Sunday, October 01, 2006

Update on the censored struggle for Iraq's OIL

I've got to do more research on this, but my opinion of Joe Biden has just gone up. Apparently, he tried to pass legislation that said the US should not exert "control over any oil resource of Iraq."

The GOP gutted the original bill and Biden tried to add it as an amendment to something else.

Given the virtual news blackout of the oil machinations in Iraq and in particular how American oil companies are profiting from it, Biden's action looks like a thankless (and in fact dangerous) act of principle rather than the glory dog opportunism and corporate toadying he often appears to be doing.

It never ceases to amaze me that we invaded the country with the world's second largest oil reserves, and not only do neither the administration and the mainstream media rarely discuss it, but neither does most of the progressive media, instead rehashing how the reasons given for going in were lies (WMD, terrorism) or buying into the reasons the administration gives for staying (democracy, stability, security) but claiming they aren't succeeding at those equally imaginary or at least secondary objectives.

A lot of people say it is enough to note that we wouldn't be in Iraq if it's main export was coconuts, but we publish and critique every bullshit pronouncement about the number two al qaeda man in Iraq, or new defense of the war that is simply a reworking of the same speech given since 2002.

The case for the war for oil is pretty well established and documented though not widely published.
(see oil links after article)

For those who see through the more embarrassing excuses for the war, there's a second level of lies that seems to assuage the consciences of people in the Pentagon and State Department: we need that oil for our economy. Colin Powell's lieutenant Larry Wilkerson said as much plainly.

But this argument is also a lie. If it was just about access to oil, we could get it the way China from Iran, Canada, and Venezuela: buy it on long-term contracts.

Instead, this is about who profits from pump Iraq's oil--Iraqis and foreign oil companies, or American oil companies (tipping the Iraqis whatever their generosity moves them to).


Oil Pressure

When it comes to oil, the U.S. administration is bypassing democracy in Iraq

Greg Muttitt | August 28, 2006

The U.S. campaign on the fledgling Iraqi government has been successful. Following his appointment in May, new Oil Minister Husayn al-Shahristani announced that one of his top priorities would be the writing of an oil law to allow Iraq to sign contracts with "the largest companies."

This would be the first time in more than thirty years that foreign companies would receive a major stake in Iraq's oil. Oil was brought into public ownership and control back in 1975.

Mr. Bodman did not stop at reviewing the draft law himself in Baghdad: he also arranged for Dr. Al-Shahristani to meet with nine major oil companies - including Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco and ConocoPhillips - for them to comment on the draft as well, during the Minister's trip to Washington DC the following week.

Given the pressures involved, perhaps the Minister felt he did not have much choice. His promise to pass the law through parliament by the end of 2006 was set in Iraq's agreement with the International Monetary Fund last December. According to that agreement, IMF officials would also review and comment on a draft in September. And still, the draft law has not been seen by the Iraqi parliament. Meanwhile, an official from the Oil Ministry has stated that Iraqi civil society and the general public will not be consulted at all.

The issues could hardly be more important for Iraq. Oil accounts for more than 90% of government revenue, and is the main driver of Iraq's economy. And decisions made in the coming months will not be reversible - once contracts are signed, they will have a major bearing on Iraq's economy and politics for decades to come. No wonder a recent poll showed that when asked what Iraqis thought were the three main reasons why the United States invaded Iraq, 76% gave "to control Iraqi oil" as their first choice.

Attempting to reverse this perception and change U.S. policy, lawmakers in the House and Senate have passed legislation stating that the United States should not exert "control over any oil resource of Iraq."
But usurping democracy here at home, Republicans stripped this language out of the bill's final version Hoping for better luck the second time around, Senator Joe Biden successfully led the charge to add this language to another bill currently awaiting final passage.


Biden Iraq Oil Amendment:
Amends: H.R.4939


To provide that none of the funds made available by title I of this Act may be made available to establish permanent military bases in Iraq or to exercise control over the oil infrastructure or oil resources of Iraq.
Author of this article's detailed report on restructuring of Iraq's oil industry to benefit our oil companies:

Greg Palast's timeline of Iraq oil meetings (with video interviews with the players):

Colin Powell's chief of staff on oil motive for Iraq War:

Broader background on oil, war, and foreign policy:

Naomi Klein on privatization and its effects in Iraq:

Economic war crimes in Geneva and Hague Conventions:

The Hague Convention of 1907 (IV) see articles 47, 53, 55

The Geneva Convention of 1949 (IV) we've broken almost every section of article 147, and Bush has personally broken article 148.
The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time author's website:

A good brief summary of neoliberalism:

How "economic hit men" set it up and enforce it:

public relations


Anonymous said...

Hey, I just visited your "New Republican Mascot" over at DU. More chilling than cute, but you got the point across. Why not reciprocate comment karma by returning the favor and visiting my Daily Show comic strip blog? It's over at:

Maybe through art we're both kind of dealing with the horror of this Foley story. Scribbling pictures of Jon Stewart continuing to poke fun at it is the only way I can handle my anger and sadness right now. Again, seeing Teh Evil Clown was more chilling to me than "ha ha" funny... but I think funny was not what you were after.

colorado bob said...

Porfessor .... I was wandering through Sen, Stevens plumbing looking for a picture of Bush as a cheer leader and found your eddy on the net. Gonna post your Compassionate Conservatism photo .... damn fine work .

colorado bob said...

You may have seen this ... But there's a real peach of a shot of Hastert here :click here