Greg PalastSECRET U.S. PLANS FOR IRAQ'S OILSat Mar 19, 2005 17:28220.127.116.11
SECRET U.S. PLANS FOR IRAQ'S OIL
By Greg Palast
Thursday, March 17, 2005
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. Tonight
BBC Television Newsnight will tell 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.
The following report is from BBC OnLine
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.
Watch Greg's report on BBC Newsnight Starting @ 7:00pm EST 17 March
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
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
"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.
View Segments of Iraq oil plans
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
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
View segments of Iraq oil plans
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
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 transaction."
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 company."
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
Greg Palast's film - the result of a joint investigation by
Newsnight and Harper's Magazine - will broadcast on Thursday, 17
You can watch the program online - available for 24 hours after
broadcast - from the Newsnight website
Read the story in greater detail in the April issue of Harper's
magazine - out now at your local newsstand.
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, "The
Best Democracy Money Can Buy." View his writings at
For interviews, contact contact(at)GregPalast.com
MP Expelled from Commons after Blair Remark :
An MP was expelled from the Commons chamber today after he claimed
that Tony Blair had "misled" Parliament over the war with Iraq.
Australians Against New Iraq Deployment :
Many adults in Australia reject their government's decision to send
more soldiers to Iraq, according to a poll by AC Nielsen. Only 37%
of respondents support the deployment of 450 troops.
Bulgaria to Pull Out of Iraq: Official:
Bulgaria will gradually withdraw its troops from Iraq by the end of
this year, Minister of Defense Nikolay Svinarov said Thursday.
US Army seeks longer enlistments as recruitment falters :
The US Army has asked Congress to allow it to extend enlistment
contracts offered to future soldiers by two years in order
to "stabilize the force," as top defense officials warned that key
recruitment targets for the year could be missed.
Wolfowitz To Rule the World (Bank):
In 1967, Robert McNamara, the captain of the Vietnam tragedy, left
his post as secretary of defense to become president of the World
Bank. So Bush is establishing a bipartisan tradition: you screw up a
war, you get to run the World Bank. With this announcement, the
impoverished of the world have less reason for hope.
Wolfowitz to spread neo-con gospel :
By nominating Paul Wolfowitz to be head of the World Bank, President
George Bush appears to be sending a message to the world that he
intends to spread into development policy the same neo-conservative
philosophy that has led his foreign policy.
Democrats for Wolfowitz :
Senator Joe Biden isn't the only Democrat supporting Paul Wolfowitz
for president of the World Bank.
A Perfect Fit: Wolfowitz at the World Bank:
If you want to know how Professor Wolfowitz got the job, follow the
UK: Short savages Wolfowitz nomination:
Former International Development Secretary Clare Short has savaged
the nomination of Paul Wolfowitz as head of the World Bank.
Europe Alarmed by Wolfowitz Nomination :
In Germany, Michael Müller, the Social Democrats deputy
parliamentary leader, described the choice as "horrifying."
Wolfowitz Pick for World Bank Prompts Head-Scratching:
As with his fellow-neo-conservatives, Wolfowitz also has special
concerns about the fate of Israel, where he lived during part of his
teenaged years and which now is his sister's home.
Israel pleased with choice of Wolfowitz:
The World Bank is expected to supervise the implementation of
hundreds of million of dollars worth of projects to rebuild Gaza.
One official said that Wolfowitz would likely ensure that the
Palestinians fulfill strict conditions regarding reform and
democratization in order to get the money.
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