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E-M:/ Did McPherson serve on Cheney's secret Energy Task Force?


Nobody has ever asked this question, as far as I know. We simply do not know the answer. But there is plenty of circumstantial evidence to suggest that it is not out of the question that he may have been involved on that secret task force. 

First, consider Corporate Watch's story "USA: Energy Task Force Documents Show Industry Influence" which shows that General Motors was a player. GM has one of its major production facilities in Lansing, Michigan, (next to MSU's East Lansing home), and GM also appeared on the DOE's External advisory committee after the scandal broke.

Second, consider the fact that the Energy Secretary, Spence Abraham, is a Republican who hails from Michigan and is a close colleague of McPherson. Is it merely coincidence that McPherson was later tapped to be the chair of the out-in-the open external advisory committee? Was it completely out of thin air?

Third, consider McPherson's rather extensive record of being a loyal insider, indeed, a crusader for capitalistic nation-building. It goes back two decades. Immediately after the 1983 U.S. invasion and rout of socialist-oriented Grenada, a tiny Caribbean nation, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) got to work creating a capitalist market economy under its new director, Peter McPherson. As with Iraq, motives for the U.S. invasion were suspect. U.S. development aid is used primarily as a device to help insure the stability of allies and promote capitalism, and that was no different under McPherson, who served as USAID chief from 1981 to 1987.  McPherson stood out, however, for his strong anti-socialist stance, which led him and the Reagan administration to direct large amounts of assistance to Central America, then undergoing insurgencies in El Salvador and Nicaragua. USAID bilateral development assistance to Central America soared by 207.6 percent in the first Reagan administration, according to Larry Minear, director of the Humanitarianism and War Project. In contrast, the total USAID bilateral development assistance to Africa declined from 23.5 per cent in 1981 to 19.8 per cent in 1988, reported Minear. Later, over the Reagan administration's objections, Congress increased Africa's share to 31.7 per cent for 1989. Said Minear, "What has distinguished the Reagan administration from its predecessors is not its preoccupation with East-West issues, but the degree to which its anticommunism has played havoc with humanitarian interests and traditions." For the record, Under McPherson, USAID pushed privatization and marketization with a vengeance in countries as diverse as Poland, Hungary and Kazakhstan. McPherson became a point man in the cultural export of neoliberal activities that destroyed collective structures that threatened market logic. Parenthetically, McPherson was chosen to lead MSU, in part, for his inside connections in Washington, D.C. (he is said to have traveled to DC on average 12 times a year during his 9 year post as President).

Fourth, consider his prominence in Republican circles. On November 17, 2000 he addressed the nation's Republican Governors with keynote speech that detailed his idea of  "a new culture for a new economy." Basically it entails the neoliberal ideal of subsuming education to the marketplace. "We should begin to think about human resources as a global resource that moves with opportunity, somewhat as has become the case with financial resources," he said. "Technology changes daily; winning states and nations will use universities and their spin-off companies - the very engines of technological change - to ensure that their populations are empowered and enriched by every change as it occurs," he said. "We are eager to serve." (And today, with MSU's blessing, he's serving in Iraq, reasserting those high level corporate, governmental and Republican connections that the MSU powers-that-be are apparently hoping will give it a strategic advantage in the new culture ahead.)

Fifth, consider that McPherson was brought into the national spotlight to "mak[e] Iraq safe for capitalism," as Fortune put it on June 23. He's managed Iraq's oil revenue, administered its central bank, and worked to privatize Iraq's state owned enterprises. "It's fun to put together a country's budget," he told the State News, MSU's student newspaper.
"If you don't do enough to create a political constituency for privatization now," he told Fortune's Jeremy Kahn, "then it will get killed in the cradle." For his free market zeal, one of McPherson's own team members accused him of believing in an "ideological nirvana," according to Kahn.

One wonders.

It would be nice if some journalists out there did a little digging. And it would help if some academics (at MSU and elsewhere) conducted a little research on one of the most important ecological stories of this generation.

Brian McKenna