Archive for the 'Oil' Category

Who is Wrecking America?

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS | Counterpunch | Saturday, Sept 6, 2008

Does the liberal-left have a clue? I sometimes think not.

In his book, “What’s the Matter With Kansas?,” Thomas Frank made the excellent point that the Karl Rove Republicans take advantage of ordinary’s people’s frustrations and resentments to lead them into voting against their best interest.

Frank’s new book, “The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule,” lacks the insight that distinguished his previous book. Why does Frank think that conservatives or liberals rule?

Neither rule. America is ruled by organized interest groups with money to elect candidates who serve their interests. Frank’s book does not even mention the Israel Lobby, which bleeds Americans for the sake of Israeli territorial expansion. Check the index. Israel is not there.

Continue reading ‘Who is Wrecking America?’

Who Started Cold War II?

Patrick J. Buchanan | Taki’s Magazine | August 18, 2008

The American people should be eternally grateful to Old Europe for having spiked the Bush-McCain plan to bring Georgia into NATO.

Had Georgia been in NATO when Mikheil Saakashvili invaded South Ossetia, we would be eyeball to eyeball with Russia, facing war in the Caucasus, where Moscow’s superiority is as great as U.S. superiority in the Caribbean during the Cuban missile crisis.

If the Russia-Georgia war proves nothing else, it is the insanity of giving erratic hotheads in volatile nations the power to drag the United States into war.

Continue reading ‘Who Started Cold War II?’

U.S. Attacks Russia Through Client State Georgia

While U.S. media obsesses about John Edwards’ extramarital shenanigans

Paul Joseph Watson | Prison Planet | Friday, August 8, 2008

Georgian forces, trained and equipped by the Pentagon and the U.S. government, killed 10 Russian peacekeepers early this morning in a provocation attack that has escalated into military conflict, but the subsequent corporate media coverage would have us believe that the U.S. and NATO-backed client state Georgia is a helpless victim, when in actual fact a far more nuanced geopolitical strategy is being played out.

Original reports early this morning detailed how Georgian forces had killed 10 Russian peacekeepers and wounded 30 others, which was the provocation for Russian forces to begin military operations, but the fact that Georgian forces were responsible for starting the conflagration has been completely buried in subsequent media coverage.

“Georgia and the Pentagon cooperate closely,” reports MSNBC, “Georgia has a 2,000-strong contingent supporting the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, and Washington provides training and equipment to the Georgian military.”

Continue reading ‘U.S. Attacks Russia Through Client State Georgia’

The Iran Agenda

By Reese Erlich

In this excerpt from his new book, “The Iran Agenda,” veteran independent journalist and Truthdig contributor Reese Erlich challenges the conventional wisdom on Iran’s nuclear ambitions as he investigates the drive for war.

United States Tells Iran: Become a Nuclear Power

Top Democratic and Republican leaders absolutely believe that Iran is planning to develop nuclear weapons. And one of their seemingly strongest arguments involves a process of deduction. Since Iran has so much oil, they argue, why develop nuclear power?

James Woolsey typifies the view. The director of the CIA under both George Bush (the elder) and Bill Clinton said, “There is no underlying reason for one of the greatest oil producers in the world to need to get into the nuclear [energy] business … unless what they want to do is train and produce people and an infrastructure that can have highly enriched uranium or plutonium, fissionable material for nuclear weapons.”¹

In an op-ed commentary, former secretary of state Henry Kissinger wrote, “For a major oil producer such as Iran, nuclear energy is a wasteful use of resources,” a position later cited approvingly by the Bush administration.²

But U.S. leaders are engaging in a massive case of collective amnesia, or perhaps more accurately, intentional misdirection. In the 1970s the United States encouraged Iran to develop nuclear power precisely because Iran will eventually run out of oil.

A declassified document from President Gerald Ford’s administration, for which Kissinger was secretary of state, supported Iran’s push for nuclear power. The document noted that Tehran should “prepare against the time—about 15 years in the future—when Iranian oil production is expected to decline sharply.”³

The United States ultimately planned to sell billions of dollars’ worth of nuclear reactors, spare parts, and nuclear fuel to Iran. Muhammad Sahimi, a professor and former department chair of the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department at the University of Southern California, told me that Kissinger thought “it was in the U.S. national interest, both economic and security interest, to have such close relations in terms of nuclear power.”4

The shah even periodically hinted that he wanted Iran to build nuclear weapons. In June 1974, the shah proclaimed that Iran would have nuclear weapons “without a doubt and sooner than one would think.”5 Iranian embassy officials in France later denied the shah made those remarks, and the shah disowned them. But a few months later, the shah noted that Iran “has no intention of acquiring nuclear weapons but if small states began building them, then Iran might have to reconsider its policy.”6

If an Iranian leader made such statements today, the United States and Israel would denounce them as proof of nefarious intent. They might well threaten military action if Iran didn’t immediately halt its nuclear buildup. At the time, however, the comments caused no ripples in Washington or Tel Aviv because the shah was a staunch ally of both. Asked to comment on his contradictory views then and now, Kissinger said, “They were an allied country, and this was a commercial transaction. We didn’t address the question of them one day moving toward nuclear weapons.”7

Kissinger should have added that consistency has never been a strong point of U.S. foreign policy. Continue reading ‘The Iran Agenda’

Zachary Karabell on the Middle East

By Zachary Karabell | Posted on Aug 8, 2008

If you grew up in the 1970s, it was impossible not to be acutely aware of the Middle East as a flashpoint in the Cold War, a region fraught with danger, beset by conflict between Israel and the surrounding Arab states, home to radical groups that hijacked airplanes and in 1972 disrupted the Olympics. Long and difficult negotiations finally led to peace between Egypt and Israel in 1977, before darkness returned after the Shah of Iran was overthrown and replaced by a revolutionary group led by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979.

The kaleidoscope of war, peace, terrorism and revolution was a vivid and unsettling aspect of the 1970s, but what is both startling and depressing about the Middle East is that the same statement with different details could be made about the region for every single decade of the 20th century, and for the first decade of the 21st. It is not true that the Middle East has seen more war or instability than any other region in the world over the past century; far from it. Southeast Asia, Korea, China, Europe through 1945 saw far more devastation and death from war, as have large swaths of sub-Saharan Africa in the past decades. But the Middle East does have a singular ability to draw attention, create global shock waves and upset international politics. While the discovery of oil in the region early in the 20th century was certainly a factor, oil has not been the sole source of conflict or the primary reason for many of the crises. There is no one reason for the peculiar capacity of the Middle East to generate shock waves. Take history, a dollop of religion and ideology, mix in a bit of geography, add oil and serve over political sclerosis and corruption with some bad luck on the side, and you get a tumultuous corner of the world where “after a century of Western assertiveness, peace remains elusive and sectarian passions are virulent.”

Continue reading ‘Zachary Karabell on the Middle East’

The ‘Have-Oils’ and the Have-Nots

Skyrocketing oil and natural gas prices in the second quarter of this year led ExxonMobil to report the highest profit ever by an American company. Despite falling production and rising operating costs, Exxon brought in $138 billion in revenue and reported an astounding net income of $11.7 billion. Who else is profiting? And why are laborers not getting paid in the Arabian Gulf?

Answers to these questions and more on Link TV’s Mosaic Intelligence Report presented by Jamal Dajani.

Kill, Burn & Loot (4/7)

anthony @ 20:46

Bondsteel Camp: Kosovo Independence. American Game Behind It

KBR’s strategic masterpiece is Camp Bondsteel – the largest and most expensive US Army base since Vietnam, still in use today, complete with roads, its own power generators, houses, satellite dishes, a helicopter airfield and of course a Vietnam-style prison. By a fabulous coincidence, Camp Bondsteel is right on the path of the Albanian-Macedonian-Bulgarian Oil (AMBO) Trans-Balkan Pipeline. This key piece of Pipelineistan is supposed to connect the oil-and-gas-rich Caspian Sea with Europe. The feasibility project for AMBO was conducted by none other than KBR.

From Martial Law, Inc. KBR: A Halliburton Subsidiary, by Andrew G. Marshall:

KBR in Bosnia and Kosovo:

As economics professor at the University of Ottawa, Michel Chossudovsky, noted, “Throughout the 1990s, the Pakistan Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) was used by the CIA as a go-between — to channel weapons and Mujahideen mercenaries to the Bosnian Muslim Army in the civil war in Yugoslavia.” Quoting a report by the International Media Corporation, Chossudovsky wrote:

Reliable sources report that the United States is now [1994] actively participating in the arming and training of the Muslim forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina in direct contravention of the United Nations accords. US agencies have been providing weapons made in … China (PRC), North Korea (DPRK) and Iran…

… It was [also] reported that 400 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (Pasdaran) arrived in Bosnia with a large supply of arms and ammunition. It was alleged that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had full knowledge of the operation and that the CIA believed that some of the 400 had been detached for future terrorist operations in Western Europe.

During September and October [1994], there has been a stream of “Afghan” Mujahedin … covertly landed in Ploce, Croatia (South-West of Mostar) from where they have traveled with false papers … before deploying with the Bosnian Muslim forces in the Kupres, Zenica and Banja Luka areas…

The Mujahedin landing at Ploce are reported to have been accompanied by US Special Forces equipped with high-tech communications equipment, … The sources said that the mission of the US troops was to establish a command, control, communications and intelligence network to coordinate and support Bosnian Muslim offensives — in concert with Mujahideen and Bosnian Croat forces. (Michel Chossudovsky, Osamagate. Global Research: October 9, 2001)

Osama bin Laden in 1998

Osama bin Laden in 1998

Further, a Congressional report issued in 1997, “confirms unequivocally the complicity of the Clinton Administration with several Islamic fundamentalist organisations including Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda,” and that, “The “Bosnian pattern” described in the 1997 Congressional RPC report was replicated in Kosovo. With the complicity of NATO and the US State Department. Mujahideen mercenaries from the Middle East and Central Asia were recruited to fight in the ranks of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in 1998-99, largely supporting NATO’s war effort.” It was revealed that, “the task of arming and training of the KLA had been entrusted in 1998 to the US Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and Britain’s Secret Intelligence Services MI6.” (Michel Chossudovsky, Osamagate. Global Research: October 9, 2001)

Continue reading ‘Kill, Burn & Loot (4/7)’

Chomsky: Bush & Cheney Always Saw Iraq as a Sweetheart Oil Deal

By Noam Chomsky, Khaleej Times Online. Posted July 12, 2008.

U.S. war planners want an obedient client state that will house major U.S. military bases, right at the heart of the world’s major energy reserves.

The deal just taking shape between Iraq’s Oil Ministry and four Western oil companies raises critical questions about the nature of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq — questions that should certainly be addressed by presidential candidates and seriously discussed in the United States, and of course in occupied Iraq, where it appears that the population has little if any role in determining the future of its country.

Negotiations are under way for Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners decades ago in the Iraq Petroleum Company, now joined by Chevron and other smaller oil companies — to renew the oil concession they lost to nationalization during the years when the oil producers took over their own resources. The no-bid contracts, apparently written by the oil corporations with the help of U.S. officials, prevailed over offers from more than 40 other companies, including companies in China, India and Russia.

“There was suspicion among many in the Arab world and among parts of the American public that the United States had gone to war in Iraq precisely to secure the oil wealth these contracts seek to extract,” Andrew E. Kramer wrote in the New York Times.

Kramer’s reference to “suspicion” is an understatement. Furthermore, it is highly likely that the military occupation has taken the initiative in restoring the hated Iraq Petroleum Company, which, as Seamus Milne writes in the U.K. Guardian, was imposed under British rule to “dine off Iraq’s wealth in a famously exploitative deal.”

Later reports speak of delays in the bidding. Much is happening in secrecy, and it would be no surprise if new scandals emerge.

The demand could hardly be more intense. Iraq contains perhaps the second-largest oil reserves in the world, which are, furthermore, very cheap to extract: no permafrost or tar sands or deep-sea drilling. For U.S. planners, it is imperative that Iraq remain under U.S. control, to the extent possible, as an obedient client state that will also house major U.S. military bases, right at the heart of the world’s major energy reserves.

That these were the primary goals of the invasion was always clear enough through the haze of successive pretexts: weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein’s links with al Qaeda, democracy promotion and the war against terrorism, which, as predicted, sharply increased as a result of the invasion.

Last November, the guiding concerns were made explicit when President Bush and Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, signed a “Declaration of Principles,” ignoring the U.S. Congress, the Iraqi parliament and the populations of the two countries.

The declaration left open the possibility of an indefinite long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq that would presumably include the huge air bases now being built around the country, and the “embassy” in Baghdad, a city within a city, unlike any embassy in the world. These are not being constructed to be abandoned.

The declaration also had a remarkably brazen statement about exploiting the resources of Iraq. It said that the economy of Iraq — which means its oil resources — must be open to foreign investment, “especially American investments.” That comes close to a pronouncement that we invaded you so that we can control your country and have privileged access to your resources.

The seriousness of this commitment was underscored in January, when Bush issued a “signing statement” declaring that he would reject any congressional legislation that restricted funding “to establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq” or “to exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq.”

Extensive resort to “signing statements” to expand executive power is yet another Bush innovation, condemned by the American Bar Association as “contrary to the rule of law and our constitutional separation of powers.” To no avail.

Not surprisingly, the declaration aroused immediate objections in Iraq, among others from Iraqi unions, which survive even under the harsh anti-labor laws that Hussein instituted and the occupation preserves.

In Washington propaganda, the spoiler to U.S. domination in Iraq is Iran. U.S. problems in Iraq are blamed on Iran. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sees a simple solution: “Foreign forces” and “foreign arms” should be withdrawn from Iraq — Iran’s, not ours.

The confrontation over Iran’s nuclear program heightens the tensions. The Bush administration’s “regime change” policy toward Iran comes with ominous threats of force (there Bush is joined by both U.S. presidential candidates). The policy also is reported to include terrorism within Iran — again legitimate, for the world rulers. A majority of the American people favor diplomacy and oppose the use of force. But public opinion is largely irrelevant to policy formation, not just in this case.

An irony is that Iraq is turning into a U.S.-Iranian condominium. The Maliki government is the sector of Iraqi society most supported by Iran. The so-called Iraqi army — just another militia — is largely based on the Badr brigade, which was trained in Iran and fought on the Iranian side during the Iran-Iraq War.

Nir Rosen, one of the most astute and knowledgeable correspondents in the region, observes that the main target of the U.S.-Maliki military operations, Moktada al-Sadr, is disliked by Iran as well: He’s independent and has popular support, and is therefore dangerous.

Iran “clearly supported Prime Minister Maliki and the Iraqi government against what they described as ‘illegal armed groups’ (of Moktada’s Mahdi army) in the recent conflict in Basra,” Rosen writes, “which is not surprising given that their main proxy in Iraq, the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, dominates the Iraqi state and is Maliki’s main backer.”

“There is no proxy war in Iraq,” Rosen concludes, “because the U.S. and Iran share the same proxy.”

Tehran is presumably pleased to see the United States institute and sustain a government in Iraq that’s receptive to its influence. For the Iraqi people, however, that government continues to be a disaster, very likely with worse to come.

In Foreign Affairs, Steven Simon points out that current U.S. counterinsurgency strategy is “stoking the three forces that have traditionally threatened the stability of Middle Eastern states: tribalism, warlordism and sectarianism.” The outcome might be “a strong, centralized state ruled by a military junta that would resemble” Saddam Hussein’s regime.

If Washington achieves its goals, then its actions are justified. Reactions are quite different when Vladimir Putin succeeds in pacifying Chechnya, to an extent well beyond what Gen. David Petraeus has achieved in Iraq. But that is them, and this is the United States. Criteria are therefore entirely different.

In the United States, the Democrats are silenced now because of the supposed success of the U.S. military surge in Iraq. Their silence reflects the fact that there are no principled criticisms of the war. In this way of regarding the world, if you’re achieving your goals, the war and occupation are justified. The sweetheart oil deals come with the territory.

In fact, the whole invasion is a war crime — indeed the supreme international crime, differing from other war crimes in that it encompasses all the evil that follows, in the terms of the Nuremberg judgment. This is among the topics that can’t be discussed, in the presidential campaign or elsewhere. Why are we in Iraq? What do we owe Iraqis for destroying their country? The majority of the American people favor U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. Do their voices matter?

Noam Chomsky’s writings on linguistics and politics have just been collected in The Essential Chomsky, edited by Anthony Arnove, from the New Press. Chomsky is an emeritus professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.

© 2008 Khaleej Times Online All rights reserved.

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