2
Nov
2005

Secret U.S. Plans For Iraq's Oil Spark Political Fight Between Neocons and Big Oil

BBC Television exposé plus an interview with reporter Greg Palast by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! Monday, March 21, 2005

AMY GOODMAN: In an explosive new report for BBC Television Newsnight, investigative journalist Greg Palast charges that President Bush was planning to invade Iraq before the September 11th attacks and was considering two very different plans about what to do with Iraq's oil. The plans reportedly sparked a political fight between neoconservatives and big oil companies.

AMY GOODMAN: That report by investigative journalist Greg Palast, who joins us now in our Democracy Now! studio.

//www.gregpalast.com/detail.cfm?artid=419&row=1

Welcome, Greg Palast.

GREG PALAST: Glad to be here, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: An explosive report on these two plans. And tie them in now to the nomination of John Bolton to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank.

GREG PALAST: Well, only in weird Bush world is nomination to the presidency of the World Bank considered a punishment job. Basically Wolfowitz is being tossed out head first out of the Pentagon because he decided to take on one enemy too big for his own teeth, which is big oil.

The main spoils of the war in Iraq is a seat on OPEC. It's not just the fields; it is a seat on OPEC. What do we do with that seat? The neo-cons wanted to use our control of Iraq's oil to smash OPEC, to smash the power of what they see as an Arab-controlled monopoly and Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, that also meant smashing $56-a-barrel oil prices, and the oil industry was deeply unhappy.

So, there was a neo-con plan put out. In fact, you broke the report here two years ago when we were on the air saying that there was a plan to privatize and sell off all of Iraq's oil fields. There was. Then Phil Carroll of Shell Oil was assigned by George Bush to baby-sit the situation in Iraq. The oil man went in and said there ain't going to be no privatization on my watch. We don't work that way.

You have to understand, oil companies, when they privatize, the big oil companies never get it, it's always the cronies of Chalabi and who's ever in power in any country. So, the oil companies did not want to be locked out, so they weren't going to go along with it.

Plus, they didn't like the neo-con idea that if there was privatization, and production would be ramped up, OPEC would be destroyed, oil prices would fall apart, and that would be the end of record profits for the oil companies.

So, a new report was secretly ordered up by a guy named Rob McKee, who took the Shell man's place. McKee is from ConocoPhillips, paid $25 million by Conoco in his last year there, assigned by Bush to Iraq to the oil ministry there. And he ordered up a new study which was done by the Jim Baker Institute.

Now Jim Baker represents Exxon and the Saudi government. And the Baker Institute people, and the people they worked with, came up with a report that said that there would be a state-controlled company, which would be very OPEC-friendly, very oil company-friendly and would establish profit sharing agreements with international oil companies. And that was their recommendation. Privatization was dead out, and they were just livid about Wolfowitz.


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