Jeff Flake’s lobbyist past comes back to haunt himby David Pinar on Apr. 20, 2012, under Uncategorized
I’ll admit upfront that I’m not a huge fan of The National Journal. But their investigative reporting is very good, and their article on Arizona’s U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Flake reveals the “Mr. Takes on Washington” actually began his career in Washington as a Lobbyist and registered Foreign Agent for a mine in Namibia with ties to Apartheid, Iran, and Resolution Copper. Resolution Copper – the foreign owned company which conned the GOP House into voting for a land swap to trade federally owned land near Superior, AZ with one of the world’s largest copper reserves for commercially worthless land out in the desert 100 miles northwest of Tucson. A land swap Jeff Flake spoke in favor twice on the House floor and which he voted for. A land swap promoted by his old employer.
It all began when Flake served his Mormon missionary work in Namibia in the early 1980s. Namibia back then was governed and controlled by the Apartheid South African regime and Apartheid was fully enforced. Having witnessed the suppression and exploitation of Namibia’s native population first hand, did Flake return to speak out against this inhumanity and advocate for Namibia’s freedom from South Africa and Apartheid? No. He came back to set up shop in Washington, becoming a registered foreign agent for Rossing Uranium, a company which operates a uranium mine in Namibia. It is one of the world’s largest suppliers of the nuclear fuel. Rossing Uranium paid Flake $5,000 and $7,000 per month to “promote it’s image” and open doors. This is what the National Journal has to say about Rossing:
Rossing had a controversial history. The company had operated the Namibian mine since the 1970s. Anti-apartheid and antinuclear protesters had long criticized its operations. And a 1982 report from the United Nations Council for Namibia described “brutal and unsafe conditions” for workers there, and said that whites and blacks were treated differently. “Rossing can guarantee its mine a plentiful supply of cheap labor because it takes advantage of the apartheid system,” the report said.
Gabrielle Hecht, a professor of history at the University of Michigan and the author of the book Being Nuclear: Africans and the Global Uranium Trade, said that the Rossing mine “had a mixed record in 1991,” when Flake worked for the company. “Its occupational health record was being very furiously challenged at that time on an international scale—and he would have known that.”
Rossing Uranium also has some interesting ownership. It is 69% owned by UK based international mining conglomerate Rio Tinto, parent company of Resolution Copper. But Rossing is also 15% owned by a little company called Iranian Foreign Investment Co.. The U.S. Treasury Department lists it as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Tehran regime. From the National Journal:
Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of research for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a conservative think tank, noted that in the 1990s the Iranian regime “was not a friend of the United States; it was an enemy.” He added, “It’s a question of judgment when you represent a company that is owned in part by Iran.”
Flake claims he “didn’t know” about the Iranian ownership and has no comment. Actually, his 1990 federal filing falsely stated that Rossing was not “owned, financed, controlled, or subsidized in part or whole by a foreign government”. The truth was that in addition to the Iranian government’s stake in Rossing, the Namibian government also owned a stake. Is Mr. Flake in a habit of making statements under oath without bothering to check if they are in fact the truth?
Rossing Uranium’s Iranian connection came up last year when Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, majority owner of Rossing, pushed for the land swap near Superior. Resolution & Rio Tinto has a simple goal: trading land far out in the desert in the San Pedro River valley loved by birds but commercially worthless for federally owned land with one of the world’s largest known copper reserves would enable them to mine the copper without paying a penny to to its rightful owners, American citizens and taxpayers. Democrats objected to the swap, pointing out the connection between Rossing, Iran, Rio Tinto and Resolution. Congressman Flake spoke in favor of the swap twice and voted for it, calling it a “great deal”. Actually, it was a sweet deal, just not for American taxpayers.
Mr. Flake thinks he deserves a raise and promotion to the U.S. Senate. We think he deserves to be fired.