Monday, June 23, 2008

Forget About Freedom and Democracy...

Whenever you hear George W. Bush or anyone else in his Administration speak about "freedom", "democracy" or "terrorism", the red flags should be springing up. It's all code, all a euphemism for expansion of U.S. hegemony and corporate interests. The same kind of exploits we saw at the opening of the 20th century, but on a far grander and more audacious scale. We've endured this latest magic show for nearly eight years, and we should all have it memorized by now.

These people, the true elitists, through their actions, express utter contempt and disregard for humanity and are concerned only with the expansion of their own personal power and wealth. (What a sick joke to label Barack Obama "elitist"; like the rest of us, he is helplessly manipulated by the "true elites".)

This morning, I watched our (latest) Ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, warn Iran about its "nuclear aspirations":
"Iran has to—the government has to recognize that the international community takes this issue very seriously and that there will have to be further measures, if they continue to be in defiance of an international community."
Who is this person? A simple search of the internet reveals quite a story. Afghan Sunni Muslim. Staunch neoconservative and militant. Closely associated with Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Ahmed Chalabi, Scooter Libby, Charles Krauthammer. Charter signatory to "The Project for the New American Century". Former UNOCAL adviser for the trans-Afghanistan pipeline. Connections with the Taliban. Signer of a letter to President Clinton calling for the forcible overthrow of Saddam Hussein. And those are just the things listed in the public domain.

This person represents the American people at the U. N.? I would say not.

The following article by Eric Margolis recaps much of what we have all heard. Yet it bears repeating. It is important to see how every new little piece of information that leaks out fits into the puzzle - and for those paying attention, it all fits so neatly. We Americans can be a dull, distracted, complacent people. It takes an occasional 2 x 4 to capture our attention. Our "leaders" rely on that dullness and distraction. They count on our disengagement. For years they have pursued a very personal, and elitist agenda.

While we are distracted by the magic show, their hands slip ever deeper into our pockets.

***

AT LAST, SOME TRUTH ABOUT IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN


by Eric Margolis

PARIS - After a sea of lies and a tsunami of propaganda, the ugly truth behind the Iraq and Afghanistan wars finally emerged into full view this week.

Four major western oil companies, ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Total, are about to sign US-brokered no-bid contracts with the US-installed Baghdad regime to begin exploiting Iraq’s oil fields. Saddam Hussein had kicked these firms out three decades ago when he nationalized Iraq’s foreign-owned oil industry for the benefit of Iraq’s national development. The Baghdad regime is turning back the clock. Read more
This agreement comes as talks are continuing between the Washington and its Baghdad client regime over future US basing rights in Iraq. After some face-saving Iraqi objections, it is expected that Baghdad will sign a compact with Washington giving US forces control of Iraq and its air space in a manner very similar to Great Britain’s colonial arrangement with Iraq.

Interestingly, the same oil companies that used to exploit Iraq when it was a British colony are now returning. As former US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan recently admitted, the Iraq war was all about oil. VP Dick Cheney stated in 2003 that the invasion of Iraq was about oil, and for the sake of Israel.

Meanwhile, according to Pakistani and Indian sources, Afghanistan just signed a major deal to launch a long-planned, 1680 km long pipeline project expected to cost $ 8 billion. If completed, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline (TAPI) will export gas and, later, oil from the Caspian Basin to Pakistan’s coast where tankers will transport it to the west.

The Caspian Basin located under the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakkstan, holds an estimated 300 trillion cubic feet of gas and 100-200 billion barrels of oil. Securing the world’s last remaining known energy Eldorado is strategic priority for the western powers. China can only look on with envy.

But there are only two practical ways to get gas and oil out of land-locked Central Asia to the sea: through Iran, or through Afghanistan to Pakistan. For Washington, Iran is tabu. That leaves Pakistan, but to get there, the planned pipeline must cross western Afghanistan, including the cities of Herat and Kandahar.

In 1998, the Afghan anti-Communist movement Taliban and a western oil consortium led by the US firm Unocal signed a major pipeline deal. Unocal lavished money and attention on Taliban, flew a senior delegation to Texas, and also hired an minor Afghan official, one Hamid Karzai.

Enter Osama bin Laden. He advised the unworldly Taliban leaders to reject the US deal and got them to accept a better offer from an Argentine consortium, Bridas. Washington was furious and, according to some accounts, threatened Taliban with war.

In early 2001, six or seven months before 9/11, Washington made the decision to invade Afghanistan, overthrow Taliban, and install a client regime that would build the energy pipelines. But Washington still kept up sending money to Taliban until four months before 9/11 in an effort to keep it `on side’ for possible use in a war or strikes against Iran.

The 9/11 attacks, about which Taliban knew nothing, supplied the pretext to invade Afghanistan. The initial US operation had the legitimate objective of wiping out Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida. But after its 300 members fled to Pakistan, the US stayed on, built bases – which just happened to be adjacent to the planned pipeline route – and installed former Unocal `consultant’ Hamid Karzai as leader.

Washington disguised its energy geopolitics by claiming the Afghan occupation was to fight `Islamic terrorism,’ liberate women, build schools, and promote democracy. Ironically, the Soviets made exactly the same claims when they occupied Afghanistan from 1979-1989. The cover story for Iraq was weapons of mass destruction, Saddam’s supposed links to 9/11, and promoting democracy.

Work will begin on the TAPI once Taliban forces are cleared from the pipeline route by US, Canadian and NATO forces. As American analyst Kevin Phillips writes, the US military and its allies have become an `energy protection force.’

From Washington’s viewpoint, the TAPI deal has the added benefit of scuttling another proposed pipeline project that would have delivered Iranian gas and oil to Pakistan and India.

India’s energy needs are expected to triple over the next decade to 8 billion barrels of oil and 80 million cubic meters of gas daily. Delhi, which has its own designs on Afghanistan and has been stirring the pot there, is cock-a-hoop over the new pipeline plan. Russia, by contrast, is grumpy, having hoped to monopolize Central Asian energy exports.

Energy is more important than blood in our modern world. The US is a great power with massive energy needs. Domination of oil is a pillar of America’s world power. Afghanistan and Iraq are all about control of oil.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2008

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