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Targeting the New Iraq Oil Law in San Francisco
On April 19th in San Francisco, activists, protesting what they called moves by U.S. and British petroleum corporations to take greater control of Iraq's oil, staged a mock celebration which began at a downtown Chevron station. In front of a banner reading "Mission (Nearly) Accomplished/ Iraq Oil Theft Law," anti-war protestors wearing facemasks of oil company executives took turns explaining to the assembled press why they were toasting the impending passage of a law in Iraq's parliament that would "liberate" the country's oil to British and U.S. companies.
Antonia Juhasz, visiting scholar at the Institute for Policy studies and author of the excellent history "The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time," recently wrote that if passed, "the new law would go a long way toward helping the oil companies achieve their goal... transforming Iraq's oil industry from a nationalized model closed to American oil companies except for limited (although highly lucrative) marketing contracts, into a commercial industry, all-but-privatized, that is fully open to all international oil companies."
Demonstrators wearing cut-out faces of CEOs Rex Tillerson of Exxon Mobil and John Browne of BP exulted in the war helping their companies secure access to more petroleum. Nearby, a seemingly over-caffeinated Dick Cheney waved a sign with a large Chevron logo which said "This War Has Nothing to Do With Oil" and danced to appropriate numbers blaring from a nearby boombox, including "Celebration," "Money (That's What I Want)," and "Fight For Your Right (to Party)." (In a 1999 speech to the Institute of Petroleum in London, Cheney, then CEO of oil services company Halliburton, said: "By 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from?  The Middle East, with two thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies.")