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Commentary :: Politics
Enron demise linked to Energy Task Force meetings?
23 Jul 2006
My opinion is that Enron's demise is linked to a conflict within the National Energy Policy Development Group, the highly secretive and still censored energy task force meetings from January til May 2001 which were to shape the Bush administration's energy strategy[1]. For an administration composed of oil executives, guided by military contractors and civilian intelligence agencies, this energy strategy -- from the war on terror to the annexation of overseas oil and gas fields -- probably was the base for the Bush administration's ensueing, and rather extensive, foreign policy.

Under the frame of these task force meetings, Vice-President Cheney met at least six times with Enron executives. The last time was on April 17th 2001, and the administration issued its (official) report exactly one month later.

The trouble started shortly after for Enron -- following these meetings. Named most innovative company in America by Fortune Magazine in February 2001, and highly lucrative up until April 2001, is it a coincidence that the corporation's demise, with bankruptcy declared in December 2001, was to follow so abruptly after the closure of the energy task force meetings?

How the Enron company failed to recover from the rather classic corporate hickups from which it suffered, is asking the technical question of how a corporation could be professionally framed by an administration, the intelligence agencies obeying its orders and the legal powers that it undoubtedly controls. "How did it fail and how did it fail so quickly?" asked Kenneth Lay during his trial about Enron, further calling the bankruptcy a more ‘complex’ story, and maintaining (just as did his colleague Jeffrey Skilling), that Enron executives had no motive for conspiring against their shareholders. A credible argument, given the succesfulness of the company, and considering the psychological character of its directors. Indeed, Kenneth Lay, contrary to the belief of the gullible people, is not your typical corporate gangster. Rather a highly succesful businessman whose character failed to bestow the needed respect by the highest administrators in the White House, possibly by George Herbert Walker Bush himself.

Indeed, how did Enron fall so quickly? Any corporation is fragile to inside executives like Sherron Watkins or Andrew Fastow selling out on their bosses. Maybe they did so to obtain personal gains, or because of their loyalty to external third partners (linked to the administration?). Many of the rumors around Enron's books, this much is clear, were based on nothing more than gossip. Artificially triggered by internal disclosure of the corporation's financial policies -- causing investors and shareholders to grow increasingly skeptical about the companies' future -- Enron's bankruptcy was a forced affair, initially causing the Justice Department to have an interest in the Enron rumours only reluctanly. The Enron executives never got a chance to a fair trial: several legal experts agree on the overcriminalization of the Enron indictment [2], and it indeed appears that the prosecutors succeeded in nailing the defendants to the wall for a long time, regardless of the legal justification to do so [3].


Ken Lay may have been a Bush financer, but that doesn't mean both families are real friends (is there such a thing as friendship in those circles anyway?). Another argument is that when Bush declares something to the press, he generally means exactly the opposite. The publicly declared 'friendship' between his father George Herbert Walker Bush and Kenneth Lay, ultimately, could well be a ploy rather than reality. Indeed, if Lay really was a Bush crony -- as he is traditionally portrayed to be because of Enron’s donations to the Bush campaign -- there's no chance his supposed friends in the administration would have let this corporation go down. Indeed, if Enron would have been a loyal partner in the Energy Task Force, especially with such risk of exposure to their own agenda, the trifle problems surrounding Enron would have been effectively covered up instead of blown wide open.

On the other hand, one could imagine what would happen if Enron failed to agree with the 2001 Energy Group meeting’s proposals, while having first hand information about their content and their implications for the covert policy the Bush administration is so notorious for. It is to be suspected that if a highly placed man like Kenneth Lay wasn't loyal enough to Bush’s global agenda, he and his unloyal colleagues would get relentlessly persecuted, overdramatically punished, and even find themselves in a life-threatening situation. Enron's story of fast judicial destruction, Clifford Baxter's strange suicide, and Kenneth Lay's sudden massive heart attack bear the hallmarks of what has happened to many other people who failed to agree with the White House’s policies, or were too well informed about its decisions.

[1]http://www.nrdc.org/air/energy/taskforce/tfinx.asp
[2]http://www.kenlayinfo.com/upload/ntllaswjrnl-8-16_27462.pdf
[3]http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/special/enron/2681959.html

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