Category Archives: oil games

Eurasian Energy Games

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

BP May Open Britain to Russian Gas

Additional ramifications of the BP-Rosneft deal are now coming to light.  With the purchase of TNK-BP by Rosneft, BP’s Russian partners have agreed to end their legal battles with British Petroleum.  Sources claim that the two sides agreed to settle all their disputes after BP  made a $325 million payment to the Russian consortium AAR.  Supposedly, this move has been taken to give BP the freedom to pursue the development of Arctic oil.  “BP is not taking an equity position in Rosneft as a portfolio investor,” said chief strategist at Sberbank CIB Chris Weafer.  “they are looking at a future relationship through which they can grow production and reserves in Russia.”

It appears, however, that this deal has also cleared the boards for BP to work with Gazprom to bring Russian natural gas to Great Britain.  AAR had previously taken the position that their partnership with BP mandated all BP business opportunities in Russia be run through TNK-BP.  With all claims settled, sources report that the consortium has relinquished all claims on BP’s future Russian activities.  That could include moving into the natural gas market.  Gazprom’s  Chief Executive Alexi Miller reported in June that BP was interested in participating in an expanded Nord Stream pipeline, one that would carry product to Britain.

Such a move is a  questionable investment decision by the British company, given the plummeting price natural gas is commanding, and the large quantities of liquified natural gas (LNG) coming on the market to compete with pipeline gas.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Reprecussions from the sale of TNK-BP

With the recent decision of OAO Rosneft to purchase TNK-BP from its various owners, one of the most strained partnerships in Russian economic history comes to an end.  Rosneft has agreed to pay a total of $54.8 billion to BP plc and the Alfa-Access-Renova consortum (AAR) controlled by four Russian billionaires.  These oligarchs–Mikhail Fridman, German Khan, Viktor Vekeselberg and Len Blavatnik– defied the stated policy of the Kremlin last year to prohibit BP from entering into an artic exploration agreement with Rosneft.  With ill feelings all around, it was apparent that this business union was headed for a divorce.

Initially, AAR offered to buy BP’s 50% ownership in TNK-BP, but this offer was withdrawn when Rosneft offered to purchase AAR’s shares instead.  AAR is slated to receive $28 billion for it’s half of the company.  Rosneft then offered BP the chance to sell its shares, as well.  Anxious to raise capital to pay its Gulf spill-related expenses, BP agreed to accept $10-$15 billion in cash,and a 12.5% share in Rosneft.  BP plans to use part of the cash payment to purchase an additional 5.66% of Rosneft which, combined with the 1.5% share they already hold, will bring their share of ownership to approximately 19.75%.  75% of Rosneft is owned by the Russian state, while the remainder is sold in the market.

Analysts believe that the majority stock holder Russian state will help finance the purchase.  “For Rosneft to buy both AAR and BP to form a fully state-owned oil champion would be the cleaner solution for the Russian state, and is likely to require further state injection into Rosneft, given that the company had previously been sounding out the market for a loan to buy part of BP’s share,” said RBC Capital Markets Corporation’s Peter Hutton.  Not as much cash is required for the deal as the original figures would indicate, since BP and AAR are owed about $2.5 billion in dividends from TNK-BP.  According to journalist Paul Whitfield, this means the cash proceeds from the two deals are actually $26.75 billion for AAR and $15.85 billion for BP, falling to $11.05 billion for BP after its acquisition of Rosneft stock.

Russian President Vladimir Putin appears happy with the deal.  “This is a very good signal for the Russian market.  It is a good, large deal.  I would like to thank you for this work,” he told Rosneft CEO and longtime ally Igor Sechin.  Putin should be happy:  the deal gives Rosneft a seat on BP’s board.  This will give Russia a voice in BP operations outside of Russian territory such as in the Caspian where BP is the lead oil company.

The deal puts Rosneft ahead of Gazprom as the leading energy producer in Russia.  After the deal is consummated, Rosneft will produce 4 million barrels of crude oil a day.  This does not appear to be the result of any inside-Kremlin politics, but economics.  As the price of natural gas declines in the face of the shale revolution, it should be anticipated that Gazprom’s importance would also decline.  Moscow needs revenues, however, and the price of oil remains high.  Igor Sechin, driven out of the cabinet by former President Medvedev, is back in the cat bird seat.

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Bulgaria Playing Both Sides

Against all expectations, Bulgaria has emerged as a key player in the battle for control of the Southern Energy Corridor.  This Black Sea country is astride the most logical route between the gas fields and European markets for both South Stream and TANAP.  Bulgaria has agreed to cooperate with both consortiums, while playing for maximum advantage.
In August 2012, Bulgaria and Gazprom announced they would conclude an investment contract in November for the construction of South Stream.  Simultaneously, Bulgarian Minister of Energy and Economy Delyan Dobrev announced a new gas-supply contract that featured an 11% price in gas for the remainder of 2012.
Once having achieved its goal of obtaining Bulgarian cooperation, however, the Russians appear to have upped the ante.  For construction of South Stream to begin, the Russians declared they wanted $1.3 billion in compensation for the Belene nuclear plant.  This was a project that the former Bulgarian government had contracted with Russia, but that current Prime Minister Boiko Borisov cancelled when he took office last year.  Borisov was outraged.  “We are observing all our commitments on South Stream.  For Belene we continue to negotiate…That is why I think we have been absolutely treacherously surprised by that claim.”  Bulgarian observers pushed back, threatening that the government would be forced to cancel South Stream.  Ilian Vassilev of Innovative Energy Solutions said, “There is no way Bulgaria can pay both the claim and let South Stream happen.”
The dispute has led to a delay in a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was supposed to be present in Sofia on November 9 for the signing of the South Stream papers.  Instead, Putin has postponed his trip until December, possibly signalling his unhappiness with Bulgaria’s recalcitrance.
Meanwhile, in September 2012 the European Union criticized Bulgaria for  supporting South Stream while lacking sufficient commitment to the EU’s version of a Southern Energy Corridor.  The EU’s concern was that South Stream only diversifies supply routes from Russia, but does not diversify the ultimate, Russian source of supply.  “Bulgaria needs to complete the ongoing investment projects on gas interconnectors with Romania, Serbia and Greece, and make reverse flows possible on its interconnector with Turkey…Bulgaria also needs to play a more proactive part in opening up the Southern Gas Corridor, which has the potential to diversify supply sources,” said a leaked document.

EC Report Slams Bulgaria’s Failure to Commit to Southern Energy Corridor

Energy | September 18, 2012, Tuesday| 1215 views

Bulgaria: EC Report Slams Bulgaria's Failure to Commit to Southern Energy Corridor
Мap of the so called Southern Energy Corridor from REEE

Bulgaria must commit more thoroughly to the development of the EU-sponsored Southern Energy Corridor (also known as Southern Gas Corridor) aimed at diversifying natural gas suppliers to Europe, according to a leaked report of the European Commission.

The draft report of the EC, which is still to be released, criticizes Bulgaria for throwing its weight mostly behind the Russian-sponsored South Stream gas transit pipeline, while lacking sufficient commitment to EU’s attempts to develop the Southern Energy Corridor, EurActiv reported Tuesday citing the leaked report.

Bulgaria needs to complete the ongoing investment projects on gas interconnectors with Romania, Serbia and Greece, and make reverse flows possible on its interconnector with Turkey, the EU executive says.

“Bulgaria also needs to play a more proactive part in opening up the Southern Gas Corridor, which has the potential to diversify supply sources,” the paper reads.

The Southern Gas Corridor is a key element of competing projects to bring natural gas to Europe from the offshore Shah Deniz II field in Azerbaijan.

Up to now, Bulgaria has made commitments to South Stream, a Gazprom-favoured project widely seen as a competitor to the Southern Gas Corridor.

The South Stream pipeline is intended to transport up to 63 billion cubic meters of natural gas to central and southern Europe, diversifying Russian gas routes away from transit countries such as Ukraine.

The pipes will go from Russia to Bulgaria via the Black Sea; in Bulgaria it will split in two – with the northern leg going through Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, and Slovenia to Austria and Northern Italy, and the southern leg going through Greece to Southern Italy. Recent reports have indicated, however, that Russian energy giant Gazprom may give up on the construction of the offshore section of the South Stream gas pipeline to Austria.

The Black Sea underwater section of South Stream between Russia and Bulgaria will be 900 km long, and will be constructed at a maximum depth of 2 km.

The construction of the South Stream gas pipeline will begin in December 2012, and the first supplies for Europe are scheduled for December 2015.

The pipeline’s core shareholders include Gazprom with 50%, Italy’s Eni with 20% and Germany’s Wintershall Holding and France’s EDF with 15% each.

Gazprom has already established national joint ventures with companies from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, Hungary and Serbia to manage the onshore section of the South Stream pipeline.

Bulgaria has committed itself to speeding up the construction of the Russian-sponsored pipeline on its territory, since on January 1, 2013, the EU is introducing new requirements for the access to energy networks.

In the draft gas supply report of the EC, Bulgaria is also urged to increase cross-border network capacity.

Regardless of its more favorable geographic location, Bulgaria is also singled out as one of the energy infrastructure black spots on the EU map.

The Bulgarian Prime Minister was non-plussed.  In an interview with Euronews, Borisov said he was commited to the European vision.  “It is very important that the Turkish Tanap-pipeline reaches Bulgaria and that Nabucco-West and the South East Europe Pipeline move closer to Europe…Regarding the Nabucco project, Bulgaria has done all it can:  the parliament approved its construction.  We have signed all the documents that are required and we can start construction work tomorrow if necessary.  I am looking forward to the launch of the Nabucco project.”
Despite any agreement with Nabucco, however, as of 30 September 2012 there was no agreement between Bulgartransgaz and Turkey’s Botas to connect with the Turkish pipeline network.  Without such a connection, any discussion of Tanap or Nabucco is moot.  To give the country some negotiating room, Bularia delayed its plans one year to connect its gas network with neighboring Balkan countries.  Bulgartransgaz announced the connection would take place in 2014, instead of the originally-planned 2013.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Transcaspian Back on the Board

Recent armed spats between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan in the Caspian Sea placed the future of the Trans Caspian Pipeline in doubt, but European Union-backed talks in Ashkabat appear to have put things back on track.  According to EU spokeswoman Marlene Holzner, the Turkmenistan Energy Minister Myrat Artykow and Azerbaijan Minister for Industry and Energy agreed with EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger that the project could be an important part of efforts to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas supplies.
Holzner said both Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan had expressed a desire to supply Turkmen gas to Europe, but neither country was willing to make any firm commitments.  “Turkmenistan said it continues to be interested in delivering gas to Europe.  Azerbaijan also confirmed its interest in being an ‘enabler’, meaning it would also be a transit country for gas.”

Despite the expressions of good intentions, who moves first to make the pipeline a reality remains in doubt.  Holzner said that the EU was waiting for a gurantee from Turkmenistan on supply (despite the fact that Turkmenistan President Gurbangulu Berdimuhammedov is on record as promising 40 bcm per year for the project).  At the same time, she said that the EU would neither own the pipeline nor pay for it.  For his part, Berdimuhammedov has previously said that while he would sell the gas to Europe, it would be up to the Europeans to figure how to get it from Turkmenistan.  So, all good wishes aside, no progress appears to have been made other than to get the parties talking again.

Turkmenistan appears to have turned its attention east, with most of its gas sales going by pipeline to China.  For Azerbaijan’s part, the pipeline could be seen as either competition for its own future gas production, or for Gazprom’s South Stream.  In either case, the benefits of a Trans Caspian Pipeline do not appear to be overwhelming.  The one country that would benefit is Turkey, who would like to see Turkmen gas made available to expand the proposed TANAP pipeline.

“With the TANAP project we have created a structure that will allow gas to transit across Azerbaijan and facilitate trade.  This structure is also targeting Turkmen gas.  We are seeking Turkmen gas,” said Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yilmaz.

According to Gulmira Rzayeva of the Center for Strategic Studies of Azerbaijan, an expanded TANAP could increase Turkey’s chances of joining the European Union.  “Turkey can achieve political gains with this pipeline; it can be an ace in terms of its European Union membership negotiations.  With the finalization of this project, Turkey will have a whole new position within the region.”  Whether Turkey wants to join Europe is, of course, an open question.  Turkey’s annual growth continues at around 7%, while Europe continues to stagnate and — possibly–sink back into recession.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Potential Backers Lose Interest in TAPI

Despite support from both the United States and the Asian Development Bank, potential investors are backing away from the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline.  This proposal has been beset with concerns over security of the pipeline route, which passes through some of the most violent prone provinces in Afghanistan.

In the latest development, China has expressed new interest in Turkmen gas.  First, Chinese President Hu Jintao has proposed a new pipeline route that would bring Turkmen gas to China via Afghanistan.  The benefit of this latest proposal is that the pipeline route would traverse a safer route in Northern Afghanistan.  Second, China also signed in May 2012 an agreement with Turkmenistan to increase deliveries through the East-West Gas Pipeline from 30 bcm  per year to 65 bcm.  This pipeline does not pass through Afghanistan, has no security isues, and has been relatively trouble free since it opened in 2009.  Finally, China has assured Turkmenistan that its demand for natural gas will constantly increase over the next five years.  As a result, Turkmenistan’s enthusiasm has “softened” for TAPI, according to Pakistani correspondent Iqrar Haroon.

The Russian National Energy Institute has recommended the Russian government should avoid investing in TAPI because of security concerns, and questions over the viability of the project.  According to the Indian Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, the proposed increases in Chinese purchases of Turkmen gas will have a negative impact on Russia.  Turkmenistan offers lower-priced gas to China, bringing downward pressure on Russian gas prices.  Russia and China have been in talks since at least June 2009 to import 68 bcm of gas per year, but have not been able to agree on a price.

Monday, August 27

Trans Adriatic Pipeline Receives Funding Commitment

The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the southern competitor for carrying Caspian gas from the Turkish border to Europe, has received an economic boost.  British Petroleum and Total have signed an agreement with the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (Socar) to fund the pipeline, designed to bring natural gas to Italy.   (The proposed Nabucco West would carry gas from the Turkish border to Baumgarten, Austria).  “These funds will contribute toward continued work in several important areas during the period running up to the final routing decision, expected in 2013,” said a TAP spokesman.

Kjetil Tungland, TAP’s managing director, issued a statement, “The signing of this agreement is a significant vote of confidence in the quality of TAP’s technical and commercial solutions from key industrial players, and underpins the cooperation agreement that was signed between TAP and Shah Deniz in June.”

While the Shah Deniz consortium has not yet decided between TAP and Nabucco West, TAP’s chances have been improved by both the funding, and by the pipeline obtaining government support.  Both the Greek and Italian governments have agreed to support the pipeline, something they previously had not done.  According to the Greek Foreign Ministry, Greek Deputy Energy Minister Makis Papagergiou and his Italian counterpart reached a “close cooperation agreement” to support the pipeline.  The Italian Foreign Ministry added, “Athens and Rome have decided to back the project after Aszerbaijan’s Shah Deniz 2 consortium chose TAP to transport gas to western Europe.  Nabucco West remains an alternative…”

With the Shah Deniz consortium sitting on the fence, other interested parties are also trying to cover all their bets.  the European Commission, which had previously said that Nabucco was a priority European project, has backed away.  It now says that it does not favor any project or route over another, as long as it carries Azeri gas, would diversify EU supplies, and would reduce EU dependence on Russian resources.  Similarly, BP is trying to support both TAP and its rival, Nabucco West.  “Our aim is to be involved in all aspects of the project so the aim is to be involved in Nabucco and TAP as well, and this is still being negotiated,” BP spokesman Toby Odone said.

Wednesday, August 22

Gazprom May Punish Hungary for Supporting Nabucco

Faced with Hungary’s approval of an environmental permit for the construction of the Nabucco pipeline, Gazprom may be considering moving west the route for the rival South Stream pipeline.
Reinhard Mitschek, managing director of Nabucco, announced on August 14 that Hungary was the first country to issue the project all its permits.  “The granting of this permit is a substantial step forward in Hungary and signifies the advanced stage of development of Nabucco West,” he said.
Within a week, Gazprom announced they were in talks with Croatia over the South Stream pipeline route.  “An intergovernmental agreement between Russia and Croatia on joint participation in the South Stream project was signed in 2010,” a spokesman commented.  “Currently, based on the results of a pre-investment stage, Gazprom and Plinacro Ltd. are discussing the terms of a shareholder agreement for a joint compnay project with a view to its subsequent establishment.”
The Croatian side is optimistic.  “At the moment the chances are 50:50 that we get the transit route of South Stream,” said a source involved in the Gazprom negotiations.  The reasons for changing the route are uncertain.    According to the Voice of Russia, a Croatian list serve, Jutarnji, listed a number of possible concerns:  lower costs, differences between Gazprom and the Hungarian leadership, uncertainty over ownership shares of various Hungarian companies, and slow work on the Hungarian economic feasibility stateement.  Gazprom’s board chairman Alexei Miller minimized these reasons, however, calling them “not significant.”  An unnamed Plinacro source added that there could be no official confirmation on the status of the talks, as both sides are bound by a mutual confidentiality pledge.
Timing would indicate the talks are retribution for Hungary’s cooperation with South Stream’s rival, Nabucco.  Whether the talks will result in the route change, or are merely a pressure tactic on Hungary by Gazprom officials, is yet to be seen.

7 Groups the FBI and Corporations Have Classified as “Terrorists”

Today you’ll hear the annual chorus of “we will never forget.” But we have forgotten. We have forgotten the uproar against the Patriot Act, which was passed in the middle of the night. We have forgotten that Guantanamo Bay was once treated as an aberration, which Obama promised to close. And we have forgotten what freedoms have been sacrificed in the name of an ever-growing threat.

As an illustration of that, consider these 7 examples of the types of people the government and corporations now routinely label as “terrorists.”

1. Undercover investigators. Corporations have lobbied for “Ag Gag” bills to criminalize undercover investigations of animal abuse. And U.S. Congressmen compare investigators to arsonists and terrorists.

2. Tim DeChristopher. As an undergraduate student, DeChristopher disrupted an illegal oil and gas lease auction by placing bids (when he knew he didn’t have the money). For his act of non-violent civil disobedience, he was sentenced to 2 years in prison. Politicians called him an “eco-terrorist.”

3. Muslim communities were disproportionately targeted in the aftermath of 9/11, and through surveillance, harassment, infiltration (not to mention physical violence) the attacks continue. This has become so institutionalized within law enforcement that they continue even when they have not generated a single lead.

4. Anarchists. In the Northwest, more than 60 FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force agents raided homes and subpoenaed activists to a federal grand jury. The warrants listed, among other generic items, “anti-government or anarchist literature.”

5. Animal rights protesters. The Center for Constitutional Rights is in court challenging a law called the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which is so broad that it labels a wide range of First Amendment conduct as terrorism if it threatens corporate profits.

6. Anti-war and international solidarity activists. In the Midwest, the FBI raided homes and a political group’s office, and served subpoenas for a federal grand jury. The fishing expedition has been fruitless for the FBI, but it has brought together a broad range of groups opposed to the political attacks.

7. Journalists. The Counter Terrorism Unit has kept files on my work (including a book report!) and the work of other journalists critical of government counter-terrorism operations.

You know who is not on this list? Anti-abortion extremists who have actually murdered people.   [source]

A group of men is awoken sharply at four in the morning. Each one thinks to himself, “I wish I could sleep just a little longer.” Anyone not awake, on his feet and ready for morning exercises can expect a strike with a board in his stomach or groin, or some other punishment to be meted out later.

It is winter, and each man hurries to pull on his stiff and frozen boots. In summer, the smell of manure from the animals housed below permeates the loft where they sleep, but the cold weather keeps the aroma of the animals they live with at bay.

A war veteran leads forty-five minutes of grueling exercises, including two hundred pushups and one hundred fifty sit-ups. A quick two-mile run ensues, with each man carrying a staff or club. After the run, all the men file into the animals stalls to urinate–no one had wanted to waste even a minute of their precious sleep time getting up early to urinate before exercises.

They file into the warm house where their leader sits; he will lead everyone in prayer and their daily devotion to God. Many begin to nod off as soon as they are seated, but a jab in the ribs and the fear of being caught sleeping when they should be worshipping God keeps everyone on edge.

The women in the compound serve the men breakfast; and their leader sits as a commoner among them at the table, which is soon enveloped in raucous laughter. The shared hardships of their life bind the men in a camaraderie they all cherish.

Breakfast ends and the men file out of the warm house. All spend the next half-hour tending to the numerous animals. It is now 6:45 a.m.

Some will stay in the compound all day, tending animals, repairing buildings, and working in the fields. Most will leave the compound to hitchhike to jobs in the city or suburbs. The select few who own broken-down vehicles struggle mightily to stay awake as they drive. Each remembers that three of their members have already died from falling asleep at the wheel, and they are determined not to be the next. Each man struggles hour after hour with his friend and enemy, sleep.

It is five-o’clock in the afternoon and the men begin their trek back to the compound. The vagaries of their modes of transport mean some will arrive back as late as 6:30 in the evening. As soon as they reach the compound, they begin their work tending to the animals. Dinner follows for most, but some are fasting, they believe fasting will help bring them closer to God.

After dinner, the lieutenants have lists–lists of arduous work to be performed, and lists of punishments to be handed out for the previous day’s infractions. For most, their fate is assignment to a work crew, but others are not so lucky. One will be forced to run ten miles for the crime of not washing the goats properly before milking, another, five miles for failing to wake up on time.

Then it is out to the fields for more work. Each one secretly hopes it will be only work this evening–drudgery that may last until twelve, one, or two-o’clock in the morning. But tonight a meeting for worship and political instruction is called. Even though they revere their leader as a great prophet, inwardly, they fear him.

No one will admit it, but the hard labor is preferable to sitting in a meeting where they listen to lessons on their Holy Book from their leader, lessons and harangues that can last up to four or five hours. Individuals are singled out for criticism in front of the group. One is sentenced to forty lashes with a bullwhip. His crime? –wearing dirty socks to prayer.

Everyone struggles to stay awake. Finally the meeting ends at 1:00 AM.

The watch list is posted: eight unlucky men have drawn guard duty. The little sleep they have remaining will be interrupted by a twenty-minute guard duty between now and 4:00 a.m. Some wash before retiring, others fall filthy and exhausted into their makeshift beds.

A group of men is awoken sharply at four in the morning. Each one thinks to himself, “I wish I could sleep just a little longer.”

The foregoing is an account of what my life was for nearly four years, not in some Middle Eastern terrorist training camp but on a farm forty-five minutes from Cleveland, Ohio in the mid 1970’s.

Since leaving this fundamentalist Christian cult in 1977, I have spent considerable time and effort in gaining an understanding of how I could have been led to sacrifice everything, my time, family, money, and health, to follow a messiah into a living hell. The answers I discovered are dreadfully relevant today. It is the same way a terrorist is created to sacrifice everything to achieve his mad leader’s goals.

In order not to spread any more fear than already exists in our country, let me point out that while our group believed in a coming apocalypse, we did not subscribe to any notion of terrorism. We did believe we must be ready to fight a foreign invader and that our group would emerge as a holy remnant on the other side of a coming conflagration. While there are literally thousands of cults in the United States today, only a small percentage are of a paramilitary nature, and even fewer advocate terrorist activity.

Obstacles to understanding

“It is odd that despite their current widespread use and looming future importance, most of us know very little about our automatic behavior patterns. …Whatever the reason, it is vital that we clearly recognize one of their properties: They make us terribly vulnerable to anyone who does know how they work,” warns Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., in his landmark work, Influence: The New Psychology of Modern Persuasion.

There is a deep-seated and widespread denial of the reality that we all have behavior patterns that can be manipulated by others. An example of a milder form of this manipulation occurs in sales situations. How many of us have bought something that we really didn’t want or at a price that wasn’t really fair? Another more extreme form is what is termed thought reform or mind control.

It is a difficult concept to understand how one individual can manipulate another to such an extent that he will believe and behave in a manner that is harmful to him or herself and/or society. This article will attempt to explain this phenomenon. I have lived it.

When I give a presentation regarding my experiences in the cult, I am usually met with some version of the same question: “What was wrong with your own psychological makeup that you were vulnerable to manipulation?”

Pursuing the answer to this question diverts our attention from the core problem, the source of the manipulation.

Suppose I venture into a bad neighborhood and am beaten and robbed by a neighborhood thug. I may have behaved foolishly for walking in a dangerous area, but to concentrate on my behavior leads us away from our core problem: the neighborhood thug.

Dr. Louis J. West, a psychiatrist who studied thought reform for more than four decades states: “no single personality profile characterizes those who join cults. Many well-adjusted, high-achieving persons from intact families have been successfully recruited by cults. So have individuals with varying degrees of psychological impairment.”

We have missed what should be one of the most self-evident, looming lessons of history: that the millions of Germans who blindly followed Hitler could not have all been emotionally unbalanced or defective. The denial mechanism may work as follows: only defectives can be led and manipulated, I am not a defective, therefore I cannot be manipulated.

The denial that maintains that normal people cannot be taken in by a totalitarian system of belief was evident in the FBI’s mistaken profile of a terrorist recruit. Each was thought to be very young, without a family, poor, uneducated, and psychologically unstable.

However, the terrorists responsible for the September 11th disaster proved to be quite unlike the FBI’s profile.

It is this deep-seated denial that prevents us from understanding and countering the most dangerous trend of the 20th Century: the spread of cultic totalitarian governments and organizations that use thought reform or mind control.

The Charismatic leader

If we reject the notion that only psychologically defective individuals succumb to mind control, we must use a new model to explain what happens when ordinary people follow the leadership of a new messiah.

Rudolf Odom in his 1933 biography of Hitler, addressed the question; Does Hitler understand what he is doing? Meaning, does he understand how he is manipulating the people? He compared Hitler to a comedian or football player.

Ask the comedian how he makes people laugh and he probably has no idea. Nonetheless, he is very good at it. Likewise, the typical cult leader has an innate ability to manipulate and control people, and many couple this innate ability with a shrewd theoretical understanding of psychology to further entrap their victims.

Cult leaders may also use or appropriate long-standing thought reform methodology developed over decades or even hundreds of years that are embedded in the culture. Arkon Daraul in his Secret Societies: Yesterday and Today, describes in detail this centuries-old Arabic mind control system from which much of the modern terrorist thought reform system has evolved.

“These cults are led by a charismatic leader who actively anticipates an apocalyptic event that will purify the world. Often they invite altruistic killings to accomplish this,” said Professor Robert J. Lifton in his November 3, 1999 presentation of his book, Aum Shinryko, Destroying the World to Save It, to the Commonwealth Club of California.

Lifton further describes a cult leader in a 1989 introduction to his seminal 1961 work, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: “[The cult leader] tends increasingly to become the object of worship in place of more general spiritual principles that are advocated.”

Evidence of this phenomenon is the proliferation of large photos and statues of the leaders of totalitarian states. Osama bin Laden has certainly reached the status of worship. His photo is ubiquitous and in Pakistan it is reported that one in five boys born is named Osama.

The evil wrought by madmen serial killers Richard Speck, John Wayne Gacy, or Ted Bundy pales in comparison to what has been perpetrated by leaders skilled in manipulating ordinary men.

The great crimes of history were carried out by men convinced they were doing the right thing, or serving the only God, their world-view warped by forces outside themselves.

“If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities”–S.R. Krishnan

How does a cult leader ensure that his followers will carry out his wishes? The tragedy of September 11th provides us with some terrible illustrations of how the process works.

Unlike passengers on the other three hijacked planes, the passengers of flight 93, hijacked over Cleveland and pointed towards Washington, resisted their attackers.

Why?

Simply because they were in possession of a different understanding of their fate than the passengers on the other three planes. Through conversations on cell phones, the passengers of flight 93 understood they were going to die at the hands of their hijackers. Consequently, they heroically rushed their attackers, minimizing any additional loss of life. They were behaving logically based on their understanding of their situation.

The passengers on the other three flights did not resist. Until this point in history, most hijackings had ended in negotiations with minimal loss of life. Standard procedure was not to resist. These passengers were also behaving logically based on their understanding of the situation.

In similar fashion, the cult member’s world-view, not necessarily his capacity for judgment, is what is distorted and impaired. He behaves logically according to his world-view.

This is why the cult member can seem quite rational and capable of functioning in many levels of society, but the consequences of him following his conscience or world-view can be barbarous and insane.

When the cult’s world-view is successfully inculcated in its victim it does not necessarily need to be closely regulated and the desired behavior will follow. An example is the Nazis’ depiction of the Jews as sub-human. Once this view was accepted by a significant percentage of Germans, the anti-Semitic behavior of the populace logically followed.

Cult-ure

The totalitarian cult leader in a free society is faced with two tasks: recruitment of followers, and retention of followers.

Once a sufficient mass of people have been indoctrinated and support the leader, and political and police power have been established within the movement, those who continue to resist the mind control apparatus of the state can be dealt with through the physical power of the government.

In Nazi Germany, the remaining portion of the populace that had not succumbed to the mind control system was either cowered into submission through fear, imprisoned, or murdered.

Once the cultic thinking becomes pervasive in the culture, it follows that there are two types of members in the totalitarian system, those who are recruited into the system, and those who grow up in the system. The methods used to convert someone can be exceedingly complex, and space prohibits a detailing of all of them.

However, by examining someone who has absorbed the cult’s philosophy and world-view during their formative years, we will also encounter some of the principles used against the convert.

Travel is one method of becoming aware that human beings in every culture hold to beliefs that are quite irrational and bizarre. By doing some time-travel we can explore our own culture and see practices that were unquestionably wrong, but universally upheld at the time.

Before 1840, the notion that bacteria caused disease was unknown. Cleanliness with regard to medical procedures was considered unnecessary and the results in terms of public health were catastrophic.

Why did we tenaciously hold onto these quite mistaken notions?

There are two reasons: contradictory information was unavailable and this is the way everyone else thought. The tribesman who grows up eating roasted grasshoppers for a snack would be shocked at our spraying them with pesticides, and vice versa. So we all can grow up with some odd beliefs with absolutely no awareness of their irrationality, simply because they are accepted by our parents, community, government, or, in short, our culture.

One method a cult leader uses to maintain irrational beliefs is by ensuring that contradictory information is unavailable.

In a closed society, this is easier to accomplish than in an open one. In both open and closed societies, mind control measures instituted from the top typically present their victims with a plausible reason that attempts to hide the measure’s true purpose. When the state directs that citizens can no longer listen to foreign broadcasts because they promote the interests of the state’s enemies; the true reason is to ensure that no contradictory information is available to counteract the process of mind control.

For example Afghanistan’s Taliban leadership issued a “break your (TV) set now” ruling, claiming that television was impeding prayer.

In Nazi Germany from 1933 until the end of the war in 1945, the Hitler Youth, the bad-guy equivalent of being a Boy Scout, were bombarded with the message of how glorious it is to die for the Fatherland. The official title of Hitler’s elite military units, The SS Storm Troopers, was “The Order of the Death’s Head.”

Germany was steeped in a cult-ure of glorification of death.

Japan had the centuries-old tradition of the Samurai, from which the concept for the kamikaze suicide attacks evolved.

The parallels between the homicidal and suicidal nature of Nazism, Japan’s Samurai, and Islamic terrorist cults are not difficult to draw. Pakistan has numerous religious schools called madrasas, which Jeffrey Goldberg of the New York Times characterizes as nothing more than jihad factories, or schools of indoctrination.

The Islamic extremist culture is infused with the glorification of death.

One of the most difficult concepts for people to believe is that mind control can be maintained in an open society.

I physically left the group I was in for two years after being drafted into the Army. I returned to the group after my discharge. I still believed I was doing God’s will, and it made sense to return to duty with God, no matter how distasteful.

How is the control kept over the mind of the cult member even when he is not under the direct control of the group?

The adherent is taught to separate himself from the evil world, which typically translates to not socializing with non-believers.

Mass media is often portrayed as being co-opted by Satan, and so television, movies, magazines, and newspapers are avoided.

Though not the case with the Islamic terrorist sleeper agents, the mind control victim is often taught to evangelize friends and relatives so aggressively that he is either successful recruiting them or he alienates them.

There is thus no meaningful human interaction between the cultist and non-believers. The only contact with non-believers permitted is that which furthers the interests of the cult.

“Humans use logic not to solve problems in the first instance, but to check the work and put it in presentable order after the insight has been attained.”–Edmund Cohen

Something that has continually impressed me is the fact that highly intelligent people come to widely differing conclusions about all manners of things in life. There are intelligent Democrats and Republicans; conservatives and liberals; religionists of all creeds, atheists, etc.

The divergence of opinion regarding crucial issues suggests that reason and logic may play a minor role in how people arrive at their philosophies about life. This suggests that people have an emotional reaction or experience about an issue, and then go about finding facts and intellectual arguments to support that position.

The danger the cult leader represents is that he typically understands not only how to create an emotional experience for an individual, but also then how to go about wedding a group of facts and arguments to the emotional experience.

For example, Hitler carefully planned the Nuremberg rallies with lavish pageantry and torches, and understood the additional psychologically manipulative power they would carry by always staging them at night. The pageantry was then combined with Hitler’s charismatic delivery of the Nazi philosophy.

I will illustrate with a scenario that is similar to my experience in the Bible cult. Let’s suppose a person attends a religious service. A friend has invited him. The friend sits next to him and hopes that he will have the same wonderful experience he’s had at these services. The service is carefully calculated to heighten the emotions through music and ceremony. The leader may take the participants on an emotional roller coaster, first inducing euphoria and then guilt and shame. Healings and miracles might be part of the scheme, usually effected by either the power of suggestion, deception, or magic tricks. An invitation is made to surrender the will to a higher power and join this loving family. Prayer, shouting and emotion may ensue. There is joy; a new convert has been born into the group.

What we have now is a contrived emotional experience, almost entirely crafted and orchestrated by the leader of the group. The group now will strive to link the emotional experience of the convert to their doctrine and philosophy.

In the cult I was in, we were taught the importance of follow through with this new “babe in the faith.”

We had a set of Bible study doctrines that we were instructed to teach the convert, many of which purported to explain in doctrinal terms his experience. In order to cement the convert’s relationship with the group, the system proceeds to wed the doctrine of the group to the emotional experience of the convert. The cult creates the pseudo-spiritual experience, and then anchors its doctrine and cosmology to the experience they induced in their victim.

The emotional experience can be one that is contrived as pointed out previously, or it also can be a real-life scenario, such as growing up in poverty in a refugee camp, losing a relative to an act of violence, or fighting an oppressor, etc. The cult leader seeks to capitalize on that experience and wed it in the mind of his victim to the cult’s philosophy or doctrine.

In a normal environment, an individual may educate him or herself with additional information that supports his world-view and associate with others of like mind. We can call this an educational process.

However, what the cult strives not for education, but indoctrination.

In education, information is processed with the student’s understanding and consent, while indoctrination sneaks in the back door of the mind without its victim’s approval.

Those involved in the education of students are typically not threatened by opposing points of view; in fact, the classical idea of the university is to encourage and test competing theories.

But those who seek to indoctrinate do everything within their power to separate the cult member from information that is critical of their cause. Since it is not always possible to separate cult members from negative information about their group and philosophy, they are trained to effectively close their senses to any information that contradicts its philosophy.

A chilling example of this is related by Jeffrey Goldberg in a September 16, 2001 New York Times article, “Jihad spins out from a corner of Pakistan.” Goldberg was visiting a madrasa, a Muslim religious seminary where students range in age from 8 to 35. When Goldberg quoted passages from the Muslim Hadith forbidding the killing of women and children in a Jihad (an armed struggle), the students began chanting, Osama, Osama, Osama. The students then took turns defending Osama bin Laden.

This episode illustrated that when presented with an idea that directly contradicted everything they had been indoctrinated in, the tension became too great and they launched into thought-stopping chanting. They then went on the offensive with what were likely stock arguments they had been drilled on beforehand.

Cult leaders use many different techniques to indoctrinate their followers, including thought-stopping, rhythmic breathing, fear, sleep deprivation, supplying a deficient diet, repetition, charismatic leadership, peer and social group pressure, magic, isolation, guilt inducement, proselytizing, and revealed knowledge, among others. Most of these techniques work to place the mind in an altered state, a state wherein the victim is unable to critically process and filter information. In effect, these techniques are opening the back door to the mind without the victim’s awareness or consent.

For example, the cult leader might present rhythmic breathing as the path to better health, while the true purpose is to place his victim in a suggestible state for indoctrination.

How well do you think when you are angry, tired, or fearful?

The connection between the cult victim’s emotional experience and the group’s doctrine or philosophy is strengthened to a frightening degree through this multi-front psychological manipulation. This bond is far stronger than any tie that could be achieved through education and takes on a sinister power.

Remember that the cult member experienced an emotional event through his own senses. Now any attack on the philosophy is experienced by the cult member as the same as an attack on his personal experience. That the information perceived by his senses was wrong is difficult to believe and too emotionally painful to contemplate. The cult victim cannot and will not deny the experience he knows his senses have told him are real, so the linked doctrine stands like a rock, impenetrable to any rational argument.

This is why the cult member clings to ideas and arguments that are clearly illogical; any information that attacks his doctrine and threatens to prove it false threatens to prove his powerful experience false as well.

The war against self

In the previously mentioned Times article, Goldberg dispels some misconceptions regarding jihad: “‘Jihad’ is misunderstood in the West. It does not mean ‘holy war.’ It essentially means ‘struggle’ and there are two types of jihad: greater and lesser. ‘Greater Jihad’ is the struggle within the soul of a person to be better, more righteous — the fight against the devil within. ‘Lesser Jihad’ is the fight against the devil without: the military struggle against those who subjugate Muslims.”

The Biblical fundamentalist cult of which I was a member also had what they termed a war against self, or a war against one’s own ego.

One manifestation of this struggle was the treatment of women and sexuality. Women were required to wear ankle length dresses, have their hair covered, and were not to look anyone directly in the eye.

There was also a considerable amount of preaching advocating the suppression of sexual thoughts for unmarried believers, not an easy task for a group of people who were mostly in their early twenties.

In retrospect, I believe nearly every person there failed at this task of suppression, and probably experienced the same requisite guilt, fear, sense of failure, and self-loathing that I did.

The game is: convince people their natural impulses are sinful and then set them at war against their own personality and nature. The cult victim then continually works at suppressing his own “unholy” personality, and his self-doubt drives him to further surrender his will and judgment to his leaders.

The fundamentalist extremist Muslims are at work at the same game.

Women are required to dress in the burqas, clothing that obscures their face and bodily form. Men are warned of the dangers of looking upon a woman.

Evidence that the hijackers were in this sexual double bind is found in a story recounted by the Florida motel owner who had rented a room to some of the hijackers. The hijackers had complained about a painting in their room that showed an uncovered shoulder of a woman. They requested that the painting be either removed or covered.

However, after they moved in, the motel owner marveled at how often they were seen watching women in bikinis at the motel pool.

Each look probably filled them with guilt and a sense of failure, and perhaps renewed purpose and resolve after each lapse in morality.

Ironically, in what may be a deadly harnessing of the sex drive, the Islamic martyrs are promised in heaven what they are denied on earth: marriage in paradise with 72 beautiful virgins. In a fantasy that is the height of hypocrisy, they are rewarded in paradise with an orgy that they would roundly condemn on earth.

The foregoing does not represent the entire gamut of the mind control or thought reform process, but hopefully can serve as a framework to illustrate how these powerful forces can be used to enslave the mind.

Is there a way out?

There is a loose-knit association of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, sociologists, clergy, parents, ex-cult members, and most importantly, exit-counselors, which has studied and combated cultism and mind control in this country over the last three decades.

Exit-counselors assist those who are trapped in mind control cults, and understand how to break through the barriers of thought reform.

These individuals have stared in the face of totalitarianism and developed tactics to free minds from its grip. This expertise could be used to reach suspected terrorists our government has in custody and possibly transform them into useful sources of information.

In addition, the government and intelligence community can benefit from the other professionals who have studied this problem in helping to develop strategies for dealing with the cultic organizations in the Middle East.

The political situation we are currently in can be seen accurately through the lens of the thought reform and mind control models. And our leaders must develop a true picture of the forces arrayed against us in order to combat them more effectively.

Will this understanding allow us to avoid war or military action? Probably not.

But without a precise understanding of the psychological dynamics of cult leaders and their followers, our government’s actions may lead to disaster.

The government misread the situation with the Waco cultists. We cannot afford to misread this new threat. We must not turn Afghanistan or a Middle Eastern country into a Waco disaster. If we do, there will be dire consequences.

It is popular for those wishing to sound a warning to quote George Satayana when he said, “Those that do not remember history, are condemned to repeat it.”

We don’t have a problem remembering the events of World War II, but I do think there is a problem with comprehending how the minds of millions of Japanese and Germans were turned to mass murder, destruction, and suicide.

My warning is to misquote Satayana by saying: “Those who do not understand history, are condemned to repeat it.” [source]


Classified Nord-Ost Unknown Details [updated]


Golden Dawn Immigrants-Fake NeoNazi’s

All those links were sent to me on Twitter and I am more than glad to post them,I do beleive I will find more on those people due time.No threats allowed according to the WP policy or the HR declaration. So please stay vigilant of what you are going to post :)I checked all blog categories so that the post can get the most views possible. Regards!

“##Spiros Macrozonaris## IMMIGRANT Golden Dawn Deputy leader in Montreal, Canada” :

Facebook profile :

INTERESTING FACEBOOK POST MR. MACROZONARIS, HE CANNOT EVEN WRITE GREEK! BAD NAZI BAD! :

His NON 100% PURE GREEK son’s Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/macrozonaris?ref=ts&fref=ts

1. Greek Immigrant who married a “foreigner” >>>>>French-Canadian Doris Morrissette, they bore a son, Nicolas Macrozonaris (World-Class Sprinter – CANADIAN Olympian 🙂 ..who unfortunately is not 100% Pure Greek…

2. Conversations with Nicolas on Twitter, lead to nothing, he is ‘pretending’ that he has NO knowledge of what Golden Dawn supports and believes YET he states that he does not condone his fathers “actions”

Twitter @Macrozonaris TWEETER CONVERSATIONS with Nicolas –>

###### MUST WATCH #####
Video from CBC Montreal, from week of Oct 12th – INTERVIEW with Spiros Macrozonaris – next to him sits LOOSER Ilias Hondronicolas : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-3rbLI4K78

#Ilias Hondronicolas ———> on PHOTO second guy from the left :

#MORE HONDRONICOLAS:

(FRIENDS WITH ELENI ZAROULIA SHARING HER PHOTOS!)
( MUST SEE )

#MORE PAPAGEORGIOU:


True Oil Wars

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07BAGHDAD2453 2007-07-25 05:57 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad

VZCZCXRO1627
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2453/01 2060557
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 250557Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2415

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002453

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/23/2017
TAGS: ECON ENRG IZ PREL
SUBJECT: CODEL BURGESS MEETING WITH MINISTER OF OIL HUSAYN
AL-SHAHRISTANI

Classified By: ECONOMIC MINISTER CHARLES P. RIES FOR REASONS 1.5 (b) an
d (d)

¶1. (C). SUMMARY. On July 22, Congressmen Michael Burgess
(R-TX), Steve King (R-IA), Jim Jordan (R-OH), John Carter
(R-TX), Kevin Brady (R-TX), and David Davis (R-TN) met with
Minister of Oil Husayn al-Shahristani to discuss issues
related to the state of Iraq,s petroleum infrastructure,
plans to improve the infrastructure and revitalize petroleum
exploration and production. Minister Shahristani
acknowledged the important role of the petroleum industry in
Iraq,s economy and the need for passage of the
hydrocarbon-related laws as signaling Iraq,s emergence as a
dominant petroleum producing country. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (C). Minister Shahristani introduced the topic of the
status of Iraq,s petroleum industry by observing that the
industry provides 93% of the country,s budget; that of the
500 known potential petroleum-bearing geophysical structures,
only about 80 have been evaluated and expected to make up the
majority of the 115 billion barrel reserve; and that of these
80 structures, 10 are “super giants,” 10 are “giants,” and 10
are “very large” structures. He also stated that most of
these 80 structures are currently in production although
perhaps not being optimally produced at this time.
Shahristani also predicted that of the 500 known structures,
300 will eventually produce commercial quantities of oil.

¶3. (C). Shahristani observed that even though private oil
companies have not been willing to work in Iraq as a result
of the security situation, the state-owned oil companies have
been able to drill some new wells. He also noted that while
the level of oil production in the country has not risen as
he desired, the rising price oil has allowed Iraq to more or
less maintain a level income from exports.

¶4. (C). Shahristani noted successes in having new meters
installed in the southern export facilities, but also noted
that if problems occur, it is likely the fault of the
American company that required an extra year to complete the
project. He predicted no interruption in oil exports from
the southern facilities, unless problems arise between Iran
and the United States. He encouraged the United States and
Iran to continue their dialogue to solve issues that impact
Iraq.

¶5. (C). A member of the Congressional delegation, having
toured the Bayji oil refinery yesterday asked what
infrastructure improvements were needed to increase the
refinery,s production potential. Shahristani stated that
while foreign companies were not willing to work in Iraq due
to the current security situation, he has asked that they
supply needed equipment, for example for the hydrocracker.
He also stated that he is attempting to replace trained
workers, originally from the south of the country, who have
fled the sectarian violence of the area.

¶6. (C). When asked about the Ministry of Oil,s budget,
Shahristani stated that he had a budget of $2.2 billion. He
complained that the Ministry of Finance had delayed the
allocation of funds for the first quarter of the year and
those funds were not available until the end of March. In
any event, he noted that by the second quarter, he had been
able to spend 25% of his budget and expects to spend 85% of
his budget by the end of the year.

¶7. (C). Shahristani explained that the Council of Ministers
had approved and sent to the Council of Representatives a law
that would encourage investment in Iraq,s oil refineries; he
expected a third reading of this law to occur soon. He
expressed support for the Framework Hydrocarbon Law stating
that “all the right elements were present in the law” and
promised that he would be in the Council of Representatives
(CoR) to explain the law. He also stated that while he could
not predict what the lawmakers would do, he anticipated its
eventual passage. He noted that he had already prepared a
list of those fields to be drilled and produced first.

¶8. (C). A member of the delegation asked about Chinese
exploration and production contracts. Shahristani answered
by explaining that there was one contract in existence with
the Chinese, which was legitimate and was signed by the
previous regime to develop a small field just south of
Baghdad (Adhab) and would produce no more than 100,000
barrels per day of heavy crude. He explained that under the
current draft of the framework Hydrocarbon law, such
contracts must be reviewed and meet the conditions of the new
law. He also stated that this contract would have to be
amended and that the production from this field was not for
export, but rather to supply crude oil to a refinery planned
to be constructed in the area by the Chinese.

BAGHDAD 00002453 002 OF 002

¶9. (C). A member of the delegation asked if the Iraqi
people understood that they could become rich from the
development of their petroleum resources, if only they would
cooperate with each other. Shahristani responded that the
people will not understand the details of the various
hydrocarbon-related laws, but will follow the impressions
created by others and the media. He proceeded to explain
that several local media stations are supported by members of
Saddam,s regime, living mostly in Jordan now, and by the
Saudis and Emirates. He characterized as more damaging, the
influence of Al-Jazeera. He stated that, in his opinion,
Saudi Arabia feels threatened by the prospect of a
significant Iraqi contribution to the international oil
market; Iraq was not a threat to the Saudis as long as
exports remained no greater than 2 to 3 million barrels.

¶10. (C). When asked about exports in the north, Shahristani
noted that the exports brought in about $400,000 per day and
that the Bayji refinery has limited production capacity.
(Note: In the absence of more explanation that was not
provided to the delegation, this statement appears at odds
with the fact that the export pipeline to Turkey operates
only intermittently. Also, the Bayji refinery capacity is
limited primarily by unreliable electricity supply and
limited heavy fuel oil storage capability. End Note.)
Shahristani also noted that northern exports were at the
mercy of the security situation. He stated that the
Strategic Infrastructure Brigades (SIBs) were established by
a “leader of the insurgency” and that he informed the
multi-national forces of this fact. He also stated that
contrary to the opinion of the multi-national force
commanders, the SIBs cannot be retrained to an effective
status. Shahristani stated his expectation that a new effort
to contract with local tribal leaders for security of the
pipelines will be more effective and lead to a resumption of
northern exports in one to two months.

¶11. (C). Addressing Congressional benchmarks, Shahristani
said that he expected the Framework Hydrocarbon and Revenue
Management Laws to proceed in tandem to the CoR and will be
debated together. He assessed that the refinery investment
law, already in the CoR, will be passed soon. He stated that
the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) has reservations about
the Revenue Management Law, but that KRG representatives will
be in Baghdad in a week, and that he expected the law will go
to the CoR within the next 2 to 3 weeks. He also stated
that, while no one has objection to the Revenue Management
Law in principle, Sunni factions were attacking it for
political reasons. Shahristani stated that there was also
strong Sunni opposition to the Framework Hydrocarbon Law, but
that he agreed with Ambassador Crocker that some Sunni
support for the law was needed.

¶12. (C). Shahristani was asked what he was doing to secure
the petroleum infrastructure in the event coalition forces
left Iraq. He responded that a withdrawal would not impact
the southern pipelines and other facilities since Coalition
Forces are not now protecting those facilities. As for the
northern facilities, he stated that the Bayji refinery could
be shut down, but that would have consequences equally
adverse for the insurgency.

¶13. (C). Shahristani reiterated that he was working hard to
meet the benchmarks, that half of the benchmarks were met and
that the other half could be met if government,s efforts
were supported by the Sunnis, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf
states. He requested that the USG pressure these other
entities to stop supporting the groups opposing Iraq,s
efforts to meet the remaining benchmarks.

¶14. (C). Minister Shahristani concluded the meeting with an
expression of determination that Iraq will export to the
world oil market “its fair share of resources.” He stated
that he wanted the American public to know that this conflict
was not about oil, but about Islamic fundamentalism. He also
stated that Al-Qaeda was a long-term problem for the world.

¶15. (C). CODEL Burgess did not have an opportunity to clear
this cable.

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07BAGHDAD3071 2007-09-12 06:02 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Baghdad

VZCZCXRO4961
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #3071/01 2550602
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 120602Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3336
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 003071

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EPET EINV ENRG IZ
SUBJECT: HUNT OIL SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH KRG UNDER KRG OIL LAW

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR INTERNET DISRIBUTION. PROTECT
SOURCES.

This is a Kurdistan Regional Reconstruction Team (RRT) cable.

SUMMARY
——-

¶1. (SBU) The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) recently signed a
production sharing contract (PSC) with Hunt Oil Company that covers
oil exploration and production in “the Dohuk area.” Comments by
Hunt officials indicate that the block is actually in the Ninewa
Governorate’s northern administrative districts. The PSC marks the
first oil deal signed by the KRG, following enactment of the
Kurdistan Region’s hydrocarbons law on August 6, 2007. Considerable
legal ambiguity surrounds the PSC with Hunt Oil, as the districts in
northern Ninewa to be explored by the company are classified as
“disputed territories” under the Iraqi constitution. A senior Hunt
Oil manager told RRT Erbil’s Team Leader that northern Ninewa
province has significant potential for oil production, and that this
factor trumps the legal ambiguities and risks associated with the
company’s PSC with the KRG. The oil potential of northern Iraq
continues to attract significant investor interest. Several other
international energy companies are expected to announce oil deals
with the KRG during coming weeks. Despite the KRG’s aggressive
pursuit of foreign direct investment to develop the Kurdistan
Region’s hydrocarbons production potential, KRG Prime Minister
Nechirvan reiterated the KRG’s commitment to the federal hydrocarbon
revenue sharing agreement that allocates Iraq’s oil wealth to all
Iraqis on a per capita basis. Meanwhile, senior central government
officials expressed their dismay that the KRG enacted a regional
hydrocarbons law, and that the KRG continues to pursue oil
investment from foreign companies in advance of enactment of
comprehensive national hydrocarbons legislation. [NOTE: The ability
of regional governments to sign contracts has been among the key
issues of contention during negotiation of the national hydrocarbon
law. The KRG has reluctantly agreed, at times. to refrain from
finalizing agreements in advance of a national law, but have
maintained that they would not wait indefinitely for national
legislation to be approved by the Council of Representatives. END
NOTE.]

KRG Contract with Hunt in Disputed Territory
——————————————–

¶2. (SBU) On September 8, 2007, the KRG, Hunt Oil Company, and
Impulse Energy Corporation (IEC) jointly announced they had signed a
PSC covering petroleum exploration activities “in the Dohuk area of
the Kurdistan Region.” Hunt Oil’s General Manager for Europe,
Africa and the Middle East, David McDonald, told RRT Erbil’s Team
Leader on September 5 that the envisioned “Dohuk area” of operations
under the PSC consists of the administrative districts of northern
Ninewa province. McDonald did not disclose the exact areas in
northern Ninewa to be initially targeted for exploration by Hunt Oil
but he mentioned Shekkan and Akra as areas they had visited. While
the land to be explored by Hunt Oil has been behind the Green Line
of KRG control for many years and is occupied by a majority Kurdish
population who considers itself part of Dohuk Governorate, the area
falls within the legal boundaries of Ninewa province. Northern
Ninewa is “disputed territory,” according to the Iraqi federal
constitution, and the legal boundaries of the area are eventually to
be decided by a public referendum pursuant to Article 140 of the
federal constitution.

¶3. (SBU) During discussions with RRT Erbil’s Team Leader, McDonald
seemed less than fully informed about the potential ramifications of
Article 140 on Hunt Oil’s negotiations with the KRG. He did not
express concern about the potential controversy surrounding
signature of a PSC with the KRG that covers areas of operation
currently outside the KRG’s legal control. He said, “This is a
significant opportunity that outweighs the legal ambiguity.” Hunt
Oil CEO Ray Hunt also discounted the fact that the northern Ninewa
districts targeted under the PSC are not yet within the KRG’s
legally defined borders. He expressed satisfaction on September 8
that his company was “actively participating in the establishment of
the petroleum industry in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.”

¶4. (U) Enactment of the KRG’s new oil law may have spurred
completion of the PSC with Hunt Oil. The PSC was announced shortly
after publication of the English translation of the new oil and gas
law on the KRG’s website. Before the law was enacted, only one PSC
had been signed for the Dohuk area – with DNO of Norway. That PSC
covered operations only within the legal boundaries of Dohuk
Governorate. Enactment of the KRG oil law and the subsequent
announcement of the deal with Hunt Oil may accelerate the signing of
PSCs with other international oil companies. Several are
reportedly on the verge of signing PSCs with the KRG during coming
weeks. Article 19 of the KRG law states that “the Federal
Government must not practice any new Petroleum Operations in the
disputed territories without the approval of [the KRG] until such
time as the referendum required by Article 140 of the Federal
Constitution is conducted.” Article 20, however, allows the KRG to

BAGHDAD 00003071 002 OF 003

sign PSCs with foreign oil companies in disputed territories, based
on articles 112, 115 and 121(3) of the Federal Constitution.

Potential Bonanza Trumps Legal Ambiguity
—————————————-

¶5. (SBU) While McDonald said Hunt Oil must conduct further
assessments about the speed and scope of their operational
activities in northern Ninewa, with decisions regarding the focus of
initial seismic tests to begin “by the end of October,” he was
optimistic about the oil potential of the region. McDonald said
portions of the topography in all three districts of northern Ninewa
bode well for oil exploration. He said, “It’s like shooting fish in
a barrel.” A Hunt Oil company spokesman in Dallas said the company
will begin geological survey and seismic work by the end of 2007,
with plans to be in a position to drill an exploration well in
¶2008.

KRG Boldly Enacts Regional Hydrocarbons Law…
———————————————

¶6. (U) The KRG deal with Hunt Oil marks the first PSC signed with a
foreign oil company following KRG enactment of the Oil and Gas Law
of the Kurdistan Region on August 6, 2007. Speaking of the KRG’s
rationale in passing a controversial regional hydrocarbons law while
a draft national oil and gas law remains intensely debated, KRG
Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani told reporters on August 7,
“Successive governments in Iraq have deliberately left our oil in
the ground as an effort to keep our people [ethnic Kurds] poor and
to deny our aspirations for a better way of life. Today, with the
passage of this new Kurdistan Law in a federal Iraq, we know that
those days are gone.”
¶7. (U) While espousing the benefits of foreign direct investment in
the Kurdistan Region’s oil producing areas, Nechirvan acknowledged
federal constitution provisions that require any oil revenues
generated under the KRG’s hydrocarbons law to be shared equally with
all Iraqis. He confirmed the KRG intends to limit itself to its
constitutionally mandated share of national oil revenues, regardless
of whether the oil is sourced inside or outside the Kurdistan
Region. He said, “We will receive 17 percent of all revenues from
all oil production in all of Iraq.”
¶8. (U) KRG Minister of Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami echoed those
comments. Hawrami said on September 9, “We believe that the [KRG’s]
production-sharing agreements are the best way to move swiftly
forward and help not just the Kurds but all Iraqis.” He envisions
that the Kurdistan Region will produce one million barrels of oil
per day within five years. To achieve this goal, the KRG intends to
sign PSCs with other large international oil companies. On
September 9, Hawrami told Dow Jones, “I think we’ll be having an
announcement with a blue-chip company soon.”

While Criticizing Central Government Paralysis
——————————————— –

¶9. (SBU) Following passage of the KRG hydrocarbons law, KRG
officials recommitted themselves to the February 2007 national
hydrocarbons framework agreement. Nechirvan told RRT Erbil’s Team
Leader on August 28 that he hoped the new KRG law “would spur
movment in Baghdad” to enact a national hydrocarbons law. During
that meeting, however, Nechirvan expressed disappointment with
political developments in Baghdad and pessimism about “whether the
Sunnis and the Shi’a want to live together.” He said the KRG does
not want Iraq’s central government to “hold up development of
regional resources for another ten years.”

Arab Leaders Critical of KRG Oil Law
————————————
¶10. (U) Senior central government officials in Baghdad condemned the
oil deals signed by the KRG in advance of enactment of national
hydrocarbons legislation. Abdul Hadi al Hasani, Deputy Chairman of
the national parliament’s Energy Committee, said recently that such
contracts may be overturned by the federal government, though he
conceded that such a move could discourage potential foreign
investments in Iraq’s oil sector. Sami al Askari, a parliamentarian
and senior advisor to Prime Minister al Maliki, told reporters on
September 7 that a federal oil and gas council to be formed under
the national hydrocarbons law could decide whether to rescind the
KRG’s handful of oil contracts with foreign investors. In a
concession to the reality that foreign direct investment in Iraq’s
oil infrastructure remains both valuable and scarce, the
parliamentarians said the private firms that signed deals with the
KRG should not be blocked from winning future oil contracts in
Iraq.

COMMENT
¶11. (SBU) USG policy has discouraged companies from signing oil
deals with the KRG until Iraq enacts its national hydrocarbon
framework law, as such regional contracts could act as an impediment
to negotiations toward a comprehensive national settlement that
equitably distributes Iraq’s oil wealth. Such contracts also remain
subject to significant legal ambiguity. This has not deterred Hunt
Oil and the other handful of companies that have signed PSCs with

BAGHDAD 00003071 003 OF 003

the KRG. Their concerns about the nebulous political environment
and possible eventual dissolution of their PSCs have been overridden
by the prospect of huge profits – from getting first access to the
choicest oil exploration fields in northern Iraq, and from
establishing productive relationships with key KRG and central
government officials. The potential pitfalls are especially acute
in cases (e.g. Hunt Oil and its junior partner IEC) where investors
will commence operations in disputed territories. It remains
doubtful that the KRG was legally entitled to enter into a binding
contract with Hunt Oil that covers oil exploration and eventual
hydrocarbons production in an area (i.e. northern Ninewa province)
that the KRG does not legally control. Legal considerations aside,
the KRG’s actions complicates enactment of a national hydrocarbons
law.
BUTENIS

 


US, UK munitions ‘cause birth defects in Iraq’

Iraqi women wait with their sick children at a Baghdad hospital.(AFP Photo / Karim Sahib)

Iraqi women wait with their sick children at a Baghdad hospital.(AFP Photo / Karim Sahib)

US and UK weapons ammunition were linked to heart defects, brain dysfunctions and malformed limbs, according to a recent study. The report revealed a shocking rise in birth defects in Iraqi children conceived after the US invasion.

Titled ‘Metal Contamination and the Epidemic of Congenital Birth Defects in Iraqi Cities,’ the study was published by the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. It revealed a connection between military activity in the country and increased numbers of birth defects and miscarriages.

The report, which can be found here, also contains graphic images of Iraqi children born with birth defects. (The images were not published on RT due to their disturbing content.) It documents 56 families in Fallujah, which was invaded by US troops in 2004, and examines births in Basrah in southern Iraq, which was attacked by British forces in 2003.

The study concluded that US and UK ammunition is responsible for high rates of miscarriages, toxic levels of lead and mercury contamination and spiraling numbers of birth defects, which ranged from congenital heart defects to brain dysfunctions and malformed limbs.

Fallujah, around 40 miles west of Baghdad, was at the epicenter of these various health risks. The city was first invaded by US Marines in the spring of 2004, and then again 7 months later. Some of the heaviest artillery in the US arsenal was deployed during the attack, including phosphorus shells.

A round lights up the night-sky before a U.S. bombardment over the Iraqi city of Falluja at the beginning, November 8, 2004.(Reuters / Eliana Aponte)
A round lights up the night-sky before a U.S. bombardment over the Iraqi city of Falluja at the beginning, November 8, 2004.(Reuters / Eliana Aponte)

Shocking findings

Between 2007 and 2010 in Fallujah, more than half of all babies surveyed were born with birth defects. Before the war, this figure was around one in 10. Also, over 45 percent of all pregnancies surveyed ended in miscarriage in 2005 and 2006, compared to only 10 percent before the invasion.

In Basrah’s Maternity Hospital, more than 20 babies out of 1,000 were born with defects in 2003, 17 times higher than the figure recorded in the previous decade.

Overall, the study found that the number of babies in the region born with birth defects increased by more than 60 percent (37 out of every 1,000 are now born with defects) in the past seven years. This rise was linked to an increased exposure to metals released by the bombs and bullets used over the past decade.

Hair samples of the population of Fallujah revealed levels of lead in children with birth defects five times higher than in other children, and mercury levels six times higher. Basrah children with birth defects had three times more lead in their teeth than children living in areas not struck by the artillery.

The intense fighting in Iraq led by the US and UK is not the only thing that harmed children in cities like Fallujah and Basrah – a new study revealed a shocking rise in birth defects in children conceived after the invasion. (AFP Photo / Odd Andersen)
The intense fighting in Iraq led by the US and UK is not the only thing that harmed children in cities like Fallujah and Basrah – a new study revealed a shocking rise in birth defects in children conceived after the invasion. (AFP Photo / Odd Andersen)

The study found a “footprint of metal in the population,” Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, one of the lead authors of the report said. Savabieasfahani is an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health.

“In utero exposure to pollutants can drastically change the outcome of an otherwise normal pregnancy. The metal levels we see in the Fallujah children with birth defects clearly indicates that metals were involved in manifestation of birth defects in these children,” she said.

The study’s preliminary findings, released in 2010, led to an in-depth inquiry on Fallujah by the World Health Organization (WHO), the results of which will be released next month. The inquiry is expected to show an increase in birth defects following the Iraq War.

According to the WHO, a pregnant woman can be exposed to lead or mercury through the air, water and soil. The woman can then pass the exposure to her unborn child through her bones, and high levels of toxins can damage kidneys and brains, and cause blindness, seizures, muteness, lack of coordination and even death.

US and UK ‘unaware’ of rise in birth defects

US Defense Department responded to the report by claiming that there are no official reports indicating a connection between military action and birth defects in Iraq.

“We are not aware of any official reports indicating an increase in birth defects in Al Basrah or Fallujah that may be related to exposure to the metals contained in munitions used by the US or coalition partners,” a US Defense Department spokesperson told the Independent. “We always take very seriously public health concerns about any population now living in a combat theatre. Unexploded ordnance, including improvised explosive devises, are a recognized hazard.”

An UK government spokesperson also said there was no “reliable scientific or medical evidence to confirm a link between conventional ammunition and birth defects in Basrah. All ammunition used by UK armed forces falls within international humanitarian law and is consistent with the Geneva Convention.”

 


Lawless Land : Libya



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Published on Apr 23, 2012 by journeymanpictures

Divided Libya awaits election results amid ongoing violence

To see more go to http://www.youtube.com/user/journeymanpictures

Follow us on Facebook (http://goo.gl/YRw42) or Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/journeymanvod)

Gaddafi may be gone but Libya is now a country in chaos. Rebel groups are flush with weapons and taking the law into their own hands, persecuting those thought to have been allied to Gaddafi’s regime.

Libya’s power vacuum has been filled by heavily armed rebels who still control much of the war-torn nation. Images of the sprawling refugee camps reveal the extent of the country’s destroyed infrastructure. Mohammed Swehli, a commander of one of the major Misratan Rebel Brigades, denies the widespread allegations of torture and abuse. “They’re not bandits, they’re not militia groups”, he says of the rebels. But video after video has emerged of the torture of perceived Gaddafi loyalists, most of them far too gruesome to broadcast. In some cases the brutal treatment appears to be based solely on the colour of the victim’s skin. This report gained rare access to the prisons where thousands are being held indefinitely without charge. One former prisoner shows pictures of his injuries. “This is when they beat me with electric cables. They called me slave”, he says. With upcoming elections and new fears over a split between the country’s east and west, what does the future hold for post-revolution Libya?

A Film By SBS
Distributed By Journeyman Pictures
April 2012


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