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The Independent has an article that Iraq's massive oil reserves, the world's third largest, are about to be exploited by Western oil companies when a controversial new law comes before the Iraqi parliament in the next couple of days.

The US government has been involved in drawing up the law, a draft of which has been seen by The Independent on Sunday. It would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude and allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil interests in the country since the industry was nationalised in 1972.

The article points out this will give war critics ammunition that the war was fought over oil.

Why would we ever have think that? Maybe because of a speech Dick Cheney gave in 1999 when he was Chairman of Halliburton and he said this:

That means by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from? Governments and the national oil companies are obviously in control of about ninety per cent of the assets. Oil remains fundamentally a government business. While many regions of the world offer great oil opportunities, the Middle East with two thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies, even though companies are anxious for greeter access there, progress continues to be slow.

More from The Independent article and this new law:

Oil industry executives and analysts say the law, which would permit Western companies to pocket up to three-quarters of profits in the early years, is the only way to get Iraq's oil industry back on its feet after years of sanctions, war and loss of expertise. But it will operate through "production-sharing agreements" (or PSAs) which are highly unusual in the Middle East, where the oil industry in Saudi Arabia and Iran, the world's two largest producers, is state controlled.

Opponents say Iraq, where oil accounts for 95 per cent of the economy, is being forced to surrender an unacceptable degree of sovereignty.

Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister, Barham Salih, who chairs the country's oil committee, says legislation could be unveiled as early as today.

Remember when Colin Powell said this:

"It cost a great deal of money to prosecute this war. But the oil of the Iraqi people belongs to the Iraqi people; it is their wealth, it will be used for their benefit. So we did not do it for oil."

Colin Powell also went before the UN in February of 2003 to convince the world that Iraq was a grave threat; so I guess we can forgive him for not knowing the real reason was always about the oil.

Powell also showed satellite photos that he said indicated the presence of "active chemical munitions bunkers" that had been disguised.

Those were followed with photos he said illustrated the facilities had been "sanitized" before U.N. inspectors arrived.

This war was always about the oil and about enriching corporations.  Dick Cheney was Secretary of Defense from 1989 to 1993 when he commissioned a study for the Department of Defense by Brown and Root Services (now Kellogg, Brown and Root), a wholly owned subsidiary of Halliburton.

The study recommended that private firms like Halliburton should take over logistical support programs for U.S. military operations around the world. Just two years after he was Secretary of Defense, Cheney stepped through the revolving door linking the Department of Defense with defense contractors and became CEO of Halliburton. Halliburton was the principal beneficiary of Cheney’s privatization efforts for our military’s logistical support and Cheney was paid $44 million for five year's work with them before he slipped back through the revolving door of war profiteering to become Vice-President of the United States.

So, it was tricky Dick's idea to privatize our military out to corporations, he then becomes CEO of the largest military contractor earning himself millions, and then becomes Vice-President to an Administration that lied it's way into a war "that will last decades".

Most of us knew this war was always about Iraq's oil; justifications about, "weapons of mass destruction", and "democratizing Iraq", and "fighting them over there, so we don't have to fight them here", were all smokescreens for a corrupt Administration and a few corporations to profit from.

The price has been high.  The Iraqi people have paid a huge price, along with America's military personnel and their familes. The American people have also paid in the plundering of our tax dollars.  

I am grateful for our newly elected Democratic officials and their call to thoroughly investigate the fraud and deception that led up to this war, and the waste of billions of dollars.

If this doesn't constitute high crimes and misdemeanors I don't know what does.

Originally posted to CTLiberal on Sat Jan 06, 2007 at 09:06 PM PST.

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