Oil-Slick Jim Moves In

From the new Expanded Election Edition of Greg Palast’s
The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (Plume)
Available In Stores Monday April 26, 2004

I avoid The New York Times but lately, it’s become a
compulsion, though only for the new daily column titled, ‘Names of
the Dead.’ Today’s listing: ‘DERVISHI, Ervin, 21, Pfc, Army. Fort

I’m not one of those cynical people who thought Bush sent us
into to Iraq for the oil. To me, Saddam Hussein was always a
Kurd-killing cockroach with a Hitlerian mustache. I never liked the
guy — not even when he worked for George Bush Sr.

It’s worth going over the work the Butcher of Baghdad did for
his Texas patrons when he was their butcher:

1979: Seizes power with US approval; moves allegiance from
Soviets to USA in Cold War.

1980: Invades Iran, then the ‘Unicycle of Evil,’ with US
encouragement and arms. (In fairness, credit here goes to Nobel
Peace Laureate, James Carter.)

1982: Bush-Reagan regime removes Saddam’s regime from official
US list of state sponsors of terrorism.

1983: Saddam hosts Donald Rumsfeld in Baghdad. Agrees to ‘go
steady’ with US corporate suppliers.

1984: US Commerce Department issues license for export of
aflatoxin to Iraq useable in biological weapons.

1988: Kurds in Halabja, Iraq, gassed. 1987-88: US warships
destroy Iranian oil platforms in Gulf and break Iranian blockade of
Iraq shipping lanes, tipping war advantage back to Saddam.

1990: Invades Kuwait with US permission.

US permission? On July 25, 1990, the dashing dictator
met in Baghdad with US Ambassador April Glaspie. When Saddam asked
Glaspie if the US would object to an attack on Kuwait over the
small emirate’s theft of Iraqi oil, America’s Ambassador told him,
‘We have no opinion…. Secretary [of State James] Baker has
directed me to emphasize the instruction … that Kuwait is not
associated with America.’ Saddam taped her.

Glaspie, in 1991 Congressional testimony, did not deny the
authenticity of the recording which diplomats worldwide took as a
Bush Sr’s OK to an Iraqi invasion.

So where is Secretary Baker today? On the lam, hiding in
deserved shame? Doing penance by nursing the victims of Gulf War
Syndrome? No, Mr. Baker is a successful lawyer, founder of Baker
Botts of Houston, Riyadh, Kazakhstan. Among his glinting client
roster, Exxon-Mobil oil and the defense minister of Saudi Arabia.
Baker’s firm is protecting the Saudi royal from a lawsuit by the
families of the victims of September 11 over evidence suggesting
that Saudi money ended up in the pockets of the terrorists.

And Baker has just opened a new office … at 1600 Pennsylvania
Avenue. This is a White House first: the first time a lobbyist for
the oil industry will have a desk right next to the President’s.
Baker’s job, to ‘restructure’ Iraq’s debt. How lucky for his
clients in Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom claims $30.7 billion due from
Iraq. Apparently this includes their $7 billion send to Saddam to
fund his bomb [see Chapter 2].

If you remember, Henry Kissinger ran away from appointment to
the September 11 Commission with his consulting firm tucked between
his legs after the US Senate demanded he reveal his client list. In
the case of Jim Baker, our elected Congress had no chance to ask
him who is paying his firm nor even require him to get off
conflicting payrolls.

To get around the wee issue of conflicts galore, the White House
crafted a neat little subterfuge. The official press release says
the President has not appointed Mr. Baker. Rather Mr. Bush is
‘responding to a request from the Iraqi Governing Council.’ That
is, Bush is acting on the authority of the puppet government he
imposed on Iraqis at gunpoint.

Why is our President so concerned with the wishes of Mr. Baker’s
clientele? What does Bush owe Baker?

It was Baker, as consiglieri to the Bush family, who came up
with the strategy of maneuvering the 2000 Florida vote count into a
Supreme Court packed with politicos.

Over the years, Jim Baker has taken responsibility for putting
bread on the Bush family table. As Senior Counsel to Carlyle, the
arms-dealing investment group, Baker arranged for the firm to hire
both President Bush 41 after he was booted from the White
House and President Bush 43 while his daddy was still in

We know why Jim Baker is in the White House. But what was
Private Dervishi doing in harm’s way in Iraq? Saddam was already in
the slammer and Iraq ‘liberated’ nearly a year.

The answer came to me in a confidential document that oozed out
of Foggy Bottom, one hundred pages from the State Department’s
secret ‘Iraq Strategy.’ It’s all about the ‘post-conflict’ economy
of Iraq written well before America was told we would have
a conflict there.

There’s nothing in the ‘Iraq Strategy’ about democracy or
voting. But there’s plenty of detail about creating a free-market
Disneyland in Mesopotamia, with ‘all’ state assets — and that’s
just about everything in that nation — to be sold off to corporate
powers. The Bush team secret program ordered …

‘… asset sales, concessions, leases and management contracts,
especially those in the oil and supporting

The ‘Strategy’ lays out a detailed 270-day schedule for the
asset grab. And that’s why PFC Dervishi was kept there: to prevent
or forestall elections. Because no democratically elected
government of Iraq could ever sell off its oil. Democracy would
have to wait, at the point of a gun, for the ‘assets sales,
concessions, leases’ to Bush’s corporate buck-buddies.

There you have it. The secret ‘Strategy’ tells us that, if Bush
didn’t go into Iraq for the oil, he sure as hell ain’t leaving
without it

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