The Enron Story thus far is nothing less than astounding: A company valued in the billions on Wall Street suddenly filed for the largest bankruptcy claim in the history of the known universe. Four thousand employees were abruptly shown the door after having been barred from dumping the company stock, meant to fund their retirement, while it was worth something. Meanwhile, Enron executives in the know were able to dump the stock, back when it was the gold standard on the Street, for a cool $1 billion.
So What's New, You
Apparently, although Enron was ailing for around the last 4 years (to be defined exactly in the courts), the aforementioned executives were able to maintain the mirage of financial viability by stuffing the debt into what are called “off-balance-sheet partnerships.” In essence, each of the executives built personal banking bunkers and hid what has been revealed to be staggering Enron debts within them, keeping the fact that the company was hemorrhaging money off the publicly displayed balance sheets. This maintained the company's credit rating, and allowed it to
continue doing business.
Kenneth Lay was perhaps the best financial friend George W. Bush has ever
The fact that this went on for four years means several things:
- Most of the Enron executives were aware of and/or actively participating
in this highly criminal and irresponsible activity
- The stockholders, including 4,000 loyal Enron employees, were lied to
- The executives probably knew the stock value was doomed when they bailed
out and cashed in several months ago
- They let their employees lose the retirement funds they believed were
growing within their Enron stock portfolios
- A lot of people got screwed by a pack of sharp operators who didn't give a
damn about anyone but themselves.
So What's New, You Ask
Well, what's new starts to emerge when the umbilical political and financial connections between Bush and Enron are illuminated. Enron's capo, Kenneth Lay, was perhaps the best financial
friend George W. Bush has ever known. He and a number of Enron employees essentially bankrolled Bush's 2000 Presidential campaign, even lending Bush an Enron corporate jet for trips between whistle stops. And long before Bush got White House stars in his eyes, he worked very closely with Enron on energy policy in Texas.
This close connection led to the Bush administration's hiring of a number of influential individuals within Enron's orbit for important government positions:
- THOMAS E. WHITE, Bush's Secretary of the Army, had been
Vice-Chairman of Enron Energy Service, and held millions in Enron stock.
- KARL ROVE, Presidential Advisor, owned as much as $250,000
of Enron stock.
- LARRY LINDSAY, Economic Advisor, leapt straight from Enron to his current White House job.
- ROBERT B. ZOELLICK, Federal Trade Representative, ditto above.
- HARVEY PITTS, SEC Chairman, was handpicked by Kenneth Lay for the position, due to his notorious aversion to governmental regulation of
- DONALD RUMSFELD, Defense Secretary, together with 31 Bush administration officials had a line item for Enron in their stock portfolio. The woebegone corporation held, and continues to hold, enormous influence over the day-to-day machinations of Federal government policy. Was Bush's recent
gutting of the Clean Air Act, a decision designed to improve the fortunes of companies like Enron, the brainchild of people with deep connections to the energy industry?
- DICK CHENEY, Vice President, admitted recently to six separate meetings with Enron executives while formulating the Bush administration's energy policy. Cheney, a former executive of the Halliburton Petroleum interest, was in charge of creating this policy. For reasons soon to be exposed by subpoena, Cheney refused to detail the specifics of the creation of this policy, which included the multiple Enron meetings. The General
Accounting Office was preparing to sue Cheney to reveal this information when the September 11th attacks took place. Those subpoenas may be dusted off and mailed within a month.
- During Vice President Dick Cheney's tenure as its chief executive, the Halliburton Corporation altered its accounting policies so it could report as revenue more than $100 million in disputed costs on big construction projects, public filings by the company show. Halliburton did not disclose the change to investors for over a year...
- As chief executive, Mr. Cheney had final responsibility for Halliburton's books. But the company's chief financial officer, Doug Foshee, said yesterday that he could not imagine that Mr. Cheney had specifically approved the change, which he called a routine decision dictated by a shift in Halliburton's business mix...
- Mr. Cheney declined to comment on May 20, 2002. Andersen, which was fired as Halliburton's auditor last month, referred all questions to the company...
- A company that revises an accounting practice usually must show that its new method gives investors more accurate financial information than its old method. Halliburton's revision, Mr. Turner said, does not seem to meet that standard. In addition, such changes are supposed to be disclosed promptly, he said...
- According to S.E.C. filings, Halliburton's accounts receivable — sales booked by the company even though it had not yet been paid for them — soared relative to its total sales during Mr. Cheney's tenure. At the same time, its competitors' accounts receivable fell slightly, S.E.C. filings show...
- The rising receivables are "a little bit of a red flag," said Edward Ketz, an accounting professor at Pennsylvania State University...
- Halliburton shares closed on 5/21/2002 at $17.43, just below their level on Oct. 1, 1995; they stood at more than double that level when Mr. Cheney left the company...
In the meantime, the Justice Department is preparing a serious criminal investigation into the collapse of Enron. The democratically controlled Senate is planning hearings on the matter as well. Columnist Robert Scheer has referred to the Bush administration's involvement in the Enron debacle as “Whitewater in spades.” One wonders if “Watergate” would be a more appropriate comparison.
Bush Makes Bundle, Everyone Else Gets Shafted
Bush's own dealings within the energy industry carry a disturbingly familiar echo to the Enron situation: Once upon a
time, he was a high-ranking officer of a petroleum interest called Harken Oil. On June 22, 1990, a week before Harken announced a $23.2 million loss in quarterly earnings, making its stock lose 60 percent of its value over the next six months, Bush made $848,560 by selling his Harken stock, earning him a 200%
profit. Bush made a bundle while the other investors lost millions. Harken was Enron in miniature.
Some say that Daddy tipped little George off about Saddam's impending invasion of Kuwait which was the reason for the sudden fall in value. Now I wonder which oil companies specifically have profited from replacing Mullah Omar by a CIA guy? Somebody care to dig out the records?
All Right, But Where's the Treason and
There's a school of thought, espoused primarily by Republicans, that any investigation into potentially dishonorable or illegal actions by the Bush administration is tantamount to treason. We are at war, undeclared though it may be, and Bush must be free to prosecute this war vigorously.
However, if reports recently aired on CNN have any credence, Bush and his cronies may well have to answer for actions that make the Enron catastrophe look like a jaywalking offense, actions that led directly to the incredible carnage in New York and Washington, D.C!
In 1998, during the Clinton administration, the U.S. -based energy concern Unocal canceled plans to exploit massive natural gas deposits in Turkmenistan by running a pipeline from there to Pakistan, where the natural gas could have been processed for Asian and Western energy markets. The idea was scuttled after Clinton ordered the cruise missile bombing of Afghanistan in response to a terrorist attack upon U.S. embassies in Africa which were planned and executed by Osama bin Laden.
The pipeline would have had to pass through Afghanistan, and Unocal was given the message in Technicolor by Clinton's people that Taliban-controlled Afghanistan was not to be given any sort of financial boon.
The Bush administration found no moral dilemma in dealing with the Taliban to get to the gas. Immediately upon their arrival in Washington, a vigorous courtship of the Taliban was undertaken. In fact, if former U.N. weapons inspector Richard Butler is to be believed, the Bush administration had a vested interest in strengthening and stabilizing the Taliban regime, because a stable regime would enable investors to revive the Turkmenistan natural gas pipeline deal. The Taliban, demon of the moment, was
the Bush administration's idea of a “stable” government. Stable enough, anyway, to see the pipeline through.
The connections between Bush and the Taliban became so close that the Taliban went so far as to hire an expert on U.S. public relations to smooth the way between the two regimes.
The connections between Bush and the Taliban became so close that the Taliban went so far as to hire an expert on U.S. public relations named Laila Helms, so as to smooth the way between the two regimes. Meetings between the two nations continued at a high level, the last of which occurred in August, scant weeks before the September 11th attacks. All of these actions were taken to exploit the vast energy reserves in Turkmenistan for the benefit of American energy corporations.
Former FBI Deputy Director John O'Neill stated, “The main obstacles to investigating Islamic terrorism were U.S. oil corporate interests, and the role played by Saudi Arabia in it.”
The cozy relationship between Bush and the Taliban frustrated the investigative efforts of former FBI Deputy Director John O'Neill. He was the FBI's chief bin Laden hunter, in charge of the investigations into the bin Laden-connected bombings of the World Trade Center in 1993, the destruction of an American troop barracks in Saudi Arabia in 1996, the African embassy bombings in 1998, and the attack upon the U.S.S. Cole in 2000.
If these allegations carry even the faintest whiff of credibility George W. Bush and members of his administration stand in taint of high treason and murder.
O'Neill quit the FBI in protest two weeks before the destruction of the World Trade Center towers. He did so because his investigation was hindered by the Bush administration's connections to the Taliban, and by the interests of American petroleum companies. O'Neill was quoted as stating, “The main obstacles to investigating Islamic terrorism were U.S. oil corporate interests, and the role played by Saudi Arabia in it.” After leaving the FBI, O'Neill took a position as head of security for the World Trade Center. He died on September 11th, 2001, trying to save people trapped by the attack. The irony in this, simply, is horrifying.
In essence, the Federal agent who knew more about bin Laden than any living American was kept from investigating terrorist threats against America because the Bush administration was desperate to cultivate the favor of the Taliban, so as to gain access to lucrative natural gas deposits in Turkmenistan.
If/When these allegations prove true, Bush and his friends allowed this affinity to hamstring investigations that could have thwarted bin Laden's September plans. If/when these allegations prove true, everything since September 11th has been a massive cover-up operation in which American soldiers and thousands of Afghan civilians have died. If/when these allegations prove true, the Bush administration has the blood of thousands of American civilians on its hands.
If these allegations carry even the faintest whiff of credibility, George W. Bush and members of his administration stand in taint of high treason and murder.
On November 7th, 2000, a clear majority of Americans came to the conclusion that George W. Bush was unfit to govern this nation. For a variety of dark and controversial reasons, that conclusion was thrown over. Sometime soon, if the media's electronic web continues to carry these sordid stories of corruption, greed and death, the American people will come to fully understand the consequences of that failed election.
It is one thing to coddle and court a corrupt energy company for political and financial gain. But it's quite another to coddle and court a murderous terrorist-supporting regime, hindering anti-terrorism investigations in the process, for the purpose of exploiting valuable natural resources.
It is one thing to coddle and court a corrupt energy company for political and financial gain. But it's quite another to coddle and court a murderous terrorist-supporting regime, hindering anti-terrorism investigations in the process, for the purpose of exploiting valuable natural
resources. The former cost a number of people their retirement funds. The latter has cost thousands of people their lives. One is criminal. The other is abominable. George W. Bush is deeply implicated in both.
STILL THINK IT'S ALL OVER?