By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 18, 2022 ~
On March 8, Wall Street On Parade reported that despite announcements by British Petroleum (BP), Shell and ExxonMobil that they were cutting business ties to Russia in response to Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, another oil conglomerate, Koch Industries, remained silent.
Koch Industries is the privately-owned cash cow that has fueled the infamous “Koch Brothers” creepy intrusions into every nook and cranny of American politics, using labyrinthine layers of well-financed front groups. The oldest brother, Charles Koch, whose personal wealth is estimated at $53 billion according to Forbes, remains at the helm of Koch Industries and a sprawling political power base. David Koch died in 2019.
Koch front groups also played a pivotal role in the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021 in an effort to keep Russian President Vladimir Putin’s admirer, Donald Trump, in the White House. See: The Money Trail to the Siege at the Capitol Leads to Charles Koch and Koch Industries.
On Wednesday of this week, 20 days since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Koch Industries finally posted a statement on its website. The statement indicated that Koch plans to keep its glass manufacturing plants operating in Russia, preposterously claiming that it would “do more harm than good” to close them. Apparently, Charles Koch believes he is smarter than the CEOs of 400 other corporations that have severed business ties with Russia to show support for Ukraine and outrage at Putin’s bombing Ukraine cities to rubble while killing thousands of civilians, including more than 100 children.
The claim by Koch Industries that severing business ties with Russia could “do more harm than good,” directly undermines the solidarity of the famous brands around the world that have rallied to supplement the stiff sanctions imposed by the European Commission, the U.S., U.K., Canada and their allies. (Undermining government has been the stock and trade of Charles Koch for the past 40 years. See the comments by Senator Bernie Sanders in the video below.)
The Koch statement also attempted to play down the size of Koch’s Guardian Industries glass manufacturing operations in Russia, writing that it represented a “very small part of Koch.” But a 2011 press release said this about one of the glass plants in the Rostov region of Russia:
“The $220-million plant will be Guardian’s largest, producing 900 tons of glass per day, and will include a technologically advanced glass coater…The location is a good fit for Guardian’s growth strategy to supply glass to Russia and neighboring countries….”
Adding to the stench of propaganda around Koch’s statement, the President of one of the numerous front groups funded with Koch money, Will Ruger of the American Institute for Economic Research, mapped out the official talking points in a podcast with Nick Gillespie at Reason Magazine on March 2. Ruger says this:
“Ukraine simply doesn’t matter to America’s security or our prosperity. It’s unfortunate for Ukraine but the fact is we won the Cold War with the Ukraine being part of the Soviet Union. They just don’t matter strategically. They’re far away from us, they’re even far away from some of our allies….”
Ukraine is a country of 44 million people with a democratically-elected President who is courageously rallying his country and the world to challenge an illegal and deadly invasion by the megalomaniac President of Russia who also happens to have 5,977 nuclear warheads. Ukraine’s land mass represents a geographic buffer between Russia and NATO countries that have a legal responsibility to defend each other should one be attacked. The U.S. is a NATO member. To suggest that Ukraine “doesn’t matter to America’s security” smacks of pure Putin propaganda.
The man who made that statement, Will Ruger, was previously the Vice President for Research and Policy of the Charles Koch Institute before becoming the President of the Koch-funded American Institute for Economic Research. In fact, the Charles Koch Institute, as of this morning, still has Ruger listed as its Vice President.
DeSmog describes the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) as follows:
“AIER operates a program called the Bastiat Society that promotes its free-market, anti-government ideology and partners with other Koch-funded think tanks, networks, and organizations that are some of the most prominent disseminators of disinformation on climate science and climate policies. These include the Atlas Network, State Policy Network, Manhattan Institute, Cato Institute, Charles Koch Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, and others.”
For Americans who don’t want to funnel more profits to Koch Industries, below are some of the major brands produced by companies owned by Koch Industries that you might want to avoid in the future:
Consumer Paper Products:
Dixie disposable paper plates, bowls and cups
Northern Quilted and Angel Soft bath tissue
Brawny and Sparkle paper towels
Vanity Fair and Mardi Gras table napkins
Georgia-Pacific Wood Products:
ForceField® Air and Water Barrier System
DryGuard® and DryMax® Enhanced Sub–floors
Thermostat® radiant barrier roof sheathing
Georgia-Pacific Gypsum Products:
GOLD Dens® brand of fiberglass mat gypsum panels
ToughRock® Fireguard 45® Gypsum Board
Antron flooring products
Dacron fiberfill used in pillows, comforters and mattress toppers
Cordura fabric for military clothing and high-performance gear
For more background on what the Koch political platform has in mind for America, you can listen to Senator Bernie Sanders’ revealing remarks in the video below: