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Re: E-M:/ FW: Oil Execs/Cheney: Document Shows Public and Congress were Misled



 
Colleagues,
 
About a year ago I wrote to this list about this issue asking, "What did MSU President Peter McPherson know [about the Bush Cheney energy policy] and when did he know it?"
 
Spence Abraham had appointed McPherson to chair DOE's s powerful external advisory committee, much of whose activities are kept secret.
 
Nobody has ever asked this question, I said at the time, and I repeat it now. 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.  
I've pasted below what I wrote to EM then below. Before reading it be aware that McPherson served for Bush in Iraq in 2002-2003 (getting a 130 day leave of absence from MSU to do so), He said of his trip, "I think this must be heaven," as he sought to privatize Iraqi currency. See:
http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/20/2003/327
 
Pasted message I sent earlier. . .
 
Why is this important?

It has just become clear that Vice President Dick Cheney lied to Congress regarding  his energy task force (see GAO report "Energy Task Force: Process Used to Develop the National Energy Policy," August 2003 )at:
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d03894.pdf

Also see John Dean's excellent story on this cover up on today's Tom Paine website at:  http://www.tompaine.com/feature2.cfm/ID/8789

About 15 months ago, Energy Secretary Spence Abraham appointed MSU President Peter McPherson -- a close friend of Cheney's --  to chair DOEâ?Ts powerful external advisory committee. I wrote about this in an article for City Pulse at the time. See "McPherson's New Throne," at:
http://216.239.41.104/search?q=cache:2pogteDI_34J:www.city-pulse.org/020515/health/+%22city+pulse%22+mcpherson+cheney&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

McPherson has since gone on to head the economic restructuring of Iraq. As I have made clear in previous posts, Pres. McPherson has made secrecy a benchmark of his administration and intimidated and marginalized environmentalists on several occasions. I should point out that MSU is also deeply embedded in several secretive government and corporately funded energy projects and is competing to bring a rare isotope accelerator project â?" costing $900 million â?" to MSU.

Several questions beg themselves. In his role as Energy Chair, how aggressive was President McPherson in working to make Cheney's secret energy dealings/transcripts public? What kind of advice to he proffer to the Bush administration? Are there transcripts of the external advisory committee meetings which McPherson chaired? What level of government clearance has McPherson?

But the biggest questions are these three:

Why has McPherson been given a free ride -- and treated with kid gloves -- by the press in Lansing and Michigan?

Why have Michigan State University faculty -- particularly environment educators --  been silent about these issues?
 
Did McPherson actually serve on the secret task force?
 
This is a legitimate inquiry for several reasons.

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. 
http://216.239.41.104/search?q=cache:1i4CjO-G0DEJ:www.corpwatch.org/news/PND.jsp%3Farticleid%3D2613+cheney+%22energy+task+force%22+general+motors&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

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
 
-----Original Message-----
From: Rita Jack <rita.jack@sierraclub.org>
To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Sent: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 12:48:24 -0500
Subject: E-M:/ FW: Oil Execs/Cheney: Document Shows Public and Congress were Misled

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Enviro-Mich message from "Rita Jack" <rita.jack@sierraclub.org>
-------------------------------------------------------------------------


For Immediate Release:
November 16, 2005

Contact:
David Willett, 202-675-6698

White House Document Shows Oil Companies/Bush Administration Misled Public
                               and Congress
          statement of Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director

In response to a newly disclosed White House document that proves that the
Bush administration misled the American public when they tried to cover up
whom they met with to craft energy policy and that oil executives lied
about their participation in the Cheney Energy Task Force, Sierra Club
issued the following statement by Carl Pope, Executive Director, and will
be sending the following letters to the White House, Congress and the Oil
Companies involved:

"A White House document obtained by the Washington Post clearly shows that
the Bush administration and oil companies have tried to cover up their
back-room development of energy policy as recently as last week.  The
records reported in the Washington Post show that despite earlier claims,
executives of ExxonMobil, Shell, BP America and Conoco met with Vice
President Cheney's Energy Task Force in early 2001.

"Now that it is clear that the White House and Oil Industry misled the
public, they key question is what were they trying so hard to hide?  The
American people deserve to know who really crafted the failed energy
policies of the Bush administration..

"The Bush administration fought all efforts to find out who wrote their
energy policy. In fact, they took the fight all the way to the Supreme
Court.

"While Sierra Club does not object to consulting industry on energy policy,
we strongly objected to consulting only with industry to the exclusion of
all other voices and to keeping the workings secret from the American
people.

"Sierra Club believes that the leaked document was prepared in response to
the Sierra Club's lawsuit against Vice President Cheney.  In light of this
new information, it is now more important than ever that the Bush
administration come clean on who recommended what regarding energy policy.

"On January 29, 2001 President Bush established the National Energy Policy
Development Group, better known as the "Cheney Energy Task Force."
Formally, the Energy Task Force included the Vice President and a handful
of Cabinet Secretaries.  On May 16, 2001 the Task Force issued its
recommendations for a "National Energy Policy".  This policy has been the
basis for the energy bills the Bush administration has pushed since then,
including the Energy Bill passed in August 2005 which was larded with
polluter giveaways

"While the oil companies are reaping record profits, American consumers who
are paying these companies billions of dollars deserve to know how much of
the oil industry's wish list is making its way into federal law.

"The oil companies need to explain to Congress why they lied about their
participation in the Cheney Energy Task Force.  The White House needs to
explain why they continue to fight so hard to hide the truth.  Congress
needs to demand answers so the American people can learn what happened and
hold those who misled them accountable.  What are they trying to hide?"

Background Information about Sierra Club's lawsuit against the Cheney
Energy Task Force can be found at:
http://www.sierraclub.org/environmentallaw/lawsuits/viewCase.asp?id=173

###

The Sierra Club will be issuing the following letters to the White House
and the relevant Oil Company Executives:


1.  Letter to White House

Dear President Bush and Vice President Cheney,

It is now clear that your administration misled the American people about
the degree to which energy industry executives were involved with the
Cheney Energy Task Force.

America needs a responsible energy policy that cuts the country's
dependence on oil, curbs global warming, and lowers consumer energy bills.
Unfortunately, the Bush-Cheney energy policy fails to achieve any of these
goals.  The American people deserve to know the names of the energy
officials who met with the White House staff, the proposals they made, and
the degree to which these proposals became part of the administration's
official energy policy.

Since the task force concluded in 2001, many of their policy proposals have
been adopted as administration policy, including:
.     Opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Outer Continental
Shelf to oil and natural gas drilling
.     Tax breaks and subsidies that encourage the construction of more
filthy coal plants and dangerous nuclear power plants
.     Giving automakers a break by not requiring current technology that
would increase the fuel economy of our cars and light trucks, saving
consumers billions of dollars at the gas pump.
.     Adopting a rule which would alter the system by which we measure and
enforce fuel economy for light trucks, which recently was proposed by the
National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration
.     Deregulating the electricity market and weakening rules that protect
consumers from price gouging.
.     Subsidizing and requiring "alternative" fuels in a renewable fuel
standard.

Some of these proposals became law in the energy bill that the President
signed in August of this year.  Others are still being debated in Congress,
such as drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  The American people
deserve to know the true source of these policies that have left Americans
with high gasoline policies, dangerous oil dependence, more global warming
and air pollution, while generating record profits for oil companies.
These policies have hurt America's environment, economy, and national
security.

Americans are paying the price for the Bush-Cheney energy policy.  Some
Americans by putting themselves in harm's way in Iraq, some with their
health in polluted cities and some with dollars at the gas pump.

We urge you to be fully open with the public and answer all of these
questions completely and truthfully.

Sincerely,

Carl Pope
Executive Director
Sierra Club


2. Letter to Oil Companies


Dear [CEO of ExxonMobil, Conoco, Shell, or BP America],

It is now clear that you lied to Congress and the American people, as
recently as last week, when you denied that executives from your company
met with the Cheney Energy Task Force regarding America's energy policy.
The American people, paying high prices for energy, deserve to know the
details of your company's meetings with members of the administration,
including who you met with, what you discussed, and whether any promises
were made in exchange for adopting your recommendations.

Since the task force concluded in 2001, many of their policy proposals have
been adopted as administration policy, including:
.     Opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Outer Continental
Shelf to oil and natural gas drilling
.     Tax breaks and subsidies that encourage the construction of more
filthy coal plants and dangerous nuclear power plants
.     Giving automakers a break by not requiring current technology that
would increase the fuel economy of our cars and light trucks, saving
consumers billions of dollars at the gas pump.
.     Adopting a rule which would alter the system by which we measure and
enforce fuel economy for light trucks, which recently was proposed by the
National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration
.     Deregulating the electricity market and weakening rules that protect
consumers from price gouging.
.     Subsidizing and requiring "alternative" fuels in a renewable fuel
standard.

Some of these suggestions have become law in the energy bill that the
President signed in August of this year.  Some of these proposals are still
being debated in Congress, such as drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge.  These policies have hurt America's environment, economy, and
national security, while benefiting your company financially.  The American
people deserve to know the role you played in the Energy Task Force.

We urge you to promptly and fully disclose the facts behind your
involvement in the Cheney Energy Task Force.

Sincerely,

Carl Pope

###


David Willett
National Press Secretary
Sierra Club
(202) 675-6698 (w)
(202) 491-6919 (m)
david.willett@sierraclub.org
www.sierraclub.org


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