With so many conspiracy theories floating around, along with facts and verifiable evidence, to speak of another conspiracy is to tumble into the land of the crazed. Is this the era of postmodern political science fiction?
Talking to people about the various coincidental elements around the Sept 11 incident — when did the CIA know, and wasn’t Osama Bin Laden a CIA agent, and who invested funds in Airline stocks, I began to wonder, what is a real conspiracy? Conspiracy we know is a term used by the legal establishment to arrest people for talking to each other about acts they might commit but don’t have to do. Conspiracy is a blanket tool to catch all. The Chicago 7 or 8 (if you include Bobby Seal) were accused of a Conspiracy, in 1970-71, to disrupt the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, by the Federal Government. They were tried in the court of Judge Julius Hoffman who was a character out of a grotesque comic strip. The Conspiracy 8 brought 160 witnesses to testify for their case — which they considered necessary as the government was attacking the movement, so they brought in the movement. They were never convicted of a conspiracy but were charged with “contempt of court,” which was certainly true, but they also didn’t serve any real time for that either.
Now the September 11 event or conspiracy is almost as important as the Enron bankruptcy which one can call a conspiracy if one doesn’t know much about corporate business, the stock market, schemes and scams to invest/exchange money and make money without working or producing anything, manipulation of finances and the newer instruments such as derivatives and the old one — gambling and cheating.
If you are surprised by something you didn’t know, and are ignorant of the mechanisms of its operation, you might think “aha — a conspiracy.” Unfamiliarity or ignorance can lead to an assumption of conspiracy, simply through surprise as to how nasty the event can prove to be. The Enron story is filled with connivance’s that are complex but not unfathomable and even humorous. Tyco and Global Crossing are in similar trouble with lessor notoriety. The borrowing and inflating of prices, skimming corporate funds off the top by top management, stiffing the employees (not the workers — although them too — indirectly), financing/buying politicians who change the laws and “deregulate” to profit various deals and manipulative machinations — if all this is a surprise, you think “uh huh — a conspiracy.” However, if you read the papers deeply, looking beyond the headlines and into various sources, or you’ve taken Economics 101 and studied the stock market and understand some of its operation, then half the story is no surprise it’s corporate capitalism as usual and no conspiracy, just the way the system works.
There is a KPFA programmer, Dennis Bernstien (“Flashpoints”) who is very good at calling and talking to people who know much about the Enron scandal and the Sept 11 events — educated historians, writers, public officials, experts — who usually know the history of an event and so fill in data and insight not to be found in any of the usual news sources. When he does all this work, listeners begin to understand the operation, nevertheless, as an investigative reporter he considers most of these revelations a result of conspiracies. He has been at this sort of thing for no less than eight or nine years discovering each week another conspiracy. After about five of them, I sent him a note and said, “Hey friend, these are hardly conspiracies — this is the way the system works.” They cheat, hide the information, try to get away with it, outside or just inside the law, steal rob, lie and then cover up, hide, run away or scram. Low life gangsters do it in the movies, upper class corporate executives do it to their friends — rob and steal. Ivan Boesky's partner (old scandal) turned him in!. Boesky was an arbitrageur, an inside trader. The Enron event will turn up various co-workers in management who will turn others in — if it will get them less of a fine or avoid penalties.
The Wall Street Journal has written that they don’t expect anyone to go to jail since it is hard to pin down when they knew they were dealing and selling their stocks and delivered misinformation to others. Given the investigation of this event/scandal/crime (or criminal conspiracy — legal term) we can expect what the WSJ says, No one from Enron will go to jail. Now why?
Here is another part of the story, which may explain why, derived from an article in the NY Times (Jan 16, 02:C7) and followed up via the Net and web pages. We can call this “connective research’ not to be found in usual media examples.
The Justice Department has taken on the Enron case, as it should, since there may be some illegal acts that were committed, however it is a touchy, potential political nightmare for Bush and Cheney. The NY Times article opened with this firecracker:
“With Attorney General John Ashcroft and virtually the entire legal staff of the US attorneys office in Houston disqualified from the Enron criminal investigation, the Justice Department has been forced to rapidly assemble a pickup team of prosecutors and investigators to unravel Enron’s collapse.”
That piqued my interest as well it might. How come the “entire legal staff” in Houston had to recuse itself. (Funny word — not accuse, re-cuse). It turns out that the “criminal investigation will be centered in Houston,” after all the home of the Enron empire and the crime, however “the Justice Department is being forced to recruit a fresh team of prosecutors because Michael T. Shelby, the US attorney in Houston and virtually the entire legal staff of Mr. Shelby’s office were disqualified on grounds that they were acquainted with Enron employees.” I liked that paragraph as well. The “entire…” and “acquainted with Enron employees.” That was not the joke — there is a better one I found in a search for US Attorney M.T. Shelby. The announcement from his office in Texas stated: “Mt. Shelby … of the Southern District of Texas recused from participation in all matters related to the criminal investigation into the collapse into bankruptcy of Enron corporation because… The specific concern underlying this decision stems from the fact that a number of current employees, including the US Attorney, are related by blood or marriage to current or former employees of Enron who might at a later date be determined to be victims or witnesses in the matters expected to be investigated or civilly litigated.” They were not just acquaintances, hanging out at the same bars and fancy restaurants as attorneys and legal folks will do, rather there is “blood and marriage” between the legal arm of the US government in Houston and the criminal corporation of Enron. Mr. Shelby’s, brother-in-law is a lawyer for Enron North America.
How will the US Attorney’s Office in Houston handle the case?
Wait, there is one more step in this activity which would bring up the matter of conspiracy once more, if you thought or I thought or we thought, that they are tricking us and hiding something and doing it behind our backs, whereas this I declare, it is the modus operendi of such people. How do they engage in an investigation that will fail, collapse and come up with, “well, yuh see y’all, we lost the keys to the safe, and the documents got thrown away and we couldn’t find anythin’ anyway and there are no real facts we can pin on anyone and if there is then the doorman and the people who clean the buildin’ are guilty and will be sent to jail.” Remember bankers who put away the drug money don’t go to jail, it’s the small fry on the corner. Big shots in a few cases but the little guys get it first. If Lay or Skilling goes to jail then I will give up reading the Wall Street Journal.
That the US attorney in Houston is part of the fracas is only part of it. John Ashcroft who received some $50,000 for his campaign to the Senate from Enron recused himself, has chosen as his chief investigator an African American Deputy attorney general from Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Larry D. Thompson is the selected legal counselor, noted as the lawyer who helped Clarence Thomas gain his seat at the Supreme Court. The NY Times paragraph reads: “Mr. Thompson is proving to be a reliable second-in-command for Mr. Ashcroft and the White House. Top federal prosecutor in Atlanta during the presidency of Mr. Bush’s father. Mr. Thompson won his credentials with the Bush camp in 1991 when he helped guide Clarence Thomas through a tumultuous confirmation as Supreme Court justice.” (Jan 16: C7) “After Hill passed a polygraph test, Thompson issued a statement saying that one could both lie and pass a lie detector test “if a person suffers from a delusional disorder.” His statement was read into the Senate record and Thompson was identified only as a former US attorney, not a lawyer trying to defend a client.” (Women’s e-news). In the same net page, we learn Thompson the black lawyer and Thomas the other black (African American) lawyer “both worked for Monsanto Co. in St. Louis.”
Now, given Deputy Attorney General L. D. Thompson's relations to the Bush family father and son, to his friend the Supreme court justice and his one time employer Monsanto, how do you think he will prosecute this case against Enron? Will he be a diligent investigator and seize their funds and offshore accounts and freeze them so we, the taxpayers and energy rate payers, can regain all that money they sequestered, stole and skimmed off the shareholders and others? Will he drive them to the wall and indict them for criminal activities? Have you heard anything more about his operation? Is he still investigating?
Most likely, his investigation will turn up as much or less than the Congressional committees and the Wall St Journal is right, no one will go to prison for this and worse yet, the money may not be retrieved.
Not a conspiracy just a regular day in the role of the courts and the politicians with their capitalist friends in that now famous “united we stand” confluence.
Post Script: If by some accident, a civil legal suit or miracle the investigation of Enron begins to include Cheney and Bush, expect a bombing of some defenseless country. Clinton did it during his scandal and impeachment proceedings, why not these friends of “Kenny Boy”?