Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Exxon. Working For You!

How is it that Dana Milbank can still be counted among the living? I can't believe he hasn't been whacked yet. Twice in the last while, he has delivered body blows to an already reeling White House and his latest story, based on yet more leaked documents, about Cheney's Energy Task Force exposes various oil company executives as liars. I can't believe the guy is still around, not having been packed up and, at the very least, shipped to Gitmo as an "enemy combatant." Why not? He doesn't wear a uniform as far as I know. Let's just hope the White House doesn't wise up to that approach.

In any event, the latest Milbank offering demonstrates rather convincingly, based on leaked White House documents, that several oil company executives apparently lied before Congress in testimony last week regarding them and their companies' roles in Cheney's 2001 Energy Task Force. Environmental groups had complained then and have been complaining ever since that they had been shut out of the process and sued to get records of those meetings. The White House, of course, resisted any and all attempts to get documents related to those meetings. This always made people wonder, what is so damn secret about an energy policy? Well, we still don't know but what we do now know is that all those execs who said their respective companies did not participate in any meetings with task force staff actually did.

According to Secret Sevice records of White House visits, those pesky things that nailed Judith Miller, here is what happened and here is what each exec said in answer to the question, "Did your company or any representatives of your companies participate in Vice President Cheney's energy task force in 2001?"

Exxon vice president James Rouse met with task force staff members on Feb. 14, 2001. In front of Congress and in response to the above question, Exxon CEO Lee Raymond answered, "No."

Chairman of Conoco, Archie Dunham met with task force staff members on March 21, 2001. In front of Congress and in response to the above question,, Conoco CEO James Mulva answered "We did not, no."

Royal Dutch/Shell chairman, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Shell Oil chairman Steven Miller and others met with task force staff members on April 17, 2001. In front of Congress and in response to the above question,, Shell Oil president John Hofmeister, answered "Not to my knowledge."

Well, you get the idea. Hofmeister appears to be the only smart one in the crowd, making his bid for plausible deniability. BP and Chevron were also involved in various consultations and meetings at the White House, but execs for those compnaies also claimed ignorance of such activity.

It really is amazing how all this company ...stuff goes on, secret meetings at the White House, wide spread accounting scams, whatever, and is supposedly unbeknownst to these befuddled CEOs. Why is it these overpaid executives, the people supposedly "in charge," never seem to know anything? If I were on the board or even a stockholder of a company being run by such a clown, I'd demand a resignation. Of course, we know they know. And they know we know that they know. But all the mutualised, recursive knowing collapses ingraciously when these CEOs stand in front of a judge and plead, "not guilty."

And, as a point of information, Milbank happily points out that
a person can be fined or imprisoned for up to five years for making "any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation" to Congress.
Oil company participation in the task force is absolutely no surprise. What is surprising is that oil company executives would risk fines and/or imprisonment denying something that everyone knows happened. That Cheney must be one scary fuck.


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