David Petraeus’ Biased Keystone XL Endorsement

by STEVE HORN

Former CIA-head David Petraeus’ City University of New York (CUNY) Macaulay Honors College seminar readings include several prominent Big Oil-funded “frackademia” studies, a recent DeSmogBlog investigation revealed.

Further digging into records obtained via New York’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) also reveals “a survey of the global economy to set the stage for the course” – as stated in an email from Petraeus to an unknown source due to redaction – utilizes the U.S. State Department’sKeystone XL environmental review written by Environmental Resources Management (ERM Group) to argue that Transcanada’s tar sands export pipeline deserves approval.

“[Redacted], atttached is a document that my Harvard researchers and I put together for the seminar I’ll lead at Macaulay Honors College of CUNY,” wrote Petraeus in the email. “It is intended to be a survey of the global economy to set the stage for the course…[It] will have considerable value, I think, for the undergrads in the course.”

The “Global Economy” survey was penned on behalf of Petraeus by Vivek Chilukuri, one of Petraeus’ researchers at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Public Policy, where Petraeus sits as a Non-Resident Fellow. Chilukuri serves as Editor-in-Chief for the Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics & Policy, and worked for Obama for America before the 2008 election.

It was at the Harvard Kennedy School where all of Petraeus’ troubles began. His biographer, Paula Broadwell, whom he had an affair with, met Petraeus while a Harvard graduate student, a scandal that ultimately drove him out of the CIA.

His CIA departure landed Petraeus his current gigs on Wall Street at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and as an adjunct professor at CUNY Honors College and University of Southern California – and coming full circle – back at Harvard, where the spool began to unravel.

Petraeus’ seminar survey includes an implied endorsement of industry-written fracking chemical disclosure via President Obama’s industry-stacked Energy Department Fracking Subcommittee, and the mythical “clean coal” – otherwise known as carbon capture and sequestration, as well as a cap-and-trade scheme that would include carbon trading of emissions from dirty coal plants for even dirtier shale gas production.

Petraeus’ Keystone XL Endorsement: No Mention of Men Behind Curtain

A call for the approval of Keystone XL’s northern half – the southern half is almost fully built via a March 2012 Obama Administration Executive Order – appears in the “Proposed Policies, Programs, Practices, Laws & Regulations” portion of Petraeus’ seminar survey. One of the proposed policy prongs: “accelerate domestic energy production consistent with environmental concerns.”

Prong “A” of “energy production consistent with environmental concerns,” according to the syllabus? “Authorize Keystone XL project given State Department’s favorable report,” states the survey.

Key context about the “favorable report” completely lacking from the course survey: it was written by API dues-paying member Environmental Resources Management, Inc. (ERM Group). Since the June 2008 proposal of Keystone XL, API has spent over $22 million lobbying for it.

ERM Group was chosen by TransCanada to do the report with the blessing of the State Department, and may have committed a federal crime by lying on its conflict-of-interest form when it said it did not have an ongoing business relationship with Transcanada. In fact, ERM has ongoing business ties with Transcanada in Alaska, contrary to what it said on its conflict-of-interest form, and is helping the company’s attempt to recieve approval of its South Central LNG pipeline project.

Beyond its claims that Keystone XL will have negligible environmental impacts, ERM has also given the “environmentally sound” rubberstamp to a Delaware tar sands refinery project, a Caspian Sea-area pipeline project and a Peruvian pipeline project. All of these projects ended up having negative impacts on the environment.

None of this information of “considerable value” will likely be included in Petraeus’ seminar, but ERM’s Keystone XL environmental review for the State Department will be one of the readings on his syllabus.

FracFocus Façade, “Embedded Environmentalists”

Prongs “B” and “C” of the energy portion of Petraeus’ overview of the global economy pertain to the controversial and ecologically toxic hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) process for oil and gas embedded deep within shale rock basins.

Prong “B” calls to “require disclosure of fracking contents,” which already exists in the form of standards written by Big Oil as part of the DOE Fracking Subcommittee, which consisted almost entirely of individuals with ties to Big Oil.

That Subcommittee created the loophole-ridden standards adopted by the Council of State Governments (CSG) and American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as “model bills” passed by statehouses nationwide. In May, those same standards were adopted by the Obama Interior Department for fracking on public lands.

Directly connected to this is prong “C,” calling for “embedded environmentalists at each phase of shale gas production.”

Enter the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and its Executive Director Fred Krupp, the “embedded environmentalists” member of the DOE Fracking Subcomittee. EDF’s “point person on policies relating to natural gas development,” according to its website, is Scott Anderson.

Anderson is a member of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, which opposes extending the federal Safe Drinking Water Act as it applies to fracking. He is also the former executive vice president and general counsel for the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association.

Anderson was also the only “embedded environmentalist” to speak at the now-infamous 2011 Houston shale gas industry public relations conference featured in “Gasland Part II,” in which Anadarko’s Matt Carmichael admitted he has his employees read the “Counterinsurgency Field Manual,” co-written by none other than David Petraeus.

Range Resources’ Matt Pitzarella also revealed that his fracking company utilizes psychological warfare operations (PSYOPs) tactics and personnel in Pennsylvania communities, with PSYOPs being a key counterinsurgency tactic.

Cap and Trade for Fracked Gas, Promotion of Mythical “Clean Coal”

Prongs “G” and “H” offer more of the same.

“G” calls for the “use [of] government revenue from the license fees and royalties taken from…oil and coal to finance tax credits for natural gas, renewables and energy R&D.” In what’s essentially an endorsement of “cap and trade,” Petraeus has chosen to teach Wall Street’s favorite false climate solution, explained succinctly by the “Story of Cap & Trade“.

And then there’s the fact that “natural gas” means fracked shale gas, which aCornell University study demonstrated is actually dirtier than coal over its entire lifecycle.

Lastly, “H” says the U.S. should “invest in carbon capture and storage [CCS] demonstration projects,” a key piece of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan, also sometimes referred to as illusory “clean coal.”

The problem with that plan? CCS – referred to by DeSmog’s Kevin Grandia in a recent article as “Obama’s technicolor dream” –  is not scientifically proven to remove carbon from the atmosphere.

In fact, sequestering huge amounts of carbon under the ground could be the next mega-disaster waiting to happen, as happened in Democratic Republic of Congo in 1986 when carbon trapped under the ground escaped and asphyxiated 1,700 people and 3,500 livestock in nearby towns.

“Setting the Stage” for Corporate Mis-Education

Coming full circle, the “survey of the global economy” will “set the stage for the course,” as described by Petraeus, and it will also have “considerable value.”

But for whom?

First and foremost, dirty energy industries and their Wall Street financiers, on whose behalf Petraeus will be working at his full-time job at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

Steve Horn is a Madison, WI-based freelance investigative journalist and Research Fellow at DeSmogBlog, where this piece originally appeared.

 

Steve Horn is a Madison, WI-based freelance investigative journalist and Research Fellow at DeSmogBlog, where this piece first appeared.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 05, 2015
John Eskow
The Fake Courage of Caitlyn Jenner
Mike Whitney
 The Brookings Institute Plan to Liquidate Syria 
John K. White
Life on the Layaway Plan: We’re All Greek Now
Ted Rall
14 Years Ago, a Woman Vindicated Me Now
Thomas Mountain
A Letter From Africa to #BlackLivesMatter
Roger Annis
Well-Known Canadian Journalist Visits Ukraine and Praises neo-Nazi
August 04, 2015
Vincent J. Roscigno
University Bureaucracy as Organized Crime
Paul Street
Bernie Sanders’ Top Five Race Problems: the Whiteness of Nominal Socialism
Herbert Dyer, Jr.
Is White Supremacy a Mental Disorder?
Ramzy Baroud
The Palestinian Bubble and the Burning of Toddler, Ali Dawabsha
Pepe Escobar
Reshuffling Eurasia’s Energy Deck — Iran, China and Pipelineistan
L. Michael Hager
The Battle Over BDS
Eric Draitser
Puerto Rico: Troubled Commonwealth or Debt Colony?
Colin Todhunter
Hypnotic Trance in Delhi: Monsanto, GMOs and the Looting of India’s Agriculture
Benjamin Willis
The New Cubanologos: What’s in a Word?
Matt Peppe
60 Minutes Provides Platform for US Military
Binoy Kampmark
The Turkish Mission: Reining in the Kurds
Eoin Higgins
Teaching Lessons of White Supremacy in Prime-Time: Blackrifice in the Post-Apocalyptic World of the CW’s The 100
Gary Corseri
Gaza: Our Child’s Shattered Face in the Mirror
Robert Dodge
The Nuclear World at 70
Paula Bach
Exit the Euro? Polemic with Greek Economist Costas Lapavitsas
August 03, 2015
Jack Dresser
The Case of Alison Weir: Two Palestinian Solidarity Organizations Borrow from Joe McCarthy’s Playbook
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Atomic Era Turns 70, as Nuclear Hazards Endure
Nelson Valdes
An Internet Legend: the Pope, Fidel and the Black President
Robert Hunziker
The Perfectly Nasty Ocean Storm
Ahmad Moussa
Incinerating Palestinian Children
Greg Felton
Greece Succumbs to Imperialist Banksterism
Binoy Kampmark
Stalling the Trans-Pacific Partnership: the Failure of the Hawai’i Talks
Ted Rall
My Letter to Nick Goldberg of the LA Times
Mark Weisbrot
New Greek Bailout Increases the Possibility of Grexit
Jose Martinez
Black/Hispanic/Women: a Leadership Crisis
Victor Grossman
German Know-Nothings Today
Patrick Walker
We’re Not Sandernistas: Reinventing the Wheels of Bernie’s Bandwagon
Norman Pollack
Moral Consequences of War: America’s Hegemonic Thirst
Ralph Nader
Republicans Support Massive Tax Evasion by Starving IRS Budget
Alexander Reid Ross
Colonial Pride and the Killing of Cecil the Lion
Suhayb Ahmed
What’s Happening in Britain: Jeremy Corbyn and the Future of the Labour Party
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times