Greg Palast Uncovers the 'Armed Madhouse' of the Bush Reign of Greed, Fear and Stolen Elections
We were screaming in the streets: no blood for oil, which, of course, you know, most Americans consider a bargain – blood for oil, as long as it’s not their blood, right? But in fact, it wasn’t blood for oil. It was blood for no oil. It was blood to make sure that not too much oil would flow and bust the market. Oil had been down under Bill Clinton to eighteen bucks a barrel. Now it’s over $70 a barrel. -- Greg Palast
Greg Palast is such a good investigative reporter, he can’t get a job with a mainstream media outlet in the United States. That’s right, Palast is good enough for the BBC and the London Guardian and Observer, but he is too good for any paper or television station in the United States.
You see, the mainstream press in America sees a big boulder blocking the road and there’s all sorts of arms and legs sticking out from underneath. The White House tells the media that their eyes are deceiving them and there is nothing under the boulder. They warn them not to try and move it, otherwise they might be aiding terrorists and revealing classified information. The corporate-owned big media then reports that a big boulder fell from the sky and caused no injuries. Greg Palast, however, hires an earth mover, has an iron claw pick up the boulder – and then he reports what he finds underneath.
This makes him a pariah to the corporate barons who run the American media. They don’t want inquiring minds as journalists; they want stenographers. There’s a reason BuzzFlash has interviewed Greg Palast more than any other person. He’s not afraid to look under rocks and boulders and tell us what he sees, as he does in his new book, Armed Madhouse.
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BuzzFlash: You don’t waste a page of this book, Greg. You open it up and you’ve got an illustrated explanation of the two plans for oil in invading Iraq.
Greg Palast: Bush had a secret plan for Iraq’s oil. Make that, he had two, and I got them. It was not easy, let me tell you. The first plan that I found was crafted by the Neo-cons – Wolfowitz and the whole Rumsfeld gang. Their program for oil in Iraq was to sell off the oil fields. We have it in black and white. They called this privatization, which means slice, dice and sell. Of course, since Iraqis only have Iraqi currency, it wouldn’t go to Iraqis, right?
That plan was handed to General Jay Garner, our first vice counsel there. I showed him the secret plan and he said, “Yes, that’s it.” I said, “Why didn’t you implement it?” He said basically that he told Rumsfeld to take the plan and stick it where the desert sun doesn’t rise.
BuzzFlash: And then Garner got relieved of duty.
Greg Palast: That night, Rumsfeld said, well, don’t unpack. You’re fired.
BuzzFlash: Then they sent Paul Bremer.
Greg Palast: They sent in Paul Bremer, whose sole qualification for the job was that he was managing director of Kissinger Associates. But the plan to sell off Iraq’s oil fields was blocked by something I didn’t expect – big oil, the big oil companies. They said: Listen guys, this isn’t how it’s done in the Mideast. You let the Iraqis pretend that they own the oil, and what we do is we have no-bid production sharing agreements. The key thing is to make sure – and here’s the kicker – make sure we don’t get too much oil.
I have the actual 323-page document drafted by big oil executives in Houston, working with James Baker’s people. Remember, James Baker represents Exxon Oil Company. He also represents the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These are the guys drafting the plans – our plans for Iraq’s oil. By the way, why aren’t the Iraqis drawing up their own plan? That’s another issue. But the plan was that we don’t sell off Iraq’s oilfields. Rather they have lock-up agreements with U.S. oil companies.
And most importantly, this plan would guarantee that Iraq does not produce beyond its OPEC quota. In other words, we want the oil, but not too much, because that would bring down the price of oil.
In the book, I actually show the pages from these plans for Iraq, and one says the purpose is to enhance the Iraq government’s relationship with OPEC. As you can imagine, OPEC is the oil cartel which basically has its foot on the world’s economic windpipe at the moment - $70 a barrel gasoline. Three bucks a gallon at the pump is what it comes out to. We are literally in there right now to make sure that Iraq remains good members of OPEC. They were afraid that Saddam was going renegade, and he could not be trusted to play ball with OPEC, which is basically an illegal cartel controlled by Saudi Arabia and big oil.
That was the winning plan for the oil. In other words, if you wonder why your cousin is shivering under a tank in Fallujah, it is to enhance Iraq’s relationship with OPEC. There it is, guys – black and white.
BuzzFlash: To ensure a controlled flow of oil at a good profitable price for the oil industry.
Greg Palast: Let’s put it this way. Iraq can pump 6 million barrels a day. As long as they are members of OPEC under Saudi control, they can only pump 3 million a day. With the oil for food program – we put a clamp on Saddam – it was 2 million a day. People misunderstand this one. We were screaming in the streets: no blood for oil, which, of course, you know, most Americans consider a bargain – blood for oil, as long as it’s not their blood, right? But in fact, it wasn’t blood for oil. It was blood for no oil. It was blood to make sure that not too much oil would flow and bust the market. Oil had been down under Bill Clinton to eighteen bucks a barrel. Now it’s over $70 a barrel.
BuzzFlash: I think it was $73 on Friday. And with the Iranians saying that if the U.S. continues to put pressure on them, they’re going to lower their output, the price of oil may go up even more.
Greg Palast: Right. They are playing a nice little game. The next war isn’t with Iran – it’s with Venezuela, as I explain the book.
BuzzFlash: Because they’re the second-largest exporter to the U.S. – isn’t that right?
Greg Palast: Let me explain. I was able to obtain a document. That’s why we have all these illustrations in the book – because I want people to actually see these things. I got a document from inside the Department of Energy, which says that Venezuela – in other words, Hugo Chavez - has more oil than Saudi Arabia, and that’s a real shake-up.
BuzzFlash: You mean according to geological surveys?
Greg Palast: Yes, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, a lot more oil than Saudi Arabia. That’s a disaster for George Bush because – and that’s why I have that chapter called “The Assassination of Hugo Chavez.”
I showed the chart to Chavez himself last month in Caracas, and he said, “That’s absolutely right. And we’re going to demand that OPEC recognize Venezuela, not Saudi Arabia, as the leader.” That’s big, bad news for the Bush House of Saud cartel because you have to understand that King Abdullah will always sell us his oil. He’ll never cut it off.
But that’s not the most important point here. Abdullah sends back his oil earnings. After he takes his slice and gives his slice to Exxon, the remainder goes back to the United States in the form of Treasury Bill purchases. They would never lend a dime to their Muslim brothers. They just lend it back to George to fund his oil wars and his tax cuts. And that’s the game. Abdullah lends us back the petro-dollars, and we lend him the 82nd Airborne to stay in business.
BuzzFlash: Okay, so we don’t expect to see Hugo Chavez on Bush’s ranch with him, with their pinkies intertwined, as we’ve seen Bush with the Saudi royal family.
Greg Palast: The reason George Bush was chauffeuring King Abdullah around the Crawford ranch in his golf cart – well, first of all, because George is afraid of horses – no kidding. The second reason, though, is to make sure that he keeps giving us those petro-dollars back as loans or purchases.
And Chavez told me, “I’m just not going to do it.” In fact, knowing that I’d be reporting on BBC International News, Chavez said, “I’ll drop the price of oil to fifty bucks - knock off a third – a buck a gallon off your gas tank charges. But I've got to have a deal with George Bush.” He wants no more assassination plots and a stabilization of the oil market, which the Saudis absolutely hate, because the Saudis crank up the price so that we choke, and then about every six to eight years, they dump the price to wipe out any alternatives, whether it’s solar power or Chavez’s oil, which is heavy crude, which is expensive to get at.
In other words, Abdullah plays his game of jerking the market way up and way down. That’s how the Saudis keep control of the oil market. Chavez says, I’m not playing that game. I’m not giving George Venezuela’s oil money. In fact, Chavez withdrew $20 billion from the U.S. Federal Reserve and lent it to Argentina, Ecuador and other Latin American countries. When you start withdrawing your money from the Federal Reserve and giving it out, instead, to Latin America, you basically are getting a date with a bullet.
BuzzFlash: Two more quick questions about the oil situation, and then we’ve got to get to the stolen elections issue. There is also speculation that Iran or Chavez might shift to the Euro instead of the dollar as being the currency for oil.
Greg Palast: That one I checked out. It doesn’t float, because it was George Bush himself who is trying to push the Euro up. Bush has been trying to push the Euro big time.
BuzzFlash: Why is that?
Greg Palast: Because he’s trying to devalue the dollar. When we talk about revaluing the Chinese currency, you mean devaluing the dollar. Very, very important to Bush to dump the dollar. His cronies are trying to evacuate the United States financially, and that’s what privatization of Social Security is about as well. It’s about getting dollars out of this country, and so we devalue the dollar. That devalues the debt held by these guys. It raises our interest. It kills our pension funds and our economy is slowly dying off.
BuzzFlash: Why do they want to do that?
Greg Palast: There are a few reasons. One, higher interest rates as well as high oil rates have completely demolished the auto industry. General Motors is heading right into bankruptcy. High oil rates have also demolished the airline industry while enriching the oil companies, and the high interest rates have enriched the banks.
That means basically the Democratic stronghold industries - the last unionized industries in America, which are auto and airlines – are going down. In other words, "Mission Accomplished." Money is flowing into Houston. We pay three bucks a gallon for gas, and they collect it. Mission accomplished. Oil’s at $70 a barrel. Mission accomplished. The dollar’s down, and we are exporting a quarter trillion dollars a year to China in cash, so we could import their manufactured goods. That’s mission accomplished. The idea is that American capital is fleeing this country.
End Part I