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wwiii +$78.35 = mission accomplished

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Handy Sploid summary of the state of play. (Have I said before I like these guys at Sploid? Cause I really do…)

One link in particular there to click thru:

Oil prices surged to a record above $78 a barrel Thursday in a market agitated by escalating violence in the Middle East and the threat of supply disruptions there and beyond.

I think I’ve run this before, not too long ago. But I’ll run it again tonight. Do yourself a favor and read it. It is the single most sense making chunk of prose I’ve read since… well… during the twenty-first century.

AMY GOODMAN: Is the war in Iraq a war for oil?

GREG PALAST: Is the war in Iraq for oil? Yes, it’s about the oil, but not for the oil. In my investigations for Armed Madhouse, I ended up with a story far more fascinating and difficult than I imagined. We didn’t go in to grab the oil. Just the opposite. We went in to control the oil and make sure we didn’t get it. It goes back to 1920, when the oil companies sat in a room in Brussels in a hotel room, drew a red line around Iraq and said, “There’ll be no oil coming out of that nation.” They have to suppress oil coming out of Iraq. Otherwise, the price of oil will collapse, and OPEC and Saudi Arabia will collapse.

And so, what I found, what I discovered that they’re very unhappy about is a 323-page plan, which was written by big oil, which is the secret but official plan of the United States for Iraq’s oil, written by the big oil companies out of the James Baker Institute in coordination with a secret committee of the Council on Foreign Relations. I know it sounds very conspiratorial, but this is exactly how they do it. It’s quite wild. And it’s all about a plan to control Iraq’s oil and make sure that Iraq has a system, which, quote, “enhances its relationship with OPEC.” In other words, the whole idea is to maintain the power of OPEC, which means maintain the power of Saudi Arabia.

And this is one of the reasons they absolutely hate Hugo Chavez. As you’ll see in next week’s Harper’s coming out, which is basically an excerpt from the book, Hugo Chavez on June 1st is going to ask OPEC to officially recognize that he has more oil than Saudi Arabia. This is a geopolitical earthquake. And the inside documents from the U.S. Department of Energy, which we have in the book and in Harper’s, say, yeah, he’s got more oil than Saudi Arabia.

AMY GOODMAN: And is it accessible?

GREG PALAST: That’s the trick. It’s accessible, but the price of oil — it’s heavy oil, which means it costs about — you need oil to be about $30 a barrel, less than half of what it is now. Chavez says, “Cut a deal with me. Oil will never drop below a minimum price, but we’ll get off this insane world-destroying $75 a barrel. I’ll give you cheap oil, but you just put a floor under it.” He shook hands with Bill Clinton on the deal. And Bush came in and spit on his hand, to say the least. He had the guy kidnapped back in 2002. Bush does not — you have to remember, he doesn’t like cheap oil. When we talk about paying $3-a-gallon gasoline, Bush’s benefactors, donors and his own family collects the $3 a gallon.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean?

GREG PALAST: Well, we’re paying three bucks a gallon. ExxonMobil is collecting $3 a gallon. There’s a chapter called “Trillion-Dollar Babies.” When Bush came in, we had oil as low as $18 a barrel. It was like water. Bush has successfully built up the price of oil from 18 bucks a barrel to over $70 a barrel. That’s the “mission accomplished.” He didn’t make a mistake here. That’s the “mission accomplished.”

ExxonMobil, which after Enron is the biggest lifetime donor to the Bush campaigns, its value of its reserves, of its oil reserves, because of the Bush wars and Bush actions, has gone up by almost exactly $1 trillion in value. Just one company. A trillion-dollar windfall to a single company. That’s the Bush benefactors. And you have to look at where’s Bush make his money.

So, the problem that they have now is that Chavez is trying to supplant the Saudis running OPEC, and we’ve got a president who basically is caught up in, you know, these guys in bathrobes and crowns, these dictators of Saudi Arabia in the Gulf. And that’s what the Bush family is linked up to, and they are not going to let them be supplanted by Chavez.

Full interview here.

Written by adswithoutproducts

July 13, 2006 at 9:20 pm

Posted in distraction, war

3 Responses

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  1. Without wanting to downplay oil’s strategic role at all, I think we gain from placing oil’s role within systemic thinking rather than letting it become isomorphic with systemic thinking, in trying to understand the current conjuncture. Otherwise, one risks a version of technological determinism. For a nicely dialectical account, see this article here, later a chapter of this book.


    July 14, 2006 at 10:28 am

  2. jane,

    thank you so much for that link. I have no idea how I missed it… But I’ve now read it carefully, ordered the book, and will likely need to post on it…

    I do think that Palast’s epiphany fits snuggly within the argument of the article… A eureka moment deeply in need of thorough contextualization, dialecticization – which is exactly what is provided in the Retort piece.

    I will say I am a bit confused about the jump to “primitive accumulation” at the end, which I need to think on a bit.

    And perhaps one of the most valuable and pressing points here is the possibility that the rhetoric of “peak oil” might itself be a mystification, one squarely in line behind the logic of the wars.

    One issue that they don’t get to which I think needs to be there is the specter of a “switching crisis” – the possibility of a geographical shift in the center of the world economy toward the China / India. Which is certainly one way to solve this mystery that stumps the authors:

    At the heart of neo-liberalism’s strategy was an assault on the state-centred development of postcolonial nations: markets were to be forced open, capital and financial flows freed up, state properties sold at knockdown prices, and assets devalued and transferred in crises of neo-liberalism’s own making. What has proved so extraordinary is not its missionary zeal, but rather its hyper-nationalism: the US’s insistence on its own image as a global norm. The 2002 National Security Strategy was its creed, and ‘full spectrum dominance’ its commandment.

    From a very different angle: can you imagine a single “fact” that, if grasped by the american electorate as a whole, would be so disruptive and ultimately cleansing as the idea that these wars aren’t for oil so much as to fine-tune the price of oil, up as much as down.


    July 14, 2006 at 1:38 pm

  3. AWP, these are good points. I think you might find some use in Gopal Balakrishnan’s response to Affliced Powers, especially regarding “primitive accumulation” and Luxemburg. It can be found here.

    As for the American electorate, that debate is of limited interest to me, since I do not believe in “voting,” in the form currently on offer. The question must not be about the electorate but about the polity.


    July 14, 2006 at 1:57 pm

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