Editor’s note: this is the third and final installment of “C.R.E.A.M. A Study & Review of Clinton Cash (Documentary)” and you’ll probably want to read part one and part two first if you haven’t already. Although, I don’t agree with everything presented in the film Clinton Cash, it does represent an excellent primer on obvious conflicts of interest surrounding the Clinton charities, the questionable spending of donations collected and whether or not the Clinton Foundation is actually a global, influence trading firm masquerading as a charity. As I mentioned previously, this review was undertaken as part of a larger study on the potential threat a Hillary Clinton presidency would represent for America (and the world) as a whole – you can find parts one and two of that discussion here.
Additionally, please be reminded that although it is not absolutely necessary to click on the links in this article to understand everything I’ve written; you’ll be required to do so if you’re looking for “sources” as you read along – at the very least, skimming the articles behind the links will likely increase your comprehension and enjoyment of the material presented in this essay.
Finally, you can find an embedded copy of Clinton Cash at the start of the article below. Please note that in this case I do not own this film and since it’s currently being shown in select theaters – I can’t be held responsible if YouTube takes it down, nor do I have a hard-copy to load up in that event; sorry folks.
Hello and welcome back to our third and final installment of our study and review of the shocking, controversial documentary – Clinton Cash.
All the way back in part one of C.R.E.A.M., we talked briefly about author and Clinton Cash narrator Peter Schweizer’s unfortunate affliction with hardcore Republicanism; that peculiar, withering disease that repeatedly prevents conservatives from accepting a free, political “layup” when dealing with the Clintons, in favor of attempting to land a 360 degree, tomahawk jam for the knockout blow. As I pointed out then, Schweizer was guilty (at times) of drawing wildly incriminating conclusions from evidence that certainly did warrant further scrutiny and definitely seemed to suggest the Clinton Foundation was the center of a massive, global influence trading scam – but didn’t actually definitively prove what the narrator claimed it had.
In part two of C.R.E.A.M. this was far less of an issue as Schweizer largely stuck to the facts and encouraged the audience to draw their own conclusions; like any responsible journalist or documentary filmmaker is supposed to do. I will honestly confess that the author’s ability to “pitch a clean game” in this portion of the program actually surprised me a little bit; particularly when Schweizer started to unravel Hillary Clinton’s apparent hypocrisy on climate catastrophe in light of speeches commissioned by banks invested in the Keystone XL pipeline. As a result, I genuinely feel that Clinton Cash’s investigations into the debacle of rebuilding Haiti and the role Bill Clinton’s speaking fees may have played in Hillary’s State Department acting in Swedish telecom corporation Ericsson’s favor – represent must-see viewing for people looking to untangle the web of bribery, deception and “charitable” donations involved here.
Unfortunately, in the closing thirty minutes of the film however; Schweizer once again takes the bait and on several occasions he does everything in his power to ruin a perfectly good argument by suggesting that the Clintons are obviously guilty of serious crimes without effectively sealing the deal. Naturally, a number of these “overreach” incidents have been seized upon by “media” loyal to the Clintons in a widespread effort to discredit what is otherwise the most fundamentally damning documentary (and book) about Hillary Clinton in existence.
Frankly, I don’t want to keep harping on this fact, but ultimately the vast majority of criticism Clinton Cash has received in the mainstream media comes as a direct consequence of the author’s repeated attempts to “slay the dragon” in one go; thereby toppling Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and ensuring a new Republican utopia – or something. This is unfortunate, because as we saw in parts one and two of this review; when Schweizer is dealing fairly from the top of the deck, he makes an incredibly strong argument that the Clintons and the Clinton Foundation should be investigated by multiple governments for barely-concealed influence trading and conflict of interest violations.
One Night in Bogeta: the Clintons, Alvaro Uribe & Frank Giustra
Right off the bat, there are problems with Clinton Cash’s transition away from the Ericsson scandal and towards a deep dive into the Clintons efforts in Colombia on behalf of donors with questionable motives; a shift which Schweizer accomplishes by introducing the audience to a key player in a number of Clinton Foundation scandals – obscenely wealthy Canadian mining magnate, Frank Giustra.
While I will be the first to admit that Frank Giustra is almost certainly a low-key super-villain in the Clinton’s gallery of shady customers and he will indeed come up again in this review under far more shocking circumstances; I honestly fail to see why Schweizer spends almost two whole minutes discussing the origins of (some of) Giustra’s wealth – trading penny stocks on the notoriously shady Vancouver Stock Exchange. While it’s certainly true that the natural resources, penny stock market is highly open to manipulation, Clinton Cash presents literally no evidence whatsoever that Giustra is guilty of doing so; circumstantial or otherwise.
Is it possible that Frank Giustra become absurdly rich by manipulating the penny stock market in Canada? Certainly, but that’s clearly not a claim Schweizer was comfortable making in a legal sense because he never actually says Giustra did anything wrong during the entire two minute set up – he just sort of leaves it hanging there like an ominous lead balloon that ultimately does nothing whatsoever to strengthen his ensuing argument. This entire introduction could have and should have consisted of a thirty-five second voice over reminding the audience that despite the Clinton’s noble proclamations, close friend and heavy donor Frank Giustra “has become wealthy in the ecologically devastating mining and natural resources industry throughout his adult life.”
When the Clinton Cash finally does settle in on the meat and potatoes of the Clinton-Colombia hook-up on behalf of Giustra however, the whole scandal is pretty straightforward and in my opinion, fairly incriminating:
- In 2010, both Giustra and Bill Clinton flew to Bogeta, Colombia; where they had dinner with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who was conveniently also in Bogeta on apparently unrelated, US government business.
- The next morning outgoing Colombian President Alvaro Uribe met Bill Clinton informally for breakfast, before meeting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for lunch; where she expressed support for a free trade agreement between the two countries that would eventually be signed into effect on February 13, 2012.
- Soon afterwards, three companies controlled by Frank Giustra are able to obtain major resource concessions with the Colombian government; Pacific Rubiales Energy, Petroamerica Oil Corp and Prima Colombia Hardwood Inc.
- Sticking with the theme of environmental hypocrisy, Schweizer notes that the Prima Columbia deal included rights to cut down timber from a rainforest along the Colombian coast to ultimately be sold in China; a permit that would eventually be revoked after multiple protests but not before significant damage to the forest occurred.
At that point the Colombia portion of the film closes with another, excruciatingly on the nose quote from Bill Clinton that’s so devastating it bears repeating word for word here. Sitting next to Giustra and in front of a Clinton Foundation backboard, the former President of the United States earnestly tells reporters “he deserves the credit for this; this was his idea not mine and he raised the money – and it’s an astonishing achievement. My job is to make sure that it’s not in vain; that he gets the return on his investment, and his compassion and his commitment.”
Overall, this section of the film ends strongly; especially when you consider how horribly it began. I’ve read some complaints that Schweizer focuses too much on the timing of the dinner between both Clintons and Giustra; after all, they could have just done all of this over the phone and skipped the miserable optics altogether, right? That’s a fair point to be sure, but for those of us who’ve been following along with the Clinton’s 30 year commitment to openly flouting the law; the idea that they would conduct such business so brazenly and in the open is neither shocking, nor particularly out of character – frankly, they may even enjoy rubbing our noses in it.
There was also a point during viewing where I wondered if Schweizer was perhaps baiting the audience by mentioning that the lumber Giustra’s company harvested from the Colombian rainforest was destined to be sold in China; in retrospect however, the author has every rational reason for including it because of the Clinton’s past history with China and Hillary’s role on behalf of the US government as Secretary of State at the time. If anything, I wish the film had used the time wasted talking about penny stocks in Canada to further explore Hillary’s role in the US-Colombia free trade negotiations surrounding these meetings; especially in light of Clinton’s effusive support for Colombia – amid what we now know were concerns by her own State Department.
Finally, it should be noted that critics will no doubt seize on the moment when the narrator directly says the Clinton’s interventions with Uribe and the Colombian government lead to Giustra’s companies receiving the concessions in the country. While this is of course almost certainly true, once again Schweizer is unable to prove it in a legal sense. This is understandable because he’s not a prosecutor with the power to compel testimony from people who attended the dinner; but it doesn’t change the fact that making such claims hurts the Clinton Cash’s overall credibility when just allowing the audience to work the details out for themselves would have sufficed.
Buying Absolution: Access, Chatwal & a Nuclear India
As the Clinton Cash rounds into into it’s finale, Schweizer continues to hammer home the point that money (whether in the form of speaking fees, or donations to the Clinton Foundation) has repeatedly caused the Clintons to openly flip-flop on the related issues of the environment and climate catastrophe; often playing earnest samples of speeches given by both Bill and Hillary in support of environmental regulations while simultaneously showing that when the chips were down (literally) this was all just a lot of empty talk.
This is of course, a fundamentally left-wing argument and once again speaks to Schweizer’s attempts to target the Clinton Cash at Democrats and politically active leftists; or at least to keep them from marching out of the theater during the more schlocky, “Spy Games-ish” portions of the film. That he manages to accomplish this while still feeding conservatives raw meat on issues like wasted aid money in Haiti and US national security is in and of itself an impressive achievement and the author’s ability to effectively reach both audiences is on full display as the Clinton Cash examines the Clinton Foundation’s possible role in lifting nuclear sanctions on India in the lead up to then-Senator Hillary Clinton’s failed 2008 Presidential nomination campaign.
The sections opens with a slow, dramatic shot of what I suspect is the Baker US atomic test at Bikini Atoll; as our narrator reminds the audience that President Bill Clinton’s signature achievement is widely considered to be strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and the nuclear test-ban treaty while in office. This public commitment remained firm during the 1998 India nuclear crisis when then-President Clinton heavily criticized the Indian government for performing nuclear tests and called for aggressive sanctions against the country; sanctions that he himself would eventually impose and vestiges of which would remain (albeit, severely weakened) until a groundbreaking 2008 civilian nuclear treaty was ratified between the two countries.
Curiously enough, prior to the 2008 treaty (between 2005 and 2008) parties connected to the Indian nuclear program began donating money to the Clinton Foundation; perhaps unsurprisingly, Senator Hillary Clinton then voted in favor of the largely pro-nuclear India 2008 treaty after only supporting the deal with harsh restrictions just two years before. In seeking to explain this change of heart, Schweizer digs into the background of two prominent figures connected to both the Clintons and the India-US civilian nuclear deal:
- Amar Singh is an Indian politician with a shady past who also happens to be a friend of Bill Clinton’s. In 2008, Singh was an important part of a delegation that visited Washington and lobbied Congress to support the treaty; which would in turn allow India to purchase India civilian nuclear fuel and technology from the US. A 2008 Clinton Foundation filing also reveals that Singh was listed as having donated between $1M and $5M to the Foundation; the only problem being that Singh doesn’t have that kind of money and he himself actively denies that he ever made such a payment – while conceding that it could have been made anonymously on his behalf.
- Sant Chatwal is an American-Indian businessman with longstanding ties to the Clinton family; he’s actually a former trustee with the Clinton Foundation and Bill Clinton attended his son’s wedding. Much like Gilbert Chagoury and Frank Giustra, Chatwal is a sort of mythic, evil sub-boss in the Clinton influence trading saga; his shady dealings with both Bill and Hillary go all the way back to a 2000 FDIC case in which the government claimed he defrauded a bank (among other things) and ran up almost $14M in debt. Curiously, after four years of aggressively chasing Chatwall in court, the FDIC suddenly agreed to settle the case for a mere $125K; at around about the same time Chatwal was bundling hundreds of thousands of dollars together for Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign and while Bill was still President. Chatwal would continue to serve as a campaign finance bundler for Hillary Clinton in 2004 and again during her 2008 Presidential run; the latter of which resulted in a 2014 conviction for making $180K worth of illegal campaign contributions and witness tampering.
Schweizer’s theory is really quite simple; Sant Chatwal provided the money for Amar Singh’s donation to the Clinton Foundation, which in turn afforded the relatively unknown Singh a two hour, private meeting with Hillary Clinton to lobby on behalf of the Indian government on the eve of a vote she ultimately supported enthusiastically.
At first, it all sounds just a little bit implausible but the film immediately backs this claim up by playing a news clip of Chatwal himself bragging about an award he received from the Indian government for leading the effort to change Clinton’s mind on the 2008 India-US nuclear deal! While this isn’t exactly a confession – the past history of everyone involved and the evidence presented by the film strongly suggests that Schweizer probably isn’t that far off from the truth in this instance.
Red Shadows: Kazakhstan, Uranium One & the Long Arm of Vladimir Putin
Like a clutch pitcher in baseball, Schweizer wisely chooses to save a little extra heat for the final out and as Clinton Cash roars past it’s fiftieth minute; the film transitions seamlessly from the US-India nuclear treaty to the still emerging Uranium One scandal and the sale of US uranium deposits to companies controlled by the Russian government.
On screen, the narrator describes the Uranium One saga as a two part story but in terms of presentation – Schweizer’s argument actually breaks down into three distinct phases:
- In 2005, Bill Clinton and Frank Giustra both end up in Kazakhstan at the same time for a visit with brutal dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev during a state dinner held by the former Communist Secretary now-turned President. Prior to the dinner, Clinton and Nazarbayev met (ostensibly to discuss HIV medicines) and held a press conference during which the former US-President undercut years of American foreign policy by praising Nazerbayev, as well as Kazakhstan’s paltry election reforms and inexplicably supporting his bid to become the leader of the O.S.C.E.; a international human rights body dedicated to free election reform that on its face, should be trying to stop people like Nazarbayev! Two days after the dinner and press conference; Giustra is quickly granted hundreds of millions of dollars worth of uranium concessions in Kazakhstan after almost a year of difficult negotiations and a few months later, he donates $31M to the Clinton Foundation.
- Giustra then used the Kazakh uranium concession to help form a company called Uranium One; which in turn spent the next several years buying up American uranium deposits until the company controlled a significant portion of US uranium production by 2009. By then, Giustra had left the company but Uranium One attracted the attention of Russian state-owned atomic agency, Rosatom; which bought a 17% stake in the corporation in June 2009. A year later, Rosatom started the process of acquiring a 51% controlling interest in Uranium One in a transaction that would require approval from Hillary Clinton’s State department as well as multiple other US agencies; at this same time, the chairman of Uranium One (Ian Telfer) was donating over $2M to the Clinton Foundation through his own family foundation. Shockingly, the US government approved this purchase and although it’s unfair to say the decision was entirely Clinton’s fault; her power and influence (as well as her husband’s) in the Democratic Party and as Secretary of State would have sent a clear signal to lesser agencies to tow the line on this transaction.
- Hillary Clinton’s support of the Uranium One sale is problematic to say the fucking least because at the same time the deal was being debated, a small Canadian investment firm called Salida Capital sponsored a speech by Bill Clinton in Canada and pledged to give millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. Salida Capital would later be identified as a wholly owned subsidiary of Rosatom; which in turn means that the Russian government was indirectly funneling money to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary was involved in deciding whether or not Rosatom could buy roughly 20% of the US uranium supply! Furthermore, four months before the deal to buy Uranium One was approved, Bill Clinton was payed $500K to give a single speech in Moscow by a Cypress-registered company (Renaissance Capital) known to have ties to intelligence services inside the Russian government; after which he was reportedly thanked for speaking by Vladimir Putin himself. Finally, a since revealed State Department memo demonstrates that Clinton signed off on behalf of the State Department despite serious concerns within her own department that the deal was flat out bad for the United States and Europe.
Why were career diplomats in the State Department and multiple members of US Congress concerned about approving the Uranium One deal? It’s likely because Russia is a long-time political rival of the United States who actively competes with America for uranium resources as part of it’s nuclear weapons and energy programs. You don’t have to take my word for it either; not long after the deal Putin and the Russian government were openly boasting about Russia’s easy acquisition of US uranium deposits as a result of the Uranium One purchase.
In short, the sale of Uranium One to a state-controlled Russian company made absolutely no goddamn sense for the US government whatsoever and undoubtedly should have been blocked – and that’s without taking into account current increases in demand for uranium or the open hypocrisy of profiting from uranium sales to an (at times) aggressive, militant nation with an active nuclear weapons program and a multi-decade history of staggering human rights violations.
Counting Paper: Following the Money in Clinton Cash & Beyond
As the Clinton Cash rounds to a close, the film shifts into a fast-paced segment that’s one part summary, one part closing argument and one part music video.
By combining clips of Hillary Clinton speaking about the need to fight corruption with ominous music and a long, but utterly damning voice over by Schweizer; the filmmakers effectively convey a sensation of rocketing towards dreadful, impeding doom on a national scale. This is more than just spy-movie camera tricks, images of pooling blood and clips of falling money; the real emotional impact of Clinton Cash’s conclusion comes from Schweizer’s reasoned, thoughtful and surprisingly compassionate closing arguments – as he reminds us to follow the money, recaps the Clinton’s clear pattern of seemingly criminal behavior and notes that said behavior has given them access to incredible wealth.
Perhaps the most devastating part of the documentary as a whole however, comes when Schweizer directly accuses the Clintons of selling out by betraying their own values for money – with a level of concern and sincerity that simply shouldn’t be possible for a Republican political operative who’s filming a hit piece. “How is this not corruption, how is this not a crime” Schweizer asks in genuine, pained confusion and frankly, after watching the film three times in it’s entirely; I really can’t answer those questions either.
Overall, I would describe the Clinton Cash as a brilliant, if obviously flawed documentary that represents arguably the most utterly damning critique of the Clinton Foundation yet committed to film. Despite Peter Schweizer’s often maddening habit of overstating his case, the verifiable evidence presented in this film should far and away be enough to prevent Hillary Clinton from even running for President; let alone winning. Unfortunately, as a result of Schweizer’s past and the film’s (completely understandable) inability to produce a smoking gun; Clinton loyalists and partisan critics have largely been able to push much of the highly incriminating information revealed in Clinton Cash out of the mainstream, ostensibly “liberal” media.
Fortunately, this doesn’t make the film any less worthwhile for those looking to understand the intricate and clearly corrupt relationship between the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton’s staggering influence on US governmental policies and the enormous amount of cash both Clintons have made giving curiously-timed speeches. Although it would be utterly impossible for an hour long documentary to effectively cover every aspect of the byzantine labyrinth of scandals centered on the Clinton Foundation – Clinton Cash is both an excellent starting point and illustrative of the staggering number of ways the Clintons have mastered the art of influence trading; while hiding behind whatever charitable work they actually do accomplish.
Arguably the best reason to watch Clinton Cash however is the fact that most of it appears to be true; as each day passes and more information bleeds out, it’s becoming increasingly clear that regardless of Schweizer’s true intentions – he’s fundamentally right about who the Clintons are and the true purpose their various charity organizations. When the final credits roll, I genuinely believe that a reasonable viewer who watches this film with a clear heart and open eyes will come away from the experience with only one goddamn word on their mind; guilty.
Come on baby, don’t fear the truth-seekers.
- Nina Illingworth
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