Monday, July 17, 2006

Laying Lay To Rest

SAYING GOODBYE Former President George H. Bush pays his respects Wednesday to Enron founder Kenneth Lay, who died of heart disease July 5 while vacationing in Aspen, Colo. Lay faced sentencing this fall on his fraud and conspiracy convictions which led to the collapse of Enron in 2001. Bush did not speak at the service at the Houston church. by Picasa

Do not arouse disdainful mind when you prepare a broth of wild grasses; do not arouse joyful mind when you prepare a fine cream soup.


Only our own searching for happiness prevents us from seeing it. It is like a vivid rainbow which you pursue without ever catching it, or a dog chasing its own tail. Although peace and happiness do not exist as an actual thing or place, they are always available, and accompany you every instant.

---Gendun Rinpoche

Life, we learn too late, is in the living, in the tissue of every day and hour.

---Steven Leacock

Special Reports
Bring me the head of “Kenny Boy” Lay: Another convenient death invites new investigations of Enron-Bush crimes
By Larry Chin
Online Journal Associate Editor
Jul 10, 2006, 00:38

Kenneth Lay, world-class Enron criminal, long-time Bush family friend and crime ally, was pronounced dead on July 5, allegedly of a heart-related condition.

Lay’s name can now be added to the list of dubious Enron-related deaths, which include the alleged 2002 shotgun suicide of Enron Vice Chairman Clifford Baxter (also see analysis here, and here).

Lay’s hasty exit, which comes as he faced 45 years of prison for conspiracy and fraud charges (the barest tip of the iceberg of his true crimes), has sparked rampant speculation. Initial mainstream reports on the cause of death have been confusing at best: “heart attack," “heart failure," and “heart disease” are distinct and different conditions.

Lay, who was reportedly depressed and embittered, has now been conveniently removed before receiving punishment (elite criminals rarely get what they deserve). Charges against Lay and his estate may be conveniently tossed (leaving his squirreled assets available for new uses). The Bush administration, and Congress, is conveniently protected from any possibility of a damning testimony or revelation.

Lay’s supposed demise, however interesting, is ultimately irrelevant. Far more important is the fact that Enron is still an open criminal case: the true crimes of Enron remain unaddressed.

More importantly, the apparatus that Ken Lay and Enron set into motion is alive and well. It still shapes the fabric of daily geopolitical life.

Ken Lay’s living legacy in our faces

Lay, affectionately named “Kenny Boy” by the Bushes themselves, has in recent years gone from a leading Bush policy architect to the family’s number one persona non grata. From a Wall Street darling, to a pariah and the poster child of malfeasance, shunned by those whose pockets he once lined.

His public treatment notwithstanding, the Bush administration, and the New World Order’s inner circle, must privately worship Lay for the way he wielded Enron as a geostrategic weapon of mass destruction. Consider what Lay has left the world:

1. Lay and Enron not only helped create the Bush administration’s energy and war policies; it brought them nightmarishly to life, in every corner of the planet. Ken Lay’s fingerprints can be found, today, in every resource-rich hot spot that Enron infiltrated and conquered, from Central Asia and India, to Colombia and the Far East. The invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as plans to control domestic energy supplies and prices (and the lives of Americans) are a direct result of Ken Lay’s machinations.

Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force, the infamous and secret US National Energy Policy Development Group (NEPDG), the probable “rosetta stone” of 9/11 that documents the motives behind the Bush administration’s world energy conquest, has remained the subject of intensive and illegal stonewalling. Ken Lay was there: official memos have amply documented Lay’s direct links to Cheney and Cheney’s energy plan.

2. The practices pioneered by Enron and pushed to spectacular and creative extremes -- financial fraud, pro-forma accounting, money laundering, offshore funneling of illegal monies, shell companies, “off the books” transactions, energy gaming, etc. -- continue to be quietly used by corporations everywhere. It is business as usual on Wall Street.

3. Globalization, the brand epitomized by Enron, thrives. Multinational corporations continue to function as quasi-military-intelligence arms of the US, and other allied predatory governments, working alongside the intelligence agencies and militaries themselves. Witness the operations of Halliburton, DynCorp and AIG.

4. The financial institutions, banks and investment houses that assisted Enron in its schemes, domiciled in the US as well as offshore, continue to feed like engorged tapeworms from trillions of dollars of looted funds. Perhaps you still bank with one of these institutions. Perhaps your pension fund is under the control of one of them now. You can thank Ken Lay for that.

5. The manipulation of energy and the fleecing of consumers also continue to this day, in more shaded and sophisticated forms, as does “deregulation." The occasional cries of foul from certain politicians in victimized regions has changed nothing. As energy prices soar, as Peak Oil and Gas makes itself felt in earnest, and new “energy crises” erupt, the ghost of Ken Lay will be there, grinning. He -- it -- still presides over this nation’s energy grids and energy trader’s “gaming” rooms.

6. Enron is not dead and buried, any more than BCCI was ever destroyed. There is no cause for celebration. The Enron corporation itself even lives on (as does BCCI) in the form of renamed, acquired and merged entities.

The Enron players hiding in plain sight

Legions of politicians fed at Enron’s trough, Republicans and Democrats alike. The same members of Congress who received fat Enron checks are still in Washington.

The George W. Bush administration, that Enron helped install and push into power, has two more years to expand its world war, seize remaining energy supplies, squeeze profits from Peak Oil for their own constituents, and deepen the militarization of the United States.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is the governor of California. His direct Enron connections scarcely mentioned, or even acknowledged. He will likely be re-elected (or re-selected) this fall, continuing the Republican plunder of California -- not ironically the target of Enron’s first crimes in 2000.

The former chairman of Enron’s finance committee, Herbert "Pug" Winokur, the wolf in the Enron fold, is still out there, untouched. As noted by Michael C. Ruppert in Crossing The Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil:

“Aside from playing a major role in the looting of Russia, Harvard University also seems to have deep connections into the domestic economy of crime. Catherine Austin Fitts connected the dots in a 2002 article which told us that not only had Winokur chaired the Enron finance committee and escaped federal scrutiny, he was also a lead investor in, and creator of, a company called DynCorp (now CSC-DynCorp) that has lucrative vaccine and biowarfare contracts . . .

“So ubiquitous is DynCorp that we will see its hands all over the map in connection with 9/11 and the ruling of America. DynCorp is everywhere. It manages the Congressional telephone system. Along with Lockheed-Martin, it does the computerized bookkeeping for a dozen federal agencies including the DoD and HUD, which have lost (or allowed to be stolen) trillions of taxpayer dollars. It also has a contract to manage the police and court systems in US-occupied Iraq.

“Winokur’s connections to Enron, DynCorp and the Harvard Endowment (which during the Clinton years saw its assets increase from $3 billion to $19 billion) demonstrate that quite often the key players escape mainstream scrutiny altogether . . . Among other revelations were the facts that Harvard had made direct financial investments bailing out an ailing Harken Energy Corporation, then run by George W. Bush, and that, through its investment arm, Highfields Capital, it had dumped large quantities of Enron stock just before it crashed: insider trading at its best. ” There is no doubt that “Kenny Boy” Lay, the founder of Enron, was there every step of the way with “Pug."

Where, indeed, are the trillions of missing taxpayer dollars that were bilked by Enron?

Enron: case still open

Most, if not all, of the most important Enron-related facts remain wide the subject of denial and cover-up. From Lay’s long-time connections to the Bush family and the Texas oil/intelligence/crime milieu (captured in the book The Mafia, the CIA and George Bush by Pete Brewton), and the company’s virtual ownership of successive US presidencies and the US Congress, to Enron’s power-brokering role behind major US energy-related geostrategic operations over the past decade and a half.

It goes without saying that no federal or state “probe” over the past five years has addressed the true Enron corruption. The show trials of Lay, and his lesser Enron colleagues, Jeffrey Skilling and Andrew Fastow, have been, by design, limited hangouts that have begun to address the real crimes.

The true case against Enron leads to the very heart of the American Empire’s inner workings:

Enron: Ultimate Agent of the American Empire (Part One)

Enron: Ultimate Agent of the American Empire (Part Two)

The evidence detailed in this 2002 series tying Enron to the political crimes of both the George W. Bush and Clinton administrations have not only been confirmed, but strengthened by subsequent investigations and analysis by dogged and courageous independent investigators such as Catherine Austin Fitts, and Jason Leopold (a contributor to Online Journal, Truthout, and other sites), who has spent years doggedly pursuing various aspects of the Enron crime.

Neoliberals and progressive journalists have taken cracks at Enron in recent years, including Greg Palast, and the Institute for Policy Studies (see "Enron's Pawns"), with mixed results.

As Carolyn Baker writes in a piece titled "Godfather Government", there is no more stellar symbol of corporate dominance than the infamous glass skyscraper formerly occupied by Enron Corporation. But, as Baker notes, work towards revealing the true magnitude of Enron’s criminality has been limited.

“Catherine Austin Fitts has superbly connected the dots between the egregious criminality of Enron, the Harvard Endowment, and one of the federal government’s principal contractors, CSC-DynCorp. More recently, with the conviction of former Enron golden boys, Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay, investigative journalist, Greg Palast, has unleashed a scathing expose of Enron throughout alternative media . . .

“With the convictions of Lay and Skilling, Palast has seized the opportunity to muckrake enough dirt on Enron to fill its former Houston headquarters from basement to rooftop. So too have Peter Elkind and Bethany McLean in their fabulous 2006 documentary, “The Smartest Guys In The Room”; however, what Palast and the filmmakers both failed to address . . . was Enron’s involvement in moving and laundering massive quantities of drug money through its Enron Online trading company. From the research of Palast, Elkind, and Mc Lean, it is obvious that Enron cooked its books and used the smoke and mirrors of “Mark To Market” accounting to book profits out of thin air, but none of them can explain where Enron acquired the money to actually run its corporation while selling worthless stock and paving the way to financial oblivion for its investors and employees. The missing link in the Enron story is drug profits, but Mike Ruppert caught that link, as did Catherine Austin Fitts in her many articles revealing the Enron-Harvard-Citibank-DynCorp connection.”

A real investigation of Enron, one that spares the American Empire no quarter, still begs to be conducted.

To the bitter end

In The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler, Robert Payne wrote, “Dictators deserve to be hanged in the market place in the sight of the people they ruled and corrupted. This is why the hanging of Mussolini upside down in a Milan gas station was, in human terms, so eminently satisfactory, while the obscure suicide of Hitler, in a bunker fifteen feet below the surface of Berlin left so many of his victims with the sense of being cheated. Hitler himself was perfectly aware that he was cheating and he rejoiced in his last act: once more he had outwitted his enemies.”Ken Lay has cheated the world, too. So did Richard Nixon, former CIA Director William Casey and other elite criminals who slithered away without suffering the punishment they richly earned. No doubt the Bushes, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, the Clintons, Henry Kissinger, and others are planning similar contingencies.

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1 comment:

jazzolog said...

Besides preserving the Lay family fortune, which the American people provided, the closing of the case yields these conveniences for the Bush family fortune~~~

Robert Scheer: Enron’s Enablers Go Unpunished
Posted on Oct 24, 2006
By Robert Scheer

No, I’m not thrilled over Jeffrey Skilling getting 24 years in prison for his role in the Enron scandal. While he and fellow Enron honcho Kenneth Lay were clearly guilty as charged, the handling of this case by the Bush Justice Department is a functional coverup of the Bush family’s role in enabling these crimes.

The thousands of Enron employees who lost their jobs, as well as $2 billion in pension money and $60 billion in share value, deserve better. By focusing on narrowly drawn criminal charges and the public’s wrath against Skilling and his late partner in crime—“Kenny Boy” Lay, as President Bush referred to his onetime chief campaign benefactor—the culpability of the president’s family in this sordid saga is being whitewashed.

How convenient to close the book without considering the ties between the Enron perps and those in two Bush presidencies whose actions enabled these hustlers. The Enron crooks would never have been more than petty thieves were it not for the political support they received from their fellow Texas oil buddies. They knew that, and they paid for it: Over the years, Lay and Enron gave the Bush family politicians $3 million in contributions, as well as lending the campaigning George W. a jet on at least eight occasions.

They did so because, without the deregulation of the energy industry pushed by the first President Bush, Enron would have remained a minor company without the capacity to swindle. At the time, Lay wrote a column supporting the elder Bush’s reelection by praising him as “the energy president” because “just six months after George Bush became president, he directed ... the most ambitious and sweeping energy plan ever proposed.”

Specifically, Enron benefited mightily from a key ruling by Wendy Gramm, head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under George H.W. Bush, permitting Enron to trade in highly profitable energy derivatives. A mere five weeks after rendering that ruling, Gramm, the wife of then-Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas), abruptly resigned to join the Enron board of directors, where she served on the company’s now-infamous see-no-evil audit committee. Secretary of State James Baker and Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher also rushed to work for Enron after their White House tenures.

Dubya first got involved with Enron’s Lay when they both worked on his daddy’s campaign, and the relationship flowered during his years as the governor of Texas. There is, in fact, a long paper trail of “Dear Ken” and “Dear George” exchanges that have come to light, thanks to Freedom of Information Act requests. The correspondence exposes the active support given by Bush to Enron’s expansion into markets ranging from Uzbekistan to Pennsylvania. As Lay wrote to Bush in a letter dated Oct. 7, 1997: “I very much appreciated your call to Gov. Tom Ridge a few days ago. I am certain that will have a positive impact on the way he and others view our proposal.”

In payback for Bush’s support, Lay became a Bush “pioneer” fundraiser, dumping in more than $2 million in contributions from himself and Enron executive funds. Lay’s influence with Bush extended well into the first year of the Bush administration, when Bush stonewalled California while it was being extorted through a manufactured “power crisis” by Enron and other energy companies to buy energy at grossly inflated prices.

The Enron boss also became a principal architect of the new Bush energy policy in the months before his downfall, completely undermining the spirit of democracy. In fact, the public has still been denied access to the six secret conversations Lay had with Vice President Dick Cheney when the vice president was quarterbacking the Bush administration’s response to the California energy crisis, which saw the prosperous state preposterously hit by rolling blackouts. Lay provided Cheney with a key memo opposing price caps that would have mightily aided California consumers.

Lay also played a major role in the dismissal of Curtis Hebert Jr. as Federal Energy Commission chairman. Hebert was too independent for Enron’s taste, while his replacement was far more amenable to the company’s agenda.

Without the specific energy policies pursued through two Bush presidencies, Skilling and Lay would have remained two-bit Texas hustlers going nowhere fast. But thanks to their presidential sponsors, who in turn received lavish campaign contributions, the biggest corporate swindle in U.S. history was allowed to unfold.

Why were the dots between the Enron swindlers and their government sponsors never connected by a Bush Justice Department that seemed more interested in containing the damage than exploring the true ramifications of this case? Getting to the bottom of this story is one compelling reason to hope that the Democrats gain control in this election of at least one branch of Congress, thus permitting a serious investigation of the political machinations behind the Enron swindle.

Creators Syndicate Inc.
E-mail Robert Scheer at