The New York Times: In service of empire
Having already noted the coming of the new Iraqi Oil Law and the equally notable lack of US media coverage of what is roundly expected to be a boon for Western multinational oil companies, The New York Times appeared to lay waste to the claim that the Oil Law was being refused coverage in the American press by offering up its version of the tale in a front page story. What becomes immediately apparent upon reading the NYT story, however, is not so much what the story tells us -- practically nothing -- as what it does not.
Knowing nothing else, The NY Times story might press one into the belief that new Oil Law is the product of plucky Iraqis determined to work out the best possible solution for an equitable division of Iraq's vast oil wealth. The law will prescribe management of the resource by the central government as opposed to regional sectarian interests. Iraq's planning minister assures us that this central management and the law generally will be "the basis of the unity" in Iraq.
Curiously, there is not one mention of White House involvement or the US consultant, BearingPoint Inc., hired by the White House over a year ago to "help" draft the oil legislation, or that western oil companies received a copy of the law back in July, presumably to ensure that it met with their approval. There are only the briefest of hints in the story that most members of the Iraqi parliament have not even seen the law. And, most glaring in omission, that this oil law will establish unprecedented Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) for those very same oil companies for up to 30 years and reward them up to 75% of the profits from both developed and undeveloped oil fields. With production costs estimates around $1.50/bbl and with oil prices hovering over $50/bbl, the potential profits are enormous. At a prospected 3 million bbls per day, this amounts to a profit potential over $100 million per day for the participating oil companies. As you can imagine, a lot of oil companies will want to be participating.
No, you will not read about any of that in James Glanz's New York Times article. Nothing.
The oil law is not expected to be greeted well by the majority of Iraqis, who are already convinced that the invasion was more about oil than anything. Indeed, this is precisely why the law has been kept under cover. Director of the Global Policy Forum, James Paul:
It is not an exaggeration to say that the overwhelming majority of the population would be opposed to this. To do it anyway, with minimal discussion within the [Iraqi] parliament is really just pouring more oil on the fire.All of this is ignored by the Glanz. Many might ask, why? The New York Times has been on the backs the Bush administration for sometime now that the president and his gaggle of minions have so bungled the imperial mission. Despite the untold riches that the new oil law might provide, the violence and chaos in Iraq have made getting that oil all but impossible. That has been the arena of Bush's and Rumsfeld's true incompetence. While the Times clearly have issues with the White House -- and who doesn't? -- they certainly don't have any qualms about covering up one of the biggest reasons why we are there and foisting upon us the continuing fable that "freedom and democracy" are the prime objectives.
So content free is it, if this ridiculous article demonstrates one thing, it is that the New York Times is as much behind the imperial mission of American profit mongers as anyone and they will happily spout any amount of nonsense in service of that mission.
I guess they don't call it the Empire State for nothing.