Spies and John Deuss

by Joshua Foust on 11/29/2007 · 2 comments

John Deuss, the proto-villain of Steve LeVine’s excellent book The Oil and the Glory (an unfair term, perhaps, but I am attempting to be flippant), is suffering some financial losses ever since his bank, the First Curacao International, was held up for several accounts of fraud and money laundering.

There may be more to his story. In her review of LeVine’s book, Suzan Mazur claims there might be a CIA connection:

As LeVine recounts, the Clinton camp decided they had to intervene, “swayed” by Chevron’s lobbyists, the NSC and CIA that Deuss, “an independent operator”, was essentially a threat to US national security. Despite fears the move to strong-arm Deuss might somehow impact the 1996 presidential election, the Clintons dispatched Al Gore to Muscat and Moscow to discredit him (Hillary’s smearing of Bill’s women come to mind?)— with Gore subsequently being blown off by Russian premier, Viktor Chernomyrdin, a Deuss ally.

But the Clintons took it a step further. Says LeVine “. . .the administration assigned the Treasury Department to make life difficult for the Dutchman.”

In light, then, of Deuss’s current problems involving the supposed shutdown of FCIB, it is fair to ask: How much of Deuss being officially targeted again is eagerness to simply push him off the world financial stage once and for all and how much is smoke screen?

The disappointing part of LeVine’s book is that, while he tells us at fascinating length of Big Oil’s jealousy of Deuss, he does not really pursue deeper politics.

At first, this seems similar to my quibble with the book. It is not. While I was disappointed there was not more discussion of the internal politics of the Russian side of the various field negotiations, that was purely a function of access—namely, the Russians granted LeVine very little. Ms. Mazur seems to labor under the impression that LeVine was writing a wide ranging political exposition; I had assumed it was meant to be more history than analysis.

But Ms. Mazur’s piece doesn’t end there. She includes a lengthy and quite tangential discussion of the foundation of Mr. Deuss’ bank, a history of espionage services’ involvement in off-shore banking, and an apparent unwillingness to read Levine’s own footnotes (when she complains of anonymous sources, she apparently misses that LeVine specifically points out a specific set of sources who asked not to be named, which is not a crime).

I emailed LeVine about this, to see if her complaints had any merit. He noted something I missed: she was quoted in his book, as the model who drinks champagne with Deuss in the early 1970’s and joins him on his yacht when he sings Suzanna.

Given that level of personal involvement, and especially considering she seems to have used a book review as an opportunity to dump all sorts of extra, unrelated research… I have to wonder if it was ethical to have her write a review of LeVine’s book.


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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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{ 2 comments }

Bhupinder Sood CPA December 9, 2007 at 2:52 pm

Like to have email address; John Deuss.

Renee March 1, 2008 at 12:44 pm

I would like to have the e-mail address for John Deuss.

Thanks!!

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