Distraction and Disguise: Koch Tactics 101

How do the Koch Brothers (Charles and David) get away with their scofflaw behavior? By distracting the populace and disguising their real motivation. Distraction and disguise might seem to be contrary, but they actually work in tandem, letting the malefactors be both obvious (what good is being bad if nobody notices?) and secretive at the same time.

The Brunswick Cellulose plant, picked up by the Koch Brothers when they acquired the Georgia Pacific Company to shutter the alternative fuel plants and protect their coal and oil interests, is a good example of how ulterior motives affect business decisions. The derelict assets, still known as Brunswick Cellulose, weren’t acquired in the interest of profitable enterprise, but to set up a loss.

Similarly, getting a three year permit to “improve” and “repair” a walkway to a “serviceable” dock is about something else. Always the ulterior motive. One is reminded of the killdeer feigning a broken wing to distract potential predators from its nest in the underbrush.

See the site under consideration?

Now see what portion of the derelict dock and walkways are to be repaired.

I’ve circled it in yellow.

Yes, to be fair, there’s also a proposal to remove some derelict buildings, but the agency they applied to for an LOP (Letter of Permission) doesn’t deal with structures, new or derelict, in upland regions.

And, since the footprint in the water, as Brunswick Cellulose asserts, is not going to be increased, there’s no need to involve the Coast Guard, whose engineers might have another opinion about this obvious hazard to navigation.

By following the process of applying for a minor project with all the appearances of civic involvement, they’ve got the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to agree that the dock, which hasn’t seen any deliveries of salt in ages (those remnants of salt piles in the first image are now host to brown algae) is serviceable, for something. No saying what.

Because the marshland protection people have no business looking at the rotting pilings in the river underneath, there’s little risk of the DNR inspectors forwarding a complaint to the engineers. Besides, the company has clearly specified the conditions under which inspections will take place:

…the DNR will retain a right to enter onto this property subject to the license, upon the presentation of credentials and other documents as may be required by law, to inspect at reasonable times any facilities, equipment, structures or operations thereon that are regulated under the license. We understand that the waiver of our “right of expectation of privacy” as stated in the request, is strictly limited to the property subject to this license and is primarily for purposes summarized above.

Bolding by poster.

How does a public company, organized under the statutes of one or several states, have an “expectation of privacy”? By claiming it and getting a permit without it being challenged. Permitting has been expanded into a grant of rights that aren’t even there. See how that works? It’s sort of like “informed consent” protecting against claims of malpractice. Talk about “regulatory capture.” Kidnapping might be more apt.

If you think this interpretation is far-fetched, take a look at how “safety” and “security” are being deployed to render this enterprise an exclusive enclave, keeping the public, as well as our representatives out. Access is controlled by a security firm, Abbottsfield.

Contractor screening program to monitor access to Brunswick Cellulose plant --intro.

The next page specifies that this evaluation program and certification, where all answers have to be 100% correct only works with Microsoft Internet Explorer. MACs and alternate browsers need not apply.

Abbottsfield helpful advice.

Who knew that “computer problems” could come in so handy? I think that’s called making lemonade out of lemons. Or “failure by design.” Or, as A.D. “Pete” Correll, Georgia-Pacific chairman and chief executive put it, “Every time we made an acquisition we’ve been on the defensive.” Perhaps that’s the predator’s curse, the sense that, if one’s demise is next, it’s better to plan for it.

So, to recap: the Koch Brothers acquired a near derelict enterprise to protect their primary interests in taking natural resources (coal and oil) to market for a profit and then they relied on the public’s regulatory regime to protect themselves from critical inspection for at least three years. Which leaves us with the question what we would find, other than a rotting dock and railing-less walkways, if proper inspection of an industrial facility were done.

What the aerial view seems to show is a dark plume in the Turtle River, indicating the presence of one or more discharge pipes–diguised as a dock and walkways. In other words, the off-loading isn’t to the dock, but away from it. So, the load on the dock is minimal (whatever a 10″ pipe full of waste water weighs) and inspecting the pipes can be done from below, making the whole installation largely superfluous, but expensive to remove. Not to mention calling attention to the effluent stream and the fact that, by distributing the discharge to two or more outflow points, the dilution solution to pollution is maximized.

Instead of the bright side, when it comes to exploitative enterprise it’s best to look for the ulterior motive, because under our current legal regime, a change in ownership doesn’t trigger compliance with higher performance standards. Buy low/sell high refers to price, not value.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.