Professor Smartass

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sen. Reid & top Dems Dodges Iraq Oil Privatization Question

Reid said several true and good things--none of which answered the question. If Democrats allow big oil to screw the Iraqis, that will pretty much prove that no one in Washington believes in their War on Terror except as a boogey man to scare us into accepting what they are going to do anyway--serve the oil industry and any other corporate interests that through them scraps of donations, or jobs on boards or as lobbyists.

Democrats will likely curb the worst abuses of the Bush administration at home, but if they don't fundamentally change our foreign policy, including decoupling it from oil and driving a stake through neoliberalism, both of which lead to war, war debt, death, poverty in other countries, and a race to the bottom in wages that the average American does not want to win.

Democrats did some good things in the first hundred days, but those will be meaningless if they don't strike at the root of why we came so close to losing our democracy, and salt the earth to keep that fascist weed from growing up and strangling us again.



VIDEOS OF EVADING QUESTION:

Sen. Ted Kennedy

Sen. Joe Biden
Lee Hamilton,
Iraq Study Group Co-Chair


KEY EXCERPTS:
Sen. Reid Dodges Iraq Oil Privatization Question

This exchange took place at a news conference with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Harry Reid on Jan. 19 at the National Press Club.

Husseini: Hi. Sam Husseini from IPA Media. I have a question for each of our guests, if I could. First to Senator Reid: an article appeared in The Guardian -- "Iraqis will never appear -- will never accept this sellout to the oil corporations," in The Guardian last week by Kamil Mahdi, who's an Iraqi academic in the U.K. It paints a picture of the administration in the midst of all of the carnage pushing through a new oil law "The U.S. and the IMF and their allies are using fear to pursue their agenda of privatizing and selling off Iraqis resources" with pending Iraq oil law. Are you looking into this? You've spoken about the oil companies and so on, are you looking into this oil law that the administration is apparently trying to ram through.

Reid: Is that a morning or afternoon newspaper? No, I'm sorry I haven't read that article. Um, but that's what Speaker Pelosi and I are talking about we have to lessen our dependence on foreign oil whether it comes from private sources, or in some instances where the oil is owned by the government... We have to do that and that's why it doesn't matter what they do in Iraq as far as our consumption of oil. We, we, we are oil hogs here in America and we've got to lessen our dependence on foreign oil and that can only be done by recognizing that we can't produce our way out of our problems and we have to move towards alternative energy sources.

http://www.husseini.org/content/2007/01/sen_reid_dodges.html

OIL MOTIVE for Iraq War resources
http://professorsmartass.blogspot.com/2006/09/iraq-oil-war-resources.html


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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bush at State of the Union: the melting wicked witch



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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 1:50 PM | link | (3) comments |

Monday, January 22, 2007

90 sec video: corporate media vs. democracy


While the Bush administration is unique in their blunt force approach to seizing Iraq's oil, older, subtler methods are used in other places, including one method that looks a hell of a lot like what happens here--only they take it a couple of steps further.




See the rest of the story HERE.
The full movie starts a bit slow but quickly
turns into a real life version of
V for Vendetta,
with an actual coup caught on tape.
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised


public relations >

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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 9:54 AM | link | (5) comments |

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Senate will investigate Iraq OIL deals Jan. 23!
tell them screwing Iraqis = more terrorism

I almost missed this at the very end of her article on the oil machinations in Iraq:
On January 23, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will hold a hearing to investigate "oil and reconstruction strategy in Iraq." This offers a critical opportunity to demand a cessation of all U.S. government and corporate influence over Iraqis as to the future of their oil.

One way to partially atone for the harm the Bushies have done Iraq is to ensure that have an oil law that no Iraqi or any of their neighbors could claim exploits Iraq for the benefit of the oil companies. PSAs would tell the whole Arab world that we really did go in there to steal the oil and despite any protest from Democrats or our future pullout, it will appear our government was fully behind it if they are allowed to go into effect.

While most Americans are unaware of what's going on in Iraq on this issue (and know even less about how little we get for our own oil) people in the Arab world and other oil producing countries do. In the 1950s, the elected president of Iran was overthrown for driving too hard a bargain and closer to home, one of the reasons the Bushies backed a coup against Hugo Chavez was because he wouldn't take a deal that gave just 1% of the profits from oil to Venezuela.

If our elected officials were at all concerned about their "War on Terrorism," they would realize this would inflame hatred against the US for decades to come.


It is imperative that you tell your senators this and senate foreign relations committee:

Find your senators:

http://senate.gov /

And as many of these guys you have time for:

http://foreign.senate.gov/about.html



OIL MOTIVE for Iraq War resources
http://professorsmartass.blogspot.com/2006/09/iraq-oil-war-resources.html


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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

pending legalization of OIL profits theft angers Iraqis

Do you think the Iraqis will notice that Bush is forcing their parliament to pass a law that will give 75% of their oil wealth to big oil corporations?



Blood and oil: How the West will profit from Iraq's most precious commodity

Published: 07 January 2007

Mr Muttitt echoed warnings that unfavourable deals done now could unravel a few years down the line, just when Iraq might become peaceful enough for development of its oil resources to become attractive. The seeds could be sown for a future struggle over natural resources which has led to decades of suspicion of Western motives in countries such as Iran.

Iraqi trade union leaders who met recently in Jordan suggested that the legislation would cause uproar once its terms became known among ordinary Iraqis.

"The Iraqi people refuse to allow the future of their oil to be decided behind closed doors," their statement said. "The occupier seeks and wishes to secure... energy resources at a time when the Iraqi people are seeking to determine their own future, while still under conditions of occupation."

The resentment implied in their words is ominous, and not only for oil company executives in London or Houston. The perception that Iraq's wealth is being carved up among foreigners can only add further fuel to the flames of the insurgency, defeating the purpose of sending more American troops to a country already described in a US intelligence report as a cause célèbre for terrorism.

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article...




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Monday, January 15, 2007

Big OIL plan to rip off Iraq for 30 years cited on floor of House

On the floor of the House of Representatives, January 11, 2007

Mr. McDERMOTT: Mr. Speaker, the American people have not received very much information about a major issue in and around the Iraq war, and the oil industry would like to keep it just that way.

This is the war, stripped bare of all the bullshit and hemming and hawing, and that truth should ring out with a clarity that withers every lame ass talking point that lets more of our soldiers and Iraqis die to make very wealthy assholes even wealthier.

There is some hope for our democracy if at least one guy in Congress is talking about what's really going on, and not mouthing condescending recycled talking points about going to Iraq to be the good fairy of democracy and the Iraqis being ungrateful for our fairy dust.

When all Democrats in Congress start talking like this, and refuse to rehash the propaganda any longer, the war will come to an end because the propaganda will look like the pathetic embarrassing piece of shit it is by comparison. This is the return to reality and not just the nicer lies some other democrats have offered.

But that's beside the point at the moment.

I'm going to write McDermott a letter and thank him for representing me in Congress, even though I live more than a thousand miles away from his district.


KEY EXCERPTS FROM CONGRESSIONAL RECORD:

On the floor of the House of Representatives, January 11, 2007

Mr. McDERMOTT. Mr. Speaker, the American people have not received very much information about a major issue in and around the Iraq war, and the oil industry would like to keep it just that way. Fortunately, investigative journalism is still being practiced, and I want to share information uncovered by a reporter for AlterNet, in the United States, and a major Sunday story this week in The Independent, a newspaper in the United Kingdom.

***
These investigative reports paint a disturbing picture and raise troubling questions about big oil's attempting to steal the oil wealth and resources of the Iraqi people. From the beginning of the Iraq invasion, more moderate voices, especially overseas, questioned whether the ulterior motive behind toppling Saddam Hussein was a grab for Iraqi oil. In this scenario, democracy is a by-product of oil production , not the real reason for military action in Iraq .

Gaining access to the oil wealth of Iraq has had oil industries salivating for years. Gaining control of that oil wealth would be a prize beyond compare for the oil industry. Iraq has the third largest oil reserves in the world, and there are many oil geologists who believe that vast additional oil reserves are just waiting to be discovered in Iraq's western desert. They call it the Holy Grail, and some believe the untapped riches could propel Iraq from third to first place in the world's oil reserves.

***

The news account continues: ``Their introduction would be a first for a major Middle Eastern oil producer. Saudi Arabia and Iran, the world's number one and twoexporters, both tightly control their industries through state-owned companies with no appreciable foreign collaboration, as do most members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC.''

The PSA's would give big oil in Iraq deals that would last for 30 to 40 years. These deals, the news reports point out, would force Iraq to share its oil wealth with Western outsiders, not their own people. Up to 70 percent of the profits would go to outside producers in the first years, and the news media points out that these deals could be enforced ahead of any social and economic reforms in Iraq and ahead of any social programs. One person quoted called it ``colonialism lite.''

***

How long will we be there if western oil companies are given free rein to put a vice grip on Iraq's oil?

If western oil companies get a 30-year agreement , we may call Iraq the 30-year war.


Articles McDermott cited and entered into Congressional Record:



public relations

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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 1:07 AM | link | (2) comments |

Saturday, January 13, 2007

UGLY MEME: Blame the Iraqis

I've heard this from Al Franken, Ed Schultz, a lot of Democrats in Congress, and now even some of the Republicans who are abandoning Bush. The thrust of it is, we offered Iraqis the gift of democracy, and they couldn't handle it or get their act together to police themselves and are too cowardly and disorganized to fight the insurgents. Therefore, we must threaten them with leaving or just leave since they are hopeless.

I can see why this "blame Iraqis" meme is popular. Congress doesn't want to admit they agreed with Bush's true venal goal of robbing Iraq, or that they were bullied into approving it, or least likely but most claimed, "fooled." And no one wants to be caught saying something that sounds like they are accusing our troops of going to Iraq to steal oil even though the culprits of that crime are the civilians in suits in Washington. It is also useful to calm the chest-thumping knuckle-draggers who still listen to Rush Limbaugh who only think in terms of their team "winning" or "losing."

It ignores the fact that the "gift" came with strings that were more like steel cables, prodding to vote for things like the coming hydrocarbon law that will screw Iraqis and favor oil companies, and vetoes from Washington whenever the elected Iraqis actually put their people's interest ahead Bush's cronies, up to and including dismissing a prime minister the Iraqis chose for themselves. Likewise, the police and military will be hesitant to do their duties to our satisfaction because they may rightly see some of their orders as looking after American interests not their own. When you look at polls of Iraqis, it is clear that they side with the goal of the insurgents, ending the occupation, so the true measure of Iraqi democracy would be how much they stand up to Bush.

This will likely have no effect on Iraqis themselves who are worried when they will have electricity, clean water, whether it's safe to go to the police station to ask about the father taken in the middle of the night, or whether to give up on looking for their baby in the rubble of the last airstrike.

Neither will it have much effect on the discourse here. Those who oppose the war will sift through the rhetoric to find the bottom line of whether our elected representatives will actually represent us and act to end the war, and the right will interpret it the way they do everything, as an excuse to hate and kill more people.

But there's something profoundly immoral and ugly about doing this to a country then blaming them for it.

It's like a wife-beater who pushed his wife down a flight of stairs saying he is leaving her for being so goddamn clumsy.


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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

3 Questions before any war (or buying that another country is a threat)

Based on our experience in Iraq, an only slightly more than superficial reading of the history of our other wars and military actions, and a modest dose of common sense, we should always ask these questions before any war.

1. How many times over could we nuke that country off the map if they attacked us?

If it was Russia or China, maybe only 5-7 times. If it was a smaller country, the pilots would get bored after the first 30-40 runs.
2. What would this country gain by attacking us?
However cruel or unpleasant leaders of other countries may be, they didn't get to that position by being stupid. No leader of a country would take an action that had ZERO chance of success. Even Hitler's stupidest move, invading Russia, had some chance of success. What is the possible gain of any of our current or future boogey men in attacking us?
3. What business interests would profit from us attacking that country, and what has that interest done for us to deserve that sacrifice of tax dollars and lives?

Those first three address the kind of truly embarrassing childish lies and ommissions have been allowed to sell the American people.

But their is a second level of lies that has some credibility in academic and even military circles related to 3 about "strategic access" to resources. Therefore, some corrallaries are necessary:
3A. If someone says we need "strategic access" to a natural resource that country has, what would that country gain economically by denying us access besides ideological bragging rights? Would withholding the product do far more economic damage to them than us?
If a country has only one product, like OIL, cutting off the customer that uses 25% of the product would create a glut for other consumers, lower prices, dry their treasury and elites bank accounts of income, and possibly cause a recession or depression for their own people even more than it hurt us.
3B. If someone says that country may jack up prices if we don't invade, would the current price of that commodity plus the cost of military action in tax dollars,lives, and international resentment be less than their hypothetical exorbitant price?
These questions or some variation of them should be asked by every reporter, congressman, senator and American whenever military action is proposed.

Even Democrats have sold some variation of these lies about Iran saying Iraq was a distraction from the "real" threat of Iran. Their threat in reality is the same as Iraq's or Venezuela's: that the country might keep a decent share of their oil income and American companies won't get all they want (or any at all). And if a country like Iran gets nuclear weapons, the political cost of going in to take that oil will be too high.

The Democrats have made some steps in the right direction in their brief time back at the wheel. Declaring something like this would plant them firmly in the center of the reality-based community instead of being nearer neighbors to it than the GOP.




imperialism

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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 12:41 PM | link | (1) comments |

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Rumsfeld and Saddam's last handshake (at hanging)

Thanks to the Unapologetic Mexican for the photoshop of Rumsfeld at Saddam's hanging.
click pic to see animation:



If you don't know the story of the 1983 handshake, check this out on Rumsfeld visiting Saddam in the midst of him gassing his own people and Iranians, to offer him US support:

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/



saddam hussein

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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 1:48 PM | link | (4) comments |

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

the OIL motive: Iraq AND Afghanistan

It's been so long that it's easy to forget the war in Afghanistan and overlook it as the "good war" in response to 9/11, but the same oil interests that wanted the war in Iraq were pushing to get a pipeline in Afghanistan and wanted the Taliban replaced with a more compliant negotiating partner--and that was a couple of years before 9/11.

Oddly enough, that was shortly before we started having trouble with al Qaeda, and had to start attacking Afghanistan.

When will people start talking about this and toss aside the embarrassing sack of propaganda crap the Bushies dealt and Democrats keep dipping into as well, criticizing the taste instead of offering a better explanation?

KEY EXCERPTS:

The Surreal Politics of Premeditated War
by R.W. Behan


Common to both the Afghan and Iraqi lines of dots are energy resources, both oil and gas. It is true our country depends on oil and gas, but it is not the American people who need to corner Mid East oil and gas by force. Dozens of oil companies around the world"the "foreign suitors," for example"can supply us with Iraqi oil or Caspian Basin gas, and would be pleased to do so. There is no reason not to rely on them: we are buying more and more Toyotas and Volvos, and fewer Chevrolets and Fords, with no apparent damage to our national security. Why not do the same with gasoline, diesel, and LNG, and avoid armed conflict?

Why not? Because the bottom lines of Exxon-Mobil, Unocal and other domestic oil companies, in the eyes of the Bush Administration, are sacrosanct. It is not the American consumers, then, but only the American oil companies who benefit from George Bush's premeditated wars.

***
IRAQ:

By early March, 2001, the Task Force was poring over maps of the Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, tanker terminals, and oil exploration blocks. It studied an inventory of “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts”—dozens of oil companies from 30 different countries, in various stages of exploring and developing Iraqi crude. (These documents were forced into view several years later by a citizen group, Judicial Watch, with a Freedom of Information Act proceeding. It wasn’t easy—the Bush Administration appealed the lawsuit all the way to the Supreme Court—but the maps and documents can now be seen and downloaded at : http://www.judicialwatch.org/iraqi-oil-maps.shtml.)

Not a single U.S. oil company, however, was among the “suitors,” and that was intolerable. Mr. Cheney’s task force concluded, “By any estimation, Middle East oil producers will remain central to world security. The Gulf will be a primary focus of U.S. international energy policy.”

Condoleezza Rice’s National Security Council, meanwhile, was directed by a top secret memo to “cooperate fully with the Energy Task Force as it considered melding two seemingly unrelated areas of policy.” The NSC was ordered to support “the review of operational policies towards rogue states such as Iraq and actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.”


***
AFGHANISTAN:

The strategic location of Afghanistan can scarcely be overstated. The Caspian Basin contains some $16 trillion worth of oil and gas resources, and the most direct pipeline route to the richest markets is through Afghanistan.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the first western oil company to express interest and take action in the Basin was the Bridas Corporation of Argentina. It acquired production leases and exploration contracts in the region, and by November of 1997 had signed an agreement with General Dostum of the Northern Alliance and with the Taliban to build a pipeline across Afghanistan.

Not to be outdone, the American company Unocal fought Bridas at every turn, even spurning an invitation from Bridas to join an international consortium in the Basin. Unocal wanted exclusive control of the trans-Afghan pipeline, and hired a number of consultants in its conflict with Bridas: Henry Kissinger, Richard Armitage (now Deputy Secretary of State in the Bush Administration), Zalmay Khalilzad (a signer of the PNAC letter to President Clinton) and Hamid Karzai. (Eventually Bridas sued Unocal in the U.S. courts, and won.)

Unocal and the Clinton Administration hoped to have the Taliban cancel the Bridas contract, but were getting nowhere. Mr. John J. Maresca, a Unocal Vice President, testified to a House Committee of International Relations on February 12, 1998, asking politely to have the Taliban removed and a stable government inserted. His discomfort was well placed.

Six months later terrorists linked to Osama bin Laden bombed the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and two weeks after that President Clinton launched a cruise missile attack into Afghanistan. Clinton issued an executive order on July 4, 1999, freezing the US held assets and prohibiting further trade transactions with the Taliban.


FULL TEXT
:
http://www.commondreams.org/views06/1203-21.htm


MORE OIL MOTIVE FOR IRAQ WAR BACKGROUND AND LINKS



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:: posted by Professor Smartass, 1:17 PM | link | (1) comments |

LETTER TO CONGRESS: investigate OIL motive for war and its affect on delaying withdrawal

Sent to my two senators and congressman:

Please investigate or urge the relevant committees to investigate the oil motive for the Iraq War, starting with the Cheney Energy task force in 2001 through the administration plan to privatize and expropriate Iraq's oil, the negotiation of production sharing agreements, oil company pressure to dictate the terms of the Iraqi Hydrocarbon Law, and most importantly, how oil company pressure may be slowing the pullout of our troops. Ironically, this was one area where the Iraq Study Group agreed with the Bush administration. The ISG urged them to continue to pursue privatization of Iraq's oil for the benefit of oil companies.

We use 25% of the world's oil, so those countries would be slitting their own throats if they ever tried to cut us off. Therefore, there is no strategic need to occupy and have American companies pump that oil apart from making those companies more profitable, especially since they have shown no gratitude to the American people at the gas pump and continue to demand tax cuts and subsidies.

Although the mainstream press has been largely silent on this, the American people have figured it out, and if we hear more empty platitudes while Washington continues to pander to big oil, we will have to assume we can't trust the Democrats either.

I have read some very encouraging things about what the Democrats plan to do with control of Congress. Being honest about why we are in Iraq and taking bold action instead of telling kinder, gentler lies would be an excellent start.

If you are unfamiliar with what I am talking about (which I doubt), please read some of these news stories and research on the oil motive for the war:

http://professorsmartass.blogspot.com/2006/09/iraq-oil-...

Sincerely,




Find your Senators here:

http://senate.gov

Find your Congressman:
http://www.house.gov


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