Albert Hakim was born in Iran in 1937. In 1974 he founded Stanford Technology Corporation in Geneva, Switzerland. According to Daniel Sheehan: “Hakim paid off top officials in the Iranian military to help American companies such as Hewlett Packard, Motoroloa, and General Electric win multimillion-dollar contracts with the shah's regime."
In 1976 hired ex-CIA agent Edwin Wilson to gain access and influence in Washington. Stansfield Turner, the director of the CIA. He immediately carried out an investigation of into CIA covert activities. Turner eventually found out about Ted Shackley and his “Secret Team”. He was especially worried about the activities of Wilson and the Nugan Hand Bank.
One of the men Wilson employed was former CIA officer Kevin P. Mulcahy. He became concerned about Wilson's illegal activities and sent a message about them to the agency. Ted Shackley was initially able to block any internal investigation of Wilson. However, in April, 1977, the Washington Post, published an article on Wilson's activities stating that he may be getting support from "current CIA employees". Stansfield Turner ordered an investigation and discovered that both Shackley and Thomas G. Clines had close relationships with Wilson. Shackley was called in to explain what was going on. His explanation was not satisfactory and it was made clear that his career at the CIA had come to an end. Richard Helms, reportedly said: "Ted (Shackley) is what we call in the spook business a quadruple threat - Drugs, Arms, Money and Murder."
After leaving the CIA in September, 1979, Ted Shackley formed his own company, Research Associates International, which specialized in providing intelligence to business. He also joined with Thomas G. Clines, Raphael Quintero, and Ricardo Chavez (another former CIA operative) in another company called API Distributors. According to David Corn (Blond Ghost) Edwin Wilson provided Clines with "half a million dollars to get his business empire going". Shackley also freelanced with API but found it difficult taking orders from his former subordinate, Clines. Shackley also established his own company, Research Associates International, which specialized in providing intelligence to business (in other words he sold them classified information from CIA files).
Edwin Wilson introduced Hakim to Ted Shackley and Richard Secord. In October, 1980, Shackley joined the company owned by Hakim (he was paid $5,000 a month as a part-time “risk analyst”). Hakim was keen to use Shackley’s contacts to make money out of the Iran-Iraq War that had started the previous month.
In 1983 Hakim and Richard Secord became partners in Stanford Technology Trading Group International in Vienna, Virginia. The following year the CIA sent a secret memo to the FBI stating: "This Agency has reason to believe that Hakim's company may be associated with Iranian terrorist-support activities being run out of official Iranian installations in Vienna and Barcelona."
In 1985 Paul Hoven met Carl E. Jenkins, a former CIA officer, at a party for people associated with the Soldiers of Fortune magazine. Jenkins introduced Hoven to Gene Wheaton. Hoven discovered that Jenkins and Wheaton had been attempting to win federal contracts involving transporting goods to Afghanistan and Nicaragua. Wheaton told Hoven about how the Ronald Reagan administration were involved in illegal arms deals. He also provided information about how the CIA had been responsible for carrying out a series of political assassinations.
Hoven introduced Wheaton and Jenkins to Daniel Sheehan in February, 1986. The two men told Sheehan about a group of former CIA agents and assets were involved in illegal arms deals with the Contras in Nicaragua and the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. Those named included Albert Hakim, Tom Clines, Raphael Quintero, Ted Shackley, Richard Secord, Felix Rodriguez and Edwin Wilson. Wheaton and Jenkins also provided more information about political assassinations that had been organized by members of the CIA.
In October, 1985, two journalists, Tony Avirgan and Martha Honey, accused John F. Hull as being involved in the La Penca bombing. Hull responds by filing suit against Avirgan and Honey for "injuries, falsehood and defamation of character". During their trial, Avirgan and Honey provide documents and witnesses to support their comments on Hull. As a result the judge rejected Hull's lawsuit.
In a CBS documentary broadcast in April 1986, a former contra pilot identified Hull's ranch as a "major transshipment plant for military supplies and drugs". The following month Daniel Sheehan and the Christic Institute named Albert Hakim, John F. Hull, Ted Shackley, Thomas G. Clines, Richard V. Secord, John K. Singlaub, Robert W. Owen, Rafael Quintero, Adolfo Calero, Pablo Escobar, Jorge Ochoa and 18 others as major figures in a racketeering network involved in drug trafficking and arms smuggling.
On 12th December, 1986, Daniel Sheehan submitted to the court an affidavit detailing the Irangate scandal. He also claimed that Thomas Clines and Ted Shackley were running a private assassination program that had evolved from projects they ran while working for the CIA. They added that it had begun with an assassination training program for Cuban exiles and the original target had been Fidel Castro.
It was eventually discovered that President Ronald Reagan had sold arms to Iran. The money gained from these sales was used to provide support for the Contras, a group of guerrillas engaged in an insurgency against the elected socialist Sandinista government of Nicaragua. Both the sale of these weapons and the funding of the Contras violated administration policy as well as legislation passed by Congress.
In March, 1988, Gene Wheaton agreed to provide a deposition in a federal courtroom in Washington. Wheaton claimed that Ted Shackley was overseeing an assassination outfit called the Fish Farm. However, he refused to say which retired CIA official had given him this information.
It was assumed that Wheaton's source was Carl E. Jenkins. However he denied it saying: "I am astounded that on the basis of his conversations with me, Mr. Sheehan would swear under oath that I supplied him with any of this information."
On 23rd June, 1988, Judge James L. King ruled that Sheehan's allegations were "based on unsubstantiated rumor and speculation from unidentified sources with no firsthand knowledge". In February, 1989, Judge King ruled that Sheenan had brought a frivolous lawsuit and ordered his Christic Institute to pay the defendants $955,000. This was one of the highest sanction orders in history and represented four times the total assets of the Christic Institute.
Lawrence Walsh, the special prosecutor in the Iran-Contra scandal, gave prosecutorial immunity to 14 defendants and indicted six people. Then, when George Bush lost the election in 1992, one of the last few things he did before leaving office was to pardon all of the people the special prosecutor had indicted.
Albert Hakim died on 25th April, 2003 in Inchon, South Korea.
1. I am a duly licensed attorney at law, admitted to practice before the State and Federal Courts of the State of New York in both the Northern and Southern Districts of New York.
2. I am duly licensed and have been admitted to practice before the Courts of the District of Columbia, both local and Federal and I am in good standing before both the Bar of New York and the Bar of the District of Columbia.
3. I have practiced law before the courts of New York and numerous other states in our nation since 1970, having served as counsel in some 60 separate pieces of litigation in the states of New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, Ohio, Colorado, Idaho, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming and Mississippi.
4. I graduated from Harvard college in 1967 as an Honors Graduate in American Government, writing my Honors Thesis in the field of Constitutional Law, and was the Harvard University nominee for the Rhodes Scholarship from New York in 1967. I graduated from Harvard School of Law in 1970, having served as an Editor of the Harvard Civil Rights) Civil Liberties Law Review and as the Research Associate of Professor Jerome Cohen, the Chair of the International Law Department of Harvard.
5. While at Harvard School of Law, I served as a summer associate at the State Street law firm of Goodwin, Proctor and Hoar under the supervision of Senior Partner, Donald J. Hurley, the President of the Boston Chamber of Commerce and Massachusetts Senatorial Campaign Chairman for John F. Kennedy. At this firm I participated in the case of BAIRD v EISENSTAT, under Roger Stockey, General Counsel for the Massachusetts Planned Parenthood League (establishing the unconstitutionality of the Massachusetts anti-birth control law) and in the Nevada case, under Charles Goodhue, III (establishing the constitutional right to bail in criminal extradition cases, including capital cases). While at Harvard School of Law, I authored "The Pedestrian Sources of Civil Liberties" in the Harvard Civil Rights Civil Liberties Law Review and I served under Professor Milton Katz, the President of the International Law Association, as the Chairman of the Nigerian Biafran Relief Commission responsible for successfully negotiating the admission of mercy flights of food into Biafra in 1968.
6. While serving as a legal Associate at the Wall Street law firm of Cahill, Gordon, Sonnett, Rheindle and Ohio under partner Theodore Shackley and Thomas Clines directed the Phoenix Project in Vietnam, in 1974 and 1975, which carried out the secret mission of assassinating members of the economic and political bureaucracy inside Vietnam to cripple the ability of that nation to function after the total US withdrawal from Vietnam. This Phoenix Project, during its history, carried out the political assassination, in Vietnam, of some 60,000 village mayors, treasurers, school teachers and other non) Viet Cong administrators. Theodore Shackley and Thomas Clines financed a highly intensified phase of the Phoenix project, in 1974 and 1975, by causing an intense flow of Vang Pao opium money to be secretly brought into Vietnam for this purpose. This Vang Pao opium money was administered for Theodore Shackley and Thomas Clines by a US Navy official based in Saigon's US office of Naval Operations by the name of Richard Armitage. However, because Theodore Shackley, Thomas Clines and Richard Armitage knew that their secret anti-communist extermination program was going to be shut down in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand in the very near future, they, in 1973, began a highly secret non-CIA authorized program. Thus, from late 1973 until April of 1975, Theodore Shackley, Thomas Clines and Richard Armitage disbursed, from the secret, Laotian-based, Vang Pao opium fund, vastly more money than was required to finance even the highly intensified Phoenix Project in Vietnam. The money in excess of that used in Vietnam was secretly smuggled out of Vietnam in large suitcases, by Richard Secord and Thomas Clines and carried into Australia, where it was deposited in a secret, personal bank account (privately accessible to Theodore Shackley, Thomas Clines and Richard Secord). During this same period of time between 1973 and 1975, Theodore Shackley and Thomas Clines caused thousands of tons of US weapons, ammunition, and explosives to be secretly taken from Vietnam and stored at a secret "cache" hidden inside Thailand.
The "liaison officer" to Shackley and Clines and the Phoenix Project in Vietnam, during this 1973 to 1975 period, from the "40 Committee" in the Nixon White House was one Eric Von Arbod, an Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs. Von Arbod shared his information about the Phoenix Project directly with his supervisor Henry Kissinger.
Saigon fell to the Vietnamese in April of 1975. The Vietnam War was over. Immediately upon the conclusion of the evacuation of U.S. personnel from Vietnam, Richard Armitage was dispatched, by Theodore Shackley and Thomas Clines, from Vietnam to Tehran, Iran. In Iran, Armitage, the "bursar" for the Vang Pao opium money for Shackley and Clines' planned "Secret Team" covert operations program, between May and August of 1975, set up a secret "financial conduit" inside Iran, into which secret Vang Pao drug funds could be deposited from Southeast Asia. The purpose of this conduit was to serve as the vehicle for secret funding by Shackley's "Secret Team," of a private, non-CIA authorized "Black" operations inside Iran, disposed to seek out, identify, and assassinate socialist and communist sympathizers, who were viewed by Shackley and his "Secret Team" members to be "potential terrorists" against the Shah of Iran`s government in Iran. In late 1975 and early 1976, Theodore Shackley and Thomas Clines retained Edwin Wilson to travel to Tehran, Iran to head up the "Secret Team" covert "anti terrorist" assassination program in Iran. This was not a U.S. government authorized operation. This was a private operations supervised, directed and participated in by Shackley, Clines, Secord and Armitage in their purely private capacities.
At the end of 1975, Richard Armitage took the post of a "Special Consultant" to the U.S. Department of Defense regarding American military personnel Missing In Action (MIAs) in Southeast Asia. In this capacity, Armitage was posted in the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. There Armitage had top responsibility for locating and retrieving American MIA's in Southeast Asia. He worked at the Embassy with an associate, one Jerry O. Daniels. From 1975 to 1977, Armitage held this post in Thailand. However, he did not perform the duties of this office. Instead, Armitage continued to function as the "bursar" for Theodore Shackley's "Secret Team," seeing to it that secret Vang Pao opium funds were conducted from Laos, through Armitage in Thailand to both Tehran and the secret Shackley bank account in Australia at the Nugen-Hand Bank. The monies conducted by Armitage to Tehran were to fund Edwin Wilson's secret anti-terrorist "seek and destroy" operation on behalf of Theodore Shackely. Armitage also devoted a portion of his time between 1975 and 1977, in Bangkok, facilitating the escape from Laos, Cambodia and Thailand and the relocation elsewhere in the world, of numbers of the secret Meo tribesmen group which had carried out the covert political assassination program for Theodore Shackley in Southeast Asia between 1966 and 1975. Assisting Richard Armitage in this operation was Jerry O. Daniels. Indeed, Jerry O. Daniels was a "bag-man" for Richard Armitage, assisting Armitage by physically transporting out of Thailand millions of dollars of Vang Pao's secret opium money to finance the relocation of Theodore Shackley's Meo tribesmen and to supply funds to Theodore Shackley's "Secret Team" operations. At the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Richard Armitage also supervised the removal of arms, ammunition and explosives from the secret Shackley/Clines cache of munitions hidden inside Thailand between 1973 and 1975, for use by Shackley's "Secret Team". Assisting Armitage in this latter operations was one Daniel Arnold, the CIA Chief of Station in Thailand, who joined Shackley's "Secret Team" in his purely private capacity.
One of the officers in the U.S. Embassy in Thailand, one Abranowitz came to know of Armitage's involvement in the secret handling of Vang Pao opium funds and caused to be initiated an internal State Department heroin smuggling investigations directed against Richard Armitage. Armitage was the target of Embassy personnel complaints to the effect that he was utterly failing to perform his duties on behalf of American MIAs, and he reluctantly resigned as the D.O.D. Special Consultant on MIA's at the end of 1977.
From 1977 until 1979, Armitage remained in Bangkok opening and operating a business named The Far East Trading Company. This company had offices only in Bangkok and in Washington, D.C. This company was, in fact, from 1977 to 1979, merely a "front" for Armitage's secret operations conducting Vang Pao opium money out of Southeast Asia to Tehran and the Nugen-Hand Bank in Australia to fund the ultra right-wing, private anti-communist "anti-terrorist" assassination program and "unconventional warfare" operation of Theodore Shackley's and Thomas Cline's "Secret Team". During this period, between 1975 and 1979, in Bangkok, Richard Armitage lived in the home of Hynnie Aderholdt, the former Air Wing Commander of Shackley`s "Special Operations Group" in Laos, who, between 1966 and 1968, had served as the immediate superior to Richard Secord, the Deputy Air Wing Commander of MAG SOG. Secord, in 1975, was transferred from Vietnam to Tehran, Iran.
In 1976, Richard Secord moved to Tehran, Iran and became the Deputy Assistant Secretary of defense in Iran, in charge of the Middle Eastern Division of the Defense Security Assistance Administration. In this capacity, Secord functioned as the chief operations officer for the U.S. Defense Department in the Middle East in charge of foreign military sales of U.S. aircraft, weapons and military equipment to Middle Eastern nations allied to the U.S. Secord's immediate superior was Eric Van Marbad, the former 40 Committee liaison officer to Theodore Shackley's Phoenix program in Vietnam from 1973 to 1975.
From 1976 to 1979, in Iran, Richard Secord supervised the sale of U.S. military aircraft and weapons to Middle Eastern nations. However, Richard Secord did not authorize direct nation-to-nation sales of such equipment directly from the U.S. government to said Middle Eastern governments. Instead, Richard Secord conducted such sales through a "middle-man", one Albert Hakim. By the use of middle-man Albert Hakim, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Secord purchased U.S. military aircraft and weapons from the U.S. governament at the low "manufacturer's cost" but sold these U.S. aircraft and weapons to the client Middle Eastern nations at the much higher "replacement cost". Secord then caused to be paid to the U.S. government, out of the actual sale price obtained, only the lower amount equal to the lower manufacturer's cost. The difference, was secreted from the U.S. government and Secord and Albert Hakim secretly transferred these millions of dollars into Shackley's "Secret Team" operations inside Iran and into Shackley's secret Nugen-Hand bank account in Australia. Thus, by 1976, Defendant Albert Hakim had become a partner with Thomas Clines, Richard Secord and Richard Armitage in Theodore Shackley's "Secret Team".
Between 1976 and 1979, Shackley, Clines, Secord, Hakim, Wilson, and Armitage set up several corporations and subsidiaries around the world through which to conceal the operations of the "Secret Team". Many of these corporations were set up in Switzerland. Some of these were: (1) Lake Resources, Inc.; (2) The Stanford Technology Trading Group, Inc.; and (3) Companie de Services Fiduciaria. Other companies were set up in Central America, such as: (4) CSF Investments, Ltd. and (5) Udall research Corporation. Some were set up inside the United States by Edwin Wilson. Some of these were: (6) Orca Supply Company in Florida and (7) Consultants International in Washington, D.C. Through these corporations, members of Theodore Shackley's "Secret Team" laundered hundreds of millions of dollars of secret Vang Pao opium money, pilfered Foreign Military Sales proceeds between 1976 and 1979. Named in this federal civil suit to be placed under oath and asked about their participation in the criminal "enterprise" alleged in this Complaint is probative of the criminal guilt of the Defendants of some of the crimes charged in this Complaint.
Plaintiffs and Plaintiffs' Counsel, The Christic Institute, possess evidence constituting "probable cause" that each of the Defendants named in this Complaint are guilty of the conduct charged.
If further detailed evidence is required by the Court to allow the Plaintiffs to begin the standard process of discovery in this case, the failure to place it in this Affidavit is the function of the short time allowed by the Court for the preparation of this filing, it is not because the Plaintiffs lack such evidence.
Sheehan and Wheaton sat down in the kitchen of Hoven's house in early February of 1986. It was magic. To a wide-eyed Sheehan, Wheaton, posing as an experienced operator, tossed out wild stories of clandestine operations and dozens of names: Wilson, Secord, Clines, Hakim, Singlaub, Bush. A whole crew was running amok, supporting Contras, conducting covert activity elsewhere. Drugs were involved. Some of this gang had engaged in corrupt government business in Iran and Southeast Asia. Now the same old boys were running weapons to Latin America. Central to the whole shebang was a former CIA officer named Ted Shackley. Sheehan was captivated. He had struck the mother lode.
Sheehan spoke a few times with Carl Jenkins. At one session, Sheehan listened as Jenkins and Wheaton discussed what Wheaton was calling the "off-the-reservation gang"- Secord, Clines, Hakim, and Shackley - and the operations they ran in and out of government. According to Hoven, Wheaton and Jenkins wanted to see information about this crowd made public and saw Sheehan as the mechanism of disclosure.
Wheaton and Jenkins did not tell Sheehan that they hoped to settle a score with a band they believed had an unfair lock on the air-supply contracts they desired. But to Hoven it was clear that one faction of spooks was whacking another. Hoven was not sure who was on what side. He guessed that somebody somewhere - maybe even in the Agency itself - was upset with the freelancers and wanted to see them reined in. But if Jenkins or anyone else thought they could use Sheehan as a quiet transmitter of damaging information, they were as wrong as they could be.
Throughout the winter and spring, as Sheehan talked to Wheaton and Jenkins, he had something else on his mind: a two-year-old bombing in Nicaragua. On May 30, 1984, a bomb had exploded at a press conference in La Penca, Nicaragua, held by Eden Pastora, a maverick Contra leader who resisted cooperating with the CIA and the main Contra force. Several people were killed, but not Pastora. Afterward, Tony Avirgan, an American journalist who suffered shrapnel wounds at La Penca, and his wife, Martha Honey, set out to uncover who had plotted the attack. A year later, they produced a book that charged a small group of Americans and Cuban exiles-some with ties to the CIA and the Contras-with planning the murderous assault. One of the persons they fingered was John Hull, a Contra supporter with a spread in northern Costa Rica and a relationship with North and the CIA. Their report noted that some Contra supporters were moonlighting in the drug trade.
Hull sued the couple for libel in Costa Rica. He demanded $1 million. Avirgan and Honey, who lived in San Jose, received death threats. They considered retaliating by filing a lawsuit in the States against individuals in the secret Contra-support network. But they could find no lawyer to take such a difficult case. Eventually Sheehan was recommended to them. They checked him out. The reports were mixed. But he had one undeniable positive attribute: he would accept the case. The couple retained him.
Come late spring of 1986, Sheehan was mixing with spooks in the Washington area, and he was pondering how to craft a lawsuit for Avirgan and Honey. He collected information on the Contra operation. He drew closer to Wheaton, who had a new tale every time they met. Then Sheehan made a pilgrimage to meet the dark angel of the covert crowd: Ed Wilson.
The imprisoned rogue officer made Sheehan's head swim. The essence of Wilson's story, Sheehan claimed, was that the Agency in 1976 had created a highly secretive counter terrorist unit modeled on the PRUs of Vietnam and had run this entity apart from the main bureaucracy. The mission: conduct "wet operations" (spy talk for assassinations). After the election of Jimmy Carter, this group was erased from the books and hidden in private companies, and Shackley was the man in charge of the unit both in and out of government. The program was divided into different components. CIA man William Buckley supposedly had directed one out of Mexico with Quintero and Ricardo Chavez. Another unit was headed by a former Mossad officer. Felix Rodriguez was involved in yet one more in the Mideast. Sheehan took Wilson at his word. "Wilson went into such detail," Sheehan later maintained. "It's not something that's being made up."
At one point after Sheehan met with Wilson, it dawned on him: everything was connected. The La Penca bombing, the North-Contra network, the Wilson gang, all those CIA-trained Cuban exiles, the whole history of Agency dirty tricks, the operations against Castro, the war in Laos, the nasty spook side of the Vietnam War, clandestine Agency action in Iran. It was an ongoing conspiracy. It did not matter if these guys were in or out of government. It was a villainous government within a government, a plot that had existed for decades, a permanent criminal enterprise. Sheehan had a unified held theory of covert U.S. history. And Shackley was the evil Professor Moriarty, the man who pulled all the strings. The avenging Sheehan now was determined to take Shackley down.
Sheehan melded the La Penca bombing case to his Wheaton - influenced investigation of the old-boy network. Avirgan and Honey shared with him all the information they carefully had developed on the Contra support operation. Names and stories he threw at them - including Shackley's - were unfamiliar. They took it on faith that Sheehan knew what he was doing when he blended the results of their professional investigation with the grab-bag of information he had collected from Wheaton, Wilson, and others. "We saw John Hull as the center, and Sheehan saw it as Shackley," Honey recalled. "Shackley was the main ingredient. I don't know why Danny fixated on him. He told us he had lots of information on Shackley's involvement in La Penca. That was b.s. But what do we know, sitting in Costa Rica?" Sheehan was looking for a case he could play before a large audience. He repeatedly told Avirgan and Honey the public did not care about La Penca. But people would pay notice if the enemy was one grand conspiracy headed by a dastardly figure.
Sheehan applied the resources of his small Christic Institute to the case. Wheaton continued investigating the Wilson crowd and other covert sorts. He started telling Jenkins that he believed he was chasing a decades-old, top-secret assassination unit. Wheaton claimed it had begun with an assassination training program for Cuban exiles that Shackley had set up in the early 1960s. The target was Castro. The secret war against Cuba faded, but the "Shooter Team" continued. It expanded and was now called the Fish Farm, and Shackley remained its chief.
Sheehan knitted together all this spook gossip and misinformation with a few hard facts, and on May 29, 1986, he dropped the load. In a Miami federal court, Sheehan filed a lawsuit against thirty individuals, invoking the RICO antiracketeering law and accusing all of being part of a criminal conspiracy that trained, financed, and armed Cuban-American mercenaries in Nicaragua, smuggled drugs, violated the Neutrality Act by supporting the Contras, traded various weapons, and bombed the press conference at La Penca. Sheehan's plaintiffs were journalists Tony Avirgan and Martha Honey. The conspirators were far-flung: John Hull in Costa Rica; Cuban exiles based in Miami (including Quintero); drug lords Pablo Escobar and Jorge Ochoa in Colombia; arms dealers in Florida; Contra leader Adolfo Calero; an Alabama mercenary named Tom Posey; Robert Owen, a secret North aide; the unknown bomber at La Penca; and Singlaub, Hakim, Secord, Clines, and Shackley. Sheehan alleged that Shackley had peddled arms illegally, plotted to kill Pastora, and (with Secord, Clines, and Hakim) accepted money from drug sales for arms shipments. Sheehan demanded over $23 million in damages.
With this lawsuit, Sheehan believed, he could break up the Contra support operation and cast into the light shadowy characters who had been up to mischief for years. Sheehan and Wheaton had stumbled across some real players and some real operations. But they both possessed hyperactive imaginations, and whatever truth they did uncover they had twisted into a false, cosmic conspiracy.
The filing-drafted sloppily by Sheehan-surprised Shackley and his fellow defendants. Hoven and Jenkins were stunned. Neither expected Sheehan to produce such a storm. Sheehan clearly was in this for politics and ego. He was not about to be a quiet disseminator of information. "I had been left with the assumption," Hoven noted, "that I was set up to pass information to Sheehan. But they" - whoever they were - "mucked it up because Sheehan was not playing it close to the script."
The John F. Kennedy - liberal John F. Kennedy School - said that, “Ever since George Washington warned his country against foreign entanglements, empire abroad has been seen as America’s permanent temptation, but also its potential nemesis." Yet what word but ‘empire’ could possibly describe the awesome thing that America is now becoming? It is the only nation that polices the world through five global military commands, maintains more than a million men at arms on four continents, deploys carrier battle groups on every one of our planet’s oceans, guarantees the survival of countries from Israel to South Korea, drives the wheels of global trade and commerce and fills the hearts and minds of our entire planet with its desires.
John Quincy Adams’ warning in 1821 now becomes stark and pertinent. He said, ‘If America were ever tempted to become the dictator of the world, she would surely no longer be the ruler of her own spirit.’ For what empire lavishes abroad cannot possibly spend on maintaining republican government at home: on hospitals or roads or schools. Distended military budgets only aggravate America’s continuing failure to keep its egalitarian promise to itself and to the world, and these are only a few of the costs of empire.
Other costs are detaining American citizens without charge or access to legal counsel in military brigs; imprisoning foreign combatants in island prisons, in a legal limbo; keeping lawful aliens, and even American citizens, under permanent, illegal surveillance at home, while deporting some aliens after only secret hearings. These are not the actions of a republic that lives by the rule of law or by its Constitution, but of an imperial power which in fact distrusts its own liberties.
And he goes on in this vein for several pages, actually, predictably critiquing this extremely conservative foreign policy of the Bush administration and pointing out that on September 11, he said, “was a rude awakening, a moment of reckoning with the avenging hatred which this imperial policy raises around the world. American citizens may not have thought of the Twin Trade Towers and the U.S. Pentagon as symbolic headquarters of a world empire, but numberless millions across the world do. And these men and women cheered the men with box cutters and their propagandistic deed of September 11.
And this goes on in this vein - and this is, I guess, only to be expected from the liberal John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. But surprisingly enough, rather than continue in the article by condemning this totally conservative foreign policy on the part of the new Bush administration and setting forth a clear, liberal alternative, what in fact Professor Ignatieff does - and it comes from recognizing, which I hadn’t recognized to begin with, that the name of the article is not simply, “The American Empire.” It is, “The American Empire: Get Used to It.”
For he goes on - rather than setting forth a clear alternative policy - to point out, saying, “Why should such a republic ever take on the risk of becoming an empire? Doesn’t this run the chance of endangering its identity as a free people? The problem is,” he says, “that this question implies the existence of innocent options, which in the case of Iraq do not exist. Iraq is not just a question about whether the United States can retain its republican virtue in a wicked world, for virtuous disengagement is no longer a possibility. Since September 11, the question has now become whether our republic can possibly survive in safety without imperial policing abroad.”
He said, “Containment, rather than a war, would be the better course. But the Bush administration has concluded that containment has now reached its limits. And this conclusion is not unreasonable.” He says that, “The possession of weapons of mass destruction by Saddam Hussein - for this would render him the master of the region which contains so much of the world’s oil resources that it makes that region what a military strategist might call ‘the center of gravity of any intended empire.”
And he goes on in this vein to point out that what his real criticism of this conservative imperial policy is that it simply does not adequately share the policing power of the New Imperium with our European allies in our allied field. He also points out that in fact the other criticism of this is it does not adequately link together the massive bombing - “the upcoming bombing,” as he refers to it - of Iraq with, in fact, an adequate policy to bring peace to the entire Middle East. He said that just bombing Iraq and removing Saddam Hussein doesn’t really ensure the establishment of a democratic set of institutions in Iraq, and so therefore he criticizes the policies of the administration by not going far enough in being an imperial power.
In addition to simply bombing Iraq and removing Saddam Hussein, he said, “we must get into building an entire culture in Iraq that is predicated upon democratic principles and free-market principles” - and if we’re going to do this, then of course, he says, we have to open a dialogue with Iran, the next-door neighbor, so it won’t feel threatened by the existence of a democratic republic in its next-door neighbor. And then, of course, we’re going to have to convince the Saudis, the House of Saud, that they will have to begin to import more democratic institutions. And in fact we’re going to have to convince the Kuwaiti royal family that they would have to do something similar. And of course we’re going to have to assure the Turks that in fact we’re not going to support the Kurds in establishing a free homeland, and we’re going to have to persuade the Kurds not to continue to demand a free homeland.
And so what he says is that, The real question isn’t whether the United States is becoming too powerful. The question is - from the perspective of the liberal critique - “are we becoming powerful enough to actually successfully assert the full powers of empire,” which he recommends we prepare to do.