Within weeks of the first inaugural, prominent Iraqi expatriates -- many with ties to U.S. industry -- were
invited to secret discussions directed by Pamela Quanrud, National Security Council, now at the State Department. "It quickly
became an oil group," one participant, Falah Aljibury. Aljibury is an advisor to Amerada Hess' oil trading arm and Goldman
"The petroleum industry, the chemical industry, the banking industry -- they'd hoped that Iraq would go
for a revolution like in the past and government was shut down for two or three days," Aljibury told me. On this plan, Hussein
would simply have been replaced by some former Baathist general.
However, by February 2003, a hundred-page blue-print
for the occupied nation, favored by neo-cons, had been enshrined as official policy. "Moving the Iraqi Economy from Recovery
to Sustainable Growth" generally embodied the principles for postwar Iraq favored by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz
and the Iran-Contra figure, now Deputy National Security Advisor, Elliott Abrams. The blue-print mapped out a radical makeover
of Iraq as a free-market Xanadu including, on page 73, the sell-off of the nation's crown jewels: "privatization… [of]
the oil and supporting industries."
It was reasoned that if Iraq's fields were broken up and sold off, competing operators
would crank up production. This extra crude would flood world petroleum markets, OPEC would devolve into mass cheating and
overproduction, oil prices would fall over a cliff, and Saudi Arabia, both economically and politically, would fall to its
However, in plotting the destruction of OPEC, the neocons failed to predict the virulent
resistance of insurgent forces: the U.S. oil industry itself. Rob McKee,
a former executive vice-president of ConocoPhillips, designated by the Bush Administration to advise the Iraqi oil ministry,
had little tolerance for the neocons' threat to privatize the oil fields nor their obsession on ways to undermine OPEC. (In
2004, with oil approaching the $50 a barrel mark all year, the major U.S. oil companies posted record or near-record profits.
ConocoPhillips this February reported a doubling of its quarterly profits.)
2003, McKee quietly ordered up a new plan for Iraq's oil. For months, the State Department officially denied the existence
of this 323-page plan, but when I threatened legal action, I was able to obtain the multi-volume document describing seven
possible models of oil production for Iraq, each one merely a different flavor of a single option: a state-owned oil company
under which the state maintains official title to the reserves but operation and control are given to foreign oil companies.
to Ed Morse, another Hess Oil advisor, the switch to an OPEC-friendly policy for Iraq was driven by Dick Cheney. "The VP's
office [has] not pursued a policy in Iraq that would lead to a rapid opening of the Iraqi energy sector… that would
put us on a track to say, "We're going to put a squeeze on OPEC."
Cheney, far from "putting the squeeze on OPEC,"
has taken a defacto seat there, allowing the cartel to maintain its suffocating grip on the U.S. economy.
Read the full story in the April edition of Harper's Magazine, out this week: "OPEC ON THE
MARCH: Why Iraq Still Sells Its Oil à la Cartel," by Greg Palast.
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy." View his writings at www.GregPalast.com.
SECRET U.S. PLANS FOR
BBC News World Edition
March 17, 2005
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.
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
"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.
Aljibury himself told Newsnight that he interviewed potential successors to Saddam Hussein on behalf of the Bush administration.
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 Fadhil 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.
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."
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.
Read the story in greater detail in the April issue of Harper's magazine.
Greg Palast is
the author of the New York Times bestseller, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy." View his writings at www.GregPalast.com.
For the most complete analysis of the war and the role of neoconservatism and oil
For the most complete analysis of the war and the role of neoconservatism and oil
BEST DEMOCRACRY OIL CARTEL CAN BUY--and a tax break for buying an SUV.