If I were putting together a curriculum on contemporary American history, the 2005 documentary “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” would be required viewing. It’s remarkable how scrubbed and forgotten this history is today even though it provides important clues on how modern Parasite Guild systems work.
In the 1990s, Enron Corporation was owner and operator of an interstate network of natural gas pipelines and became a kingpin in derivative trading, primarily in natural gas, electricity and internet bandwidth. Enron executives were master “market” manipulators. Before the company’s collapse in a frenzy of fraud and bankruptcy on Dec. 3, 2001, Enron employed approximately 29,000 staff and claimed bogus revenues of nearly $101 billion during 2000. The business “journalist” hacks at Fortune magazine named Enron “America’s Most Innovative Company” for six consecutive years.
The Enron Scandal took down one of the Big 5 accounting firms, Arthur Andersen, which had been Enron’s main auditor for years. It was found guilty of obstruction of justice for destroying documents related to the Enron audit.
Enron lobbied for unregulated markets. Once this was achieved under the Reagan administration, Enron made a major strategy shift to pursue unregulated markets in a gathering that became known as the “come to Jesus” meeting.
Next, Enron adopted mark-to-market accounting practices, reporting income and value of assets at their replacement cost (aka “make up any shit you want”). Convicted felon Andy Fastow was brought in to form “off-balance-sheet partnerships” as a method by which money-losing ventures could be concealed.
In reality, the firm was run by psychopaths. On April 17, 2001, at a time when there were still analysts scrutinizing the scene, Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling made what became an infamous comment during a conference call with financial analysts. In response to skeptic Richard Grubman, who stated, “You know, you are the only financial institution that can’t produce a balance sheet or cash flow statement with their earnings,” Skilling replied, “Thank you very much, we appreciate that … asshole.”
It was later discovered that many of Enron’s recorded assets and profits were inflated or even wholly fraudulent and nonexistent.
Skilling and many of the company’s executives sold $924 million of their own Enron stock in the months before the collapse and bankruptcy filing, making a substantial profit. Ever creative, his defense put forth another scam cartoon world legal concept, “honest services fraud,”, which held that even though Skilling committed illegal financial maneuvers (fraud), he did so in order to save the company and did not profit from it.
Typical of the slash-and-burn philosophy at Enron, Skilling’s favorite book was Richard Dawkins’ “The Selfish Gene.” Skilling held, by his own interpretation, a Darwinian view of what makes the world work. He believed that money and fear were the only things that motivated people. He set up a performance review committee (PRC) that would review employees and grade them on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being lowest. Fifteen percent of people had to be graded five regardless of absolute performance. Fives were given two weeks to try to find another job at Enron or be fired. The scheme came to be known as “rank and yank” and undoubtedly created a cutthroat culture within the business.
When interviewed outside court during his trial by Dutch journalist Stephan Tychon about industrial dominance and abuse, Skilling admitted that it was a global problem by saying: “Oh yes, yes sure, it does.”
A New Enron-Era Scam: Carbon Dioxide Cap and Trade
The 1990 Clean Air Act amendments authorized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to put a cap on the volume of pollutants an operator of a fossil-fueled plant is allowed to emit. In the early 1990s, Enron had helped establish the market for and became the major trader in the EPA’s $20-billion per-year sulphur dioxide cap-and-trade program, the forerunner of today’s proposed carbon-credit trade.
Always looking for the next scam, Enron came up with a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade program. The problem is that CO2 is not a pollutant, and therefore the EPA had no authority to cap its emission.
When Al Gore took office as Vice President under Bill Clinton in 1993, he immediately became infatuated with the idea of an international environmental regulatory regime. He led a U.S. initiative to review new projects around the world and issue “credits” of so many tons of annual CO2 emission reduction. Under law, a trading system was required.
This was exactly what Enron wanted because they were already trading pollutant credits. Enron vigorously lobbied Clinton and Congress, seeking EPA regulatory authority over CO2. From 1994 to 1996, the Enron Foundation contributed nearly $1 million dollars to the Nature Conservancy, whose Climate Change Project promotes global warming theories. Enron lavished almost $1.5 million on other environmental groups that support international energy controls to “reduce” global warming.
Executives at Enron worked closely with the Clinton administration to help create a scaremongering climate science environment, because the company believed the treaty could provide it with a monstrous financial windfall. The plan was that once the problem was in place, the solution would be trotted out.
Christopher Horner was hired by Enron, as director of relations with the Federal government. Horner came from U.S. Sen. Joseph Liebermann’s (D-Conn.) Environment Committee. That was in 1997, before the Kyoto Protocol was drafted. According to Homer, on his second day on the job, he was told that the No. 1 objective was to obtain an international treaty.
Enron had bought the world’s biggest wind power company, GE Wind, from General Electric. They now also owned the biggest solar power company in the world. Enron then started to finance everything related to the global warming hype, including grants to scientists who would provide results favorable to their interest, namely “proof” that humans were responsible for the excessive emissions of CO2.
If the Kyoto Protocol became established as part of U.S. and international law, Ken Lay, Enron’s CEO, had positioned Enron not only to make billions from sales of the natural gas, which was to displace coal as the preferred fuel under the Kyoto commitments, but as the main if not the only international and domestic trader in the new barter world of unregulated carbon credits.
A letter dated Sept. 1, 1998, signed by Ken Lay and a few other bigwigs asked President Clinton, in essence, to harm the reputations and credibility of scientists who argued that global warming was an overblown issue. The letter asked Clinton to shut off the public scientific debate on global warming. In particular, it requested that Clinton “moderate” the political aspects of this discussion by appointing a bipartisan Blue Ribbon Commission. The purpose of this commission was clear: high-level trashing of dissident scientists.
Meanwhile, Enron commissioned its own internal study of global warming science. It turned out to be largely in agreement with the same scientists that Enron was trying to shut up. After considering all of the inconsistencies in climate science, the report concluded: “The very real possibility is that the great climate alarm could be a false alarm. The anthropogenic warming could well be less than thought.”
True to it’s nature, Enron never made public its own findings.
Winter Watch Takeaway: The Kyoto Treaty was the brainchild of one of the most corrupt manipulative companies in history.