aside The President-Elect’s Pick To Be Secretary Of State, Rex Tillerson

TRUMP-TILLERSON/ Photos, —Getty Images: Alexei Nikolsky—Tass

I concur with this statement, “If Tillerson is confirmed, “I would hope that he’d realize that he’s serving the interests of the country and not the interests of Exxon,” said (Philip H.) Gordon (to the Washington Post), now a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. This question also pertains to Mr. Rex Tillerson’s oil deal with Russia which is worth upwards of $500 billion dollars which is being blocked by 2014 U.S. and NATO’s sanctions against Russia due to its unprovoked invasion of Crimea, Ukraine. As per 1/9/17 USA Today, Mr. Tillerson did business with countries under U.S. sanctions like Iran. (See link below.)

The other questioning should be regarding his stance on climate change. In the past, he has given speeches downplaying people’s fears regarding climate change. He has made statements like, climate change is a problem in need of engineering solutions.

On 1/9/17 Missy Ryan and Steven Mufson of the Washington Post, ask the same question in their article, “How Exxon, under Rex Tillerson, won Iraqi oil fields and nearly lost Iraq.”

EXCERPTS:

When Ashti Hawrami, the oil minister from Iraq’s largely autonomous Kurdistan region, unfurled a map of untapped oil fields for a team of ExxonMobil officials in the spring of 2011, they saw possibility and profit.

The minister pointed to the blocks that had already been taken by other foreign firms as Iraqi Kurdistan, long at odds with the country’s central government over oil and territory, raced to establish itself as a player on world oil markets. He also showed them the fields that were still up for grabs. Tell me what you want, and we can start negotiating, Hawrami said, according to one former Exxon official who attended the meeting.

It was the start of months of hurried talks blessed by ExxonMobil’s chief executive, Rex Tillerson, and other senior executives back in Dallas. The company was making a high-stakes gamble that new agreements would pay off handsomely if the northern region held billions of barrels of accessible oil.

But the deal overseen by Tillerson, whose confirmation hearings to become secretary of state begin Wednesday, defied U.S. foreign policy aims, placing the company’s financial interests above the American goal of creating a stable, cohesive Iraq. U.S. diplomats had asked Exxon and other firms to wait, fearing that such deals would undermine their credibility with Iraqi authorities and worsen ethnic tensions that had led Iraq to the brink of civil war. A law governing nationwide oil investments was tied up in parliament, and Iraqi officials were rejecting the Kurdistan regional government’s authority to export oil or cut its own deals.Image result for PHOTO OF TILLERSON IN IRAQ

When word of Exxon’s partnership with the Kurds reached Washington, the State Department chided the oil firm: “When Exxon has sought our advice about this, we asked them to wait for national legislation. We told them we thought that was the best course of action,” then-spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. 

“Exxon’s 2011 exploration deal with the Kurdistan region provides a window into how Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the State Department, has approached doing business in one of the world’s most risky, complicated places, where giant energy deals can have far-reaching political effects.”

“The episode of petro-diplomacy illustrates Exxon’s willingness to blaze its own course in pursuit of corporate interests, even when it threatens to collide with U.S. foreign policy.”Image result for PHOTO OF TILLERSON IN IRAQ

When Iraq’s central government threatened to throw Exxon out of much larger, established operations in the south, Tillerson personally intervened, using his executive clout to smooth things over with authorities in Baghdad while making clear his company would weather the political fallout in pursuit of its central goal: a profitable deal.”

“It’s a big company that looks for ways to make money like all big companies,” Philip H. Gordon, a former White House coordinator for Middle East policy, said of Exxon. He said the controversial Iraqi Kurdistan contracts reflected a natural corporate instinct to act in the interest of shareholders, not the U.S. government.

“If Tillerson is confirmed, “I would hope that he’d realize that he’s serving the interests of the country and not the interests of Exxon,” said Gordon, now a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.”Image result for PHOTO OF TILLERSON IN IRAQ

Lawmakers will weigh Tillerson’s decades-long track record at Exxon this week when they convene to consider his nomination to be the next U.S. foreign policy chief.“ This was part of a bigger game of political leverage that was going on since the overthrow of Saddam in 2003, taking advantage of a weak central government, an ambiguous constitution,” Denise Natali, an expert on northern Iraq at National Defense University in Washington, said of Kurdish attempts to expand influence through oil deals.

But Khedery said the region remained attractive. “Despite it being far from perfect — the endemic corruption, the factionalism — the bottom-line assessment was that Kurdistan was going to be a much better operating environment than the Arab portion of the country,” he said.

In April 2011, after briefings about Iraq to senior Exxon officials, a team from Exxon and Shell met with Kurdish officials. Kurdish and company executives eventually settled on six fields that would be explored by the foreign firms. Afraid of losing out to other firms, Exxon raced to finish the talks. After Shell dropped out at the last minute, the company concluded the contract in October 2011.Image result for PHOTO OF TILLERSON IN IRAQ

“When news of the deal broke, some U.S. officials felt they were not given adequate notice by Exxon. Former company officials dispute that account. Either way, diplomats were worried the deal would disrupt parliamentary negotiations over the oil law and undercut their clout with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at a particularly sensitive time. For months, U.S. and Iraqi officials had been holding tense talks over a proposal to leave thousands of American troops beyond a departure deadline at the end of 2011. Only a few days after Exxon signed its deal, President Obama abruptly announced the talks had failed.”

“U.S. officials had long cautioned American firms against signing deals with Iraqi Kurdistan before the oil legislation was completed, but they stopped short of telling them they could not do them — they had no power, former officials said, to do so.”

“Adding to the friction, three of Exxon’s new blocks were in areas claimed by both Baghdad and Irbil, outside of the regional borders set before 2003. Despite the unresolved status of those areas, Kurdish officials argued that they, not the Iraqi government, controlled those plots. Exxon lawyers concluded contracts for those areas would be legal.”Image result for PHOTO OF TILLERSON IN IRAQ

“When Hussein al-Shahristani, who was Iraq’s oil minister at the time Exxon signed its deal for West Qurna, learned about the deal, he was irate.

“The position of the Iraqi government was always to reject this, and the company was informed that this was a violation of Iraqi law,” Shahristani said. While Iraq sought to deal with foreign firms “with trust and good intentions,” he said, “this move by ExxonMobil shook our confidence in them.”

“In securing the Exxon deal, Iraqi Kurdistan had wooed one of the largest U.S. companies and got it to lay claim to disputed areas, creating a foundation for greater independence and clearing a path for other companies, including Chevron, to follow.”Image result for PHOTO OF TILLERSON IN IRAQ

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, Irbil’s envoy to the United States, said that Kurdistan’s oil contracts “have put the Kurdistan region on the global energy map and have helped to internationalize our economy after years of enforced isolation.”

Officials in Baghdad saw Exxon’s decision to sign up for blocks such as Bashiqa, which lies entirely outside the current Kurdistan regional borders, as siding with Kurds in the land dispute.

“When any company comes and works in those areas, it’s clear that it’s contributing in inflaming a conflict and pouring oil on the flames,” Shahristani said.

“Alan Jeffers, a spokesman for Exxon, said the company followed “all laws and regulations” in pursuing the Iraqi Kurdistan deal. “Issues involving management of hydrocarbon resources in the Kurdistan region of Iraq are for the Iraqi people to resolve.” Related image

“Shahristani, who by the fall of 2011 had become deputy prime minister for energy matters, advised Maliki to withdraw the Qurna contract and take Exxon to international arbitration.”

“As Baghdad made threats, Exxon tried to convince Iraqi officials that greater production would benefit the country in the long run. In January 2013, Tillerson flew to Baghdad and met with Maliki himself.”

“There, Tillerson told Maliki that Exxon was “prepared to stay and operate in both [parts of the country] and it was the Iraqi government’s choice,” said a former senior State Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. “He didn’t blink. In the end, he came away with that deal.”Image result for PHOTO OF TILLERSON IN IRAQ

“The Iraqi Oil Ministry, despite its threats, never brought legal action against Exxon, but it did seek to exclude Exxon from a later auction and push it out of the southern production-boosting project.”

“I think a big part of it was Tillerson,” the former official continued. “He personally went out and negotiated with all the individuals including Maliki and explained why it was in their interest to have the largest private oil company in the world operating in Iraq and the negative signals that would be sent if they would leave them out.”

One official with a rival oil company, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a another major energy firm, said companies such as Exxon approach doing business in risky, politically unsettled places such as Iraq with a decades-long perspective. “You may not like the administration in any particular country today, but in 10 years time there’s going to be a different government.”

“In the end, he said, big firms “have to go to where the oil is and then manage the politics around that.”

RELATED ARTICLES:

ExxonMobil and Iran did business under secretary of … – USA Today www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/…didbusinessundertillerson/96359776- 1/9/17 – ExxonMobil did business with Iran, Syria and Sudan through a subsidiary while …  State led the company and those countries were under U.S. terrorism sanctions.

Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to be http://www.independent.co.uk › News › People1/9/17- Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to be questioned over ‘climate change cover-up’.

Tillerson Led Exxon’s Shift on Climate Change; Some Say ‘It Was All PR’ http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/28/business/…/rextillerson-secretary-of-state-exxon.html 12/28/16 – In 2009, Rex Tillerson

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7 comments

  1. Rex Tillerson as Sec of State is clearly a conflict of interest to say the least, basically the same as Obama appointing Hillary in 2009 with all her pay for play shenanigans (one of the main reasons she lost this election).
    Corruption is apparently inherent in big govt. 😦

    • Dear 1EarthUnited,

      When President Obama initially asked Secretary HRC to be Secretary of State, she declined because of potential conflict of interest problems. President Obama talked her into it. This is when she and Bill Clinton withdrew from the foundation as board members.

      The Clinton Foundation does a lot of great projects around the world and has the highest possible charity oversight organization’s ratings. Bill Gates is no fool and he is their number 1 contributor.There were problems because of a long time Bill Clinton aid, Mr. Doug Band. Eventually, the Clinton’s had to fire him.

      What happened was there were foreign leaders who complained about Mr. Doug Band to Bill Clinton about some of his tactics. He was pushing his own consulting firm, Teneo while booking speaking assignments for Bill Clinton which he had been doing for years. But Doug Band was not supposed to use those who contributed the Foundation for these purposes. As usual all of this is way too messy and confusing which paints Mr. and Mrs. Clinton in a negative light. In short, this story was not widely covered and there is a lot of misinformation out there.

      I suspect that Rex Tillerson will be appointed and will do just fine in the confirmation hearings if he can state for the record that he will place the U.S. national security interests before any business priorities for Exxon regarding the U.S. policy towards Russia and climate change.

      All of this was covered in the 10/28/16 Atlantic article:Doug Band: The Man at the Center of ‘Bill Clinton Inc. I was going to put a link here but it looks like it is no longer being posted, but I did blog on this subject based on a 9/22/13 New Republic report, “Data On Doug Band Who Is Central To A Wiki Leaks’ Email Regarding The Clinton Foundation.”

      Thanks for stopping by, Gronda

      • Thanks so much for the clarifications! There seems to be so much controversy regarding WikiLeaks releasing Hillary’s emails that revealed “improprieties”. Strange how FBI Director Comey announced reopening of email investigation a week prior to elections, which potentially cost HRC the election. What we the public don’t see are all the power plays taking place behind the scenes… scary how elections can be manipulated like that!

        • Dear iEarth United,

          Reality is, if anyone had their emails made public, there would be a lot of faces with sheepish grins. Most of us could not withstand the intense scrutiny that a lot of public officials are forced to endure. I would not receive any pleasure watching republican officials having their websites hacked by foreign governments to then have the data leaked to hurt their election chances. For me, this is a non partisan issue.

          Ciao, Gronda

  2. Gronda, we should not lose sight that Exxon-Mobil is being investigated by three state Attorney Generals for alleged misrepresentation of the impact of climate change on its business to shareholders, which is a securities crime. This occurred prior to Tillerson’s watch, but at the heart of the case is Exxon-Mobil retrenching from its position of conveying science to others, knowing in their own files and external speeches that climate change is a concern dating back to the 1970s. In the 1990s, the CEO hired the same PR firm the cigarette industry used to dissuade people about climate change calling it a hoax. They did their job well.

    Regardless of whether their alleged misrepresentation was intentional or not (and evidence make it appear it might be), lying to shareholders is a crime.

    This investigation should be completed in the near future. It should be noted last year, GOP Congress reps from fossil fuel states invited the AGs in to discuss what they have found. The AGs declined citing an active investigation. The Congressional people wanted to manage the message.

    Keith

    • Dear Keith,

      Thanks for sharing this important information.

      In 2006, Rex Tillerson was a part of changing the official position towards climate change, but my concern is that this may have been a PR maneuver/ window dressing which is not reflective of their internal / informal attitude.

      Mr. Tillerson in numerous meetings/ talks, has downplayed people’s fears about potential climate change negative consequences. He has indicated that climate change is a problem requiring engineering solutions.

      Here is a link…Tillerson Led Exxon’s Shift on Climate Change; Some Say ‘It Was All PR’ http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/28

      Ciao, Gronda

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