Business matters….What interest does the U.S. have in Libya?

The fight in Libya isn’t just about democracy. It’s also about giant American corporations happy to do business with Colonel Khaddafy, corporations that are probably more than a little worried about his regime. Why rock the boat when you’re making plenty of money from this regime. They’ve been doing business with Libya since Bush dropped sanctions in 2004.

The group included BP, a foreign company as well, Exxonmobil, Halliburton, Raytheon, Conocophillips and Northrop Grummond. And trade with Libya has gone up to $2.6 billion. The Libyan government has paid $2 million to three lobbying groups. Since then, the Livingston Group has been dropped. They say they dropped Libya, Libya says they dropped them. But overall, these firms have a vested interest in working with the current regime.

What are the consequences? Well, you’re investing to make sure there’s no change. Here’s a quote from the secretary general of the national conference of the Libyan opposition. He says, “We found ourselves at odds with the prosecute es sure groups of these american company. and previous officials in other administrations that took part in these groups. They think about oil. They take their own interest into account. They don’t care about human rights.”

>> now, some companies didn’t wait till 2004 to wait to do business with halliburton. he was already pressuring the clinton government to lift sanctions. then halliburton agreed to a $3.8 million fine for a ban on export. in fact, they sold parts for nuclear weapons. that’s pretty bad. here’s what dick cheney said in 1998, just a couple of years later when he was ceo of halliburton. quote, the good lord didn’t see fit to put oil and gas only where there are democratically elected regimes friendly to the united states. and that sums it all up. if there’s money to be made, you need to go make that money, even if you’re selling nuclear parts. marcus, great story. appreciate you coming on. first how might some of these things have effects. for example, are releasing the lockerbie bombing suspect, how does this happen?

>> they all pressure the administration to drop the amendment that allowed victims of terrorism-related incidents to seize assets from those governments.

>> that sounds logical, you want to help the families of the victims. but they didn’t get helped. why?

>> then what happened was the — through that pressure, the lautenberg amendment did actually go through, but there was immense pressure on those companies, pressure on the administration and at one point gadhafi even called in the conoco phillips ceo and browbeat him, according to a wikileaks cable, which is just stunning.

>> a lot of american people will say they’re not going to bow to that pressure, but there’s a lot of money involved. turning around to the u.s. goth saying you’ve got to lep us out.

>> is this something that could impede our business practices in those countries? it’s very sensitive right now, and mainly gadhafi is so annoyed. he’s going to kick us out. he even threatened to kick all the u.s. oil companies out of libya.

>> and that’s how real politic works. is there any reports or evidence that after the unrest has begun that companies are like hey, let’s ease off on going after gadhafi or no?

>> there is a little. people i talked to who run the show there have taken down their website. they’re waiting to see what happens and they’re all very, i think, worried. i mean, obviously they’re trying to get their people out of libya and they’re concerned it might not be a friendly environment for them when —

>> they already have the contracts with these guys and they don’t know if they’re going to get contracts with the new government. it’s very interesting. really appreciate you joining us.

About William Brighenti

William Brighenti is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified Business Valuation Analyst. Bill began his career in public accounting in 1979. Since then he has worked at various public accounting firms throughout Connecticut. Bill received a Master of Science in Professional Accounting degree from the University of Hartford, after attending the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University for his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. He subsequently attended Purdue University for doctoral studies in Accounting and Quantitative Methods in Business. Bill has instructed graduate and undergraduate courses in Accounting, Auditing, and other subjects at the University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, Hartford State Technical College, and Purdue University. He also taught GMAT and CPA Exam Review Classes at the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center and at Person-Wolinsky, and is certified to teach trade-related subjects at Connecticut Vocational Technical Schools. His articles on tax and accounting have been published in several professional journals throughout the country as well as on several accounting websites. William was born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, and served on the City's Board of Finance and Taxation as well as its City Plan Commission. In addition to the blog, Accounting and Taxes Simplified, Bill writes a blog, "The Barefoot Accountant", for the Accounting Web, a Sift Media publication.
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