Thursday, April 13, 2006

Of Course, "The Worst President Ever" Can't Be "The Worst President Ever" Without Some Truly Evil Collaborators

Jack Abramoff. An awesome, must-read piece by Matt Taibbi.

Great quote on the early Abramoff:
Abramoff and his close friends Norquist and Ralph Reed (the one-time head of the Georgia College Republicans used to sleep on Abramoff's couch) never really abandoned the laughable training-wheel secrecy and capture-the-flag gamesmanship of student politics. His buttocks freshly branded, Abramoff in 1983 traveled to Johannesburg on behalf of the CRNC and immediately parlayed his student experience into a real job as a sort of frontman for South African intelligence services. He was the young progressive's paranoid nightmare come shockingly true: absurd campus Republican proto-geek effortlessly transformed at graduation into flesh-and-blood neo-Nazi spook.

And this is VERY creepy:
The creation of the IFF officially marked the beginning of the silly phase of Abramoff's career. According to testimony before Democratic South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1995, the IFF was not a conservative think tank but actually a front for the South African army. Testimony in sealed TRC hearings reportedly reveal that the IFF was known by the nickname "Pacman" in the South African army and that its activities were part of a larger plan called "Operation Babushka," designed to use propaganda to discredit the ANC and Nelson Mandela at home and abroad. Among other things, Abramoff managed during this time to funnel funds and support from the IFF to a variety of stalwart congressmen and senators, including Rep. Dan Burton and Sen. Jesse Helms, all of whom consistently opposed congressional resolutions against apartheid. These members of Congress would deny knowing that the IFF's money came from the South African government, because that, of course, would have been illegal; Abramoff himself denied it too, although he has been largely quiet on the subject since the TRC testimony in 1995.