Copyright 2001-2008, James J. Belcher. All rights reserved.
Never Bound Books
To print this chapter, point your cursor to "File" at the top left corner of your browser, and a left click of the mouse button will produce a pull-down menu containing the word "Print". Point your cursor to that word and again left-click your mouse. A Print box will now appear in the center of your screen; find "OK", point your cursor accordingly, and click one last time. The entire chapter will be printed.
2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 James J. Belcher. All
Palace, Mahé, Seychelles
lived on a remote island in the Indian Ocean.
I lived at the center of the world.
I lived where history was being made every day, including much of the
history going on in other places. That
was another “little thing” I soon discovered, that the four hundred or so
inside The Palace directed the activities of ten of thousands outside The
Palace. Through those tens of
thousands, millions more were directly influenced.
Ultimately, most of the world’s six billion had their daily lives
affected by The Palace.
was the case with Oscareyo and also the case of OPEC respecting the surprise
announcement of 31 March 2003. To a
certain clique within The Palace, it was called “April Fool, USA”.
One thirty-minute address delivered by a heretofore-unknown employee of
the oil cartel, a recent US emigré to Qatar named John R. Newman.
Mr. Newman was a broad-shouldered, silver-haired, bespectacled oil
veteran with degrees in petroleum engineering and computer science from the
Colorado School of Mines in the US. He
left the US only sixteen days before that, turning from a mid-level operations
manager from Texaco into a multi-millionaire citizen of an Arab emirate and a
non-US-citizen in just that amount of time.
had been some rumors that OPEC would make an important announcement during its
annual meeting in Vienna, but as usual, the mainly-Islamic group of ministers
was quiet, dignified and reserved as they made their entrances behind the closed
doors of their planning conferences. There
was a certain sparkle in the eye of the Senior Oil Minister of Qatar, but John
Newman’s disappearance was news only to a few Texans used to seeing him
complain inside Houston conference rooms. He
always started off with “The US has it all wrong.”
No, John Newman was going nowhere in his career, insisting that the US
needed a drastic change to its energy policy, and that Texaco should take the
lead in a global energy conservation/energy utilization program.
I’d like to briefly introduce myself. My
name is John Newman, and I have been appointed as a Special Envoy to the Oil
Producing and Exporting Cartel, known by its acronym OPEC to most of the world.
While I have spent thirty years in the energy production arena of Texaco,
Inc., most of the world has no idea of who I am or what I stand for.
Three weeks ago, I was another nameless suit at Texaco’s Operating
Division headquarters in Houston, Texas. To
a few industry insiders, I was the insistent complainer as to international
petroleum production and conservation policies.
That is, I didn’t like what my country, the US, and Texaco were doing.
I was tolerated, just barely, but I had no voice in the process.
change. First, I’m now a citizen
of Qatar and I have renounced my US citizenship.
Therefore, what I am about to announce, which most Americans will
consider highly harmful to the US, is not a crime.
My ideas are going to become an action plan for the world, thanks to
OPEC. You see, I wrote journal
articles for over two decades, trying to be heard; OPEC heard, and OPEC
approves. Therefore, what I’m
announcing at this time is not something vague; it is instead an official act of
OPEC, business conducted at its annual meeting held here this week.
Those of two heads of state, both OPEC members, will follow my words.
They mark the most important change in OPEC since its formation and
underscore the sincerity and indelible determination of OPEC to implement the
policies that I will announce.
a personal level, it is indeed gratifying that my lone voice in the wilderness
has caught the attention of world powers, that my ideas have been adopted as a
way for the world to live better. To
distinguish my achievement, I have taken a six-month assignment as Special Envoy
and Policy Minister for OPEC. As
such, I am to be paid a weekly salary by Qatar equal to the revenue generated by
its average producing well in one day. So
that you understand what that means, I will cite two statistics: (1) There are
over 10,000 such wells in Saudi Arabia alone; and (2) the average well in Qatar
produces 10,000 barrels per day, with a wellhead price of about $US27.50 per
barrel. My weekly salary is
therefore $275,000, or more than the annual pay check of the President of the
I announce the new OPEC policy, I am going to cite facts about energy and the
United States, the sort of data conveniently “forgotten”, because no one
likes to take issue with the world’s supposed only superpower.
First, as almost everyone knows, the US is the largest energy consumer,
with annual use of about thirty five hundred quads.
So that you know the true meaning of that figure, I am going to ask you
to write down the digits “3” and “5”, and then follow that by seventeen
zeroes. It’s equal to more than
37,000 horsepower hours for each man, woman and child in the US.
Or, to put the number in an old-fashioned pose, it’s the energy of four
straining horses for each breath of life of every American.
It’s twenty times the energy consumption per person of China, which is
the nation with the world’s third largest energy consumption.
It’s wasting energy at a level unbelievable to most of the world.
the scientific community generally accepts that nuclear energy is the most
desirable way to produce electric power, after hydroelectric complexes.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many viable sources of hydroelectric power
that haven’t been tapped, mostly for decades.
There are, however, uranium reserves equivalent to that needed for at
least five hundred years of nuclear power, twenty times that of petroleum
reserves, and uranium deposits have not been sought with the zeal of those after
petroleum deposits. Despite the
anomalous occurrence at Chernobyl, nuclear power is safe, whereas thousands of
lives are lost each year in the production of coal, oil and gas, which are
alternative fuels used to run the dynamos that produce electricity.
it is true that spent uranium fuel presents a problem in that there is no
absolutely safe way known to store it indefinitely, the same is true with a host
of chemicals routinely used by industry worldwide.
And uranium used for nuclear power is concentrated energy.
The amount of matter equivalent to half of the smallest US coin, the
ten-cent piece commonly referred to as a dime, was the amount that devastated
Hiroshima. There’s not that much
matter to store, so the utilities just leave it “on site”, behind locked
gates in concrete drums, a couple of hundred meters from the reactors.
That process has worked well for over fifty years, so there’s no real
concern that it shouldn’t continue.
I see it, that means the US uses too much energy, so much that it is the
world’s largest importer of petroleum, even though it is an extremely large
producer of petroleum and has vast resources of coal and natural gas.
Due to silly politics and anti-nuclear media hype, its politicians have
caused the US to produce less nuclear power than it should, aggravating the
energy problems of that nation. This
is further aggravated by the US failure to utilize vast resources of untapped
oil and natural gas in the North Slope of Alaska, due to the politics of
appeasement to so-called environmentalists and so-called conservationists.
is poorly understood by many from even developed nations like the US.
OPEC’s member states produce about 40% of the world’s oil, no more.
Most is produced and used by other nations.
But OPEC is composed of those whose production-to-use ratio is low, so it
does control the exported oil. And
while natural gas fuels some cars, the vast majority of motor vehicles,
virtually all the ships and airplanes are fueled by petroleum.
While coal and natural gas power most of the US dynamos, the world in
general uses oil for the production of electricity, along with nuclear power in
the developed countries.
will be a good and stable market for OPEC petroleum in the foreseeable future.
At the present rate, OPEC supplies will last about another 30 years, no
more. So OPEC members want a way to
extend their supplies for a longer period and I long ago developed a plan for
that to occur. It involves changes
in the US: (1) The use of nuclear fuel as the foremost electrical power source;
(2) The conversion and building of more natural-gas-powered vehicles to
gradually be the standard for the country, using domestically-produced fuel; (3)
Further electrical power conservation by homes and businesses; (4) The cessation
of importation of petroleum and the exporting of surplus to other countries; and
(5) The production of all reasonably discoverable as well as already-discovered
sources of petroleum, regardless of ecological and environmental complaints.
short, the world’s energy problems would be substantially solved by US action
in the above five areas. With OPEC
behind me, tonight I announcing a program intended to bring the US into
compliance. I call it The Trillion Dollar
Idea, because it transfers a trillion dollars from the US and Israel to poorer
nations. The OPEC announcement is simple: ‘Starting tomorrow,
12:01a.m. New York City time, all OPEC imports of petroleum by two nations, the
US and Israel, will incur a surcharge based on 50% of the value of all their
imported petroleum, from non-OPEC as well as OPEC producers.
Prices to other nations will remain the same.
Transshipments from non-OPEC nations in an attempt to save the US and
Israel from the effects of the surcharge will be passed on to the offending
nations; continued deliberate efforts to disguise the true destination of
petroleum will lead to further sanctions against offenders, including an
indefinite embargo of oil to such offenders.’
all OPEC members have today terminated their membership in the World Trade
Organization and formally notified the World Court, as a judicial body within
the WTO, that they will not recognize their jurisdiction respecting trade
matters. All treaties that would
restrain or prevent OPEC and its members from assessing and collecting the
surcharge are hereby nullified. Therefore, no court can change the
disposition of this transferred trillion dollars, my idea.'
the entire announcement, from OPEC’s standpoint, save for two new matters
involving the makeup of OPEC itself. Today,
OPEC added a new and important member state, so the Executive Director of OPEC
and the President of that country will now make those announcements.”
John Newman left the podium and a host of unanswered questions from reporters
and journalists around the world, his new face was replaced by the
somewhat-familiar face, beard and caftan of Emir Al-Aziz Fattah, a member of the
Saudi royal family and nominal head of OPEC.
He spoke a few minutes in Arabic, which was translated immediately
into English and heard throughout the world
“In the name of the magnificent Allah, I bring greetings from the Oil
Producing and Exporting Cartel. We
have unanimously voted today to add a new member-state, whose oil exports will
now be governed by OPEC decisions. Additionally,
that new member-state has offered to provide OPEC members a certain form of
military protection, for which OPEC has agreed to pay a sum equal to 75% of the
aggregate US petroleum surcharge less the Palestinian commitment as I shall
explain it. The remainder of the
surcharge monies will go to Venezuela and Nigeria, two hitherto non-Arab members
most in need of economic revitalization.
Arabs are well aware that the US has subsidized the State of Israel heavily.
The US has more than the sum of the assets of the OPEC nations.
Nevertheless, we, as a predominately Arab and Muslim organization, are
extremely sympathetic to our Palestinian brethren and have pledged to annually
subsidize the Palestinian people in an amount equal to that provided Israel by
the US. Accordingly, the entire
aggregate Israel petroleum surcharge shall be paid daily to The Palestinian
Authority on behalf of the Palestinian people.
will have strict accounting controls in place and shall assert itself as an
active participant in Palestinian affairs.
This will insure the monies paid by OPEC from the surcharges are solely
for the benefit of the Palestinian people.
They shall not to be used for military purposes or for the personal
benefit of the Palestinian President or any governmental personnel or agencies.
If OPEC cannot be assured that monies paid are doing exactly that, then
OPEC will establish new agencies entirely controlled by it for distribution of
monies for the building of Palestinian infrastructure, such as roads, hospitals,
schools and communication systems, and for direct aid to the impoverished
is a condition to this aid, one that the US, Israel and the world shall
appreciate. No aid shall be paid
for a period of thirty days after each and every act of terrorism against
Israel, the US or any non-Palestinian country, where such terrorist act is done
by a Palestinian or one or more persons acting with the consent, prior
knowledge, assistance or personnel of Palestinian or supposedly-pro-Palestinian
have assurances from Yasser Arafat and the PLO.
He and they have agreed that acts of terrorism and conspiracies to
conduct such acts shall, as of now, constitute capital offenses and, if done in
the name of an organization, make all members of such organizations capital
offenders. He has assured me that
he welcomes a new era of peace and prosperity and that the OPEC aid justifies
this extreme stance against zealots whose unreasoned hatreds would upset this
special OPEC-Palestine donation.
turn, OPEC nations have agreed to extradite all known terrorists within their
borders to the PLO and to do all acts necessary to prevent terrorism, anywhere,
anytime, for whatever purpose. Israel
may now turn its attention to its own internal affairs and should now seek
aggressively to see that the historic 1994 Oslo accords are forthwith ratified.
This means that the 1967 Israeli boundaries as referenced in the
oft-cited UN resolutions are re-established and that Israeli settlements on the
West Bank of the Jordan are abandoned in favor of the Palestinians as their
rightful owners. I say to Israel:
You agreed then and you should not attempt to backtrack or renegotiate now.
Obey the will of the world as contained in the UN resolutions and pray to
your God for the blessing of peace that OPEC has provided you.
With Arab and OPEC and Palestinian governmental blessing and governance
aggressively requiring anti-terrorist behavior, you are safe.
that you understand the care and concern with which this anti-terrorism message
is made, let me clarify a point you might now raise in justification of
continued militarism against the Palestinian people.
We of OPEC, along with Yasser Arafat, have consulted with representatives
of Islamic Jihad, Hamas and many other so-called terrorist organizations.
As we speak, most of them are formally and informally disbanding,
considering that they have outlived their usefulness to the Palestinian people,
now that OPEC has made its pledge of aid and non-Israeli interference, and
further taxed the Israeli people to aid the Palestinian people.
I also say to Israel: Make no mistake. You
may not unilaterally send troops and tanks into the Palestinian areas,
regardless of supposed provocation. Palestine
does not send troops against Israel. From
today, neither shall Israel send troops against Palestine, or it shall pay the
ultimate price, its nuclear annihilation.
President of that new member state will now give his formal assent and detail
the military defense arrangement. He will clarify how adamant OPEC is as
to the implementation of Mr. Newman's Trillion Dollar Idea.”
was a pause as the Emir left and a slight delay before the emergence of the
President of that new OPEC nation. One
look caused the world to breathe an involuntary gasp as the insidious craftiness
of OPEC was manifested as an operational strategy in order to pursue Mr.
Putin, President of Russia, was beaming as never before.
The Russian bear was back, not as a superpower, but as an OPEC member
charged with a role in OPEC defense and compensated at the rate of $US110
billion per year. The extra hard
currency would be enough to turn Russia from third-world and poverty to
developed and prosperous in eight to ten years.
Other former SSRs with significant oil production would follow
Russia’s lead into OPEC and immediately enjoy the same advantages.
Russian was delivered with precision, as the former KGB official used words like
hammers to impact the full force
his message at a stunned world and a particularly incensed US
“With OPEC’s acceptance of our nation’s bid for entry, we have
uniquely agreed to act as the nuclear deterrent to efforts to overthrow OPEC
sovereignty. Whether by the US,
Israel or others, including the United Nations, OPEC will not tolerate attack or
invasion. There will be no
non-nuclear alternative, no discussions, no negotiations, and no mitigation.
Offenders will be the objects of an immediate and unceasing nuclear
defense by OPEC in the form of ICBMs launched from Russia at the offenders.
We have kept a sufficient number within our military forces’ control
for this purpose. It is about five
thousand warheads, just 10% of the total number the USSR once deployed, but
enough to effectively eradicate the US, even with its limited SDI, and all of
any other offending country.”
and OPEC don’t want war. But OPEC
won’t be bullied and now Russia has sufficient hard currency resources to
allow it to be in the economic position that it needn’t kowtow to the US, US
bankers, world Jewry or other American-Israeli interests.”
blow by a professional boxer to the midsection of the US President would have
hurt less. The US lost face, the
Russians and OPEC gained, and Israel was even more an isolated outpost in world
political machinations. But good
sense prevailed and the US response, after much heated debate, included no
nuclear first strike. Instead,
there were diplomatic overtures, talk and threats of economic sanctions.
In the end, the US capitulated, changing its policies to conform to Mr.
Newman’s five requirements. The
result was observable by the decline of its imported petroleum, a figure that
went from 30,000,000 barrels of oil a day to one-third that figure within eight
years and zero imports within fifteen. Behind
closed doors in both developed and third world nations, people and politicians
around the globe were pleased to see America get its comeuppance.
US economy was then humming away at a level of nearly $11 trillion ($11,000
billion) per year. The extra cost
of importing oil was large but only two per cent of the entire US economy.
So the effect caused merely a stall to the burgeoning US economy, a
hiccup to an economic elephant. Money
went elsewhere, to feed and clothe Russians and Palestinians, together with
citizens of South American and African OPEC member states.
Two per cent of the US economy equaled much more to those others than two
per cent to their own economies. It
equaled dignity, hope and prosperity, and yes, it was a trillion dollar idea
over the course of US oil importation, but it was worth it, to the US, to a
begrudging Israel and to the world.
Newman didn’t fade away. OPEC
“discovered” some Texaco-created software, and with his help, he directed
the OPEC group that used it to effectively monitor world petroleum use,
by-product creation and consumption and simultaneously monitor energy production
and consumption of sources other than petroleum.
OPEC had a real-time bird’s eye view of energy and it was a hawk when
it came to would-be cheaters of its US/Israel-pay-more policy.
Billion dollar “wrist slaps” kept the supposedly crafty at bay.
Mr. Newman’s broad grin became the well-recognized face for honest reporting
of world energy policy in a very positive way.
Like Ronald Reagan as spokesman for General Electric decades earlier, he
seemed to exude optimism while espousing conservation, along with the use of
more nuclear and less fossil fuels where practical.
Existing power plants usable only with petroleum, motor vehicles, most
shipping and all aircraft, together with heating oil needs - OPEC’s product
would forever be in demand, at a good price, but OPEC reserves would last
longer. North Slope exploitation
would help the US but it was no miracle cure.
And John Newman’s smiling face delivered a twice-monthly account of US
energy progress and the money it was saving in imported petroleum.
The bitter, some said indigestible, pill had been swallowed and the US
was moving in line with the rest of the globe.
was perhaps the most exciting aspect of my job, the witnessing and recording of
decisions made from the long view, as no politician had ever been able.
It was a crafty sort of global tinkering, an adjustment from an Olympian
[The remainder of chapter 7 is not printed here]