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Tuesday, February 21, 2006 

Its Business As Usual: The Cheney & Armstrong Cover-up

It all started on a weekend hunting trip Dick Cheney took at the Armstrong Ranch in Kenedy County. A ranch rich with Texas history, it was once told that Prince Charles even played polo there in 1977. Others who also visited the Armstrong Ranch to play polo were Anne's Husband, Tobin Armstrong of the Armstrong Ranch; his brother John Armstrong of the neighboring King Ranch; and John's son Charles Armstrong. This would build to a lifelong cadre of Republicans familiar with power.

This hunting trip included Harry Whittington, 78, a Republican, chairman of the Texas Funeral Services Commission and served on the state prison board and Texas Public Finance Authority; Katharine Armstrong, whose family owns the Texas ranch where Cheney shot his 78-year-old friend, Harry Whittington, on Saturday; and Pamela Pitzer Willeford, U.S. ambassador to Switzerland.

Thanks to Karl Rove, the master of damage control, this has diverted the news media away from Katharine Armstrong, the wealthy ranch heiress, who is also a lobbyist - a lobbyist who are close friends with the president and vice president.
"I'm going to have lunch with Secretary of State Rice, talk a little business; Mrs. Bush, talk a little business; we've got a friend from South Texas here, named Katharine Armstrong; take a little nap. I'm reading an Elmore Leonard book right now, knock off a little Elmore Leonard this afternoon; go fishing with my man, Barney; a light dinner and head to the ballgame. I get to bed about 9:30 p.m., wake up about 5 a.m. So it's a perfect day."

Armstrong, the daughter of Anne and the late Tobin Armstrong is definitely following in her parents' footsteps. Anne Armstrong, who comes from a wealthy New Orleans family, has a long history with the Republican Party. President Ford appointed Anne as ambassador to the United Kingdom, becoming the first woman Ambassador to the UK, to her credit. President Reagan appointed her to his Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Other positions she held include co-chair of the Republican National Convention; cabinet-level positions for two Republican Presidents, Nixon and Ford; and board member at Halliburton. It is also said that Anne was very instrumental in helping Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison - Anne's best friend - launch her political career.

Tobin Armstrong, who recently passed away, also has a long history working within the Republican Party and the beef industry. Between 1953 and until his death, Tobin served on the board of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. His career in politics is richly associated with Texas political machinery in Kenedy County. According to his obituary, he "served as Kenedy County commissioner from 1979 until his death." Tobin also served as an advisor to Texas Republican Gov. William Clements; it was there he met Karl Rove. According to Karl Rove, Tobin was very helpful in bringing down the Texas Democratic Party.

Katharine Armstrong may not have had the rich experience her parents had, but she did gain a lot of insight. Her upbringing gave her the best of both worlds: from her mother - knowledge regarding foreign policy; and from her father - the lobby experience of the cattle experience and great insight to Texas politics.

Her first governmental experience was given to her when she was appointed to be chair of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission by then Gov. George W. Bush. Coincidentally, this is the same agency that filed the report on the Cheney shooting.

After serving her term, Katharine soon became a lobbyist for James A. Baker III, the former Secretary of State and his firm, Baker Botts. She also lobbies for Prionics, Trajen, and King Ranch.

Besides having strong Republican connections, Armstrong is linked to two family fortunes — those of Armstrong and King — that include extensive corporate holdings in land, cattle, banking and oil. So it should not be surprising that major corporations are willing to pay a hefty price for Armstrong to lobby the federal government in Washington.

Records reviewed by ePluribusMedia show that Prionics, a pharmaceutical company and the family-owned King Ranch have paid Armstrong - $10,000 and $120,000 respectively - to lobby the White House, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other lawmakers.

Prionics is a pharmaceutical company, which specializes in testing for mad cow disease and related animal diseases. Prionics also happens to have their business headquarters located in Switzerland, the same country as Cheney's other hunting partner Pamela Willeford, U.S. ambassador to Switzerland, is currently residing.

According to their disclosure form, Armstrong "contacted Sec. Ann Veneman at the Dept. of Agriculture regarding using Prionics testing methods to determine BSE," referring to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or "mad cow" disease. An April 2004 Prionics News Release announced that the US Department of Agriculture had approved the Prionics BSE tests for the current USDA's BSE surveillance program and is the current testing method to determine "mad cow" disease.
ZURICH and BASEL, Switzerland, April 8 /PRNewswire/ - Prionics AG, the world leader in testing procedures for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or "mad cow" disease, and Roche Diagnostics, the number one in-vitro diagnostics company in the world, announced today that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved the two Prionics BSE tests, Prionics(R)-Check WESTERN, and Prionics(R)- Check LIA, for use in the United States' enhanced BSE surveillance program. Both tests will be distributed by Roche Diagnostics in the United States. On a world-wide basis, Roche Diagnostics has distributed the

Prionics tests in most major markets since February 2001.

Considering last month's discovery of another case of mad cow in Canada, one does have to wonder what Armstrong, Cheney, and Ambassador Willeford were talking about.

Last week Katharine Armstrong insisted that she never lobbied Bush or Cheney directly. However, NBC News' Aram Rostom reported that Baker Botts and other international clients had paid Armstrong over $160,000 in 2004 to lobby the Bush White House.
The records indicate she was paid the money after she "communicated with the White House on behalf of Baker Botts clients."

In a phone interview, she told NBC News that in return for the money in one case, she set up a meeting at the White House for a Baker Botts client, although she said she felt she could not release the client's name.

"A meeting for doing something with one of their clients," she said, describing the event. "I'm not at liberty to say which." She says she cannot remember which White House official the meeting was with. She also said that during the inauguration proceedings, she got Karl Rove to speak at a Baker Botts function. "I got them Karl Rove," she said.

How was she able to get them Rove? Could she have been able to get him by way of Harry Whittington? It was already established that Whittington had been a friend of the Armstrong family.
Jim Francis, a veteran of Texas GOP politics, said Whittington has been a friend with the Armstrong family since the 1950s, "when Republicans were just in a coat closet in Texas."

Investigations done by ePluribusMedia found state records showing Harry M Whittington served as Secretary and Director for Karl Rove & Company. The question might be posed: Who exactly was most concerned about Harry. Karl or Dick? How might Karl feel about knowing Dick shot Harry? It certainly does explain why Karl Rove was brought into the Saturday night communications between the White House and Texas, doesn't it.

Investigations done by ePluribus found state records showing Harry M Whittington currently serving on Karl Rove's business, Karl Rove & Company, as Secretary and Director.

The question might be posed. Who exactly was most concerned about Harry. Karl or Dick? How might Karl feel about knowing Dick shot Harry? It certainly dies explain why Karl Rove was brought into the Saturday night communications between the White House and Texas, doesn't it.

The degrees of separation are never too far when it comes to the Power Elite.


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  • From Tejas, United States
  • Un Xicano who is tired of the current status quo.
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