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The Case of Azerbaijan: How ‘Democrats’ Sacrifice Principles for Oil

The US foreign policy has invariably made it clear to the countries beyond the NATO or its nuclear club that a long and prosperous ruling is up to their loyalty to America’s strategic interests.

An information society is a thing of curiosity. A human has always been dependent on the public opinion turning eventually into a milk-and-water illusion nourished by the mass media. Be it a federal TV channel or a popular blogger – opinion makers have successfully replaced people’s brains. And it’s a sin to take no advantage of it.

One of the US foreign policy’s priorities is promotion of democratic ideals as well as rule of humanism and human rights. Under slogans like these the US has launched numerous military operations (to make a long story short, invasions); its “color revolutions” have overthrown many a government, but none of those loyal to the USA. However, it concerns the most impudent “dictators” alone who refused to sell out their countries’ natural resources to American transnational corporations.

The US foreign policy has invariably made it clear to the countries beyond the NATO or its nuclear club that a long and prosperous ruling is up to their loyalty to America’s strategic interests. The leaders of the countries mentioned have come to a very important conclusion: convincing the US government of your loyalty shall entitle you to do whatever you may choose as long as everything across the ocean is up and running.

This is the pattern adhered by Ilham Aliev, President of Azerbaijan – an extremely oil-rich state in the South Caucasus. This guy who literally inherited power from his father Heydar Aliev in 2003, has been reigning supreme for years. It’s interesting to know the state machine of Azerbaijan fused with a criminal group headed by the president himself quite a long time ago.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the US Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (the latter is a most peculiar) report that the situation around these very rights protection in Azerbaijan leaves much to be desired. Everything to be avoided like the plague is there to be seen: media censorship, free speech violations, political prisoners, executions, and tortures.

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) has named Azerbaijani President Aliyev Corruption’s “Person of the Year”; what is more, he is featured in the scandalous Panama Papers. But every cloud has a silver lining, and Aliyev’s only positive trait is that he’s anything but anti-Semite. Probably that must have been the reason for Israeli Ambassador in Azerbaijan Rafael Harpaz to claim that Azerbaijani tolerance was to be followed by the rest of the world. Lord forbid, Mr. Harpaz!

The White House, OSCE and other organizations have been criticizing Baku for disastrous human rights situation for years. One might think it would far sooner have brought the US Special Forces to the Caspian Sea shore to finally have the poor Caucasian Republic democratized. And overseas oil companies, in turn, would have laid their hands on Caspian oil fields as it already took place in Iraq, for instance.

An old dictator is a wise dictator though. Aliyev knew perfectly well that one of his throne legs was unsteady. The President of Azerbaijan thinking over an upcoming arrival of “the American democracy” realized it would be much more profitable to buy confidence by proving Azerbaijani liking for the West and its loyalty.

Lobbying is quite legal and wide-spread activity in this country. Many go-ahead people rich in high-level ties are busy bringing together businessmen and senators, magnates and congressmen, trade union chiefs and parties’ leaders. They search and hire journalists ready to write an article or two for popular news outlets at a moderate charge. Most esteemed and respected top-dogs are invited to federal TV channels on their order to give out their expert judgment on whichever the occurrence may be. You think it’s hoax altogether, don’t you? No, it’s honest business. The public opinion is legally bought from those who are able enough to generate it.

Aliyev made up his mind not to put all his eggs in one basket and hired several lobbying companies at a time through different channels. The largest and most powerful ones were Tool Shed Group, Roberti Global, DCI Group and attention! – Podesta Group. True, they consented to have Aliyev’s chair concreted for a far from modest consideration.

Let us have a look at the list of politicians financed by DCI Group AZ LLC, a department specially established for Azerbaijani Affairs. Below are the people to do the spadework aimed at projecting an image of the “right Azerbaijan” for Aliyev’s funds: Claire McCaskill, Mitt Romney, Deb Fisher, etc.

There is an extract from DCI Group AZ foreign agent registration statement, i.e. it’s posed as a company acting at an order of a foreign principal. The extract pictures politicians and their financial “backing” allocated from Azerbaijani tranches.

One of the most effective ways to have an opposition formed and an intelligence network set up (which is in great use by the US) is starting a non-government organization under the auspices of the State Department and its subsidiary commissions. Their operations and reports determine largely the US foreign policy. And what did Aliyev do? He just bribed NGO heads and their supervisors in Washington, D.C. Hats off to Mr. Aliyev, the Mafiosi dictator is smart enough to have done what the other less enterprising oil Republic leaders overlooked. They might have found it too disgusting to do the same though.

And now let’s watch a new reality being created as soon as pros get down to business. The story culminated in the US. Helsinki Commission sitting. The organization is designed to promote human rights and all the other humanistic values and is liable to account to the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and then higher to the State Department. Many outstanding people took part in the sitting mentioned, among them Ben Cardin (Democratic Senator from Maryland), Tom O.Melia (the then Bureau head and current USAID Assistant Administrator), Eric Rubin (ex-Chief of the European and Eurasian Affairs Bureau), Miriam Lanskoy (Senior Director for Russia and Eurasia at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and Brenda Shaffer (a visiting professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Russia, Eurasia and Eastern Europe Studies).

In a nutshell, all those most esteemed persons differently described the well-living of Azerbaijanis. Had they really heard of human rights before, they still failed to follow them as we have earlier seen. Who were those people? Ms. Miriam Lanskoy is quite noteworthy for her spending quite much time in the city of Baku; as far as Nagorno-Karabakh developments (the disputed border region between Armenia and Azerbaijan) are concerned she would always back Illham Aliyev, with her statements often contradicting official observers’ reports. Brenda Shaffer cooperates with a number of analytical centers close to the US government and above all holds the office of Adviser to the President of SOCAR for Strategic Affairs. The oil company of Azerbaijan is known to be co-headed by Mr. Aliyev. The information about it is provided here.

SOCAR turns out be one of the biggest US financial donors.  The above-stated DCI Group, Roberti White and Tool Shed Group have won contracts through the SOCAR’s leadership.

As indicated below, Roberti White LLC is registered as a foreign agent subsidized by SOCAR.

Additionally, SOCAR was responsible for an all-expense-paid trip to Azerbaijan for US Congressmen

Despite this financial channel’s huge capacities it is by far not the only one. Aliyev has set a diplomatic field in motion to faster have his goals achieved. The Ambassador of Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States Elin Suleymanov and his wife Lala Abdurahmanova are absolutely confident in doing what they’re supposed to do. It was Mr. Suleymanov himself, who signed a collaboration agreement with Podesta Group. There is a Podesta CEO Kimberley Fritts’s signature to be seen on the paper; however he’s got another principal ally in America’s political establishment rather than her.

Have a look at the amendment to Azerbaijani government-Podesta Group agreement:

Podesta Group is considered one of the most influential lobbying companies. It was founded in 1988 by brothers John and Tony Podesta.  Kimberley Fritts and Tony Podesta are reported to be the CEO and the Chairman respectively. John is de jure no company’s member since he left his office for the high politics, de facto is he a grey cardinal of the Democratic Party, while Tony’s doing big business. The two together have succeeded in setting up an effective system designed for financial elite and the Democratic leadership cooperation.

It’s worth noting, that Suleymanov is in most friendly relations  with the Podesta brothers, his wife is fairly well-received not only by prominent Democrats, but also by Hilary Clinton’s entourage; that is especially topical on the threshold of the election to come.   

Suffice it to mention, that Lala Abdurahmanova throws receptions on a regular basis, with Capricia Marshall (the Atlantic Council member, ex-States Department employee, Hillary Clinton’s confidante) and Debbie Dingel (Michigan congresswoman and a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton) being frequent guests. John Podesta, a great buddy of Ambassador Suleymanov, chairs the very presidential campaign of Ex-State Secretary. It would be interesting to find out whether Mr. Aliyev makes his own plans on Clinton’s presidency in this connection.

To sum up, I’d like to present you a couple of diagrams for simpler understanding.

There is an outline of Azerbaijan’s lobbying activity financing in the USA.

The companies pictured are the way to buy expert opinions, politicians’ ayes and noes as well to have favorable decisions promoted. They are essentially Aliyev’s attorneys in the eyes of American political elite.

The second diagram depicts in minute detail the way the Democratic Party opens out its arms to oil money inflow and appears to clean forget their principles allegedly to be topped in the list. It’s not as easy as falling off the log to make the diagram out; nevertheless, I would ask you to spend a little time of yours and obtain further insight into it. It’s bound to be a sort of novelty for you.

As to power race, people would always take any steps imaginable going back on their promises and dishonoring the ideals they used believe in. Hillary Clinton is not apparently a book to take a page out. She seems to be able to abandon the genuine goals which the Democratic Party has been intent on throughout the history. And it doesn’t matter in the least that the election campaign is being paid out by a mere dictator neglecting human rights in his own country. Who cares?  It is all solely for the election victory! 

At the end of the day John Podesta has promised to open UFO X-files to the public domain given Hillary comes through with flying colors. Perhaps he has no trouble disclosing the truth about extraterrestrials which is not the case with the US-oil magnates’ cooperation.

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