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Re: David Ignatius on oil and American politics

dear all,

i recently had to take myself off the casi mailing list because of a virus
its happened agian!
i really would desperately like to know what you all have to say but fear
that i will have to remove myself from this list because of this recurring
all the best
ps anyone any better ideas?

----- Original Message -----
From: Hamre, Drew <>
To: 'Iraq-CASI - Discussion' <>
Sent: Sunday, July 30, 2000 3:42 PM
Subject: David Ignatius on oil and American politics

> David Ignatius is one of the pillars of the Washington press
> He currently serves as financial columnist for the Washington Post, where
> was formerly the foreign affairs editor.  In September, Ignatius will
> the Executive Editor of the International Herald Tribune
> <>.
> Ignatius is also a novelist, specializing in tales of espionage and
> ...
> In 1994, he wrote "Bank of Fear" (the title itself a nod to Samir
> al-Khalil's "Republic of Fear") whose heroine is a sympathetically drawn
> Iraqi-expatriate.  The back cover of this mystery features blurbs from not
> one, not two, but three former Directors of the CIA (Robert Graves,
> Helms, and William Colby) - plus writer Seymour Hersh.  The Directors'
> accolades are especially stunning in view of the plot, which presents
> America's foreign policy as directed by a secret group whose chief concern
> is access to oil ... and which reveals Saddam Hussein as having been
> recruited by the CIA.  ((Don't recall ever hearing of agreement among
> former Directors of the CIA ... <g>))
> More to the point, in today's Washington Post, David Ignatius writes about
> the all-too-murky confluence of politics and big oil, which give every
> appearance of being "inextricably bound".  Personally, I've always
> "it's all about oil" to be a gross simplification.  But I find these
> writings intriguing, nonetheless.
> Regards,
> Drew Hamre
> Golden Valley, MN USA
> ===
> Political Oil Slick
> By David Ignatius
> Sunday, July 30, 2000; Page B07
> Politics is ultimately about personal relationships--the handshakes and
> winks that provide a semblance of trust among often untrustworthy people.
> The oil business is that way too, and maybe that's why the two have become
> inextricably bound together.
> We're now facing the bizarre prospect of a presidential campaign in which
> three of the four candidates have intimate personal links to the oil
> industry. George W. Bush made his start running a flaky little
> oil-exploration company; Richard Cheney, the GOP vice presidential
> candidate, has for the past five years been CEO of Halliburton Inc., a
> oil-services company that thrived on Cheney's global contacts; and Al
> biggest asset is a family trust that holds hundreds of thousands of
> of stock in Occidental Petroleum Corp., where his father worked for many
> years.
> The Democrats hope to make the Bush-Cheney oil connection a winning
> issue, and there's certainly some tantalizing material to work with. But
> Gore's Oxy connection raises some uncomfortable questions, too.
> What's clear, looking at the three candidate's relationships with the
> industry, is that oil is a kind of original sin in American politics. It's
> big, messy (sometimes dirty) business, and it has touched everyone and
> everything in our political system, from the days of the Rockefellers to
> Bush and Gore.
> The industry has become so intertwined with U.S. foreign policy over the
> years that sometimes--as in Operation Desert Storm (which Cheney oversaw
> defense secretary) or the recent scramble to secure Caspian Sea oil (which
> has been a Gore project)--it's impossible to tell the difference.
> Bush's oil connection is the most quixotic, because he was such a failure
> the business. He started his first company, Arbusto Energy Inc., in 1977,
> and got friends to invest in various drilling ventures that mostly went
> nowhere. (Thanks to tax loopholes, it generated more than twice as much in
> tax deductions as in profits.) Friendly investors arranged a 1984 deal in
> which Arbusto was acquired by another drilling company called Spectrum 7;
> it, in turn, was bought in 1986 by Harken Oil and Gas, which seemed to
> recognize that Spectrum's biggest asset was the Bush name.
> Cheney's oil resume is more distinguished, and it illustrates how oil and
> politics can be nearly inseparable. Despite his lack of experience in the
> industry, he was named Halliburton's CEO in 1995, three years after
> the Pentagon. Cheney's real drawing card was the network of contacts he
> developed during the Persian Gulf War. Grateful Saudis and Kuwaitis were
> eager to fete Cheney--and to shower his company with contracts.
> Cheney, like most oilmen, has been unhappy when human rights or other
> foreign policy issues intrude on the pragmatic needs of the industry. And
> has opposed U.S. sanctions that prevented oil companies from doing
> with Iraq, Iran and Libya. According to Petroleum Finance Week, he told a
> 1996 energy conference in New Orleans: "The problem is that the good Lord
> didn't see fit to put oil and gas reserves where there are democratic
> governments."
> Cheney's raw pragmatism also extends to Russia, where Halliburton recently
> was involved in a controversial deal with an oil company called Tyumen
> Halliburton sought a $292 million loan guarantee from the U.S.
> Bank to help refurbish an oil field for Tyumen. The Clinton-Gore
> administration, stung by charges that it had been soft on Russian business
> "oligarchs," waged a pressure campaign to persuade Ex-Im to drop the
> loan.
> The Cheney nomination may thus undermine the Bush campaign's plans to
> Gore as soft on Russian corruption. Hard to be indignant when it turns out
> that Cheney was lobbying hard to help Russians the Gore crowd regarded as
> corrupt.
> Gore's oil connection is hereditary, and it may seem unfair to tar him
> the sins of his father. But if he attacks Bush the elder, then the Oxy
> will be fair game.
> A devastating account of the elder Albert Gore relationship with the late
> chairman of Occidental, Armand Hammer, is contained in Edward Jay
> 1996 book, "Dossier." He decribes how Hammer first made Gore a partner in
> cattle-breeding business back in 1950, when Gore was a congressman,
> providing him with "a substantial profit." The FBI was wary of going after
> Hammer's connections with the Soviet Union, Epstein notes, because he had
> influential "political support," including from Gore.
> Two years after Gore's father left the Senate in 1970, Hammer made him
> chairman of a coal company Occidental owned, Island Creek Coal. Young Al
> Gore knew that Hammer was a family friend and benefactor. He invited
> as his guest to the 1981 inauguration of Ronald Reagan, according to
> Epstein. And according to a new biography by Bill Turque, Gore took in
> than $300,000 through the early 1990s--his largest source of income
> his congressional salary--from a land deal his father had made with Hammer
> in 1973.
> Oil and politics mix all too well, as these three case studies show. Oil
> isn't a bogeyman, to be sure; it's a legitimate business. But it shouldn't
> have a secret key to the White House.
> --
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
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