February 3rd, 2002

Jay Hanson has written elsewhere that in our present political-economic system where one dollar = one vote, the distinction between government and business disappears. This morning he forwarded the following article.

Enron: Ultimate agent of the American empire
Part I: Money to get power, power to protect money.–Motto of the Medici family

By Larry Chin
Online Journal Contributing Editor

February 1, 2002–In portraying Enron as a “scandal,” and as an isolated case of overheated capitalism and “unusual political influence,” the American corporate media and congressional investigators are studiously avoiding the truth: Enron, like many multinational corporations, has functioned as an operational arm of the US government, and as a weapon of economic, political, and territorial hegemony. The case exposes an almost unspeakable and terminal malignancy at the heart of world politics, and global capitalism itself.

Cold Warriors in Suits

In a “free market world” in which (1) the goals of the state, corporations, and the national security apparatus (intelligence agencies and military) are indistinguishable, (2) these three groups plan and conduct operations cooperatively, and (3) government and business elites (linked by longtime social ties) move seamlessly between public and private sectors, the hydra that is Enron is nightmarishly uncontroversial–-and quintessentially American.

Enron CEO Kenneth Lay was a Pentagon official during the Vietnam War. Another Enron board member who facilitated Enron’s most egregious violations overseas, Frank Wisner, Jr., has intimate CIA ties and is the son of former CIA Deputy Director Frank Wisner, Sr., who was present at the creation of the CIA.

Enron’s symbiotic relationship to the CIA/Pentagon-based Bush/Cheney oligarchy is well documented. As a pioneer of energy deregulation during his administration, George H.W. Bush virtually created Enron, and paved the way for its meteoric growth. And, as David Walsh (www.wsws.org) wrote, “to speak of “connections” or “intimate ties” between Enron and the Bush regime nearly misses the point. To a large extent, the present administration is an extension of the Enron board of directors. This government, one might say, is Enron in office, not simply because numerous Bush cabinet members and other appointees (and other leading Republicans) have been employed in one capacity or another by Enron, but more profoundly in the sense that the social types found in Enron’s boardroom and in leading government posts in Washington are interchangeable.”

As a corporate agent and beneficiary of US and western military and intelligence operations, Enron is also no more an aberration than the United Fruit and Standard Fruit companies, whose dominance of Central America during the 1960s depended on cooperative operations with the CIA, the Pentagon and organized crime.

More modern examples abound.

American International Group, the insurance giant, has long been tied to the CIA and the military, and its board (not coincidentally) also includes Enron director Frank Wisner Jr.

Citigroup over the years has been repeatedly charged with money laundering. Citigroup’s board includes John Deutch, former CIA Director, Robert Rubin, former Treasury secretary and intimate friend to Ken Lay (who personally and financially intervened to bail out the collapsing Enron), and retired Executive Director of the CIA Nora Slatkin.

Then there is Enron’s corporate cousin, Halliburton, which was headed by Dick Cheney from 1995 until he became vice president. The company provides “support services” to the military and oil industries, living off of US wars and “counter-insurgency” operations in Algeria, Angola, Bosnia, Burma, Croatia, Haiti, Kuwait, Nigeria, Russia, Rwanda, and Somalia and elsewhere.

Corporate quasi-agents like Enron are effective fronts in implementing the policies of the ruling elite. Among the goals are (1) securing and controlling of natural resources (oil, natural gas, electricity), (2) maintaining economic, geopolitical, and military advantage, and (3) controlling populations through the stifling of dissent, the elimination of political opposition, and the destruction of democratic reform movements.

Seen within this broad framework, Enron’s activities are not only inherent manifestations of the ruling order, but official policy.

Read the full article