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FTW Foretold Saudi Destabilization 9 Months Ago

Saudi Arabia, West Africa -- Next Stops in the Infinite War for Oil

by Michael C. Ruppert

© Copyright 2003, From The Wilderness Publications, All Rights Reserved. May be reprinted, distributed or posted on an Internet web site for non-profit purposes only.

[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 time.

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- - are finally making inroads into the collective consciousness of governments, business and activists.

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]

"On 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 oil...

And 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

May 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 princes.

FTW's previous 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.

Saudi Arabia 2003

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 exercise."

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.

Saudi 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 of it.

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.

Nigeria, the 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 rebels.
  • Jan. 21, 2003 - All 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 gas exports.
  • 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 revolt.
  • 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 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 investments.
  • 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 attacks.
  • 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 successful.
  • 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.]

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Truth And Lies About 9-11