Billionares Profit off Congo Debt Forgiveness
- Randi Rhodes and Greg Palast Hunt Giuliani's Favorite Vulture
by Greg Palast
"Can't he make a living in a more reputable, less disgusting way, say,
in child pornography?"
Randi Rhodes is asking you, Mr. Singer. And we're still waiting for
Paul Singer is a vulture. And a billionaire. And, with his underlings
at Elliott Associates, the number one sugar-daddy donor to the
presidential campaign of Rudy Giuliani, dropping $168,400 so far and,
according to secret campaign documents, committed to raise $10 million
for Rudolf the Great, Emperor of 9/11.
So who is this bird of prey Singer who holds Rudy in his beak?
Unlike feathered predators, Singer preys on the living. Singer
figured out a way to siphon off funds intended for debt relief to some
of the poorest countries in the world. Nice guy.
And by the way, I didn't come up with the moniker "vulture." Just
about everyone, from the new Prime Minister of Britain to the World
Bank, calls Singer and his ilk "vultures."
Here's how a vulture operation works. The vulture fund buys up the
debt of poor nations cheaply when it is about to be written off and
then sue for the full value of the debt plus interest -- sometimes
more than ten times what they paid for it. Singer, for example, paid
just $10 million for Congo Brazzaville's debt and is now suing for
over $400 million.
Singer knew he'd turn a 1000%-plus profit on his $10 million
investment with George Bush's help.
Bush convinced the US Congress to forgive the money Congo owes the US
taxpayer, but once the US taxpayer forgives Congo's debt, the vulture,
Singer, swoops in with lawyers to claim, "Congo now has the money to
But wait a minute - the debt money given up by US taxpayers wasn't
supposed to go to Rudy's predator Singer. In fact, the US
Constitution provides power to the President to stop vultures from
suing a foreign country in a US court if the President states such a
private lawsuit interferes with America's foreign policy.
Singer, by suing Congo for the taxpayer money meant for debt relief
and medicine, is interfering with US foreign policy. Yet Bush has
While the President has made big speeches about debt relief for Africa
and has even had his picture taken with a Bono, he won't get in the
way of Singer's talons. One wonders if the President is influenced by
Mr. Singer's strong support for debt relief, that is, debt relief for
the Republican Party. The world's top vulture has become top donor to
the GOP in New York.
Singer's not alone. He's joined in tearing at the flesh of the
Congo's poor by a Washington operator named Michael Francis Sheehan.
Sheehan is also known as "Goldfinger."
Besides joining Singer in attacking Congo, Goldfinger has also taken a
piece of the debt relief earmarked for AIDS medicine for Zambia.
Goldfinger paid $4 million for the right to collect on Zambia's debt -
and just won $22 million from Zambia in a UK court, half that nation's
debt relief. Goldfinger was able to seize that money because, he
boasts in an email, he secretly paid $2 million to the "favorite
charity" of Zambia's president. (That former President, Frederick
Chiluba, is now under arrest for taking bribes ... but Goldfinger can
still collect his pound of flesh.)
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, ARMED
MADHOUSE: From Baghdad to New Orleans -- Sordid Secrets and Strange
Tales of a White House Gone Wild. Palast and his team are
investigating the 'Vultures' for BBC Television Newsnight.
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