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Thread: Understanding The Chimp.. and Iraq (part 11)

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Understanding The Chimp.. and Iraq (part 11)



    Ex-President Bush, Ex-Prime Minister Major, and Ex Secretary Baker, in the 1990's, were Carlyle's advance team, scouring the world for profitable investments and investors. In Saudi Arabia they met with the royal family, and with the two wealthiest, non-royal families -- the bin Ladens and the bin Mahfouzes.

    Khalid bin Mahfouz was prominent in Delta Oil, Unocal's associate in the Afghan pipeline conflict. He was later accused of financing al Qaeda, and named in a trillion dollar lawsuit brought by the families of 9/11 victims. (It was Mr. bin Mahfouz who had been Mr. Baker's business associate in Houston.)

    Carlyle retained James Baker's Houston law firm, Baker-Botts, and Baker himself served as Carlyle Senior Counselor from 1993 until 2005. (Other clients of Baker-Botts: Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Texaco, Shell, Amoco, Conoco-Phillips, Halliburton, and Enron.)

    Mr. Baker has long been willing to put foremost the financial advantage of himself, his firm, and his friends, often at the expense of patriotism and public service. As President Reagan's Secretary of the Treasury, he presided over the savings-and-loan scandal, in which S&L executives like Charles Keating and the current President's brother Neil Bush handed the American taxpayers a bill to pay, over a 40-year period, of $1.2 trillion. His law firm willingly took on the defense of Prince Sultan bin Abdul Azis, the Saudi Defense Minister sued by the families of 9/11 victims for complicity in the attacks.

    More recently President Bush asked Mr. Baker to negotiate the relief of Iraq's burden of international debt and war reparations. This would allow Iraq to self-finance a large portion of its reconstruction -- and relieve American taxpayers of just that much responsibility.

    (The November 1, 2004 issue of The Nation carried an article by Naomi Klein, entitled "James Baker's Double Life." It details the story summarized below.)

    One of the largest creditor nations was Kuwait; Iraq owed it some $57 billion in debt and war reparations. Realizing this asset was jeopardized by Mr. Baker's efforts, the Carlyle Group saw a huge business opportunity. It offered Kuwait the political influence of its global high-rollers, to engineer an exemption from the debt-reduction initiative.

    If Kuwait accepted their proposal, Carlyle stood to gain $1 billion of new investment capital and millions in fees and commissions. Mr. Baker's personal equity stake in Carlyle is said to be $180 million.

    On January 21, 2004 Mr. Baker met with the Foreign Minister of Kuwait seeking to have Iraq's debts of $57 billion excused. On the same day the proposal from Carlyle was hand-delivered to the same Foreign Minister, offering the possibility of retaining the $57 billion asset. The squeeze play might have worked, but the UK Guardian discovered and exposed the plot and within days Carlyle withdrew from it.

    From there, the Iraqi debt relief project disintegrated

    We will encounter Mr. Baker again soon, working just as cleverly.

    September 11, 2001

    In September of 2000, the Project for a New American Century published a report, "Rebuilding America's Defenses." It advocated pre-emptive war once again, but noted its acceptance would be difficult in the absence of "some catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor." (Visit http://www.newamericancentury.org to see the report.)

    President Bush formally established the PNAC's prescription for pre-emptive, premeditated war as U.S. policy when he signed a document entitled "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America" early in his first term.

    Still nothing illegal or unconstitutional had been done.

    But the rationale and the planning for attacking both Afghanistan and Iraq were in place.

    The preparations had all been done secretly, wholly within the executive branch. The Congress was not informed until the endgame, when President Bush, making his dishonest case for the "war on terror" asked for and was granted the discretion to use military force. The American people were equally uninformed and misled. Probably never before in our history was such a drastic and momentous action undertaken with so little public knowledge or Congressional oversight: the dispatch of America's armed forces into four years of violence, at horrendous costs in life and treasure.

    Then a catastrophic event takes place. A hijacked airliner probably en route to the White House crashes in Pennsylvania, the Pentagon is afire, and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center are rubble.

    In the first hours of frenetic response, fully aware of al Qaeda's culpability, both President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld seek frantically to link Saddam Hussein to the attacks, as we know from Richard Clarke's book, Against All Enemies. They are anxious to proceed with their planned invasion of Iraq.

    If the Bush Administration needed a reason to proceed with their invasions, they could not have been handed a more fortuitous and spectacular excuse, and they played their hand brilliantly.

    9/11 was a shocking event of unprecedented scale, but it was simply not an invasion of national security. It was a localized criminal act of terrorism, and to compare it, as the Bush Administration immediately did, to Pearl Harbor was ludicrous: the hijacked airliners were not the vanguard of a formidable naval armada, an air force, and a standing army ready to engage in all out war, as the Japanese were prepared to do and did in 1941. By equating a criminal act of terrorism with a military threat of invasion, the Bush Administration consciously adopted fear mongering as a mode of governance. It was an extreme violation of the public trust, but it served perfectly their need to justify warfare.

    As not a few disinterested observers noted at the time, international criminal terrorism is best countered by international police action, which Israel and other nations have proven many times over to be effective. Military mobilization is irrelevant. It has proven to be counterproductive.

    Why, then, was a "war" declared on "terrorists and states that harbor terrorists?"

    The pre-planned attack on Afghanistan, as we have seen, was meant to nullify the contract between the Taliban and the Bridas Corporation. It was a pure play of international energy policy. It had nothing to do, as designed, with apprehending Osama bin Laden--a pure play of security policy.

    But the two "seemingly unrelated areas of policy" had been "melded," so here was an epic opportunity to bait-and-switch. Conjoining the terrorists and the states that harbored them made "war" plausible, and the Global War on Terror was born: it would be necessary to overthrow the Taliban as well as to bring Osama bin Laden to justice.

    (In retrospect, the monumental fraud of the "war on terror" is crystal clear. In Afghanistan the Taliban was overthrown instead of bringing the terrorist Osama bin Laden to justice, and in Iraq there were no terrorists at all. But Afghanistan and Iraq are dotted today with permanent military bases guarding the seized petroleum assets.)

    On October 7, 2001 the carpet of bombs is unleashed over Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai, the former Unocal consultant, is installed as head of an interim government. Subsequently he is elected President of Afghanistan, and welcomes the first U.S. envoy -- Mr. John J. Maresca, the Vice President of the Unocal Corporation who had implored Congress to have the Taliban overthrown. Mr. Maresca was succeeded by Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad -- also a former Unocal consultant. (Mr. Khalilzad has since become Ambassador to Iraq, and has now been nominated to replace John Bolton, his PNAC colleague, as the ambassador to the UN.)

    With the Taliban banished and the Bridas contract moot, Presidents Karzai of Afghanistan and Musharraf of Pakistan meet on February 8, 2002, sign an agreement for a new pipeline, and the way forward is open for Unocal/Delta once more.

    The Bridas contract was breached by U.S. military force, but behind the combat was Unocal. Bridas sued Unocal in the U.S. courts for contract interference and won, overcoming Richard Ben Veniste's law firm in 2004. That firm had multibillion-dollar interests in the Caspian Basin and shared an office in Uzbekistan with the Enron Corporation. In 2004, Mr. Ben Veniste was serving as a 9/11 Commissioner.

    About a year after the Karzai/Musharraf agreement was signed, an article in the trade journal "Alexander's Gas and Oil Connections" described the readiness of three US federal agencies to finance the prospective pipeline: the U.S. Export/Import Bank, the Trade and Development Agency, and the Overseas Private Insurance Corporation. The article continued, "...some recent reports ... indicated ... the United States was willing to police the pipeline infrastructure through permanent stationing of its troops in the region." The article appeared on February 23, 2003.

    The objective of the first premeditated war was now achieved. The Bush Administration stood ready with financing to build the pipeline across Afghanistan, and with a permanent military presence to protect it.

    Within two months President Bush sent the armed might of America sweeping into Iraq.

    Then came the smokescreen of carefully crafted deceptions. The staging of the Jessica Lynch rescue. The toppling of the statue in Baghdad. Mission accomplished. The orchestrated capture, kangaroo court trial, and hurried execution of Saddam Hussein. Nascent "democracy" in Iraq. All were scripted to burnish the image of George Bush's fraudulent war.

    The smokescreen includes the coverup of 9/11. Initially and fiercely resisting any inquiry at all, President Bush finally appoints a 10-person "9/11 Commission."

    The breathtaking exemptions accorded President Bush and Vice President Cheney in the inquiry rendered the entire enterprise a farce: they were "interviewed" together, no transcription of the conversation was allowed, and they were not under oath. The Commission report finally places the blame on "faulty intelligence."

    Many of the 10 commissioners, moreover, were burdened with stunning conflicts of interest -- Mr. Ben Veniste, for example -- mostly by their connections to the oil and defense industries. The Carlyle Group contributed to Commissioner Tim Roemer's political campaigns. Commission Chairman Thomas Kean was a Director of Amerada Hess, which had formed a partnership with Delta Oil, the Arabian company of Khalid bin Mahfouz, and that company was teamed with Unocal in the Afghan pipeline project. Vice-Chairman Lee Hamilton serves on the board of Stonebridge International consulting group, which is advising Gulfsands Petroleum and Devon Energy Corporation about Iraqi oil opportunities.

    The apparent manipulation of pre-war intelligence is not addressed by the 9/11 Commission, the veracity of the Administration's lies and distortions is assumed without question, and the troubling incongruities of 9/11 are ignored: the theories of controlled demolition, the prior short-selling of airline stock, the whole cottage industry of skepticism.

    The doubters and critics of 9/11 are often dismissed as conspiracy crazies, but you needn't claim conspiracy to be skeptical. Why did both President Bush and Vice President Cheney pressure Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to forego any investigation at all? Failing in that, why did the President then use "Executive Privilege" so often to withhold and censor documents? Why did the White House refuse to testify under oath? Why the insistence on the loopy and unrecorded Oval Office interview of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney simultaneously?

    There is much we don't know about 9/11.

    As the war in Iraq progressed, the Abu Ghraib horrors came to the surface. Then the spectacular cronyism of the no-bid contracts, with Mr. Cheney and his former company, Halliburton, becoming the icons of corruption. Then the domestic spying issue. Then the Military Commissions Act, condoning torture and suspending habeas corpus. Finally, the quagmire of insurgency and civil war in Iraq.

    The Iraq Study Group

    Viewing the carnage in Iraq, and seeking desperately to find a way out of it, the U.S. Congress appointed on March 15, 2006 the Iraq Study Group. It was also called the Baker-Hamilton Commission after its co-chairmen, the peripatetic problem-solvers James Baker and Lee Hamilton. It was charged with assessing the situation in Iraq and making policy recommendations.

    The Commission assessed the situation as "grave and deteriorating" and recommended substantive changes in handling it: draw down the troop levels and negotiate with Syria and Iran. These recommendations were rejected out of hand by the Bush Administration, but those about the oil sector could hardly have been more pleasing.

    The Commission's report urged Iraqi leaders to "...reorganize the national industry as a commercial enterprise." That sounds like code for privatizing the industry (which had been nationalized in 1972.) In case that wasn't clear enough, the Commission encouraged "...investment in Iraq's oil sector by the international energy companies." That sounds like code for Exxon/Mobil, Chevron/Texaco, Conoco/Phillips, BP/Amoco and Royal Dutch Shell. The Commission urged support for the World Bank's efforts to "ensure that best practices are used in contracting." And that sounds like code for Production Sharing Agreements.

    Mr. Baker is a clever and relentless man. He will endorse pages and pages of changes in strategy and tactics -- but leave firmly in place the one inviolable purpose of the conflict in Iraq: capturing the oil.

    A Colossus of Failure

    The objectives of the oil wars may be non-negotiable, but that doesn't guarantee their successful achievement.

    The evidence suggests the contrary.

    As recently as January of 2005, the Associated Press expected construction of the Trans Afghan Pipeline to begin in 2006. So did News Central Asia. But by October of 2006, NCA was talking about construction "...as soon as there is stability in Afghanistan."

    As the Taliban, the warlords, and the poppy growers reclaim control of the country, clearly there is no stability in Afghanistan, and none can be expected soon.

    Unocal has been bought up by the Chevron Corporation. The Bridas Corporation is now part of BP/Amoco. Searching the companies' websites for "Afghanistan pipeline" yields, in both cases, zero results. Nothing is to be found on the sites of the prospective funding agencies. The pipeline project appears to be dead.

    The Production Sharing Agreements for Iraq's oil fields cannot be signed until the country's oil policies are codified in statute. That was supposed to be done by December of 2006, but Iraq is in a state of chaotic violence. The "hydrocarbon law" is struggling along--one report suggests it may be in place by March--so the signing of the PSA's will be delayed at least that long.

    The U.S. and British companies that stand to gain so much -- Exxon/Mobil, Chevron/Texaco, Concoco/Phillips, BP/Amoco and Royal Dutch Shell -- will stand a while longer. They may well have to stand down.

    On October 31, 2006 the newspaper China Daily reported on the visit to China by Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein Shahristani. Mr. Shahristani, the story said, "welcomed Chinese oil companies to participate in the reconstruction of the Iraqi oil industry." That was alarming, but understated.

    Stratfor, the American investment research service, was more directly to the point, in a report dated September 27, 2006 (a month before Minister Shahristani's visit, so it used the future tense). The Minister "...will talk to the Chinese about honoring contracts from the Saddam Hussein era....This announcement could change the face of energy development in the country and leave U.S. firms completely out in the cold."

    The oil wars are abject failures.

    The Project for a New American Century wanted, in a fantasy of retrograde imperialism, to remove Saddam Hussein from power. President George Bush launched an overt act of military aggression to do so, at a cost of more than 3,000 American lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, and half a trillion dollars. In the process he has exacerbated the threats from international terrorism, ravaged the Iraqi culture, ruined their economy and their public services, sent thousands of Iraqis fleeing their country as refugees, created a maelstrom of sectarian violence, dangerously destabilized the Middle East, demolished the global prestige of the United States, and defamed the American people.
    _______
    R.W. Behan
    About author Richard W. Behan's last book was Plundered Promise: Capitalism, Politics, and the Fate of the Federal Lands (Island Press, 2001). He is currently working on a more broadly rendered critique, To Provide Against Invasions: Corporate Dominion and America's Derelict Democracy. He can be reached by email at rwbehan@rockisland.com

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    Re: Understanding The Chimp.. and Iraq (part 11)

    The fact is,all of those who voted for the Iraq war and legislation like the patriot act are guilty of high crimes and treason. They are in the position to know better, but they have betrayed this country to the forces of totalitarianism. Prepetual war is part of the plan to subject this country to outer darkness. I am frankly nervous about the whole thing.

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Understanding The Chimp.. and Iraq (part 11)

    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat
    The fact is,all of those who voted for the Iraq war and legislation like the patriot act are guilty of high crimes and treason. They are in the position to know better, but they have betrayed this country to the forces of totalitarianism. Prepetual war is part of the plan to subject this country to outer darkness. I am frankly nervous about the whole thing.
    Me also... I have this gut feeling the feces is close to hitting the fan... too many synergies going on for my comfort level...

  4. #4
    mrblanche
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    Re: Understanding The Chimp.. and Iraq (part 11)

    I could direct you to some sites that claim credit cards and the internet are efforts of the Catholic Church to bring us all under their subjugation, too. But I'm afraid, since you aren't predisposed to believe that, that you would see it as the crap most of this whole scenario is, too.

    It really has been fun the last 6 years seeing the left becoming the "conspiracy under every rock" believers that usually is reserved for religious nuts, far-right wingers, John Birchers, and white supremacists.

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Understanding The Chimp.. and Iraq (part 11)

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    I could direct you to some sites that claim credit cards and the internet are efforts of the Catholic Church to bring us all under their subjugation, too. But I'm afraid, since you aren't predisposed to believe that, that you would see it as the crap most of this whole scenario is, too.

    It really has been fun the last 6 years seeing the left becoming the "conspiracy under every rock" believers that usually is reserved for religious nuts, far-right wingers, John Birchers, and white supremacists.
    But this isn't conspiracy. The people, places, organizations, agenda, etc. referenced are quite real. I personally can vouch for the portions of the piece having to do with the PNAC. I know (or have met) some of the main players - or saw them at work, firsthand.

    Can you rebut the specific claims made, point by point?

    It's easy to attempt to dismiss this by lumping it with Lyndon LaRouche, etc. - but that's a weak counterargument.

  6. #6
    mrblanche
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    Re: Understanding The Chimp.. and Iraq (part 11)

    One of the important parts of a conspiracy theory is that it deal with real people and places, but always with enough "secret" meetings, etc., thrown in that are unprovable, and therefore irrefutable.


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    Re: Understanding The Chimp.. and Iraq (part 11)

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    One of the important parts of a conspiracy theory is that it deal with real people and places, but always with enough "secret" meetings, etc., thrown in that are unprovable, and therefore irrefutable.

    That's true. As is an absence of disproof?

    Why then does the USA 'refute' the general scientific weight of evidence saying that CO2 is increasing, at least to the extent we might be able to do something about it? Is it wedded to the 'absence of disproof?'

    It's somewhat different to economic argument in that if we get it wrong we suffer more, not less... or maybe it is an economic argument... tied to what is essentially a political thing, not scientific.

    Leeches worked, electric shock to the brain still work, .... in the absence of pure 100% disproof.


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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Understanding The Chimp.. and Iraq (part 11)

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    One of the important parts of a conspiracy theory is that it deal with real people and places, but always with enough "secret" meetings, etc., thrown in that are unprovable, and therefore irrefutable.

    Yes, that's quite so.

    But the policy decisions, key players, etc. referenced are verifiable. Public record, in most cases. The PNAC stuff is accurate. As I wrote, I witnessed some o f this firsthand (and read the "briefing papers" sent over to The Washington Times' editorial dept., where I worked at the time).

    The "neo-con agenda" is as described; and very real.


  9. #9
    mrblanche
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    Re: Understanding The Chimp.. and Iraq (part 11)

    Ah, but I remember the theories that George Bush flew to London on the SR71 to arrange the release of the American hostages in Iran, and such things.

    I have no problem imagining that the current administration had a predisposition to attacking Iraq, only that it was something new and something they would have done under any circumstances. No more, by the way, than FDR had a predisposition to assume the British side was the one we should throw in with in 1939, taking steps that fairly inevitably led to our involvement in WWII. You do know, don't you, that on 12/6/41, US popular opinion was against joining in the war? And that the Republicans in Congress would have pulled the plug during the Battle of the Bulge, if they could have?

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Understanding The Chimp.. and Iraq (part 11)

    I recommend you read the PNAC policy briefs, pre 9/11.

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