Enron, a company valued in the billions on Wall Street, suddenly filed for the largest bankruptcy claim in the history of the known universe. 4,000 employees were abruptly shown the door after having been barred from dumping the company stock, meant to fund their retirement, while it was worth something. Meanwhile, Enron executives in the know were able to dump the stock, back when it was the gold standard on the Street, for a cool $1 billion.

Apparently, Enron was ailing for quite a long time. The aforementioned executives were able to maintain the mirage of financial viability by stuffing debt into what are called 'off-balance-sheet partnerships.' In essence, each of the executives built personal banking bunkers and hid what has been revealed to be staggering Enron debts within them, keeping fact that the company was hemorrhaging money off the publicly displayed balance
sheets. This maintained the company's credit rating, and allowed it to continue doing business.

This went on for four years, which means several things. It means most of
the Enron executives were aware of and/or actively participating in this
highly criminal and irresponsible activity. It means the stockholders,
including 4,000 loyal Enron employees, were lied to. It probably means that
the executives knew the stock value was doomed when they bailed out and
cashed in several months ago. It means they let their employees lose the
retirement funds they believed were growing within their Enron stock
portfolios. It means a lot of people got screwed by a pack of sharp
operators who didn't give a damn about anyone but themselves.

All this could simply be chalked up as yet another story of corporate greed
run amok, until the umbilical political and financial connections between
Bush and Enron are illuminated. Enron's capo, Kenneth Lay, was perhaps the
best financial friend George W. Bush has ever known. Lay and a number of
Enron employees essentially bankrolled Bush's 2000 Presidential campaign,
going so far as to lend Bush an Enron corporate jet for trips between
whistle stops. Before Bush got White House stars in his eyes, he worked
very closely with Enron on energy policy in Texas.

This close connection led to the Bush administration's hiring of a number
of influential individuals within Enron's orbit for important government

- Thomas E. White, Bush's Secretary of the Army, was once Vice-Chairman of
Enron Energy Service, and held millions in Enron stock;

- Presidential Advisor Karl Rove owned as much as $250,000 in Enron stock;

- Economic adviser Larry Lindsay leapt straight from Enron to his current
White House job;

- Federal Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick did the same;

- SEC Chairman Harvey Pitts was hand-picked by Kenneth Lay for the
position, due to his notorious aversion to governmental regulation of any

There are some thirty one Bush administration officials who had a line item
for Enron in their stock portfolio, including Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld.  (A bibliographic record brought into a purchase order or invoice.)
It is fair to say that the woebegone corporation held, and continues
to hold, enormous influence over the day-to-day machinations of
Federal government policy. One wonders if Bush's recent gutting of the
Clean Air Act, a decision designed to improve the fortunes of companies
like Enron, was the brainchild of people with deep connections to the
energy industry.

The trail of influence left by Enron leads also to the scabrous heart
ventricles of Vice President Dick Cheney, who admitted recently to six
separate meetings with Enron executives while formulating the Bush
administration's energy policy. Cheney, a former executive of the
Halliburton Petroleum interest, was in charge of creating this policy. For
reasons soon to be exposed by subpoena, Cheney refused to detail the
specifics of the creation of this policy, which included the multiple Enron

The General Accounting Office was preparing to sue Cheney to reveal this
information when the September 11th attacks took place. Those subpoenas may
be dusted off and mailed within a month. In the meantime, the Justice
Department is preparing a serious criminal investigation into the collapse
of Enron. The Democratically-controlled Senate is planning hearings on the
matter as well. Columnist Robert Scheer has referred to the Bush
administration's involvement in the Enron debacle as "Whitewater in
spades." One wonders if "Watergate" would be a more appropriate comparison.

Bush's own dealings within the energy industry carry a disturbingly
familiar echo to the Enron situation: once upon a time, he was a
high-ranking officer of a petroleum interest called Harken Oil. On June 22,
1990, Bush sold his Harken stock and made $848,560, earning him a 200%
profit. One week later, Harken announced a $23.2 million loss in quarterly
earnings and its stock dropped sharply, losing 60 percent of its value over
the next six months. Bush made a bundle while the other investors lost
millions. Harken was Enron in miniature, and might have served as a warning
to the American people if the press had chosen to pay any attention to it
during the 2000 Presidential campaign.

There is a school of thought, espoused primarily by Republicans, that any
investigation into potentially dishonorable or illegal actions by the Bush
administration is tantamount to treason. We are at war, undeclared though
it may be, and Bush must be free to prosecute this war vigorously, so as to
defend our freedom and bring the murderers of American civilians to
justice. If reports recently aired on CNN have any credence, however, Bush
and his people may well have to answer for actions that make the Enron
catastrophe look like a jaywalking offense, actions that led directly to
the incredible carnage in New York and Washington, D.C.

In 1998, during the Clinton administration, the U.S.-based energy concern
Unocal canceled plans to exploit massive natural gas deposits in
Turkmenistan. They had planned to run a pipeline from Turkmenistan to
Pakistan, where the natural gas could have been processed for Asian and
Western energy markets. The idea was scuttled after Clinton ordered the
cruise missile bombing of Afghanistan in response to a terrorist attack
upon U.S. embassies in Africa which were planned and executed by Osama bin
Laden. The pipeline would have had to pass through Afghanistan, and Unocal
was given the message in Technicolor by Clinton's people that
Taliban-controlled Afghanistan was not to be given any sort of financial

Apparently, the Bush administration found no moral dilemma in dealing with
the Taliban to get to the gas. Immediately upon their arrival in
Washington, a vigorous courtship of the Taliban was undertaken by Bush's
people. In fact, if former U.N. weapons inspector Richard Butler is to be
believed, the Bush administration had a vested interest in strengthening
and stabilizing the Taliban regime, because a stable regime would compel
investors to revive the Turkmenistan natural gas pipeline deal. The
Taliban, demon of the moment, was the Bush administration's idea of a
'stable' government. Stable enough, anyway, to see the pipeline through.

The connections between Bush and the Taliban became so close that the
Taliban went so far as to hire an expert on U.S. public relations named
Laila Helms, so as to smooth the way between the two regimes. Meetings
between the two nations continued at a high level, the last of which
occurred in August, scant weeks before the September 11th attacks. All of
these actions were taken to exploit the vast energy reserves in
Turkmenistan for the benefit of American energy corporations.

The cozy relationship between Bush and the Taliban frustrated the
investigative efforts of former Deputy Director of the FBI John O'Neill.
O'Neill was the FBI's chief bin Laden hunter, in charge of the
investigations into the bin Laden-connected bombings of the World Trade
Center in 1993, the destruction of an American troop barracks in Saudi
Arabia in 1996, the African embassy bombings in 1998, and the attack upon
the U.S.S. Cole in 2000.

O'Neill quit the FBI in protest two weeks before the destruction of the
World Trade Center towers. He did so because his investigation was hindered
by the Bush administration's connections to the Taliban, and by the
interests of American petroleum companies. O'Neill was quoted as stating,
"The main obstacles to investigating Islamic terrorism were U.S. oil
corporate interests, and the role played by Saudi Arabia in it." After
leaving the FBI, O'Neill took a position as head of security for the World
Trade Center. He died on September 11th, 2001, trying to save people
trapped by the attack, when the towers came down on top of him. The irony
in this, simply, is horrifying.

In essence, the Federal agent who knew more about bin Laden than any living
American was kept from investigating terrorist threats against this
country. He was hindered because the Bush administration was desperate to
cultivate the favor of the Taliban, who held terrorist mastermind Osama bin
Laden in great esteem, so as to gain access to lucrative natural gas
deposits in Turkmenistan.

If these allegations prove true, Bush and his friends allowed this affinity
to hamstring investigations that could have thwarted bin Laden's September
plans. If these allegations prove true, everything since September 11th has
been a massive cover-up operation in which American soldiers and thousands
of Afghan civilians have died. If these allegations prove true, the Bush
administration has the blood of thousands of American civilians on its

If these allegations carry even the faintest whiff of credibility, George
W. Bush and members of his administration stand in taint of high treason
and murder.

On November 7th, 2000, a clear majority of Americans came to the conclusion
that George W. Bush was unfit to govern this nation. For a variety of dark
and controversial reasons, that conclusion was thrown over. Sometime soon,
if the media's electronic web continues to carry these sordid stories of
corruption, greed and death, the American people will come to fully
understand the consequences of that failed election.

It is one thing to coddle and court a corrupt energy company for political
and financial gain. It is quite another to coddle and court a murderous
terrorist-supporting regime, hindering anti-terrorism investigations in the
process, for the purpose of exploiting valuable natural resources. The
former cost a number of people their retirement funds. The latter has cost
thousands of people their lives. One is criminal. The other is abominable.
George W. Bush is deeply implicated in both. There will be hell to pay.