Clinton, Gore caused oil to skyrocketgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread
Experts: Clinton, Gore caused oil to skyrocket Iraq now 6th-largest exporter of petroleum to United States
By Kenneth R. Timmerman B) 2000 WorldNetDaily.com
Contradictory and self-serving policies led the Clinton-Gore administration to cause the current skyrocketing oil prices, say Middle East and petroleum industry analysts.
By interfering in the oil markets in 1998 when prices were perceived by some to be too low, the administration put into motion the huge current run-up of prices, according to Matthew Simmons, who has tracked oil prices for 30 years as the head of a Houston-based investment bank, Simmons & Co. International.
As if that isn't enough, Simmons and others also believe the current Middle East tensions could tempt Saddam Hussein -- who has become a major source of oil for the U.S. -- to make a malevolent move, and soon.
At an Oct. 18 conference in New York sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, the Energy Department's Director of Policy, Melanie Kenderdine, described efforts she and Energy Secretary Bill Richardson made in late 1998 to get assistance from the president's National Economic Council when another crisis gripped the oil industry -- not of prices too high, but too low.
At that time, world oil prices had plunged to historic lows of less than $10 per barrel, sending the world oil and gas industry into disarray. Bankruptcies loomed on the horizon.
The crisis was sparked by the collapse of the Asian economies at a time when OPEC had ramped up production to meet anticipated new demand. It was aggravated by the sudden inflow into the market of nearly 2 million barrels per day of Iraqi oil, released under the United Nations' oil-for-food program, which was strongly supported by the administration.
By late 1998, said Kenderdine, Richardson and other top Energy officials were seeking White House support for specific measures to help the U.S. oil and gas industry.
Simmons met with Kenderdine in December 1998 as she was putting together a white paper laying out possible strategies.
"Richardson and Melanie were fighting a war," Simmons recalls. "But it was a war against the rest of the administration. [Vice President] Gore and [Interior Secretary Bruce] Babbitt wanted the prices to stay down, as a spur to the economy, while Richardson wanted higher prices to help the oil and gas industry."
Richardson's arguments, says Simmons, fell on deaf ears at first, "because Gore hates the oil and gas industry."
Then in February 1999, Richardson met with Saudi oil minister Ali Naimi in Riyadh, asking the Saudis to cut production in order to boost prices. Why? As Kenderdine told the Council on Foreign Relations in mid-October, part of Richardson's message was to "describe to them how bad things were with $10 oil," says Simmons, who shared the podium with Kenderdine.
But there was another part of the message, Saudi sources told WorldNetDaily. Richardson argued that low oil prices would drive Russia into default on its international debt, since Russia derived a hefty share of its foreign currency earnings from oil. And that was an outcome the U.S. administration wanted to avoid.
Russia was Al Gore's department.
Since the early days of the Clinton administration, Gore had been put in charge of U.S. relations with Russia, along with Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, a former Time magazine correspondent.
Gore's failure to prevent Russian sales of conventional weapons to Iran was blasted across the front page of the New York Times last month. Congress has demanded that the State Department turn over a secret agreement, leaked to the Washington Times, that Gore signed with Russian Premier Victor Chernomyrdin, in which he promised not to impose U.S. sanctions on Russia for arms sales to Iran, even though they were prohibited under a 1992 law that Gore co-authored with Sen. John McCain.
Gore and Talbott also failed to prevent Russian sales of advanced technology and components for Iran's latest ballistic missiles, the 800-mile-range Shahab-3, which was successfully test-launched in July 1998. Russian technicians have also been helping Iran design a 2,700-mile ICBM known as the Kosar, based on the Soviet SS-5 design.
The market reacts Richardson sent one of his top deputies, Assistant Secretary David L. Goldwyn, on at least one additional swing through the Persian Gulf in early 1999, to convince OPEC producers once again to cut production and raise prices. As the year wore on, the markets began to react. By the end of the year, they had swung wildly in the opposite direction, with crude oil prices rocketing from $10 per barrel to $26 by yearend, and more than $30 per barrel by March.
"We never had an oil glut," Simmons contends. "When prices were at $10 per barrel, we had a market that was relatively in balance and that would have sorted itself out." Instead, OPEC cut production sharply at the prodding of the Clinton administration.
For Middle East analyst Paul Michael Wihbey, a former vice president of Canada's Federal Liberal Party who now writes for the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies in Washington, D.C., the Clinton administration's oil policy has shifted from support for low oil prices to just the opposite, since it is driven by contradictory goals.
"The Clinton White House has an energy policy that is driven by 1) the reduction of the American oil-producing sector, 2) the collaboration through OPEC to raise or reduce production levels and pricing according to political circumstances or personal goals, and 3) maintaining artificially high oil prices, for as long as possible, to sustain oil-dependent economies like Russia, Mexico and Indonesia, which permits the payoff of U.S. generated loans."
'War with the White House' Ironically, White House's rejection of pleas from Richardson to take preventive measures to ward off the energy crisis occurred alongside a growing U.S. dependence on Iraqi oil.
New estimates from the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration, obtained by WorldNetDaily, show that Iraq has now become the United States' sixth-largest source of imported oil.
But this new dependence could be a recipe for disaster should Iraq decide to stop exporting oil, U.S. government oil analysts say.
"Based on Iraq's past history, the things they could do are quite scary. Unlike other countries in the region, Iraq does not have to be rational," one EIA analyst told WorldNetDaily.
"This is something no one wants to think about," another EIA analyst said.
"If Iraq decides to take its oil off the market, there is not enough excess capacity anywhere else in the world to pick up the slack. We're going to hear from Saddam soon," said Simmons in an interview.
U.S. companies imported an average of 606,000 barrels per day of Iraqi crude during the first eight months of the year, according to the latest statistics compiled by the EIA. The level of Iraqi imports were compared with daily averages for other nations over the same period: 1.46 million barrels per day from Saudi Arabia, 1.29 million barrels per day each from Canada and Mexico, 1.19 million from Venezuela and 1.1 million from Nigeria.
America's appetite for Iraqi oil comes at a time when the Iraqi dictator is seeking to emerge from 10 years of isolation to reclaim the center of the world's stage. In recent weeks, Saddam has threatened to cut off oil exports in "sympathy" with Palestinians fighting against Israel, and has offered to send troops to Jordan to be on the front lines with the Jewish state.
Even without a move by Saddam to take his oil off the market, oil prices are headed upwards, at least in the short run, some U.S. government oil analysts believe.
"We don't characterize the current prices (of nearly $34 per barrel) as high," a Middle East analyst at the Energy Information Administration told WND.
Simmons put it more bluntly. "We're about to have a massive oil shock," he said. "When the weather gets cold, we're out of capacity."
Wihbey believes higher oil prices have undoubtedly benefited countries such as Iraq and Iran by giving them the financial resources to develop new ballistic missile systems, nuclear weapons systems and to "fund military campaigns."
A political oil forecast? The official EIA energy forecast predicts oil prices will remain more or less steady over the next five months, then begin to drop starting in February 2001, reaching $25 to $26 per barrel of West Texas Intermediate by the end of next year, analysts told WorldNetDaily.
The EIA monthly short-term forecast was due to be released on Nov. 6, but has been delayed until Nov. 8 -- the day after the U.S. presidential elections. An Energy Department spokesman said the delay had "nothing to do with politics."
One thing the latest estimate shows, analysts said, was the futility of President Clinton's order last month to release oil onto the market from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to lower prices. Prices have remained steadily high, and are predicted to rise slightly in the coming months, despite the availability of 30 million barrels of oil from the SPR.
Clinton's move was widely seen as a gesture aimed at shoring up the Gore campaign, as low-income homeowners in the Northeast corridor face spiraling fuel-oil prices as the weather gets cold.
Texas Gov. George W. Bush and other Republicans have criticized the administration for crippling the domestic oil and gas industry through burdensome environmental regulations. According to Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, EPA regulators have blocked the development of clean coal, called for tearing down hydroelectric dams to protect salmon, and for the past 14 years have prevented any new refineries from being built in America.
Craig introduced legislation in May that sets out a national energy policy based on expanding clean coal, hydropower, renewable fuels and nuclear energy as the means for reducing America's dependence on foreign oil.
If you'd like to sound off on this issue, please take part in the WorldNetDaily poll. Read the final chapter of "Selling Out America" in today's WorldNetDaily.
Readers can purchase "Selling Out America," at WorldNetDaily's online store.
Kenneth R. Timmerman is a veteran investigative reporter who has published three books on the arms trade and intelligence issues. In his new book, "Selling Out America," Timmerman tells the complete story of Bill Clinton's relationship with communist China, from the campaign-finance scandal to the transferring of high-technology equipment and information to the PRC.
-- Uncle Bob (email@example.com), November 06, 2000
The oil prices have been raised by the the oil barons to raise the money they are using to try to buy the white house for GW Bush.
Why are the prices so high? No reason for it to have happened here in the USA. If the American oil prices had not been raised, the middle east would have had to lower their prices to stay competitive. Also the Saudis owed Bush Sr. a BIG favor for saving their butts in the war.
Then, if by some perverted twist of fate, Bush wins the election, the oil prices will plummet amazingly.
Accept it, you are paying for GW Bush's campaign at the pump.
-- Cherri (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 06, 2000.
Years ago the great Bard, William Shakespeare, penned the line, "The Lady doth protest too much." Although Shakespeare was referring to a situation involving jealousy, the quote is often used to suggest that when an individual loudly proclaims their innocence, thereBs probably more involved than meets the eye. When OPEC blamed high taxes imposed by consuming nations as the real culprit behind high oil prices, a "red flag" was hoisted! Although quite a stretch, OPEC continued their argument by pointing to the European Union, where the final price of a barrel of crude oil includes taxes of 68% and to the United States where taxes on a barrel of crude oil amount to approximately 30% (not including state and local taxes).
And when Clinton and his usual usuals proclaimed the recent run-up in gas prices was the result of price gouging on the part of the big, bad oil industry, one could only conclude something else was the real culprit. In both of the above cases, the Bard would have been right, "The Lady Doth Protest Too Much!"
Regardless of their claims to the contrary, OPECBs price increases were the major component in the gradual run-up in fuel prices. Simply stated, OPEC ratcheted prices upward in much the same manner you cook a lobster: raise the heat slow enough so you wonBt arouse the lobsterBs suspicions until itBs too late. And in a nutshell, thatBs exactly what OPEC did until they "lobstered" the world with a 300% increase in crude prices. By the time Americans came to the realization they had just been slapped with the equivalent of a $100 billion tax, it was a fait accompli, a done deal. Fortunately, the sudden "spike" in pump prices, resulting from the Environmental Protection AgencyBs mandated introduction of oxygenated fuels, focused public attention on gas prices or they may have continued rocketing upward.
But why would OPEC engage in such conduct after we recently fought to save Kuwait and Saudi Arabia from the Iraqis? And why would they thumb their noses as we continue spending tens of billions each year patrolling and defending the volatile Persian Gulf region on their behalf?
Was our Energy Secretary (Bill Richardson) really "asleep at the wheel" as oil prices skyrocketed 300% within 18 months? Or was he part and parcel of a risky scheme by the Clinton-Gore Administration to raise oil prices as a means of helping Mexico and Russia repay their IMF loans?
Evidence is surfacing from sources including CNN, the Washington Post, Petroleum Institute Daily, Oil Daily, and WorldNetDaily that more than market forces were behind the upward movement in oil prices. In fact, it appears the entire scenario was indeed a well- coordinated effort by the Clinton-Gore Administration and OPEC to bring oil prices up to what was considered to be a "fair" and agreeable level at the expense of world consumers.
Backing this scenario is a startling allegation by Bill Bradley, an honest man not subject to hype and hysteria, that the Clinton-Gore Administration was doing just that... orchestrating the entire crude oil price increase! But why should the Clinton-Gore administration suddenly feel compelled to create a "fairness" doctrine and jeopardize the American economy by removing $100 billion/year from circulation? After all, according to University of Chicago professor Marvin Zonis, seven out of the past eight post WWII recessions were caused by high oil prices.
To arrive at the answer, we have to review several key events from the past 7 B= years.
When Clinton became President, he did so in a struggling, but rising economy. However the economy wasnBt just rising in a normal cyclical manner, but rather from increased cash in circulation resulting from depressed oil prices. In fact under the Bush Administration, oil prices were forced back down from around $32/bbl in late 1990 to around $16/bbl by the time Clinton took office in 1992.
Bush, however, didn't have the vision or ability to grasp the fact lower oil prices were beginning to propel a tepid economy and all but destroyed a barely blooming economic expansion by slapping Americans with the single largest tax increase in their history.
But in spite of Bush, some of the remaining money slowly trickled through the economy, providing the newly elected Clinton-Gore administration with a strong foundation from which to launch a more vigorous expansion. Unfortunately, although lower oil prices were good for the American economy, they were devastating for the oil exporting countries of Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, and Venezuela.
It appears the Clinton-Gore Administration was quick to recognize both the economic windfall as well as the economic devastation caused by low oil prices. Instead of remediating the disparity in the name of "fairness", the Clinton-Gore Administration ignored long term consequences in favor of the short term political gain of increased American economic activity. The resulting antagonism generated in these distressed countries created hate and contempt for Americans in general, and America in particular.
A quote from The Rockford InstituteBs Center For International Affairs sums the debacle in a similar manner: "Some producing countries feel the U.S. displayed a callous disregard for their economic hardship when oil prices were at record lows less than two years ago. But they fed a record U.S. economy and stock market, so the White House was not "thinkin' about tomorrow." While Kuwait and Saudi Arabia could afford to restrict production to keep prices from sliding even further, some countries -- notably Indonesia, and non-OPEC Mexico and Russia -- suffered serious economic and political dislocation that in the long term may have grave consequences for U.S. interests."
Professor Marvin Zonis from the University of Chicago points out in his article The New Oil Shock: Political Instability Is Next, "1998 OPEC oil revenues (in constant 1990 dollars) will be $80 billion, only one-fifth the level of OPEC earnings from earnings from oil in 1980. James Placke, Director of Middle East Research for Cambridge Associates continues that the result of this arrogance created "sheer fiscal terror (and) revived OPEC. They were looking over the edge of fiscal disaster."
But the Clinton-Gore Administration didnBt totally abandon these countries to the wolves. Instead they arranged bailout after bailout in the form of IMF and World Bank "loans." But these risky loans weren't used to address the economic hardships of the citizenry, but rather used to pursue unsound policies, wasted, or stolen. This left the citizenry sink further into desperation and despair, furthering their hatred and contempt for Americans. As the citizens of the oil producing countries fell into greater despair from the resulting economic hardships, their leaders began to take notice.
The bottom line of all these shenanigans has been a slick transfer of funds from the future, in the form of risky bailouts to the depressed oil producing economies of Mexico and Russia, in return for today's low oil prices. Since both Mexico and Russia historically default on their loans, this means our young adults and their children will be forced to repay those loans in order to provide the Clinton-Gore Team with a legacy of economic development. And now to complete the shell game, the Clinton-Gore Team has given "permission" for OPEC to raise crude oil prices in an effort to placate those countries whose economies the Team destroyed, and in the process remove $100 billion per year from the American worker's pocketbook!
Collaborating this transfer of funds, the Cato Institute points out in IMF Failure Redux, Russia collected more than $20 billion from the IMF between 1992 and 1996. Cato also reported the bulk of the money was either stolen by the Russian mafia or squandered. Yet despite this fact, the Clinton-Gore administration pressured the IMF to be even more generous, resulting in an infusion of still another 4.5 billion in 1998. Unfortunately, that money wasnBt used to aid the Russian economy, but squandered in a vain attempt to support the ruble and fund the war in Chechnya. So far, this folly has cost the American taxpayer at least $4.4 billion. In the final analysis, as Russia continued to default on one debt after another, GoreBs pivotal role in the restructuring of Russia was not the success he had hoped for.
The Mexican situation was very similar. After Congress balked at bailing out Mexico in 1995, the Clinton-Gore Administration loaned Mexico $20 billion dollars from the little known Currency Stabilization Fund.
Unfortunately, as the Congressional Record dated 1/31/95 pointed out, the bulk of that money wasnBt used to pay down any debts, but rather used to bailout wealthy American institutions such as Goldman Sachs and Citibank. In addition, the Hispanic Vista News determined it also bailed out four well connected Mexican billionaires listed in Forbes magazine as being among the worldBs wealthiest individuals. When Clinton crowed to the media about how the Mexican government repaid the Currency Stabilization Fund loan in a timely manner, quite frankly, he once again deceived America. The loan wasnBt actually repaid per se, but rather refinanced with funds from still another, higher interest loan from the IMF and other sources. And according to figures obtained from the National Center For Policy Analysis and Investors Business Daily, AmericaBs stands to lose another $15 billion when (not if) Mexico defaults!
With this background in mind, Bill BradleyBs quote on the CNN sponsored Gore-Bradley debate of March 1, 2000 starts making sense. In that debate, Bradley accused the Clinton-Gore administration of "asking OPEC to raise prices in hopes of helping Russia be able to sell its oil on the international market, make more foreign exchange, and be able to develop its economy." Gore sidestepped the issue by refusing to address the allegation and instead countered: "... frankly, we can get much more done on this the less we talk about it in public." CNNBs Bernard Shaw dropped the issue and with the exception of an article written by Andrew Hamilton for the Washington Post, the so called "mainstream" media ignored the accusation.
But it appears Bradley knew what he was talking about! Substantiating his assertion were a series of closely related events as related in the Washington Post article, A Look At... The Cost of Oil.
Late in1998, Petroleum Intelligence Weekly pointed out they "noticed a subtle shift in the administrationBs public response in OPEC production cuts from outright opposition to simple non-endorsement."
Then in February of 1999, The Washington Post article continues, immediately after Energy Secretary RichardsonBs visit to Saudi Arabia (when oil prices were at their lowest), former Saudi Oil Minister Sheik Ahmed Yamani claimed Richardson "saved the oil industry" because he had persuaded the SaudiBs to change policy and raise prices.
Shortly thereafter, in a joint news conference with Richardson, Saudi Oil Minister Naimi said oil markets were oversupplied and promised to take steps to avoid harm to the world economy (caused by low crude prices). Soon after that visit, the Washington Post article continues, another Saudi official told Petroleum Intelligence Weekly "We want a WTI (West Texas Intermediate) price of $18 - $20 (a barrel) as soon as possible." Finally, the May 9, 2000 edition of WorldNetDaily reported OPEC oil ministers quietly told national security advisers on Capitol Hill that oil cutbacks and resulting price increases were being implemented at the request of the Clinton-Gore administration in an effort to generate currency for Russia and Mexico to service their debts.
In an article entitled The Fuel Conundrum printed in the May 2000 issue of Fleet Owner Magazine, it was disclosed Russia earned $16.9 billion, or 20% of itBs total export revenue from oil and gas exports in 1996. Obviously, any rise in crude oil prices would go directly to their bottom line and pay down their monumental debts. The recent rise of $20/bbl of crude oil equates to yearly increased Russian revenues of $25.4 billion! Such a figure not only enables Russia to begin servicing their debts, but also allows them to fund their militarism and limited social services.
The other basket case, the Mexican economy, also profited handsomely from the rise in crude prices. In 1999, Mexico produced about 3.4 million barrels of oil per day. Of this amount, approximately 2.0 million barrels/day were consumed in Mexico and 1.4 million barrels/day exported (1.2 million bbl/day to the United States). Considering MexicoBs oil production costs were only $2.52/barrel in 1995, any increase in crude prices would be pure profit. When crude rose from $10/barrel to $30/barrel, Mexico earned an additional $28 million per day or the equivalent of $10.22 billion per year!
Unfortunately for Americans, the chickens are coming home to roost. As his tenure winds down, it appears Clinton is taking steps to protect his economic legacy by covering his tracks. In attempting to hide or mitigate the economic carnage he caused Mexico, Russia, Indonesia, and Venezuela, he has promoted the transfer of the American worker's hard earned money back to those countries in the form of higher fuel prices. And as this money is withdrawn from circulation, it will have an enormous impact on the American economy since every penny will be coming directly out of our pocketbooks in noticeable chunks!
But all this raises a very serious question: If Bill Bradley and all the other sources are right, why wasn't the Republican controlled Congress able to figure it out? Certainly, they had the resources and talent at their disposal to expose such manipulations. Or is it something in those FBI files that the Clinton-Gore Team is holding over their heads that kept them at bay? Since Speaker HastertBs office hasn't returned our phone calls, we donBt know for sure... at least not at this point. Whatever the reasons, the bottom line is that the Clinton-Gore Team created a faux economy by pressuring friendly oil producing countries to "keep the spigot wide open" in spite of severe damage brought upon the sensitive economies of Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, and Venezuela. Then to placate the hierarchy in these distressed countries, the Clinton-Gore Team engineered risky International Monetary Fund (IMF) "bailouts" in spite of the serious probability none of them would ever be repaid. Finally, when it became apparent those risky loans would indeed move into the "default" column, Team Clinton encouraged OPEC to raise crude oil prices in order to temporarily stem their default. Unfortunately for the Clinton-Gore Team, these higher prices got a life of their own and were no longer in the Team's control.
As a result of all these manipulations, $100 billion per year will be removed from the American worker's pocketbook, the Citibanks and Goldman Sachs of this world will have recovered their risky loans, the soon to be defaulted IMF loans will add billions to our National Debt, and our future generations.... our children, will receive the bill. Now we know what the Clinton-Gore Team mean when they proclaim "It's for the children!"
Is this a wonderful country, or what? We screw our children so we can enjoy a great economy, and then leave them the bill! God Bless America!
-- Learn before (email@example.com), November 06, 2000.
World Net Daily. HAH! Gimme a BREAK!
We all know Daddy Bush was over in Kuwait early this year, and talking to all his oil buds in Texas. They engineered the whole thing to try to make the Dems look bad. It didn't work!
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 07, 2000.