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Kemp and Bush are Both Leaking Oil

Mark Dankof | 30.07.2003 19:20 | Analysis | London | World

Jack Kemp's dubious role as liaison/broker between London based Free Market LLC and the Hugo Chavez regime in Venezuela, in an oil contract also involving the U. S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, reveals the depths of the cancer involved in both the neo-conservative movement in the United States and the Bush Administration itself.

Kemp and Bush Are Both Leaking Oil

By Mark Dankof

The Balochistan Post at

Mike Ceaser's July 21-27 Washington Times National Weekly article, entitled "Kemp's Oil Deal: Venezuela Marketing Work Draws Criticism," underscores the politically sticky character of the latest fax paus for the neo-conservative foundation, Empower America, and one of its two leading lights. Already reeling from the embarrassment accrued by the public exposure of the compulsive gambling addiction of former Education Secretary and Morals Czar Bill Bennett, the foundation must now explain the political and moral stench emanating from the role played by its other superstar, former pro football great and 1996 Republican vice-presidential candidate, Jack Kemp, in brokering a transparently greasy petroleum contract between the Venezuelan government of Castro look-alike, Hugo Chavez, and a shadowy company called Free Market Petroleum LLC.

The story boils down to this. Late last year, President Bush ordered the U. S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a 600-million-barrel reserve which stores crude in salt caverns along the Gulf of Mexico, to increase stock late last year. The reserve does not purchase oil directly, but receives in-kind royalty payments from American domestic oil producers. On occasion, these producers forego providing their own oil, sometimes obtaining oil for the reserve from brokers. Enter Free Market Petroleum LLC and Jack Kemp.

Kemp is on the Board of Directors of Free Market Petroleum LLC. The history of his involvement and the larger history of this company is as yet unknown. It is known, through the Wall Street Journal, that Kemp met with U. S. Energy Department Officials on behalf of Venezuela, while simultaneously holding another trump card--his friendship with the Venezuelan ambassador in Washington, a former oil executive named Bernardo Alvarez. The activities of Kemp and Alvarez, by the Journal's own admission, have included a joint presence at an editoral board meeting of the latter.

The result? A contract between Free Market Petroleum LLC and Venezuela's Ministry of Energy and Mines, involving the former's agreement to purchase 50,000 barrels of oil a day for three years from the latter, followed by the re-sale of the oil by Free Market to the U. S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The deal is potentially worth more than $1 billion; Free Market could earn $55 million in profits over 3 years. No one is talking about Jack Kemp's fee as the connected broker. And none of the direct participants are talking about the bitter irony inherent in the consummation of this most curious international business deal--that Mr. Kemp, described by the Washington Times as a "conservative free market advocate," has been drawn into a direct political and economic link to the Castroite regime of Hugo Chavez.

And what has follow-up research by the Times yet rendered about this cozy and lucrative arrangement? The Ceasar expose quotes Venezuelan critics of the oil contract as expressing concern that Free Market Petroleum LLC, registered in Delaware late last year, has no previous record of having carried out any previous business transactions. Phone calls to the number listed for their New York headquarters were answered by an investment firm, Whitestone Capital, where an employee referred inquiries to the London offices of Free Market chairman, Adrian Nash. Nash isn't returning calls. Jack Kemp has refrained from speaking to the Washington Times for the Ceasar story. And Jose Suarez Nunez, who has reported on the deal for Caracas' El Mundo newspaper, is quoted by the Times as saying that Free Market is a "company in a suitcase." Reassuringly, the company's Caracas representative, Arturo Sarmiento, is a whisky importer.

And finally, what are the implications of the timing? Insight magazine, in commenting on the Ceasar story in its The Insider column of August 5-18, page 6, drives its stake of cogent analysis through the heart of every average conservative who once trusted the gridiron world's leading contribution to Neo-Con deception and personal self-aggrandizement:

"The deal was done to bolster Venezuela's Castroite president, Hugo Chavez, in the middle of a strike by anticommunist oil workers seeking to bring down the Marxist regime. The Kemp story so saddened the conservative editors of the Times that they ran it on page 14."

Taken in tandem with the Condolezza Rice betrayal of American ally and anti-communist Jonas Savimbi in Angola, a move which exchanged American approval for Savimbi's assassination for Chevron access to the oil fields controlled by the Marxist MPLA, the Kemp debacle in Venezuela underscores the bankruptcy of our dying Republic, the addiction of the Republican Party to the British mercantilism of Lincoln's administration as documented by Thomas DiLorenzo in The Real Lincoln, and the totally impeachable character of a Presidential Administration as driven by lies about oil, WMDs, the Middle East, Israel, and civil liberties, as it is staffed by a cadre of crooks descendant from Ulysses Grant and Warren G. Harding.

And as for Kemp and Bennett, let's take the oil and gambling microscope and focus it on a bigger link with much higher stakes: their connection, and that of virtually all of the Neo-Con players surrounding Mr. Bush, with the government of Israel, its domestic lobby in the United States, and the proliferation of front groups and foundations whose nature is designed to conceal the influence of this cadre on American foreign policy in the Middle East and the leadership of both of the major political parties in this country. Time--and lives--and liberties--are running out.

[Mark Dankof was the Constitution Party candidate for U. S. Senate in Delaware in 2000. An ordained Lutheran pastor, he pursues full-time pastoral ministry in Philadelphia and a post-graduate dissertation at Westminster Theological Seminary. His web site, Mark Dankof's America, may be accessed at]

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