state, she took the lead in attempting to block any action by the United Nations in response to a 2009 report by the UN Human Rights Council — headed by the distinguished South African jurist Richard Goldstone (a Zionist Jew) — which documented war crimes by both Israel and Hamas. She claims that the report denied Israel’s right to self-defense, when it in fact explicitly recognized Israel’s right to do so. Since the report’s only objections to Israeli conduct were in regard to attacks on civilian targets, not its military actions against extremist militias lobbing rockets into Israel, it appears that either she was deliberately misrepresenting the report, never bothered to read it before attacking it, or believes killing civilians can constitute legitimate self-defense.

When Israeli forces attacked a UN school housing refugees in the Gaza Strip in July of 2014, killing dozens of civilians, the Obama administration issued a statement saying it was ‘appalled’ by the ‘disgraceful’ shelling. By contrast, Clinton — when pressed about it in her interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic — refused to criticize the massacre, saying that ‘it’s impossible to know what happens in the fog of war.’ Though investigators found no evidence of Hamas equipment or military activity anywhere near the school, Clinton falsely alleged that they were firing rockets from an annex to the school. In any case, she argued, when Palestinian civilians die from Israeli attacks, ‘the ultimate responsibility has to rest on Hamas and the decisions it made.’

Een opvallende parallel tussen Hillary Clinton en Geert Mak is dat, hoewel beiden jurist zijn, zij nooit geprotesteerd hebben tegen het vermoorden van vele duizenden Palestijnse kinderen sinds het sluiten van de Akkoorden van Oslo in 1993. Daarnaast riep Mak op om op een vrouw te stemmen, die het vermoorden van ongewapende Palestijnse burgers geen oorlogsmisdaad acht. Het is niet meteen iets dat men verwacht van een man die ‘altijd' zo 'aardig en lief voor iedereen’ is. Men zou eerder kunnen stellen dat Mak een keiharde opportunist is die, met het oog op zijn handel, de controverse vermijdt. Door angstvallig te zwijgen steunt hij als bekende Nederlander het onrecht, terwijl hij toch weet dat het ‘uitbannen van onwaarheid,’ de belangrijkste taak is van een ‘chroniqueur.’ Wat verzwijgt mijn oude vriend nog meer? Opnieuw, een fragment uit Queen of Chaos. The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton van de Amerikaanse onderzoeksjournalist Diana Johnstone: 

Clinton’s defense of Israeli war crimes is not restricted to Palestinian-populated areas, but includes those that take place in countries with historically close relations with the United States. During the thirty-four-day conflict between Israeli and Hezbollah forces in 2006, which resulted in the deaths of more than eight hundred Lebanese civilians, she responded to the widespread international criticism of the Israeli attacks on civilian infrastructure and the high civilian casualties by co-sponsoring a resolution unconditionally endorsing Israel’s war on Lebanon. Failing to distinguish between Israel’s right to self-defense and the large-scale bombing of civilian targets far from any Hezbollah military activity, Clinton asked, ‘If extremist terrorists were launching rocket attacks across the Mexican or Canadian border, would we stand by or would we defend America against these attacks from extremists?’ During and after the fighting, Clinton failed to recognize that most critics of the Israeli actions never questioned Israel’s right to self-defense against Hezbollah, but — in the words of a Human Rights Watch report —  the ‘systematic failure by the IDF to distinguish between combatants and civilians’ and the way in which ‘Israeli forces have consistently launched artillery and air attacks with limited or dubious military gain but excessive civilian cost.’ The report, echoing a similar report by Amnesty International and other human rights groups, noted how ‘in dozens of attacks, Israeli forces struck an area with no apparent military target. In some cases, the timing and intensity of the attack, the absence of a military target, as well as return strikes on rescuers, suggest that Israeli forces deliberately targeted civilians.’ While tens of thousands of Israelis protested the Lebanon war — which the Israeli government later acknowledged was unnecessary and harmful for Israel — Clinton emerged as one of its biggest cheerleaders. While diplomats at the United Nations were desperately working to end the fighting, Clinton spoke at a rally by rightwing groups outside the UN headquarters in New York City where she praised Israel’s efforts to ‘send a message to Hamas, Hezbollah, to the Syrians, [and] to the Iranians,’ because, in her words, they oppose the United States and Israel’s commitment to ‘life and freedom.’

Clinton has opposed humanitarian efforts supportive of the Palestinians, criticizing a flotilla scheduled to bring relief supplies to the besieged Gaza Strip in 2011, claiming it would ‘provoke actions by entering into Israeli waters and creating a situation in which the Israelis have the right to defend themselves.’ Not only did she fail to explain how ships with no weapons or weapons components on board (the only cargo on the U.S. ship were letters of solidarity to the Palestinians in that besieged enclave), she also failed to explain why she considered the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the port of Gaza to be ‘Israeli waters’ when the entire international community recognizes Israeli territorial waters as being well to the northeast of the ships’ intended route. Clinton’s State Department issued a public statement designed to discourage Americans from taking part in the flotilla to Gaza because they might be attacked by Israeli forces, yet it never issued a public statement demanding that Israel not attack Americans legally traveling in international waters. The flotilla never went forward, however, after she successfully convinced the Greek government to deny the organizers the right to sail from Greek ports.

A focus of Clinton has been her insistence that the PA was responsible for publishing textbooks promoting ‘anti-Semitism,’ ‘violence,’ and ‘dehumanizing rhetoric.’ The only source she has cited to uphold these charges, however, has been a rightwing Israeli group that calls itself the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (CMIP). The group, whose board includes Daniel Pipes and other prominent American neoconservatives, was founded to undermine the peace process following the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. CMIP’s claims have long since been refuted, for example in a detailed report released in March 2003 by the Jerusalem-based Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information. The center reviewed Palestinian textbooks and tolerance education programs, and concluded that while the textbooks do not openly or adequately reflect the multiethnic, multicultural, and multireligious history of the region, ‘the overall orientation of the curriculum is peaceful.’ The report said the Palestinian textbooks ‘do not openly incite against Israel and the Jews and do not openly incite hatred and violence.’ The report goes on to observe how religious and political tolerance is emphasized in the textbooks. Similar conclusions have been reached in published reports by the Adam Institute, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, and Nathan Brown, a political science professor at George Washington University and senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (The books Clinton cited were apparently old Egyptian and Jordanian texts found on some library shelves; they were not currently being used as textbooks nor were they supported by the PA.) Yet Clinton has continued to make these charges, emphasizing that the PA’s ‘incitement,’ which she insists is creating a ‘new generation of terrorists,’ more than Israel’s occupation, repression, and settlements, is the driver of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Here, as in forming her support for the Iraq war, Clinton often seems to rely more on rightwing advocacy groups than she does scholarly research.

Het spreekt voor zich dat wanneer Geert Mak hetzelfde zou overkomen als de Palestijnse bevolking elke dag weer overkomt, hij dan verontwaardigd zal eisen dat het onrecht ogenblikkelijk wordt gestopt. Desondanks roept hij het Nederlandse publiek op om hun familieleden en vrienden in de VS ‘op het hart te binden’ om op een sociopate te stemmen die plus royaliste que le roi is, roomser dan de paus, zionistischer dan de zionisten. Kenmerkend is dat Mak het aanbod om zelf polshoogte te nemen in de bezette gebieden heeft afgewimpeld. Hij had geen behoefte eraan om getuige te zijn van  de Joods-Israelische terreur tegen de Palestijnse bevolking, die mede door de steun van de EU van ‘Geen Jorwert zonder Brussel’ al decennialang mogelijk is gemaakt, zowel op economisch, politiek en zelfs militair gebied. Kennelijk vond hij het niet belangrijk genoeg om te weten wat Europa als belangrijkste handelspartner van de zionistische staat uitspookt. Ironisch in dit verband is dat hij in College Tour wel met grote stelligheid vertelde dat vandaag de dag, in tegenstelling tot de zeventiende eeuw van Jan Six, ‘ongelijkheid’ niet meer ‘de norm’ is, daarmee opnieuw aantonend dat zijn wereldbeeld niet verder strekt dan de grenzen van Europa. Dat 64 miljardairs even rijk zijn als de helft van de hele mensheid, die van één tot twee dollar per dag moet zien te overleven, is een werkelijkheid die hem volledig ontgaat. Mak is en blijft een provinciaal. 

Dat Palestijnen in het door Mak's God geschonken ‘beloofde land’ er als tweederangs burgers leven, wil hij niet weten. De miljonair uit Bartlehiem die ‘altijd’ zo ‘aardig en lief voor iedereen’ is, en die vol gereformeerde ‘schuldgevoelens’ zit, is een bekwaam toneelspeler, wiens consequentieloze en vrijblijvende mentaliteit zijn onverschilligheid demonstreert tegenover de Ander. Ook in dit opzicht verschilt hij niet van zijn vader, dominee Catrinus Mak, de verkondiger van het woord van ‘de Verlosser, de Heiland, de zoon van God,’ die ‘voor de zonden van de mens aan het kruis gestorven was.’ Geert Mak typeert zijn vader als een man die ‘op zijn manier met God [wandelde],’ waarmee  in christelijk jargon wordt bedoeld ‘dat je niet uit bent op de waardering van mensen, maar op die van God.’ Het was een karaktertrek van Mak senior die volgens Mak junior ‘zijn leven een bepaalde zorgeloosheid waarmee hij zich soms afsloot voor zijn allernaasten.’ Dit verklaart tevens waarom Catrinus de onderdrukking en uitbuiting van de de volkeren in ‘Ons-Indië’ moeiteloos kon accepteren. Gefocust op zijn God kon hij zich afsluiten voor de Ander, waardoor zelfs zijn echtgenote ‘de prijs voor het lichte leven van haar man betaalde -- zonder dat hij dat ooit zag,’ aldus haar zoon die voorts opmerkt dat zijn moeder, volgens eigen zeggen, ‘in Indië altijd bang was,’ voor ‘het vreemde en ondoorgrondelijke van dit immense land.’ Wat zich buiten de trektocht met God voltrok, zag de godsvruchtige Mak senior niet, net zoals zijn zoon Geert nu blind is voor het leed van de Palestijnen en voor andere volkeren die door de westerse terreur worden getroffen. Vandaar dat hij zonder enige terughoudendheid kan beweren dat ‘ongelijkheid’ niet langer meer ‘de norm’ is, en dat de VS ‘ordebewaker en politieagent’ van de wereld was, die door ‘soft power,’ dus ‘overtuigingskracht’ en zonder  de dreiging met geweld of de toepassing ervan ‘de kracht’ bezit ‘om het debat naar zich toe te trekken, om de agenda van de wereldpolitiek te bepalen.’ Daarbij stelt mijn oude vriend zich niet de vraag hoe het, ondanks de 'soft power,' verklaarbaar is dat de VS sinds 1776 slechts 21 jaar geen oorlog heeft gekend. Dat feit moet evenwel verzwegen blijven, net zoals er een taboe rust op het feit dat rond de 45 procent van de Amerikaanse kiesgerechtigden al een halve eeuw niet meer stemt. Het bedrog mag niet aan de kaak worden gesteld, het dient overeind te blijven. Daarom maakt Geert Mak propaganda voor een land dat zelf geen werkzame democratie kent, dat zijn eigen middenklasse aan het vernietigen is, dat de kloof tussen arm en rijk schrikbarend laat toenemen, dat de mensenrechten en democratie elders in de wereld schendt, en dat desondanks, volgens  ‘de populairste geschiedenisleraar van het land,’ de democratie en mensenrechten op aarde wil verspreiden. De waanzin stijgt hier ten top, en nagenoeg geen enkele journalist in het polderland die dit doorheeft. Binnen het raam van deze waanzinnige voorstelling van zaken dient men Mak’s klemmende advies om toch vooral op de corrupte en agressieve Hillary Clinton te stemmen, te interpreteren. Mevrouw Clinton is samen met haar echtgenoot Bill de initiatiefnemer van The Clinton Foundation, een in 1997 opgerichte stichting die, nog voordat Bill Clinton het Witte Huis verliet, ‘found itself mired in controversy,’ aldus de Amerikaanse auteur en ‘political consultant’ Peter Schweizer in zijn boek Clinton Cash. The Untold Story Of How And Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill And Hillary Rich (2015). Schweizer wijst erop dat

The timing of certain contributions raised questions as to whether they were tied to official favors. On October 6, 1999, Anheuser-Busch Companies gave the first of five payments totaling $1 million for the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum (or Clinton Library for short), which was funded in part by donations given through the Clinton Foundation. As the New York Times reported, less than a month earlier ‘the Clinton administration's Federal Trade Commission dropped a bid to regulate beer, wine, and liquor advertising’ allegedly aimed at underage drinkers. 

In May 1999 a bankruptcy attorney from Chicago named William A. Brandt Jr. also pledged $1 million. At the time the Clinton Justice Department was investigating Brandt’s testimony to Congress to determine whether he had lied under oath concerning a Clinton fundraiser and the lobbying of federal officials. Three months later, in August, the Department of Justice dropped the investigation and determined that ‘prosecution is not warranted.’ 

In 1999 Dr. Richard Machado Gonzalez and his lawyer, Miguel Lausell, were lobbying President Clinton to boost Puerto Rican hospital Medicare reimbursements. This would benefit, among others, Machado, who owned one of the eligible hospitals. Eight months prior to Clinton proposing increased Medicare payments, Lausell gave the Clinton Library a $1 million gilt. Machado gave the foundation $100,000 six months after that. 

The controversies reached a fever pitch during Clintons final days in office, when he pardoned billionaire fugitive Marc Rich, an oil trader and financier who had been indicted on numerous charges by US prosecutors and had fled the country. Rich's business ties included a ‘who's who’ of unsavory despots… He owed $48 million in back taxes that he unlawfully tried to avoid and faced the possibility of 325 years in prison. As a result, he was on the FBI's Most Wanted List. On his last day in office, President Clinton infamously pardoned Rich, sending shockwaves through Washington. The pardon came after his ex-wife, Denise Rich, donated $100,000 to Hillary's 2000 Senate campaign, $450,000 to the Clinton Library, and $1 million to the Democratic Party. 

Condemnation of the whole affair was immediate and nearly universal. Maureen Dowd (New York Times-columniste. svh) labeled the Clintons as ‘grifters’ (oplichters. svh) and the New York Times bemoaned President Clinton's ‘outrageous abuse of the pardoning power.’ Former president Jimmy Carter called it ‘disgraceful.’ Even longtime Clinton supporters, like James Carville and Terry McAuliffe, were critical. The Washington Post wondered if the ‘defining characteristic’ of Bill and Hilary Clinton was that ‘they have no capacity for embarrassment.’

Precies hetzelfde gaat op voor Geert Mak. De laatste jaren van mijn langdurige vriendschap met hem vroeg ik me steeds vaker af of hij geen enkele ‘capaciteit voor schaamte’ bezat, wanneer hij zichzelf weer eens publiekelijk dan wel en petit comité met veel stelligheid tegensprak. Wanneer ik hem daarop wees, reageerde hij alsof hij het niet gehoord had. Sterker nog, nadat ik hem publiekelijk begon te bekritiseren, zei hij tegen mij tijdens een verjaardag van een wederzijdse vriendin dat ‘wij tweeën in feite dezelfde opvattingen hebben,’ niet beseffend hoever onze visies uit elkaar liggen. Toen ik hem daarop wees liet hij tenslotte weten dat hij het mij kwalijk nam dat ik de opvattingen van zijn ouders in de jaren dertig anti-semitisch had genoemd, terwijl hij dit anti-semitisme toch zelf zo duidelijk had beschreven in zijn bestseller De eeuw van mijn vader (1999). Het was niet tot hem doorgedrongen dat toen zijn vader, dominee Catrinus Mak, in 1936 publiekelijk had laten weten dat de anti-joodse wetgeving van de nazi’s ‘staatkundig tolerabel’ was, die opvatting uitgesproken anti-semitisch was. Deze al dan niet geacteerde onwetendheid is een groot raadsel. Misschien speelt hier hetzelfde mechanisme mee die Peter Schweizer beschreef bij het commentaar over de schaamteloosheid van ‘Bill and Hillary’:

This last comment expresses a view of the Clintons frequently voiced by journalists and establishment figures over the years. Indeed, speculating on their motives has become something of a Washington parlor game. In this view, either the Clintons are utterly shameless, cynically assuming they will survive whatever scandal comes their way, or they are so convinced of their own virtue and benevolence that they are able to excuse whatever they have to do in the pursuit of their noble ends, no matter how low or unethical. We may never know the answer to this fascinating riddle.  

Either way, the Clintons were just getting started. Once liberated from the White House, Bill hit the lecture circuit, collecting $105.5 million from 2001 through 2012 and raising hundreds of millions of dollars for the Clinton Foundation. Significantly, his biggest payments came not from sources in the United States but from foreign investors, businesses, and governments eager to please the former president — and probably hungry for access to the corridors of American power. Meanwhile, Hillary was quickly rising in the ranks of the US Senate, gaining influence and power, especially on matters concerning national security and foreign policy. When she ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, her power prospects rocketed. While Barack Obama’s unexpected victory in the Democratic primaries apparently derailed this inexorable (onverbiddellijke. svh) ascent, she still ended up in an even more powerful position than before.

When President-elect Obama first floated Hillary Clinton's name for secretary of state in late 2008, serious questions arose about the sources of funds donated to various Clinton interests. Many were troubled by the fact that so much of the Clintons' newfound wealth was tied to foreign contributors. During her tenure as a senator, two-thirds of Bill's enormous speaking fees had come from foreign sources. (As we will see, after she became secretary of state, Bill's speaking fees and income from foreign speechmaking ballooned.) There was also the fact that tens of millions of dollars had flowed to the Clinton Foundation from the foreign governments of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as from dozens of foreign financiers. 

Gezien deze achtergrond is geen enkele serieuze westerse waarnemer van de handel en wandel van de Clinton’s bereid om de ongeveer 65 procent van de kiesgerechtigden, die nog de moeite neemt te stemmen, op te roepen op ‘Hillary’ te stemmen. Dat Geert Mak dit wel doet, demonstreert slechts hoe gecorrumpeerd hij is geraakt door wat hij in 2013 het ‘grootkapitaal’ noemde, ‘die ons totaal ontglipt en waar je niks tegen kunt doen!’ Kennelijk juist daarom is mijn oude vriend bereid om het ‘grootkapitaal’ op allerlei manieren te rechtvaardigen, ondanks het feit dat hij claimt het neoliberalisme ‘buitengewoon beklemmend’ te vinden. Behorend tot de politieke gevestigde orde past ook op hem de woorden van Donald Trump dat:

There is nothing the political establishment will not do -- no lie that they won't tell -- to hold their prestige and power at your expense. And that's what's been happening.

Volgende keer meer hierover. 

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