MYANMAR-- THE McCAIN CONNECTION
Howie visits the U.S. Embassy in Yangon
Last December when I was in Myanmar, I did some posts at my travel blog and here at DWT about how some shady GOP lobbyists and PR hacks were behind a white wash of the brutal and fascist dictatorship that rules Myanmar with an iron fist. They knew all the right buttons to push and all the right palms to grease and-- lo and behold!-- the Bush Regime and its enablers in Congress became a bit too kissy-poo with these monstrous brutes. Allow me to quote myself:
If you were a brutal fascist dictatorship and you wanted to appear less brutal and less fascist, where would you turn? DCI Group, LLC is where the junta turned. It's a very Republican, very Bush-connected public relations and lobbying firm in Washington. Their website boasts about their political connections. “We are a political firm and all of our partners have political campaign experience. We thrive in competitive circumstances, and are used to fluid situations and tight deadlines." They specialize in corporately-funded deceit, establishing bogus "grassroots" groups to make it appear that third parties favor their clients' nefarious goals (like cigarette smoke, junk food, pollution... dictatorship... you know, the whole GOP song and dance). “Corporations seldom win alone. Whatever the issue, whatever the target-- elected officials, regulators or public opinion-- you need reliable third party allies to advocate your cause. We can help you recruit credible coalition partners and engage them for maximum impact. It’s what we do best." What more could a junta ask for?
The sleazy outfit's managing partners, Tom Synhorst, Doug Goodyear and Tim Hyde, are all right out of Big Tobacco. In recent years Syndhorst, the chairman, has donated tens of thousands of dollars to every wingnut who's come asking, from Billy Tauzen, Tom DeLay, Tom Feeney, John Sununu, George Bush, Ernest Istook, to Jon Kyl, Thad Cochran, Elizabeth Dole and all the way down in to bottom of the barrel territory with Patrick McHenry and Mark Foley. Ditto for Goodyear, the ceo, who has favored such right-wing fanatics as DeLay, Kyl, Mike Enzi, John Ensign, McHenry, Santorum, Cubin, McCain, Bush, et al.
Goodyear, like most high flying Republican lobbyists, is a longtime ally of McCain's. (McCain is surrounded by lobbyists who work for the most vicious and criminal regimes on the planet.) He has donated immense amounts of money to McCain and to other far right-wing extremists in the Republican Party, from Rick Santorum, Barbara Cubin, Patrick McHenry, John Shadegg, Jon Kyle, Mike Enzi, et al.
Goodyear is the chief executive and a founding partner of the DCI Group, which has offices in Washington and Phoenix. He offered his resignation after Newsweek reported that his firm had been paid $348,000 in 2002 to represent the junta.
The rulers of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, have been widely condemned for stymieing relief efforts after a cyclone ravaged the country’s coastal areas on May 3, killing thousands. The United States has denounced the Burmese government as one of the world’s most repressive, and Mr. McCain, Republican of Arizona, has long been critical of the government as well. During the campaign, he has called for Myanmar’s leaders to halt human rights abuses.
An op-ed article that Mr. McCain wrote with Senator Mitch McConnell for the Wall Street Journal in 2005, which is posted on the McCain campaign’s Web site, was blunt.
“The junta routinely jails democracy activists, sometimes resorting to torture and murder,” the article said. “The Burmese military employs rape as a weapon of war, destroying the lives of innocent ethnic minority women and girls. Child soldiers are pressed into the military’s rank and file. Narcotics production remains a profitable business, with illegal drugs flowing across Burma’s borders into neighboring countries.”
Newsweek reported that Justice Department lobbying records showed that the DCI Group pushed to “begin a dialogue of political reconciliation” and led a public relations campaign to burnish the junta’s image.
The appointment of Mr. Goodyear was sensitive for Mr. McCain. It came after the senator had been criticized by some Republican primary opponents for employing several lobbyists and former lobbyists to run his campaign. And he is preparing for the possibility of a general election campaign against Senator Barack Obama, an Illinois Democrat who has made a point of his independence from lobbyists.
Interesting that neither the Times, the Washington Post nor any of the other corporate media properties reporting on this story have mentioned the thousands of dollars Goodyear has given to McCain. Maybe they ran out of space or ink.