The one-time chief spokeswoman of Eric Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles and President Joe Biden’s nominee to be Ambassador to Bharat, has filed a complaint with local, state and federal prosecutors, demanding that he be prosecuted for perjury for repeatedly denying that he knew about another former aide’s alleged sexual misconduct, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Garcetti’s nomination was cleared by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month, and the nomination now moves to the full Senate, where a vote is yet to be scheduled.
A non-profit law firm sent a 31-page letter on behalf of Naomi Seligman to the US Department of Justice, the California Attorney General’s office and Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon last week, accusing Garcetti of lying and conspiring with top staffers to cover up multiple accusations of sexual harassment against Rick Jacobs, the Mayor’s former deputy chief of staff, Los Angeles Times had reported.
Seligman said she hopes felony charges will be filed against the Mayor for allegedly lying under oath, in a legal deposition and in testimony to a US Senate committee. She said she hopes that the letter also will have a political impact causing the US Senate to block Garcetti’s confirmation as Washington’s Ambassador to Bharat.
“Senators should be outraged that someone nominated to represent our country in a key diplomatic post would lie to their faces so brazenly,” Seligman said in a statement.
The sexual harassment lawsuit against Rick Jacobs became public in July 2020. He has repeatedly denied that he sexually harassed anyone, and Garcetti has stated that he never witnessed any improper behavior or was made aware about the same. The White House continues to back Garcetti as the US ambassador to Bharat.
Garcetti’ “direct engagement” plan & Qatar link
During Garcetti’s confirmation hearing, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Senator Bob Menendez (Democrat, New Jersey), brought up Bharat’s alleged “democratic backsliding and discrimination against religious minorities.” He told Mr. Garcetti that he expected him to be ‘frank’ with New Delhi about ‘areas of concern’ in the relationship.
“New Delhi will need to address our concerns if it seeks to deepen our partnership even further,” Menendez threatened. Another Senator, Ben Cardin (Democrat, Maryland) asked Garcetti what he would do on human rights and specifically the CAA, which he called “discriminatory against Muslims”.
Garcetti said he had fought for human rights (he was on the board of rights group, Human Rights Watch, in California) and that he would bring up ‘human rights and discrimination’ such as via the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as a “core” piece of his engagement, rather than as an obligation.
“I intend to directly engage with civil society. There are groups that are actively fighting for the human rights of people on the ground in India that will get direct engagement with me,” Garcetti added.
Is Garcetti saying that will convert the US Embassy in Bharat into a center for all sorts of vested interests and controversial FCRA-funded NGOs to lobby against the elected Government of Bharat? One of the organizations that has been at the forefront of violent protests and propaganda against the humanitarian CAA law is radical Islamist outfit PFI which has been involved in several terrorist incidents. Is the US govt. now going to join hands with PFI to lecture the elected government of Bharat?
As veteran diplomat and Bharat’s ex-Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal put it, “US must learn to respect our democracy & not assume we’re answerable to them.” Interestingly, US think tanks have already been urging USA to engage in ‘subnational diplomacy‘ with Bharat, i.e. deal directly with states and nonstate actors. All sorts of seditious chatter is being heard these days in Bharat under guise of federalism – is it a coincidence that USA is talking of engaging these same voices?
The fact that brazen lies like CAA being ‘anti-Muslim’, and that Bharat is experiencing some sort of democratic backsliding, are now being treated as uncontestable truth in USA’s Parliament and corridors of power shows how dishonest and hypocritical most of America’s ruling establishment, especially Democrats, are when it comes to Bharat.
The only Bharatiya state to have witnessed a complete break-down of democratic norms is West Bengal under the Islamist-appeasing CM Mamata Banerjee, but not one Western think tank or democracy monitoring organisation has said a word against her.
And while USA routinely issues sermons to Bharat, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Tom West says that “US has no choice but to work with Pakistan”, praising Pakistan’s role in arranging a ‘peace deal’ with the Taliban while also complaining that Islamabad often ignored Washington’s suggestions!
What should a patriotic Bharatiya make of all this? Is it wrong to assume that the American establishment wants to keep Bharat’s majority population on the backfoot, pinned under by false rhetoric around ‘majoritarianism, suppression of dissent’ etc. while US goes around abetting a terror state like Pakistan and ignoring the slow ethnic cleansing of minorities taking place in our neighborhood? Will our MEA call out the bluff of people like Bob Menendez?
Moreover, this is not the only issue with Garcetti’s nomination. The Jewish-Mexican-Italian-American mayor of Los Angles is also reported to have solicited $5 million in behests from the Consulate General of Qatar and the money was paid on April 14, 2020. Behests in America are donations made at the request, or “behest,” of an elected official for a charitable endeavor the politician supports or for some governmental or legislative aim. As this article says, behests are a “murky world, a slightly stinky strata where corporate philanthropy meets arm-twisting.” In essence, the party making the behested donation will expect payback at some point in the future.
The eye-popping Qatar ‘donation’ went to Garcetti’s non-profit, the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, founded by him in 2014. But the danger for Bharat is this – Qatar is the home of the anti-Hindu Al Jazeera propaganda news outlet and a key part of the Turkey-Qatar-Pakistan-Malaysia Islamist axis which is supporting and promoting every conceivable Islamist cause against Bharat. What quid pro quo will Qatar expect from Garcetti?
Ethics experts have raised concerns over this system of behested donations. Some also see Garcetti’s high-profile ambassadorship as a path of retreat from his lackluster stint as mayor where he failed to solve the city’s festering homelessness crisis, and as a way for Biden to pay his political debts to the mayor.
But whatever Joe Biden’s internal political calculations in nominating Eric Garcetti, Bharat should let it be known in no uncertain terms that any meddling with our internal affairs or lobbying on behalf of a hostile nation like Qatar will not be taken to kindly.
(With IANS inputs)