Re: [OPE-L] Bush had secret plans for Iraq's OIl

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Tue Mar 29 2005 - 22:19:46 EST

Paul B:  Here's the story.  Also, there is a link below for the
transcript of a 3/21 interview of him on "Democracy Now" by Amy
Goodman on this topic./  In solidarity, Jerry


By Greg Palast
Reporting for BBC Newsnight (London)

Why was Paul Wolfowitz pushed out of the Pentagon onto the World Bank?
The answer lies in a 323-page document, secret until now, indicating that
the allies of Big Oil in the Bush Administration have defeated
neo-conservatives and their chief Wolfowitz.  BBC Television Newsnight
tells the true story of the fall of the neo-cons.  An investigation
conducted by BBC with Harper's magazine will also reveal that the US State
Department made detailed plans for war in Iraq -- and for Iraq's oil --
within weeks of Bush's first inauguration in 2001.

<>Watch the Broadcast of
this report   ********************

The Bush administration made plans for  war and for Iraq's oil before the
9/11 attacks  sparking a policy battle between neo-cons and Big Oil, BBC's
Newsnight  has revealed.

Two years ago today - when President George Bush announced US, British and
Allied forces would begin to bomb Baghdad - protestors claimed the US had
a secret plan for Iraq's oil once Saddam had been conquered.

In fact there were two conflicting plans, setting off a hidden policy war
between neo-conservatives at the Pentagon, on one side, versus a
combination of "Big Oil" executives and US State Department "pragmatists."

"Big Oil" appears to have won. The latest plan, obtained by Newsnight from
the US State Department was, we learned, drafted with the help of American
oil industry consultants.<br>

<>View Segments of Iraq oil

Insiders told Newsnight that planning began "within weeks" of Bush's first
taking office in 2001, long before the September 11th attack on the US.

An Iraqi-born oil industry consultant, Falah Aljibury, says he took part
in the secret meetings in California, Washington and the Middle East. He
described a State Department plan for a forced coup d'etat.

Mr Aljibury himself told Newsnight that he interviewed potential
successors to Saddam Hussein on behalf of the Bush administration.

Secret sell-off plan

The industry-favoured plan was pushed aside by yet another secret plan,
drafted just before the invasion in 2003, which called for the sell-off of
all of Iraq's oil fields. The new plan, crafted by neo-conservatives
intent on using Iraq's oil to destroy the Opec cartel through massive
increases in production above Opec quotas.

The sell-off was given the green light in a secret  meeting in London
headed by Ahmed Chalabi shortly after  the US entered Baghdad, according
to Robert Ebel.  Mr. Ebel, a former Energy and CIA oil analyst, now a
fellow at the Center for Strategic  and International Studies in
Washington, flew to  the London meeting, he told Newsnight, at the
request of the State Department.

Mr Aljibury, once Ronald Reagan's  "back-channel" to Saddam, claims that
plans to sell off Iraq's oil, pushed by the US-installed Governing Council
in 2003, helped instigate the insurgency and attacks on US and British
occupying  forces.

"Insurgents used this, saying, 'Look, you're losing your country, your
losing your resources to a bunch of wealthy billionaires who want to take
you over and make your life miserable," said Mr Aljibury from his home
near San Francisco.

"We saw an increase in the bombing of oil facilities, pipelines, built on
the premise that privatization is coming."

Privatization blocked by industry

Philip Carroll, the former CEO of Shell Oil USA who took control of Iraq's
oil production for the US Government a month after the invasion, stalled
the sell-off scheme.

Mr Carroll told us he made it clear to Paul Bremer, the US occupation
chief who arrived in Iraq in May 2003, that: "There was to be no
privatization of Iraqi oil resources or facilities while I was involved."

The chosen successor to Mr Carroll, a Conoco Oil executive, ordered up a
new plan for a state oil company preferred by the industry.

Ari Cohen, of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation, told Newsnight
that an opportunity had been missed to privatise Iraq's oil fields.  He
advocated the plan as a means to help the US defeat Opec, and said America
should have gone ahead with what he called a  "no-brainer" decision.

Mr Carroll hit back, telling Newsnight, "I would agree with that
statement. To privatize would be a no-brainer.  It would only be thought
about by someone with no brain."

New plans, obtained from the State Department by Newsnight  and Harper's
Magazine under the US Freedom of Information Act, called  for creation of
a state-owned oil company favored by the US oil industry.  It was
completed in January 2004, Harper's discovered, under the guidance  of Amy
Jaffe of the James Baker Institute in Texas.  Former US Secretary of State
Baker is now an attorney.  His law firm, Baker Botts, is representing
ExxonMobil and the Saudi Arabian government.

<>View segments of Iraq oil
 Questioned by Newsnight, Ms Jaffe said the oil industry prefers state
control of Iraq's oil over a sell-off because it fears a repeat of
Russia's energy privatization. In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet
Union, US oil companies were barred from bidding for the reserves.

Jaffe said "There is no question that an American oil company ... would
not be enthusiastic about a plan that would privatize all the assets with
Iraq companies and they (US companies) might be left out of the

In addition, Ms. Jaffe says US oil companies are not warm to any plan that
would  undermine Opec, "They [oil companies] have to worry about the price
of oil."

"I'm not sure that if I'm the chair of an American company, and you put me
on a lie detector test, I would say high oil prices are bad for me or my

The former Shell oil boss agrees.  In Houston, he told Newsnight, "Many
neo conservatives are people who have certain ideological beliefs about
markets, about democracy, about this that and the other.  International
oil companies without exception are very pragmatic commercial
organizations.   They don't have a theology."

A State Department spokesman told Newsnight they intended "to provide all
possibilities to the Oil Ministry of Iraq and advocate none".

Greg Palast's film - the result of a joint investigation by Newsnight and
Harper's Magazine - will broadcast on Thursday, 17 March, 2005.

<>You can watch
the program online from Democracy Now!

Read the story in greater detail in the April issue of Harper's magazine -
out Tuesday at your local newsstand.

Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, "The Best
Democracy Money Can Buy." <a href=> View his
writings at</a>.<br>  Leni von Eckardt contributed
investigative research for this project. <br>For interviews, email us at

You can also see this article online:

Complete contents of this e-mail are (c)Greg Palast. All Rights Reserved

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