John McCain’s Friends

Given that John McCain and his campaign have consistently tried to make Hamas’ alleged “endorsement” of Barack Obama a campaign issue, saying that “it suggests the difference between these two candidates,” and that the GOP has been pushing Obama’s connections to Wright and Ayers and other tangential characters, it only makes sense to take a closer look at McCain’s friends. We’ve already heard about his staffers ties to the murderous junta in Burma. Now Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings has a great post up about McCain’s chief political aide, Charlie Black, and some of the folks he has ties to. It’s far to long to quote all of the details, but among the highlights are:

Over the years, Black has represented some truly dreadful people. In what follows, I will leave aside domestic clients, like Blackwater, Philip Morris, and Chiquita (which pleaded guilty to paying Colombian terrorists last year.) I will also ignore Black’s work on behalf of dictators who are bad but not truly horrific: for instance, Gnassingbé Eyadéma of Togo. I’m just going to focus on two groups: first, Black’s work for people who used disinformation to get us into the Iraq war, and second, the truly horrible dictators Charlie Black represented.


(1) Chalabi and the Lincoln Group: According to this NYT piece, Black’s firm “worked for Ahmed Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress, as well as the Lincoln Group, hired by the Pentagon to generate positive stories about the Iraq war.”


Those Black represented include: Ferdinand Marcos (the odious dictator of the Philippines), Mobutu Sese Seko (the odious dictator of Zaire), Ibrahim Babangida (the odious dictator of Nigeria), Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (the odious dictator of Equatorial Guinea), Mohamed Siad Barre (the odious dictator of Somalia), and, just to break the pattern, Jonas Savimbi (who plunged Angola into decades of immensely destructive civil war in an unsuccessful attempt to become its odious dictator.)

Barack Obama won’t even take money from lobbyists. McCain has Charlie Black as his chief political aide. As Joe Lieberman says “it suggests the difference between the two candidates.”


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