FTW Foretold Saudi Destabilization 9 Months Ago
Saudi Arabia, West Africa --
Next Stops in the Infinite War for Oil
© Copyright 2003, From The Wilderness Publications, www.copvcia.com.
All Rights Reserved. May be reprinted, distributed
or posted on an Internet web site for non-profit
[Sometimes pointing out
that one was right is not about ego. Sometimes it's
about saying that if others had listened, a lot of
lives might have been saved because things would have
been handled differently. It is about saying that there
are things that can be changed now to prevent that
kind of damage from being carried forward... one more
On May 14 I watched Amy
Goodman, producer and anchor of Pacifica Radio's "Democracy
Now," appear on CNN discussing the bombings in Saudi
Arabia and recently well-publicized statements by Senator
Bob Graham -- former chair of the Senate intelligence
committee -- suggesting that the Bush administration
was engaging in a cover-up of 9-11. It was a pyrrhic
vindication for me. Make no mistake, Graham
is nothing more than damage control as he describes
what happened as "intelligence failures." He should
not be trusted under any circumstances. But Goodman's
repeated focus on the inconsistencies, deceptions and
lies of 9/11 -- on CNN no less -- was a bittersweet
and ironic validation of positions I took on three
Pacifica stations (WBAI, KPFA and KPFK) more than 18
months ago. I was labeled as: a money grubbing, conspiracy
theorist; libelously as a fired ex-cop; and as an unstable
mental case who did sloppy research by the likes of
David Corn of The Nation, Norman Solomon, Larry Bensky,
Sonali Kolhatkar and Marc Cooper.
Goodman has merely ignored
my work. Yet, according to someone who gave it to her,
she has had my tape "The Truth and Lies of 9-11" for
many months. And she knows that what I was saying eighteen
months ago is exactly what Graham is trying to spin
now. I know this because many people who emailed her
asking her to have me as a guest sent me copies. Gore
Vidal has had the tape for quite a while too. Vidal
used every one of the quotes from Zbigniew Brzezinski's
book "The Grand Chessboard" which I brought to public
light in the fall of 2001 in his own lengthy 9/11 article
and conveniently forgot to mention the person who did
the work or what he was trying to say. Now, a day late
and a dollar short, the Lilly Livered Left has arrived
on the scene with the brilliant observation, "Wait,
we have to look at 9/11! We have to look at 9/11!"
This is so much more than "I
told you so." The danger and power of a fascist empire
in warp drive to control global oil reserves and crush
opposition grows every day. This is all about the fact
that the consequences arising from the peak and inevitable
decline of world oil production are going to be the
most cataclysmic events in human history. That realization
is all too slowly dawning upon people who might be
in a position to change the way this bloody game is
being played. Richard Heinberg's new book "The Party's
Over" and the diligent work of world-class oil experts
like Colin Campbell of the Association for the Study
of Peak Oil- www.peakoil.net - are finally
making inroads into the collective consciousness of
But the herd always seems
to be ten paces behind the Empire.
Having been vindicated
so many times I point again to Saudi
Arabia and also now to West
Africa. Nine months ago FTW wrote that Saudi
Arabia would likely be
the next stop on the Empire's world tour after Iraq.
Little noticed details of the recent bombings in Riyadh confirm
it. And recent developments in Africa, especially Nigeria - the
world's sixth largest oil producer - are sounding alarms
that al Qaeda may be about to reveal an African face,
including that of Osama bin Laden.
Every time my analysis
is vindicated, every time an FTW prediction comes true,
it is more affirmation that Peak Oil is real. And if
Peak Oil is real, the consequences of it are going
to devastate human civilization within our lifetimes.
They are doing exactly that right now, today. It started
on 9/11. It doesn't take a genius to read a map, just
someone who is willing to look at it and choose the
right road - the road less traveled. September 11th is
the place where the empire remains vulnerable; there
and with the criminal handling of taxpayer money and
the continued looting of the Treasury. - MCR]
the eve of a U.S. invasion of Iraq the deployment
of U.S. military personnel in the region is also
a convenient placement of resources for what may
be a one-two punch to take over a tottering kingdom
that owns 25 percent of all the oil on the planet
at the same time that Saddam Hussein is removed from
power in a country that controls another 11 percent.
Together, the two countries -- which have not yet
peaked in production capacity -- and which are the
only two nations capable of an... increase
in output possess 36 percent of the world's known
still the American people try to ignore the fact
that the administration knew about, and could have
prevented, the attacks of September 11th."
Saudi Arabia: The Sarajevo of the 21st Century
Michael C. Ruppert
From The Wilderness, Aug. 21, 2002
15, 2003, 2100 PDT (FTW) - The three bombings of expatriate compounds which took place in the Saudi Capital
on Monday, May 12, signal more
than a "resurgent" al Qaeda. That the CIA, the Bush
family and Osama bin Laden have been cooperating
and doing business for decades is now extremely well
documented and part of the "9/11 cover-up" being
alluded to by Bob Graham, the former chair of the
Senate intelligence committee, in his public remarks.
As The Financial Times reported in separate
stories on May 13, the attacks signal the possible
start of a campaign to overthrow the feeble Saudi
monarchy and represent a serious challenge to the
royal family. Quoting a senior western diplomat in
the Saudi capital the FT reported, "This is
a serious challenge to the al-Sauds. It is on the
scale of the 1979 takeover of the Grand Mosque in Mecca." As FTW reported last
August, Saudi King Fahd remains on life support on
a private island off the coast of Spain while Crown Prince Abdullah and
Prince Sultan jockey for position and are ready to
fight for the throne the instant the King takes his
last breath. Abdullah controls the Saudi National
Guard and Sultan controls the army. Both are prepared
to cater to elements of the population which largely
sympathizes with al Qaeda, and which is highly fragmented,
and which really likes neither of the billionaire
reporting from last August indicated that the US was
likely developing plans to destabilize Saudi
Arabia, partition it, and occupy the world's largest
oil fields shortly after it had successfully occupied
Iraq. To read the full story please visit:
Meanwhile, in Nigeria, the world's sixth largest oil
producer, and throughout western and equatorial Africa,
continuing rebel violence is laying the groundwork
for NATO and US military intervention. Both developments
are in keeping with Dick Cheney's "war which will
not end in our lifetimes," a war to control the last
remaining oil reserves on the planet.
Al Qaeda has never been known to issue warnings about
pending attacks. Yet according to an AP story
on May 13, just twenty-four hours before the attacks
occurred, an al Qaeda operative calling himself Abu
Mohammed al-Ablaj sent
an email to the London-based Arab magazine Al-Majalla stating
that suicide attacks targeting the Saudi regime and
American interests were pending. This made it certain
that al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden would be identified
as the perpetrators.
As the number of deaths
from the highly coordinated and synchronized machine
gun and car bomb suicide
attacks of May 12 varied, few noticed that one of
the targets was a compound occupied by the Vinnell
Corporation - now a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman.
Vinnell has an interesting history about which FTW has
written before. Previously owned by the now-notorious
Carlyle Group, Vinnell is perhaps the most elite
paramilitary training company in the world and it
has long been reported to have heavy ties to the
CIA, even to the point of providing non-official
cover (NOC) for CIA officers and agents. As we reported
in October of 2000, Vinnell, along with DynCorp and
MPRI, are the three largest and best-connected private
mercenary operations in the world.
A Times of London story
on May 14, headlined "Firm ‘Was
Cover for CIA'" discussed Vinnell's spooky past,
its longstanding military presence in the region
and noted that the current attack was the second
bombing Vinnell had suffered in eight years. It was
actually the third bombing of Vinnell operations
since 1991. The Times did not mention the
fact that a Vinnell joint venture with Halliburton's
Brown and Root (Vinnell, Brown and Root) had its Ankara office
bombed shortly after the Gulf War by a Kurdish separatist
group. Brown and
Root and the Kurds have been repeatedly connected
to heroin smuggling controlled by the CIA from as
far back as 1977. (To learn more about the Vinnell
Corp. please visit:
Motives for these bombings
might have varied as in the case of the 1991 bombing
where Kurdish separatists - feeling betrayed (again)
by the CIA - were seeking revenge after being left exposed
and vulnerable at the end of the Gulf War.
What is interesting about
the bombings is that they targeted the compound occupied
by Vinnell employees at a time when most of them weren't
there. An AP story on May 13, 2003, stated, "The
seven Americans killed lived in a four-story building
that was heavily damaged. Seventy Americans employed
by the Vinnell Corp., a Virginia company with a contract
to train Saudi military and civilian officials, lived
in the building. By chance, 50 were away on a training
Recent dishonesties of the
Bush administration including the use of forged documents
about Iraqi uranium purchases, the failure to produce
Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, and a host of 9/11
inconsistencies make carte blanche acceptance
of official statements a bit difficult. Only one Vinnell
victim, an African American, has been publicly identified
as of this writing.
It would have been more accurate,
however, to say that Vinnell was training the Saudi National
Guard rather than the "military," which implies the Army.
As we reported last August, the US is
said to be favoring Prince Sultan who controls the Army.
Conveniently, this attack undermines US ability
to support the National Guard which belongs to 69-year-old
Crown Prince Abdullah.
To state that these attacks
are al Qaeda sponsored discloses the US's
real intent. Al Qaeda is Osama bin Laden. And bin Laden,
who has never been estranged from his family, which operates
a multi-billion dollar corporation, does not and has
never acted contrary to US interests. The Saudi Binladin
Group owns a telecommunications company and operates
more than 50 satellites used for cell and satellite phone
transmissions. The Binladin Group has also engaged in
joint construction ventures with both Halliburton and
Enron. And the family maintains extremely close financial
ties with the Saudi Royal banker Khaled bin Mahfouz,
a player in the drug bank BCCI, and known to have provided
heavy financial support to al Qaeda prior to 9/11.
Arabia is another classic example
of how trickle-down economics doesn't work. The chances
are good that the US would
conveniently respond to a collapse of the Saudi monarchy
in an operation which would see many of the al-Saud
and Bin Laden family gratefully take their billions
and watch as their country, which has only existed
since the 1930s, be partitioned into several emirates
or sultanates. They might safely and gratefully move
into the eastern part of the country - where the oil
is - under US protection
and neatly dodge the wreckage they themselves have
created in the rest of the country. Or they might move
to Switzerland or
Beverly Hills as the family of the Shah of Iran did
in 1979. In recent years Saudi
Arabia has become a debtor nation,
borrowing money to finance social programs which remain
under-funded due to declining oil revenues and corruption.
The general population is violently anti-American and
only tolerates the monarchy because they are afraid
If bin Laden has signaled
the time to attack the regime, and if we see one more
serious attack in the coming weeks, the smart money says
that the monarchy is finished and that the US will
conveniently find it necessary to protect the oil fields.
The recent move to take US military personnel out of
the country was not to mollify Saudi public opinion.
It was to take the fighter jets, bombers, tankers and
sensitive communications gear to nearby bases in Qatar and Kuwait where
a popular uprising couldn't reach them but where they
could still quickly reach Saudi targets. And with the
eventual partitioning of Saudi Arabia,
the Muslim Holy cities of Mecca and Medina, far off in
the west, would be safely separated from the oil, further
weakening the linkage between the two in world opinion.
As a result of the bombing, Reuters reported
on May 15 that as many as 60 FBI and CIA agents had arrived
in-country to commence operations and assist Saudi security
services with admitted shortcomings. Given the history
of what happens in countries where CIA presence has rapidly
grown as a result of crises, like Vietnam and Iran, it's
time to start an office pool about how long the monarchy
has to stay in power.
The war without end continues...
Nigeria and Africa
Before discussing developments in equatorial Africa
it is essential to understand the oil picture there.
There are no oil reserves anywhere which rival those
of Saudi Arabia with
approximately 250 billion barrels (Gb),
or Iraq which
has approximately 112 Gb. Current world consumption is
approximately 1 Gb every twelve days and demand is increasing
rapidly. The two critical factors are the accessibility
of oil (both geologically and geographically) and how
long it takes to get it to market. It takes about six
weeks for oil from the Persian Gulf to reach an American
gas tank yet it takes only about two weeks for oil from
West Africa to make the same journey. Equally important,
oil installations in West Africa are in direct and immediate
reach of US naval forces from the Atlantic Ocean. There
are no political or international coalitions which need
to be massaged if intervention becomes necessary.
world's sixth largest oil producer, passed its peak of
production in 1979 and has estimated reserves of approximately
24 Gb. What makes Nigeria critical
is the fact that it can function, with minimal investment,
as a so-called "swing" producer. In the event of oil
shortages there are wells, pipelines and refineries already
in place and easily accessible which could accommodate
a short-term increase in production to control prices
or offset shortages. Shell, ChevronTexaco and TotalFinaElf
have heavy investments in the country and until recently,
maintained sizeable workforces there.
Recently the US has
been exerting tremendous pressure on Nigeria to
withdraw from OPEC and its strict production quotas by
dangling the prospect of Imperially-funded prosperity
in front of it. The appeal of African oil has drawn serious
US government attention, even to the point of it sponsoring
a January, 2002, Washington conference titled, "African
Oil - A Priority for U.S. National Security and African
Development." This was reported in The Petroleum Supply
Monthly in December of 2002 and on the World Socialist
Web Site in August of the same year.
Aside from Nigeria,
the five biggest oil producers in Africa - in descending
order are Algeria, Libya, Egypt and Angola. Angola alone
is the ninth largest oil supplier to the U.S. The U.S. currently
imports more oil from these six countries than it does
from Saudi Arabia.
Recent projections by the U.S. National Intelligence
Council as reported in The Petroleum Supply Monthly estimate that the proportion of U.S. oil
imports from sub-Saharan Africa will reach 25% by 2015.
I have not been surprised, therefore, as I have seen
stories that revolts are brewing in the Central
African Republic or that Al Qaeda
has been linked to weapons shipments in West Africa where
it has been reportedly seeking to relocate training bases.
One report issued by the Voice of America (VOA), a CIA-connected
international radio network, in November, 2002, has indicated
that al Qaeda is quietly supporting nationalist and tribal
insurgencies throughout West Africa.
I have previously reported that a reliable CIA source
has been insisting that Osama bin Laden is comfortably
living in Freetown, the capital of nearby Sierra
Leone, for more than a year.
Elsewhere in the region there are signs of small to
mid-sized discoveries which, while not affecting Peak
Oil, are certainly keys to how Peak oil politics and
economics will be played out. As reported by Wayne Madsen
in the Online Journal on January 16, 2003, Western
Sahara -- illegally occupied by Morocco in 1975 -- is
now reporting significant finds, and U.S. oil companies
like Kerr-McGhee, fronted by former Bush I Secretary
of State and consummate oil man James Baker, are signing
offshore exploration agreements with the Moroccan government.
Baker and his law firm Baker-Potts turn up in every major
oil development from Kazakhstan to
the Balkans to Africa.
Clearly West Africa is vital to the Empire. The Times
of London acknowledged this in a July 29, 2002,
story headlined, "U.S. Presses
Africa to turn on the tap of crude oil." Quoting Walter Kansteiner, U.S. Under Secretary of State for
African Affairs, the Times reported, "African
oil is of national strategic interest to us, and it
will increase and become more important as we go forward."
A Timeline of Increasing Turmoil
- Nov. 13, 2002 - Stratfor, a private global
intelligence service reports, "U.S. intelligence
sources have floated a report that al Qaeda now might
represent a threat to U.S. interests
in West Africa. The report could indicate growing concern
in Washington that sparsely populated and obscure countries
in the region could be a serious weakness in the global
fight against Islamic militancy."
- Dec. 13, 2002 - Stratfor reports that
unrest in the nearby Central African
Republic may spark a civil war, "in
which countries throughout the continent will participate."
- Jan, 2003 - A confidential FTW source
reports that US Special Forces troops have just returned
to Ft. Hood from Africa where they have been training
- Jan. 21, 2003 - All Africa.com reports
that the Niger delta
may secede from Nigeria if
inequities in oil revenue spending are not addressed.
- Jan. 22, 2003 - Nigerian President Obasanjo
requests an increase in Nigeria's
production quota from OPEC.
- Feb. 15, 2003 - VOA reports that Nigerian
oil rig workers have started a strike over wages.
- Feb. 16, 2003 - The Gulf Daily News reports
that the strike is hurting oil exports.
- Feb. 20, 2003 - Agence France Presse (AFP)
reports that China has
announced it will invest $300 million in Nigerian natural
- Feb. 21, 2003 - The Independent reports
that the strike has been called off.
- Feb 25, 2003 - The Miami Herald reports
that Nigeria is
having to tap its strategic reserves and import
gasoline because of combined shortages due to tensions
in Iraq and Venezuela.
- March 20, 2003 - One day after the start of
the US invasion
of Iraq, BBC
reports that ten people died as a result of rebel clashes
in the oil-rich Delta and that ChevronTexaco and Shell
have begun evacuations.
- March 24, 2003 - AFP reports that Nigerian
production has been cut by one third due to the continuing
- April 3, 2003 - AFP reports that the US has
given seven 160-foot warships to the Nigerian Navy
to protect coastal oil facilities.
- April 6, 2003 - AFP reports that rebels
have blown up a section of the main pipeline servicing
coastal oil facilities.
- April 7, 2003 - The AP reports that
Nigerian production has been cut by more than 40% as
a result of the insurgency.
- April 16, 2003 - All Africa.com reports
that the major oil companies have imposed new conditions
on the Nigerian government for release of leased oil
fields to indigenous companies.
- April 24, 2003 - AFP reports that Nigeria has
dispatched two of its new warship to protect oil facilities
in the Delta.
- April 25, 2003 - AFP reports that the US company,
Murphy Oil, has just signed an oil production sharing
agreement for offshore Atlantic leases with the Republic
of Congo where the French firm Elf already has heavy
- April 28, 2003 - AFP reports that Shell
has beefed up security and is expecting attacks on
its loading/refinery platforms. Reuters reports
that Shell has taken out newspaper ads warning of the
- April 29, 2003 - The AP reports that
97 oil workers, including 21 Americans have been taken
hostage as rebels seize offshore oil platforms.
- April 30, 2003 - Britain's ITN reports
that the Nigerian warships are in the vicinity of the
captured rigs and that the stand-off has actually been
in progress for 11 days.
- May 1, 2003 - Reuters reports that US Justice
Department officials have charged former Enron and
Merrill Lynch employees with a fraud scheme to boost
income using Nigerian "power barges" to store natural
gas for electrical production.
- May 2, 2003 - The Christian Science Monitor analyzes
the effects on world oil supplies caused by the continuing
hostage drama. On the same day VOA reports that
negotiations for the release of the hostages have been
- May 3, 2003 - The Guardian reports
that British mercenaries are en route to Nigeria to
free the hostages.
- May 1, 2003 - VOA reports that NATO
and its allies, according to its commander, General
James Jones, will likely be focusing its attention
on West African instability.
- May 3, 2003 - The AP reports that the
hostages have been released.
- May 8, 2003 - A Reuters story reports that Halliburton has acknowledged
giving $2.4 million in bribes to Nigerian officials
to obtain oil service contracts.
- May 8, 2003 - Africa's This Day Online reports, "Shell
Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has warned that
an economic, human and environmental carnage of unimaginable
scale looms in the Niger Delta following an alleged
threat by criminal elements to blow up a sophisticated
float, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel."
- May 8, 2003 - CNN reports that seven new nations
have joined NATO. They are: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
All are or will soon be dependent upon energy imports
to sustain their economies.
- May 12, 2003 - AFP reports a new rebel
attack on the Shell pipeline triggering an oil spill.
- May 12, 2003 - AFP reports that the
UN has decided to send a force of 76 peacekeepers to
nearby Ivory Coast to
help resolve a nine-month old civil war.
- May 15, 2003 - The AP reports that
top al Qaeda leader, Fazul Abdullah
Mohammed, wanted for the 1998 embassy bombings, may
have returned to Kenya in
a plan to target British commercial air traffic. Britain suspends
commercial air traffic to the country.
In the meantime, strong support for al Qaeda and Osama
bin Laden remains unaffected and generally unnoticed
throughout the northern half of the African continent.
And although there have been no press reports (other
than Stratfor) describing the Nigerian rebels
as being al Qaeda connected, I wouldn't want to bet that
such a "discovery" will not be conveniently made when
it comes time for the empire to take the oil.
It won't be long; maybe two years, maybe less. Saudi
Arabia could go at any time. The
map of Peak Oil doesn't always tell us when the empire
will make its moves. But since 9/11 it has certainly
told us where.
Post Script: At almost exactly the same time that FTW released this story a string of as many as six suicide
bombings rocked the Moroccan city of Casablanca. The
attacks were quickly attributed to al Qaeda.
[The following photograph,
taken in March, 2002, in the Sierra Leone capital of Freetown, was published in the report, "For a Few Dollars
More: How al Qaeda moved into the diamond trade" by
Global Witness April, 2003.]
Did you like this story?
Become a member of From The Wilderness today.
Support FTW and Independent