56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.
“We live in a nation in which a handful of very, very wealthy people have extraordinary power over our economy and our political life and the media,” Sanders told the boisterous crowd at a convention center near Charleston.
“They are very, very powerful and many of them are extremely greedy,” he continued. “For the life of me, I will never understand how a family like the Koch brothers, worth $85 billion, apparently think that’s not enough money.”
THE KOCH FAMILY
43. Koch, Charles (1935- ) ; Koch, David (1940 – )
Life-long libertarians who fund organizations which seek to dismantle the Federal Government. They are tied for the fifth richest persons in the world (Bloomberg Billionaire Index 8/22/15), and they use their combined fortune of over $100 billion to bankroll groups striving to do away with Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), public education, voting rights, the corporate income tax, and for the last seven years: The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). Their ideology was passed down to them by their father, who after making millions helping Stalin modernize the Soviet Union’s oil industry, became disenchanted with Communism, returned to Wichita, Kansas, and co-founded the notorious right-wing “John Birch Society.”
After Fred C. Koch’s death in 1967, his second eldest son, Charles, took over the reins of the family oil company and renamed it “Koch Industries.” Following a policy of systematically plowing profits back into the company, CEO Charles, and V.P. David have grown Koch Industries into a giant petrochemical conglomerate ranked as the second largest private company in the United States. For many years, the Koch brothers liked to keep a low profile, and described their company as “the biggest company you have never heard of;” however, in recent years, as their political activities have become more widely reported, they have been trying to polish their image. This is perhaps due to threats of boycotts against their retail products such as Stainmaster carpets, Brawny paper towels, and their nitrogen fertilizer, Agrotain. Check out the link below for one of their most recent ads. http://adage.com/article/agency-news/koch-industries-launches-national-campaign/293621/
The Koch’s political militancy first gained national attention in 1980 when David Koch ran as the vice-presidential candidate on the Libertarian Party ticket.
After only garnering about 1,000,000 votes, Charles and David began to explore other ways to inculcate to Americans their “small-government” ideology. They expanded their Libertarian organization, the Cato Institute, and in 2004, they founded their flagship foundation, Americans for Prosperity, which is closely allied to the conservative “Tea Party.” They also funded multifarious foundations which shared their beliefs, such as the Heritage foundation, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
Since their large donation to fellow Kansan Sen. Bob Dole’s presidential campaign in 1996, the Koch’s have been perceived by the general public as important manipulators of the American political system.
Using their vast wealth, and millions of dollars that they have collected from fellow billionaires and millionaires, the Koch’s secretive foundations have been highly successful in getting candidates elected who share their extreme free-market agenda. The Koch’s style of funding got an enormous boost when the Supreme Court’s monumental “Citizens United” decision in 2010 allowed unlimited corporate and union political spending as long as it is not coordinated with candidates’ campaigns. The brothers have announced that they plan to spend $900 million supporting conservative candidates in the 2016 election. This is much more than the Republican National Committee intends to spend.
The Koch’s Libertarian ideology and their fossil fuel business interests dovetail perfectly. They do not want any government “interference” in the lives of American citizens. They are against the minimum wage and collective bargaining, all regulations, especially environmental regulations, public education, “affirmative action,” Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. As presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders has said: “The agenda of the Koch brothers is to repeal every major piece of legislation that has been signed into law over the past 80 years that has protected the middle class, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the most vulnerable in this country.”
The reach of the Kochs’ political organization is often referred to as the “Kochtipus.” This multi-armed monster resembles a powerful sect headed up by self-appointed “popes” Charles and David Koch
The religious fervor with which the Kochs have promoted their materialistic ideology is at odds with the social justice movements espoused by all of the world’s established religions, especially the social gospel of the Catholic Church as first famously enunciated in Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical “Rerum Nonvarum,” which was prepared in Fribourg, Switzerland in the 1880’s.
The Kochs organize secretive biannual “conclaves” from which journalists are barred. Presidential hopefuls are eager to attend these meetings because wealthy conservatives use these events to determine to whom they will make campaign donations. Kowtowing to the Kochs at these conferences is appropriately called “kissing the ring.” The picture below demonstrates an attempt by Greenpeace to “crash” one of the Kochs’ conferences at Rancho Mirage in 2011.
Europeans were recently introduced to the billionaire Koch brothers via the “Luxembourg Leaks” (“Luxleaks”) scandal which rocked the EU last year. Using special tax deals cut in Luxembourg, many American companies have avoided payment of European corporate taxes. The Kochs used a Luxembourg company and one of their Swiss subsidiaries to outrageously reduce their tax burden. See the link below.
Koch Industries also used its European subsidiaries to get around sanctions against Iran, and though this was not deemed illegal, some would say it was unethical. Furthermore, Koch was also caught using its European branches to bribe foreign officials to obtain contracts seemingly in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Koch subsequently fired the employee who uncovered the bribes.
But by far the most egregious “sins” of the Koch brothers have been their funding of “climate-change-denial” organizations. In this regard, they are in direct conflict with Pope Francis. http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/global-warming/climate-deniers/koch-industries/
Here again, the Kochs have conveniently aligned their selfish business interests with their Libertarian ideology. The Kochs are big boosters of the so-called “Keystone XL Pipeline” project which would bring dirty tar-sand oil from Alberta, Canada, across the most important aquifer in the Great Plains of the United States, down to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. The environmental devastation that would be caused by the extraction, refining, and burning of this most polluting of all oils would be enormous. Witness the havoc that the mining of tar sands has wreaked over the beautiful boreal forest in Alberta, Canada.
A toxic residue created by the refinement of tar sands is the extremely dirty « petcoke.» Charles and David Koch are big dealers in this fuel which can no longer be burned in power plants in the U.S. Therefore, it is exported to China. Brother Bill Koch (see below) claims to be the biggest petcoke dealer in the world.
The Kochs are also in the fertilizer business—nitrate fertilizer is a petroleum and natural gaz by-product. Recent scientific studies have shown that the ubiquitous use of nitrogen fertilizers and the run-off it creates is polluting our water and ruining our soil.
Koch is currently embarked on a billion dollar expansion of its nitrogen company in Oklahoma. Third from the left at the ground-breaking of this project (see picture below) is Chase Koch, the head of Koch Fertilizer, and the son of Charles Koch.
Koch Industries has had numerous subsidiaries in Fribourg since 1970. Given Fribourg’s connection to the social justice gospel of the Catholic Church, I feel it is inappropriate that the Libertarian Kochs should be doing business out of “la cité catholique.” See my petition that calls on Fribourg to expel the Koch brothers!
Fribourg cos. : Koch Capital Services SA, Prendre des participations dans d’autres entreprises en Suisse et à l’étranger, procéder à des opérations de financement de toutes sortes, en particulier en faveur de sociétés du groupe, Cap 38,233. (23.7.98) Chemin des Primvères 45
Koch Energy SA, (merged into « Koch Oil Marketing) Servir d’intermédiaire dans des transactions commerciales, etc., Cap 0,05. (12.3.73, 26.10.02) Chemin des Primevères 45
Koch International Financial Services Company Ltd. à Bridgetown (Barbades) Succursale de Fribourg, établissement d’un centre de gestion de trésorerie et d’actifs ; activité non restrictive dans le domaine du crédit-bail, l’émission ou les investissements dans les prȇts, les titres de créances, le factoring, les cours, la couverture des risques financiers et ceux liés aux marchandises et aux échanges commerciaux, le capital risque, toute autre activité portant sur les services financiers. Cap US$ 14,747,032 (10.2.94, 23.1.95) Ch. des Primvères 41
Koch Minerals Sàrl, Acquisition, possession, administration et vente de participations des sociétés suisses ou étranger, etc., Cap 38,233. (21.12.10) Ch. Des Primvères 41
Koch Nitrogen International Sàrl, Au plan international : de faire le commerce, surtout dans la branche des produits d’engrais, y compris des produits d’urée-ammonium nitrate (UAN), d’urée et d’ammoniac, fairedu marketing, prendre des participations, conseiller les sociétés du groupe Koch et des tiers, exploiter des brevets et d’autres biens immatériels, etc., Cap 2,0. (3.4.03) Ch. Des Primevères 45
Koch Oil SA, Servir d’intermédiaire dans les transactions commerciales, faire le commerce international du pétrole et d’autres minéraux, ainsi que de tous produits dérivés de ces derniers, y compris les produits chimiques,le transport de tous minéraux et produits au moyen de bateaux, de pipelines ou d’une autre façon ; l’acquisition de la propriété de places d’emmagasinage et d’entrepȏts d’emmagasinage propres à cet effet ; le forage dans le but de prospecter du pétrole et d’autres minéraux, l’exploration de leurs lieux d’extraction dans le sens le plus large ; prise et gestion de participations. Cap 0,2 (7.2.72, 13.11.92) Ch. Des Primvères 45
Koch Oil Marketing SA, Produits pétroliers pétrochimiques, etc., Cap 0,45. (7.2.72, 13.11.92) Ch. Des Primvères 45
Komsa Sàrl, Die Gesellschaft bezweckt den Handel, insbesondere mit Mineral verwandten Producten, petrochemischen, chemischen und ähnlichen mineralischen Produkten, Cap CH 45’000 (25.3.09) Chemin des Primvères 45
Saracen Energy SA, (became Koch Energy SA, then was fused into Koch Oil Marketing SA) Servir d’intermédiaire dans des transactions commerciales ; faire le commerce international du pétrole et d’autres minéraux ainsi que de tous produits dérivés de ces derniers, y compris les produits chimiques ; et d’entrepȏts d’emmagasinage, propres à cet effet ; le forage dans le but de prospecter du pétrole et d’autres minéraux ; prise et gestion de participations. Achat et encaissements de créances de sociétés non apparentées. La société peut constituer des succursales et des sociétés filiales en Suisse et à l’étranger elle peut acquérir, gérer, aliéner et vendre des immeubles. Cap 0,05. (12.3.73, 17.7.95) Ch. Des Primvères 45
David Koch lives here in America’s most opulent apartment building
44. Koch, William I. “Bill” (1940 – )
Self-described “Petcoke King” and David Koch’s twin brother who waged a 20-year-long suit against brothers Charles and David in which he accused them of underpaying him and his brother Frederick by hundreds of millions of dollars when they bought out Bill’s and Fred’s stake in the family company in the 1980’s.
Frederick lives a secluded life, has never had a connection to the family business, occupies himself with restoring castles and mansions, and has been rumored to be a “closeted” gay man—which he adamantly denies.
Bill is by far the most interesting brother. He won the world’s premier yachting event in 1992, the America’s Cup. He is a world-class collector of rare wines and Western memorabilia. He recently started building a private Old West town on his ranch in Colorado. A few years ago, he was instrumental in exposing a ring of rare-wine counterfeiters. http://www.amazon.com/The-Billionaires-Vinegar-Mystery-Expensive/dp/0307338789
Bill and his twin, David, were brought up by their father to be highly competitive with each other. A recent exposé by Daniel Schulman—Sons of Wichita—has described the beatings the boys were expected to give each other as they were growing up.
When I first started looking into Koch Industries’ peculiar connections to Fribourg in the early 1990’s, I got wind of Bill Koch’s suit. So in 1995, I wrote to Mr. Koch to inform him of his brothers’ companies in the notorious Fribourg tax haven—just in case he did not know about it. He wrote back asking for more information, but I eventually realized that I would need some financial support to carry on my research in this area. So I wrote him again, and his Communications Director wrote back to tell me that Mr. Koch was unable to “support” my research at the time, and that they would look forward to reading my finished product. (See letters below). This blog might be considered as the first draft of that “finished product.” Obviously, I am not in a hurry!
One of the reasons that I felt comfortable writing to Bill Koch is because he had a reputation of being environmentally friendly; however, in recent years he has changed his point of view. He is now as much an anthropogenic climate change denier as his brothers (see the link to my petition, below)
Furthermore, he now has established three of his own companies in Fribourg, and may have already had a Fribourg company in the 1980’s: Oxbow Petroleum.
The billionaire climate-change denying Koch brothers—all three of them—have no business using beautiful Fribourg as a platform for their filthy fossil-fuel activities. Sign my petition which asks Fribourg to tell them to leave! https://www.change.org/p/directors-of-bluefactory-fribourg-must-expel-the-koch-brothers
Oxbow Carbon & Minerals International GmbH (Oxbow Carbon & minerals International Sàrl) (Oxbow Carbon & Minerals International LLC), Zweck: (i) Erwerb, dauernde Verwaltung und Veräusserung von von Beteiligungen an in- und ausländischen Unternehmen aller Art, im Besonderen von Unternehmen, welche im Handel mit Kohle und Kohleprodukten tätig sind, und (ii) Handel mit Kohle und Kohleprodukten, insbesondere Goss handel, Terminhandel sowie import und Export Von Rohstoffen, Metallen, organischen Werkstoffen, Halbfertgprodukten und Fertigprodukten jeglicher Art, insbesondere Handel mit Kohle basierten Produkten Einschliesslich Brennstoffen, Kalzinierte Erdölkoks, Kesselkohle, Kokskohle, Anthrazitkohle und Aktivkohle. (Nebenzweck gemäss Statuten), Cap CHF 30’000 (5.8.11) Rue du Simplon 13, c/o Oxbow Sulfer & Fertiliser S.à.r.l., Luxembourg, succursale de Fribourg, 1700 Fribourg
Oxbow Colombia Holdings GmbH (Oxbow Colombia Holdings LLC)Zweck: Erwerb, dauernde Verwaltung und Veräusserung von Beteiligungen an Unternehmen in Kolumbien und anderen Ländern sowie Verwaltung und Erbringung von Management- Dienstleistungen für diese Gesellschaften. (Nebenzweck gemäss Statuten), Cap CHF 20’000 (5.8.11) Rue du Simplon 13, c/o Oxbow Sulfer & Fertiliser S.à.r.l., Luxembourg, Succursale de Fribourg, 1700 Fribourg
Oxbow Sulphur & Fertilizer S.à.r.l., Luxembourg, succursale de Fribourg (Oxbow Sulphur & Fertiliser S.à.r.l., Luxembourg, Zweigniederlassung Freiburg) (Oxbow Sulphur & Fertiliser S.à.r.l., Luxembourg, Fribourg Branch) But : acquisition, détention et cession de participations dans toute société et entreprise luxembourgeoise et/ou étrangère ainsi qu’administration, gestion et mise en valeur de ces participations (cf. statuts pour but complet), Cap USD 5’000’000 (20.2.09) Rue du Simplon 13, 1700 Fribourg
NEXT TIME : READ MY OPEN LETTER TO POPE FRANCIS