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Is STRATFOR doing the bidding for Chevron Texaco and Conoco-Philips?

By Aleksander Boyd

London 01.03.06 | There's been much controversy about the article published recently by STRATFOR owner George Friedman. Some say that his analysis of the Venezuelan situation is flawless, whilst others argue that the piece was just an exercise, a bad one at that, at spreading misinformation about the dynamics of USA-Venezuela relationship. In Friedman's view oil is the core of the issue, and since said oil has been flowing north uninterruptedly, despite Chavez's chiaccheratas, the argument that a breaking of commercial relationships or an interruption of oil supplies, whether temporal or permanent, is just nonsense. Friedman however seems oblivious of the fact that Hugo Chavez has never characterised himself for having commercial interests at the top of his agenda.

It appears that, as far as operations in Venezuela's Hamaca project are concerned, both ChevronTexaco and Conoco Philips retain Stratfor's consulting services for substantial sums. Further, Chevron is perceived to be the sole American oil company that counts with Chavez's seal of approval. The recent reported request by the Venezuelan strongman to Chevron to increase production may serve just fine to prove the point. Additionaly there's Fadi Kabboul (aka Fadi Kabboul Abdelnour ID. 11644980), Minister Counselor for Energy Affairs in the Embassy of Venezuela in Washington. In some circles Kabboul is believed to be Chevron's man, in charge of advising Venezuelan Ambassador to the USA Bernardo Alvarez Herrera in energy issues and devising diplomatic and lobbying strategies vis-a-vis the US government. Gossip has it that Ali Moshiri, President of Chevron Texaco Latin America Upstream, may have influenced the Chavez regime regarding Kabboul's diplomatic placement.

Senior energy people within US Congress and Senate received emails from Chevron and Conoco staffers only minutes after Stratfor released Friedman's article to the web, commending his analysis and stressing upon the point that Chavez can do no evil.

The conflict of interests at play is rather evident. Firstly one sees a purportedly independent and objective strategic forecaster parroting arguments branded by its Big Oil patrons; secondly Chevron and Conoco bombarding senior energy figures in the US government arguing "see Stratfor's Friedman just confirms what we've been telling all along about Chavez's reliability...;" thirdly Chavez's appeal to Chevron to increase production -a company that for all intents and purposes represents the much touted 'imperialistic and capitalist evil' that Fidelito opposes so vehemently at least in public; fourthly that chap Fadi Kabboul, what are his tasks? Where does he come from; did he have a diplomatic career before Chavez? Is this yet another case of money talks...?

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