Power scam: The Enron Bush connection

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Written By Uri Dowbenko

The phony US energy crisis has deep ties to the Bush Family.

One of the prime beneficiaries of the “crisis” is Enron Corporation and its Chairman Ken Lay, a major corporate and personal contributor to George Bush Jr.’s presidential campaign.

Even though California Gov. Gray Davis has reached into California residents’ deep pockets to bail out the utility companies through emergency legislation, Washington Gov. Gary Locke has balked.

According to KCPQ-TV’s Chris Daniels’ “A Disturbing New Twist in Western Power Troubles, “Governor Locke says, ‘It’s unjustified, it’s obscene, and clearly hurting all consumers.'”

Like other western governors, Locke has had to pay for electricity at any price.

In November of 1999, for example, electricity was purchased for $29 a megawatt hour.

A year later, the price increased to $160 an hour, according to sources at Tacoma Power.

Last month it was at $525.

Locke expressed his indignation saying, “I’ve very disappointed in President Bush that the new administration will not be intervening.”

But why should he intervene?

One of Bush’s largest campaign contributors is Enron Corporation, a Texas-based company which is part of the defacto global energy oligopoly-cartel.

Although diversifying into other business, Enron has been best known as the largest buyer and seller of natural gas in the United States. Its 1999 revenues of $40 billion had made it the 18th largest company in the United States.

Enron is also invested in energy projects around the world, including the UK, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, the Philippines, Indonesia, China, India and Mozambique.

One of the global energy cartel’s most visible players, Enron saw its corporate profits rise 34 percent in the fourth quarter of 2000.

Enron shareholders should ask — did dividends come from price gouging US citizens?

How George Bush Jr. Got Layed

Federal Election Commission records show that Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay donated more than $350,000 directly to Bush campaigns since 1997.

Lay also gave another $100,000 to Republican candidates and fundraising committees.

In addition, Enron Corporation, including employees, also donated $1.5 million in soft money to Bush and Republican committees.

More recently, Lay and his wife donated $10,000 to the “Florida Recount Fund,” and another $100,000 to the “Presidential Inaugural Fund.”

As one of his fundraising “Pioneers,” Lay helped raise more than $100,000 for Bush’s campaign for president.

In consideration of these numbers, is it too much to ask for a phony and contrived power “crisis” as a payback?

Naah, not at all…

According to newswire reports, as a new energy advisor for President Bush, Ken Lay says that precap prices for wholesale electricity in the West “is not even a short-term solution.” |

Not coincidentally, Enron is the largest power marketer in the United States. A cap would limit the prices it and other wholesalers could charge to utilities. Wholesale power prices were deregulated under the landmark 1996 law but retail rates were not.

Lay said the federal government should limit itself to an “advisory” role, letting California leaders resolve a “pretty much self-inflicted problem.”

California’s rolling blackouts have come as the two large utilities, PG&E Corp. and Southern California Edison, have struggled under huge debts through buying electricity at higher wholesale prices than they can recoup under the retail rates they are allowed to charge.

In the short term, Lay said, the state government will have to “buy the power to fill the short positions of the utilities.”

And to ensure Enron’s unconscionable profit, he should have added.

Enron’s Pug Winokur, Shadow Government Insider

On the Enron corporate website, one of the Board of Directors, Herbert S. “Pug” Winokur, Jr., is described as Chairman and CEO of Capricorn Holdings, Inc., and Former Senior Executive Vice President, Penn Central Corporation.

As the Insiders’ Insider, “Pug” Winokur has been such a permanent fixture in the Washington Old Boy Network that he’s even mentioned in a 1978 book by Daniel Guttman called “The Shadow Government.”

Historically Winokur’s Capricorn Holdings was used as an investment vehicle in NHP, an apartment management firm headed by Roderick Heller III.

In turn, NHP’s assets included oft-purloined and defaulted HUD Section 8 subsidy housing, a notorious and well-known vehicle for fraud and money laundering.

Winokur was also on the Board of Directors of Harvard Endowment Fund, which purchased 50 percent of NHP, making the prestigious Harvard a prototypical, but very low-profile, slum landlord. (See Bushwhacked: HUD Fraud, Spooks and the Slumlords of Harvard” http://www.conspiracydigest.com/bushwhacked1.html)

It should also be noted that George Bush Jr. attended Harvard Business School. Later, after Bush joined Harken Energy Corp and became a director, the largest stock position and seat on the board was acquired by Harvard Management Co.

Ironically, from 1988 to 1997, Winokur was also the Chairman and CEO of DynCorp, one of the government’s largest contractors in data acquisition and management.

Since DynCorp had a contract from the Department of Justice, Winokur would have profited from the DoJ Asset Seizure Program, as well as HUD’s Operation Safe Home seizures which targeted low-income tenants and mortgage holders in the inner cities.

In addition DynCorp is one of the lead contractors for the new phony War on Drugs in South America called “Plan Colombia,” another tax-payer supported scam to bring monies into DynCorp’s coffers.

Now there’s a guy who understands that the only way to do a deal is to get it rigged from the very beginning.

Enron’s Son of a Spook

Enron dealmaker Frank Wisner, Jr. muscled the company into lucrative overseas contracts, most notably in India and the Philipines.

Enron’s deal to manage a power plant in the Philippines was due largely to Wisner’s efforts. Based in Subic Bay, a former US military outpost, the power planet was taken over by Enron in 1993, two months after the last US troops left the base.

Wisner is also credited with helping Enron win a $2.8 billion deal in India, building a power plant near Bombay. Now the project is under heavy fire for being over-priced, and the deal continues to simmer with allegations of bribery.

Wisner Jr. must have learned his tradecraft from his father Frank Wisner Sr., one of the CIA’s prime operatives.

Wisner Sr., who worked at CIA from 1947 until just before his “suicide” in 1965, was involved in 1) the 1954 CIA coup in Guatemala, toppling the goverment of Jacobo Arbenz for United Fruit Company, 2) the 1953 overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq, and 3) the secret operations against Indonesian President Sukarno.

Unlike his spooky father, Frank Wisner Jr., however, was a former Pentagon official before his job at Enron.

Enron’s Ken Lay and the Bush Boys

Enron Founder and Chairman Kenneth Lay also worked in the Pentagon for the Nixon administration during the Vietnam War.

Lay is a close friend of George Bush, Sr. In fact, his Houston home in River Oaks is near the Tanglewood residence of the former President and CIA Director.

Although there have been no published reports of Bush Sr. doing favors for Lay, three of the Bush Boys have used their father’s name to get contracts for Enron.

According to an article by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker, Neil and Marvin Bush tried to influence government officials for an Enron bid to rebuild Shuaiba North power plant in Kuwait.

Ironically this power plant was destroyed in George Bush’s Persian Gulf War. Enron abandoned the bid a year ago.

In 1988, then Texas governor George Bush Jr., reportedly telephoned Rodolfo Terragno, Argentina’s Public Works Minister, to ask him to award Enron a contract to build a pipeline from Chile to Argentina.

“He assumed that the fact he was the son of the president would exert influence. I felt pressured. It was not proper for him to make that kind of call,” Terragno told The Nation.

Finally, when Carlos Menem, another Bush Sr. crony, became president of Argentina, Enron won the bid.

Neil Bush, director of the failed Denver-based Silverado Savings and Loan, created a subsidiary of his oil company to conduct business in Argentina in 1987.

Argentina finally got so fed up with the Bush Boys, they formally had a parliamentary investigation regarding their so-called “business dealings.

Enron Rigs Washington During the Clinton Years

Even though it has strong ties to the Republican Party, Enron also did remarkably well during the Clinton years.

Most importantly, they got a ban lifted on Export-Import Bank financing of projects in China.

This allowed Enron to move forward on overseas projects guaranteed by US taxpayers. In other words, if Enron “fails,” you pay.

Enron also got new rules instituted at the Ex-Im Bank that allowed the bank to finance projects on the basis of projected cash flow.

This insider track helped Enron make multi-billion dollar deals overseas with US taxpayers guaranteeing their performance.

* March 1993, Enron made a deal to develop new European markets for Russian gas.

* November 1993, Enron made a $1 billion deal with Turkey to develop two power plants. Ex-Im Bank provided $285 million in financing. The Overseas Private Investment Council(OPIC)covered insurance costs.

* August 1994, Enron made a deal to build a power plant in India. ExIm provides major financing and OPIC provides an additional $100 million.

* November 1994, Enron made a deal to build a $130 million power plant in China. Ex-Im Bank again provided the financing.

Moral of the story? When you’re a monopoly capitalist, it doesn’t matter who’s in office. Republicans. Democrats. They all bribe the same.

Lawsuit Against Enron Alleges Conspiracy

Unfazed by the bogus and contrived energy crisis, the San Francisco City Attorney is filing a lawsuit against Enron and eleven other companies.

The filing says that Enron “conspired to restrict supplies and drive up prices” costing consumers additional charges “on the order of 1 billion dollars.”

Washington’s Governor Locke says President Bush needs to take counter-measures or the economy will suffer on a national level.

“If the federal government doesn’t act, you’re going to see a lot of jobs go away, a lot of business close down…” says Locke. “We need help from the federal government immediately to help stabilize the situation.”

Is this Enron’s first visible and public Bush payoff?

It just might be the best “energy crisis” money can buy.

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