Lindsay Beyerstein has some great additional reporting on McCain foreign policy guru Randy Scheuneman’s dubious dealings based on her possession of a 44-page pre-prospectus for Worldwide Strategic Energy, a firm headed by Stephen Payne (the lobbyist caught offering access to the Bush administration in exchange for library donations) and which lists Scheuneman as a member of the executive team.
WSE’s basic pitch, if I may be allowed to paraphrase, is that you may be the dictator of a country with some energy resources and your hold on power — due to opponents foreign or domestic — may be somewhat tenuous. At the same time, you would really like to exploit your country’s resource wealth for personal gain and to bolster your regime. But foreign firms are reluctant to provide the necessary investment capital, because there’s no telling how long you’ll maintain your grip on power. And that’s where World Strategic Energy comes in since thanks to their “strong business and political connections, WSE will be able to capitalize financially by continuing to offer geopolitical and business development assistance to a host government while acquiring leases and lease options.” Basically WSE will try to ensure that US foreign policy in your region doesn’t advance the American national interest or universal ethical considerations but, rather, seeks to bolster your hold on power and give would-be hydrocarbon investors confidence in your business deals. In short, “the lease-holding government will receive the additional benefit of our strong business and political knowledge in the U.S. and around the world, while at the same time still receive the usual royalties associated with passing on a hydrocarbon field to a developer.”
The pitch emphasizes that Scheunemann has big-time juice, and is willing to manipulate US public policy on behalf of all kinds of nutty causes:
Randy Scheunemann was a key player in the U.S. involvement in the Iraq war through his role as the President of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq where he coordinated the White House’s “Outside the Government” public relations campaign on Iraq while administering relationships with key Iraqi leaders in exile. Randy’s work with the then-exiled Iraqis developed close relationships with many elements of the elected Iraqi leadership. The team has also worked very closely with leaders of the Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish parties.
Lindsay reports that “The brochure features a picture of Stephen Payne, Ahmed Chalabi, and Randy Scheunemann.” Thus far, there’s been little attention paid in the press to Scheunemann’s close ties to Chalabi and, more generally, his role in mounting the propaganda campaign for the war. Perhaps the revelations that he was actually bragging for financial gain about his skill in subverting American interests on behalf of foreign agents with dubious agendas will change that around.