Friday, June 24, 2016

US, Britain planned to blow up Middle East oilfields By Wayne Madsen Report

US, Britain planned to blow up Middle East oilfields
The world reacted in horror when Saddam Hussein ordered his retreating troops withdrawing from Kuwait to set fire to the oil sheikhdom's oil fields. However, according to recently released declassified files of the U.S. and British governments, the two allies planned to destroy the oil wells, pipelines, and refineries in the event of the Soviet invasion during the Cold War era. The authorization for the demolition of the oil capabilities of Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar was contained in National Security Council memorandum 26/2 (NSC 26/2), signed by President Harry Truman on January 10, 1949. The operation also entailed the Central Intelligence Agency using the employees of U.S. and British oil companies in the Middle East to carry out the destruction of their own oil infrastructures in order to deny them to the Soviets. An NSC memo further describes the demolition and denial project.

NSC 26/2 was replaced by the Dwight Eisenhower administration, first with NSC 176and then NSC 5401. The Eisenhower administration changed the policy from destroying Middle East oil wells to capping the wells in order to have access to the oil in the future. There is no indication that the John F. Kennedy administration continued the plans to destroy and disrupt the Middle East's oil industry.

Although the U.S.-owned Arabian-American Oil Company (ARAMCO), headquartered in Dharan, Saudi Arabia, was part of the CIA's team that would help carry out the demolition, possibly with the aid of nuclear weapons, the Saudi government was not briefed on the plan. ARAMCO, a consortium of Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso), Standard Oil of California (SoCal), Socony Vacuum, and Texaco, was opposed to the decision not to reveal the plan to the Saudi government because it feared the Saudis might nationalize the company if the operation's existence was leaked. Similarly, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company of Britain, which ran the oil industry in Iran, feared that not informing the Iranian government of the operation would jeopardize its assets in that country. In the end, ARAMCO and Anglo-Iranian were overruled by the CIA and British Secret Intelligence Service (MI-6).

The smoking gun paragraph in Truman's destruction order.

The British dubbed their role in the operation "Plan NECKPIECE." The operation formerly carried the code word of SMARTWEED. MI-6 also gave the CIA responsibility for blowing up the U.S.-owned Bahrein Petroleum Company's infrastructure, even though Bahrain was then a protectorate of the United Kingdom. The British and Americans were to cooperate on the destruction of the assets of the joint U.S-British-owned Kuwait Oil Company. Britain had the role for destroying the Petroleum Development (Qatar), Ltd.'s oil assets. The American Oil Independent Company, which controlled drilling in the Kuwait-Saudi Neutral Zone, was also part of the destruction operation. MI-6 and the CIA jointly worked with the Iraq Petroleum Company to ensure the destruction of its capabilities. The Sidon, Lebanon terminus of the Trans-Arabian Pipeline, owned and operated by Tapline, an ARAMCO subsidiary, was also slated for destruction, as was an Anglo-Egyptian Oilfields Company refinery in Egypt. Although French oil companies co-owned with the British and Americans oil installations and field in Iraq and Qatar, there is no indication that the French were ever consulted on Anglo-British plans to destroy their petroleum assets in the Middle East. Among the installations to be destroyed were large British-owned facilities in Abadan, Iran and Kirkuk, Iraq. There were also U.S.-British plans to destroy pipelines in Jordan and the oil refinery in Haifa, Israel.

Sidon (Tripoli), Lebanon ARAMCO pipeline terminus on the Mediterranean Sea was slated for destruction by CIA teams working with oil company employees.
Although Secretary of State Dean Acheson was granted the discretion to inform Saudi King Ibn Saud of the demolition plans, Acheson refrained from doing so.

Formerly TOP SECRET British document outlining areas of responsibility for destruction of Middle East oil industry.

The Middle East oil denial operation was one of the most closely-guarded secrets of the Cold War.
To carry out the demolition, the CIA and their British counterparts were to assign "undercover" assets to oil companies in each of the countries involved. CIA officer George Prussing, who was undercover as an executive of Union Oil of California, helped draw up the demolition plan in cooperation with British intelligence, the senior executives of ARAMCO and other oil companies in the Persian Gulf region, and British Foreign Office diplomats assigned to the Middle East, including the British Political Resident in Bahrain.

Saddam merely carried out a plan in Kuwait that had been in the hip-pocket of the Americans and British for several decades.

When Saddam Hussein ordered the destruction of Kuwait's oil fields in 1991, there were suggestions that the act, itself, was a war crime. No such suggestions were ever made about the Americans' and British planned action to destroy all of the Middle East's oil fields being a "war crime."