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The Harken-Bahrain Deal: A Baseless Suspicion

Ever since little Harken Energy won an exclusive offshore oil-drilling contract in 1990 with the tiny Persian Gulf emirate of Bahrain, George W. Bush has been accused of having had something, somehow, to do with it.

He didn't. But suspicions linger, mostly by virtue of repetition.

Bush was on Harken's board of directors in the late 1980s when officials in Bahrain decided to look for more oil in their waters. To widespread surprise, Harken, which had never drilled a well offshore or overseas, wound up with the concession. The award, in January 1990, stirred talk in the oil industry that the Bahrainis might be trying to win an entree to the Bush White House.

There is, however, no evidence that Bush had any role in negotiating the deal and those familiar with it confirm that he actively opposed Harken's entering into it. In addition, the Bahraini official at the center of the negotiations, Yousuf Shirawi, already had a link to the administration, dating to the days when George Bush was vice president.

Asked how Harken was chosen, Shirawi, then Bahrain's minister of development and industry, said in an interview that seismic surveys were promising, but the "big boys" in the oil industry weren't interested. Shirawi said he decided to go shopping for a small American company and found Harken through a Houston oil consultant and longtime friend, Michael Ameen.

Shirawi said he was "not aware that George [W.] Bush was a member of the board" at the time the deal with Harken was made. He said he did learn this somewhat later, but whenever it was, he said: "I will swear one thing: that that information was of no significance. Because we wanted them to drill a hole."

When the multimillion-dollar project came up for discussion at Harken board meetings, Bush warned against it, saying it would cost more than Harken could afford to spend and emphasizing the fact that it had never drilled a single well overseas or in water.

"The guy who didn't want into Bahrain was George W. Bush," Ameen said. "He said, 'I don't think we have the expertise, we've never been overseas, and we don't have the money.' "

In fact, the project proved a huge disappointment. Harken found no oil.

Source: By George Lardner Jr. - Washington Post Staff Writer - Friday, July 30, 1999; Page A20

Al Gore and "Big Oil"

Al Gore: "It takes somebody who is independent from Big Oil to take on Big Oil, and Im independent from them. . . ." (Al Gore on June 28, 2000 as quoted in Bill Sammon, "Gore Resists Calls To Halt Oil Drilling In Colombia," The Washington Times, June 30, 2000)

THE TRUTH

Occidentals chief Armand Hammer "was as cozy with Gore Jr. as he was with Gore Sr." (Ken Silverstein, "Gores Oil Money; Occidental Petroleum And United States Foreign Policy In Colombia," The Nation, May 22, 2000)

"Occidental is the political patron of Al Gore [Jr.]. . ." (Steve Kretzmann of Amazon Watch, a San Francisco-based member of the Uwa Defense Working Group quoted in Sam Loewenberg, "Big Guns Back Aid To Colombia," Legal Times, February 21, 2000)

A New York Times Columnist On The Sale Of The Elk Hills Reserve To Occidental: "[T]he interests of democracy would have been better served if it had been widely known that Occidental Petroleum has for years been a major benefactor of Mr. Gores family." (Bob Herbert, "In America; Webs of Influence," The New York Times, February 3, 2000) (emphasis added)

"Al Gore has had a long-standing personal and financial relationship with Occidental Petroleum, the people who brought us Love Canal in the 1970s via Hooker Chemical." (Charles Lewis, founder and executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, interviewed in "The Buying of the President: An Interview With Charles Lewis," Multinational Monitor, March 1, 2000) (emphasis added)

"Vice President Al Gore has many ties to Occidental Petroleum." (Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Press Release, "No More Blood For Oil. Says McKinney," February 22, 2000)

GORE AND THE DESTRUCTION OF INDIANS' LAND AND CULTURE

In 2000, Gore Has Been Deafeningly Silent On Occidental Oil Company's Destruction Of The Indigenous U'was' Tribal Lands And Culture:

Gore Spokesman Doug Hattaway. "He doesnt own stock in that company, and he doesnt have any connection to that issue in Colombia." (Holly Ramer, The Associated Press, January 26, 2000) (emphasis added)


Gore Spokeswoman Laura Quinn. "Its a matter that involves the internal policies of another country. . ." (Ken Silverstein, "Gores Oil Money; Occidental Petroleum And United States Foreign Policy In Colombia," The Nation, May 22, 2000)


Gore Spokesman James Kennedy. It "is an internal domestic matter and the United States does not have the unilateral authority to intervene in it. Asked why the vice president doesnt use his bully pulpit as a presidential candidate to articulate a moral stance on the controversy, Mr. Kennedy said: Ill just leave it at that." (Bill Sammon, "Gore Resists Calls To Halt Oil Drilling In Colombia," The Washington Times, June 30, 2000)(emphasis added)


Gore Spokesman Mark Fabiani On "Fox News Sunday:"

Snow: ". . . A number of environmentalists in this country want [Gore] to encourage Occidental Petroleum, with which his family has old ties, to cease a drilling project in Columbia which environmentalists say will despoil earth and kill off an Indian tribe. Why wont he at least speak out on that?"

Fabiani: "Im not familiar with the Occidental issue. But I can tell you that these are the issues dealing with private companies or private organizations that are occurring in foreign countries. We just dont have any control over what the entities are trying to do in other countries. . . . " (Fox News "Fox News Sunday," July 2, 2000) (emphasis added)


Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) Says "No More Blood For Oil" And Accuses Gore Of "Remain[ing] Silent." "I am concerned that the operations of oil companies, and in particular Occidental Petroleum, are exacerbating an already explosive situation, with disastrous consequences for the local indigenous [Uwa Indians]. . . I am contacting you because you have remained silent on this issue despite your strong financial interests and family ties with Occidental." (Ken Silverstein, "Gores Oil Money; Occidental Petroleum and United States Foreign Policy in Colombia," The Nation, May 22, 2000) (emphasis added) "The location of the drill site represents a serious disregard for the spiritual and cultural heritage of the Uwa people. . . . Oil drilling on Uwa land will result in considerable environmental damage and social conflict which will lead to greater militarization of the region as well as an increase in violence. The only way to avoid this tragedy is through respect for the rights of the Uwa under Colombian and international law. Sadly, both the Colombian government and Occidental Petroleum have disregarded these rights. If Occidental Petroleum begins drilling, which they say they could do at any time, it will be [sic] catastrophe. Respect for democracy, human and environmental rights are much more important than cash for capitalistic corporations, stated McKinney." (Rainforest Action Network: Uwa Campaign, "Suspend Occidental Petroleums Drilling Says Congresswoman McKinney," February 22, 2000; Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Press Release, "No More Blood For Oil. Says McKinney," February 22, 2000) (emphasis added) "Today, hope for the Uwa and other victims of human rights abuses in Colombia lies in your hands." (Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Press Release, "No More Blood For Oil. Says McKinney," February 22, 2000)

Occidental Petroleums Expansion Into Colombia Has Threatened The Land Of The Uwa, A Local Indigenous Tribe. In 1992, Occidental Petroleum signed an agreement with the Colombian government to develop the Samore Block region of Colombia, which is thought to contain around 1.4 billion barrels of oil. (Danielle Knight, "Colombia: U.S. Aid Challenged After Police Clash with Uwa," Inter Press Service, February 16, 2000) Since then, Occidentals first drill site on this project has been embroiled in a conflict with a local indigenous tribe called the Uwa involving boundary disputes, ancestral land claims, and cultural preservation. In 1995 the conflict began in earnest when Occidental began to exercise its development rights and "conduct preliminary tests in the [Samore Block] area." (Steven Dudley, "In Colombia, a Dispute Fueled by Oil; Uwa Indians Appear to Be Losing Battle Against Government-Backed Drilling Project," The Washington Post, February 20, 2000)

Tribal Leaders Speak Out Against Occidental. Robert Perez, president of the Traditional Authority of the Uwa People, says "[t]he Occidental project is an affront to our livelihood, our lives and our culture." (Ken Silverstein, "Gores Oil Money; Occidental Petroleum And United States Foreign Policy In Colombia," The Nation, May 22, 2000) "Tribal leaders say the Uwas will commit collective suicide if Occidental is allowed to drill on their land." (Ken Silverstein, "Gores Oil Money; Occidental Petroleum And United States Foreign Policy In Colombia," The Nation, May 22, 2000)

Gore Has Stood Silent While Pollution From Occidentals Oil Operations Destroy The Uwas Native Lands. Occidentals Cano Limon pipeline "has spilled an estimated 1,700,000 barrels of crude oil, contaminating surrounding land, lakes and rivers." ("Al Gore And Big Oil Genocide," Earth Island Journal, June 22, 2000)

Occidental Has Benefited From Recent Human Rights Violations Committed Against The Uwa And Their Advocates. Recently, Colombian authorities have increased the pressure on the Uwa and their advocates in order to force them to allow Occidental oil exploration on their tribal land. In February of 2000, three Uwa children died during a peaceful, civil rights protest against Occidental and the Colombian government when they and their mothers were forcibly removed from a road leading to the Occidental drill site. The same police and military forces the Clinton/Gore Administration wants to support with increased military aid are the ones who used tear gas on the protesting Uwa, and, in an episode as recent as January 25, 2000, abused ten Uwa who were physically evicted from land they owned in order to allow Occidental access to the lands oil and natural resources. (Steven Dudley, "In Colombia, a Dispute Fueled by Oil; Uwa Indians Appear to Be Losing Battle Against Government-Backed Drilling Project," The Washington Post, February 20, 2000) In addition to the recent abuses committed by Colombian authorities, the chaos engulfing the Uwa people has also drawn in FARC, Colombias leftist guerilla insurgency, which murdered three Americans, Ingrid Washinawatok, Laheenae Gay, and Terence Freitas, founder of the California-based human rights group called Uwa Defense Working Group, in late 1999. (Danielle Knight, "Environment-Rights: U.S. Groups Pledge to Continue Defense of Uwa," Inter Press Service, March 8, 1999)

Al Gore Has Refused To Take Any Action To Help Relieve The Uwas Suffering. Despite the human rights violations against the Uwa, Gore has refused to take action. Uwa activists in the U.S. tried to force this issue to Gores attention through protests at his New Hampshire Presidential Campaign Headquarters in January and attempts to question him at the Democratic Presidential Debate in Harlem, New York on February 21, 2000, all to no avail. (Kathryn Marchocki, "Gore Headquarters Sit-In Site For Anti-Oil-Drilling Activists. Gore Talks To Factory Workers; Bradley Visits With Preschoolers," Manchester Union Leader, January 27, 2000; "Campaign 2000 II: Gore, Bradley Discuss Enviro Justice In," Greenwire, February 22, 2000)

Leading Liberals, Environmentalists, and Journalists Have Called On Gore To End His Silence On This Issue:

Carl Pope, The Executive Director of the Sierra Club. The executive director of the Sierra Club, Carl Pope, told Gore that "hope for the Uwa and other victims of rights abuses in Colombia lies in your hands." (Rainforest Action Network, Urgent Action Alert, January 2000)


Journalist Terry Moran. Journalist Terry Moran criticized Gores silence: "Vice President Gore refused several requests to speak with ABC News about the Uwa, and his familys holdings in Occidental. . . Gores public silence on the issue leaves him open [to] the charge that for all his speech-making on the environment, he wont put his money where his mouth is." (ABCs "World News Tonight," March 6, 2000)


Stephen Kretzmann of Amazon Watch. "There has been a lot of back-room negotiations between the Clinton administration and the Colombian government on behalf of Occidental. . . . Occidental is a favorite of the Clinton-Gore administration, particularly Gore. . . . You have an imminent, unfolding, tragic situation in Colombia being perpetrated by a corporation with direct ties to the vice president and he wont do a . . . thing. . . . He has remained silent, and he hasnt pulled his money out." (Stephen Kretzmann of Amazon Watch quoted in Bill Sammon, "Gore Resists Calls To Halt Oil Drilling In Colombia," The Washington Times, June 30, 2000)

Sharon Wright of the Rainforest Action Network. "Mr. Gore cannot pretend to be any better than Bush when his hands have the blood of the Uwa on them." (Sharon Wright of the Rainforest Action Network as quoted in Bill Sammon, "Gore Resists Calls To Halt Oil Drilling In Colombia," The Washington Times, June 30, 2000)

Gore Supporters, Occidental Lobbyists, And Democratic Fundraisers Have Been Working Hard To Promote Occidentals Interests At The Uwas Expense. Gore supporters both inside and outside the Administration have lobbied hard for Occidentals drilling project in the Uwas territory. Occidental hired former Democratic National Committee Treasurer Scott Pastrick in 1997 to promote this project; Pastrick prepared "call sheets" for Gores use during the Vice Presidents 1996 fundraising solicitations. More recently in 1999, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, a prominent Gore supporter within the Administration, hired lobbyist Theresa Fariello, who had previously pressured the Energy Department to back Occidentals drilling in Colombia. (Bill Sammon, "Gore Resists Calls To Halt Oil Drilling In Colombia," The Washington Times, June 30, 2000)

Occidental Says The Administrations Aid Package To Colombia Will Protect Its Interests. The Clinton/Gore Administration is promoting a Colombian aid package that Occidental says will protect its oil interests. This aid package consists of over $1 billion dollars, part of which will go to fight FARC, Colombias left-wing insurgency. FARCs frequent attacks on Occidentals pipelines have done serious damage and spilled more crude oil than the Exxon Valdez. (Bill Sammon, "Gore Resists Calls To Halt Oil Drilling In Colombia," The Washington Times, June 30, 2000)

Gore Hypocrisy...Harshly Criticized Other Corporations For Their Destruction Of Indigenous Culture In Malaysia, Papua New Guinea And Around The World

Gore Spokespersons Stated Reasons For Gores Silence On The Uwas Are Contradicted By Gores Previous Actions On Behalf Of Other Indigenous Tribes Around The World.

Doug Hattaway: Gore "Doesnt Own Stock In That Company, And He Doesnt Have Any Connection To That Issue In Colombia." (Holly Ramer, The Associated Press, January 26, 2000) (emphasis added) Gore did not own stock in any of the logging companies that he criticized for destroying the land and culture of the Penans in Malaysia or Indians in Papua New Guinea. Gores "connection" to the issues in Malaysia and Papua New Guinea was far more attenuated than his "connection" with the Uwas and Occidental.


Laura Quinn: "Its A Matter That Involves The Internal Policies Of Another Country. . ." (Ken Silverstein, "Gores Oil Money; Occidental Petroleum And United States Foreign Policy In Colombia," The Nation, May 22, 2000) The destruction of the rain forests in Malaysia and Papua New Guinea involved "the internal policies of another country," but that did not stop Gore from calling on the Japanese government to investigate the timber companies in two separate Senate resolutions.


James Kennedy: It "Is An Internal Domestic Matter And The United States Does Not Have The Unilateral Authority To Intervene In It." (Bill Sammon, "Gore Resists Calls To Halt Oil Drilling In Colombia," The Washington Times, June 30, 2000) The destruction of the rain forests in Malaysia and Papua New Guinea involved "internal domestic matter[s]," but that did not stop Gore from calling on the Japanese government to investigate the timber companies in two separate Senate resolutions. Gores lack of "unilateral authority to intervene" did not stop him from speaking out in the Senate and introducing two Senate resolutions calling on the Japanese government to investigate timber companies.


Mark Fabiani: "We Just Dont Have Any Control Over What The Entities Are Trying To Do In Other Countries. . . ." (Fox News "Fox News Sunday," July 2, 2000) The destruction of the rain forests in Malaysia and Papua New Guinea involved "what the entities are trying to do in other countries," but that did not stop Gore from calling on the Japanese government to investigate the timber companies in two separate Senate resolutions.

Al Gore Is Silent On The Uwas, But In 1992 Introduced A Senate Resolution And Spoke Out On The Penans! In response to the destructive effects of logging on the Penan Indians of the East Malaysian State of Sarawak, Al Gore sponsored Senate Resolution 280 which called upon Malaysia to formally recognize and uphold the "customary land rights and the internationally established human rights of all indigenous peoples," and upon Japan to "investigate the activities of certain private companies of Japan in contributing to the destruction of. . . the culture of the indigenous people of Sarawak." (S. Res. 280, Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations, April 2, 1992)

Al Gore Is Silent On The Uwas, But In 1992 Gore Criticized Timber Companies For Destroying The Indigenous Penans Tribal Lands And Culture: In his remarks in support of the resolution, Gore decried the destruction of indigenous peoples and cultures. In particular, he urged the world to "speak out" against the loss of native peoples and cultures: "The Penan Indians are desperately trying to save their homes and their culture from the incessant onslaught of bulldozers and chainsaws of timber companies. . . . The impact of this logging on the natives and their land is catastrophic. . . . Sadly, the struggle of the Penan is not an isolated event. All around the world, cultures that have developed and thrived over the millennia are being destroyed by timber, mining, and commercial agricultural interests. Their loss is a tragedy to us all, and I believe that we must speak out against the human rights and environmental abuses they endure. The resolution I submit today calls upon the Government of Malaysia to preserve the tropical rain forests and the indigenous tribal culture of Sarawak." (Al Gore, Congressional Record, April 2, 1992) (emphasis added)

In Earth In The Balance, Gore In An Emotional Plea For People To "Speak Up," Compared The Plight Of The Penans To Those Of The Jews In Nazi Germany:

"The weak and powerless are the early victims, but the relentless and insatiable drive to exploit and plunder the earth will soon awaken the conscience of others who are only now beginning to interpret the alarms and muffled cries for help. In the famous words of Pastor Martin Niemoller, about how the Nazis were able to take over an entire society: In Germany the Nazis came first for the Communists, and I didnt speak up because I wasnt a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didnt speak up because I wasnt a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didnt speak up because I wasnt a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didnt speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak for me."
(Al Gore, Earth In The Balance, 2000, p. 285)

Al Gore Is Silent On The Uwas, But In 1991 Introduced A Senate Resolution And Spoke Out On The Indigenous Peoples Of Papua New Guinea! In response to the destructive effects of logging on the Indians of Papua New Guinea, Al Gore sponsored Senate Resolution 101 which called upon Japan "to investigate the activities of these large [timber] companies and bring an end to their abuses." (Al Gore, Congressional Record, March 21, 1991) (emphasis added)

Al Gore Is Silent On The Uwas, But In 1991 Gore Criticized Timber Companies For Destroying The Indigenous Tribal Lands And Culture Of Papua New Guinea: In his remarks in support of the resolution, Gore decried the destruction of indigenous peoples and cultures. In particular, he urged the world to "speak out" against the loss of native peoples and cultures:

The [timber] companies would not tolerate would not tolerate resistance to their presence in the rain forest and harassed these indigenous lands into submission. . . . These large Japanese companies are inflicting incredible harm on the indigenous peoples of the forest and on the living species that are being destroyed as the forests are torn down and burned. . . . We have seen in several different locations of the tropics particular areas of rain forests that are singled out for intensive logging. Sarawak has been talked about quite a bit. The Amazon, of course, is probably the most famous example. Now Papua New Guinea has been singled out. The ferocity of this onslaught is just devastating. The harm done, as I have tried to note in these remarks, is so great that the world as a whole must speak out in an effort to stop this. (Al Gore, Congressional Record, March 21, 1991) (emphasis added)

Al Gore Has Spoken Out In Defense Of At Least Nine Tribes Of Indigenous Peoples. . . Except For The Uwas! Gore is aware of the threats facing indigenous peoples and has spoken out on behalf of the following: Iban, Inuit, Kayan, Kayapao, Kelabit, Kenyah, Lun Bawang, Penan and Yanomami. The Uwas are noticeably absent. (Al Gore, Earth In The Balance, 1993 edition, p. xiii; 2000 edition, pp. 283-285)


Gore Spokesman Mark Fabiani Denies That The Gore Familys Occidental Stock Affects His Policy Views.

Snow: Does that mean if Al Gore gets a chance, hell have his family divest all the Occidental stock?

Fabiani: Again, those stocks are in a trust. They dont have any affect on the vice presidents day-to-day activities. They dont have any affect on his policy views . . . (Fox News "Fox News Sunday," July 2, 2000)

AL GORE HAS ALWAYS BEEN OCCIDENTAL'S VERY OWN "PETROLEUM POLITICIAN"

In 1997, Occidental Petroleum Tripled Its Oil Reserves By Acquiring Elk Hills In The "Largest Privatization Of Federal Property In U.S. History." As part of his Reinventing Government (REGO) initiative in 1995, Gore advocated the privatization of the Naval Petroleum Reserves located at Elk Hills oil field near Bakersfield, California. (Al Gore, Common Sense Government: Works Better and Costs Less, 1995, p. 221) Occidentals purchase of the 47,000 acre property, as one of twenty-two bids submitted by fifteen interested parties, allowed it to pick up a "crucial source of light crude [oil] in California" and triple its U.S. oil reserves overnight. Furthermore, acquisition of the field also allowed Occidental to triple the amount of natural gas extracted from the field. (Aliza Fan, "Administrations DOE Cuts Include Plan to Privatize Naval Petroleum Reserve; Department of Energy," The Oil Daily, December 19, 1994; Charles Lewis, The Buying of the President 2000, p. 143; "DOE to Sell Elk Hills for $3.65 Billion," Environmental News Network, October 9, 1997)

Al Gores Energy Department Did Not Conduct The Required Environmental Impact Assessment Itself, Instead Delegating The Task To ICF Kaiser International, Inc., Where Former Gore Campaign Chair Tony Coelho And Former Energy Secretary Hazel OLeary Were On The Board. "Although, the Energy Department was required to assess the likely environmental consequences of the proposed sale [to Occidental], it didnt. Instead it hired a private company, ICF Kaiser International, Inc., to complete the assessment." (Charles Lewis, The Buying of the President 2000, p. 143) Interestingly, two of the more prominent members of the board of directors of Kaiser were Gores future presidential campaign chairman Tony Coelho and former Energy Secretary Hazel OLeary. (Charles Lewis, The Buying of the President 2000, p. 143; "Briefs: ICF Kaiser Appoints OLeary To Board," Journal of Commerce, March 12, 1997)

Al Gore Hypocritically Denounced Global Warming On The Same Day The Elk Hills Sale Was Announced. On the day of the announcement of the Elk Hills sale, Gore delivered a speech at the White House Conference on Climate Change at Georgetown University. While there, he denounced global warming and its alleged effects on the Earths atmosphere: "If we ignore the scientific warnings and continue stubbornly on our current course, wed better begin to prepare what we would like to say to our children and grandchildren, because if they encounter the terrible consequences the scientific community is saying now come as a result of global climate disruption, and then look back at the evidence which was clearly laid out for us in our generation, they might fairly ask, If you knew all that, why didnt you do something about it?" (Vice President Al Gore, "Remarks By President Clinton And Vice President Al Gore At White House Conference On Climate Change Georgetown University, Washington, DC," Federal News Service, October 6, 1997) (emphasis added)

AL GORE'S ALLIANCE WITH OCCIDENTAL HAS BEEN LONG STANDING AND MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL

Al Gore, Sr. Had A Long And Profitable Relationship With Occidental. "The elder Gore was such a loyal political ally that Occidentals founder and longtime CEO, Armand Hammer, liked to say that he had Gore in my back pocket." In fact, when Al Gore, Sr., left the Senate in 1970, Armand Hammer gave him "a $500,000-a-year job at an Occidental subsidiary and a seat on the companys board of directors." (Ken Silverstein, "Gores Oil Money; Occidental Petroleum and United States Foreign Policy In Colombia," The Nation, May 22, 2000)

Vice President Al Gores Alliance With Occidental Petroleum Has Also Been Very Profitable. In 1973, Occidental sold Al Gore, Sr., 88 acres of pastureland and a 2,100-square foot house in Carthage, Tennessee for $80,000, and, in a separate transaction, the mineral rights to that land for $80,000. The elder Gore then subsequently leased the mineral rights back to Occidental for "$20,000 in the first year, $10,000 annually for the next three years, and $20,000 for each year after that." The elder Gore then kept Occidentals first payment of $20,000 and sold the property to his son for $140,000, $60,000 of which was for the mineral rights lease and $80,000 of which was for the house and land, which remains the Vice Presidents legal residence. (Bill Turque, Inventing Al Gore, 2000, p. 105-106) Occidentals payments to Al Gore eventually totaled $190,000 by the time it sold its mineral rights lease in the 1980s. Occidentals successors have continued to pay Gore $20,000 per year since the sale. (Micah Morrison, "Vetting the Frontrunners II: Albert Gore Jr. Occidental and Oriental Connections," The Wall Street Journal, September 29, 1999) "In total, Mr. Gore has earned $500,000 from zinc royalties.". (Micah Morrison, "Al Gore, Environmentalist and Zinc Miner," The Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2000) In addition, the younger Gore is the executor of a trust fund for his mother, Pauline, that contains Occidental stock valued at between $500,001 and $1,000,000. Gore stands to inherit this stock upon his mothers death. (Al Gores Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Report, May 25, 1999, p. 6)

Despite Gores Statements Indicating That He Has No Control Over His Mothers Occidental Stock, Activists Dont Buy His Argument. "The activists reject Mr. Gores argument that he cant unload the stock because it belongs to his mother. This is rubbish in my mind, says Steve Kretzmann, a consultant with Amazon Watch who has been in a talks with Mr. Gore and his representatives. Hes the executor of the estate." (Helene Cooper, "Gore Faces Embarrassing Protests About Familys Occidental Shares," Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2000)

The Activists Are Right, Gore Had Sole And Unfettered Control Over The Assets Of His Fathers Estate For 16 Months. Gores father died on December 5, 1998. Under the terms of his fathers will, Gore was appointed executor of his fathers estate. On December 9, 1998, Gore filed his oath as executor. In a subsequent court filing, Gore "admitted that as of February 14, 2000, the trust for mothers benefit had not been funded. On March 9, 2000, the Court appointed his brother-in-law, Frank Hunger to serve as "alternate trustee." So for a period of 16 consecutive months (December 9, 1998 through March 9, 2000), Gore had sole and unfettered control over the assets of his fathers estate (which included the Oxy stock and the dividends paid thereon)." (Estate of Albert Gore, Sr., Smith County Probate Court, Case No. P-867)

Gores Claim That He Does Not "Control" The Occidental Stock Rings Hollow. In response to an on-line question about the Occidental stock, Gore denied that he could do anything with the holding:
Vice President Gore: "Actually, I don't own any stock in Occidental. Nor do I control any stock. When my father died 18 months ago, I was named executor of his estate -- a position which has one and only one duty: to see that the terms of the will are abided by. In discharging that responsibility I saw to it that the stock he left for the benefit of my mother was transferred to a Trust that is supposed to provide for her and her care. The trustee has the responsibility of managing the assets of the trust (which is about $500,000). I do not." (Gore On-Line Forum with The Washington Post, July 10, 2000)

Frank Hunger, Gore's brother-in-law, was appointed trustee over Pauline Gore's trust, which "controls" all the Oxy stock. Surely Gore cannot claim with a straight face that he can't sell the Oxy stock when Hunger, "has become a virtual brother to Gore since Gore's sister died," is a member of his closest political advisors known as Gores "kitchen cabinet" and participated in all of the final meetings regarding Gores selection of a vice presidential running mate. (Laurence McQuillan and Susan Page, "Gore Family, Aides Assist Decision," USA Today, August 8, 2000)

Occidentals Chief Armand Hammer "Was As Cozy With Gore Jr. As He Was With Gore Sr." "According to Neil Lyndon, who worked on Hammers personal staff and ghosted his memoirs, Witness to History, the Occidental chieftain was as cozy with Gore Jr. as he was with Gore Sr. When he came to Washington, Hammer regularly met Gore [Jr.] for lunch or dinner. They would often eat together in the company of Occidentals Washington lobbyists and fixers who, on Hammers behest, hosed tens of millions of dollars in bribes and favours into the political world, Lyndon writes." (Ken Silverstein, "Gores Oil Money; Occidental Petroleum and United States Foreign Policy in Colombia," The Nation, May 22, 2000)

Occidental Was One Of Gores Earliest Backers. Occidental Petroleum President William McSweeney was one of Gores earliest campaign contributors, dating back as far as Gores first congressional race. (Bill Turque, Inventing Al Gore, 2000, p. 124)

Occidental Has Continued To Fund Gore And The Democratic Party. Occidental has continued to be one of Al Gores major financial backers. Occidental loaned $100,000 to the 1992 Presidential Inaugural Committee while Gore was Vice President-elect. Furthermore, Occidental contributed $50,000 to the Democratic Party in response to a Gore fundraising phone call and $100,000 to the Democratic National Committee two days after Occidental Chairman Ray Irani spent the night in the Lincoln Bedroom. According to the Center for Public Integritys book, The Buying of the President, Occidental has contributed "more than $470,000 in soft money to various Democratic committees and causes" since 1992. (Charles Lewis, The Buying of the President 2000, pp. 151-152)

Throughout His Career, Gore Has Secured Special Access And Privileges To Occidental, His Major Financial Backer. Gores political offices allowed him to secure special favors for his Occidental backers, including Occidentals late Chairman Armand Hammer and Ray Irani, its current Chairman. Among the benefits conferred on Armand Hammer were prestigious invitations to the inaugurations of Ronald Reagan in 1985 and George Bush in 1989. After Hammers death in 1990, Gore continued his relationship with Occidental through Ray Irani. Not only did Gore have Irani invited to the second official state dinner held in honor of President Boris Yeltsin in 1994, he also placed Irani as part of a trade mission to Russia with Commerce Secretary Ron Brown in the spring of 1994. (Charles Lewis, The Buying of the President 2000, pp. 151-152)

GORE CHOSE THE CONCERNS OF OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM OVER THE PUBLIC INTEREST

Gore Chose To Protect Occidentals Interest In Synthetic Fuels Despite The Warnings Of Environmentalists. Occidental Petroleum, along with the oil company Tenneco, controls "over 5,000 acres of prime oil shale land in western Colorados Piceance Basin, which contains the worlds largest known reserves of oil shale." (Ellen Haddow, "Occidental Delays Shale Oil Project," The Associated Press, December 21, 1981) Oil shale is a prime component in the production of synthetic fuels, which environmentalists, such as the Sierra Club, have decried as "environmentally extremely dangerous, economically unsupportable, [and]. . . greatly disrupt[ive] [of] our economy." (Sierra Club Website, "Oil Shale and Synthetic Fuels Policy," adopted July 21, 1979) On four key votes, the League of Conservation Voters determined that Gore sided with the interests of synthetic fuel supporters, such as Occidental, against the concerns of environmentalists:

Gore voted against an amendment that "would have prevented the federal government from promoting massive synthetic fuel development for commercial use." (CQ Vote #258: Rejected 69-351: R 45-108; D 24-243, June 26, 1979; "How Congress Voted on Energy and the Environment," League of Conservation Voters, 1979)


Gore voted to authorize $20 billion to encourage development of synthetic fuels. (CQ Vote #336: Adopted 317-93: R 85-65; D 232-28, June 26, 1980)


Gore voted to rescind $5 billion from the U.S. Synthetic Fuels Corporation to prevent the adoption of an amendment that would have rescinded $10 billion. (CQ Vote #308: Adopted 236-177: R 67-94; D 169-83, August 2, 1984)


Gore voted to table (kill) an amendment that would have rescinded all but $500,000,001 in unobligated funds from the U.S. Synthetic Fuels Corporation, excluding $500 million that would have been transferred to the Clean Coal Technology Reserve. (CQ Vote #270: Motion Rejected 41-58: R 22-31; D 19-27, October 31, 1985)

The Administration Chose To Protect Occidentals Interests In Sudan Instead Of National Security. Sudan is clearly a state that is an enemy of the United States. Not only has Sudan frequently been on the State Departments list of terrorist-supporting states, but the Administration also actively supports rebel groups attempting to overthrow its government. ("Oil Deals and Arms Sales," The New York Times, January 28, 1997) Despite this, within months of signing the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, the Administration granted Occidental a waiver to the prohibitions on financial transactions with rogue states that sponsor terrorism. (David B. Ottaway, "GOP Targets Sudan Loophole Administration Approval of Transactions with Khartoum Prompts Scrutiny," The Washington Post, February 7, 1997) This waiver allowed Occidental Petroleum to explore several potential oil deposits in Sudan. ("Oil Deals and Arms Sales," The New York Times, January 28, 1997)

Gore's Big Oil Contributions From PACs And Individuals, Including $4,000 From Occidental Chief Armand Hammer.

PAC Year Amount
Occidental Petroleum 1990- $550
Burlington Resources 1990- $250
Burlington Resources 1986- $500
Burlington Resources 1984- $750
USX Corporation PAC 1984- $500
PAC Total $2,550

Individual Profession:

Kreidler, David Michael
Occidental Oil and Gas Corp.
June 16, 2000 $1,000

Janssen, Judith M. Ms.
Exxon Mobile Corp./Attorney
June 7, 2000 $ 250

Hayden, Ludwick Mr. Jr.
Chevron
June 30, 1999 $1,000

Duck, William G.
Chevron Corp.
May 21, 1999 $1,000

Irani, Ray R.
Occidental Petroleum/CEO
April 6, 1999 $1,000

Irani, Ray R.
Occidental Petroleum/CEO
March 31, 1999 $1,000

McGee, Robert
Occidental Intl. Corp./Busin
March 31, 1999 $1,000

Laurance, Dale R.
Occidental Petroleum Corp./Pres.
March 31, 1999 $1,000

Chazen, Stephen
Occidental Petroleum Corp./Exec.
March 31, 1999 $1,000

Ahnell, Arden
BP Amoco/Manager
March 23, 1999 $1,000

Fagre, Nathan
Occidental Oil and Gas Corp.
March 17, 1999 $1,000

Hammer, Armand Dr.
Occidental Petroleum Corp.
Aug. 30, 1990 $1,000

Irani, Ray R.
Occidental Petroleum Corp.
Aug. 20, 1990 $ 500

Stern, Alfred
Occidental Petroleum
Aug. 20, 1990 $ 500

Total For Individuals $24,750

Date Amount:

Stern, Gerald M.
Occidental Petroleum Corp.
Aug. 20, 1990 $1,000

Hammer, Armand Dr.
Occidental Petroleum Corp.
June 26, 1989 $1,000

Wood, Robert L. Jr. Mr.
Occidental Oil and Gas Corp. J
uly 29, 1988 $1,000

Irani, Ray Dr.
Occidental Petroleum Corp.
July 19, 1988 $1,000

McSweeny, William F. Mr.
Occidental Intl. Corp.
Feb. 23, 1988 $ 500

Ajamian, Florence Ms.
Occidental Petroleum Corp.
June 18, 1987 $ 500

Hammer, Armand Dr.
Occidental Petroleum
June 18, 1987 $1,000

Hammer, Michael Armand
Occidental Petroleum Corp.
June 18, 1987 $1,000

Irani, Ray R. Mr.
Occidental Petroleum Corp.
June 18, 1987 $1,000

Jacobs, Richard Mr.
Occidental Petroleum Corp.
June 18, 1987 $1,000

Patrick, William N. Mr.
Occidental Petroleum Corp.
June 18, 1987 $1,000

Stern, Gerald M. Mr.
Occidental Petroleum Corp.
June 18, 1987 $1,000

Stern, Gerald
Occidental Petroleum.
April 24, 1984 $1,000

Tomich, Rosemary E.
Occidental Petroleum
Feb. 6, 1984 $ 500

Hammer, Armand
Occidental Petroleum
March 16, 1983 $1,000

Grand Total $27,300

GORE CONTINUES TO SUPPORT BIG OIL THROUGH HIS SILENCE ON OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING

Once Again, Gore Is Promising To Ban Offshore Oil Drilling. In a television political ad on ocean drilling aired in November of 1999, Gore promised: "Ill not only continue the moratorium on new ocean drilling off Californias coast and Floridas, but Ill move to stop drilling in those areas already leased by previous administrations." ("Presidential Candidates Air Campaign Ads In New Hampshire, Iowa And South Carolina, Federal News Service, November 29, 2000) This was not a new Gore promise. In 1992, Gore made a similar promise: "I think that a ban on offshore drilling ought to be extended on the [sic] to all of the coastal waters of the United States." (Timothy Noah, "Campaign 92: Gore Treads Softly as Environmental Point Man, Fearing GOP Efforts to Label Him an Extremist," The Wall Street Journal, September 16, 1992)

Despite Gores Promises, He Has Refused To Get Involved In A Pending Offshore Drilling Case Involving Chevron. According to his staff, Vice President Gore cannot get involved in a pending decision that would allow Chevron to drill Floridas first producing offshore wells, maintaining that the decision is Commerce Secretary William Daleys. According to Eliot Diringer of the White House Council on Environmental Equality, "it wouldnt be appropriate for the White House to be weighing in. The Secretary has to base his opinion on the record before him." (Craig Pittman, "Chevron One Nod From Gulf Drilling," St. Petersburg Times, September 26, 1999) The St. Petersberg Times expressed the outrage of many Floridians: "Now Gore gives signs of trying to back out of his own promise. . . [o]pposing offshore drilling may have been a cheap campaign promise for Gore, but millions of Floridians take the issue very seriously and have long memories." (Editorial, "Gores Promise," St. Petersburg Times, September 29, 1999) (emphasis added)

Chevron Is A Key Gore Financial Backer. Chevron has contributed large amounts of soft money to Gore and his party. According to records on file with the Federal Election Commission, Chevron Corporation has given in excess of $346,000 in soft money donations to the Democrats from 1997 to the present. (FEC Info Website, www.tray.com, June 27, 2000) In addition, in 1999 Gore accepted $1,000 contributions for his presidential bid from two Chevron officials, Ludwick Hayden and William Duck. (FEC Info Website, www.tray.com, June 27, 2000)

Gore Has Refused To Oppose New Oil Leases. Just weeks after Gore pledged to ban all drilling off the coasts of Florida and California, Clinton/Gore Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt made a decision that would give oil companies more time to work on exploration and development plans. Gore sat by quietly while Babbitt extended 36 undeveloped oil leases. (Lynda Gledhill, "California Sues U.S. Government Over Offshore Oil," San Francisco Chronicle, November 17, 1999) That action prompted the Governor of California to sue the Clinton/Gore Administration in federal court for preliminary and permanent injunctions against the Interior Departments actions pending a review by the California Coastal Commission (CCC). (Lynda Gledhill, "California Sues U.S. Government Over Offshore Oil," San Francisco Chronicle, November 17, 1999)

Bradley Calls Gores Offshore Bluff. Gores campaign promises simply dont match the Clinton/Gore Administrations record on offshore drilling. Bill Bradley pointed out this fact during a campaign appearance in California. The former senator said that Gore "should have done more. . ." (Tessie Borden, "Bradley Criticizes Gore for not Pushing Ban in New Offshore Oil Drilling," The Associated Press, November 19, 1999) Bradley disagreed with Secretary Babbitts decision noting that "it came while Gore is in office" and "just weeks after Gore pledged to ban all drilling off the coasts of California and Florida if elected." (Tessie Borden, "Bradley Criticizes Gore For Not Pushing Ban In New Offshore Oil Drilling," The Associated Press, November 19, 1999) Bradley said that it showed that Gore is either "inefficient or. . . not really against it." (Tessie Borden, "Bradley Criticizes Gore For Not Pushing Ban In New Offshore Oil Drilling," The Associated Press, November 19, 1999)

Did Bush know of the impending losses when he sold his stock in 1990?

bushoil2_071399twp.jpg

The old Petroleum Building in Midland, where George W. Bush had his oil company offices.

1) "I wouldn't have sold if I had," Bush said. "I got clearance by the lawyer [Harken general counsel Larry E. Cummings] to sell this stock. I was mindful that this transaction would be completely scrutinized. I knew the law and I sold at a time that I was cleared to sell." Bush said he didn't seek a buyer, but was approached by a Los Angeles broker, Ralph D. Smith. Now retired, Smith said he had an institutional client who wanted a large bloc of Harken stock. Smith said he called other Harken officials before calling Bush on June 9, 1990. "I had no takers until I got to him," Smith said. "It was just like a shot out of the blue."

2) Bush's lawyer, Robert Jordan, who also represented Harken in the SEC inquiry, said Bush and other board members were not informed until July 13, 1990, in a communication from Harken president Mikel Faulkner that "operating losses were incurred in the second quarter, which will be further quantified and explained." Even then, Jordan said, Faulkner did not provide details. Many companies project and announce expected profits and losses before the end of a quarter, but Jordan said this was not done at Harken. Asked for a copy of the July 13 communique, or permission to inspect it, Jordan checked with company officials and said they would not allow it. He said Harken has "a policy of keeping internal documents private."

3) Before Bush's stock sale, Harken's audit committee Bush, Watson and another Harken director, Talat Othman met on June 11 with Faulkner and auditors from Arthur Andersen & Co., Harken's accountants. Jordan, however, said the committee "did not discuss operating losses that might be coming up, because that would be in the realm of conjecture and speculation." The minutes of the meeting, Jordan said, "show that."

4) Before giving Bush clearance to sell his stock, Jordan said that company counsel Cummings "checked with Mr. Faulkner at least and maybe others" to see if there was "any material, undisclosed information out there that would prevent the sale." The answer was no, Jordan said.

5) The SEC investigation was launched in April 1991 when it found that Bush apparently failed to submit notice of actual sale of the stock (as distinct from the separate "notice of proposed sale") until eight months after the deadline. Bush said he is sure he did, but the filing couldn't be found.

6) Bush was prepared, having obtained a letter from a top SEC official, associate director for enforcement Bruce A. Hiler, a year earlier. Dated Oct. 18, 1993, three weeks before Bush announced his candidacy for governor, the carefully worded letter was addressed to Jordan and said that "the investigation has been terminated as to the conduct of Mr. Bush, and that, at this time, no enforcement action is contemplated with respect to him."

7) Bush took that as vindication. "The SEC fully investigated the stock deal," he said in October 1994. "I was exonerated." Supporting Bush, the head of the SEC's enforcement division, William McLucas, went beyond the letter and stated publicly that "there was no case there."

8) Jordan said Harken provided investigators with "thousands of pages" of documents, including the June 11 minutes and Faulkner's July 13 communique. Investigators interviewed Cummings, stockbroker Smith and a member of the Arthur Andersen auditing team, but they did not talk to Faulkner or any other officers or directors of Harken.

Source: The Washington Post

A Quick Listing of Bush's Business Workings

In 1972, Bush entered Harvard Business School, earning his M.B.A. in 1975. Bush decided to try his hand in the oil business. He returned to Midland and formed an independent oil and gas exploration company that he called Arbusto (the Spanish word for bush).

The declining oil prices of the early 1980s took their toll on his company (by now renamed Bush Exploration), Bush accepted an offer to merge with an oil-investing fund called Spectrum 7, and became a chairman of the resulting corporation.

In 1986, after a sudden collapse in the price of oil, Bush arranged for Spectrum to be sold to Harken Energy for a bargain price. He later sold his original stock shares and made a considerable profit.

After the 1988 election Bush organized a group of wealthy investors (including himself) and arranged the purchase of the Texas Rangers professional baseball team. As the team's managing partner, Bush became a fixture in the stands at the Rangers' home games and earned a name for himself in Texas aside from his family's impressive legacy. (He also earned a good deal of moneyafter an initial outlay of only $606,000, Bush walked away with nearly $15 million when the team was sold in 1998.)

Biography.com

A Straight-Shooter Who Made Contacts

Despite frequent disappointments, Bush gained a reputation for straight-dealing, dogged effort and unshakable good humor. "There are people who live in $4 million homes, and have a yacht and then drill dry wells. That wasn't the case with George," said Kass, who visited Bush in Midland. "If you saw how George lived in Midland, no one could think he was living off their money."

Bush would hit the local bars and country clubs at night, but colleagues say his having fun was good business too. In Midland back then, "a lot of people liked to go out and play," said Mark Owen, a geologist who worked for Bush from 1980 to 1984 as vice president in charge of exploration. "That's how you make contacts. That's one of the reasons George got to know everybody in town."

Bush has acknowledged he drank too much in those days, but people who worked for him say that it didn't keep him from showing up at the office each morning at 8 and staying till 5 p.m. or often later.

Even though he wasn't a geologist, Bush "had a pretty good intuitive sense about the business," Owen said. "He had a real good feel for it. And he was great at raising money, putting deals together." Bush would travel around the country, sometimes with Owen, sometimes by himself, looking for partners. "That, in my mind, was George's strength," Owen said. "He knew a lot of people."

James McAninch, who joined Arbusto in 1982 to take charge of production, said Bush at that point was operating about 15 wells in the Midland area in which he had a majority interest.

"George was a good operator very honest and straightforward," McAninch said. "He hired you for what you were qualified to do. He didn't interfere. He turned you loose. He'd say, 'Man, it's your responsibility. You do your job, no problem.' ... He could make quick decisions too. ... He had enough savvy to ask almost all the right questions. And [months later] he'd remember what the answers were. He was very savvy about the oil fields."

Source: The Washington Post

A Few Quotes

1) "I was unencumbered in the sense of I was single and didn't have any possessions," recalled Bush, "and I wasn't tied to any plan that somebody had outlined for me. I got out there and it was clear this is the place I wanted to go." -Bush recalled after finishing Harvard Business School

2) "Geologists decide where to buy the leases," Rea said. "Landmen deal with people. George was ideal for that." -Paul Rea

3) "George was an easy sale," says Jonathan Bush. "I mean, the people that met him would say, right away, 'I'd like to drill with this guy.' ... He had run for Congress. He was an upstanding guy. They figured he knew what he was doing, but mostly they figured they'd get a fair shake with him. There were a lot of people bilking investors in the oil business in those days." -Jonathan Bush

4) "The only people who go into it are people that aren't going to miss the money," -Jonathan Bush

5) "I thought he was one of the most attractive people I'd ever met very classy, very smart," -Reynolds said after Bush stopped by Reynolds's Park Avenue office.

6) "I [was] slowly but surely building a solid, small producing company and I thought we'd developed a reputation as honest operators who worked hard [and], who gave people a fair shake. ... I'm not going to pretend it was any huge success at the time," Bush said. But "the story not told [by the balance sheets] is what prospects were being developed or what potential we had. ... I had some good leases in our inventory." -George W. Bush

7) "There are people who live in $4 million homes, and have a yacht and then drill dry wells. That wasn't the case with George," -said Kass

8) "We wanted [Bush's] leadership abilities, and his operational ability which we didn't have," DeWitt said. "And he actually operated wells. We took parts of wells, we never operated wells." -DeWitt

9) "There was obviously some notoriety because of who [Bush] was, but it didn't open any doors for us," DeWitt said. "I mean our doors were already opened."

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