'Fight Smart' - 26 January 2009

Don't Take the Bait - Fight Smart
Who is the enemy?

'Time To Set Aside Childish Things'
Obama Pricks Bubble Of Collective Denial
New US President To Pursue A World Without Nuclear Weapons
Naomi Wolf Highlights Role Of US Media
In Keeping Facts Of Life Away From American Public

"Obama and Biden will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons, and pursue it."
White House Web Site, Obama Administration, January 2009

obamainauguralspeech.jpg (32537 bytes)
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.”
Barrack Obama, 44th President of The United States
Inaugural Address, 20 January 2009

Millions within and beyond America are hoping and praying that the promising foreign policy start of the Obama presidency, which includes the offer of talks with Iran without pre-condition and the pledge to work towards the global abolition of nuclear weapons, endures beyond its honeymoon period and signals a lasting change of direction for America.

In an encouraging parallel development China has explicitly stated a 'no first use of nuclear weapons' policy for the first time, saying its nuclear weapons are not aimed at any country. These declarations were contained in a white paper on national defence released in Beijing on the day the new US president was inaugurated.

Meanwhile the world waits to see whether Obama's increased focus on Afghanistan will prove a soothing or escalating influence on a region which has felt raised tensions following the attacks on Mumbai in November.

Consistent with his election campaign stance on cross-border incursions, Obama has so far maintained the controversial Bush policy of CIA drone attacks on Pakistan's tribal areas. These had already become a source of regional unrest fanning anti-Americanism and Islamic extremism. The government of Pakistan has asked the new President to cease the drone attacks, which it regards as counterproductive.

With his plans to send in more troops, some believe Afghanistan could become Obama's Vietnam if he is badly advised. There has been no change in US Defense Secretary with the arrival of the new administration, and only a few seem to take serious note of the fate of British and Soviet armies in previous Afghan conflicts.

One man who probably has taken note is the commander of British forces in Afghanistan who told a newspaper in October that "We're not going to win this war". The longer the actual or perceived (the basis of Bin Laden's original 1996 fatwa against America in relation to Saudi Arabia) western occupation of Muslim countries continues the longer what used to be known as the 'war on terror' will persist.

"The preternatural calm that seemed an attractive part of his personality during the primaries became his dominant trait in the general election — and the defining principle of his transition. He seems, in the modesty of his rhetoric, to have embarked on a rather bold experiment. 'This is going to be a general principle of governing,' he told CNN's John King. 'No spin, play it straight, describe to the American people the state that we're in.' And that was the oddest aspect of Obama's transition, the lack of pomp and bombast to it. He rarely used the word I; he addressed the nation as a community of mature adults."
Obama Promises New Destiny, Work Begins Today
TIME, 21 January 2009

"Amazingly Barack Obama spoke to us in his first moments as President as if both he and we were adults. Why should this be so surprising and refreshing? Because Mr Obama is piercing a bubble. Since the Reagan years, US presidents have spoken to the nation in 'denial-ese'...we shuttle from workstation to mall, increasingly insulated by a media consensus that leaves out the rest of the world and plenty of tough reality inside our borders....If we can't see ourselves as anything but 300 million Gary Coopers and Doris Days, we can't possibly notice the burnt bodies of children in Gaza, dead from our own foreign policies.....This delusional self-image is finally catching up with us. If reality breaks through, painful though it may be, a good deal of benefit may come. Mr Obama's sober realism was striking because of the extent to which Americans are in denial. In London two weeks ago I was amazed to hear of mainstream TV shows that addressed Americans who had lost their jobs and homes. Such shows are not made in the US. Yes, there is abstract analysis of unemployment and foreclosures, but it is devoid of emotional content. You almost never see a US news story following the tens and now hundreds of thousands who have slid, through no fault of their own, from middle-income lives to near-destitution....The bubble of denial blocks out foreign policy reality too. Reading the US papers, one would have the sense that the Gaza conflict was an even-handed struggle. We saw images of bodies from afar, but not an actual bloodied child. In England I found, on every cover of almost every news publication, close-up images of wounded children- just as we never see a graphic image of a US soldier wounded or dead in Afghanistan or Iraq. Just as we don't see body bags....Not until I surfaced in the UK did I have any idea that there were hundreds of thousands of citizens on the streets throughout Europe. Back home, I asked well-informed friends if the knew that thousands had been protesting about Gaza in Europe, Blank looks all around, followed by a flash of fear. We are starting to realise that we are the kid who is been kept in the dark about some important development that most people know about. One can feel the culture, conversation itself, growing thin from this screening-out of reality. Mr Obama was telling us to snap out of it. And we are, for the most part, relieved. It is like when you know something is terribly wrong but refuse to see a doctor and finally someone drags you to an appointment. It is tough, but salutary.... for now he has done us a great favour: let in a bit of the real darkness of what we face. It is up to us to be willing to step out of the bubble."
Naomi Wolf - Obama pricks America's bubble of denial
London Times, 24 January 2009

Is America Finally Ready?

“… everything changed today. Not since 9/11 have we experienced such a profound shift in our national consciousness, and the feelings of elation many Americans feel at this moment dwarf the significance of those tragic events. … the honest truth is we weren't nearly as screwed by 9/11 as we have been with the economic meltdown, and the stakes this time are far greater than the phony ‘war between civilizations’. Obama's focus on the economic and climate change crises, and his prominent address of the energy issues which underlie both, put the focus squarely on the herculean domestic tasks ahead. If I had to sum up Obama's laconic but inspiring speech, with all of its poetically dire imagery of gathering storm clouds and rough seas ahead, it would be with an equally stark, completely unpoetic phrase that we, as Americans, desperately needed to hear: ‘It's time to grow the hell up.’ And I think we're finally ready. Let's hope so.”
Terry Mancour - Put away childish things
Guardian, 'Comment Is Free', 21 January 2009

In This Bulletin
Towards 'A World Without Nuclear Weapons'
China Relaxes As Obama Takes Office
Naomi Wolf - London Times
'Obama Pricks America's Bubble Of Denial'
The Political Children Of Westminster Rush To Embrace Maturity
As Obama Shows Signs Of Looking For Serious Adult Relationships
A Rare Adult Challenge To The Main Bush-Era Delusion
Whilst It Was In Full Swing
Obama Opposed The Iraq War
And Knows The Score On Foreign Oil Dependency

Towards 'A World Without Nuclear Weapons'
China Relaxes As Obama Takes Office

"China has explicitly stated a 'no first use of nuclear weapons' policy for the first time, saying its nuclear weapons are not aimed at any country. The declarations were contained in a white paper on national defense released in Beijing Tuesday [20 January], Xinhua, the state-run Chinese news agency, reported....The paper marked the first time Chinese officials have so openly discussed the Second Artillery Force, the country's core force of strategic deterrence."
China states 'no first use' nuke policy
United Press International, 20 January 2009

"The new Obama administration is willing to talk to Iran 'without preconditions' and will work towards the abolition of nuclear weapons, the White House said today. The Obama foreign policy agenda that appeared on the White House website said: 'Barack Obama supports tough and direct diplomacy with Iran without preconditions,' the policy outline said....The other notable shift in US foreign policy announced today was a strategic decision to move towards a 'nuclear free world', through bilateral and multilateral disarmament. 'Obama and [Vice President Joe] Biden will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons, and pursue it,' according to the agenda. It is a long term goal. The US will maintain a 'strong deterrent as long as nuclear weapons exist', but begin to take steps on the 'long road towards eliminating nuclear weapons'. The development of new nuclear weapons will be stopped, a sharp change from the Bush administration that pushed for a new generation of warheads, and the new administration will work with Moscow to take US and Russian missiles off their current hair trigger alert, while seeking 'dramatic reductions in US and Russian stockpiles of nuclear weapons and material'."
Barack Obama: Administration willing to talk to Iran 'without preconditions'
Guardian, 21 January 2009

"Obama and Biden will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons, and pursue it. Obama and Biden will always maintain a strong deterrent as long as nuclear weapons exist. But they will take several steps down the long road toward eliminating nuclear weapons. They will stop the development of new nuclear weapons; work with Russia to take U.S. and Russian ballistic missiles off hair trigger alert; seek dramatic reductions in U.S. and Russian stockpiles of nuclear weapons and material; and set a goal to expand the U.S.-Russian ban on intermediate-range missiles so that the agreement is global."
White House Web Site, January 2009

'Power Alone Cannot Protect Us'

"The President announced another clean break with the Bush Administration, on foreign policy. Summoning the wisdom of 'earlier generations,' he said, 'They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please.' Take that, Dick Cheney — who exited the scene in a wheelchair, looking grim, as if he were about to foreclose on someone. Obama piled on several foreign policy zingers when he denounced the 'false ... choice between our safety and our ideals' — a reference to Bush's harsh treatment of prisoners — and in his message to the world: 'We are ready to lead once more.' But the tone of the speech was not defiant or angry, or celebratory, for that matter. It was resolute, suffused with sobriety, reflecting a tough-minded realism at home and abroad. Obama made clear that his domestic liberalism would be enacted conservatively. Where government programs can help, he said, 'we intend to move forward.' If they are useless or outdated, 'programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits and do our business in the light of day.'... Obama was careful to avoid the phrase global war on terror in his Inaugural Address. Instead, there will be a steady drip-drip-drip of diplomacy, especially on neglected issues like nuclear proliferation."
Obama Promises New Destiny, Work Begins Today
TIME, 21 January 2009

Holding Them To Account? - Obama Needs To Fix This

"...'According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in [Pentagon] transactions,' [Secretary of Defense] Rumsfeld admitted. $2.3 trillion — that's $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America. To understand how the Pentagon can lose track of trillions, consider the case of one military accountant who tried to find out what happened to a mere $300 million. 'We know it's gone. But we don't know what they spent it on,' said Jim Minnery, Defense Finance and Accounting Service."
The War On Waste
CBS News, 29 January 2002

"My fellow Americans.... America's leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment... This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience.... we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.... America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect. Such a confederation must be one of equals."
Dwight Eisenhower
Farewell Presidential Address, 17 January 1961

Naomi Wolf - London Times
'Obama Pricks America's Bubble Of Denial'

Naomi Wolf is co-founder of the American Freedom Campaign
Her books include The End of America and Give Me Liberty

January 24, 2009

Obama pricks America's bubble of denial

Refreshingly, the new President is the first in a long time to address his fellow citizens as adults

Amazingly Barack Obama spoke to us in his first moments as President as if both he and we were adults. His speech stated clearly that we were in a crisis - a deep and serious one - that we had to face it and that, in some ways, had brought it upon ourselves.

Why should this be so surprising and refreshing? Because Mr Obama is piercing a bubble. Since the Reagan years, US presidents have spoken to the nation in “denial-ese”: it's morning in America, we are the light unto the nations, bring it on. For 30 years, we Americans have not only become used to this drug-like rhetoric that blurs our perceptions, we have become addicted to the worldview it represents.

Reinforced by a stream of images of cheery models engaged in consumption and leisure, we shuttle from workstation to mall, increasingly insulated by a media consensus that leaves out the rest of the world and plenty of tough reality inside our borders. We have had a land of denial built around ourselves: all is well in the US, the best of all possible worlds.

This language costs us the capacity to self-correct. If we can't see ourselves as anything but 300 million Gary Coopers and Doris Days, we can't possibly notice the burnt bodies of children in Gaza, dead from our own foreign policies. If our intentions are always honourable, everyone who hates America must be a fanatical raghead. If our individual pluck and ingenuity will just, gosh, win the day, it is difficult to address crises such as the death of our manufacturing base.

This delusional self-image is finally catching up with us. If reality breaks through, painful though it may be, a good deal of benefit may come.

Mr Obama's sober realism was striking because of the extent to which Americans are in denial. In London two weeks ago I was amazed to hear of mainstream TV shows that addressed Americans who had lost their jobs and homes. Such shows are not made in the US. Yes, there is abstract analysis of unemployment and foreclosures, but it is devoid of emotional content. You almost never see a US news story following the tens and now hundreds of thousands who have slid, through no fault of their own, from middle-income lives to near-destitution.

We know a grave recession is on: but it is treated as a “how to consume more creatively” story - a New York Times feature on people asking their concierges to arrange catered dinners for 20 at home, rather than setting them up at high-end restaurants - or the crisis is individualised as a manifestation of personal failure: Dr Phil telling a couple losing their home that it was the fault of their own budgeting.

The American mythology that anyone can do anything, given hard work and personal qualities, means that we can be optimistic and open at our best, with more social mobility than Europe. But it also presupposes that there is no such thing as a system outside the individual, one that can collapse. So when collapse happens, we understand it only in terms of emotional cues: “greedy bankers”, “careless spenders”.

The bubble of denial blocks out foreign policy reality too. Reading the US papers, one would have the sense that the Gaza conflict was an even-handed struggle. We saw images of bodies from afar, but not an actual bloodied child. In England I found, on every cover of almost every news publication, close-up images of wounded children- just as we never see a graphic image of a US soldier wounded or dead in Afghanistan or Iraq. Just as we don't see body bags.

And a single sentence in The New York Times mentioned “protests in Europe” about Gaza. Not until I surfaced in the UK did I have any idea that there were hundreds of thousands of citizens on the streets throughout Europe. Back home, I asked well-informed friends if the knew that thousands had been protesting about Gaza in Europe,

Blank looks all around, followed by a flash of fear. We are starting to realise that we are the kid who is been kept in the dark about some important development that most people know about. One can feel the culture, conversation itself, growing thin from this screening-out of reality. Mr Obama was telling us to snap out of it. And we are, for the most part, relieved. It is like when you know something is terribly wrong but refuse to see a doctor and finally someone drags you to an appointment. It is tough, but salutary.

Mr Obama has studied history carefully. He knows that the great Americans did not coddle their fellow citizens, or flatter them. The great Americans told their fellow citizens to get a grip and look in the mirror.

Mr Obama cites Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address, an incredible piece of rhetoric. At the peak of a bloody civil war, Lincoln did not say the equivalent of “mission accomplished”. He said that we were in the middle of a bloody civil war. That there was more suffering ahead. That soldiers were dying. And then he said that America had brought the conflict upon herself through the spiritual violation represented by the enslavement of fellow Americans - and that not a drop of blood or an ounce of treasure would be spared until it was expiated.

Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy also called on Americans to confront where they had strayed from their national mandate to be a “light unto the nations”. American histories tend to misrepresent the dark language these leaders used, as if our now-saccharine consciousness can't bear the truth of the past, let alone of the present. Can you imagine a US president speaking like that today? Well, you just heard one, gently enough, begin to do so.

The relief that many Americans feel after just one dose of reality means that not only can we bear it - many of us sense it is long overdue. Our hearts will no doubt be broken by this very President many times over. But for now he has done us a great favour: let in a bit of the real darkness of what we face. It is up to us to be willing to step out of the bubble.

The Political Children Of Westminster Rush To Embrace Maturity
As Obama Shows Signs Of Looking For Serious Adult Relationships

obamadowningst.jpg (8113 bytes)
Comments from his aides suggest that Obama (above, outside 10 Downing St, London, before his election as US President) regards the old style Anglo-American 'special relationship' as unhelpful in tackling international relations

"President Obama will have been too busy this week to notice Britain’s politicians desperately trying to drape themselves in the banner of American leadership now that its spangled stars shine brightly once more. His policy team, however, rolls its eyes at the undignified scramble to exploit any tenuous association with a new president whose popularity among British voters has reached levels to which both Gordon Brown and David Cameron can only aspire. Three days after his inauguration, Mr Obama yesterday got around to speaking to the Prime Minister...Mr Obama has little interest in influencing the British political debate and will resist being dragged into a looming general election campaign. Instead, he needs help on his foreign policy agenda from a transatlantic special relationship which he has already widened to include France and Germany. Aides say that he wants to deal with a 'strong and united Europe' rather than rely on a rickety Anglo-Saxon bridge to the Old World. ....Although Downing Street is publicly playing down the prospects of an early meeting, it is still hoping that Mr Brown will be the first EU leader paying homage to the President at the White House next month. On the Conservative side, Mr Cameron has jettisoned his party’s alliance with Republicans which saw George Osborne declare in 2004: 'I’m a signed-up, card-carrying Bush fan.'....Britain has long since relied on oiling its US relations with the lubricating qualities of an Anglophilia which still oozes around much of Washington. Mr Obama, however, may be deficient in this sentiment. In his memoir, Dreams from My Father, he described his trips to drink 'tea on the Thames' before flying away from a Europe that 'just wasn’t mine' to discover his Kenyan roots with British passengers who displayed arrogant attitudes to the 'Godforsaken countries' of Africa. In Kenya he learned more about a colonial power where the district commissioner was called Bwana Ogalo – the oppressor – and his father was arrested, imprisoned and allegedly tortured in the Mau Mau rebellion against British rule. One of Britain’s senior diplomats yesterday dismissed concerns that the President would be influenced by such history, saying: 'Whether it’s based on sentiment or hardheaded calculation, the UK and the US share a global agenda unlike any two countries.' It has nonetheless been noticeable that Mr Obama is more likely to refer to America’s battle for independence against 'the tyranny of the British throne' than he is to quote Churchill. Indeed, his inaugural address on Tuesday finished by reprising George Washington’s exhortation to rebels camped on the blood-stained banks of the Delaware River in 1775 before the Battle of Trenton to fight the enemy with 'hope and virtue'. The enemy in question was, of course, the British.'"
Everybody wants to be friends with Barack Obama - but they’ll have to pay to play
London Times, 24 January 2009

Too Little, Too Late
From The Children Playing Political Snakes And Ladders

"David Miliband showed bad judgment and poor taste when he chose the Taj hotel in Mumbai to take a last swipe at George Bush in the dying days of his presidency....Mr Miliband said that the War on Terror was 'misleading and mistaken' and may have done more harm than good, that the threat posed by militant Islam cannot be defeated by force of arms and that there is no single enemy in this fight....He separately praised the incoming Obama Administration whose 'values and priorities' he told us he shared....the Foreign Secretary should have acted some time during the past seven years when his words would have mattered, not on the eve of Mr Obama’s inauguration and not in Mumbai."
Comment: David Miliband's argument is flawed
London Times, 16 January 2009

“I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”
Alan Greenspan, Chairman Of The US Federal Reserve 1987 - 2006
Sunday Times, 16 September 2007

The Perennial Battle For Iraq's Oil - Click Here

A Rare Adult Challenge To The Main Bush-Era Delusion
Whilst It Was In Full Swing

"Michael Meacher, who served as a minister for six years until three months ago, today goes further than any other mainstream British politician in blaming the Iraq war on a US desire for domination of the Gulf and the world....He says the US goal is 'world hegemony, built around securing by force command over the oil supplies' and that this Pax Americana 'provides a much better explanation of what actually happened before, during and after 9/11 than the global war on terrorism thesis'....He also criticises the British government, claiming it is motivated, as is the US, by a desire for oil. The US government last night expressed abhorrence at Mr Meacher's views.... Downing Street also distanced itself from the views of an MP who only a few months ago was in the government. 'The prime minister has responded to those who argue it was about oil,' a spokeswoman said, adding that oil profits from Iraq are to be fed back into the country's development. Former ministers such as Robin Cook and Clare Short have criticised the British government for misleading the public over the reasons for going to war. But Mr Meacher has gone much further in his analysis of US and British motives. He says that the plans of the neo-conservatives in Washington for action against Afghanistan and Iraq were well in hand before September 11."
Meacher sparks fury over claims on September 11 and Iraq war
Guardian, 6 September 2008

Meacher - 'This War On Terrorism Is Bogus' - Guardian, 6 September 2003

'Meacher's War On Terror' - Letters - Guardian, 8 September 2003

May 2001 - Bush Holds A Press Conference Which Includes The Deputy Secretary Of State For Defense
And Says 'We're Running Out Of Energy In America'

"I want to thank you all for coming today. I've assembled a team within my administration, in particular, the Secretary of Energy, as well as the Deputy Secretary of Defense [Paul Wolfowitz], to discuss energy. As the country knows, we're in the process of developing a comprehensive energy plan that will work to increase supplies, as well as encourage conservation. This is a long-run solution to the energy problems we now face.....I think we ought to ask all agencies to review energy policy. We're focused right now on California because that's a state that's going to suffer blackouts. But we've always got to be mindful of being energy efficient.... I think [energy] conservation has got to be an integral part of making sure we've got a reasonable energy policy. But what the Vice President was saying is we can't conserve our way to energy independence; nor can we conserve our way to having enough energy available. So we've got to do both. We must conserve, but we've also got to find new sources of energy. I haven't seen the final report yet, but I suspect the American people will find a balanced approach. But what people need to hear, loud and clear, is that we're running out of energy in America. And it is so important for this nation to improve its infrastructure so we can not only deliver supplies, but we need to go find new supply.....what the Vice President and I understand is that you cannot conserve your way to energy independence. We can do a better job in conservation, but we darn sure have to do a better job of finding more supply. It is naive for the American people and its -- and those who purport to speak for the American people, some of those, to say that we can be okay from an energy perspective by only focusing on conservation. We've got to find additional supplies of energy."
President George W Bush
Remarks by the President, Secretary of Energy Abraham and Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz After Energy Advisors Meeting
Office Of The Press Secretary, White House, 3 May 2001

Blair Faced With Same Problem

"The UK is a net exporter of oil, so we have no need of the Iraqi oil."
British Prime Minister, Tony Blair
House of Commons, 14 April 2003

".... our energy system faces new challenges.... Our energy supplies will increasingly depend on imported gas and oil..... we need access to a wide range of energy sources..."
British Prime Minister, Tony Blair
Foreword to DTI Energy White Paper, February 2003

"Fuel is our economic lifeblood. The price of oil can be the difference between recession and recovery. The western world is import dependent. ....So: who develops oil and gas, what the new potential sources of supply are, is a vital strategic question...The Middle East, we focus on naturally."
Prime Minister's speech at the George Bush Senior Presidential Library
10 Downing St, Press Release, 7 April 2002

Sir David Manning, Later British Ambassador To Washington, Was Personal Foreign Policy Adviser To Tony Blair 2001 - 2003, The Period Covering The Build Up To The Iraq War
What Does He Think About The Oil Problem?

"The scarcity of energy supplies and the energy imbalance between nations is a threat to our prosperity and national security. As resources contract, oil-hungry economies will compete for dwindling supplies of hydrocarbons. Competition for fossil fuels will increase.... Energy resources have long been a major strategic concern: access to secure sources, control over supply lines: these are issues of national security.... The energy challenge is now more pressing than ever.... Global oil production is apparently nearing its peak.... current estimates seem to be converging on some point between 2010 and 2020.... [there] are five factors which are changing the energy landscape: rising demand; dwindling supply; greater concentration of resource in the hands of a few; limited spare capacity; and the environmental impacts of energy use.....This is not a problem that can wait ten years."
Sir David Manning, British Ambassador To The United States Of America
Speech at Standford University, 13 March 2006

Invasion Of Afghanistan And Iraq Planned Before 9/11

"A former Pakistani diplomat has told the BBC that the US was planning military action against Osama Bin Laden and the Taleban even before last week's attacks. Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, was told by senior American officials in mid-July that military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October. Mr Naik said US officials told him of the plan at a UN-sponsored international contact group on Afghanistan which took place in Berlin.... Mr Naik was told that Washington would launch its operation from bases in Tajikistan, where American advisers were already in place. .... He said that he was in no doubt that after the World Trade Center bombings this pre-existing US plan had been built upon and would be implemented within two or three weeks."
US 'planned attack on Taleban'
BBC Online, 18 September 2001

"Under the influence of U.S. oil companies, the government of George W. Bush initially blocked U.S. secret service investigations on terrorism ....   In the book 'Bin Laden, la verite interdite ('Bin Laden, the forbidden truth), that appeared in Paris on Wednesday, the authors, Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, reveal that the Federal Bureau of Investigation's deputy director John O'Neill resigned in July [2001] in protest over the obstruction.... The two claim the U.S. government's main objective in Afghanistan was to consolidate the position of the Taliban regime to obtain access to the oil and gas reserves in Central Asia. They affirm that until August, the U.S. government saw the Taliban regime 'as a source of stability in Central Asia that would enable the construction of an oil pipeline across Central Asia', from the rich oilfields in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, through Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the Indian Ocean. Until now, says the book, 'the oil and gas reserves of Central Asia have been controlled by Russia. The Bush government wanted to change all that'. But, confronted with Taliban's refusal to accept U.S. conditions, 'this rationale of energy security changed into a military one', the authors claim. 'At one moment during the negotiations, the U.S. representatives told the Taliban, 'either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs',' Brisard said in an interview in Paris."
U.S. Policy Towards Taliban Influenced by Oil - Say Authors
Inter Press Service, 15 November 2001

Uncovering The Truth About 9/11
Killed In The World Trade Center On 9/11 Who Was FBI Agent John O'Neill? - Click Here
The Role Of Sibel Edmonds Of The FBI - Click Here
The Role Of John Pistole Of The FBI - Click Here

"[John Loftus] recently received an FBI translation of a highly classified and encrypted Al Qaida document, circa 1997-1998, which was retrieved and decrypted from a computer laptop following the Embassy bombing in Africa. The document was written by Osama Bin Laden’s military commander, Mohammed Atef, under his nom de guerre, Abu Haf, and reveals extensive knowledge of the supposedly secret pipeline negotiations [in Afghanistan from Turkmenistan to Pakistan backed by Enron], and their potential economic worth to the Taliban, Pakistan and the U.S.... in January 2001, Vice President Cheney allegedly reinstated the intelligence block and expanded it to effectively preclude any investigations whatsoever of Saudi-Taliban-Afghan oil connections. Former FBI counter-terrorism chief John O’Neil resigned from the FBI in disgust, stating that he was ordered not to investigate Saudi-Al Qaida connections because of the Enron pipeline deal. Loftus has confirmed that it was O’Neill who originally discovered the AL Qaida pipeline memo after the Embassy bombings in Africa. O’Neill gave an overview of the Enron block to two French authors who will soon be publishing in the United States. The FBI is currently investigating Loftus’ links to John O’Neill, and is also refusing FBI agent Robert Wright permission to publish his own findings about the Enron block. Loftus asserts that the Enron block, which remained in force from January 2001 until August 2001 when the pipeline deal collapsed, is the reason that none of FBI agent Rowley’s requests for investigations [into Zacarias Moussaoui] were ever approved. As numerous British and French authors have concluded, the information provided by European intelligence sources prior to 9/11 was so extensive, that it is no longer possible for either CIA or the FBI to assert a defense of incompetence. It is time for Congress to face the truth: In order to give Enron one last desperate chance to complete the Taliban pipeline and save itself from bankruptcy, senior levels of US intelligence were ordered to keep their eyes shut and their subordinates ignorant. The Enron cover-up confirms that 9/11 was not an intelligence failure or a law enforcement failure (at least not entirely). Instead, it was a foreign policy failure of the highest order. If Congress ever combines its Enron investigation with 9/11, Cheney’s whole house of cards will collapse".
What Congress Does Not Know about Enron and 9/11
Press Release, former federal prosecutor, John Loftus, 31 May 2002

(Who Is John Loftus? - Click Here)

Did 9/11 Victims Die For Enron? - Click Here

FBI Agent Robert Wright Spills Beans On Pre-9/11 Block On Al Qaeda Investigations - Click Here
The Role Of Pakistan's ISI - Click Here
The Role Of Wall St Journal Reporter Daniel Pearl - Click Here

"The Bush administration made plans for war and for Iraq's oil before the  9/11 attacks, sparking a policy battle between neo-cons and Big Oil, BBC's Newsnight has revealed..... Two years ago today - when President George Bush announced US, British and  Allied forces would begin to bomb Baghdad - protesters claimed the US had a secret plan for Iraq's oil once Saddam had been conquered. In fact there were two conflicting plans, setting off a hidden policy war between neo-conservatives at the Pentagon, on one side, versus a combination of 'Big Oil' executives and US State Department 'pragmatists'. 'Big Oil' appears to have won. The latest plan, obtained by Newsnight from the US State Department was, we learned, drafted with the help of American oil industry consultants. Insiders told Newsnight that planning began 'within weeks' of Bush's first taking office in 2001, long before the September 11th attack on the US....The industry-favoured plan was pushed aside by a secret plan, drafted just before the invasion in 2003, which called for the sell-off of all of Iraq's oil fields. The new plan was crafted by neo-conservatives intent on using Iraq's oil to destroy the Opec cartel through massive increases in production above Opec quotas. The sell-off was given the green light in a secret meeting in London headed  by Ahmed Chalabi shortly after the US entered Baghdad, according to Robert Ebel. Mr Ebel, a former Energy and CIA oil analyst, now a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told Newsnight he flew to the London meeting at the request of the State Department.....Philip Carroll, the former CEO of Shell Oil USA who took control of Iraq's oil production for the US Government a month after the invasion, stalled the sell-off scheme.... Ariel Cohen, of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation, told Newsnight that an opportunity had been missed to privatise Iraq's oil fields..... New plans, obtained from the State Department by Newsnight and Harper's Magazine under the US Freedom of Information Act, called for creation of a state-owned oil company favoured by the US oil industry. It was completed in January 2004 under the guidance of Amy Jaffe of the James Baker Institute in Texas. Formerly US Secretary of State, Baker is now an attorney representing Exxon-Mobil and the Saudi Arabian government.... "
Secret US plans for Iraq's oil
BBC News, 17 March 2005

"The Bush Administration began making plans for an invasion of Iraq, including the use of American troops, within days of President Bush's inauguration in January of 2001 -- not eight months later after the 9/11 attacks, as has been previously reported. That's what former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill says in his first interview about his time as a White House insider.... O'Neill, fired by the White House for his disagreement on tax cuts, is the main source for an upcoming book, 'The Price of Loyalty,' authored by Ron Suskind.... A Pentagon document, says Suskind, titled 'Foreign Suitors For Iraqi Oilfield Contracts,' outlines areas of oil exploration. 'It talks about contractors around the world from...30, 40 countries and which ones have what intentions on oil in Iraq,' Suskind says.... In the book, O'Neill is quoted as saying he was surprised that no one in a National Security Council meeting questioned why Iraq should be invaded. 'It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying 'Go find me a way to do this,' says O'Neill in the book.... "
Saddam Ouster Planned Early '01?
CBS News, 10 January 2004

Read Extracts From The Book - Click Here

Yet Invading Even Afghanistan (Let Alone Iraq) Was Politically Impossible Without 9/11

"Every official we questioned about the possibility of an invasion of Afghanistan said that it was almost unthinkable, absent a provocation such as 9/11 .... because they believed the public would not support it."
National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, 22 July 2004

'The Old Pearl Harbor'

"This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of a military disaster whose name has become synonymous with surprise - the attack on Pearl Harbor. Interestingly, that 'surprise attack' was preceded by an astonishing number of unheeded warnings and missed signals. An ultra-secret code-breaking operation, one of the most remarkable achievements in American intelligence history, an operation called 'Magic,' had unlocked the most private Japanese communications, but the operation was considered so secret and so vulnerable to compromise that the distribution of its product was restricted to the point that our field commanders didn't make the 'need-to-know' list."
Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Michie Stadium, West Point, NY, Saturday, June 02, 2001

Commencement Address at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point
Department Of Defense Speech Transcript

"[This BBC documenatary] makes the incredibly serious and controversial claim that the U.S. government had definitive knowledge of the imminent Japanese attack, yet Franklin D. Roosevelt and other American leaders deliberately sacrificed Americans lives so they would have an excuse to enter World War II.... In this authoritative and suspenseful documentary, the BBC takes you inside the secret activities of the Americans, the British and the Japanese as each nation moved fatefully toward the 'date that will live in infamy'."
'Sacrifice at Pearl Harbor'
Amazon: BBC Warner - VHS Release Date: April 24, 2001

'The New Pearl Harbor'

"Many adults in the United States believe the current federal government has not been completely forthcoming on the issue of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to a poll by the New York Times and CBS News.... Only 16 per cent of respondents say the government headed by U.S. president George W. Bush is telling the truth on what it knew prior to the terrorist attacks, down five points since May 2002."
Americans Question Bush on 9/11 Intelligence
Angus Reid Global Monitor : Polls & Research, 14 October 2006

Some Of What The Bush Administration Knew
"Israeli intelligence officials say that they warned their counterparts in the United States last month that large-scale terrorist attacks on highly visible targets on the American mainland were imminent. The Telegraph has learnt that two senior experts with Mossad, the Israeli military intelligence service, were sent to Washington in August to alert the CIA and FBI to the existence of a cell of as many of 200 terrorists said to be preparing a big operation...."
Israeli security issued urgent warning to CIA of large-scale terror attacks
Daily Telegraph, 19 September 2001

"Mossad chiefs insist the Israeli spy agency was tracking Osama Bin-Laden's terrorists in America before September 11 and that that the information was passed on to the CIA on Five separate occasions before the attacks on the WTC and Pentagon. As late as August 24, less than two weeks before the attacks, a Mossad warning, confirmed by German intelligence, BND, said that 'terrorists plan to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture.' The warning alert was passed to the CIA. The warning was also passed to MI6. The agency made its own checks and also informed the CIA. Frustrated by its inability to alert the CIA to an impending attack, Mossad arranged on September 1, according to Tel Aviv sources last week, for Russian intelligence to warn Washington 'in the strongest possible terms of imminent assaults on airports and government buildings.'... According to similar documents shown to the Sunday Express, Mossad was running a round-the-clock surveillance operation on some of the September 11 hijackers. The details, contained in classified papers, reveal that a senior Mossad agent tipped off his counterpart in America's Central Intelligence Agency that a massive terrorist hit was being planned in the US. A handful of the spies had infiltrated the Al-Qaeda organisation while a staggering 120 others, posing as overseas art students, launched  massive undercover operations throughout America... The spying operations first came to the attention of the DEA in January 2001 according to a classified 90-page dossier which has been seen by the Sunday Express."
GLOBE-INTEL - NUMBER :- 104 DATE :- 21/05/02
(For more details of this report - Click Here)

"Russian President Vladimir Putin has said publicly that he ordered his intelligence agencies to alert the United States last summer that suicide pilots were training for attacks on U.S. targets."
Clues Alerted White House to Potential Attacks
Fox News, 17 May 2002

"According to German newspapers, the Mossad gives the CIA a list of 19 terrorists living in the US and say that they appear to be planning to carry out an attack in the near future. It is unknown if these are the 19 9/11 hijackers or if the number is a coincidence. However, four names on the list are known, and these four will be 9/11 hijackers: Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Marwan Alshehhi, and Mohamed Atta. The Mossad appears to have learned about this through its 'art student spy ring.' Yet apparently, this warning and list are not treated as particularly urgent by the CIA and the information is not passed on to the FBI.”
August 23, 2001: Mossad Reportedly Gives CIA List Of Terrorists Living In US
History Commons, Complete 911 Timeline

'Not In Front Of The Children' - US Media Censorship

"It is rather strange that the US media seems to be ignoring what may well be the most explosive story since the 11 September attacks — the alleged break-up of a major Israeli espionage operation in the USA."
Allies and espionage
Jane's Security News, 13 March 2002

"A major international espionage saga is unfolding across the United States.....The nation's most prominent Jewish newspaper, the New York-based Forward, also has confirmed portions of the vast spying network --although stating that the Israelis were monitoring Arabs in the United States, not trying to access U.S. secrets. Referring to the arrest of five Israeli employees of a New Jersey moving company who were arrested and held for two months after the Sept. 11 attack, Forward on March 15 stated: 'According to one former high-ranking American intelligence official, who asked not to be named, the FBI came to the conclusion at the end of its investigation that the five Israelis ... were conducting a Mossad surveillance mission and that their employer, Urban Moving Systems of Weehawken, N.J., served as a front.' Forward also reported that a counterintelligence probe concluded two of the men were operatives of Mossad, Israel's spy service. Reports of the spying were first made public in December broadcasts by Fox News reporter Carl Cameron. It isn't clear whether he had the 60-page document or was only told its contents. A French online news service has obtained the report, and Le Monde in Paris has advanced the story. However, in the United States, the media ignored the original Fox broadcast, and only a handful of publications have aggressively pursued the story in recent weeks."
Israeli Spies Exposed
Tampa Bay Weekly Planet, 22 April 2002

(The Fox News report referred to above was pulled from its web site, most likely under intense political pressure, but it is still to be found, as at 25 January 2009, on the internet at some locations - try here and here)

9/11 And The Israeli-Russian Connection -What Did The CIA Know Before 9/11? - Click Here
'Protocolgate' - What Really Happened On 9/11? - Click Here
Why Did The Pentagon Lie To The 9/11 Commission? - Click Here

"Richard Falk, an independent UN rights expert, said last week there was compelling evidence that Israel breached basic humanitarian rules and the laws of war by conducting a large-scale military operation 'against an essentially defenseless population.' In 2004, Falk wrote a preface to David Ray Griffin's book The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11, which purports to present evidence that George W. Bush's administration was complicit in the September 11 attacks."
Cabinet to endorse legal backing for IDF troops
Jerusalem Post, 22 January 2009

(David Ray Griffin discusses on C-Span TV how the official 9/11 Commission Report papered over the cracks - Click Here)

Why Is Bin Laden Not Wanted By FBI And Justice Department For 9/11?

"Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is a longtime and prominent member of the FBI's 'Ten Most Wanted' list, which notes his role as the suspected mastermind of the deadly U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa on Aug. 7, 1998. But another more infamous date -- Sept. 11, 2001 -- is nowhere to be found on the same FBI notice....The curious omission underscores the Justice Department's decision, so far, to not seek formal criminal charges against bin Laden for approving al-Qaeda's most notorious and successful terrorist attack."
Bin Laden, Most Wanted For Embassy Bombings?
Washington Post, 28 August 2006

Was 9/11 At Least Partly An ISI Covert Operation Rather Than A Bin Laden Sponsored Attack?
Evidence Cited By Senator Bob Graham Suggests It Might Have Been - Click Here

"On June 5, 2006, the Muckraker Report contacted the FBI Headquarters, (202) 324-3000, to learn why Bin Laden’s Most Wanted poster did not indicate that Usama was also wanted in connection with 9/11.  The Muckraker Report spoke with Rex Tomb, Chief of Investigative Publicity for the FBI.  When asked why there is no mention of 9/11 on Bin Laden’s Most Wanted web page, Tomb said, 'The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Usama Bin Laden’s Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.' Surprised by the ease in which this FBI spokesman made such an astonishing statement, I asked, 'How this was possible?'   Tomb continued, 'Bin Laden has not been formally charged in connection to 9/11.'  I asked, 'How does that work?'  Tomb continued, 'The FBI gathers evidence.  Once evidence is gathered, it is turned over to the Department of Justice.  The Department of Justice than decides whether it has enough evidence to present to a federal grand jury.  In the case of the 1998 United States Embassies being bombed, Bin Laden has been formally indicted and charged by a grand jury. He has not been formally indicted and charged in connection with 9/11 because the FBI has no hard evidence connected Bin Laden to 9/11.'
Ed Haas - FBI says, 'No hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11'
Muckraker Report, 6 June 2006


Obama3.jpg (22227 bytes)

Above, 9/11 placard at Obama presidential campaign rally
Austin, Texas, 23 February 2007

FBI Prevents Agents from Telling ‘Truth’ About 9/11 on PBS
Jeff Stein - Congressional Quarterly, Spy Talk Blog, 1 October 2008

(Note: Jeff Stein is National Security Editor for Congressional Quarterly
and formerly deputy foreign editor for United Press International)

"The FBI has blocked two of its veteran counterterrorism agents from going public with accusations that the CIA deliberately withheld crucial intelligence before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. FBI Special Agents Mark Rossini and Douglas Miller have asked for permission to appear in an upcoming public television documentary, scheduled to air in January, on pre-9/11 rivalries between the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency. The program is a spin-off from The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America, by acclaimed investigative reporter James Bamford, due out in a matter of days. The FBI denied Rossini and Miller permission to participate in the book or the PBS 'NOVA' documentary, which is also being written and produced by Bamford, on grounds that the FBI 'doesn’t want to stir up old conflicts with the CIA,' according to multiple reliable sources. Bamford, contacted by phone, said he could not comment because his publisher has embargoed his new book for release around Oct. 10.  The author of two other ground-breaking books on the NSA, Bamford also said his general policy is not to discuss his negotiations for interviews with intelligence agencies. Pre-9/11 intelligence mishaps have been generally attributed to bureaucratic screw-ups — a 'failure to connect the dots,' exacerbated by spy agency rivalries. But Rossini and Miller, who were assigned to the CIA-run Counterterrorist Center during the run-up to the 9/11 attacks, are prepared to describe on camera how the CIA blocked them from sharing crucial intelligence with FBI headquarters - and then later pressured them not to tell the truth to investigators. The first allegation is not entirely new, having been reported by author Lawrence Wright in his 2006 book, The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, among other places. But what is new is that Rossini and Miller — who still hold sensitive jobs in the FBI, and are identified here for the first time — are prepared to say publicly that, under pressure from the CIA, they kept the full the truth from the Justice Department’s Inspector General, which looked into the FBI’s handling of pre-9/11 intelligence in 2004. 'There was pressure on people not to disclose what really happened,' said sources close to the IG investigation. Rossini, in particular, is said to have felt threatened that the CIA would have him prosecuted for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act if he told the IG investigators what really happened inside the CTC. CIA officials were in the room when he and Miller, as well as a sympathetic CIA officer, were questioned. The IG investigators showed them copies of CTC intelligence reports and e-mails. But the FBI agents suddenly couldn’t remember details about who said what, or who reported what, to whom, about the presence of two al Qaeda agents in the U.S. prior to the 9/11 attacks, The IG investigators were suspicious. Indeed, their report, which used pseudonyms for the CIA and FBI agents its interviewed — Rossini and Miller were called  'Malcolm' and 'Dwight,' a CIA analyst was dubbed 'Eric' — hinted at a cover-up. 'When we interviewed all of the individuals involved about the CIR [Current Intelligence Report] they asserted that they recalled nothing about it,' it said. The focus of the IG was what the CIA had witheld about the movement of two al Qaeda operatives, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, from Malaysia to the U.S. in early 2000. Subsequently, Rossini and Miller were not subpoenaed by the 9/11 Commission to tell what they knew, even though sources say they were eager to do so. But he and Miller did come clean during an internal FBI investigation, which remains under wraps. Sources with direct knowledge of the FBI’s internal probe say that the agents provided the bureau with unadulterated versions of their CTC experiences, including orders they were given by the center’s then-Deputy Director, Tom Wilshire, to withhold intelligence about the movement of al Qaeda operatives into the country from the FBI...Agent Douglas Miller has said that he doesn’t have 'a rational answer' to explain why the CIA blocked him from sharing information with the bureau, particularly a report of such obvious magnitude about al Qaeda operatives in the U.S.'...Rossini and other FBI counterterrorism agents were furious, according to a knowledgeable source. The FBI is responsible for investigating domestic-based plots. 'They’re here!' Rossini protested to his CTC bosses."

"Massive attention has now been given - and rightly so - to the reasons why Britain went to war against Iraq. But far too little attention has focused on why the US went to war, and that throws light on British motives too. The conventional explanation is that after the Twin Towers were hit, retaliation against al-Qaida bases in Afghanistan was a natural first step in launching a global war against terrorism. Then, because Saddam Hussein was alleged by the US and UK governments to retain weapons of mass destruction, the war could be extended to Iraq as well. However this theory does not fit all the facts. The truth may be a great deal murkier. We now know that a blueprint for the creation of a global Pax Americana was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice-president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld's deputy), Jeb Bush (George Bush's younger brother) and Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding America's Defences, was written in September 2000 by the neoconservative think tank, Project for the New American Century (PNAC). The plan shows Bush's cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power. It says 'while the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.' The PNAC blueprint supports an earlier document attributed to Wolfowitz and Libby which said the US must 'discourage advanced industrial nations from challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a larger regional or global role'. It refers to key allies such as the UK as 'the most effective and efficient means of exercising American global leadership'. It describes peacekeeping missions as 'demanding American political leadership rather than that of the UN'. It says 'even should Saddam pass from the scene', US bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will remain permanently... as 'Iran may well prove as large a threat to US interests as Iraq has'. It spotlights China for 'regime change', saying 'it is time to increase the presence of American forces in SE Asia'. The document also calls for the creation of 'US space forces' to dominate space, and the total control of cyberspace to prevent 'enemies' using the internet against the US. It also hints that the US may consider developing biological weapons 'that can target specific genotypes [and] may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool'. Finally - written a year before 9/11 - it pinpoints North Korea, Syria and Iran as dangerous regimes, and says their existence justifies the creation of a 'worldwide command and control system'. This is a blueprint for US world domination. But before it is dismissed as an agenda for rightwing fantasists, it is clear it provides a much better explanation of what actually happened before, during and after 9/11 than the global war on terrorism thesis. This can be seen in several ways. First, it is clear the US authorities did little or nothing to pre-empt the events of 9/11. It is known that at least 11 countries provided advance warning to the US of the 9/11 attacks....Given this background, it is not surprising that some have seen the US failure to avert the 9/11 attacks as creating an invaluable pretext for attacking Afghanistan in a war that had clearly already been well planned in advance. There is a possible precedent for this. The US national archives reveal that President Roosevelt used exactly this approach in relation to Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941. Some advance warning of the attacks was received, but the information never reached the US fleet. The ensuing national outrage persuaded a reluctant US public to join the second world war. Similarly the PNAC blueprint of September 2000 states that the process of transforming the US into 'tomorrow's dominant force' is likely to be a long one in the absence of 'some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor'. The 9/11 attacks allowed the US to press the 'go' button for a strategy in accordance with the PNAC agenda which it would otherwise have been politically impossible to implement. The overriding motivation for this political smokescreen is that the US and the UK are beginning to run out of secure hydrocarbon energy supplies. By 2010 the Muslim world will control as much as 60% of the world's oil production and, even more importantly, 95% of remaining global oil export capacity. As demand is increasing, so supply is decreasing, continually since the 1960s. This is leading to increasing dependence on foreign oil supplies for both the US and the UK."
Michael Meacher - This war on terrorism is bogus
Guardian, 6 September 2003

Some Adult Talk

"The global economy is tanking, U.S. forces remain tied up in Iraq, Afghanistan is on a downward spiral -- one might wonder why anyone would want to be U.S. president during these trying times. Recently, the nation's chief intelligence officer weighed in, painting an even more somber picture of a far more complicated world. National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell looked beyond the immediate future, focusing on what his analysts are telling him about the challenges the world community is likely to face by 2025. It isn't pretty. Speaking to an annual conference of intelligence officials and contractors, McConnell said demographics, competition for natural resources and climate change will increase the potential for conflict. President-elect Barack Obama may get a glimpse of some of those challenges on Thursday. McConnell is expected to lead Obama's first top-secret intelligence briefing, according to U.S. officials familiar with the process. According to McConnell's outlook, economic and population growth will strain resources. 'Demand is projected to outstrip the easily available supplies over the next decade,' he said at the annual conference. The intelligence community's forecast indicates oil and gas supplies will continue to dwindle and production will be concentrated in unstable areas, he said. And there appears to be no relief at hand. McConnell said studies have shown that new energy technologies -- such as biofuels, clean coal and hydrogen -- generally take 25 years to become commercially viable and widespread."
New president faces increased risk of conflict, intel chief says
CNN, 5 November 2008

America's Most Senior Intelligence Official At The End Of The Bush Administration
Read More From Mike McConnell On Intensifying Global Competition For Natural Resources - Click Here

"For the world as a whole, oil companies are expected to keep finding and developing enough oil to offset our seventy one million plus barrel a day of oil depletion, but also to meet new demand. By some estimates there will be an average of two per cent annual growth in global oil demand over the years ahead along with conservatively a three per cent natural decline in production from existing reserves. 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 greater access there, progress continues to be slow."
Dick Cheney, Chief Executive of Halliburton, now Vice President of the United States
Speech at London Institute of Petroleum, Autumn Lunch 1999

"The global market will need increasing volumes of oil from members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries after non-OPEC production reaches a maximum of about 50 million b/d between 2007 and 2011... A question crucial to future oil supply, therefore is: Can OPEC's old fields deliver....  Most of the supergiant oil fields have had water or gas injection installed to maintain pressure for 20-30 years. Handling produced injection fluids is a growing problem in Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and in older fields in Iraq (Kirkuk, Zubair, and Rumailah).... The oil fields of Iraq are the least depleted and least developed of any of the Persian Gulf oil producing countries, and Iraq has the potential to rapidly increase oil output.... Combined with earlier results, these predictions for OPEC yield an estimate of the world's ultimate recoverable oil reserves of 2.5-2.9 trillion bbl, with 1.29-1.66 trillion bbl remaining (1.224 trillion bbl produced to end 2003)..... It seems unlikely that OPEC can increase production at the rate that was possible in the 1960s and 1970s, when the fields were fresh and initial well production rates were higher... Only Iraq has undeveloped supergiant oil fields (West Qurna, Majnoon, and East Baghdad) and the potential to rapidly increase production to 8-10 million b/d...... The five Persian Gulf countries (Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and the UAE) are crucial to raising OPEC production. The political situation in Iraq is unlikely to be conducive to major investment in new oil production capacity for some years. Saudi Arabia has serious internal problems, which threaten to destabilize the ruling royal family. Iran remains under unilateral US sanctions. US military intervention in the Gulf and its failure to effectively and fairly engage in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict conspire to provide a hostile backdrop to western interests in the Middle East. The combination of burgeoning future oil revenues and growing hostility to the US in the region is not conducive to major capacity expansion and will not provide a stable investment environment or offer easy opportunities to the major international oil companies to assist in any capacity expansion projects. Based on these considerations and the maturity of OPEC’s major fields, it seems more likely that OPEC’s considerable reserves will be expressed as a long plateau rather than a sharp peak. It is quite possible that the Persian Gulf countries will not raise production capacity high enough or quickly enough, either for political reasons, the slowness of internal decision-making, or the hostile security environment. The consequences of this for world oil supply are immense, with the likelihood of further military interventions and conflicts within the Middle East .... a series of crises in oil supply is likely over the coming decades. The first, related to the peak and decline of non-OPEC production, is practically upon us and underpins the currently high oil prices...... The imminent inability of non-OPEC production to meet incremental demand and its decline after 2010 precipitates the second crisis as OPEC’s diminishing spare capacity (even with Iraq’s production back to preinvasion levels) becomes less and less able to accommodate short-term fluctuations.....The third crisis, due to OPEC’s incremental supply being unable to meet incremental demand, follows in the first half of the next decade. This assumes that OPEC’s reserves are as published. .....These crises will have global economic and geopolitical significance: The oil price will be high and volatile, and demand growth will have to be curtailed..."
Oil Supply Challenges - 2: What Can OPEC Deliver?
Oil and Gas Journal, 7 March 2005

"The super-giant fields of southeastern Iraq are the largest concentration of super-giants to be found anywhere in the world....unlike neighbor Saudi Arabia, Iraq has been unable to deploy the latest technology, such as 3-D seismic, to find its reserves. Present reserve estimates of Iraq's oil are based on 2-D seismic technology from the 1980s. Still, the estimated success rate in Iraq ranges from one in two in the Mesopotamian Basin to one in four in the western and northwestern stable platform, with the overall success rate exceeding 72 percent - perhaps the highest success rate achievable anywhere in the world. Oil exploration costs are among the cheapest globally, with the current cost estimated at around 50 cents per barrel....To date, petroleum geologists have delineated and mapped over 526 prospects - drilling 131 prospects to discover 73 major fields. They have identified some 239 as having a high degree of certainty, but those prospects remain undrilled. Thirty fields have been partially developed and only 12 fields are actually onstream. Undrilled structures and undeveloped fields could represent the largest untapped hydrocarbon resource anywhere in the world.....Clearly, large parts of Iraq are still virgin - its large hydrocarbon reserves are still waiting to be developed to their full potential, while most other Middle East countries are fully exploiting their reserves. The main challenges facing the new Iraqi authority are to establish law and order as well as security. Once these issues are resolved, Iraq will perhaps be the most exciting place on Earth with regard to oil development and exploration....International oil companies are looking forward with great anticipation to the opening of Iraq, as they have been waiting for the past 40 years. Hopefully, Iraq will soon be able to offer them acreage, thereby allowing proper development of its huge potential. Open and fair competition will enable oil companies to apply the latest technologies in the search for, and development of, the country's hydrocarbon resources - thus helping Iraq realize its full hydrocarbon potential."
Assessing Iraq’s Oil Potential
Geotimes, October 2003

"The world will have to suffer a deep economic downturn before serious attempts are made to kick the oil habit, according to the chairman of PFC Energy, the Washington based oil consultancy. In an interview with lastoilshock.com and Global Public Media, Robin West said it would be very difficult for the oil industry ever to produce more than 95-100 million barrels per day, and that when output growth stops the oil price will go 'through the roof'. This will cause 'massive demand destruction, a huge recession, and only then will you see very substantial substitution'. Mr West was in London to deliver a presentation at the IP Week oil conference entitled 'Dances with Wolves', about the dwindling power of the international oil companies....Asked if he agreed with IEA chief economist Fatih Birol, who said last year that Iraq must increase its output exponentially if the world is to avoid a supply crunch by 2015, Mr West said 'I think we're going to get into a nasty crunch at some point, one way or another. If Iraq comes on, the crunch can be deferred for a while – but it's coming'."
Oil production constraints to cause 'huge recession'
Global Public Media, 20 February 2008

"Iraq, the holder of the world's third-largest oil reserves, has opened nearly 90 percent of its reserves to international oil companies for development in two major bidding rounds this year as the war-plagued country tries to raise money amid falling oil prices. Iraq, with at least 115 billion barrels in reserves, plans to add 4 million to 4.5 million barrels a day to its current 2.4 million barrels per day capacity over the next four to six years as it tries to rebuild its infrastructure and develop its economy....Top on the list are the giant Majnoon and West Qurna Phase 2 fields, which hold reserves of at least 12 billion barrels each. The two fields currently produce far below their individual output potential of 600,000 barrels per day. Al-Shahristani said only 15 of 78 known oil and gas fields have been brought into production, and many desert areas in western and southern Iraq have yet to be explored."
Iraq opens nearly 90 pct of its oil reserves
Associated Press, 31 December 2008

"Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power. Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq's Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq's largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat. The deals, expected to be announced on June 30, will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion, and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations. The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India. The contracts, which would run for one to two years and are relatively small by industry standards, would nonetheless give the companies an advantage in bidding on future contracts in a country that many experts consider to be the best hope for a large-scale increase in oil production......It is not only one of the few countries where oil reserves are up for grabs, but also one of the few that is viewed within the industry as having considerable potential to rapidly increase production....A total of 46 companies, including the leading oil companies of China, India and Russia, had memorandums of understanding with the Oil Ministry, yet were not awarded contracts....In an interview with Newsweek last fall, the former chief executive of Exxon, Lee Raymond, praised Iraq's potential as an oil-producing country and added that Exxon was in a position to know. 'There is an enormous amount of oil in Iraq,' Raymond said. 'We were part of the consortium, the four companies that were there when Saddam Hussein threw us out, and we basically had the whole country.'"
Deals with Iraq are set to bring oil giants back
International Herald Tribune, 19 June 2008

"Dr Salameh, director of the UK-based Oil Market Consultancy Service, and an authority on Iraq's oil, said it is the only one of the world's biggest producing countries with enough reserves substantially to increase its flow. Production in eight of the others – the US, Canada, Iran, Indonesia, Russia, Britain, Norway and Mexico – has peaked, he says, while China and Saudia Arabia, the remaining two, are nearing the point at of decline. Before the war, Saddam Hussein's regime pumped some 3.5 million barrels of oil a day, but this had now fallen to just two million barrels. Dr Salameh told the all-party parliamentary group on peak oil last month that Iraq had offered the United States a deal, three years before the war, that would have opened up 10 new giant oil fields on 'generous' terms in return for the lifting of sanctions. 'This would certainly have prevented the steep rise of the oil price,' he said. 'But the US had a different idea. It planned to occupy Iraq and annex its oil.'"
Oil: A global crisis
Independent On Sunday, 25 May 2008

"If anyone had any doubt that Iraq was a lot about oil, they shouldn't after the recent Capitol Hill appearance by our ambassador to Baghdad, Ryan Crocker. In a closed House hearing, Crocker put the fear of god in Congress. His message: If we leave Iraq, Iraq will destabilize the Gulf, and a destabilized Gulf equals unstable oil prices.... There was a time when we could count on Saudi Arabia to make up a shortfall in oil when something like Iraq came up. During the Gulf War Saudi Arabia boosted its production by 3.1 million barrels a day to make up for the 5.1 million barrels a day of Kuwaiti and Iraqi production that was taken off markets. Oil prices rose relatively little. Today, Saudi Arabia either refuses or can't increase its production. The peak oil Cassandras are convinced the Saudis can't. Saudi Arabia's mega fields like Ghawar are depleted, they say. And we'd better get used to gasoline at $4 a gallon and up. But Crocker wasn't all bad news. He said that if we were to stabilize Iraq, and attract investors to the oil sector, Iraq could become the largest producer in the world, surpassing Saudi Arabia. Crocker didn't put it in terms this baldly, but he might as well have said: We keep an army in Iraq, and we go back to the days of cheap oil. Anyone can afford to drive an SUV if they want one."
Playing the Iraq Oil Card
TIME, 9 May 2008

"... we've been in the Middle East more than 50 years. We've been in the Middle East ever since the -- however you would like to call the dependency upon oil has developed. And our forces have been there either as naval, air or land forces in one way or another for an awful long time. And once the British pulled out the Arabian gulf, it became more and more necessary for us to provide more and more force in the region..... And ultimately, it comes down to the free flow of goods and resources on which the prosperity of our own nation and everybody else's depends upon.... We need to maintain a presence that protects the small nations and ensures the continued stability of the region and the flow of those resources that are essential to our well-being."
General John Abizaid, Commander of the United States Central Command overseeing US operations in Iraq, confirming to a US Congressional Committee in March 2006 that the United States needs permanent military bases in Iraq in order to maintain access to Gulf oil

"Five years after the United States invaded Iraq, plenty of people believe that the war was waged chiefly to secure U.S. petroleum supplies and to make Iraq safe -- and lucrative -- for the U.S. oil industry. We may not know the real motivations behind the Iraq war for years, but it remains difficult to distill oil from all the possibilities. That's because our society and economy have been nursed on cheap oil, and the idea that oil security is a right as well as a necessity has become part of our foreign policy DNA, handed down from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Jimmy Carter to George H.W. Bush. And the war and its untidy aftermath have, in fact, swelled the coffers of the world's biggest oil companies. But it hasn't happened in the way anyone might have imagined. Instead of making Iraq an open economy fueled by a thriving oil sector, the war has failed to boost the flow of oil from Iraq's giant well-mapped reservoirs, which oil experts say could rival Saudi Arabia's and produce 6 million barrels a day, if not more. Thanks to insurgents' sabotage of pipelines and pumping stations, and foreign companies' fears about safety and contract risks in Iraq, the country is still struggling in vain to raise oil output to its prewar levels of about 2.5 million barrels a day. As it turns out, that has kept oil off the international market at just the moment when the world desperately needs a cushion of supplies to keep prices down. Demand from China is booming, and political strife has limited oil production in Nigeria and Venezuela. In the absence of Iraqi supplies, prices have soared three-and-a-half-fold since the U.S. invasion on March 20, 2003. (Last week, they shattered all previous records, even after adjusting for inflation.) The profits of the five biggest Western oil companies have jumped from $40 billion to $121 billion over the same period. While the United States has rid itself of Saddam Hussein and whatever threat he might have posed, oil revenues have filled the treasuries of petro-autocrats in Iran, Venezuela and Russia, emboldening those regimes and complicating U.S. diplomacy in new ways. American consumers are paying for this turmoil at the pump. If the overthrow of Hussein was supposed to be a silver bullet for the American consumer, it turned out to be one that ricocheted and tore a hole through his wallet. 'If we went to war for oil, we did it as clumsily as anyone could do. And we spent more on the war than we could ever conceivably have gotten out of Iraq's oil fields even if we had particular control over them,' says Anthony Cordesman, an expert on U.S. strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who rejects the idea that the war was designed on behalf of oil companies. But that doesn't mean that oil had nothing to do with the invasion. In his recent memoir, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said: 'I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: The Iraq war is largely about oil.' Says Cordesman: 'To say that we would have taken the same steps against a dictator in Africa or Burma as we took in Iraq is to ignore the strategic realities that drove American behavior.'.... Yahya Sadowski, an associate professor at the American University of Beirut, argues that 'the neo-conservative cabal' had a 'grand plan' to ramp up Iraqi production, 'flood the world market with Iraqi oil' and drive the price down to $15 a barrel. That would stimulate the U.S. economy, 'finally destroy' OPEC, wreck the economies of 'rogue states' such as Iran and Venezuela, and 'create more opportunities for 'regime change.' ' There are historical roots for all this suspicion. After World War I, the Western powers carved up oil-producing interests in the Middle East. In Iraq, the French were given about a quarter of the national consortium, and the U.S. government pressured its allies to turn over an equal share to a handful of American companies."
A Crude Case For War?
Washington Post, 16 March 2008

"Shell’s decision to move large numbers of expatriate staff into Iraq represents a long-awaited vote of confidence in the country. If its gas joint venture goes ahead, it will be the first time a leading Western company has committed significant resources to Iraq since the 2003 invasion. For Shell, the risks are worth taking. With the world’s third-largest reserves of oil, Iraq is very attractive for Western oil companies eager to gain access to new reserves which are increasingly difficult to find and gain access to elsewhere.... Iraq does appears to be gradually emerging from the turmoil. In the Kurdish north, significant foreign investments are flowing in with Damac, the Dubai property developer, planning a multibillion-dollar project in Erbil. New power stations and gas plants have also recently been built with private money. Further south, the situation remains more difficult but security is improving. Nevertheless, the narrow escape of the country’s Deputy Oil Minister from an assassination attempt last week highlights the continuing risks. Meanwhile, wrangling over an oil law is another hurdle for the industry. The law is needed to create a legal framework for the distribution of Iraq’s oil wealth, particularly from exports. There is deadlock on the issue between the Kurdish Regional Government and Baghdad although most analysts believe that an agreement will eventually be reached that could pave the way for the arrival of other big oil companies such as BP, ExxonMobil, Total and others. The oil law is a less immediate concern for Shell because the gas from its proposed project will be used, at least initially, to meet domestic Iraqi needs. There remain many challenges in addition to the obvious security threat, not least the need to contend with widespread corruption. But the slump in the oil price has only made Iraq more enticing. The costs of extracting a barrel in Iraq could be as low as $10 compared with perhaps $90 in Canada."
Shell’s risk in Iraq is worth taking
London Times, 6 November 2008

"In its 2007 World Energy Outlook, the IEA predicted a rate of decline in output from the world's existing oilfields of 3.7% a year. This, it said, presented a short-term challenge, with the possibility of a temporary supply crunch in 2015, but with sufficient investment any shortfall could be covered. But the new report, published last month, carried a very different message: a projected rate of decline of 6.7%, which means a much greater gap to fill. More importantly, in the 2008 report the IEA suggests for the first time that world petroleum supplies might hit the buffers. 'Although global oil production in total is not expected to peak before 2030, production of conventional oil ... is projected to level off towards the end of the projection period.' These bland words reveal a major shift. Never before has one of the IEA's energy outlooks forecast the peaking or plateauing of the world's conventional oil production (which is what we mean when we talk about peak oil). But that is as specific as the report gets. Does it or doesn't it mean that we have time to prepare? What does 'towards the end of the projection period' mean? The agency has never produced a more precise forecast - until now. For the first time, in the interview I conducted with its chief economist Fatih Birol recently, it has given us a date. And it should scare the pants off anyone who understands the implications. Birol, the lead author of the new energy outlook, is a small, shrewd, unflustered man with thick grey hair and Alistair Darling eyebrows. He explained to me that the agency's new projections were based on a major study it had undertaken into decline rates in the world's 800 largest oilfields. So what were its previous figures based on? 'It was mainly an assumption, a global assumption about the world's oil fields. This year, we looked at it country by country, field by field and we looked at it also onshore and offshore. It was very, very detailed. Last year it was an assumption, and this year it's a finding of our study.' I told him that it seemed extraordinary to me that the IEA hadn't done this work before, but had based its assessment on educated guesswork. 'In fact nobody had done this research,' he told me. 'This is the first publicly available data.' So was it not irresponsible to publish a decline rate of 3.7% in 2007, when there was no proper research supporting it? 'No, our previous decline assumptions have always mentioned that these are assumptions to the best of our knowledge - and we also said that the declines [could be] higher than what we have assumed.' Then I asked him a question for which I didn't expect a straight answer: could he give me a precise date by which he expects conventional oil supplies to stop growing? 'In terms of non-Opec [countries outside the big oil producers' cartel],' he replied, 'we are expecting that in three, four years' time the production of conventional oil will come to a plateau, and start to decline. In terms of the global picture, assuming that Opec will invest in a timely manner, global conventional oil can still continue, but we still expect that it will come around 2020 to a plateau as well, which is, of course, not good news from a global-oil-supply point of view.' Around 2020. That casts the issue in quite a different light. Birol's date, if correct, gives us about 11 years to prepare....There is a vast difference between a decline rate of 3.7% and 6.7%. There is an even bigger difference between suggesting that the world is following an unsustainable energy path - a statement almost everyone can subscribe to - and revealing that conventional oil supplies are likely to plateau around 2020. If this is what the IEA meant in the past, it wasn't expressing itself very clearly."
George Monbiot - When will the oil run out?
Guardian, 15 December 2008

"Optimists about world oil reserves, such as the Department of Energy, are getting increasingly lonely. The International Energy Agency now says that world production outside the Middle Eastern Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (opec) will peak in 1999 and world production overall will peak between 2010 and 2020. This projection is supported by influential recent articles in Science and Scientific American. Some knowledgeable academic and industry voices put the date that world production will peak even sooner—within the next five or six years. The optimists who project large reserve quantities of over one trillion barrels tend to base their numbers on one of three things: inclusion of heavy oil and tar sands, the exploitation of which will entail huge economic and environmental costs; puffery by opec nations lobbying for higher production quotas within the cartel; or assumptions about new drilling technologies that may accelerate production but are unlikely to expand reserves. Once production peaks, even though exhaustion of world reserves will still be many years away, prices will begin to rise sharply. This trend will be exacerbated by increased demand in the developing world..... The recent report by the President's Committee of Advisers on Science and Technology... concluded  'A plausible argument can be made that the security of the United States is at least as likely to be imperiled in the first half of the next century by the consequences of inadequacies in the energy options available to the world as by inadequacies in the capabilities of U.S. weapons systems.   It is striking that the Federal government spends about 20 times more R&D money on the latter problem than on the former.'... The nearly $70 billion spent annually for imported oil represents about 40 percent of the current U.S. trade deficit.... Research is essential to produce the innovations and technical improvements that will lower the production costs of ethanol and other renewable fuels and let them compete directly with gasoline. At present, the United States is not funding a vigorous program in renewable technologies.... The United States cannot afford to wait for the next energy crisis to marshal its intellectual and industrial resources....Our growing dependence on increasingly scarce Middle Eastern oil is a fool's game—there is no way for the rest of the world to win. Our losses may come suddenly through war, steadily through price increases, agonizingly through developing-nation poverty, relentlessly through climate change—or through all of the above."
Senator Richard G. Lugar and R. James Woolsey (Former Director of the CIA)
The New Petroleum - Foreign Affairs January/February 1999

Obama Opposed The Iraq War
And Knows The Score On Foreign Oil Dependency

"I don't oppose all wars.... What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne....You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil, through an energy policy that doesn’t simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil. Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance, corruption and greed, poverty and despair."
Barack Obama, Illinois State Senator
Speech, Federal Plaza, Chicago, 2 October 2002

Obama Knows The Oil Problem Will Reoccur If Economic Growth Returns
And That Action Has To Be Taken Now To Prevent That

Obama On Energy Policy And Foreign Oil

"In the 21st century, we know that the future of our economy and national security is inextricably linked with one challenge: energy. In the next few years, the choices that we make will help determine the kind of country and world that we will leave to our children and our grandchildren. All of us know the problems that are rooted in our addiction to foreign oil. It constrains our economy, shifts wealth to hostile regimes, and leaves us dependent on unstable regions.... For over three decades, we've listened to a growing chorus of warnings about our energy dependence. We've heard president after president promise to chart a new course. We've heard Congress talk about energy independence, only to pull up short in the face of opposition from special interests. We've seen Washington launch policy after policy, yet our dependence on foreign oil has only grown, even as the world's resources are disappearing. This time has to be different. This time we cannot fail, nor can we be lulled into complacency simply because the price at the pump has for now gone down from $4 a gallon. To control our own destiny, America must develop new forms of energy and new ways of using it. And this is not a challenge for government alone; it's a challenge for all of us. The pursuit of a new energy economy requires a sustained all- hands-on-deck effort, because the foundation of our energy independence is right here in America, in the power of wind and solar, in new crops and new technologies, in the innovation of our scientists and entrepreneurs and the dedication and skill of our workforce. Those are the resources that we have to harness to move beyond our oil addiction and create a new hybrid economy. As we face this challenge, we can seize boundless opportunities for our people. We can create millions of jobs, starting with a 21st- century economic recovery plan that puts Americans to work building wind farms, solar panels, and fuel-efficient cars. We can spark the dynamism of our economy through a long-term investment in renewable energy that will give life to new businesses and industries with good jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced....The team that I have assembled here today is uniquely suited to meet the great challenges of this defining moment.....Dr. Steven Chu [nomination for Energy Secretary] is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who has been working at the cutting edge of our nation's efforts to develop new and cleaner forms of energy. He blazed trails as a scientist, teacher, and administrator, and has recently led the Berkeley National Laboratory in pursuing new alternative and renewable energies. Steven is uniquely suited to be our next secretary of energy as we make this pursuit a guiding purpose of the Department of Energy, as well as a national mission. The scientists at our national labs will have a distinguished peer at the helm."
Transcript of Barack Obama’s Energy and Environment Team Announcement
New York Times, 15 December 2008

The Energy Picture At The Start Of The Obama Presidency

"Consumers shouldn't get too comfortable with cheap gasoline, because the planet is running out of oil and prices will go 'sky high' — as high as $20 per litre — as petroleum reserves dwindle in the coming years. That's the view of Jim Buckee, the British oilman who was CEO of Calgary-based Talisman Energy Inc., one of Canada's largest energy producers, from 1993 to 2007....'Black oil has peaked,' he said in telephone interview this week. 'The biggest oilfields in the world have been producing for 50 years and they're all getting tired.' He says no giant oilfield, capable of replacing those in Saudi Arabia, Iraq or Kuwait that produce more than half-a-million barrels a day, has been discovered and developed since the 1970s. That fact, coupled with rising demand means 'we're going to need a new Saudi Arabia' to sustain existing reserves into the future. He calls the current recession a mere 'hiccup' on the road to much higher energy prices. Once it's over, in 18 months or so, he says the pressure on oil supply and demand will 'snap back higher, and stronger than before.' Buckee says it's difficult for executives of the world's biggest oil companies to speak plainly and honestly about the future. For one thing, he says companies such as BP and Exxon are guided by the views of in-house economists, who preach 'commodity prices always go down and that ingenuity always beats scarcity — none of which is true.' Discussing peak oil is also just bad for business. 'If Exxon comes out and says, 'Sorry guys, the oil production rate is not going to go up, this is it,' there'd be hell to pay (from investors). So they're better off just zipping their lips.'... he says exports from OPEC countries will shrink as their own domestic consumption increases, fuelled by large populations of young people in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Nigeria. And where will new supplies come from to solve the riddle of rising demand and shrinking reserves? Of the planet's roughly 4,000 oilfields, the 14 biggest account for 20 per cent of the global supply, and all of those were discovered before 1976. Today all 14 are in decline. During the 1990s, 400 new oilfields were discovered, but only 2.5 per cent of those are now producing more than 100,000 barrels a day — about the size of the Hibernia oilfield, Canada's largest. And while a 100,000 barrel-per-day field is a big discovery, it is only a drop in the bucket when compared to the world's daily demand of 80-million barrels. Buckee says the Alberta oilsands are overrated as a future source of supply, partly because labour problems and environmental challenges such as water use will complicate investment there. He also says there may be lots of oil in the Arctic, 'but can you really envisage another Saudi Arabia — eight-million barrels a day — coming from sub-ice wells in such a hostile environment?'"
Cheap oil not here to stay: Ex-Talisman CEO
Calgary Herald, 14 January 2009

"Petroleos Mexicanos, Mexico’s state oil company, will probably report its fastest drop in production since 1942, eroding revenue as plunging crude prices limit the amount of cash available to drill for new reserves. Pemex last year likely extracted 2.8 million barrels a day, down about 9 percent from the 3.08 million a day pumped in 2007, representing a total of $20 billion in lost sales, according to data compiled by the government and Bloomberg. The Mexico City- based company, which had revenue of $104 billion in 2007, plans to report annual production figures tomorrow. Falling output is leading Pemex into deepwater exploration as state-run peers Petroleo Brasileiro SA in Rio de Janeiro and Ecopetrol SA in Bogota invest billions to boost production. Costs are rising at Cantarell, Pemex’s largest field, after declining pressure reduced output in the past five years. Oil tumbled 77 percent from its July record to $34.08 a barrel in New York. Pemex’s 'biggest problems have yet to come,' said Alejandro Schtulmann, head of research at Empra, a political- risk consulting firm in Mexico City, in an interview. 'The fall in oil prices and lower production is going to make expensive exploration projects less attractive now.'...Sliding Pemex output risks cutting supply to the U.S., which gets more oil from Mexico than all countries except Canada and Saudi Arabia. Lower production also comes as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has threatened to end oil shipments to the U.S. and opposes U.S. influence in Latin America, holds a referendum that would end term limits on his presidency.”
Pemex Oil Output Declines at Fastest Rate Since World War II
Bloomberg, 20 January 2009

"Oil production on the Norwegian continental shelf may fall 9.7 percent this year, declining for a ninth year, the country’s Petroleum Directorate said. Crude output will fall to about 110.8 million standard cubic meters, or 1.9 million barrels a day, in 2009, from about 122.7 million standard cubic meters, or 2.11 million barrels a day, last year, the directorate said in a report. Production will drop to 94.4 million standard cubic meters in 2013. 'Between 2009 and 2013 we expect significantly reduced oil production,' Bente Nyland, head of the directorate, said at a press conference in Stavanger. "
Norway Sees Oil Production Falling 9.7% This Year
Bloomberg, 8 January 2009

"China will become increasingly reliant on imports for its growing oil demand as domestic production sees no big breakthrough in the years ahead, according to a report published by the Ministry of Land and Resources. China's own oil output is expected to increase by only 5 percent between 2010 and 2015, rising from 190 million tonnes (3.8 million barrels per day) to 200 million tonnes in 2015, said the report published on the ministry's Web site (http://www.mlr.gov.cn/). That implies growth will stagnate in 2009 and 2010 after crude oil output estimated at 189 million tonnes in 2008. The ministry forecast that by 2020 the world's second-largest oil consuming country would need 500 million tonnes of oil a year (10 million barrels per day) to keep its economy going, 43 percent more than the 350 million tonnes it consumed in 2007. So Beijing will have to rely on imports for 60 percent of its oil demand by 2020, up from 50 percent now. While oil output barely edges ahead, gas production is expected to balloon to 110 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2010 and 160 bcm by 2015, double the 79 bcm produced in 2008. Gas produced from coal-bed methane projects will also jump from 4.3 bcm in 2007 to 10 bcm in 2015, the ministry said. Use of China's most abundant but dirtiest fuel, coal, will also keep growing, although at a slower rate than in recent years. Production will hit 2.9 billion tonnes per year by 2010, up 26 percent from 2007, and rise to 3.3 billion tonnes by 2015. Consumption will exceed 3.5 billion tonnes by 2020, the ministry said. China also plans to ramp up its efforts to find more oil and gas fields to boost its own oil production to help meet demand. It aims to find at least six new big oil fields by 2010, each with more than 100 million tonnes of geological oil reserves, and 6-8 new natural gas fields, each with 100 billion tonnes of geological reserves, the ministry said. Beijing also plans on finding another 10 major oil fields and 8-10 big natural gas fields between 2011 to 2015."
China sees imports at 60 pct of oil use by 2020
Reuters, 8 January 2009

"Petroleos Mexicanos, the state-owned oil company, said crude oil output fell 6.5 percent in November from the year-earlier period as production at its Cantarell field declined at a faster-than-expected rate. Production dropped to 2.711 million barrels a day, from 2.901 million barrels a day a year earlier, the company known as Pemex said today on its Web site. In an e-mail, Pemex cited Cantarell, its largest field, as the reason for the drop. The Mexico City-based company in October lowered its 2008 output forecast by 3.6 percent to as low as 2.7 million barrels a day after interruptions from hurricanes. It was the third time Pemex reduced its forecast this year, after a faster-than- expected decline at Cantarell, the world’s third-largest field. Cantarell’s output fell 33 percent, more than twice as fast as government estimates, to 862,060 barrels a day from a year earlier. Declining pressure at Cantarell has made it more expensive and harder to continue pumping oil from the offshore deposit. Cantarell accounted for 32 percent of Pemex’s total output, half of the 65 percent it once represented at its peak. Oil exports fell 20 percent to 1.511 million barrels a day, according to a chart on Pemex’s Web site. Mexico is the third-largest supplier of crude to the U.S. Canada and Saudi Arabia are the first- and second-largest suppliers."
Pemex Oil Production Drops 6.5% on Cantarell Field
Bloomberg, 22 December 2008

"For hard-pressed businesses and consumers in the US, Europe and other oil importers, the price collapse has been one ray of light in an increasingly gloomy economic outlook. But it has also caused a seismic shock to the energy industry worldwide, re-shaping it in ways that will often be unwelcome for oil consumers. It took more than four years for oil to go from $35 per barrel in 2004 to over $147 in July 2008, and less than six months to fall all the way back again. For hard-pressed businesses and consumers in the US, Europe and other oil importers, the price collapse has been one ray of light in an increasingly gloomy economic outlook. But it has also caused a seismic shock to the energy industry worldwide, re-shaping it in ways that will often be unwelcome for oil consumers. The full implications have yet to sink in. 'The industry is in shock; this has all happened so quickly,' says Daniel Yergin of Cambridge Energy Research Associates. Already, however, the consequences are evident in project delays and cancellations, cost-cutting efforts and financial distress for many companies. More expensive forms of oil such as Canada’s tar sands, and alternatives to oil, such as biofuels, are at risk. Mr Yergin compares the threat to unconventional oil with the collapse in oil prices during the recession of the early 1980s. Then Exxon was forced to abandon a costly attempt to extract oil locked into the shale of Colorado. It is not only transport fuels, which compete directly with crude oil, that are affected. The price of oil is tied to the price of natural gas – formally by contract in some regions such as the European Union and Japan, informally elsewhere – so the price of gas has also fallen sharply. That throws into doubt the economics of forms of generation that compete with gas, including nuclear, renewables such as wind and solar, and coal. Cheaper oil and other forms of energy also weaken the incentive for businesses and consumers to use fuel more carefully. Jesse Toprak of Edmunds.com, a US motoring website, says petrol at $4 a gallon meant a hybrid petrol-electric car would pay for itself in two or three years. Below $2 a gallon, the payback is typically seven to eight years. Having hit a peak of $4.10 in the summer, petrol now sells for $1.66. ...The International Energy Agency, the rich countries’ watchdog, points to the steep rate of decline in output from conventional oilfields, meaning that new fields must constantly be opened simply to hold production steady, and to the tremendous potential future demand for fuel in emerging economies such as China and India. When the global economy recovers, there is no doubt that more oil, and other sources of energy, will be needed. If the investments in energy supply are not made, then supplies will be tight, and prices will soar again – quite possibly even higher than they went last summer. Al Romig of Sandia National Laboratories, a US government national security research centre, argues that price volatility is one of the most serious obstacles to developing alternatives."
Over a barrel
Financial Times, 21 December 2008

"Despite the recent rout in oil prices, the government expects crude to shoot back up over the long term. That is expected to result in a drastic drop in oil imports and a greater use of renewable energy. Oil imports - which currently make up 60% of all the oil consumed in the U.S. - should drop to about 40%, the Energy Information Administration said in its long-term energy outlook on Tuesday. The drop will largely be the result of higher oil prices encouraging conservation and an expanded use of home-grown biofuels. In making its predictions, EIA used an average crude price of $130 a barrel in 2030. That price is nearly double the projections for 2030 made last year - $70 a barrel....Although the report was not meant to predict oil prices, EIA analysts say increased demand and limited access to new supplies will push crude prices up in the long term, despite crude's recent plunge. The upward revision in price is a major shift in the government's long-term views on oil supply and demand. Limited access to new oil sources - particularly in OPEC countries - is a major reason why prices should increase....'People are becoming aware of the fact that conventional supplies of oil outside of OPEC are quite limited,' said Robert Kaufmann, director of Boston University's Center for Energy & Environmental Studies. 'It's getting harder and harder to tell the story that oil prices will remain low forever....EIA's higher price estimate could give ammunition to policymakers seeking a big push into alternative fuels, or those seeking a more hawkish foreign policy, or both, said Kaufmann. He said non-OPEC production peaked in 2004, and OPEC countries are expected to provide a greater share of the world's oil going forward....EIA's price revision is in-line with predictions made earlier this year by the International Energy Agency (IEA), a similar group to EIA that has a more global focus. The IEA drastically lowered its long-term world oil supply forecast this spring - from nearly 120 million barrels a day to maybe 100 million per day by 2030 - citing access to resources as a major concern. In making its predictions, EIA does factor in the growth of supplies from 'nonconventional' oil, like oil from tar sands or biofuels made from plants.'"
U.S. expects big drop in oil imports
CNN, 17 December 2008

"From the plains of North Dakota to the deep waters of Brazil, dozens of major oil and gas projects have been suspended or canceled in recent weeks as companies scramble to adjust to the collapse in energy markets. In the short run, falling oil prices are leading to welcome relief at the pump for American families ahead of the holidays, with gasoline down from its summer record of just over $4 to an average of $1.66 a gallon, and still falling. But the project delays are likely to reduce future energy supplies — and analysts believe they may set the stage for another surge in oil prices once the global economy recovers....The list of projects delayed is growing by the week. Wells are being shut down across the United States; new refineries have been postponed in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and India; and ambitious plans for drilling off the coast of Africa are being reconsidered. Investment in alternative energy sources like biofuels that had flourished in recent years could dry up if prices stay low for the next few years, analysts said. Banks have become reluctant lenders, especially to renewable energy projects that may prove unprofitable in an era of low oil and gas prices. These delays could curb future global fuel supplies by the equivalent of four million barrels a day within the next five years, according to Peter Jackson, an energy analyst at Cambridge Energy Research Associates. That is equal to 5 percent of current oil supplies. One reason projects are being shut down so fast is that costs throughout the industry, which had surged in recent years, are still elevated despite the drop in oil prices. Many companies are waiting for those costs to come down before deciding whether to go forward with new projects."
Big Oil Projects Put in Jeopardy by Fall in Prices
New York Times, 15 December 2008

Although Deutsche Bank expects worldwide oil demand to fall 2 percent or 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) next year, the world supply of oil and natural gas -- while not running out any time soon -- will become an issue again when the economy recovers, he said. Oil prices near $40 are going to delay frontier oil projects such as oilsands development in Canada and shale gas plays in the United States, and that will decrease supply, stabilize prices and in the end boost them. Oil prices at about $80 are needed to sustain investment, he said. Russia, in particular, he noted, is seeing oil output fall after a period of rapid growth, and when recovery comes, the world will need that oil. 'If GDP turns around, not having Russian production is going to be a big problem,' Sieminski said. World motor fuel demand is declining 1 million bpd at the same time new capacity is coming on line, Sieminski said. Some 2 million bpd of refining capacity is due for start-up next year, he said. Long term, policy makers and industry leaders need to emphasize increasing energy efficiency, diversification of fuels and global standards for efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction."
Oil seen at $80 in '11 on global recovery-Deutsche
Reuters, 10 December 2008

"One reason for the deeper pessimism about oil is a new analysis of the rate at which output of existing fields declines due to falling reservoir pressures - an inevitable feature of oil production. This number has always been difficult to estimate, but now the IEA has done a detailed study and has concluded that the global average decline rate for fields that have already peaked is 6.7% per year, much higher than previous estimates and in spite of billions of dollars of remedial investment. That means that, to satisfy the IEA's predicted demand growth of 10mb/d day by 2015, the industry must build 30 mb/d of additional capacity. It is as if the oil industry is struggling up a sand dune, constantly slipping back, forced to scramble three steps to make the distance of one. The IEA says the challenge of raising oil production is made even harder by the recent collapse in the oil price - from a record high in July of $147 per barrel to around $55 - because many planned oil investments are now uneconomic. News of projects being delayed comes almost daily, creating the conditions for an even bigger price spike whenever the economy recovers. The report warns that 'there remains a real risk that underinvestment will cause an oil supply crunch [by 2015]'. This would pitch the world back into recession, with all the economic and social misery that implies.... PFC Energy, a Washington-based consultancy, has concluded that, on a more prudent estimate of Opec reserves, its output could peak by the middle of the next decade."
Pipe dreams
Guardian, 3 December 2008

"...the head of Shell, Jeroen van der Veer, warned the Confederation of British Industry on Monday that we 'had better make speed, or else the lights would go out. A sense of urgency is needed'. Van der Veer pointed out that the financial crisis would be a problem for a couple of years, 'but the energy challenge will be a problem for at least 50 years'. He told the audience to face three hard truths. First, the world's population will increase from 6 to 9 billion over the next couple of decades and these people will all want electricity and transport. Second, oil and gas alone will not be able to provide this fuel: renewables in time will come into their own but we are a while away from that future at the moment. And third, CO2 levels will go up in concentration higher than the levels recommended by the scientists."
Financial crisis? That's nothing
Guardian, 25 November 2008

"Production at the world's oil fields will decline faster in coming years, putting more pressure on future oil supplies, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday. As current fields fade with age and the industry moves offshore and into smaller fields, decline rates will accelerate, the agency found, and more investment will be required to make up the shortfall. The Paris-based watchdog, which represents the interests of energy-consuming nations, made its prediction in a detailed analysis of 800 of the world's oil fields -- the first report of its kind. Its conclusions are likely to deepen the pessimism about long-term oil supply that is taking root among some oil executives, economists and market analysts."
IEA Says Fading Oil Production Threatens Supply
Wall St Journal, 13 November 2008

"A lack of investment in new sources of oil risks a supply crunch worse than the problems that pushed prices to $147 a barrel this summer, the developed world’s energy watchdog said on Wednesday. The International Energy Agency warned that cuts and delays in investment that were prompted by the fall in oil prices and the credit crunch had put the world 'on a bad path'. Fatih Birol, chief economist at the IEA, said: 'We hear almost every day about a project being postponed. This is a major problem.' Oil prices have fallen as economies have struggled in the credit crisis and demand has dropped, especially in the developed world. The IEA predicted that shrinking demand would be a long-term phenomenon among members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. 'We think OECD oil demand has peaked. The OECD countries’ role in the energy world is becoming less and less important,' said Mr Birol. Developing countries are expected to be the only source of growth in oil demand until 2030, with China contributing 43 per cent and India and the Middle East each about 20 per cent. The remainder will come from other emerging economies in Asia. But meeting the demand growth is secondary to the big challenge of compen­sating for the fast-declining production from the world’s older fields, the IEA said. It suggested the oil price was too low to guarantee the necessary investment and noted that high-cost ventures, such as Canada’s tar sands, were producing oil at a cost of about $80 a barrel – more than $20 higher than the prevailing oil price....The main spur for the IEA’s focus on investment – and the oil price that it regards as necessary to stimulate investors – has been its exhaustive study on the rates of decline in production from 800 of the world’s biggest oil fields. The watchdog found that even after recent investment, production from the fields was declining at an annual 6.7 per cent and that this rate was accelerating. This means 45m barrels a day would have to be found and tapped in the next 22 years simply to meet an unchanged world demand. As it stands, however, the IEA expects demand to rise from 85m b/d last year to 106m b/d in 2030, making the challenge that much greater. Many of the fields experiencing the sharpest decline in production lie in developed countries, including in areas such as the North Sea and Alaska. This meant the west would become less and less of an influence in terms of production, while Persian Gulf countries would become more important. The IEA said most of the projected increase would come from members of Opec, whose world share would jump from 44 per cent to 51 per cent by 2030. 'Their reserves are big enough for output to grow faster, but investment is assumed to be constrained, notably by conservative depletion policies and geopolitical factors,' said the IEA."
IEA warns of new oil supply crunch
Financial Times, 12 November 2008

"The International Energy Agency is to call today for an energy revolution and a 'major de-carbonisation' of global fuel sources as the world confronts tighter oil supplies caused by shrinking investment. The energy watchdog is warning for the first time that oil output could pass its peak as power shifts from 'super-majors' to national companies controlled by producer states. It highlights a potential oil-supply crunch. The unprecedented wake-up call comes as the European commission says in a report due out tomorrow that while oilfields decline, the balance of supply and demand will become 'increasingly tight, possibly critically so'. It adds: 'The need to address climate change will require a massive switch to high-efficiency, low-carbon energy technologies.' The commission report warns that oil supplies are limited, with reserves and spare output capacity concentrated in a few hands. 'Recent severe price rises and volatility on oil and gas markets reflect these changing trends', it says. Both bodies express heightened anxieties that the west's energy requirements could be squeezed as emerging economies such as China consume more oil and conclude long-term deals with oil-rich states. This could be exacerbated by a restriction on investment by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) - possibly joined by Russia - to boost revenues. Opec will control 51% of output by 2030 compared with 44% in 2007. The IEA's latest World Energy Outlook predicts that global energy demand will increase 45% between now and 2030 and oil prices will rise to $200 a barrel by then - or $120 at 2007 prices. It says the recent surge in prices to just shy of $150 this summer has highlighted the 'ultimately finite' nature of oil and gas reserves. 'The immediate risk to supply is not one of a lack of global resources, but rather a lack of investment,' the report says. 'Upstream investment has been rising rapidly in nominal terms but much of the increase is due to surging costs and the need to combat rising decline rates - especially in higher-cost provinces.' 'Expanding production in the lowest-cost countries will be central to meeting the world's needs at reasonable cost.'...Global oil demand and supply is projected to rise from 84m barrels a day to 106m in 2030, with all of this increase driven by emerging economies, but the IEA sees conventional oil output peaking before then. Most of the increased production will come from natural gas liquids and non-conventional technologies such as Canadian oil sands....But it says the increased output 'hinges on adequate and timely investment'. Up to 64m barrels a day of extra gross capacity - the equivalent to almost six times that of Saudi Arabia today - needs to come on stream between 2007 and 2030. Almost half of that is required by 2015, with an extra 7m barrels a day over current plans approved within the next two years 'to avoid a fall in spare capacity towards the middle of the next decade'. The IEA warns bluntly: 'There remains a real risk that under-investment will cause an oil-supply crunch in that timeframe.' It says a detailed analysis of 800 fields owned by 54 'super-giants' shows that the decline in production is likely to accelerate as oilfields become depleted. This means that the global decline rate of 6.7% for fields past their peak will increase to 8.6% in 2030 and may fall even faster, at 10.5%, without adequate investment."
After the credit crunch, the oil crunch: watchdog warns over falling supplies
Guardian, 12 November 2008

"The International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that massive investments are needed in the oil industry and alternative power sources if the world is to avoid a shortage of fuel. In its outlook for 2008, the agency predicts that demand from India and China will cause the price of oil to reach $US200 a barrel by 2030. The agency's chief economist, Dr Fatih Birol, has told ABC Radio's AM program that even though prices have fallen recently the era of cheap oil is over. 'Once the economy recovers and the demand bounces back, we think about 2010, 2011, we may be caught by surprise and this will be a nasty surprise, which would mean that we can see prices which may be even higher than what we have seen last summer,' he said."
Investment needed to avert fuel shortage: IEA
ABC (Australia), 13 November 2008

"The wider question is what impact falling crude will have on nonOpec oil output. Russia’s budget depends on a $70 per barrel price, according to Aleksei Kudrin, the Finance Minister. But Russian oil output is already falling because of weak investment, as is Mexican production. The major Western oil companies can probably stomach prices dipping temporarily to $60 for a few months and still pay their dividends, but a prolonged slump at $50 per barrel would lead to the scrapping of investments followed by another cycle of shortages and soaring prices."
Opec hawks want to cut oil production to keep up price
London Times, 17 October 2008

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