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Reply #70: Poppy Strikes Gold [View All]

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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-23-05 08:29 AM
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70. Poppy Strikes Gold


And while the Bush family steadfastly believes that ex-felons should not have the right to vote for president, they have no objection to ex-cons putting presidents on their payroll. In 1996, despite pleas by U.S. church leaders, Poppy Bush gave several speeches (he charges $100,000 per talk) sponsored by organizations run by Rev. Sun Myung Moon, cult leader, tax cheatand formerly the guest of the U.S. federal prison system. Some of the loot for the Republican effort in the 19972000 election cycles came from an outfit called Barrick Corporation.

The sum, while over $100,000, is comparatively small change for the GOP, yet it seemed quite a gesture for a corporation based in Canada. Technically, the funds came from those associated with the Canadian's U.S. unit, Barrick Gold Strike.

They could well afford it. In the final days of the Bush (Senior) administration, the Interior Department made an extraordinary but little noticed change in procedures under the 1872 Mining Law, the gold rushera act that permitted those whiskered small-time prospectors with their tin pans and mules to stake claims on their tiny plots. The department initiated an expedited procedure for mining companies that allowed Barrick to swiftly lay claim to the largest gold find in America. In the terminology of the law, Barrick could "perfect its patent" on the estimated $10 billion in orefor which Barrick paid the U.S. Treasury a little under $10,000. Eureka!

Barrick, of course, had to put up cash for the initial property rights and the cost of digging out the booty (and the cost of donations, in smaller amounts, to support Nevada's Democratic senator, Harry Reid). Still, the shift in rules paid off big time: According to experts at the Mineral Policy Center of Washington, DC, Barrick savedand the U.S. taxpayer losta cool billion or so. Upon taking office, Bill Clinton's new interior secretary, Bruce Babbitt, called Barrick's claim the "biggest gold heist since the days of Butch Cassidy." Nevertheless, because the company followed the fast-track process laid out for them under Bush, this corporate Goldfinger had Babbitt by the legal nuggets. Clinton had no choice but to give them the gold mine while the public got the shaft.

Barrick says it had no contact whatsoever with the president at the time of the rules change.<1> There was always a place in Barrick's heart for the older Bushand a place on its payroll. In 1995, Barrick hired the former president as Honorary Senior Advisor to the Toronto company's International Advisory Board. Bush joined at the suggestion of former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, who, like Bush, had been ignominiously booted from office. I was a bit surprised that the president had signed on. When Bush was voted out of the White House, he vowed never to lobby or join a corporate board. The chairman of Barrick openly boasts that granting the title "Senior Advisor" was a sly maneuver to help Bush tiptoe around this promise.

I was curious: What does one do with a used president? Barrick vehemently denies that it appointed Bush "in order to procure him to make contact with other world leaders whom he knows, or who could be of considerable assistance" to the company. Yet, in September 1996, Bush wrote a letter to help convince Indonesian dictator Suharto to give Barrick a new, hot gold-mining concession.

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