My scoop was very short-lived. Two days later — and one day after The Washington Post’s SpyTalk picked up the item — Perino’s employer, Hamilton Place Strategies LLC filed notice that it was no longer taking up the cause of the mysterious Mina Corp./Red Star.
Congress wants to know whether the sole-source, classified contracts awarded to Mina Corp., Ltd., and Red Star Enterprises Ltd., were a vehicle for the U.S. government to deliver payoffs to the family of Kyrgyzstan leaders who were ousted amid charges of corruption linked to the Manas air base.
Senate lobbying disclosure forms show that on July 12 Mina Corp. hired public affairs firm Hamilton Place Strategies to lobby Congress and the Defense Department. Hamilton Place filed its notice of termination on July 28. The firm’s income from Mina was less than $5,000.
Mina also lost the services of Tony Fratto, another former Bush White House spokesman, and W. Taylor Griffin, a McCain/Palin adviser.
Doug Edelman is the Californian at the center of a congressional investigation into a $1.4 billion contract to supply aviation fuel at the U.S. air base in Kyrgyzstan, a critical hub for the war in Afghanistan.
Congress wants to know whether the sole-source, classified contracts awarded to Mina Corp., Ltd., and Red Star Enterprises Ltd., were really a vehicle for the U.S. government to deliver payoffs to the family of two corrupt former Kyrgyzstan presidents.
Edelman’s name first surfaced in May in London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, which tracked Mina and Red Star to an address in London’s posh Mayfair district.
“Inside, Mina Corp and Red Star’s logos are clearly displayed,” Richard Orange wrote. “Senior staff include Chuck Squires, a former US defence attache, and Doug Edelman.”
Jeff Stein at The Washington Post’s SpyTalk blog describes Edelman as “a Californian with extensive business experience in Moscow and Central Asia.” Deirdre Tynan of Eurasianet.org and Paris-based Intelligence Online have dug deep into Edelman’s corporate affiliations. Edelman controls a network of a companies organised around an offshore financial consultancy, Aspen Wind Corporation, according to Intelligence Online. Aspen Wind Corp. registered in 2002 with New York State, listing principal executive offices in Nicosia, Cyprus.
No one seems to have yet connected the 58-year-old native of Stockton, California to the most interesting part of his biography: his role as one of the executive producers of a feature film on the life of evangelist Billy Graham.
Billy: The Early Years features Arnie Hammer, great-grandson of Armand Hammer, who led Occidental Petroleum in Los Angeles and forged close ties with the Soviet Union.
Doug Edelman’s name appears in the credits and virtually nowhere else, although there were some side benefits. One of his daughters is credited with a small role; another daughter performs a song on the film’s soundtrack.
Though a host of endorsements were offered on the film’s web page (www.billytheearlyyears.com), Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, released a statement saying that BGEA “has not collaborated with nor does it endorse the movie, Billy: The Early Years.” The film, released in 2008, bombed at the box office, grossing less than $350,000, according to boxofficemojo.
Billy: The Early Years was financed by Solex Productions, which describes itself in press materials as a “sister company” of Mina Media.
Mina Media, with an address of 15 Agiou Pavlov Street, Nicosia, Cyprus, is a subsidiary of UK-based Mina Corp. Ltd. (Click here for Mina Media’s corporate records)
It owns and operates MTV Adria in Slovenia, which broadcasts in Macedonia, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mina Media’s Stephen MacSearraigh was a director of Mina Corp. He also served as publisher of Iraq Today, a defunct English-language newspaper financed by Mina Corp that was published in Baghdad after the U.S. invasion. (Mina Corp/Mina Media did not respond to a request for comment.)
Edelman isn’t the only Mina employee with a movie connection. MacSearraigh is credited as a consultant to the geopolitical thriller Syriana.
McCain/Palin campaign spokesman W. Taylor Griffin is coordinating the public relations response to Mina Corp., the secretive defense contractor that is the subject of a congressional investigation into its fuel contracts for a U.S. airbase in Kyrgzystan.
Griffin is a partner in Hamilton Place Strategies LLC, the PR firm that, as I reported yesterday, employs former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino and her former colleague, Tony Fratto.
As part of the Palin team, Griffin led a crisis communications team that dealt with the “Troopergate” affair.
Griffin was part of the communications team for the 2000 and 2004 Bush presidential campaigns, and did a stint in the Treasury Department’s Office of Public Affairs and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.