#1/2. Jan 2&9,
P. 12, AMERICAN
FREE PRESS * January 2 & 9, 2006...
Behind the Scenes
with Michael Collins Piper
What Dan Quayle &
Donald Rumsfeld Have in Common
Jewish Newspaper Exposes ‘Cerberus’
By Michael Collins Piper
anyone ever had any question as to why Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld has been such a major figure inside the Bush administration
advancing the interests of the neo-conservative network, the answer
to the mystery may have finally been resolved. It’s actually
been quite profitable for the U.S. defense secretary.
Rumsfeld — along with former Vice President Dan Quayle —
has ties to Cerberus Global Investments, a New York-based holding
company which, just last month, purchased the Israeli government’s
interest in Bank Leumi, the second largest bank in Israel.
The revelation came in the Nov. 15 issue of the influential Israeli
newspaper, Ha’aretz, which reported
that, at least as far back as 2001, Rumsfeld was an investor in
the company, citing a report that appeared in the Oct. 3, 2005,
issue of Business Week, based on financial
disclosure forms that Rumsfeld was required to file under federal
JIM YOUNG/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
HAND IN THE COOKIE JAR: Donald
Rumsfeld’s investments in a foreign-owned
company doing business in Iraq have recently
come under the microscope of a prominent Jewish
newspaper. Such a business relationship as that
Rumsfeld maintains with Cerberus Global is prohibited
by U.S. ethics law.
That Business Week report
went so far as to describe Cerberus as being “bigger”
than even such well-known business giants as McDonald’s, 3M,
Coca-Cola and Cisco Systems, pointing out that Cerberus controls
some 226 Burger King restaurants, the National and Alamo car-rental
chains, building products maker Formica Corp. and the old Warner
What is of particular interest regarding Rumsfeld’s Cerberus
investments (vis a vis his insistent demand that the United
States invade Iraq and occupy the country, as it does today) is
that Business Week asserted that Cerberus
has also “set up military base camps in Iraq.”
As far as former Vice President Quayle is concerned,
while Quayle is now ensconced as essentially the “front man”
for Cerberus, serving as chairman of the board of Cerberus, the
real power at Cerberus is the 45-year-old chief executive officer,
Stephen Feinberg, described by Ha’aretz as
“a New York Jew with a golden touch” — a “shy
wunderkind” who “makes himself scarce around photographers
and sends underlings like Cerberus chair Dan Quayle to sign his
So although Quayle’s liberal Democratic critics often made
fun of the former vice president, questioning his capacities, it’s
pretty clear that Quayle, after leaving the second highest office
in the land, has finally found his niche.
Another major player in Feinberg’s operations is Michael Steinhardt,
who — according to Avenue magazine — is an “avowed
atheist” yet still “one of America’s biggest supporters
of Jewish and Israeli causes,” and a financial backer of such
influential American Jewish journals as the New York-based weekly
Forward and the daily New
York Sun, a neoconservative daily.
Current U.S. ethics laws do not prohibit past or present U.S. federal
officials — such as the defense secretary or the ex-vice president
— from having financial interests in companies that are owned
by foreign interests or otherwise benefit foreign governments. But
there are those who might find a conflict of interest, particularly
in the case of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld.
After all, critics note, Ha’aretz reported
that the Israeli government’s finance ministry has said that
the proceeds of the Cerberus purchase of a controlling interest
in Bank Leumi will go toward “paying off Israel’s high
This is particularly ironic, of course, because of Rumsfeld’s
key role in helping orchestrate the war against Iraq — which
was a major aim of the Israeli lobby in the United States. The U.S.
engagement against the Arab republic has done much to increase America’s
national debt, a debt that keeps on growing, even as Rumsfeld’s
friends at Cerberus are directly involved in establishing the U.S.
military presence in the beleaguered country.
(Issue #1/2, January 2&9, 2006, American