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Breaking down the Uranium One scandal. Once again Vladimir Putin is to blame

Russia mines lots of uranium, and there is lots of uranium all over the World.

In the first half of the video Stefan Molyneux explores the backstory leading up to the shocking FBI Uranium One corruption scandal that has ensnared Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

At the 11:25 minute mark, Stefan discusses the facts surrounding the Uranium One story as broken by The Hill yesterday, along with its connection to the fake news Hillary concocted “Russiagate” story.

As The Duran noted yesterday, this is a complex and entangled story to dissect, but one thing remains constant. Whether left or right, neo-liberal or neoconservative, Russia will always be made out to be the villain and boogeyman when it comes to America’s crippling corruption and decaying hegemony.

As one of The Duran’s commenters pointed out on a previous post regarding the Uranium One story

One thing I would point out is that there are 144 million people in Russia, and among those people are businessman, and some of those businessmen are corrupt. That does not mean that ‘Putin’ was personally directing anything, or that it was ‘Russia’! That’s just going along with the whole ridiculous propaganda we hear every minute of every day. If some coal executive was bribing people in Ukraine to buy his coal, would we say it was ‘America’ or ‘Trump’ who were doing that?

As shocking as it may seem I doubt that ‘Putin’ is in contact and personally directing the affairs of every person living in Russia. There may or may not have been direct involvement of the Russian government, but this is an example of the situation that ANYTHING that has to do with Russia or Russians is part of a personally-directed Putin scheme.

Also, for a Russian (and Canadian) group to buy some companies that own uranium reserves (it is NOT 20% of all US uranium, or all US uranium production) in the United States is frankly, no big deal. Russia mines lots of uranium, and there is lots of uranium all over the World. This is just a (corrupt) business deal. They did need government approval, so they bribed the Clintons.

I thought before the election that Clinton was one of the most sinister candidates to run for President in my lifetime (and that includes Richard Nixon), but the way she has behaved after the election convinces me that she is one of the most despicable people on the planet.

Liberal left “fact-checking” site, Snopes believes that the Uranium One deal, and its connection to the Clintons does not match up. Here is their take trying to debunk the claims made against the Clintons.

The Clinton family and Russia each may have benefited from a “pay-for-play” scheme while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, involving the transfer of U.S. uranium reserves to the new Russian owners of an international mining operation in exchange for $145 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation.

The mining company, Uranium One, was originally based in South Africa, but merged in 2007 with Canada-based UrAsia Energy. Shareholders there retained a controlling interest until 2010, when Russia’s nuclear agency, Rosatom, completed purchase of a 51% stake. Hillary Clinton played a part in the transaction because it involved the transfer of ownership of a material deemed important to national security — uranium, amounting to one-fifth of U.S. reserves — thus requiring the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), on which the U.S. Secretary of State sits.

During the same time frame that the acquisition took place, Schweizer claims in Clinton Cash, the Clinton Foundation accepted contributions from nine individuals associated with Uranium One totaling more than $100 million.

The Uranium One deal was not Clinton’s to veto or approve

Among the ways these accusations stray from the facts is in attributing a power of veto or approval to Secretary Clinton that she simply did not have. Clinton was one of nine cabinet members and department heads that sit on the CFIUS, and the secretary of the treasury is its chairperson. CFIUS members are collectively charged with evaluating the transaction for potential national security issues, then turning their findings over to the president. By law, the committee can’t veto a transaction; only the president can. According to The New York Times, Clinton may not have even directly participated in the Uranium One decision. Then-Assistant Secretary of State Jose Fernandez, whose job it was to represent the State Dept. on CFIUS, said Clinton herself “never intervened” in committee matters.

Despite transfer of ownership, the uranium remained in the U.S.

A key fact ignored in criticisms of Clinton’s supposed involvement in the deal is that the uranium was not — nor could it be — exported, and remained under the control of U.S.-based subsidiaries of Uranium One, according to a statement by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

NRC’s review of the transfer of control request determined that the U.S. subsidiaries will
remain the licensees, will remain qualified to conduct the uranium recovery operations, and will continue to have the equipment, facilities, and procedures necessary to protect public health and safety and to minimize danger to life or property. The review also determined that the licensees will maintain adequate financial surety for eventual decommissioning of the sites. Neither Uranium One nor ARMZ holds an NRC export license, so no uranium produced at either facility may be exported.

The timing of most of the donations does not match

Of the $145 million allegedly contributed to the Clinton Foundation by Uranium One investors, the lion’s share — $131.3 million — came from a single donor, Frank Giustra, the company’s founder. But Giustra sold off his entire stake in the company in 2007, three years before the Russia deal and at least 18 months before Clinton became secretary of state.

Of the remaining individuals connected with Uranium One who donated to the Clinton Foundation, only one was found to have contributed during the same time frame that the deal was taking place, according to The New York Times — Ian Telfer, the company’s chairman:

His donations through the Fernwood Foundation included $1 million reported in 2009, the year his company appealed to the American Embassy to help it keep its mines in Kazakhstan; $250,000 in 2010, the year the Russians sought majority control; as well as $600,000 in 2011 and $500,000 in 2012. Mr. Telfer said that his donations had nothing to do with his business dealings, and that he had never discussed Uranium One with Mr. or Mrs. Clinton. He said he had given the money because he wanted to support Mr. Giustra’s charitable endeavors with Mr. Clinton. “Frank and I have been friends and business partners for almost 20 years,” he said.

The timing of Telfer’s donations might be questionable if there was reason to believe that Hillary Clinton was instrumental in the approval of the deal with Russia, but all the evidence points to the contrary — that Clinton did not play a pivotal role, and, in fact, may not have played any role at all.

Foundation admits disclosure mistakes

One fault investigations into the Clinton Foundation’s practices did find was that not all of the donations were properly disclosed — specifically, those of Uranium One Chairman Ian Telfer between 2009 and 2012. The foundation admitted this shortcoming and pledged to correct it, but as the Guardian pointed out in its May 2015 discussion of Clinton Cash, the fact that it happened is reason enough to sound alarm bells:

It is also true that large donations to the foundation from the chairman of Uranium One, Ian Telfer, at around the time of the Russian purchase of the company and while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, were never disclosed to the public. The multimillion sums were channeled through a subsidiary of the Clinton Foundation, CGSCI, which did not reveal its individual donors.

Such awkward collisions between Bill’s fundraising activities and Hillary’s public service have raised concerns not just among those who might be dismissed as part of a vast right-wing conspiracy.

An enormous volume of interest and speculation surrounds the workings of the Clinton Foundation, which is to be expected. Given the enormous sums of money it controls and the fact that it is run by a former U.S. president who is married to a possible future U.S. president, the foundation deserves all the scrutiny it gets, and more.

At the same time, for the sake of accuracy it’s crucial to differentiate between partisan accusations and what we actually know about it — however little that may be.

Update

On 17 October 2017, The Hill reported obtaining evidence that Vadim Mikerin, a Russian official who oversaw the American operations of the Russian nuclear agency Rosatom, was being investigated for corruption by multiple U.S. agencies while the Uranium One deal was up for approval — information that apparently was not shared with U.S. officials involved in approving the transaction. The Hill also reported receiving documents and eyewitness testimony “indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow,” although no specifics about who those Russian nuclear officials were or how the money was allegedly routed to the Clinton Foundation were given. In any case, none of these revelations prove that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton participated in a quid pro quo agreement to accept payment for approval of the Uranium One deal.

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