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Halliburton continues to do business in Iran thanks to a loophole maintained through the efforts of Sen. John McCain and his advisors. (NBC Nightly News Photo of Halliburton workers in Pars, Iran.)
News and Opinion

The McCain Doctrine: Thou Shalt Not Talk To Terrorist States
But a little free-trade with Iran won't hurt anyone. Will it?

-- Aaron Keyak

Members of Congress joined the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) on Capitol Hill and denounced Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) vote on the amendment that maintained a loophole to allow companies like Halliburton to continue doing business with Iran.

Leading the charge, Sen. Frank  Lautenberg (D-NJ) said, “John McCain talks tough on Iran, but when it was time for action, he took a pass. Shutting this loophole is critical if we are serious about sanctions on Iran. Vice President Dick Cheney and the oil companies want to keep the loophole in place so Iran is ‘open for business’ with U.S. companies. Senator Barack Obama stood up for Israel’s security and voted to shut down the loophole.”

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) continued the call to make sure that we stay on track. “From South Africa to the Soviet Union, international sanctions have proven an effective tool for changing the behavior of rogue nations. The sanctions, however, must be strong and enforceable,” said Senator Cardin. “Sanctions can be effective against Iran, but we must close the loopholes that have allowed our own U.S. companies to flout the law through their foreign subsidiaries, putting the American people and allies like Israel at risk.”

Ira Forman, Executive Director of the NJDC, underscored that “Senator John McCain’s allies have made a concerted attempt in this campaign to brand Senator Barack Obama – particularly in the Jewish community – as insufficiently diligent in confronting the threat from Iran. By contrast, he has tried to portray himself as a leader in sanctioning Iran, but we see today that that his action comes up dreadfully short.”

“Iran is a serious threat to U.S. and regional security. Our primary leverage with respect to Iran is economic sanctions. Isolating Iran from the world economy puts significant pressure on the regime in Tehran. But to do this, we need the tightest sanctions regime possible. Closing the loophole that allows US businesses to continue doing business with Iran through foreign subsidiaries would greatly strengthen our sanctions' effectiveness, and should be supported by Members on both sides of the aisle. Senator McCain, like President Bush, likes to talk tough about Iran, but voting against closing a loophole that weakens our sanctions against Iran suggests he lacks the determination to fully address the Iranian threat responsibly,” said Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI).

“John McCain thinks that it’s okay to help Iran as long as Halliburton gets a piece of the action. Our country can’t afford another president who shares the Bush-Cheney loyalty to these special interests,” said Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ).

“It’s critically important the United States and world community take a strong stance against the government of Iran, which requires both economic sanctions and diplomatic engagement. Tough foreign policy doesn't include providing loopholes for companies like Halliburton to continue trading with and investing into dangerous regimes,” said Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO).

McCain's senior advisor Charlie Black

In an interview with CNN, Black said that the assasination of Benazir Bhutto was "an unfortunate event... and it helped us".
When asked how another terrorist attack on US soil would affect McCain's prospects, Black added "certainly it would be a big advantage to him."

Senator John McCain’s Chief Strategist, Charlie Black, and his Congressional has lobbied on behalf of companies that do business with Iran, including Chinese oil conglomerate CNOOC. Ultimately, the deal Black lobbied for was defeated by Congress in part because of CNOOC’s ties to Iran.

Charlie Black, working for his firm Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healey, was paid $60,000 to lobby the U.S. government on behalf of the Chinese oil conglomerate CNOOC. At the time, CNOOC was mounting an aggressive bid to buy Unocal, a California-based oil giant, and Black was tasked with churning up congressional support. But the bid ultimately fell through, inart because of objections over the China oil industry's ties to Iran, a country in which it had already invested tens of millions of dollars… Flash-forward nearly three years and Black’s old client…later scored a $16 billion deal with the Iranian government. (Stein)

The CNOOC deal also elicited outrage from Reps. Joe Barton, (R-TX), then Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Ralph Hall, (R-TX), then Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality. In a June 27, 2005 letter to President Bush, they were “compelled to express deep concern about the proposed acquisition of Unocal by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation” and that “this transaction poses a clear threat to the energy and national security of the United States.”

John McCain's chief adviser, lobbyist Charlie Black, worked for some of the world's worst dictators -- mass murderers, terrorists, and tyrants.

McCain and his allies insist on using guilt by association when looking at Democratic candidates. If this is their standard, then we call on them to explain why McCain’s Chief Strategist lobbied for a deal that, according to Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), was “a clear threat to the energy and national security of the United States.”

Black also lobbied for General Electric while they had business dealings with Iran:

  • Charlie Black Earned $800,000 From 1999 - 2002 For His Firm Lobbying For General Electric Capital Services. Charlie Black was a registered lobbyist for General Electric Capital Services, a subsidiary of General Electric Co., from 1999-2002. His firm, BKSH & Associates earned $800,000 from the lobbying activities. (Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database, accessed 5/20/08)
  • 2000: While Black Served As Their Lobbyist, GE Supplied Hydroelectric Generators To Iran. In 2000, General Electric Canada Inc. agreed to supply four hydroelectric generators to Iran Water and Power Resources Development Co. According to the Globe & Mail "William Thompson, the city's comptroller, filed a shareholders' resolution yesterday demanding that GE's board of directors create a committee to review the company's business operations in Iran, which has been classified as a ‘sponsor of terrorism' by the U.S. federal government." (Globe and Mail, 2/11/03)
  • General Electric Halted New Business From Iran In 2005, But Left The Door Open For Future Commerce With Iran. In February 2005, the Associated Press reported, "General Electric Co., which has been accused of collecting ‘blood money' by doing business in Iran, will stop accepting any new orders for business in the country, company officials said... The decision, which became effective Tuesday, comes amid tensions and threats of sanctions over Iran's nuclear program." Gary Sheffer, a GE spokesman said, "This moratorium on new orders will be re-evaluated as conditions relating to Iran change." (Associated Press, 2/3/05)

These sources are from McCain Source.

McCain's chief economic advisor Carly Fiorina

McCain's economic guru Carly Fiorina presided over HP while they avoided American sanctions against Iran.

Senator John McCain’s Chief Economic Adviser, Carly Fiorina, was chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard (HP) when the company surreptitiously avoided the trade boycott of Iran. McCain, who recently urged further divestment from Iran, picked Fiorina to be his top adviser on the economy while she is also serving as head of the Republican National Committee Victory Fund. It was under Fiorina’s leadership as CEO that, according to an April 19, 2004, Forbes article titled Trading With The Enemy, HP traded with the Iranians.

If you want to get around export controls, just sell the product to a front company in Dubai. The middlemen will take it from there… Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Microsoft, among many other U.S. companies, keep Dubai offices and are favorites these days among Iranian traders in Dubai.

“We should judge candidates based on their voting records and public statements,” said Ira N. Forman, Executive Director of NJDC. “However, McCain and his allies insist on using guilt by association when looking at Democratic candidates. If this is their standard, then we call on them to explain why McCain’s Chief Economic Adviser oversaw the evasion of the American laws prohibiting Iranian trade in her tenure as CEO of HP.”

Further Details:

Sam Stein wrote a piece for the Huffington Post that mentions Fiorina’s role and we see that she still has a significant role in the campaign.

Fiorina Tapped To Head the RNC Victory Fund, Work Closely With McCain.

According to National Journal’s CongressDaily, “Carly Fiorina, the former chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard and Frank Donatelli, a lobbyist and former White House political director under President Reagan, will work closely with the McCain campaign. Fiorina will oversee the RNC Victory fund, the entity that historically has raised money for voter-turnout and party-building efforts to support the party’s presidential nominee and other GOP candidates nationwide.”

Fiorina Has “Become The Face Of McCain's Economic Team.”

In an article describing Carly Fiorina’s rise within the ranks of the McCain campaign, the Washington Post wrote, “Since McCain installed her last month at the Republican National Committee, the once-high-flying chief executive has held conference calls, made near-daily television appearances and become the face of McCain's economic team.”

Hewlett Packard Joined Forces With Redington
to Form Redington Gulf To Open Up Markets To Iran.

According to Al-Bawaba, “Commencing operations in 1997, with their head office in the UAE, Redington Gulf currently has country offices located at UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt with a team of over 100 professionals managing these offices. The company aims at increasing its market share and expanding its reach in the Middle East through more in country offices. Redington and HP partnership was launched in the Middle East six years ago for one market - Iran, and one product group - IPG. Today it boasts of covering the entire region and across multiple product groups and support services.”

HP Manager: “We Are Optimistic… Iran Is A Big Market For Hewlett Packard Printers.”

While other IT companies were wary to target Iranian markets due to sanctions, Hewlett Packard maintained it’s ability to sell products to the country through a joint venture. Albrecht Ferling, HP’s Middle East general manager said, “We are optimistic. We have to wait for changes. Iran is a big market for Hewlett Packard printers. Our growth rate there is 50 per cent.” (Gulf News, 11/1/99)

Fiorina Touted Success In Middle East In The Face Of Falling Domestic Revenue.

In a conference call releasing Hewlett Packard’s earnings for the first quarter of 2003, CEO Carly Fiorina said, “Our revenue shortfalls were largely confined to the U.S. market, as weak commercial spending continued.” She added, “In the Americas, revenue declined 7% sequentially because of weakness in the U.S. and Latin America. Canada, on the other hand, reported solid sequential revenue growth. The strongest performance was in Europe, Middle East, and Africa where revenue was up more than 6% from the previous quarter.” (Hewlett Packard Q1 2003 Earnings Conference Call, Fair Disclosure Wire, 2/25/03)

Under Carly Fiorina, Redington Gulf Surpassed $100 Million In Annual Sales.

In a 2003 press release, Redington Gulf announced that it had crossed the $100 million milestone in shipments from Hewlett Packard across all product groups. (Al-Bawaba, 10/7/03)

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