Richard Melson

July 2006

Tikkun conspiracy

http://www.tikkun.org/magazine/tik0607/palast

Was the Invasion of Iraq a Jewish Conspiracy?

Greg Palast

There are kooks and cranks and conspiracy nuts out there who think George Bush, from the moment he took office, had some kind of secret plan to invade Iraq and grab control of its oil. They’re wrong. There were two plans. I’ve got them both. One is 323 pages long, the other 101 pages. How I got them, I’ll explain later.

But first, let’s try to answer a more pressing question. Did the Jews do it? I mean, after killing Jesus, did the Elders of Zion manipulate the government of the United States into invading Babylon as part of a scheme to abet the expansion of Greater Israel?

The question was first posed to me in 2004 when I was speaking at a meeting of Mobilization for Peace in San Jose. A member of the audience asked, "Put it together—Who’s behind this war? Paul Wolfowitz and Elliott Abrams and the Project for a "Jew" American Century and, and, why don’t you talk about that, huh? And …."

But the questioner never had the full opportunity to complete his query because, flushed and red, he began to charge the stage. The peace activists attempted to detain the gentleman—whose confederates then grabbed some chairs to swing. As the Peace Center was taking on a somewhat warlike character, I chose to call in the authorities and slip out the back.

Still, his question intrigued me. As an investigative reporter, "Who’s behind this war?" seemed like a reasonable challenge—and if it were a plot of Christ-killers and Illuminati, so be it. I just report the facts, ma’am.

And frankly, at first, it seemed like the gent had a point, twisted though his spin might be. There was Paul Wolfowitz, before Congress, offering Americans the bargain of the century: a free Iraq—not "free" as in "freedom and democracy" but free in the sense of this won’t cost us a penny. Wolfowitz testified in March 2003: "There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money."

And where would these billions come from? Wolfowitz tells us:

"It starts with the assets of the Iraqi people....The oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the next two or three years."

This was no small matter. The vulpine Deputy Defense Secretary knew that the number one question on the minds of Americans was not, "Does Saddam really have the bomb?" but "What’s this little war going to cost us?"

However, Wolfowitz left something out of his testimony: the truth. I hunted for weeks for the source of the Pentagon’s oil revenue projections—and found them. They were wildly different from the Wolfowitz testimony. But this was not perjury. Ever since the conviction of Elliott Abrams for perjury before Congress, neither Wolfowitz nor the other Bush factotums swear an oath before testifying. If you don’t raise your hand and promise to tell the truth, "so help me, God," you’re off the hook with federal prosecutors. How the Lord will judge that little ploy, we cannot say.

But Wolfowitz’s little numbers game can hardly count as a Great Zionist conspiracy.

That seemed to come, at first glance, in the form of the secret 101-page document, the plan for the occupation of Iraq, devised, I later learned, in late 2001. Notably, it wasn’t written by Iraqis; rather, it was promoted by the neoconservatives of the Defense Department, home of Abrams, Wolfowitz, Harold Rhode and other desktop Napoleons unafraid of moving toy tanks around the Pentagon war room. And the godfather of the plan? Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation.

Nose-Twist’s Hidden Hand

The neocons’ 101-page confidential document, which came to me in February 2001, just before the tanks rolled, goes boldly where no U.S. invasion plan had gone before: the complete rewrite of the conquered state’s "policies, law and regulations." A flat-tax cap on the incomes of Iraq’s wealthiest was included as a matter of course. And this was undoubtedly history’s first military assault plan appended to a program for toughening the target nation’s copyright laws. Once the 82nd Airborne liberated Iraq, never again would the Ba’athist dictatorship threaten America with bootleg dubs of Britney Spears’s "...Baby One More Time."

It was more like a corporate takeover, except with Abrams tanks instead of junk bonds. It didn’t strike me as the work of a Kosher Cabal for an Imperial Israel. In fact, it smelled of pork—Pig Heaven for corporate America looking for a slice of Iraq, and I suspected its porcine source. I gave it a big sniff and, sure enough, I smelled Grover Norquist.

Norquist is the capo di capi of right-wing, big-money influence peddlers in Washington. The devout Christian Norquist channeled a million dollars to the Christian Coalition to fight the devil’s tool, legalized gambling. He didn’t tell the Coalition that the loot came from an Indian tribe represented by Norquist’s associate, Jack Abramoff. The tribe didn’t want competition for its own casino operations.

I took a chance and dropped in on Norquist’s L Street office, and under a poster of his idol ["Nixon—now more than ever"], Norquist took a look at the confidential 101-page plan for Iraq and practically jumped over my desk to sign it, filled with pride at seeing his baby. Yes, he promoted the privatizations, the flat tax, and the change in "intellectual" property rights law, all concerns close to the hearts and wallets of his clients.

"The Oil" on Page 73

But there was, without doubt, one notable item in the 101-page plan for Iraq which clearly had the mark of Zion on it. On page seventy-three the plan called for the "privatization....[of] the oil and supporting industries," the sell-off of every ounce of Iraq’s oil fields and reserves. Its mastermind, I learned, was Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation.

For the neocons, this was The Big One. Behind it, no less a goal than to bring down the lynchpin of Arab power, Saudi Arabia.

It would work like this: the Saudi’s power rests on control of OPEC, the oil cartel which, as any good cartel, withholds oil from the market, kicking up prices. Sell-off Iraq’s oil fields and private companies will pump oil in their little Iraqi patches to the max. Iraq will crank out six million barrels of oil a day, bust its OPEC quota, flood the world market, demolish OPEC and, as the price of oil fell off a cliff, Saudi Arabia would fall to its knees.

"It’s a no-brainer," Cohen told me, at his office at Heritage. It was a dim little cubby, in which, in our hour or two together, the phone rang only once. For a guy who was supposed to be the mastermind of a globe-spanning Zionist scheme to destroy the Arab oil monopoly, he seemed kind of, well...pathetic.

And he failed. While the Norquist-promoted sell-offs, flat taxes, and copyright laws were dictated into Iraqi law by occupation chief Paul Bremer, the Cohen neo-con oil privatization died an unhappy death. What happened, Ari?

"Arab economists," he hissed, "hired by the State Department...the witches brew of the Saudi Royal family and Soviet Ostblock."

Well, the Soviet Ostblock does not exist, but the Arab economists do. I spoke with them in Riyadh, in London, in California, in confident, wry accents mixing desert and Oxford. But their authority only reflects the royal families of Houston petroleum.

Wolfowitz Dammerung: Twilight of the Neocon Gods

After two mad years of hunting, I discovered the real plan for Iraq, the one that keeps our troops in Fallujah. Some 323 pages long and deeply

Confidential, it was drafted at the James A. Baker III Institute under the strict guidance of Big Oil’s minions, the culmination of a committee including Ken Lay, key players from the Council on Foreign Relations (who began their work in December 2000), a State Department invasion-planning session in Walnut Creek, California, in February 2001, and the gathering of oil chiefs with Dick Cheney in March 2003, where the map of the oil fields of Iraq was carefully reviewed.

Once discovered, several of the players agreed to speak with me (not, to the chagrin of a couple, realizing that I rarely hold such conversions without a wire). Most forthright was Philip Carroll, former CEO of Shell Oil USA, who was flown into Baghdad on a C-17 to make sure there would be no neocon monkey business in our newest oil fields. It had been a very good war for Big Oil, with tripled oil prices meaning tripled profits. In Houston, I asked Carroll, a commanding, steel-straight chief executive, about Cohen’s oil privatization plan, the anti-Saudi "no-brainer."

"I would agree with that statement" Caroll told me, " privatization is a no-brainer. It would only be thought about by someone with no brains."

Bush world is divided in two: neocons on one side, and the Establishment (which includes the oil companies and the Saudis) on the other. The plan the Establishment created, crafted by Houston oil men, called for locking up Iraq’s oil with agreements between a new state oil company under "profit-sharing agreements" with "IOCs" (International Oil Companies). The combine could "enhance [Iraq’s] government’s relationship with OPEC," it read, by holding the line on quotas and thereby upholding high prices.

So there you have it. Wolfowitz and his neocon clique—bookish, foolish, vainglorious—had their asses kicked utterly, finally, and convincingly by the powers of petroleum, the Houston-Riyadh Big Oil axis.

Between the neocons and Big Oil, it wasn’t much of a contest. The end-game was crushing, final. The Israelites had lost again in the land of Babylon.

And to make certain the arriviste neocons got the point, public punishment was exacted, from exile to demotion to banishment. In January 2005, neocon pointman Douglas Feith resigned from the Defense Department; his assistant Larry Franklin later was busted for passing documents to pro-Israel lobbyists. The State Department’s knuckle-dragging enforcer of neocon orthodoxies, John Bolton, was booted from Washington to New York to the powerless post of U.N. Ambassador.

Finally, on March 16, 2005, second anniversary of the invasion, neocon leader of the pack Wolfowitz was cast out of the Pentagon war room and tossed into the World Bank, moving from the testosterone-powered, war-making decision center to the lending office for Bangladeshi chicken farmers.

"The realists," crowed the triumphant editor of the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, "have defeated the fantasists!"

So much for the Big Zionist Conspiracy that supposedly directed this war. A half- dozen confused Jews, wandering in the policy desert a long distance from mainstream Jewish views, armed only with Leo Strauss’ silly aphorisms, were no match for Texas oil majors and OPEC potentates with a throw weight of half a trillion barrels of oil.

Investigative Reporter Greg Palast is the author of the bestseller, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. This essay is adapted from his new book, Armed Madhouse: Who’s Afraid of Osama Wolf?, China Floats, Bush Sinks, the Scheme to Steal ’08, No Child’s Behind Left and other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War (Dutton, 2006).

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Jewish Conspiracy?

July 10, 2006