The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

US shame in the making: Vote on oil law nears

with 10 comments

It’s a dark day in American history: The US is on the verge of successfully pressuring Iraq to surrender most of its oil profits for thirty years to Big Oil. Why would the Iraqis allow it? Here’s why:

  • Turns out Iraqis have largely not been told what is in the bill. As word leaks out, Iraqi oil workers have begun to strike.
  • Turns out the Democrats – in utter betrayal of the attitudes on which they campaigned – have included passage of the oil bill as one of the Bush benchmarks that Iraq must meet for US funding to continue.
  • Turns out Western oil corporations – Chevron, Exxon, Conoco, BP, Shell, and Marathon, are hovering over the Iraqi Oil Ministry, negotiating daily.
  • Turns out the DOD is talking about a Korea-style long-term occupation. Get it? Thirty years of oil ownership for US corporations, backed by decades of military iron fist, making certain destitute Iraqis keep giving it up to the world’s richest.

Repent, Mr. President, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Reid. You bring shame upon America.

Check out these details from DemocracyNow!:

ANTONIA JUHASZ: Well, the strike is critical. It’s been a long time building. … as more knowledge has been brought to Iraq, it’s been very difficult for Iraqis to even learn what this oil law was about, just like it’s been difficult here. As more information has spread, the opposition has spread, as well, and now the workers have taken the situation into their own hands and struck.

AMY GOODMAN: And what is this US-backed proposal?

ANTONIA JUHASZ: It’s a Bush administration, US corporate, very simple attempt to figure out: if you’re going to wage a war for oil, how do you get the oil. Does Exxon come in on a tank with a flag and stick it in the ground, or do you have a more careful process? The careful process is very simply: write a law, get a new Iraqi government in place, have the Iraqis pass the law, and then turn the oil over to US oil corporations.

The Bush administration designed the law. Last January, President Bush announced that it was a benchmark for passage by the Iraqi government. It was the same day that he announced the surge … [which was] meant to provide the political space so that the Iraqis could discuss the oil law and other benchmarks. The Democrats then adopted this language of the benchmarks and said in the supplemental war spending bill, again, that the Iraqis have to pass this benchmark. And it very simply turns Iraq from a nationalized oil system, essentially closed to US oil corporations, to a privatized system in which potentially two-thirds of all of Iraq’s oil could be owned by foreign oil companies, and they can control the production with as long as thirty-year contracts. We have US oil corporations engaging daily in negotiations with the Iraqi oil ministry, waiting on the sidelines. If the law passes, US corporations have the potential to own a true bonanza of oil and, if the US military stays, protection to get in and get it. […]

Ah, my country, what have you done?
I’m going to go write somebody.


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Written by Monte

June 7, 2007 at 12:46 pm

10 Responses

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  1. Josh – see the next post for discussion of “the bill.” It’s a bit more deceptive than the bill itself would suggest.
    Thanks,
    Monte

    Monte

    June 12, 2007 at 9:54 am

  2. I’m curious if you have had the opportunity to check the Library of Congress, the link I provided earlier, for the “bill”. The implication I get from the papers you have provided is there is a bill Congess intends to pass that links aid to the Iraqi Government privatizing their Oil. So far I have seen no evidence of this.

    However, the statement made in both articles are somewhat ambiguous so I may not be understanding them correctly.

    As to “there are debts to be paid” I have no doubt there is corruption on both sides of the aisle and that a good House cleaning is in order.

    I have no doubt that “No other nation in the Middle East has privatized its oil. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Iran give only limited usage contracts to international oil companies for one or two years.” This is most likely because these countries are ruled by dictators or Monarchs (off the top of my head I don’t know about Bahrain) and have little or no privatized companies.

    I would appreciate you helping me find the “bill”

    Thanks
    Josh

    Josh

    June 11, 2007 at 5:22 pm

  3. Note that I will accumulate evidence bits at US shame in the making, part 2. I think the case will be strong.
    Indeed, Josh, “any oil company in the world” could contract, theoretically. Just as we would have expected that any company in the world could have contracted for reconstruction efforts in Iraq. But there are debts to be paid, and connections being made daily, and I suspect non-Western companies will remain purely theoretical possibilities.
    Thanks,
    Monte

    Monte

    June 11, 2007 at 4:32 pm

  4. […] US shame in the making: Vote on oil law nears […]

  5. While I quoted your text, I was also refering to the following statements on the Democrarcy Now website, especially when referencing journalism.

    ANTONIA JUHASZ: Well, I think there’s many ways in which the war is not going all bad for the President and for the administration. The only thing that’s truly going bad is the instability. But what has worked is a government in place that is more amenable to US interests than the last ten years of the Hussein regime, a government in place that is willing to negotiate in a dramatic fashion on the nature of Iraq’s oil regime, and being on the precipice of a transfer of Iraq, a fundamental transfer, in its oil policy. We have US oil corporations engaging daily in negotiations with the Iraqi oil ministry, waiting on the sidelines. If the law passes, US corporations have the potential to own a true bonanza of oil and, if the US military stays, protection to get in and get it. Now —

    AMY GOODMAN: Which companies, in particular?

    ANTONIA JUHASZ: Chevron, Exxon, Conoco, BP, Shell, Marathon.

    As far as whether or not I am citing the relevant texts I did not expect you to believe me and I also hoped you would not. That’s why I provided the website and specific bills. There are several hundred bills falling in the search parameters I used. The five I listed are the only ones that included the three parameters, oil, Iraq, and benchmark.

    I agree with your statement, “At any rate, prohibition of control of the Iraqi oil industry by the United States itself would not preclude control of it by the American oil industry.” What ANTONIA JUHASZ says is,”And it very simply turns Iraq from a nationalized oil system, essentially closed to US oil corporations, to a privatized system…”, If you take this statement to be true then you would also have to assume that any oil company in the world could contract with the at this point theoretical oil companines in Iraq.

    Well I am out of time for now but I will try to elaborate further later since I still have a lot to say.

    Josh

    June 8, 2007 at 6:57 pm

  6. Thanks, comment-makers, especially Josh for the criticism. You’re technically right, of course, about BP, but I think the criticism is needlessly picky. I will change my summary text to read “Western” rather than “US.” But much of BP is US-based. BP also has an extensive track record of this kind of lease, most notably in hugely destructive arrangements with Iran, which could be said to have paved the way for the Iranian revolution. See A brief history of Iran-US relations, part 1. Would it have been more correct for Juhasz to label BP British? Sure. Does that slip call the story into question? Hardly. It’s a side-issue.
    It seems doubtful to me that the text you cite is the relevant benchmark section. I’ll be looking in to this after the weekend. At any rate, prohibition of control of the Iraqi oil industry by the United States itself would not preclude control of it by the American oil industry.
    Best wishes,
    Monte

    Monte

    June 8, 2007 at 2:19 pm

  7. And we still don’t know who attended Cheney’s energy policy task force. It remains a closely held secret – almost proprietary.

    What’s that old saying? Actions speak louder than words.

    ressentiment

    June 8, 2007 at 6:33 am

  8. This article was brought to my attention so I thought I would do a little research and analysis of the piece.
    1. BP (British Petroleum) is not a US owned company. It did merge with Amoco (American Oil Company). Which would make the statement, “Turns out US oil corporations – Chevron, Exxon, Conoco, BP, Shell, and Marathon, are hovering over the Iraqi Oil Ministry, negotiating daily.” at the best an inacurate statement and poor journalism at the worst something less than reputable.
    2. I looked into the current house and senate bills over the period of about 15 minutes. First by searching for bills containing, oil and iraq and benchmark, This lead me to the following five bills, [S.965.PCS], [H.R.2206.EAH], [H.R.2206.ENR], [H.R.1591.PP], and [H.R.1591.EAS] loacted at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/thomas. A quick search of one of these documents using the search words oil and benchmark found the following passages:
    [I have edited Josh’s lengthy quote here. It appears that this is not the bill that was recently passed. – Monte]
    The above seems to refute the following:
    “Turns out the US Democrats – in utter betrayal of the attitudes on which they campaigned – have included passage of the oil bill as one of the Bush benchmarks that Iraq must meet for US funding to continue. ”
    From what I can see in the short amount of time I have spent researching there are several questionable statements in this article which would make me question this article more if I had the time right now.
    Josh

    Josh

    June 7, 2007 at 8:23 pm

  9. Indeed, ClapSo, and thanks – and this long-term oil lease is almost exactly like the inequity that led to the CIA’s cooperation in the destruction of Iranian democracy in 1953, which set up the Iranian revolution two decades later, from which both Iran and the US still suffer. Learning seems to come hard to us.

    Monte

    June 7, 2007 at 2:37 pm

  10. Another very well said and truthful piece Monte! I would add that no other country in the middle east ever gives an oil lease for longer then two years. This oil deal is what the dems and repubs have our young people in uniform dying for. We must remove both the dems and repubs from office for this and their other crimes.

    The scientifically impossible I do right away
    The spiritually miraculous takes a bit longer

    ClapSo

    June 7, 2007 at 2:20 pm


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