The human was Enron’s Ken Lay
Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov has put the lid on a rebellion, but it’s just a matter of time before he gets burned so badly that he has to run for his life from a country that ranks in the world’s top 10 in both natural wealth and torture.
While we’re waiting for the 25 million angry and poor Uzbeks to come to a boil again, here’s evidence that George W. Bush doesn’t neglect human rights—at least when the human is one of his low friends in high places.
My current favorite is Lay’s April 3, 1997, letter to Bush (then the Texas governor), instructing Dubya to lobby Uzbekistan’s U.S. ambassador, Sadyq Safaev (left). Posted by The Smoking Gun, it’s addressed “Dear Governor Bush,” but Ken crossed that out and wrote “George.” It continued:
There was no pretense. Lay didn’t write, “I understand you have a meeting with … ” or “Do you have time in your schedule to … .” No, Lay instructed Bush: “You will be meeting … ” Lay’s four-paragraph letter was a script; its second paragraph contained the talking points:
The third paragraph alerted Bush to the fact that the Uzbek envoy was not only a dignitary but also a politician:
Lay, who always had the attention of his future president, wrapped up the letter with boilerplate stuff:
Anything you say, Ken. By the way, Enron got its deal with the Karimov regime. Enron eventually pulled back, and Exxon stepped in.
Not that those were the first U.S. companies to make deals with Karimov. In 1993, Dresser Industries—on whose board Dubya’s grandpa, Prescott Bush, sat for 22 years, and which gave Dubya’s pappy his first job after World War II—agreed to design and build a $200 million gas plant for the dictator’s state-owned Neftegas—the deal was helped along by $50 million from the U.S. Export-Import Bank, one of our many government agencies protecting, nourishing, and subsidizing corporate humans’ rights.
A few years later, in ’98, the CEO of Halliburton decided to acquire Dresser Industries. That CEO was Dick Cheney.