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Rumsfeld Ignored WMDs In Pursuit Of Oil Pipeline

RUMSFELD IGNORED WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
IN PURSUIT OF OIL PIPELINE
NEW REPORT DOCUMENTS HAWKS' EFFORTS ON BECHTEL'S BEHALF

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 24, 2003
For full report see:
http://www.ips-dc.org/crudevision/crude_vision.pdf

Contacts: Jim Vallette, 646-522-1605; Steve Kretzmann, 202-497-1033; Daphne Wysham, 301-573-2468

Examining recently released government and corporate sources, researchers at the Institute for Policy Studies have uncovered new evidence that oil has long been the driving concern behind US-Iraqi relations. Key figures associated with the Bush Administration, in particular Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, pressed Saddam Hussein during the mid '80's to approve the Aqaba pipeline project from Iraq to Jordan.

In "Crude Vision: How Oil Interests Obscured US Government Focus On Chemical Weapons Use by Saddam Hussein" the Institute for Policy Studies reveals that the diplomatic pressure from Rumsfeld and the Reagan administration happened during and despite Hussein's use of chemical weapons. Behind the scenes, these officials worked for two years attempting to secure the billion dollar pipeline scheme for the Bechtel corporation. The Bush/Cheney administration now eyes Bechtel as a primary contractor for the rebuilding of Iraq's infrastructure.

Bechtel's pipeline would have carried a million barrels of Iraqi crude oil a day through Jordan to the Red Sea port of Aqaba.

"The men who courted Saddam while he gassed Iranians are now waging war against him, ostensibly because he holds these same weapons of mass destruction" said Jim Vallette, lead author of the report. "To a man, they now deny that oil has anything to do with the conflict. Yet during the Reagan Administration, and in the years leading up to the present conflict, these men shaped and implemented a strategy that has everything to do with securing Iraqi oil exports. All of this documentation suggests that Reagan Administration officials bent many rules to convince Saddam Hussein to open up a pipeline of central interest to the US, from Iraq to Jordan."

Crude Vision reveals how the White House, through the Department of State and the National Security Council, pressured the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) and U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to approve financing for this deal. Reagan officials knew of numerous human rights violations by Saddam Hussein while they pursued US taxpayer support for the pipeline. And it notes that the break in US-Iraq relations occurred not after Iraq used chemical weapons on the Iranians, nor after Iraq gassed its own Kurdish people, nor even after Iraq invaded Kuwait, but rather, followed Saddam's rejection of the Aqaba pipeline deal.

"In their own words, we now see that for Administration officials, a dictator is a friend of the United States when he is willing to make an oily deal, and a mortal enemy when he is not" said Vallette.

Hear Jim Vallette's commentary on NPR's Marketplace on March 25, 2003. (You must have Real Player to hear the Marketplace link.)

Click here to go to Adobe Acrobat version of report (download free Adobe Acrobat reader)

Scanned memoranda obtained from the National Archives:

File name Date #pages Brief description
072084.pdf 07/20/84 5 Memo from Bechtel to energy ministries of Iraq and Jordan
072684.pdf 07/26/84 1 Internal memo, Bechtel
101584.pdf 10/15/84 4 Correspondence between Bechtel and Placke (State Dept.)
010785.pdf 01/07/85 2 Notes from the first Rappaport/Bechtel meeting
012385.pdf 01/23/85 2 Internal memo, Bechtel
020885.pdf 02/08/85 1 Internal memo, Bechtel
050385.pdf 05/03/85 3 Internal memo, Bechtel
061485.pdf 06/14/85 2 Letter from law firm to Bechtel
071185.pdf 07/11/85 1 Letter from William Clark to E. Robert Wallach
080185.pdf 08/01/85 2 Internal memo, Bechtel
092585.pdf 09/25/85 2 Letter from Shimon Peres to Edwin Meese
013086.pdf 01/30/86 3 Internal memo, Bechtel
020786.pdf 02/07/86 1 Internal memo, Bechtel

The National Security Archives-released documents may be found at: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/

Adobe Acrobat version of report (download free Adobe Acrobat reader)


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