Saturday, May 12, 2007

Billions in Oil Missing in Iraq

This morning the New York Times says, “Between 100,000 and 300,000 barrels a day of Iraq’s declared oil production over the past four years is unaccounted for and could have been siphoned off through corruption or smuggling, according to a draft American government report.” And then we get a comprehensive recital of the usual smuggling and siphoning suspects. The only suspects not on the usual suspects list are the Americans. And why would that be? Because the draft report which will be released next week was prepared by the United States Government Accountability Office, that’s why. However, the NYT says, “the report also contains the most comprehensive assessment yet of the billions of dollars the United States and Iraq spent on rebuilding the oil and electricity infrastructure, which is falling further and further behind its performance goals.” The report says the US has spent $5.1 billion of the $7.4 billion in American taxpayer money to rebuild the Iraqi electricity and oil sectors. Plus, the US has spent $3.8 billion of Iraqi money on electricity and oil sectors. “Despite those enormous expenditures, the performance is far short of official goals, and in some cases seems to be declining further. The average output of Iraq’s national electricity grid in 2006, for example, was 4,300 megawatts, about equal to its value before the 2003 invasion. By February of this year, the figure had fallen still further, to 3,800 megawatts, the report says.” The story is similar for the oil sector, the NYT says. “Even if the Iraqi numbers are correct — neither exports nor production have met American goals and have also declined since last year, the report says.” Let me be the first to suggest the obvious: that all those civilian contractors that Dick Cheney saw to it would be hired from Halliburton and its subsidiaries and who are oil industry super-mavens are siphoning off oil and smuggling it out of Iraq. Let me be the first to suggest that these private contractors are not smuggling the oil to the US but selling it anywhere they can and pocketing the dough. Let me be the first to suggest that all those mercenaries the State Department has hired from Blackwater, USA at $1000 a day to play soldier and to help in rebuilding Iraq who have not done jackshit about rebuilding Iraq are also smuggling oil out of Iraq for their own enrichment. The NYT says, “American reconstruction officials have continued to promote what they describe as successes in the rebuilding program, while saying that problems with security have prevented the program from achieving all of its goals. But federal oversight officials have frequently reported that the program has also suffered from inadequate oversight, poor contracting practices, graft, ineffective management and disastrous initial planning.” No fucking kidding! “The discrepancies in the Iraqi oil figures are broadly reminiscent of the ones that turned up when some of the same energy department experts examined Iraq’s oil infrastructure in the wake of the oil-for-food scandals of the Saddam Hussein era. In a United Nations-sponsored program that was supposed to trade Iraq’s oil for food, Mr. Hussein and other smugglers were handsomely profiting from the program, investigations determined.” Other smugglers? Who might they be? In 2002, the usual suspects were Syria, Jordan and Turkey, the NYT says, “and by ship in the Persian Gulf, routes that could also be available today, said Robert Ebel, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington…any number of adjacent countries would be glad to have it if they could make some money,” Mr. Ebel said. Right. With a little help from their Gulf War buddies in the US. “Mr. Ebel said the lack of modern metering equipment, or measuring devices, at Iraq’s wellheads made it especially difficult to track smuggling there. The State Department official agreed that there were no meters at the wellheads, but said that Iraq’s Oil Ministry had signed a contract with Shell Oil to study the possibility of putting in the meters.” Hahahahahahahaha! A contract with SHELL OIL to study “the possibility”? Hahahahahahahaha! Oh very good! “The official added that an American-financed project to install meters on Iraq’s main oil platform in the Persian Gulf was scheduled to be completed this month.” This month? Not back in 1991? Not back in 1998? Not in 2003 or 2004, or 2005, or 2006? Can one infer that Mr. State-Department-Official added, Oops!? “As sizable as a discrepancy of as much as 300,000 barrels a day would be in most parts of the world, some analysts said it could be expected in a country with such a long, ingrained history of corruption,” the NYT said. A country like the United States, you mean?

1 comment:

Barry Schwartz said...

The important thing is 'enduring' military bases which can be use to 'facilitate' the delivery of oil to China.