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Energy Scandals Caught on Tape - CBS

"The new tapes confirm that Enron secretly shut power plants down so they could cause, and then cash in on, the crisis." -- CBS, Feb 3, 2005

Dear friends,

The CBS article below gives the text of tape recordings of Enron traders laughing at the misery they caused in California. A link to the audio of these conversations obtained by CBS is also provided. The public was convinced that there was a severe power shortage in California, all the while Enron insiders were arranging to shut down a major plant and ship desperately needed energy out of the state, so that they could rake in massive profits. ABC also posted a long, revealing AP article with the subtitle "New Evidence Shows Enron's Power Scams Began Years Before 2000-01 West Coast Energy Crunch."

A New York Times article on the Enron manipulations states "Company officials had long denied that they illegally shut down plants to create artificial shortages. In March 2001 - two months after the recording showed how the Nevada plant was shut down - [Enron CEO Kenneth] Lay called any claims of market manipulation 'conspiracy theories.'" Accusations of "conspiracy theory" too often are thrown around when investigators start exposing sensitive truths.

Energy plays a decisive role in quest for power and profits. Manipulations around energy have been going on for many decades. Without gasoline and electricity, what would our lives be like? The power elite know how to take advantage of our dependence upon energy to make huge profits. The California power crisis is but one glaring example. For an excellent summary of the major cover-ups around energy, click here.  

As yet another example, it is clear now that pretext of weapons of mass destruction for the War in Iraq was largely fabricated. Could it be that the real reason for the war involved energy, i.e. to secure the second largest oil reserves in the world? I invite you to search "oil company profits" on your favorite search engine. While our young men and women sacrifice themselves in Iraq, the oil companies rake in the profits. And though the media are reporting the soaring oil profits, why do they make practically no effort to link them to the war? For more on who really profits in wars, take a look at the powerful essay by a highly decorated US general titled War is a Racket. Please help to educate your friends and colleagues by spreading this important news.

With very best wishes,
Fred Burks for
- article below
For video footage of this story on CBS, click on "Enron Schemers on Tape" at the link below:

Enron Schemes Caught On Tape
CBS - Feb. 3, 2005

During the West Coast Power crisis homes went dark and streetlights were out in California – causing injuries and accidents. But the danger didn't stop Enron's energy traders from having a good laugh.

CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales reports on the Enron scheme, as caught on new audio tape. The traders and plant operator laugh and plot in a display that seems to prove the theory that years before the energy crisis, Enron manipulated markets.

"They had to do a rolling blackout through the town and there was a red light there he didn't see," one Enron trader says on tape.

"That's beautiful," a second voice responds.

"I'm like, this is causing animosity throughout the state now," the first says. "Cars are blowing up."

The new tapes – routinely recorded by Enron to protect their own deals and later obtained by this small utility in Washington state – confirm what CBS News has been reporting for four years: That Enron secretly shut power plants down so they could cause, and then cash in on, the crisis.

"Ah, we want you guys to get a little creative..." one voice says on the tape.

"OK," a plant operator replies.

"...and come up with a reason to go down," the first man finishes his sentence.

Plant operators were coached on how to lie to officials.

"Just call 'em, Hey guys...we're coming down," one Enron trader says. The plant operator replies, "OK, so we're just comin' down for some maintenance, like a forced outage type thing?"

"Right," the trader says.

"And that's cool?" the plant operator asks.

"Hopefully," the trader responds, to which the men are heard laughing.

Enron also pulled power out of states like California, causing emergency conditions to worsen.

"Sorry California," an Enron trader says. "I'm bringing all our power out of state today. I moved out six – over six hundred megawatts."

The "shut downs" and "pull outs" triggered sky high power prices.

"We're just making money hand over fist!" one voice is heard saying on the tape.

And when states complained, the guys at Enron seemed to have a response.

"Get a f****** clue," one says. "Yeah," another chimes in. "Leave us alone. Let us make a little bit of money."

"Exactly," says another trader.

But when the schemes began to unravel, employees blamed the men running Enron.

"I told you they were all crooks," one Enron employee is heard saying. "I just didn't know how much."

"As far as I'm concerned, nothing happened at Enron that Ken Lay didn't bless," another says.

But former CEO Ken Lay – in this Enron training tape obtained by CBS News – had a different message.

"Enron in a company that deals with everyone with absolute integrity. We play by all of the rules," Lay said in a pre-recorded video.

A federal Grand Jury didn't buy it. Lay has been indicted, and the tapes could be used as evidence against him. As can other video and audiotapes. An Enron spokesperson would only say the company continues to cooperate with all ongoing investigations.

For other reliable, revealing articles on energy cover-ups, see


See our archive of revealing news articles at

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