(Julie Bishop gazes in amazement at news that Bill Clinton has a history of fibbing)
Julie Bishop has done the inexplicable. Again.
DFAT's done a deal for a corporate Friend of the Clinton Foundation.
August 2016, and it's a Julie Bishop beauty too!
How much does it cost to change Digicel's light globes in New Guinea until 2018?
$500,000 - courtesy Australian Taxpayers.
Remember the 2006 DFAT magic for CF and PNG, the little country that could?
Nothing was beyond the invoicing of Chief Bill Clinton and his Foundation - proving along the way that one remarkable woman really could do it all.
DFAT money was the catalyst for Ruby Shang, then the sole Clinton Foundation employee in the Asia Pacific. When the invoices said so, Ruby was simultaneously providing AIDS specialist work and corporate start up advisory in PNG, Climate-Change in Indonesia, Paediatric blood-borne specialty work in China and leadership for the family's Caterpillar dozer dealership in Vietnam.
Digicel came from the Cinton-Somare dream-time. Digi-dreaming in PNG started long before it was licensed to operate.
Somare's grateful hand spared the market any competitive overheating back then. He plumbed the outer reaches of the International Corruption Index free-diving to a record 154, 20 points beyond the best effort of Mugabe's Zimbabwe.
Haiti didn't just happen. Its poor didn't hand over their money to Bill and Hillary without help. The Digicell that delivered for the Clintons learned its craft as Sir Michael Somare sold PNG's gold-mine-of-the-air mobile telecoms licences.
It's 10 years since Jackson's International Airport bristled with white vans. It takes a poor village to provide the shuttles for a sufficiency of seafood to a South Pacific Launch Fit for a Clinton. Celebrations were on the mind as Digicell went full-steamrolling ahead into PNG, just as it did with Clinton Aid in Haiti.
The only people who had a problem with that were the regulators, who issue mobile telecoms network operator licences.
While Digicell was the holder of an interim licence (to allow network bidding design and demonstrations) it puzzled the Regulator to see the company publicly announce its network launch and invite 450 of PNG's well-heeled to a gala night to celebrate.
Thursday, 26 July 2007
In one of the biggest corporate launches PNG has seen for a long time, Caribbean-based mobile phone company, Digicel, feted 450 guests at a downtown Port Moresby hotel on Tuesday and ended the night with a gala fireworks show. By Brian Gomez
Only hours before PNG's telecommunications regulatory body, Pangtel, advised Digicel it was withdrawing the company's interim spectrum licence
While the prawns were incoming, so were the regulators to formally end the party.
What sounded such a brand-aligned projection of restless-challenger-energy at the time, takes on a different glow in the context of a corruption hearing.
In his article A Mighty Telecommunications Battle Unravels in PNG, Brian Gomes quotes Lynch,
"I met with the Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare in early March 2007, and he personally gave us the reassurance that our investment and license to operate in this country was protected.
There are many parallels between the Clintons and friends in PNG and the Clintons and friends in Haiti. I am working with others to bring those stories to you. I am indebted to our own Seeker of Truth for the above - and we are all in the debt of Dinesh D'Souza for this.
How the Clinton Foundation Got Rich off Poor Haitians
In 2011, the Clinton Foundation brokered a deal with Digicel, a cell-phone-service provider seeking to gain access to the Haitian market. The Clintons arranged to have Digicel receive millions in U.S. taxpayer money to provide mobile phones. The USAID Food for Peace program, which the State Department administered through Hillary aide Cheryl Mills, distributed Digicel phones free to Haitians.
Digicel didn’t just make money off the U.S. taxpayer; it also made money off the Haitians. When Haitians used the phones, either to make calls or transfer money, they paid Digicel for the service. Haitians using Digicel’s phones also became automatically enrolled in Digicel’s mobile program. By 2012, Digicel had taken over three-quarters of the cell-phone market in Haiti.
Digicel is owned by Denis O’Brien, a close friend of the Clintons. O’Brien secured three speaking engagements in his native Ireland that paid $200,000 apiece. These engagements occurred right at the time that Digicel was making its deal with the U.S. State Department. O’Brien has also donated lavishly to the Clinton Foundation, giving between $1 million and $5 million sometime in 2010–2011.
Coincidentally the United States government paid Digicel $45 million to open a hotel in Port-au-Prince. Now perhaps it could be argued that Haitians could use a high-priced hotel to attract foreign investors and provide jobs for locals. Thus far, however, this particular hotel seems to employ only a few dozen locals, which hardly justifies the sizable investment that went into building it. Moreover, there are virtually no foreign investors; the rooms are mostly unoccupied; the ones that are taken seem mainly for the benefit of Digicel’s visiting teams.
ENDS - but only for now. This is a first instalment.