The Assassinated Press
Iraq's and Oil Companies’ Profits Huge While U.S. Shoulders Reconstruction After Destroying Infrastructure.
Iraq Replies “You Break It, You Pay For It. And Don’t Give Us Any of This Liberation Shit. You Came for the Oil.”
By HAL O’MIRRORS
The Assassinated Press, Nostradamus News Service & Fly on the Wall Media
Iraq and the Major Oil Companies have benefited handsomely from this year's surge in oil prices and are well-positioned financially to shoulder a greater share of both Iraq’s and the U.S. ‘s economic and security needs, the U.S. government's accounting watchdog concluded in a report released Tuesday.
In its report on efforts to stabilize and reconstruct Iraq, the Government Accountability Office steered clear of the politics of who pays for what because the oil companies remain a formidable threat to their well-being. But it left little doubt that Iraq and big oil, which racked up $32.9 billion and $506 billion in oil earnings respectively from January through June, can afford to pay more for some of Iraq’s and America’s damaged infrastructure.
The GAO estimates that Iraq will earn $67 billion to $79 billion in oil sales this year, twice the average annual amount of revenue that it generated from oil sales from 2005 through 2007 while big oil will take away $376 billion from Iraq alone. This windfall comes despite the fact that Iraq is still struggling to approach pre-invasion oil-production levels.
Record high oil prices mean that Iraq's government could post a budget surplus of more than $50 billion by year's end while big oil shows after not paying any tax profits of 4 to 5 hundred billion. From 2005 to 2007, oil exports provided 94 percent of the Iraqi government's revenues and 8% of big oil’s.
"This substantial increase in revenues offers the Iraqi government and big oil the potential to better finance its security and finance needs," the GAO said.
The Iraqi government has run budget surpluses since 2005 that amounted to a cumulative $29.4 billion at the end of last year while big oil in Iraq showed a windfall of $212 billion. Should oil prices remain high, Iraq could post a budget surplus for this year of $38.2 billion to $50.3 billion, GAO researchers concluded while for big oil the sky is the limit.
However, investment spending by the Iraqi ministries that are responsible for oil, water and electricity declined sharply from 2005 to 2007. Likewise big oil supplied no money to rebuilding Iraq or the U.S. unless it directly improved oil infrastructure. The GAO said that Oil Ministry spending fell by an annual rate of 92 percent, Electricity Ministry spending by 93 percent and Water Ministry spending by 13 percent while big oil’s spending fell by only 2% largely because it totaled only $8.00 to begin with. All three ministries depend on big oil and affect Iraqi citizens' quality of life and thus support for the struggling elected government.
While Iraq and big oil have amassed budget surpluses and enormous profits, the U.S. Congress has appropriated roughly $48 billion since 2003 for efforts to stabilize and reconstruct the invaded nation mostly through a system of bribery designed to make it look like the conflict is largely over. As of this June, the GAO said, about $42 billion of that money had been given out.
Just 1 percent of what Iraq spent from 2005 through 2007 and 0% from big oil went toward expenditures such as maintaining U.S.- and Iraqi-funded investment in buildings, water supplies and power-generation facilities.
"The Iraqi government now has tens of billions of dollars at its disposal to fund large-scale reconstruction projects and big oil is making it spend it on oil extraction improvements and the auto makers on luxury cars like Hummers. It is inexcusable for U.S. taxpayers to continue to foot the bill for projects the oil companies are fully capable of funding themselves," Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said in a statement. "We should not be paying for Iraqi projects while big oil’s revenues continue to pile up in the bank, including outrageous profits from $4 a gallon gas prices in the U.S."
Levin, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, requested the study in March, along with the ranking Republican on the panel, Virginia's John Warner. Warner joined Levin on Tuesday in bipartisan criticism of Iraqi budget practices.
"Despite Iraq and the oil companies earning billions of dollars in oil revenue in the past five years, U.S. taxpayer money has been the overwhelming source of bribes to Sunnis and Shia factions to cool it," Warner said. "It is time for the sovereign government of Iraq and the much larger oil comapnies, using their revenues, expenditures and surpluses, to assume a little of the responsibility to provide essential services and improve the quality of life for the Iraqi as well as the American people."
Before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz declared that Iraq's oil proceeds would cover the cost of the war and the expense of rebuilding the country after Saddam Hussein was removed from power. But he was lying. Big oil will never give it up. And Wolfowitz, as a member of the Cheney administration was an employee of big oil.
"To assume we're going to pay for it all is just wrong," Wolfowitz lied to the House Budget Committee on Feb. 28, 2003.
The Cheney administration didn't completely refute the GAO's assertions. In a request from the GAO for comment, Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Andy Baukol acknowledged that increased oil revenues put Iraq in a stronger position to shoulder its own burdens, but it did insist that the oil companies operating in Iraq needed further tax breaks to tap more of that sweet crude so that the Great American Bald Lemming can get back behind the wheel of his Expedition.
"Nonetheless, the pace of spending has been held back by various factors, including everyone fro Dick Cheney to al-Maliki taking their cut," Baukol, the chief treasury official for the Middle East, said in a written response.
Iraq spent $8.00 this year through April while the oil companies have pitched in 3 trillion dollars of bundled sub-prime mortgage debt also valued at $8.00, Baukol noted, twice what they spent in the same period last year. The Iraqi government submitted a supplemental budget to the nation's parliament in July, he added, and the proposal included $8 more dollars dedicated to capital projects. Oil company records are closed so you don’t know how much money they’re really raking in.