Clinton Emails and the Privatization of Mexico’s State Owned Oil and Gas Company (1/2)
Thursday, August 13, 2015
SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome back to the Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. I’m in conversation with Steve Horn. We’re talking about Hillary Clinton’s emails and her involvement in breaking up the state-owned oil company in Mexico. Steve, thank you for joining us again.
STEVE HORN, DESMOGBLOG: Thanks for having me.
PERIES: So let’s get right into what Hillary Clinton’s involvement in all this is.
HORN: Well, Hillary Clinton of course, it’s still a little bit unclear exactly how much she was involved. All we have is of course very clear signs of her, more broadly her State Department’s involvement in this. But looking at Hillary Clinton specifically, talking about some of the contents of the emails, of the emails that are now up on the State Department’s website, you can see in the emails there is a reference referring back to a hearing Congress held in which she would likely be underquestioned by Senator Richard Lugar, who was then head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and now he retired, Republican senator from Indiana.
And in that, it refers to, this is something that he had been pushing for a long time. And what I found out was yes, this is a position, this international energy coordinator position, that helped spearhead these privatization efforts in Mexico. This is something that had been pushed since 2006. And it was actually, the idea was introduced at a speech that Lugar gave at the Brookings Institution back in 2006. And moderating that speech was a guy by the name of Carlos Pasqual, who at the time was a vice president of the Brookings Institution. Fast forward to Hillary Clinton’s State Department and he was actually named the United States ambassador to Mexico.
Not too long after that, after a couple of years, David Goldwyn leaves the international energy coordinator position. And in his place comes, lo and behold, Carlos Pasqual. So you do see connections, at least, the same exact people who are pushing this end up working at high levels of the United States government for the very reforms that they were pushing years before. Going back to Lugar for a second, of course, it’s a little bit indirect from Clinton. But she is the one who did help spearhead this. Lugar’s top energy aide was a guy by the name of Neil Brown. Neil Brown ended up leaving after Lugar retired and went to go work for David Goldwyn, who was the first international energy coordinator. He worked there for a year. He’s still listed as a senior
advisor on Goldwyn Global Strategies’ website. But actually, now Neil Brown works for Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, where former head of the CIA David Petraeus works, which is a huge private equity firm based in Manhattan. And KKR has very big ambitions in Mexico to invest in the oil and gas industry there. They already, as my article outlines, signed a big deal earlier this year with a company that is looking to do midstream, which is pipelines and that sort of thing, assets in Mexico.
Hillary Clinton, although it’s still unclear, there’s still lots of emails need to be released. Unclear if those emails will be released. Also, it’s unclear if those emails will come out redacted or not. Because lots of these emails even that I’m referring to now were heavily redacted. So it’s unclear how hands-on she was, but it’s very clear that she delegated these tasks to people like David Goldwyn, Carlos Pasqual. And these were the same people who came to assume roles in the private sector after planting the seeds of reform. So they’re now profiting from the very privatization situation that they created in Mexico for the oil and gas industry.
PERIES: Now Steve, this is a part of the norm about being in Washington. Many have come out being critical of this revolving door effect in Washington, where the private sector is the pool of people you attract when you come into office, and then of course when you leave those positions you benefit from it. Is there anybody in Washington who’s adamantly against this kind of private sector revolving door effect with the government? And is anyone advocating against this in Washington?
HORN: Well, we’ll just talk about in the context–of course more broadly yes, a lot of public interest groups are opposed to groups like Public Citizen, and various public interest groups in Washington, DC do oppose this or push for longer cooling-off periods between working for the government and working for the private sector.
That said, in the case of Mexico and concern over this issue, Mexico’s kind of been a forgotten thing in general, in discussion over oil and gas in North America. There’s obviously quite a bit of talk and a lot of the coverage of the tar sands in Canada, the tar sands pipelines. How Canada fits into this picture and the ties between Canada and the U.S. for energy. But Mexico has sort of, I think, been basically forgotten. I think a lot of people in the United States, it’s almost the fact that there was even these constitutional reforms back in December 2013 that did completely overhaul the oil and gas industry there, that is even news. It was not news that was widely covered in the United States except for in the business press and so on.
We have a lot of catching up to do in the United States, especially people who are interested in the environment, climate change, and energy. We have a lot of catching up to do on what’s been going on in Mexico. I think one big disadvantage, of course, is the language barrier. A lot of these articles in Mexico are coming out in Spanish and a lot of people in the United States don’t speak Spanish. I think that’s one big barrier. But I think there’s still a lot of reporting, a lot of investigating, to be done. I think all my article really did is raise a big premise that’s out there, that there was heavy State Department involvement.
PERIES: Steve, what do you make of Hillary Clinton and energy and environmental policy going into this presidential election campaign year?
HORN: Well, I do think that this clearly show–I think it’s another example of the role that her State Department that she led, the push that they have led to spread fracking technology around the world. More broadly looking at this, her State Department ran a program called the Global Shale Gas Initiative that still exists now. It’s called the Unconventional Gas Technical Engagement Program. This is part of her legacy at the State Department. It’s a program that still exists, as I said.
And it sort of, I think it should be [obv], I mean, to people watching. She’s very friendly to oil and gas interest now. She has heavy funding from bundlers who are in the oil and gas industry. She’s of course never, ever said anything critical about things like fracking. So she’s sort of, I mean, at this point still trying to posture as somebody who cares about the climate, that sort of thing. But the track record shows complete opposite. It shouldn’t be surprising people if she does become president and ends up pushing these same things she was pushing during her four years in the State Department.
PERIES: Steve Horn, thank you so much for joining us today.
HORN: Thanks for having me.
PERIES: And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.
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