Why Are These Arabs Here?

Now I was deeply suspicious. I found myself going over the conversations I had with that gentleman, time and time again. In my mind's eye I saw bubbles on X-ray photographs, and I compared good and bad welds. I went over and over the things he had told me. I became convinced that, to quote an old saying, all was not right in the State of Denmark.

Then I remembered something else. In my mind I went back to the conversations between Mr. X and Senator Chance, conversations in which I had participated. That had been one and a half years prior to this time, but suddenly I saw tremendous developments relating to some of the things Mr. X had said at the time. I decided I would put some answers to them.

What follows is an approximate recall of the questions and answers between Senator Chance and Mr. X, one and a half years earlier. If you like, this is the good old "flashback" method. The questions and answers went like this.

Senator Hugh Chance had asked, "Mr. X, how much oil is there on the North Slope of Alaska?"
"Senator Chance, I'm persuaded there is as much oil as there is in all of Saudi Arabia."

"Then, Mr. X, if there is that much oil there, there is not an energy crisis." (Mr. X's only answer was a smile, implying that Senator Chance had hit the nail on the head.)

"Mr. X, what do you think the Federal government is really out to do?" "Senator, I personally feel that the American government wants to nationalize the oil companies of America."

"Then, Mr. X, if you are so convinced of that fact, have you calculated how long you can remain solvent with present Federal control?"

Mr. X was reluctant to answer at first, but then he looked at Senator Chance and said, "Yes, we are so convinced that in fact we, as oil company executives, have made that calculation."

"Then how much longer do you think you can remain solvent?" "Until the year 1982."

"Then, if what you say is true, why don't you oil companies warn the American people of what is going on? After all, it is your neck that is at stake."

"Senator, we can't afford to tell the truth."

"Why not?"

"Because, Senator, the Federal government already has so many laws passed, and regulations imposed on us as oil companies, that if they decided to enforce these rules they could put us into bankruptcy within six months. Sir, we don't dare tell the truth."

In passing, we point out that in our later chapters we shall explain how all this ties in with the apparent millions of dollars in profits made by the various oil companies today. There is an explanation, and it is mind-boggling!

That was the conversation, virtually word for word, as I remember it. The conversation cannot be denied. Senator Chance and I were both there, and we publicly and privately made it clear that the conversation did take place, just as I have recorded it.

Now I was in an unexpected situation. Here we were approaching the end of the time on the pipeline, and there was a story that must be told. Mr. X had understood one and a half years previously that the American government was out to nationalize the oil companies. He had seen it long before I did, but now I understood that too. Should I remain silent? (And even if I talked, would anybody believe me?) Should I be prepared to open my mouth, because I, as a true American, believe in the free enterprise system? Would there be danger, maybe even physical danger, and would there be attacks against my spiritual ministry if I did open my mouth as to the facts that were taking place all around me?

I have always been one prepared to accept a challenge. I knew that I had no choice. I had no option but to do what had to be done—to do my part to inform the American people of the dramatic attempts that were being made to bring the oil companies to their knees, to a state of bankruptcy, as one of the necessary steps towards the socialization of the great Republic of which I am a proud member.

From that point on I began to pry into everything I could, to find out all the facts that were relevant. I was interested with a new interest that I had not previously had. I was a man with a mission. It might be worthy to note that I was the only Chaplain on this Northern Sector of the Pipeline, and therefore I was the only one who would have access to this particular information. Other Chaplains on the Pipeline would not even have known what I had access to. Therefore they would have no wish to report, either through the media or by such a book as this. I want to make it very clear that in no way am I challenging the integrity of others who were Chaplains at other areas of the Pipeline.

As I mentioned previously, I noticed that permits which had been issued for the life of the construction of the Pipeline were now being withdrawn.

One day I walked into the office of one of the engineers, and he began to show me what was happening at Happy Valley. Before long I found out that this same story was being multiplied up and down the Northern Sector of the Pipeline. There was a lengthy manual published which listed all the permits. I had reviewed it at the beginning of the construction phase of the Pipeline, and I remember very clearly that the words were that these were to be the rules that were to be followed by everybody for the entire construction phase of the Pipeline.

Now we were within nine months of the completion of the Pipeline and of oil flow. This was the status as I was in the engineer's office that day. As soon as I walked into the office he began to say, "Chaplain what do you think of this sort of nonsense? Here the Federal government is instructing us to change the entire system of sewage that we have in this camp. We are a few months from the end of our time here, and the system we've got has proved perfectly satisfactory. If we do what they tell us to do, it's going to run into a fantastic cost, and the whole thing will be left here when we move out in just a few month's time. Have you ever heard of such nonsense? What do you think is their purpose? Why would they want us to remove one system that they approved only a relatively short time ago? Now they've decided that that system is not satisfactory and we must have this new one."

I was flabbergasted! "Are you telling me that the system that has only been in for nearly two years, is now so faulty that it must be replaced and won't do for the few extra months we are to be here?"

"Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. I find it hard to believe-there's something wrong somewhere. Sometimes these government regulations are just about impossible to understand. But for us to tear down and haul out our present system would involve a fantastic sum of money. Then we've got to actually rebuild this new sewage system, bring it in, put it up, and there is absolutely no point in doing it. The system we have is perfectly satisfactory. It almost seems as though the government is doing its utmost to slow down the development of the Pipeline, and maybe even to make the costs as high as they can. What do you think Chaplain? Are they trying to break the oil companies, or delay the flow of oil? What do you make of it?"

I looked at him, and then I asked, "What do you think yourself? Do you think the new system is justified ... is there something wrong with the old system?"

"No, Chaplain! There's nothing wrong with the old system. The water that comes out from that system after it's been treated is so pure that you could drink it. There's absolutely no reason at all why the old system should be taken out. Nor does the water hurt the ecology—it's just good, ordinary pure water. This whole business is utterly ridiculous, and what's more, there are a lot more withdrawals of permits taking place up and down the Pipeline. I wish I knew what was going on."

"Yes, I wish I knew what was going on, too,"I answered quietly. I kept some of my thoughts to myself, but as I left him I was thinking deeply. Lots of things were falling into place, in ways that were clear, but very undesirable. It did seem that the Federal government, for reasons of its own, was doing its utmost to slow down the project and increase its costs. They wanted to embarrass the oil companies in every way they could, especially financially.

There was more, and more, and more. I talked to yet another executive with Atlantic Richfield, and some of the things he told me were equally as startling.

It was about this time I noticed some unusual visitors. Who were all those men coming into Prudhoe Bay? Why, all of a sudden, are men coming in dressed in Arab garb—why are these Arabs here? What are the bankers from New York doing here? I had seen them from time to time during the two years, but now they were all converging at one time onto Prudhoe Bay, with instructions to be allowed to see everything. I knew the oil company official who had been designated to be their host. I knew him personally. Day after day he was coming to me saying, "Chaplain, you'll never guess who came through today. Chaplain, do you want to rub shoulders with one of the richest men in the world? Chaplain, why don't you ride in the back seat today? I have with me the Secretary-Treasurer of such and such a company ... Chaplain, would you like to witness spiritually to one of the top men you'd never touch, because he would probably never go to one of your church services? ... Chaplain today I've been designated to take a man all around through the Bay who has come here all the way from Saudi Arabia. In fact, he's coming in his own hired jet..."

Day after day, I heard talk like this, and I watched as a stream of these financial experts came to Prudhoe Bay. Why were they here? What were they coming in for? Why all of a sudden this interest in Prudhoe Bay? The money men of the world were coming from everywhere. Something intentional was going on. Something that without a doubt was planned, and now it was adding up more and more. I could see it very plainly. The pieces were indeed fitting together.