WASHINGTON – The controversial White House energy
task force two years ago reviewed Iraqi oil-field maps
and “foreign suitors for Iraqi oil-field contracts,”
reveal documents turned over under court order to a
government watchdog group by a member of the task

Judicial Watch Inc. first requested the documents
under the Freedom of Information Act in the spring of
2001, when Vice President Dick Cheney formed the
secret task force. The public-interest law firm has
battled the administration in federal court for the
information ever since.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton noted the mandated
release of the papers “couldn’t have come at a more
inconvenient time for the administration,” given
growing questions about the credibility of its prewar
claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction
and was tied to al-Qaida – thereby posing a direct
threat to America.

“Opponents of the war will argue that Iraq oil was on
the minds of at least some members of the task force
long before the war,” he said. “Supporters might argue
they couldn’t talk about the Mideast oil situation
without talking about Iraq.”

Phone calls to Cheney’s office were not immediately

Fitton says the White House still refuses to produce
the list of corporate and other private task force
members who met with administration officials,
including Cheney, former head of Halliburton Co., a
Dallas-based energy-services firm that recently landed
a half-billion-dollar federal contract in Iraq.

The unclassified
map of Iraq
turned over by the Commerce
Department, a government member of the task force,
shows the location of “supergiant” oil fields, oil
pipelines, refineries and tanker terminals. Commerce
Secretary Don Evans, a long-time Bush friend from
Texas, headed a Denver-based oil company before
joining the administration.

Though the papers came from Commerce, Judicial Watch
says they were responsive to its request for
task-force papers.

“These are task-force documents,” Fitton asserted.

Maps of oil-fields in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab
Emirates also were produced.

A separate
unclassified document,
dated March 5, 2001, lists
the names of “foreign suitors for Iraqi oil-field
contracts,” including Dutch Royal Shell, Russia’s
Lukoil and France’s Total Elf Aquitaine. It notes the
Russian and French energy giants signed
“production-sharing contracts” in 1997.

“This is a road map to the corporations who were in
conspiracy with the regime in Baghdad,” Fitton

Before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, United Nations
sanctions foreclosed the country’s lucrative oil
fields to U.S. investors. Discussions are under way
now to privatize at least a portion of Iraq’s
state-run oil company, allowing U.S. oil companies to
invest there for the first time in more than a decade,
administration officials tell WorldNetDaily.

Iraq boasts the world’s second-largest proven crude
reserves. Its oil fields are highly attractive to
U.S. producers, because the crude is not buried as far
beneath the surface as in American oil fields, making
drilling and other production costs relatively cheap.
Also, the crude is considered “sweet,” meaning it has
a low-sulfur content, which makes it cheaper to

The secret White House task force solicited input from
the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at
Rice University in Houston.

The Baker report, which was submitted to Cheney in
early April 2001, recommended considering a “military”
option in dealing with Iraq, which the report charged
was using oil exports as a “weapon,” by turning its
spigot on and off to “manipulate oil markets,”
WorldNetDaily has learned.

The report advised the Bush administration to, at a
minimum, bring UN weapons inspectors back to Iraq, and
then, “once an arms-control program is in place, the
United States could consider reducing restrictions on
oil investment inside Iraq” to gain greater control
over the reserves, and “inject” more stability into
world oil markets.

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