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Greg Moses

Nonviolence USA:

A website for scholarship
in the theory and practice of nonviolence
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(Pages A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S)

Reflections conducive to a nonviolent future,
following the massacre of Sept. 11, 2001.

Page C
An Oil War?

  • I congratulate Russia, Kazakhstan, and Oman, and their consortium partners, for the commissioning of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC). U.S. firms, notably ChevronTexaco and ExxonMobil, have played leading roles in this project. These facilities represent the culmination of years of effort. They are examples to the world that the United States, Russia, and Kazakhstan are cooperating to build prosperity and stability in this part of the world.

    The CPC highlights the important progress by countries in the Caspian region in building a transparent and stable environment for international trade and investment. The CPC project also advances my Administrations National Energy Policy by developing a network of multiple Caspian pipelines that also includes the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Supsa, and Baku-Novorossiysk oil pipelines and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline. These projects will help diversify U.S. energy supply and enhance our energy security, while supporting global economic growth.
       --George W. Bush (White House 11/28/2001).

  • Soon after the horrific destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, the US administration began aggressive pursuit of a goal to institute an internationally recognized government in Afghanistan. As the above timeline of developing interests shows, the US for several years had been organizing the will and resources for such a campaign, consistent with a strategy aimed at energy development and geo-political influence in the Central Asian sphere. While the official text of US military action in Afghanistan may be articulated as a discourse of war against terrorism, there are good reasons to believe that a pre-text may be working to define terms of engagement that will secure US interests in Central Asian oil. The oil motive may be one reason why the US administration quickly defined the Sept. 11 provocation as "war" rather than "crime against humanity" and then pursued a military strategy directed more toward the re-conquest of Afghanistan than incisive strikes against alleged co-conspirators. The model of an oil framework also suggests that US attacks will be followed by attempts to secure permanent bases in the region in support of long-lasting petro-political policies.
       --Greg Moses (11/26/2001)

  • Under the influence of United States oil companies, the government of President George W Bush initially blocked intelligence agencies' investigations on terrorism while it bargained with the Taliban on the delivery of Osama bin Laden in exchange for political recognition and economic aid, two French intelligence analysts claim.
       --Julio Godoy (Asia Times 11/20/2001).

  • Third, I want to know if the rapid transformation of this war into an oil war is connected to the fact that Afghanistan's outlaw government has been blocking plans for a pipeline that would move Central Asia's oil and gas to the coast of the Arabian Sea.
       --Greg Moses (9/27/2001).

  • Afghanistan's significance from an energy standpoint stems from its geographical position as a potential transit route for oil and natural gas exports from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea. This potential includes proposed multi-billion-dollar oil and gas export pipelines through Afghanistan, although these plans have now been thrown into serious question (see below for more detail)....

    On December 8, 1998, Unocal announced that it was withdrawing from the Centgas consortium, citing low oil prices and turmoil in Afghanistan as making the pipeline project uneconomical and too risky. Unocal's announcement followed an earlier statement -- in August 1998 -- that the company was suspending its role in the Afghanistan gas pipeline project in light of the recent U.S. government military action in Afghanistan, and also due to intensified fighting between the Taliban and opposition groups. Unocal had previously stressed that the Centgas pipeline project would not proceed until an internationally recognized government was in place in Afghanistan. To date, however, only three countries -- Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates -- have recognized the Taliban government.
       --A Briefing from the Department of Energy (Dec., 2000). Mirrored onsite.

  • In October 1999, in a rare alteration of U.S. military geography, the Department of Defense reassigned senior command authority over American forces in Central Asia from the Pacific Command to the Central Command. This decision produced no headlines or other signs of interest in the United States but nevertheless represented a significant shift in American strategic thinking. Central Asia had once been viewed as a peripheral concern, a remote edge of the Pacific Command's main areas of responsibility (China, Japan, and the Korean Peninsula). But the region, which stretches from the Ural Mountains to China's western border, has now become a major strategic prize, because of the vast reserves of oil and natural gas thought to lie under and around the Caspian Sea. Since the Central Command already controls the U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf region, its assumption of control over Central Asia means that this area will now receive close attention from the people whose primary task is to protect the flow of oil to the United States and its allies.
       --Michael Klare (Foreign Affairs May/June 2001 ).

  • Richard L. Armitage is president of Armitage Associates L.C. and a former Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Office of International Security Affairs. Mr. Armitage, with the personal rank of ambassador, directed the formulation and implementation of U.S. assistance activities for the Newly Independent States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union. Mr. Armitage has extensive regional security experience in the former Soviet Union, East Asia and the Middle East. Since his departure from public service, Mr. Armitage has remained engaged in national security issues and is a member of the Defense Policy Board. Mr. Armitage is a graduate of the US Naval Academy.
       --Bio of the man credited with inventing the term "Homeland Security" in his work on the National Defense Panel (Final Report 11/30/1997).

  • It is generally believed that Mr.Armitage actually served in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) till 1978 and from 1976, after a cover resignation from the CIA, worked for some private companies of the CIA, which were being used by it for covert actions in Indo-China. His critics had alleged in the past that he was the author of the idea of using heroin to weaken the fighting capability of the communists in Indo-China and then in Afghanistan though the late Le Comte de Marenches, the head of the French External Intelligence Agency under Presidents George Pompidou and Giscard d'Estaing, had claimed that it was he who had given this idea to the Americans with specific reference to Afghanistan.
       --B. Raman (South Asia Analysis Group 1.3.2001).

  • A prudent US response to this danger would give greater emphasis to energy efficiency and to research on alternative technologies for supplying energy requirements. Nonetheless, for the foreseeable future, oil will remain an essential commodity. Greater attention must therefore be given to increasing supplies of oil in ways that diversify supplies from areas other than the Persian Gulf. The most promising new source of world supplies is the Caspian region, which appears to contain the largest petroleum reserves discovered since the North Sea. This geopolitical crossroad, which includes Iran, Russia, and a number of newly-independent states struggling with post-Soviet modernization and dangers of Islamic extremism, demands more attention by American policymakers.
       --Armitage, etal. (Commission on America's National Interests July, 2000).

  • The Commission was jointly chaired by Mr.Robert Ellsworth of the Hamilton Technology Ventures, L.P., Mr.Andrew Goodpaster of the Eisenhower World Affairs Institute and Ms.Rita Hauser of the Hauser Foundation and included, amongst its members, Mr.Armitage, Ms.Condoleezza Rice, Mr.Bush's National Security Adviser, and Mr.Brent Scowcroft, National Security Adviser under Mr.George Bush (Sr), whom Ms.Rice once described as amongst her mentors. Though this Commission was not set up by the Republican Party, considering the active role played in it by these three prominent personalities as well as many others close to the Republican Party, its report needs close study by our policy-makers and analysts.
       --B. Raman (South Asia Analysis Group 1.3.2001).

  • May, 2001 Ė Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, a career covert operative and former Navy Seal, travels to India on a publicized tour while CIA Director George Tenet makes a quiet visit to Pakistan to meet with Pakistani leader General Pervez Musharraf. Armitage has long and deep Pakistani intelligence connections and he is the recipient of the highest civil decoration awarded by Pakistan. It would be reasonable to assume that while in Islamabad, Tenet, in what was described as ďan unusually long meeting,Ē also met with his Pakistani counterpart, Lt. General Mahmud Ahmad, head of the ISI. [Source The Indian SAPRA news agency, May 22, 2001.]
       --Mike Ruppert (Timeline 11/2/2001`).

  • Kazakhstan is one of the three key producers of oil in the Caspian sea region together with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. This region, which surrounds the world's largest inland sea, is estimated to contain as much as 200 billion barrels of oil alone plus another 100 billion barrels' worth of gas under the Kara Kum Desert and other sites. At average price levels for the 1990s, that adds up to a treasure chest of roughly US$5 trillion.

    Chevron has just completed five years of operations at the Tengiz offshore oil fields in the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan. Supporting them in their efforts is Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev, a former member of Soviet Politburo and a private security company called Alpha whose members are culled from the crack commando forces of the former KGB.
       --Project Underground (1998? ). See map.

  • Growing levels of conventional and heavy oil production and exports from the Western Hemisphere,the Caspian,and Africa are important factors that can lessen the impact of a supply disruption on the U.S.and world economies.Overall U.S. policies in each of these high-priority regions will focus on improving the investment climate and facilitating the flow of needed investment and technology.

    Bilateral energy working groups,such as the U.S.-Kazakhstan Oil,Gas and Commercial Energy Working Group and the U.S.-Russian Oil and Gas Working Group, can improve the trade climate in high-priority countries.In addition to seeking new sources of oil,the United States is helping developing countries use energy efficient technologies to mitigate the environmental impacts of energy use,and to improve access to energy resources.
       --Cheney's National Energy Policy Development Group (May 16, 2001).

  • In the plan's cover letter to Bush, Cheney voices the rational comprehensive approach: "The report reflects the requirements and philosophy you set out for our work.

    "It envisions a comprehensive long-term strategy that uses leading edge technology to produce an integrated energy, environmental and economic policy."

    The biggest flaw in this approach is the failure to recognize that, for energy policy, goal-oriented objectives need to be clear-cut. It also largely ignores multiple conflicting objectives and that the successful ones are most effectively determined through consensus achieved after much debate.
       --Howard Stephens, etal. (Albuquerqe Tribune 6/16/2001).

  • Concerns about the emphasis President George W. Bush's recently released national energy policy places on energy production rather than conservation and efficiency has resulted in a planned protest that is making the rounds on several Internet Web sites.
       --Steve Haberman (Portsmouth Herald 6/17/2001).

  • SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. and WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Sept. 7, 2001 -- Chevron Corp. and Texaco Inc. today confirmed that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved a consent order that will allow the two companies to complete their previously announced merger.
       --Press Release (chevron.com).

  • In 1995, after a stint at the American Enterprise Institute, Cheney became the CEO of Halliburton, which does business in at least 100 countries. In 1998, Business Week reported that Cheney had been "courting politicians and business leaders through the booming Caspian Sea region in an all-out effort to secure key political ties with Azerbaijan and Kazakstan. Accounting for the world's third-largest oil reserves, the region is Cheney's best hope to secure big contracts for a long time to come." Cheney has succeeded. Along with the heads of Chevron and Texaco Inc., Cheney sits on Kazakstan's Oil Advisory Board, which serves as a sounding board for the country's president.
       --The Public I (Center for Public Integrity: March 15, 2000).

  • Chevron christened the Condoleezza Rice, a 136,000 deadweight-ton, double-hulled ship, early on in Riceís decade-long stint on the oil giantís board of directors. Rice, a member of Chevronís board of directors since 1991, explained on televisionís Fox News Sunday in August that Chevron had a policy of naming tankers after its directors. "Thereís also a George Shultz and a David Packard," she remarked.

    By advising the president to take military, political or economic action, the national security adviser can influence decisions that can disrupt or facilitate the operations of global multinationals like Chevron. Under the Clinton administration, the White House counselís office advised members of the NSC to divest themselves of energy-related stocks. When then National Security Adviser Anthony Lake was tapped to become the CIA director in the mid-1990s, his failure to divest $300,000 in energy stocks became the subject of a Justice Department investigation.
       --The Public I (Center for Public Integrity: March 7, 2001).

  • As we hurtle into the twenty-first century, oil is still King. But it does not rule benevolently. Rather, the reign of those who control the politics of petroleum continues to undermine democracy while generating human rights violations and environmental disasters across the Earth.
       --Corp Watch (Oil, Gas, & Coal).

  • Immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mr. Baker traveled to the Transcaucasus and Central Asia to establish embassies in these newly formed independent states. Mr. Baker recalled the political importance of this trip notig the establishment of embassies in these newly formed independent states as a sign of U.S support for their independence and statehood. "We believe it is important that reform towards democracy and free markets take place and it is also important that the United States makes it clear that it sup ports the territorial integrity of these countries. and the independence of these states."...

    Discussion then moved to the vast unexploded resources in the Caspian Basin, including the vast oil and gas reserves to be found in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan. Mr. Mollazade noted the progress by the international oil consortium to exploit these resources, referring to the recent signing of an eight billion dollar contract by the government of Azerbaijan and an international consortium of leading oil companies. Mr. Baker discussed the strategic role of the U.S. oil companies-which maintain a majority of oil shares in this consortium - and the extent to which the U.S. government is involved in support of this endeavors. " It is important to solve the question of marketing and transportation of oil....and this will he a supplemental source of energy for the United States and the other countries in the West." Mr. Baker commented favorably on the Bush and Clinton Administrations' continual support of American companies operating in the Caspian Basin. and applauded their efforts to generate mutual trade benefits with these countries to facilitate the problems surrounding marketing and transportation of oil in this region.
       --Jayhun Mollazade (Caspian Crossroads).

  • Struggles over natural resources often lie at the heart of wars and civil strife. At the United Nations and in academe, diplomats and scholars have long ignored this crucial dimension of conflict. Recently, though, NGOs have called attention to these questions, which often link corporations and traders in the North with violence and instability in the South....
       --The Dark Side of Natural Resources (globalpolicy.org).

  • This market research report focuses on the current state of Russia's vast oil and natural gas pipeline network, along with prospective future needs and priorities for Russian energy transportation. Particular attention is given to future projects (as well as some already planned/or begun) in which United States companies in a wide range of industries (from civil engineering to pumps, turbines and compressors to structural diagnostics, environmental protection technologies and telecommunications) may find commercial opportunities.
       --Nick Mikhailov (Aug. 2000). See also Bisnis Home Page at the US Dept. of Commerce.

  • Boosted by high crude prices and a strong recovery, Russian oil companies posted their strongest financial results ever. Leading producer LUKoil posted an after-tax profit of $3.1 billion. Number-two YUKOS also posted an after-tax gain in excess of $3 billion. On the lower end of the totem pole, even smaller, vertically-integrated companies, such as 12-MMt/yr (239,000-bopd) Slavneft (owned by the Russian and Belarus governments) posted a $756 million profit.
       --Alec Mikhalyants, WorldOil (Aug. 2001).

  • Gazprom's potential involves the world's largest hydrocarbon reserves proved by international audit, a unique system of natural gas transportation that ensures reliable gas deliveries to consumers in Russia and more than 20 countries on the European continent. But the company's main asset involves thousands of highly qualified specialists in the field of natural gas prospecting, production, transportation and processing.
       --A.B. Miller, Chair of Management Committee (GAZPROM).

  • According to forecasts of the World Energy Council, Russia's share in the international gas trade will total 30-35% by the year 2020. Russia's geographical position predetermines Gazprom's special role in the establishment of a united Eurasian gas market and a unified power space.

  • "The signing of a general agreement takes cooperation between Russian and Chinese oil companies to a new level, with the creation of a new direction for Russian oil exports and the diversification of energy sources for China," Interfax quoted Yukos Chief Executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky as saying.
       --Reuters (Sept. 8, 2001).

  • "We are confident that Tibet will become an oil reserve base in the 21st century," he noted.
       --Professor Liu Tianyou, China Geology University (Oct. 15, 1997).

  • China has found the world's highest oil field at an altitude of 15,500 feet in Tibet, the state-run Xinhua News Agency said Tuesday. The Luenpola Basin could hold the equivalent of more than 1 billion barrels of oil and gas, Xinhua said, citing the China National Star Petroleum Corp. It is the first commercially viable crude oil found in eight years of exploration in Tibet, the report said. China has occupied Tibet since a failed uprising on March 10, 1959, against communist forces that marched into the region nine years earlier. China claims Tibet has always been part of its territory, but many Tibetans assert that their land was virtually independent for centuries.
       --AP (July 20, 1999).

  • The Qiangtang Basin in Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region is expected to hold hundreds of millions tons of oil, it was revealed at a seminar on the western development strategy for Tibet.
       --China Daily ( Aug. 21, 2001).

  • Last night a BP spokesman said the company had no direct interests in Tibet. But he added: "China is a very fast-growing market - one of the biggest in the world and an area where we wish to be a significant player."
       --Guardian (Oct. 2, 2000).

  • BP is the primary foreign investor in PetroChina, a division of the Chinese government's state owned oil company. ENI/Agip is involved in a joint venture with PetroChina in the construction of a natural gas pipeline through the Amdo province of Tibet.
       --Milarepa Fund (Oct. 13, 2000).

  • CNPC's effort to launch its public entity, Petro China, on the New York Stock Exchange last month resulted in failure largely due to pressure from human rights and environmental groups. Originally hoping for $10 billion US from the initial public offering, PetroChina was able to raise only $2.89 billion.
       --Canada Tibet Committee (Oct. 13, 2000).

  • When investigators look into a murder, however, their first question is not, "Who disliked the victim?" They want to know who will benefit from the crime. The Sept. 11 deaths of over 6,000 people, many Muslims among them, benefit no one in the Islamic world. But for some rich and powerful people in the United States, the tragedy will pay off quite handsomely.
       --Cecil Williams (Workers World 10/4/2001).

  • There's also lots of oil beneath the turf of our politically precarious newest best friend, Pakistan. "Massive untapped gas reserves are believed to be lying beneath Pakistan's remotest deserts, but they are being held hostage by armed tribal groups demanding a better deal from the central government," reported Agence France Presse just days before September 11.
       --Nina Burleigh (TomPaine.com undated).

  • So what is the answer? For the present and for some years to come there is no way to escape the awkward reality that the oil reserves of the Middle East are crucial to the world economy. If that dependence is ever to end, we will have to do more than drill in a few more wilderness areas, and it won't even be enough to drive more fuel-efficient cars. We'll have to find a way, through some combination of technological innovation and radical policies, to wean not just the United States but the world economy as a whole from its dependence on oil.
       --Paul Krugman (NYTimes 9/26/2001).

  • Imagine ó receiving frequent flyer miles, gift certificates, and even cash ó just for paying your energy bill! You'll be that much closer to your dream vacation, because from the moment you click on a light switch in the morning, you'll start earning valuable miles. Amazing, huh? It's a revolutionary concept that's available to NewPower customers.
       --The New Power Company: Enron, IBM, AOL (newpower.com).

    Deja Vu USA: Ida Tarbell on Standard Oil

  • Background from BBC: The historic 1911 decision broke up Rockefeller's company into six main entities, including Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso, now Exxon), Standard Oil of New York (Socony, now Mobil), Standard Oil of Ohio, and Standard Oil of Indiana (now Amoco, part of BP) and Standard Oil of California (now Chevron) - and opened the way for new entrants like Gulf and Texaco, which discovered oil in Texas.

  • Tarbell writes in 1904: ...From the beginning the Standard Oil Company has studied thoroughly everything at conditions. It has had a keen authoritative sight. It has applied itself to its tasks with indefatigable zeal. It has been as courageous as it has been cautious. Nothing has been too big to undertake, as nothing has been too small to neglect. These facts have been repeatedly pointed out in this narrative. But these are the American industrial qualities. They are common enough in all sorts or business. They have made our railroads, built up our great department stores, opened our mines. The Standard Oil Company has no monopoly in business ability. It is the thing for which American men are distinguished to-day in the world....

    ...It goes without saying that this is an absurd power to allow in the hands of any manufacturer of a great necessity of life. It is exactly as if one corporation aiming at manufacturing all the flour of the country owned all but ten per cent. of the entire railroad system collecting and transporting wheat. They could, of course, in time of shortage, prevent any would-be competitor from getting grain to grind, and they could and would make it difficult and expensive at all times for him to get it...

    ..One of the most depressing features of the ethical side of the matter is that instead of such methods arousing contempt they are more or less openly admired. And this is logical. Canonise "business success," and men who made a success like that of the Standard Oil Trust become national heroes! The history of its organisation is studied as a practical lesson in moneymaking. It is the most startling feature of the case to one who would like to feel that it is possible to be a commercial people and yet a race of gentlemen...

    The truth is, blackmail and every other business vice is the natural result of the peculiar business practices of the Standard. If business is to be treated as warfare and not as a peaceful pursuit, as they have persisted in treating it, they cannot expect the men they are fighting to lie down and die without a struggle. If they get special privileges they must expect their competitors to struggle to get them. If they will find it more profitable to buy out a refinery than to let it live, they must expect the owner to get an extortionate price if he can. And when they complain of these practices and call them blackmail, they show thin sporting blood. They must not expect to monopolise hard dealings, if they do oil....

    And what are we going to do about it? for it is our business. We, the people of the United States, and nobody else, must cure whatever is wrong in the industrial situation, typified by this narrative of the growth of the Standard Oil Company. That our first task is to secure free and equal transportation privileges by rail, pipe and waterway is evident. It is not an easy matter. It is one which may require operations which will seem severe but the whole system of discrimination has been nothing but violence, and those who have profited by it cannot complain if the curing of the evils they have wrought bring hardship in turn on them. At all events, until the transportation matter is settled, and settled right, the monopolistic trust will be with us, a leech on our pockets, a barrier to our free efforts.

    As for the ethical side, there is no cure but in an increasing scorn of unfair play -an increasing sense that a thing won by breaking the rules of the game is not worth the winning. When the business man who fights to secure special privileges, to crowd his competitor off the track by other than fair competitive methods, receives the same summary disdainful ostracism by his fellows that the doctor or lawyer who is "unprofessional," the athlete who abuses the rules, receives, we shall have gone a long way toward making commerce a fit pursuit for our young men.
       --Ida M. Tarbell (History of Standard Oil 1904).

  • Milestones in US Anti Trust History
    1867: formation of Standard Oil
    1890: Sherman Anti Trust Act
    1902 Northern Securities case
    1911: Standard Oil case
    1914: Federal Trade Commission set up
    1934: Securities and Exchange Commission set up
    1969-1982: IBM case
    1974-1984: AT&T case
    1998- : Microsoft:
       --BBC (Feb. 15, 2000).

  • No trust was bigger than Standard Oil, owned by John D. Rockefeller.

    In 1910 Mr Rockefeller's net worth was equal to nearly 2.5% of the whole US economy, the equivalent of nearly $250bn in today's terms, or at least twice as much as Bill Gates.

    The opposition to the trusts, particularly among farmers who protested against the high cost of rail transport to take their products to the cities, led to the passage of the first anti-trust law - The Sherman Act - in 1890.

    But it was more than 20 years later, after a campaign led by 'muckraking' journalists, when Standard Oil was brought before the courts.

    The historic 1911 decision broke up Rockefeller's company into six main entities, including Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso, now Exxon), Standard Oil of New York (Socony, now Mobil), Standard Oil of Ohio, and Standard Oil of Indiana (now Amoco, part of BP) and Standard Oil of California (now Chevron) - and opened the way for new entrants like Gulf and Texaco, which discovered oil in Texas.

    But in the oil business even the "Seven Sisters" turned out be marriage prospects.

    First Chevron acquired Gulf in 1984 in what was then the largest corporate merger in US history.

    Then, in an ironic twist, the 1990s has seen the oil industry come back together, with Exxon merging with Mobil, another part of the old Standard Oil empire, to form a company twice as big as its nearest rival - BP Amoco, which also consists of two old Standard Oil companies (Amoco and Standard Oil of Ohio) and has been trying to merge with a third (Arco, formerly Atlantic Petroleum of Pennsylvania).

    The three big oil companies now control almost as much of the market as Rockefeller did.

    But the blocking of the deal to give BP Amoco control of America's largest oil field in Alaska, by acquiring Arco, shows that a backlash is beginning to bite.
       --BBC (Feb. 15, 2000).


  • While Chiapas, in our opinion, does not pose a fundamental threat to Mexican political stability, it is perceived to be so by many in the investment community. The government will need to eliminate the Zapatistas to demonstrate their effective control of the national territory and of security policy.
       --Chase Manhattan Memo (Jan. 13, 1995).

(Pages A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S)

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