BP TO GOV: CAN’T HELP YOU, BRO’
The Sept. 1 letter just said no.
Even ConocoPhillips wrote to the Division of Oil and Gas in support of BP’s position in the spring. No means no.
WHAT WALKER SAID IN JULY
GOVERNOR HEADS TO TOKYO, THEN QATAR
This fall, Governor Walker will head to Tokyo for the LNG Producers Conference. He’ll likely stay at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa. He attended the Tokyo conference last year and was a speaker, but is not on the agenda yet for this year.
After Tokyo, Walker is scheduled to head to Qatar for unknown business, presumably relating to the gasline. No one outside the administration knows why, as the trip is a closely held secret.
Earlier this year, Walker met with the Qatari ambassador, who came to Alaska and delivered a $25,000 donation to help start a domestic violence shelter for women.
“Thank you for your generosity,” Walker wrote on his Facebook page, to Mohamed Jaham al-Kuwari.
According to Amnesty International, Qatar is a country well known for its widespread human trafficking and abuse of women.”The Qatari authorities are failing to protect migrant domestic workers who face severe exploitation, including forced labour and physical and sexual violence,” Amnesty International said in a 2014 report.
“My sleep is my break”: Exploitation of domestic workers in Qatar details the working conditions of women who were recruited as slaves for the wealthy in Qatar, with promises of great salaries and luxurious conditions. The women work extremely long hours — up to 100 hours a week is common — and many are subjected to sexual assault and systematic beatings.
“Migrant domestic workers are victims of a discriminatory system that denies them basic protections and leaves them open to exploitation and abuse including forced labour and human trafficking,” according to Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Global Issues Director. “We have spoken to women who have been terribly deceived, then found themselves trapped and at the mercy of abusive employers, banned from leaving the house. Some women said they were threatened with physical violence when they told their employers they wanted to leave.”
Some 84,000 women migrant domestic workers are thought to work in Qatar, most coming from Asia.
HINT: IT’S NOT A HUMANITARIAN TRIP
Presumably Governor Walker will be not there investigating human trafficking, but will instead tour one of the world’s largest LNG plants, which is in Qatar.
The Qatar Investment Authority is that country’s sovereign wealth fund, structured differently than the Alaska Permanent Fund. It invests primarily in international markets, such as the United States, Europe and Asia-Pacific and is the ninth-largest sovereign wealth fund in the world.
Kenneth Rogoff, the cousin of Alaska Dispatch News publisher Alice Rogoff and one of the leading world experts on the subject, wrote an opinion in the ADN last year regarding sovereign wealth funds and Alaska’s Permanent Fund.
He wrote, “There is certainly scope to manage the sovereign wealth fund somewhat more aggressively, at the very least the amount in excess of the state’s debt. Other resource-dependent countries like Norway try to strike a balance between risk and return. It would probably behoove Alaska to look at other sovereign wealth funds and how they are managed.”
Indeed, perhaps Gov. Walker has been persuaded by the Rogoffs to look more closely at how other sovereign wealth funds are managed. If so, he’ll want to find out if Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund really lost $12 billion last year and whether it’s dipping into its principle to support the Qatari government.