The Power Elite Playbook, Việt Nam – Democratized and Ready to Plunder

Part 8

By Deanna Spingola
7 December 2007


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It only took three million slaughtered Vietnamese, over 59,000 Americans, Agent Orange, napalm, the destruction of Việt Nam’s infrastructure, billions of American tax dollars, about 30 years of American intervention, and almost 20 years of economic sanctions. Việt Nam is now democratized and safe for corporate plunder. Are the profits worth it? A global elite's answer might be similar to the response that Madeleine Albright gave when asked about the 500,000 children who perished during the U.S. sanctions of Iraq: “We think the price is worth it.” [1]


Three major oil companies existed from 1910 to 1914: (1) Rockefeller’s Standard Oil with its many veiled subsidiaries; (2) British-Persian Petroleum Company (BP); (3) and Royal Dutch Shell. John D. Rockefeller “resolved to take over control of both the British-Persian Petroleum Company and Royal Dutch Shell.” [2] Standard Oil and BP began merging as early as 1961. [3] Standard, also known as Amoco, completely merged with BP in 1998. Standard took over BP's leases at Prudhoe Bay giving Standard control over production, or suppression, in Alaska. [4] Standard Oil has the U.S. monopoly under the names Exxon/Mobil, Chevron and BP. [5] It is significant that Exxon/Mobil is still appealing the punitive damages resulting from the March 24, 1989 oil spill. They have fought it all the way to the business-friendly Supreme Court. It was due to be heard again in the spring of 2008. Twenty percent of the plaintiffs have died since the suit began. Justice Samuel Alito will recuse himself as he owns between $100,000 and $250,000 in Exxon stock. [6]


Standard Oil currently operates in: Africa, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Benelux (Netherlands), Bermuda, Brazil, British Columbia, the Canal Zone, the Czech Republic, Chile, China, Columbia, Ecuador, Egypt, Europe, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Iberia, Ireland,  Italy, Japan, Korea, Mauritius*, some areas in the Middle East, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Slovakia, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. The following countries kicked Standard Oil out and nationalized their oil: Cuba (1960), Algeria (1962), Bolivia (1942), Libya (1970), and Peru (1968). Standard was in Venezuela from 1921-1943 and then sold their interests to an affiliate. Standard was in Iran from 1954-1979. [7] Despite everything that the Bush oil family has done, Standard is not in Iraq yet – apparently the “insurgents” are still fighting it. Now we know how the enemies are targeted. * I wrote about Mauritius in an article about Diego Garcia which was a part of Mauritius. In 1962, Standard Oil started marketing their oil at the same time that the U.S. government took an interest in Diego Garcia. The U.S. military deported all of the citizens. Diego Garcia, isolated in the Indian Ocean, is now home to a military facility, allegedly one of the destinations of U.S. rendition flights. [36]


On February 24, 1907, the Dutch merged their very successful Royal Dutch Company for Exploration of Petroleum sources in the Netherlands Indies (Koninklijke Nederlandsche Maatschappij tot Exploitatie van Petroleum-bronnen in NederlandschIndië) [8] with the Shell Transport and Trading Company, a British concern, to form Royal Dutch Shell. On June 24, 1911, the very competitive Royal Dutch Shell purchased the last independent oil producer – The Dordtsche Petroleum Mij giving Shell domination of the oil industry in Indonesia. [9]


The Duri and Minas oil fields, located in the central Sumatran basin, were discovered just prior to World War II by Caltex, a joint venture between the American companies Chevron and Texaco (Standard Oil). Production did not begin until the 1950s. By 1963 the Duri and Minas oil fields accounted for 50 percent of Indonesia’s oil production. Things changed – Indonesia exercised greater control over its own oil resources during the 1950s and 1960s by escalating the operations of government-owned oil companies. They also introduced a new contract – the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) which gave Indonesia more of the profits after the foreign oil companies recouped their exploration costs. [10] However, oil company executives frown upon such things. As a consequence, resource-rich Indonesia has been plagued by violence and political corruption. [11]


“Indonesia had proven oil reserves in 1990 equal to 5.14 billion barrels, with probable reserves of an additional 5.79 billion barrels. Throughout the area of the South China Sea archipelago, as of 1993 “there were sixty known basins with oil potential; only thirty-six basins had been explored and only fourteen were producing. The majority of unexplored areas were more than 200 meters beneath the surface of the sea.” [12]


Imperialist France, encouraged by Royal Dutch Shell’s early oil discoveries in Indonesia, hoped to find oil in Indochina and the many islands in the South China Sea including the Spratly and Paracel Islands. After extensive geographical mapping, France’s Service des Mines, headquartered in Hanoi, found hydrocarbon seepages in a number of sandstone and limestone formations as early as 1920 in the Red River Valley, 75 miles northwest of Hanoi. In approximately 1935, a distinct petroleum odor emanated from the vicinity of Route 9, Việt Nam’s principle east-west road at about the 17th parallel. Coincidently, this is the very same route that was so heavily guarded by the American-managed South Việt Nam government during America’s war in Việt Nam. This was also the boundary for North and South Việt Nam. Five wells were drilled without finding “exploitable deposits” so the operation was abandoned. [13]


While Southeast Asia was still under France’s ruling thumb, oil-hungry Japan invaded, occupied, and organized two drilling operations during World War II - one in southern Laos in 1944 and the other by the city of Qui Nhon on the South Vietnamese coast which included offshore drilling from pontoons. The Japanese, like other imperialists, occupied the archipelago to seize its rich natural resources. Drilling ceased in 1945, especially after the bombing of non-military targets in Hiroshima and Nagasaki which sent a very clear message. [14] In 1954, the Borneo, also known as Kalimantan, oil fields were opened. [15] Shell Oil had been doing some exploratory drilling in Tunisia, Algeria, Nigeria, Trinidad and offshore in British Borneo between 1945 and 1955.


The Power Elite organized and control both The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the United Nations. They use the combined talents and resources of both organizations to identify, evaluate and measure the world’s resources, including prime real estate, with the objective of confiscating, privatizing, manipulating, and suppressing them in order to control the masses and attain ever increasing power and wealth. The oil monopolist Rockefeller family purchased the land that the United Nations sits on.


The United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE), established in 1947, entered the oil exploration business. In 1957, ECAFE “organized a seminar in New Delhi on the development of petroleum resources. [16] The U.N. sponsored the ECAFE Working Party of Senior Geologists who met in Bangkok in August 1966. [17] ECAFE concluded that “rich undersea oil reserves” are a real possibility despite the unfavorable “geology on land.” However, offshore drilling is expensive and technologically challenging. Therefore, the U.N. would have to turn that task over to experts – like Standard Oil.


To facilitate operations, “The Coordinating Committee for Offshore Prospecting in Asia (CCOP) was initiated in 1966 by China, Japan, Republic of Korea and the Philippines under the auspices of ECAFE (now ESCAP) and the United Nations. CCOP became an independent intergovernmental organization in 1987 based on the common understanding of its member countries and the aspirations of the United Nations (its controllers). The name was changed in 1994, but the acronym CCOP was retained. CCOP has during this period devoted itself to co-ordination of, and co-operation in, scientific activities related to coastal and offshore areas with respect to geological/geophysical surveys, regional map compilations, database development, and development of human resources and transfer of state of the art technology.” [18]


CCOP developed a 99 page survey and Geological Map (second edition) covering several countries, probably very similar to the resource survey developed by geologist Herbert Hoover in the 1920s (mentioned in part 7). The U.N. also produced the same kind of survey for the trouble-ridden East Timor entitled Geology and Mineral Resources of Timor-Leste (East Timor). [19] East Timor has substantial oil and gas resources. [20] A committee report for Việt Nam was created in 1967 and an actual geological survey began in 1968 with two ships, explosives and a team of geologists. Explosives, perhaps a type of mini bombs, were necessary to expose the salt dome structures signaling oil deposits deep under the sea. [21] Hoover has always been chummy with the bankers. He was instrumental in the resignation of General Smedley Butler USMC, America's Most Decorated General, who vociferously maintained that war is a racket to enrich big business. Hoover was also present in Paris, France on May 30, 1919 for the organizational meetings of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Royal Institute of International Affairs. Hoover attended the Paris Peace Conference with Bernard Baruch in 1919. While Secretary of Commerce, Hoover was responsible for The Radio Act of 1927 which placed the responsibility of licensing and regulating (censorship) radio stations in the hands of the federal government.


One of the goals of the CCOP was to stimulate the interest of oil companies – and according to their report: the top priority was Việt Nam and the Sunda Shelf adjoining that country, a very good reason to “save it from communism,” Of great significance is the CCOP-coordinated reconnaissance seismic and magnetic profiling survey over the Sunda Shelf during the summer of 1969 covering the countries of Borneo (Kalimantan), Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Việt Nam – all in the South China Sea. [22] Other countries have also developed seismic technology. [23] “By the end of 1969, the entire Sunda Shelf are had been let out in oil concessions except for that off Việt Nam. The major oil companies had become very interested in the area, and were willing and prepared to overcome their nervousness over the unsettled political situation there.” [24] The political situation may have provided a huge distraction.


Project Magnet was developed by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Naval Oceanographic Office. By using aircraft from 1951 through 1994, the U.S. “derived aeromagnetic data which were collected world wide to aid the geomagnetic field modeling efforts” and to support “the U.S. Defense Mapping Agency’s world magnetic modeling and charting program.” [25] Quite fortuitously, a new phase of Project Magnet, from 1974 to 1979, brought about the establishment of the national offshore data storage/retrieval centers and compilation of maps and geological syntheses of petroliferous basins. [26] Data became available for assessing geologic structures favorable for fossil fuel deposits. It was especially helpful in the flights over most of South Việt Nam. It would appear that the U.S. Department of Defense, the Pentagon, along with the CCOP were and are on the Rockefeller family’s vast payroll. Project Magnet was also used extensively in the Philippines for petroleum exploration. Scroll down and see chart.


“In 1987 CCOP became an independent intergovernmental organization, based in Bangkok, and in 1994 changed its name to the Coordinating Committee for Geoscience Programmes in East and South-East Asia. By 2004 it had 11 members: Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Việt Nam – and the support of 14 donor countries.” [27] As of 2007, they still maintain that office in Bangkok and publish reports. [28]


On July 3, 1973 fifteen companies united to form seven consortiums and submitted bids to the Republic of Việt Nam (South Việt Nam). Pecten V.N. (80% of Pecten is owned by a subsidiary of Shell Oil Company, which itself is wholly owned by Royal Dutch Shell – third-largest corporation in the world by revenues after ExxonMobil and Wal-Mart) joined with Cities Service, Mobil (now ExxonMobil), ESSO (Standard Oil) and Sunningdale (a group of Canadian firms) were awarded exploration rights on various blocks of Việt Nam’s continental shelf. However, the greatest potential for vast oil resources was in deeper waters – in the northern part of the Brunei-Saigon Basin. Three major oil companies – Cities Service, Mobil and ESSO obtained rights in those deeper waters. [29] The initial arrangement between the oil companies and the government was the concession system which allowed the oil company to explore and produce petroleum in a specific area, determined by the state. [30] The company paid the “host country compulsory taxes” at a fixed rate. The Saigon Administration had this concession system arrangement, which obviously favored the oil companies. [31]


The companies were required to begin exploration within three months and to start drilling the first well within a two year period of time. All the companies began their seismic studies immediately. However, only Pecten and Mobil began their drilling process before everything shut down in April 1975, ESSO and Sunningdale were to begin operations in the summer. “The first well was begun by Pecten on August 15, 1974, less than one year after the contract signing.” [32] By March 1975, significant progress had been made by Pecten. Mobil had made encouraging discoveries. By April 1975, everything stopped – due to the deteriorating military situation. Rigs were removed and personnel left. [33]


During a 1995 BBC TV documentary about the oil industry, the president of one of Standard Oil’s spin-off companies said: “It was quite a coincidence that we finished our offshore oil survey on the very last day of the war, just as the last helicopter was leaving the roof of the embassy in Saigon.” [34]


Oil companies from Norway, Britain, Holland, Russia, Germany and Australia won bids and started in their allotted areas. Interestingly, none of them hit oil. In contrast, Standard Oil’s allotted area has vast oil reserves. I guess it pays to have the Pentagon and the Department of Defense in your pocket. Project Magnet and their “undersea seismic research appears to have paid off.” [35] Since the survey was conducted by the Navy, Standard Oil wasn’t out any money – just the taxpayers!

Click here for part -----> 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 1718, 19, 20

[1] See interview: Madeleine Albright on 60 minutes - "worth it"; See also: "We Think the Price Is Worth It", Media uncurious about Iraq policy's effects- there or here By Rahul Mahajan

[4] BP merged with Standard Oil of Ohio, an early player in what turned out to be the Alaskan oil boom.

[6] Supreme Court to review Exxon Valdez case High court to decide whether energy giant should pay punitive damages, October. 29, 2007

[8] Indonesia by William H. Frederick and Robert L. Worden, Indonesia: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1993

[10] Indonesia by William H. Frederick and Robert L. Worden, Indonesia: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1993

[11] The Mass Killings in Indonesia After 40 Years by John Roosa and Joseph Nevins, October 31, 2005,

[12] Indonesia by William H. Frederick and Robert L. Worden, Indonesia: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1993

[13] The Development of Vietnam's Petroleum Resources by David G. Brown, Asian Survey, Vol. 16, No. 6 (Jun., 1976), pp. 553-570, University of California Press

[14] Ibid

[15] Ibid

[21] The Development of Vietnam's Petroleum Resources by David G. Brown, Asian Survey, Vol. 16, No. 6 (Jun., 1976), pp. 553-570, University of California Press

[22] Ibid

[23] Cooperative Monitoring in the South China Sea: Satellite Imagery, Confidence-Building Measures, and the Spratly Islands Disputes by John C. Baker and David G. Wiencek, Publisher: Praeger. Westport, CT. 2002, pgs. 38, 110

[24] The Development of Vietnam's Petroleum Resources by David G. Brown, Asian Survey, Vol. 16, No. 6 (Jun., 1976), pp. 553-570, University of California Press; See also Structural Framework Of The Sunda Shelf and Vicinity by Zvi Ben-Avraham, B.Sc., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1969, Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, January 1973

[25] Aeromagnetics Project Magnet Data (1953–1994), User's Manual by Allen M. Hittelman, Ronald W. Buhmann and Stewart D. Racey, National Geophysical Data Center, Boulder, Colorado

[29] The Development of Vietnam's Petroleum Resources by David G. Brown, Asian Survey, Vol. 16, No. 6 (Jun., 1976), pp. 553-570, University of California Press

[30] “In the Concession model, sometimes known as the tax and royalty system, the government grants a private company (or more often, a consortium of private companies) a license to extract oil, which becomes the company’s property (to sell, transport or refine) once extracted. The company pays the government taxes and royalties for the oil.” Crude Designs: The Rip-Off of Iraq’s Oil Wealth By Greg Muttitt

[32] The Development of Vietnam's Petroleum Resources by David G. Brown, Asian Survey, Vol. 16, No. 6 (Jun., 1976), pp. 553-570, University of California Press

[33] Ibid

[34] Black Gold Hot Gold, The Rise of Fascism in the American Energy Business

[35] The New U.S. -British Oil Imperialism, Part 1, By Norman D. Livergood

[36] The Shame of Diego Garcia By Andy Worthington, October 20 / 21, 2007


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