Obama’s Secret War Profiteering Tax By Greg Palast

Dandelion Salad

By Greg Palast
May 22nd, 2008

I can’t make this up:

In a hotel room in Brussels, the chief executives of the world’s top oil companies unrolled a huge map of the Middle East, drew a fat, red line around Iraq and signed their names to it.

The map, the red line, the secret signatures. It explains this war. It explains this week’s rocketing of the price of oil to $134 a barrel.

It happened on July 31, 1928, but the bill came due now.

Barack Obama knows this. Or, just as important, those crafting his policies seem to know this. Same for Hillary Clinton’s team. There could be no more vital difference between the Republican and Democratic candidacies. And you won’t learn a thing about it on the news from the Fox-holes.

Let me explain.

In 1928, oil company chieftains (from Anglo-Persian Oil, now British Petroleum, from Standard Oil, now Exxon, and their Continental counterparts) were faced with a crisis: falling prices due to rising supplies of oil; the same crisis faced by their successors during the Clinton years, when oil traded at $22 a barrel.

The solution then, as now: stop the flow of oil, squeeze the market, raise the price. The method: put a red line around Iraq and declare that virtually all the oil under its sands would remain there, untapped. Their plan: choke supply, raise prices rise, boost profits. That was the program for 1928. For 2003. For 2008.

Again and again, year after year, the world price of oil has been boosted artificially by keeping a tight limit on Iraq’s oil output. Methods varied. The 1928 “Redline” agreement held, in various forms, for over three decades. It was replaced in 1959 by quotas imposed by President Eisenhower. Then Saudi Arabia and OPEC kept Iraq, capable of producing over 6 million barrels a day, capped at half that, given an export quota equal to Iran’s lower output.

In 1991, output was again limited, this time by a new red line: B-52 bombings by Bush Senior’s air force. Then came the Oil Embargo followed by the “Food for Oil” program. Not much food for them, not much oil for us.


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4 thoughts on “Obama’s Secret War Profiteering Tax By Greg Palast

  1. Pingback: “Let My Oil Go” The Palast Report on Air America’s Clout « Dandelion Salad

  2. Even if they do want a windfall profits tax on oil companies congress would have to pass the bill. We also don’t know how they would spend the tax money. Neither Clinton or Obama have any intention of ending the Iraq occupation. That goes for the Afghanistan occupation also. That still doesn’t save the economy either. Deficit spending and inflation will still continue.

  3. Whew! I feel like I just read a screen play of a Hollywood thriller! Secret meetings, war profiteering, dirty politicians…..doesn’t this seem a bit too much ‘conspiracy theory’-ish?

    First, let’s talk about oil prices. They’re high because of a lot of reasons. One is the war in Iraq, but there’s also growing global demand, commodity speculation, and the falling value of the dollar. Those other reasons are pretty important too.

    Next, let’s call oil profits what they are: profits. Oil companies sell a high-value product, which gives them high-value return. It’s the same reason people who sell gold or fancy cars make a lot of money. Is it right that these executives make billions? I don’t think so, but whose to say?

    Let’s stop with the spin and call this for what it is. The plan supported by both Obama and Hillary is a tax on big incomes, not a “secret war profiteering tax”.

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