Oil and turmoil make an imperial mix in Iraq By Ameen Izzadeen

Oil and turmoil make an imperial mix in Iraq

By Ameen Izzadeen

07/06/07 “
Daily Mirror

When you are too good, you are too gullible. When you are too good and intelligent, still you are gullible but not for long. You will soon realise that you have been deceived. But the American people — they are good and intelligent — took more than five years to realise that they had been misled. From September 11, 2001 — the day on which the United States till the Republican Party’s drubbing at the 2006 mid-term elections, US President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and a coterie of Bushites believed that they could say anything to the people they govern and get away.

But the election defeat, it appears, has not made the Bush administration reform itself and dump its much disgraced strategy of presenting its secret immoral agenda as moral imperatives.

The Bush administration told the American people and the world that it had to act fast to neutralize Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. He told them that Saddam was a threat to America’s and the world’s security. He said Saddam had links with those terrorists who attacked the United States on 9/11.

The then US Secretary of State, probably acting against his own conscience, made a hi-tech presentation at the UN Security Council, showing what he claimed to be hard evidence.

The Bush administration with its spin doctoring skills made a majority of the Americans believe that Saddam should be stopped before he became unstoppable.

For the hardnuts, lefties, anti-capitalists and independent thinkers, the spin doctoring was crude — and also crude oil of Iraq.

The Iraq invasion had very little to do with disarming Saddam. The war plan suited the agenda of the US capitalists, especially the oil and military supply industries, with which the Bushes and the Cheneys have much connection. It suited Israel’s strategic interest and it was appealing to the Bushite Christians — the likes of Jerry Farwell and Pat Robertson, who spread hatred against Islam.

While 600,000 Iraqis died and more than 3,500 Americans paid with their lives for this capitalist-Zionist agenda, Halliburton, the company which Cheney headed before he was picked by Bush as his running mate in the 2000 election, earned billions of dollars in profit from the Iraq war.

A recent report by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction showed that Halliburton had earned 22 billion blood-soaked dollars as profits. This is how the people who authored and implemented the war earn the money. They ask Congress for billions of dollars for the Iraq campaign, which also includes rebuilding Iraq. Contracts are handed to companies such as Halliburton and Bechtel — companies which were close to the Bush administration. American companies rebuild what the American military destroyed. Fair enough, if the money comes only from the US. The US tax payers’ money goes into meet only part of the cost. The other part of cost is met by Iraq’s oil revenue — in other words, the Iraqis also pay for the reconstruction of their infrastructure which the Americans have destroyed. Mind you, companies like Halliburton have shifted their headquarters to Dubai and other tax havens. So they avoid paying taxes. Both the American tax payers and the Iraqi people, one fifth of whom live as refugees as a result of Bush’s inhuman war, are being robbed by heartless capitalists.

As mentioned above, the spin doctoring continues. President Bush now says they are urging the Iraqi government to pass a controversial oil bill so that Iraq’s oil revenue could be distributed equitably among all its people. What a kind soul he is! Such kindness fails to come out when he hears daily that scores of Iraqis are being ripped by roadside bombs. His heart did not bleed even for the victims of Haditha and Mahmoudiya massacre, for which his troops were responsible. And now he is expressing concern about Iraqi Sunnis not getting an equal share of Iraq’s oil wealth. He cites that the oil bill, which the puppet Iraq cabinet headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki approved this week, will ensure that even Sunnis who live in non-oil producing areas of the country will get an equitable share of the oil wealth.

But the irony is that the Association of Muslim Scholars, which is the most powerful political voice of Iraqi Sunnis, itself has come out strongly against the oil bill and even issued a fatwa.

“Whoever votes for the oil bill will earn God’s rage,” warns the fatwa.

The law envisages oil deals with transnational companies — deals that could last at least two to three decades. Besides, the deals are of a profit-sharing nature. The bill negates Iraq’s pre-invasion oil contracts with countries such as France and Russia. In other words, almost all the contracts will go to US companies. This is the goal of the invasion.

In September when the US Congress will hear a report from Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, he may say the presence of US troops in Iraq is necessary to protect the American economic interests in that country. The troops should be there to protect the world’s second largest oil reserve which the American companies jointly own with the Iraqi government on long term contracts. This explains why the US is showing undue interest in the bill.

According to oil industry experts, if the Iraq’s oil fields are exploited to its fullest capacity, they could pump 6 million barrels a day and generate annual revenues of more than $130 billion.

The bill had an easy passage in the cabinet, because its strongest opponents — the Sunnis and the Moqtada al-Sadr group — have quit the government. Al-Maliki, who was congratulated by President Bush for obtaining the unanimous support of a truncated cabinet for the bill, hopes that the Sunni and Sadrist boycott of parliament would continue so that he could push the bill through parliament as well. The Sunnis and the Sadrists insist that oil reserves should remain as a national asset and all oil revenues should belong to the central government instead of the regional administration as envisaged in the oil bill. To placate the Sunnis, the bill was modified in such a way that part of the oil revenue will also go to the Sunni dominant central regions where there exist no known oil reserves.

But the Sunnis have not fallen for the chocolate offered by the US, the main architect of the oil bill.

The Sunnis and the Sadrists are not naïve to believe that the US troops are in Iraq to help them to rebuild their country, teach them about democracy, civilize them or liberate them. They know that George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard sent their troops to Iraq to get a share in the oil pie.

Yesterday, Australia’s defence minister confirmed what many Iraqis have been saying for long.

Yes, oil is the key factor keeping Australian troops in the US-led war in Iraq, Defence Minister Brendan Nelson said. In 2003, Australian Prime Minister, a devout Bushite, parroted what Bush had said: The invasion was aimed at eliminating Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.

A highly embarrassed Howard later in the day denied that securing oil supply was a key factor behind his country’s contentious involvement in the war in Iraq.

“We’re not there because of oil and we didn’t go there because of oil, we don’t remain there because of oil,” he told commercial radio. “Oil is not the reason.

But analyst John Pilger says the Aussies have gone to East Timor as peacekeepers with an eye on that country’s offshore oil reserves.

Be that as it may. In Iraq, the coming days will decide the fate of the controversial oil bill. Democracy has many positives. But one of its negatives is it can also produce a group of parliamentarians who could easily be bought over by an outside force with inducements such as money and power. A majority of the 24 million Iraqi people may oppose the bill, but their opposition counts for naught when a majority of MPs in the 275-member Iraqi assembly sell their souls to the imperialists and global capitalists. Now you understand why they introduced democracy to Iraq.

Copyright © 2001 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

On a Journey for Humanity By Cindy Sheehan

Summer of Love ‘07

On a Journey for Humanity

By Cindy Sheehan
July 6th, 2007

The other day I came out of my short retirement due to yet another Bush flagrant abuse of power. We decided that we would walk from Atlanta to DC to gather a people’s movement for humanity. The longer BushCo are in office the less chance we have of recovering the heart and soul of our nation, saving our soldiers and the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, and saving the planet from corporate and individual waste and pollution. Impeachment, removal from office, and in a perfect world: incarceration for the criminals against humanity, are urgent and necessary steps that need to be taken today.Since the announcement of the Walk, circumstances have changed. Rev. Lennox Yearwood is not going to have his hearing for Conduct Unbecoming until the end of August, and we were going to begin our walk after his hearing on July 12th in Macon, GA. So consequently, we are going to begin our Journey on July 10th in Crawford, Texas.

Our Journey will take us through places such as Ft. Benning, GA, and New Orleans where Bush Crimes have had such a deeply detrimental affect on people. Torture and the continued criminal lack of help for the people of the Gulf States are two of BushCo’s more heinous crimes.

Our Journey will also take us to House Judiciary committee members’ offices where we will sit-in and demand that they institute Articles of Impeachment against Bush and Cheney immediately. On July 23rd, we will be in Congressman John Conyers’ office to encourage him to take the lead on impeachment. A sit-in in his office is possible and likely.

The US part of our Journey will end in New York City where on July 27th we will stage a demonstration in front of the UN to highlight the refugee crisis in the Middle East caused by the Bush High Crime Cabal. There are millions of people displaced by the atrocity in Iraq and, no matter what former US Ambassador and leading neo-con war criminal, John Bolton says: the US does owe the people of Iraq more than we can ever repay. The very least we owe them, though, is a relatively safe country to live in and basic human rights like: homes, food, clean water and medical care.

On July 29th, we will be re-creating the Summer of Love and hold a “Gather-in of Hearts” in Central Park with leading activists and musical entertainment. Proceeds will go to Iraqi Refugees and for medical supplies for Iraqi hospitals.

When we are finished in NYC, a few of us will be Journeying to Amman, Jordan to help refugees in Jordan and Syria. We will visit the camps to assess the depth of the humanitarian crisis that is causing so many children to unnecessarily and tragically suffer. We have so much in this country. How can we allow our brothers and sisters to go without basics? Who can sleep comfortably at night and enjoy three square meals a day when other people only have moldy bread to eat and are starving? Do you think of the people of Iraq and the refugees literally dying of thirst when you go to turn on your tap for plentiful, clean water? Our animals here in the US are treated better than many humans on our planet. As MLK, Jr said in his speech at the Riverside Church on April 04, 1967: “My government is the biggest purveyor of violence.” Our government has killed enough people to populate many small states in the US and has forced millions more to flee their places of birth. Our governments will never change, but our hearts can and we can do much to alleviate suffering and change the world.

Since I announced the Journey for Humanity, I have received a lot of support and encouragement, and many “I’ll be with you in spirits.” We appreciate your moral support, but we need your bodies and your dollars if you can’t participate. Our world is in an environmental, political and humanitarian state of emergency at this point and participation in a People’s Movement for Change, Justice and Humanity is becoming mandatory by our membership in the Human Race.

Our route and flyer for the “Gather-in of Hearts” is posted at Camp Casey Peace Institute. Donations can also be made there. Visit our MySpace page and be our friend!

We also need volunteers in cities along the route to help coordinate rallies/actions and food/ housing for walkers. To volunteer, e-mail Dede Miller at tiggerloli@aol.com or call: 562-912-5838 (we don’t take blocked calls.)

Walk Route

Date – Leave – Arrive

July 10 Crawford Tx — Houston Tx
July 11 Houston Tx. — New Orleans La.
July 12 New Orleans La. — Montgomery Al.
July 13 Montgomery Al. — Ft. Benning Ga,
July 14 Ft. Benning Ga — Atlanta Ga.
July 15 Atlanta Ga. — Gainsville Ga.
July 16 Ganisville Ga. — Clemson SC
July 17 Clemson SC — Charlotte NC
July 18 Charlotte NC — Greensboro NC
July 19 Greensboro NC — Lynchburg NC
July 20 Lynchburg NC — Charlottesville Va
July 21 Charlottesville Va. — Richmond Va.
July 22 Richmond Va. — Arlington Va
July 23 Arlington Cem — White House/ Capital
July 23 Washington DC — Philadelphia PA.
July 24 Philadelphia PA — Allentown PA
July 25 Allentown PA — New York City NY
July 26 United Nations Action
July 27 Begin to Gather at Central Park
July 28 TBA
July 29 Gathering of Hearts Fest Central Park

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Sheehan who was killed in Bush’s war of terror on 04/04/04. She is the co-founder and president of Gold Star Families for Peace and The Camp Casey Peace Institute. Read other articles by Cindy.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Contact:


The Real Cindy Sheehan

A Postcard from Iraq By Layla Anwar

By Layla Anwar
07/0607 “ICH

Have you ever felt numb? Like a paralytic numbness?

I put the receiver down, stared at the wall, beyond the wall and saw yet another wall, and more walls…
Unable to move, unable to take a step forward, a step back. I was stuck in that spot for what seemed to be forever.
I felt the warmth of the cigarette, its heat, getting closer to my fingertips, almost burning me.
I guess the thought of being burnt took me out of this trance like state…that state of being walled in.

Continue reading

Seed Gun: America Reaps its Kalashnikov Harvest by Chris Floyd + Weapon of choice for children, rebels and soldiers by Lewis Jones (Michael Hodges)

Seed Gun: America Reaps its Kalashnikov Harvest

Written by Chris Floyd
Friday, 06 July 2007

Some interesting facts plucked from a Daily Telegraph review of a new book about the history of the Kalashnikov (via Angry Arab):

In 1982, the Israelis gave the Kalashnikovs they had captured from Palestinians to the CIA, which shipped them via Pakistan to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan to fight the Russians. Osama bin Laden’s first AK was a Palestinian gun supplied by the Israelis and given to him by the Americans.


From little seedlings great oaks grow, as they say. And how heartening to see this bravura display of globalization in action: an international consortium of security organs uniting across barriers of race, religion and ethnicity to provide guns to violent Islamic extremists. So what’s all this talk about a “clash of civilizations”? It’s obvious that we can all work together, if we really want to.

And here’s another fascinating tidbit from the review, unearthed all by our own selves after the steer from AA:

After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the US military neglected to guard the arms dumps and the entire stock of the Iraqi Army’s AKs was stolen, available soon afterwards on the street at less than $100 each, and universally prized as “a flamboyant symbol of masculinity”.


There’s your unfettered free market for you! There’s an admirable example of what President Bush calls “the single sustainable model of national success”: Cheap guns that make you feel hard. An outcome well worth the murder of a million people, we’re sure you’ll agree.

*******

Weapon of choice for children, rebels and soldiers

Last Updated: 12:01am BST 28/06/2007
by Lewis Jones

Lewis Jones reviews AK47: the Story of the People’s Gun by Michael Hodges

At the beginning of Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), in which Sylvester Stallone takes on the entire North Vietnamese army with an AK47, an American colleague regards the weapon with scepticism: “A beat-to-shit AK? Every 12-year-old in ‘Nam’s got one of those.” Rambo looks pleased, slowly nods his meaty head, and laboriously masticates his reply: “Exactly.”

Unlike practically everything else in the film, Rambo’s choice of gun is historically accurate. American soldiers in Vietnam were equipped with the M16 rifle, invented by Eugene Stoner, which tended to malfunction if it was even sneezed on. When they came across the Chinese AKs of the fallen Viet Cong, they discovered that they still worked, even if they had been lying in the rain for weeks, so at every opportunity they abandoned their modern capitalist gun for a 25-year-old socialist one.

Michael Hodges’s breezy history describes how a Soviet antique became the world’s favourite gun. The A stands for “automatic”, the K for “Kalashnikov”, and the 47 for the year of its invention. Mikhail Kalashnikov was born in 1919, the second son of a family of Siberian kulaks who were persecuted under Stalin’s first Five Year Plan. During the German invasion of Russia in 1941, he was a tank sergeant, wounded in a battle with Panzers. The next winter he began work on a prototype, and five years later won a national competition for a new automatic rifle.

Promoted to the rank of general, and proclaimed a Hero of Socialist Labour, Kalashnikov was honoured by Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Yeltsin and Putin, collecting the Order of the Red Star, the Stalin Prize First Class, and three Orders of Lenin. He is still alive, subsisting on a modest pension in Izhevsk, and though proud of his invention he describes it as a golem, an imp with a life of its own.

All Soviet schoolchildren were taught to strip an AK in under a minute – it has only eight moving parts – and the gun was deployed throughout the Evil Empire, most notably in Afghanistan and Chechnya. In both places it proved a double-edged sword, appropriated by the locals and turned on their aggressors, as it has been elsewhere.

In Vietnam it became an emblem of resistance, winning victory for peasants in pyjamas and sandals against the world’s greatest military machine; according to Viet Cong propaganda, a soldier named Phan actually shot down a B52 with one. In 1972, it became an emblem of terrorism, when it was used by the Palestinian Black September gang to attack Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic Games. And in Ramallah today it is emblematic of both, so ubiquitous that one observer said she wouldn’t be surprised to see a dog armed with one.

In 1982, the Israelis gave the Kalashnikovs they had captured from Palestinians to the CIA, which shipped them via Pakistan to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan to fight the Russians. Osama bin Laden’s first AK was a Palestinian gun supplied by the Israelis and given to him by the Americans.

Africa was sent millions of AKs by Russia, China and North Korea. In Mozambique and Angola, sons were named Kalash in its honour, and when Mozambique achieved independence, its flag featured a book, a ploughshare and a Kalashnikov.

After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the US military neglected to guard the arms dumps and the entire stock of the Iraqi Army’s AKs was stolen, available soon afterwards on the street at less than $100 each, and universally prized as “a flamboyant symbol of masculinity”.

In 2004, a Russian rock star launched an MP3 player modelled on an AK magazine, which when attached to an AK47 plays music into headphones. “This is our bit for world peace,” he explained. The same year Vladimir Putin sent George W Bush a bottle of Russian vodka in the shape of a Kalashnikov, which might have seemed a peculiar present for a teetotaller who has never fought on a battlefield, but was no doubt meant as a timely reminder that, for all its popularity in America – with gun clubs (as a “sporting” weapon, its firing rate of 650 rounds per minute making it just the thing for quail or elk), disaffected students and the enterprising gangs of Detroit and New Orleans – the AK was invented in Russia rather than Hollywood.

Hodges pursues his subject with commendable energy and bravery – on patrol with Alpha Company in Baghdad he comes under AK fire – but his prose tends to over-excitement and cliché, and one sometimes wonders about the reliability of his reporting. He writes, for example, about drinking coffee in an Arab café with a view of Edgware Road Tube station. I don’t know about Baghdad, but I live across the road from that station, and there’s no such place.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Kelly Dougherty on IVAW Strategy to End the War Against Iraq (video)

Kelly Dougherty on IVAW Strategy to End the War Against Iraq

Kelly Dougherty, Executive Director of Iraq Veterans Against the War, spoke on IVAW’s strategy to end the war against Iraq at Socialism 2007: Socialism for the 21st Century in Chicago, IL on June 16, 2007.
http://www.socialismconference.org

Dougherty was deployed to Iraq in March 2003 in a military police unit until February 2004. She was a co-founder of IVAW in 2004.
http://www.ivaw.org

Her talk started off a 2-part Roundtable – Iraq: the Soldiers’ Rebellion – by IVAW veterans. Much more video is coming from the 3 hour roundtable.

The conference was sponsored by:

International Socialist Review
http://www.isreview.org
Haymarket Books
http://www.haymarketbooks.org
Socialist Worker
http://www.socialistworker.org
Obrero Socialista
http://www.socialistworker.org/Obrero…
International Socialist Organization
http://www.internationalsocialist.org
Center for Economic Research and Social Change
http://www.cersc.org

Video recorded and edited by Charles Jenks

© 2007 Traprock Peace Center; all rights reserved
websites are welcome to embed the video with notice to Traprock at info@traprockpeace.org
Notice of embedding is not a request for permission; rather, it is a way to allow us to determine the reach of this program. Thanks you.

http://www.traprockpeace.org

h/t: ICH

How to Destroy the Cradle of Civilization Part Five by Jennifer

Thanks to
Jennifer Loves Paul/Gravel/Kucinich/Nader

How to Destroy the Cradle of Civilization Part Five

This is part five in a series of blogs I am posting highlighting aspects of the report recently released by the Global Policy Forum.

For a copy of the full report, I have provided a link

HERE

I have also provided links back to previous blogs in the series if you are inclined to read.

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

PART 4

Having come from a long line of military personal, where consecutive members of my family had served in one war or another from the Civil War to Vietnam, I knew first hand and from stories the cost of war after the battle had ended. My great, great Grandfather who fought in the Civil War still haunts the early childhood memories of my now eighty – seven year old Grandmother. He died, withered and toxic from alcohol abuse hated by his family, feared by her. Knowing my own Father and Grandfather, how they both have suffered, and how that suffering has been inflicted on me, I told GWB in my mind, “You had better be right asshole, because war is evil and it changes people for ever.”

With some small grasp of this reality, I suspect I will continue to feel the shock and awe inflicted on our soldiers and the Iraqi civilian population. After the stories of Abu-Ghraib and deliberate civilian murder came to light, I wanted so badly to simply push these issues under the rug; perhaps it was just a few “bad apples.” This denial was rudely yanked from my mind as I listened to Seymour Hersch discuss the consistent stories of torture coming from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Gitmo. There was one more comment he made during his interview and it will stay with me forever. He said that Americans needed to realize the damage being done was not only to the Iraqi’s themselves but to the men and women who were ordered to commit these acts. He pointed out that these were the people who were on day coming home to America and they would have families…the effects of what they had been ordered to do, would not simply wash away as they set foot on American soil, it would stay with them and their families forever.

Numerous examples of this have already been picked up by my radar. Like the story of Alyssa Peterson; intelligent, happy, patriotic, she took a gun to her head after three days of being exposed to what was called “the cage.” As an Arabic speaker she was valuable during interrogations and after complaining to her superiors to no avail, her only out was to blow her head off.

The Global Policy Forum Report states;

Interviews by Human Rights Watch with US army veterans

Have revealed that concerned soldiers of officers who tried

to raise questions or complained were pressured into silence-

by senior officers or even military lawyers of the Judge Advocate

General’s Office. The hesitant soldiers were assured that

interrogation methods were approved by commanders and

perfectly legal. Even officers who doubted the legality of their

actions found it almost impossible to get satisfactory answers

from the chain of command and one officer was reminded of

he “honor of the unit” as a reason to stay silent.

Or the story of Steven Green , who is now facing the death penalty after raping and murdering a fourteen year old Iraqi girl and then murdering her family. The death penalty, for this crime! Three months before the crime was committed, he sought out mental health assistance. The treatment? A few doses of seroquel (an anti-psychotic), a patriotic “serve your country and be a good boy,” was handed his rifle and sent immediately back into battle.

In the real world, as a mental health professional myself, if I had done this, I WOULD GET THE DEATH PENALTY! Well, maybe not, but I would have lost my job, my reputation, and would have been rightfully sued, condemned to abject poverty for the rest of my life.

Regardless of the Bush Administrations claims that the “harsh interrogation” techniques used in the past and now are not torture, human rights organizations, scholars, lawyers, medical doctors, psychologists, and the international community have come out strongly against such treatment. At some point, the United States will be held accountable.

US officials have denied all claims of illegal activity and any public statements have been more of a public relations move than a substantive change in US policy. Willingly they allow lower level ranking personal to take the fall with no accountability for higher ranking officials. Even though, “clear evidence shows that high officials and military commanders lifted restraints on torture and denied the applicability of international law, setting the stage for abuse in Iraqi prisons.” In February of 2002, George Bush issued a memorandum, “rejecting US obligations under the Geneva Conventions for persons detained during the ‘war on terrorism’.”

For the purposes of this blog, I also included in my research a report written in 2005 by Physicians for Human Rights. This report outlines interrogation techniques such as psychological torture, prolonged isolation, threats of death or injury, short-shackling, forced nudity, sexual humiliation, sleep and food depravation, water-boarding, physical beatings, and infliction of severely hot and cold temperatures and the long-lasting and extremely devastating health consequences these techniques have.

Continued on her blog.