Neocon Ex-Congressman & His ‘Laundering’ Business in Afghanistan

The Guessing Game on Our Next Clan for Afghanistan

As the bodies in Afghanistan are piling up and the number of wounded keeps escalating, while Washington is buzzing with the long-known but selectively-buried corrupt and criminal past and present of our installed government officials there, some are cashing in on both sides, and some are paving the way to the next pot(s) of gold reserved for carpetbaggers and war-profiteers in every war or conflict. In this game there are always a few known names and faces who are publicized and who draw the spotlight, and there are those who enjoy operating and profiting quietly without drawing deserved attention and needed scrutiny. That’s how Washington’s war and conflict machine works, and that’s the way our foreign policy decisions are influenced and made. I am going to introduce one such character as an introduction to my upcoming longer story on this same topic. Ladies and gentlemen please meet our Neocon Ex Congressman, Don Ritter, and be informed of his new lucrative ‘Laundering Business’ in Afghanistan.

DonRitterDon Ritter, former Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania from 1979 until 1992, is known to have received positions and benefits due to his consistent and heavy involvement in Afghanistan related operations and activities, starting when Brzezinski’s vision was put in practice in 1979. He authored the “Material Assistance” to Afghanistan legislation in the Congress, created the Congressional Task Force on Afghanistan to promote such material assistance of all kinds to the Afghan resistance (including the Bin Laden Group), and held numerous meetings on Afghanistan with representatives of the State Department, CIA, and DIA to enhance U.S. assistance to the Mujahideen (which included now-evil Osama Bin Laden, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistani ISI). These are only the ‘known’ activities of Mr. Ritter during his years in Congress. Now let’s look at what he’s been busy with since he left the Congress in 1992.

According to Mr. Ritter’s openly available biography, provided on various websites including Wikipedia, he founded and chaired the Afghanistan Foundation in 1996. He’s been living in Washington DC, and very interestingly, since the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, he has spent about one-third of his time in Afghanistan! Why? This is what he says when you ask him the question:

Since 2002, he has been active in developing a market economy in Afghanistan: personally as a businessman and investor in Afghan companies, and public policy wise in promoting’ free market policies of the Afghan government through organizations like the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) and the Afghan International Chamber of Commerce (AICC).

So who are these Afghan this and Afghan that organizations? What do they really do? You could conduct tons of research, but rest assured you won’t find much outside the gobbledygook provided by founders and board members such as Ritter himself. Let’s start with the Afghan Foundation which was founded and operated by Don Ritter himself:

KhalilzadThe foundation has recently changed its name to Afghan-American Foundation; I guess it makes it less suspicious and more palatable to some. Ritter is the Chairman, and his long list of advisors and players includes known and infamous personalities: Qayum Karzai, Zalmay M. Khalilzad, and congressional figures including Duncan Hunter, Tom Davis, and Dana Rohrabacher, and several well-known names from the State Department. If you check their ‘Activities’ section you’ll get nothing but a handful of whitepaper and forum lists. That’s it for the Afghan Foundation.


MahmoodKarzaiNext, let’s quickly look at the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce (AACC). Don Ritter and Mahmood Karzai are the founding members. They say they are the leading organization facilitating U.S.-Afghan business, investment, and trade ties through their Matchmaking Conferences and related activities. That’s interesting to me because last time I checked we were sending Afghanistan arms and defense contracts, and the only major export they had, which happens to be pretty major, was their poppies. Maybe they are recruiting and sending tourists over there for some R & R!  Their board members and trustees include another Karzai brother, Mahmood Karzai, a dear friend of the Karzais and major Afghan Carpetbagger Mr. Aziz Azimi, and Dyn Corporation’s John A. Gastright, along with other US and Afghan war profiteers. For some reason I couldn’t find  the son of Abdul Rahim Wardak, current Defense Minister in Afghanistan who promotes himself as one of the founders and the Vice President, on the website of the organization.

As for the Afghan International Chamber of Commerce (AICC), I haven’t been able to locate their website. While mentioned in several newsletters and articles the links cited come back as invalid or take you directly to Ritter and the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce.

Let’s go back to Mr. Ritter’s entrepreneurial ventures in Afghanistan. His self aggrandizing website has this to say:

“Don is the U.S. investor and Chairman of the U.S. – Afghan company that built and operates the most modern laundry and dry cleaning plant in the region to serve the population of Kabul and execute military and government contracts. He is also currently engaged in building a mountain lodge tourism industry in the Panjshir Valley, a mini-mill for steel products for the Afghan construction boom in Herat, a business development services company in Kabul and an Afghan-American prime contractor to compete for large construction contracts.”

For the real juice on Mr. Ritter’s business dealings, my highly informed sources point me to Afghanistan’s current Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak. The Afghan diaspora in DC name Wardak as one of the key figures in the highly lucrative Poppy & heroin market; albeit in hushed voices. I can’t fathom the feasibility and profitability of a laundry and dry-cleaning business in Afghanistan owned and operated by a Neocon former congressman. What is Mr. Ritter ‘laundering?’

Is Ritter focusing his business on laundering Karakul Hats?

KarakulHat

Or is he specializing in laundering Burkas?

Burka

Or is it Poppy Stained Salwars?

Salwar

The mainstream media has begun the farewell to their now-fading Karzai Man in Afghanistan as per instructions from their string holders in Washington. I’m sure you’ve seen the latest on President Karzai’s Heroin connection, a fact known by many for over a decade, and now loudly played up by the New York Times:

The brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country’s booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency, and has for much of the past eight years, according to current and former American officials.”

As they have done to previous Afghan heroes turned villains in the past, the MSM now have begun ousting the Karzai clan in a prelude to introducing our foreign policy makers’ new faces and puppets for the next round. Soon we’ll find out who they want us to cheer for, but meanwhile we can begin the guessing game since there seems to be little indicators buried here and there. I’d say take a closer look at current Defense Minister Wardak, the Afghan Carpetbaggers, and the greedy war profiteers behind the scenes in Washington DC, those such as Neocon Ex Congressman Don Ritter.

Stay tuned for my upcoming related tale!

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Comments

  1. Sibel, do you have a take on the latest developments? It looks like the U.S. is stuck with Karkai as the opposition has pretty much melted. I don’t see what difference it makes who they put in there; anyone will be seen as a Western puppet and will have no legitimacy. What a friggin’ mess!

  2. Finally, our first comment!:-)

    Of course ‘anyone will be seen as a Western puppet and will have no legitimac.’ All they have to do, look at the history. Currently there is a division among the ‘decision-makers’ on Karzai; too much invested on him. When the time is right they’ll get rid of him. Most importantly: where is ISI/Pakistan on this?

  3. Time for another comment.

    So far, I’m right. Kazai says he’s the winner. Obama and Hillary say “it’s their business.” Even though Karzai’s a puppet and his brother’s on the CIA payroll.

    It’s all part of “national security”?

  4. How’s this grab ya?
    Our young men’s Blood, and our treasure, goes to profit CHINA!!!!

    Chinese company’s contract to mine Afghanistan’s rich copper deposits criticized as a bad deal

    By RICHARD LARDNER , Associated Press

    Last update: November 1, 2009 – 3:04 AM
    WASHINGTON – At a former al-Qaida stronghold southeast of the Afghan capital, a state-owned Chinese company is at work on a $3 billion mine project to tap one of the world’s largest unexploited copper reserves, a potential financial boon for an impoverished country mired in war.

    The promise of a bright future at Aynak, however, cannot conceal the troubling reality of how business is often done in Afghanistan, according to critics of the Kabul government’s decision to reject bids from competitors in the U.S., Canada and other countries.

    The bidding process unfairly favored China, they allege, and epitomized the back-room deals and abuse of power that has turned Afghans against their government and undercut the U.S. military effort there.

    Corruption and graft long have been ingrained in Afghanistan’s public institutions.
    Yet the extent of this corrosion has taken on new significance as the White House considers expanding the U.S. commitment to a war unsupported by a growing number of Americans.
    http://www.startribune.com/business/67962757.html?elr=KArks:DCiU1OiP:DiiUiacyKUUr

  5. @CSN: China has been pretty active there. Gould & Fitzgerald have plenty on that front.

  6. avatar John Sebastian says:

    Money, or the want of money is the curse of weak souls. There are many such souls in Afghanistan, and there always will be (as there are throughout the world). But in this part of the world (Afghanistan), it is no longer worth any more American blood.

  7. It takes an incredibly skewed perspective to believe it is wrong for a nation we invaded with little to no plan of action/exit to pursue business deals with a bordering nation.

    Maybe a top commander will take it upon himself to dole out some cash for guns or complacency, they’ll rest for a few months and either upgrade their weaponry or decide that the latest development overrules the word given to a nation that doesn’t hold its own.

    Why that border exists in itself is of interest to me, I’d most likely have to spend time in a British library to find a redundant answer.

    Keep the Tajiks and Pakis seperate? Who knows.

    American business model –

    a. Send son to die in a random country with one random bad guy in it.
    b. Complain.
    c. Repeat.

  8. Regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency — what kind of payment? Do they write checks, wire money, send burkas? Or is it cash? Physical currency?

  9. At which point the Afghan citizens head to their friendly neighborhood Bank of America branches to cash the check.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/feb/08/usa.iraq1

  10. Great comments!
    One of the things that really gets me: many uninformed out there think ‘what’s the big deal! This is the land of opportunity and some are making $$$…’ Just tell them (shout!: You are paying that money. We are paying those $$$. These contracts, these pots of gold, are all subsidized by US THE TAXPAYERS. Right. Our men & women are dying and losing arms/legs + the civilians there are dying, getting wounded…and then, here are the parasites who are cashing in.

    Stay tuned for my long (very long) tale on one of these pots of gold diggers, carpetbaggers, story…Don’t say I didn’t warn you: it is going to be a LONG piece;-)

  11. Thanks, zb. A longer story. Also looking forward to your next long story, Sibel.

  12. why are ‘we’ there again?? I forget. Remind me.
    In the dust of war, in these stretched uneasy days of lost hope the names are hazy. The uniforms change , but, the valleys go on forever.up into the Kush. Blood is still red. Strategy or tactic. its the children of one racing in fear at the predator drone. Its the boots of the other that are there, noble eagle, flown thousands of miles for the honor.
    Enduring freedom horrible little bush called it. He meant it too, the evil abased little twerp. For the people in the valleys and hills, they have to endure that freedom.At the will of washington. Corrupt words from corrupt mouths. stolen concepts that have no morality and make no sense to the centuries of those on the land. Illegal wars of aggression. stuck on the pike of rally rally rally 9 11. Clarion calls. Democracy ra ra. Justice. Dostum. Justice. Richard Perle. Justice. donald rumsfield. Justice.nanothermite.

  13. @zb

    On why the border exists. Given the way you speculated on it having the purpose of separating the Tajiks from another ethnic group (Pakis isn’t the name of ethnic group and, at least in Britain, is considered derogatory. I don’t know about here in the US) I’m assuming you mean to be speculating on why the border exists where it does. You’re of course right to imply that it was the British who drew the lines, or some of the lines at least; definitely the line between Afghanistan and what is now Pakistan, but was presumably India when it was first drawn. As I understand it the British practice when drawing such lines, and this is true all over Africa as well, was to attempt to separate ethnic groups on different sides of a border when possible and to have multiple distinct ethnic groups within the area defined by the border. This made it easier to keep the population divided and thus easier to control. That probably had a lot to do with why Afghanistan has the borders it does now. They separated the Pashtuns on different side of the Af-Pak border and Tajiks on different sides of the Af-Tajik border, as well as other groups I’m sure.

  14. Aware, and I don’t consider usage of the bounds of common knowledge in a given language derogatory.

    Thanks.

  15. Gould & Fitzgerald sent the following responses (they’ll start posting directly soon):

    @ Jade: Paul and Liz Comment: The Afghans are not on the side of the Taliban. Only somewhere around 7 percent of the Afghan population want a taliban government. Neither do Afghans want warlords. Between the US, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, they have not been given a choice, but we have been led to believe this is what they want by the agenda setters in Washington. The Taliban is a creation of the Pakistani ISI and operates as a wholly owned subsidiary according to ex chief of the directorate of operations for the CIA Charles Cogan. All the rest is PR.

    @Dennis:Paul and Liz Comment: Most of the problems emanating from the Pakistan side of the border date back to ethnic conflicts that are hundreds of years old, were there before the British but exacerbated by their divide and rule polices. These polices were not changed following the creation of the state of Pakistan and the partition of India in 1947. The government of Pakistan picked up where the British left off. Afghanistan was already partitioned in 1893 by Sir Mortimer Durand. Durand divided the Pashtun tribes in two. The Pashtuns have been battling the Punjabis for centuries and the British put the Punjabis in control in order to maintain Pakistan as a western ally. This was done for neo-colonial reasons and not for the benefit of the Pakistani people. Pashtuns, Baluchis and Sindhis don’t want to be ruled by Punjabis. The US has made a fatal move by backing Punjabi attacks on Pashtuns as part of the war on terror.

    Last year’s election in Pakistan is viewed by some as the first really democratic election in the country. The Pakistani military is furious with the current situation and recently read John Kerry the riot act over who really runs the country. Only by empowering the civilian parties in the Pashtun and Baluchi areas can the Taliban issue be defused. The Taliban have captured the local imagination by posing as Pashtun nationalists. This is what they did prior to their takeover of Afghanistan in the 1990′s. It was a trick offered to a desperate people then. Its a trick now. Unless the Pashtun people are given a valid alternative, the civil war will continue.

    to be continued in next comment…

  16. More responses from Gould & Fitzgerald:

    @RY: Paul and Liz Comment: Most of the problems emanating from the Pakistan side of the border date back to ethnic conflicts that are hundreds of years old, were there before the British but exacerbated by their divide and rule polices. These polices were not changed following the creation of the state of Pakistan and the partition of India in 1947. The government of Pakistan picked up where the British left off. Afghanistan was already partitioned in 1893 by Sir Mortimer Durand. Durand divided the Pashtun tribes in two. The Pashtuns have been battling the Punjabis for centuries and the British put the Punjabis in control in order to maintain Pakistan as a western ally. This was done for neo-colonial reasons and not for the benefit of the Pakistani people. Pashtuns, Baluchis and Sindhis don’t want to be ruled by Punjabis. The US has made a fatal move by backing Punjabi attacks on Pashtuns as part of the war on terror.

    Last year’s election in Pakistan is viewed by some as the first really democratic election in the country. The Pakistani military is furious with the current situation and recently read John Kerry the riot act over who really runs the country. Only by empowering the civilian parties in the Pashtun and Baluchi areas can the Taliban issue be defused. The Taliban have captured the local imagination by posing as Pashtun nationalists. This is what they did prior to their takeover of Afghanistan in the 1990′s. It was a trick offered to a desperate people then. Its a trick now. Unless the Pashtun people are given a valid alternative, the civil war will continue.

    @ KingFisher: Paul and Liz Comment: If Afghanistan is partitioned into rival Pashtun and Tajik factions it will not be because of the will of the Afghan people. It will be because of outside forces, be they Russian, Pakistani, Iranian, Chinese or US. Pashtuns have been the majority ethnic group in this region for centuries. They currently resent the Tajik dominated government more because it is controlled by warlords who have been embraced by Pashtun Hamid Karzai. If forced to give up those territories now controlled by Kabul their will be continued civil war. There are some who would prefer that outcome.

  17. Sibel, Re: the Taliban comment, I wasn’t clear. I didn’t mean to imply that the Afghans want to be under Taliban rule; I meant that where the runoff election was concerned, it seemed that the Afghan people & Taliban were on the same side–seeing it as a sham and not wanting it to take place. At least that is what I got from Malalia Joya’s comments on Democracy Now! and the few other comments I’ve been able to find about the Afghans, themselves.

    About the “clan,” this is a great piece of information that you’ve shared with us. Of course there will always be defenders of Afghan-American Chambers of Commerce and increased business dealings. The underlying problem that defenders ignore or are completely unconscious of is the force it takes to bring about these business dealings.

    What you’ve described here is Naomi Klein’s shock doctrine in action. Throughout our history, we’ve gone into other countries to “open up their veins” for commerce. Milton Friedman and his ilk always claimed that “free markets” = free people, but they never owned up to the realities of invasion, torture, murder, assassinations, placement of dictators, or extreme repression of the people that was necessary to “soften people up” for the “free markets” to be foisted on the populations and be put in place. People aren’t free when “free markets” and “democracy” come to them at the business end of guns and bombs.

    I think that one of our biggest sins in Iraq was to promise democracy and then kill it once the Iraqis started organizing themselves and participating in genuine democratic actions. It’s hard for me to imagine anything more soul-crushing to a people than that. And it saddens me that most Americans have no idea of what we actually did. Most of us patted ourselves on the back for giving the Iraqis a “democracy” and making it possible for them to have elections. What’s never mentioned is that once Paul Bremer and the US saw the kind of people who were being elected, we stopped the process. We threw out a bunch of democratically-elected officials who sought to rebuild Iraq and provide for the commonwealth; they were replaced with Saddam-era dictators. The rest of the elections only included candidates that were acceptable to us. Folks in the Pentagon were openly talking about using “the Salvador option” to crush the Iraqi resistance to our about face. The civil war didn’t even begin in earnest until it became evident that we really didn’t want Iraq to have a thriving democracy. The escalation of violence was a direct response to our killing of the hope of democracy, which was necessary in order to fulfill OUR economic wants in the country. But so far, Iraq is a success story for the business elite. There’s a 15% flat tax, a new stock market, and a country completely open to privatization.

    Anyway, I look forward to reading your very long upcoming piece. Thank you for what you’ve shared so far. This kind of information about what’s really going on economically is hard to find.

  18. avatar contextofnocontext says:

    Looking forward to the follow-up…

    And in the great (misplaced) investigatory tradition of ‘following the money’ might I suggest a continued/increased focus on the Carpetbagger PUT concept. That is, the miraculously accurate betting on some completely unforeseen catastrophe destroying the value of a particular commodity/asset or market.

    I’m thinking of Goldman Sachs, I’m thinking of Enron, I’m thinking of some Airlines, a well-known date and a story that was never fully chased-down by the Baltimore Sun.

  19. Hey Sibel,

    You are a brave and beautiful woman, and I pray for your safety.

    Keep fighting the good fight!

    Jeff

  20. Mr. Ritter is invested in a “laundry business” in Afghanistan? I think Mr. Ritter must have been shooting for that “in-your-face”, jaw dropping, maximum irony effect!

    Jades comments about free markets are spot on, too, IMHO. Why is it that the Friedmanites, who worship at the alter of big business, never seem very concerned about the human cost of “opening up” these so-called free markets, which are anything but when the human cost is taken into consideration? If we’ve learned nothing else from the recent economic collapse, bankster thievery and economic blackmail, and the sociopathic behavior of the business elites which drove it, it should be this: The Milton Friedman School of Economics theory is total bunk. Its been completely discredited. Its a overly simplistic view that that leaves the human factor out of the equation, intentionally it seems.

  21. contextofnocontext. is that the story that never happened?? that everyone who is ANYONE has [sic]moved on from and refuses to discuss even if it did ??? which didn’t lead into an overseas contingency operation that dosn’t exist in a land far far away?

  22. Mr Ritter is in the Afghan laundry business, but his degrees, including one or two from MIT and including a PhD, are in metallurgy. He reportedly speaks fluent Russian but even with all this and spending one-third of his time in Afghanistan these days, the Chinese still got their hands on the big Afghan copper deposits. Interesting. These fascinating tidbits of information are just what the general public, which includes myself, needs to know. This picture really makes me wonder what connections Mr Ritter, the Neocon, has had to the US intelligence agencies both before and after his terms in Congress and what is really going on in Afghanistan. Such intrigue. No wonder the world is in such an ugly mess. I can hardly wait for the very long report promised above.

  23. Wow.
    I did not know that Ms. Edmonds had her own blog!
    I am in awe over this lady and pray for her safety.

    I am soo desperate for justice and accountability.
    Will we ever see any? Patriots are gagged. The criminals are in control.

    Our Congress is owned by the corporations and war criminals.

    Our Department if Justice is NOT a department of justice.

    Google Gladio

  24. @ Pat” Welcome, and thank you for your kind words. Gladio: right on; most people either don’t know about it or think it is a conspiracy theory!! Hope to see you here regularly!

  25. Interesting: <a href=\"http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout&cid=1256909637728\">US offers Taliban 6 Provinces in return for Taliban acceptance of bases & NATO troops</a>.

  26. Oops, sorry. Try here.

  27. Former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan tells the truth about extraordinary rendition, torture, and Afghanistan. He says that it’s all about hyping Islamic extremists and Al Qaeda terrorists in the name of drugs and oil:

    http://rawstory.com/2009/11/ambassador-cia-people-tortured/

  28. avatar Kurt McNally says:

    It is tremendously refreshing to finally get some honest information in our corporate media world.
    Thank you Sibel, Please stay safe,

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