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Posts Tagged ‘war for oil

UPDATED: The U.S. War Machine Leaves an Ugly Slick of Oil & Blood

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UPDATE — DECEMBER 31, 2009: The post below, originally published on July 26, 2008, was written as an outcropping of our disgust over the genocide and ethnic cleansing taking place in the United States’ brutal covert war in Somalia. We never finished this post and never will (see note at bottom of this page). However, the information herein continues to be as relevant today as it will be tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. (Think Obama constitutes a change from the Bush Administration’s warmongering for oil under the guise of fighting terrorism? Think again.)

Many Americans would be surprised to know that, throughout the course of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. has also been busy with wars elsewhere in the world. Only, we don’t call them wars. We call them things like peacekeeping missions, nation-building or “low intensity conflicts.” Or, as is the case in Colombia, where the U.S. is at work wresting control of oil pipelines and trying to destabilize the bordering oil-rich countries, such as Venezuela, while demonizing the leaders of these countries, we call it a “war on drugs” — even as the U.S. is the pusher man working out of Colombia, using the proceeds from our drug sales to fund our war machine in South America. (Think about it. Has cocaine ever been cheaper or more available than since Clinton and Bush began their war on drugs in Colombia? The same is true of heroin in the Afghanistan drug trade). And we don’t, as a rule, fight these wars ourselves. Instead, we buy off corrupt dictators and/or destabilize and overthrow democratically elected leaders and install corrupt dictators of our own choosing. Then we build armies for them — funding, training and arming these paramilitaries to the tune of millions, so that they can fight our various covert and proxy wars on terror around the globe, which are, coincidentally, in the most mineral-strategic countries on the planet — from South America to Africa and the Middle East. It is no coincidence that the U.S. is the world’s largest arms supplier, our war machine generating loyalties, death and destruction in over 174 states and territories.


These wars are given little scrutiny on the media radar, even as they’re claimed to be part of the larger war on terror — or, in the case of, say, Sudan, they fly under the guise of humanitarian efforts. Much like Somalia, Yemen is not so strategic for its oil reserves, but for its natural gas reserves. Oh, and there’s also that matter of its location (location, location). Specifically, Somalia and Yemen are located across from each other, like mirrors, on either side of the opening from the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. This strait connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden through which our oil and gas laden ships must pass.The U.S. has been covertly warring for years to control this shipping lane. As such, news stories — past present and future — on Ethiopia, Djibouti, Yemen, Somalia and, yes, pirates are inseparable from this larger story, a story about a superpower that will use any ruse to get what it wants, up to and including climbing in and out of bed with friends, enemies and even the terrorists we claim to be fighting.

As for the collateral damage from our clandestine wars — genocide, ethnic cleansing and untold millions of human lives ground into starvation, disease, misery, death and civil war — America alternately ignores and feigns outrage. When it becomes strategically feasible and/or necessary, the U.S. military steps out of the shadows, setting up high-profile military installations, so that we may help these poor victims, or protect them from the “bad guys,” with whom we may or may not still be in bed. This is the story being replayed in countries throughout the world. Yemen is no exception.

Considering that during the months before 9-11, the FBI had their finger on the pulse of the pre-9-11 terrorist network in Yemen (to which the Bush Administration was in
“ignore” mode), it is curious that U.S.has subsequently enjoyed the sort of relationship with Yemen over the past 8 years, where we could rendition detainees there to be tortured at our CIA black sites in Yemen. Which makes it somehow ironic that the media is using the Yemen connections of the recent underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab
/AbdulMutallab, to help us recall and re-ignite our anger over 9-11. It seems the American public is now being signaled that it’s time to switch from from ignore-mode to the outrage-mode being feigned by our leaders. This is, of course, our cue, as patriotic, freedom-loving Americans to rally behind our pre-Christmas bombing campaign waged on the innocent men, women and children in Yemen, which promises to be an ongoing campaign in the war formerly known as Bush’s war on terror. It is no coincidence that this latest bombing campaign was already underway when the underpants bomber boarded the plane for America. Nor is it a coincidence that the trail of the underpants bomber is littered with questions that, for the official record, go unasked and unanswered.

Such has been the nature of America’s war on terror, beginning with 9-11. Our leaders can afford to be arrogant and sloppy because, truth be known, the U.S. is untouchable. We encourage those interested in these stories to do their own research. This page is a good starting point. Our apologies that we cannot finish our own effort out, and for any dead links on this page.


An odd coincidence: Pick any oil-rich spot on the globe, and you will find the U.S. engaged in the war on terror.

In this vein, why has there been such a preponderance of al Qaeda terrorists (or, rather, a preponderance of **propaganda about **al Qaeda) surrounding the oil fields of the world over the past 7 years?

The current war in Iraq is not the first U.S. war for oil. Nor is it the first war for oil that has claimed massive civilian casualties, which were then concealed by the U.S. media. This is the first war for oil, however, fought on the grounds that a foreign country posed a direct threat to the U.S. — false grounds – which our government intentionally deceived us into believing. This is also the first war for oil fought under the mantle of spreading freedom and democracy, even as the U.S. government funds and arms both sides in a civil war: Shiites against Sunnis and Sunnis against Shiites – who then terrorize, torture, slaughter and commit ethnic cleansing of the very Iraqi populations we’re supposedly fighting to “save” from the evil terrorists. There’s a term for the type of warfare being waged by the U.S. in Iraq. It’s called war crimes.


That the American people have not demanded accountability from Congress, and have largely remained silent about the atrocities of this war – whether through complacent ignorance or sheer disbelief that our government could actually commit such atrocities — has only served to condone this war and the policies of this administration. Our collective silence has, in effect, given Bush-Cheney carte blanche to wage other wars on terrorism – wars now being fought in countires throughout the world, with scarcely a mention in the U.S. media.

Unknown to most Americans is that dozens of countries throughout the world have now been accused of harboring al Qaeda terrorists. Unknown to most Americans is that the Bush-Cheney Administraion is and has been waging clandestine wars in these countries, under the banner of “fighting terrorism,” sometimes called “peacekeeping missions” and “nation-building.” Unknown to most Americans is that we are currently spending millions of dollars in each of these countries, to fight mere handsful of alleged al Qaeda terrorists, whose existence — in many instances — is based on “intelligence” as leaky as the intelligence that sent us to war in Iraq. The potential and the reality (as seen in both Iraq and Afghanistan) is that these wars result in “chasing needles by burning haystacks,” as entire populations of innocent civilians are brutalized by the Bush-Cheney war machine , as it pursues small handsful of terrorists, who may or may not even exist.

In Iraq, alone, the Bush-Cheney war machine left in its wake over 4 million “displaced” Iraqi citizens – driven from their homes through violence and ethnic cleansing. From this point forward, if there were any questions left regarding the true intention of the U.S. forces, one need look no further than the billions of U.S. dollars spent building the enormous network of permanent U.S. bases over the past 7 years. These mega-bases have been built with every U.S. lifestyle amenity imaginable — from Baskin Robbins to Burger King, from miniature golf to swimming pools, from Hertz Rent-a-Car to department stores, and from football stadiums to movie theatres — not to mention air-conditioning, satellite internet access, cable television and international phone service.
The average Iraqi citizen has not enjoyed some of these amenities — such as electricity, food, water, shelter, sanitation and health care – since the days of Saddam Hussein. Ironically, construction on the permanent U.S. bases in Iraq proceeded swiftly toward completion, while U.S. work on to restore the most rudimentary of services for Iraqis — such as water purification, food, health care and electricity — fell to the wayside.

A Crude Awakening

Despite what we, in America, hear on the evening news, the words ‘victory’ and ’success’ do not belong in the same sentence with the word ‘Iraq.” The situation in Iraq is one of humanitarian crisis. Five years into the U.S. invasion of their country, Iraq is now deemed, the worst humanitarian crisis in the Middle East since 1948. Human rights and relief agencies throughout the world (International Red Cross, Amnesty International, Oxfam) have described the situation as “disasterous,” as a “dire humanitarian crisis,” calling Iraq, “one of the most dangerous countries in the world…. a place of carnage and despair.” Our vice-president, Dick Cheney, recently described Iraq as a “successful endeavor,” a sentiment we hear echoed daily from our mainstream U.S. media. Would the American public be silent, if they knew that we are waging similar wars in dozens of countries?
Question: When is a war a war?
Is it a war, if it’s called a ‘low-intensity conflict’? Is it a war, if only a small number of U.S. military troops are sent in? And is it a war, if the soldiers are from private mercenary armies hired through U.S. corporations? And is it a war, if our military funds, trains and arms rogue armies to fight these wars? Is it a war if the military’s stated purpose is ‘peacekeeping’ or to lend humanitarian aid? And what if it’s a little of each? Is it a war?
The answers lie in the oil fields: If U.S. military engagement and/or aid results in the U.S. gaining control of a country’s oil/mineral profits — at the expense of the native populations, who suffer impoverishment, torture, ethnic cleansing and/or genocide as a result of our actions — then that military engagement is, indeed, a war. It is a war for oil.  
Curious to know just how many wars are being fought for oil, we decided to take a head count of each and every country where the U.S. is fighting the war on terror. Our bet is that each and every one is also, ultimately, a war for oil. Whether the resulting silence from this truth is deafening, or not, is anyone’s guess.

Pick a Continent, Any Continent…

Say, Africa. Although Africa is but one stop on Dick Cheney’s proposed world tour for oil, it’s a good place to start, since the entire continent stands to be devoured, beginning with its name. Renamed in February 2007 (for military purposes only, mind you) Africa is now called the U.S. African Command (USAFRICOM or AFRICOM). As shown on this map, USAFRICOM was created from the existing United States European Command (USEUCOM), United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) and United States Pacific Command (USPACOM). Whatever that means. It is with some haste, then, that we inventory the African countries involved in Bush-Cheney’s global war on terror.

Lost in all the flurry of Bush’s February 2007 announcement of the surge in Iraq was his concurrent announcement of another surge — this one on the continent of Africa. Having neatly accomplished ‘Iraqi solutions for Iraqi problems’ in their war for oil distribution in Iraq, Bush-Cheney — poised, now, to undertake another empire — easily won congressional approval for “African solutions to African problems.” aka, U.S.AFRICOM: the U.S. African Command and its military arm ACOTA. A Department of Defense military operation, AFRICOM was created by Bush-Cheney to enhance our efforts to bring peace and security to the people of Africa. Started in October 2007, and set to be fully operational by September 30, 2008, AFRICOM is installing military commands in a total of 53 African countries – that’s all of Africa, except Egypt.

In an August 2007 congressional briefing, State and Defense Department officials emphasized to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that AFRICOM’s aim is to boost cooperation on anti-terrorism and peacekeeping activities, and programs that promote regional stability. In this same briefing, Theresa Whelan, Deputy Assistant for African affairs, echoed this sentiment — assuring Congress that AFRICOM is focused on security, not combat. On the heels of this assurance, however, she nonetheless cautioned: ” I would anticipate that there would be an increase in the amount of exercises we conduct and other military-to-military cooperation activity.”

Many in Africa are understandably suspicious. Believing, perhaps, that past is prologue — the majority of countries are protesting the presence of AFRICOM, as are many individuals around the world, including some high-profile activists, such as Danny Glover , who consider the ongoing U.S.-British militarization of Africa to be little more than a strategy toward gaining control of Africa’s natural resources, most notably its oil. As one critic noted: “Peace operations” and “nation building” are what the military and the mercenaries call their activities. But just like Bush’s “healthy forests” and “clear skies” initiatives, the names mean the opposite of what they do.


The Oil Fields of Africa: Black Gold, Texas Tea

The conundrum the Bush-Cheney Administration faces in Africa is the same all the world over: how to pry the mineral rights from the rightful owners — the African people, in this case — while convincing Congress and the American public that our presence is purely benevolent? The events of September 11th provided an easily path: wage war on terror. This path is all the easier in Africa, where so many countries are already under the control of corrupt, suppressive dictators, whose loyalties are easily purchased.

The tactics used by Bush-Cheney are generally the same, however, no matter what the county. First, they make a case for terrorism in the country – preferably al Qaeda. Then, and not necessarily in this order, they (1) provide U.S. military assistance to fight terrorism, (2) accuse any one who disagrees with the U.S. military presence of being a terrorist insurgent, (3) incite existing cultural tensions toward divisiveness or civil war, (4) fund and arm the “goods guys” and/or the “bad guys” (aka terrorists) to physically remove — through either ethnic cleansing and sometimes genocide — the native populations living on the lands around the oil fields and pipelines, (5) if these populations protest, label them as terrorist insurgents.

Throughout each step of the process, U.S. oil interests are expanded and secured — under the guise of “economic development” for the host country. When all is said and done, however, it is the U.S. who owns the controlling interests in their oil fields. Of course, by the time AFRICOM was created, Bush-Cheney had already done the legwork, having identified terrorist influences in most of the oil-rich African countries set to receive AFRICOM’s military commands. And in a few countries — such as Somalia and Sudan — they’d already accomplished steps 1 through 5.

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As an aside, a smattering of quotables on the topic:

After the end of the Cold War, U.S. policy toward Africa was driven by President George H. W. Bush’s vision of a “New World Order.” …. President Bush announced in his 2006 State of the Union Address his intention to “to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025,” …. analysts estimate that Africa may supply as much as 25% of all U.S. oil imports by 2015. — from the Report for Congress, “Africa Command: U.S. Strategic Interests and the Role of the U.S. Military in Africa,” March 10, 2008.

Today that new world is struggling to be born, a world quite different from the one we’ve known. A world where the rule of law supplants the rule of the jungle. – From President George H.W. Bush’s speech, “Toward a New World Order,” delivered before the nation and a joint session of Congress, September 11, 1990

Along with Latin America, West Africa is expected to be one of the fastest growing sources of oil and gas for the American market. African oil tends to be of high quality and low in sulfur, making it suitable for stringent refined product requirements, and giving it a growing market share for the refining Centers on the East Coast of the U.S.Dick Cheney, May 16, 2001

In the aftermath in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, it is increasingly clear that the United States ignores Africa at its peril….The continent’s failed states and huge swaths of ungoverned territory offer sanctuary to terrorist groups.American Enterprise Institute May 2004 conference bulletin: Leave No Continent Behind: U.S. National Security Interests in Africa

Oh, and one other dirty little secret from 5,000 years of history: Ethnic cleansing works. Armed Forces Journal, June 2006. “Blood Borders: How a Better Middle East Would Look,” by Ralph Peters

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It is easy to understand, then, the fears of African citizens, who feel helpless to the incoming U.S. military presence in their countries. Some in America know this same helplessess, as we’ve seen war protesters branded as terrorist sympathizers or “homegrown terrorists” in recent years. The difference between Americans and Africans is that we do not have a history (up to this point, anyway) of being forced from our homes by the U.S. military, or of witnessing the mass slaughtering of our families, neighbors, communities, of whole towns of people, who protested the policies of the U.S. government. The fear of these African countries is understandable, then, as America’s war on terror turns its calculating eye toward the oil fields of Africa.

U.S. Oil & Mineral Claims vs. Terrorist Claims in Africa:
An Alphabetical Compendium of Coincidences
 
**Benin (important for its proximity to Nigeria oil and its political-economic relationship w/ECOWAS)
**Burkina Faso (important for its proximity to Nigeria oil and its political-economic relationship w/ECOWAS)
**Cape Verde (important for its proximity to Nigeria oil and its political-economic relationship w/ECOWAS)
Guinea-Bissau
**Lesotho
Liberia
**Madagascar
**Malawi
**Mali
**Mozambique
**Namibia
Niger
Senegal
Sierra Leone
Swaziland
**Tanzania
Togo
Zambia
Zimbabwe
** these countries receive aid through compacts with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. government corporation, created by Bush in 2002, to “undercut terrorism by attacking poverty overseas.” While most of these countries lack significant oil reserves, their geographical & political relationships with oil-rich countries lends a strategic importance to U.S. interests in Africa.
* * *
 
 
EDITOR’S NOTE: Our original idea with this post was to document every mineral/gas/oil-rich country in the world where the U.S. is engaged in various military operations. Frankly, the task is too disgusting to continue. To anyone interested in such things, just google to find which countries have rich reserves of oil and gas (or gold, diamonds and other minerals). Then google the name of any of these countries + “al Qaeda” or “insurgents” or “Dick Cheney” or “U.S. military,” or “USNORTHCOM” or “Blackwater,” or “mercenary armies,” or the name of either Bush Jr. or Sr.
Dig just a little, and you will find the U.S. in the thick of it, secretly funding covert and proxy wars, arming and training paramilitaries. You can also google terms such as: genocide, ethnic cleansing, humanitarian crisis, starvation, rape, death squads, disease, etc. and find your way to the U.S. through the back door, so to speak. One notable exception to the rule will be Darfur, where China beat us to the punch. In Sudan, however, the U.S. and China seem to be in partnership, each country jockeying for their fair share of oil and carnage.
Depending on the country, you may also find a “war on drugs,” particularly in South America, but also in Afghanistan. This is how the U.S. funds some of it’s illegal wars, as there is only so much money that can be hoodwinked out of Congress to fund our covert wars. But drug money is only one of the many ways the U.S. gets around the inconvenience of laws that forbid us to provide military aid to countries engaged in genocide, torture, renditions, illegal imprisonments and so on.

The Idolatry of Lesser Gods: Bogeymen and Heroes in the Bush Age

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No faith justifies these murderous and craven acts. No just and loving god looks upon them with favor. — President Obama, speaking at the Fort Hood memorial service on November 10, 2009

Listening to the radio yesterday, I heard Obama speak at the memorial for the 13 slain soldiers at Fort Hood. I listened to another mourner call the shooting rampage a “mini 9/11.” I listened to Obama.

At the risk of committing blasphemy, I’m going to state the obvious. When it comes to honoring tragedy, violence and death, Americans rise to the occasion. But only so long as these can be turned into a cause, of sorts: a cause for waving the flag and waxing patriotic about how great we are, as a people and a country — a cause, ultimately, for uniting against a common enemy. Because  without our enemies, we’d be nothing.

pro war
More than 200 demonstrators gathered at a Lafayette, California hillside in 2007 to voice their support for Bush and the Iraq War. The more than 3,000 crosses in the background represent the soldiers killed in Iraq.

I say this not to dishonor the victims of this horrible tragedy, but because it is incomprehensible that the American people have not embraced, with an equal degree of passion and mourning, the estimated 738 innocent American lives that have been lost — due to the simple inability to afford medical care — since the November 5th shooting rampage at Fort Hood.

Traditionally, Americans don’t rally around common enemies like poverty, racism or injustice. Quite the opposite, in fact. Our enemies are whatever bogeyman currently embodies our centuries-long hatred of other races, of other cultures,  and most especially of non-Christians.  And — as we learned during the Bush-Cheney Administration — it makes no difference whether these enemies are real or imaginary. The important thing is that we have them.

Without our enemies, around whom would we unite? Against what would we fight? What would be our common cause? Certainly not a reverence for the living.

If we’ve learned nothing from the health care wars of 2009, it’s that here in American, there are some folk who wouldn’t give a slug nickel to buy a poor man 5 minutes with the doctor — and who would, in fact, fight to the death to ensure he doesn’t get a red cent. By no coincidence, these are the same folk who have proved they don’t give a rat’s ass how big the price tag, when it comes to war.

The proof of this is in the pudding of the last 8 years. The rabid mobs who took to the streets this summer in protest against health care reform are the same folk who raised nary a squeak over the trillions of their grandchildrens’ futures that were mortagaged by Bush, Cheney & Co. Not a single pip was heard over the trillions that have been squandered to foot the bill for two wars that were waged on false pretenses and lies — wars which have accomplished little more than generating new armies of enemies, while making billionaires out of oil men, defense contractors and the myriad other for-profit agents of modern warfare. 

And in the wake the shootings at Fort Hood, we’ve learned something else. Americans easily unite to shed tears and decry the tragedy of 13 soldiers whose lives were brutally cut short by an irrational act of insanity. Yet we, as a people, are unable to extend this same level of sadness and outrage over the 123 Americans whose lives are brutally cut short each and every day — lives that could be saved, were these human beings simply given access to medical care.    

child-of-warIn America, we readily unite around our wars, our enemies and our soldiers. We generously open our pocketbooks to bullets and bombs and missiles. And we turn a blind eye to the repercussions of our purchases — millions maimed and slaughtered, falsely imprisoned and tortured, the women and children forced by American mercenaries into servitude and sex slavery, the uncounted number of babies born grossly deformed and dead in the wake of our depleted uranium bombs. Even as we don’t dare look our deeds in the eye, we rejoice in their righteousness. 

Yet, we fracture at the prospect of peace; ridicule peacemakers as weak; label them “terrorist appeasers.” We resent humanitarian causes, squabble over whose job it is — and isn’t — to protect and care for the sick, the oppressed, the hurt, the weak and the hungry. 

It should come as no surprise, then, that we were unable, as a country, to unite during the summer of 2009 to ensure that — never again — would any American citizen suffer fear, hunger, destitution, bankruptcy or homelessness due to medical bills  — or, worse, that any American citizen would die for simple a lack of money to pay for medical care. It should come as no surprise, but yet it caught us all by surprise to find our nation split in two, with many citizens taking to the streets with guns and threats of violence, sedition, assassination and lynching. 

Could it be that — for all our claims of being a godly nation — the moral pulse of our country is driven less by love than by hatred? Could this be the reason why Christians want to embed their religion into our laws, post their commandments in our national parks, plaster their piety on bumper stickers — cramming their hypocritical holiness down the throat of every non-Christian — so that we may, as a country, legitimize greed, ignorance, fear and intolerance? So that we may, on paper, divide the godly from the godless — and, in doing so, elevate our wars, our hatreds, and our petty missions into something they’re not? Is this why — whenever our leaders have attempted to pass legislation to protect people from racism, discrimination, lynching and hate crimes, or to protect the earth, feed the hungry or heal the sick — the Christians are the ones who take to the streets, armed to the teeth in protest? 

Could this be the reason why the American people seem almost obsessed with the need to know that the tragedy in Texas was not a random act of insanity but was, indeed, the long hand of the Muslim bogeyman reaching out to get us?  

Here, the tension is palpable. Patriotic Americans everywhere are waiting with bated breath — flags in hand — for the answer to that question. The media and our leaders wait with us, their fingers on the trigger, ready at a moment’s notice to shoot the answer to this all-encompassing question: Was Nidal Hasan’s shooting rampage part of a *gasp* Muslim terrorist plot?

They hope the answer is yes. 

They hope the answer is yes: permission granted to loathe and fear Muslims. Permission granted to believe that all Muslims are secretly planning to wage jihad against America. Permission granted to label all Muslims — and anyone who resembles, sympathizes or socializes with Muslims — as terrorists. Permission granted to elevate them all to the status of enemy.  And because all foreigners look alike to Americans, permission granted to fear and loathe all foreigners. 

They hope the answer is yes. Otherwise, Nidal Hasan’s rampage wouldn’t be so different than that of a disgruntled, white Protestant American worker who — perhaps suffering one more ounce of burden, stress or perceived injustice than he could handle — simply snapped. He succumbed to insanity; we went “postal” and slaughtered innocent people. 

By the same token, what if Nidal Hasan were, indeed, on a self-appointed mission from God? Americans have never, in the wake of similar tragedies, waged war against postal workers or factory workers. Nor have they persecuted Christians in the wake of crimes by men such as Timothy McVeigh, Jim Jones, Warren Jeffs and others who have committed equally heinous acts, including mass murder, under the delusion that they were on a mission from God:

Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East…. The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled…. This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.” — George W. Bush in early 2003, before the US-led invasion of Iraq began, speaking to French President Jacques Chirac, in the hope of drawing his country into the “coalition of the willing.”

I am driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, ‘George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan’. And I did. And then God would tell me ‘George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq’. And I did.George W. Bush four months after the U.S. led invasion of Iraq, speaking before a Palestinian delegation in Egypt during the Israeli-Palestinian summit, four months after the US-led invasion of Iraq began. 

As the child and grandchild of World War veterans, I am grateful to those who lay their lives on the line to protect America and our allies from real enemies. But being an American does not commit me to leave my mind and my conscience on the doorstep every time the decision is made to go to war. History has already shown — and one day the history books will catch up: America’s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan — be they Christian crusades, wars for oil, or a crude mix of the two — were unnecessary and avoidable.  

Had the shoe been on the other foot — had, say, Timothy McVeigh et al been accused of flying suicide planes into the heart of Afghanistan, we would have responded exactly as the Taliban did in the wake of 9-11:  Show us the evidence that these people committed this horrible crime, and we will turn the criminals over to the courts for prosecution. Specifically, America was told:

“Punishment must only be brought once clear evidence of the crime has been established, and that must come through the relevant judicial channels.”

Judicial channels. What a novel concept. The Bush cabal cast such quaint notions aside, in what was to be their first successful abuse of the “state secrets” priviledge to deny accountability for their actions. To provide evidence that al Qaeda was responsible for 9-11 would have been “in conflict with the imperative of keeping intelligence information secret.”

The United States is going to do nothing that jeopardises the investigation,” opined Condi Rice.

The American people take encouragement from the fact that this government will not have loose lips,” bragged White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.

But “In the near future,” promised Colin Powell, “we will be able to put out a paper, a document, that will describe quite clearly the evidence that we have linking him to the attack.” Of course, these documents never materialized. And the American people, it seems, didn’t really care, anyway.   

bush praying

"I accept the legal conclusion of the Department of Justice and determine that none of the provisions of Geneva apply to our conflict with al Qaeda in Afghanistan or elsewhere throughout the world..." Bush memo, dated February 7, 2002

And as the 8 years wound on, around the world, in dark, secret places, America accumulated prisons full of accused bogeymen — prisoners for whom, we were assured, the normal judicial channels and international law didn’t apply. Indeed, to have provided things like evidence, formal charges and jury trials against any man on the planet accused of terrorism would have also been “in conflict with the imperative of keeping intelligence information secret.” These bogeymen were so very bad, that they didn’t even deserve the normal channels of justice. In fact, these men were so evil that the only way to proving their crimes was to torture them into making confessions.   

Imagine a court of law in Podunk, USA pronouncing a man guilty of murder, yet refusing to allow the evidence of his guilt, based on the argument that to do so would jeopardize the police investigation. Or that the only way to proving his guilt was to torture him — beat him, starve him, keep him awake for weeks on end, cut his genitals, rape him with broom handles, suffocate him with water, threaten to torture or kill his wife, his sons, his daughters — whatever means were necessary to making him ‘fess up.     

It would be equally unjust, under the scenario above ( with Timothy McVeigh being accused of flying a suicide mission into the heart of Afghanistan)  if Afghanistan simply refused to follow judicial channels and, instead, chose to invade American soil and kill tens or hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children. Or if Afghanistan were to go on a worldwide crusade to round up and imprison whatever Christians they deemed terrorists. No evidence necessary, of course, beyond whatever confessions could be extracted under torture. After all, as we now know, Christians can and do commit heinous crimes under the delusion that they are on a mission from God. 

My heart goes out to the victims and the families who suffered from the brutal violence and murders commited by Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009. My gripe is not with those who fight real enemies. My gripe is with people who hurt innocent people. My gripe is with those who try to elevate ignorance, fear, intolerance, indifference, greed and violence into something they are not. Namely patriotism, capitalist enterprise, or a mission from God. There is nothing noble or heroic in murdering or allowing harm to come to innocent people, no matter what your religion, nationality or office, and no matter how justifiable your fear, anger or rage.   

A blind reverence to those institutions and individuals who claim license to kill innocents flies in the face of all gods. Obama got that much right yesterday.    

No faith justifies these murderous and craven acts. No just and loving god looks upon them with favor. — President Obama, speaking at the Fort Hood memorial service on November 10, 2009

Similar words were spoken 3 years ago, by the United States Conference for the World Council of Churches, in their criticism of the Bush Administration’s response to the 9/11 attacks:

We are citizens of a nation that has done much in these years to endanger the human family and to abuse the creation. Our leaders turned a deaf ear to the voices of church leaders throughout our nation and the world, entering into imperial projects that seek to dominate and control for the sake of our own national interests. Nations have been demonised and God has been enlisted in national agendas that are nothing short of idolatrous.

 

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by Mantis Katz for canarypapers

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Dick Cheney: The Eight Most Dreaded Words in The English Language

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A film by Robert Greenwald: “Unconstitutional – The War on Our Civil Liberties”

Joe Biden said it best: “For every American who is trying to do the right thing, for all those people in government who are honoring their pledge to uphold the law and respect our Constitution, no longer will the eight most dreaded words in the English language be: ‘The vice president’s office is on the phone.'”

Truly, Biden’s words last night flew by so fast — and coming, as they did, seemingly out of nowhere — that we almost missed them. But these words were, perhaps, the most important words spoken at the convention last night. For those of us who have been paying attention — really paying attention to just what in the hell has happened to our country over the past 7 years — we know that Joe Biden hit the nail on the head: Dick Cheney.

It was Dick Cheney and his henchmen, David Addington and John Yoo, who orchestrated the assault on our Constitution and Bill of Rights; Dick Cheney who orchestrated the cooking of intelligence to go to war in Iraq. It was Dick Cheney who orchestrated the transfer of power in this country from the people’s voice to corporations, so that his corporate cronies could rake in billions upon billions of dollars in the U.S. wars for oil all over the world — from Afghanistan and Iraq, to the more recent war-by-proxy in Georgia (not to mention the other covert wars throughout the Caucuses, Latin America and all of Africa ). 

It was Dick Cheney and his henchmen who orchestrated a system of laws that would legalize torture, secret prisons, extraordinary rendition, illegal detention, the loss of habeas corpus for anyone deemed a terrorist suspect – up to, and including, American citizens, who have been relentlessly spied on over the past 7 years for evidence that they, themselves, might be deemed “rebellions” or “homegrown terrorists” or “terrorist sympathizers” or  “terrorist suspects” or “enemy combatants” for being so bold as to have an opinion on peace, on war, on animal rights, on human rights. 

And it was Dick Cheney and henchman, such as Karl Rove, who orchestrated the fearmongering to feed their “war on terror” — not to protect America from the bad guys, but to scare the hell out of us. It was Dick Cheney who groomed those fears, then exploited them to strong-arm our entire country into gladly surrendering our rights and our laws and, with them, the soul of our country, which has stained our integrity throughout the world. It is Dick Cheney who is a war criminal. It is Dick Cheney who is guilty of myriad impeachable offenses, yet is so powerful that not even the laws of the land dare touch him. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Make no mistake: When Joe Biden referred to “the eight most-dreaded words in the English language,” he wasn’t kidding.

Which makes it all the more important that we pay attention — really pay attention – in the coming months and years because there is nothing to stop the force that is Dick Cheney, save the overwhelming protest of the American people, all the way to Capitol Hill. And even that may not be enough. Remember these things, come election day, when the voting machines malfunction, and the ballots are all screwed up, and hundreds of thousands of people discover their names have been deleted from the lists of registered voters, and the lines at *certain* polls are 8 hours long. Remember this during the months after inauguration, as you discover that — despite all the campaign rhetoric and promises — our leaders on Capitol Hill still seem incapacitated to doing “the right thing.”

Ain’t no election gonna change the fact that some of the most powerful people in the world bow to the sound of those words, and will long continue to do so, even when the words have been reduced to only five: Dick Cheney’s on the phone.

CBC News Documentary: Dick Cheney: the Unauthorized Biography

 

Media Whiteout: Who’s the Real Bully in the Russia-Georgia War?

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Looks like business as usual: The U.S. installs a corrupt, pseudo-democratic puppet regime in an oil-strategic country, then arms and trains its military to the teeth, so that they can (and, rest assured, they always do) stage a U.S. war-by-proxy, so that the US can wrest control of yet more oil-strategic territory. Only, this time, Bush-Cheney are playing a game of Russian Roulette, their guns aimed straight into the mouth of World War III.
Russia has been warning, for several years now, against Georgia invading South Ossetia. Russia has also, through its Foreign Ministry, urged treaties to forge peaceful resolutions to the escalating tension between Georgia and South Ossetia. And as these efforts have failed, the warnings have only grown stronger: Do not attack South Ossetia. Or else. These efforts have all fallen on deaf ears — the treaties left unsigned by U.S./Georgia leaders — as the reporting of this history virtually whited-out by the U.S. media and its allies, with very few exceptions. By the same token, the Bush Administration’s repeated promises to put “heavy pressure” on Mikhail Saakashvili to not attack South Ossetia have fallen on deaf ears in Russia. Perhaps this is due to the billions of dollars the U.S. government has spent arming and training Georgian soldiers to fight the war on terror, while waging chronic aggression against South Ossetia and performing those joint “peace exercises” at the Russian border.
Courtesy of the U.S. media (and the media of all allies of the U.S., who depend on our ill-gotten oil) the truth about this war is in white-out mode, replaced by the sort of propaganda and lies necessary to bolstering support for waging an illegal, immoral war that has been called, by one reporter in South Ossetia, “a massacre” of its citizens. Much like the war in Iraq. This dearth of media truth and balance in the U.S. media nicely dovetails into the Bush Administration’s claims that Russia “does not want peace,” and that Russia is the savage, the war monger in this scenario. The media accounts of this war make increasingly rare mention to the fact that it was U.S.-backed Georgia (not Russia!) that instigated this war – invading South Ossetia and destroying their towns, their homes, and brutally killing their citizens. Either the media are stupid or complicitous: 90% of South Ossetia’s citizens are Russian; and South Ossetia has been harmoniously allied with the Russian government for years now. These are not opinions or conspiracy theories. They are facts.

 

Our media have ignored the build-up to this war, the same as they are now whitewashing the real bully in this war. The media, instead, perpetuate the myth that South Ossetia is somehow being “saved” by the U.S. and Georgia, despite that they do not want to be “saved” from a willing alliance with Russia. Make no mistake: This is a war of choice. This is a war for oil. This is a war started by the Bush Administration, using Georgia’s Mikhail Saakashvili as its pawn, and Russia as the ruse. Perhaps our administration didn’t really believe all those Russia warnings of retaliation. Perhaps Bush-Cheney thought their Georgia pawns and mercenary armies could overwhelm the pro-Russian province of South Ossetia (and likely their neighbor, Abkhazia, too) as brutally as America’s Ethopian pawns have overwhelmed Somalia. Or, perhaps Bush-Cheney couldn’t care less what anyone thinks or says about the atrocities they commit in the name of spreading freedom and democracy.

As recent history has shown, the war crimes of the Bush Administration are so layered in lies that — by the time the rest of the world figures out the real truth – the death and destruction are little more than a footnote in the history of yet one more nation, swallowed up by the Bush-Cheney war machine. Soon forgotten in George Bush’s crafty war rhetoric will be the South Ossentian citizens — that’s innocent men, women, children and vulnerable elderly citizens — who were brutally slaughtered in the first day alone of this war by Saakashvili’s hand. The rest of South Ossentia citizens — those ‘lucky’ ones, who have scrambled for safety, toward the Russian border, and whose lives have been forever altered as their homes and their villages have been decimated — will likely not even be allowed the trivial dignity of a footnote.

And this aspect deserves bold-face type: these citizens are fleeing — not into Georgia, but into Russia. Whose media version does this part of the story fit? The American media version — in which Russia is waging an unprovoked and ‘disproportianate’ war on Georgia? The American version, in which the U.S. and Georgia merely sought to save the poor little, independent province of South Ossentia from the evil empire? Or the version told by both Russia and South Ossetia – versions that paint Georgia and the U.S. as war criminals, slaughtering innocent citizens in their illegal invasion of South Ossetia?

Do you suppose the South Ossentians are lying? Do you suppose that Sarmat Laliyev, a 28-year old South Ossentian, fleeing toward Russia, was lying, when she said, “We lost our city … The Georgians are like Nazis, they are killing civilians, women and children with heavy artillery and rockets”?

PHOTO ABOVE: Russia sends Teams of Buses to Evacuate 15,000 South Ossetia Citizens Forced to Flee Their Homes
 
With the war in full swing, the U.S. propaganda machine is running at full-pitch. The U.S. pretends that Georgia is being victimized, as their pleas for a cease-fire go unheard by Russia. The U.S. accuses Russia of ‘disproportionate’ force against Georgia, while ignoring the fact that a ceasefire is hardly possible, until Georgia withdraws from South Ossetia, which they’ve so far failed to do, despite repeated demands by Russia. Cheney says that, “Russia’s military action against Georgia must not go unanswered.” Bush is urging “peace.” He is urging Russia to stop the violence. His lies about who started what are delivered “in a serious and somber tone,” as he claims the United States is “deeply concerned” about the fighting, and calls this a “dangerous escalation” that is “endangering regional peace.” Duh.

No doubt, the majority of US citizens, in their perennial ignorance of world politics, in general (and of any issue, in particular, that doesn’t involve Paris, Brittney, J-Lo, Angelina or Madonna) will start waving American flags and railing against the godless evil empire: Bush is the good guy, here. After all, he’s calling for peace, right? And peace is good. Even George Bush’s brand of peace, is good, right? I mean, sometimes peace means you gotta go to war, but that’s okay, too, so long as it’s not on American soil….

… so long as the war happens to someone else, not us.

One important difference between Georgia and, say, Kosovo-Yugoslavia is that, this time around, the US is staging its proxy war right on Russia’s border. And Russia has made clear that they are not going to be so indifferent this time around. Bush-Cheney knew this, of course, before they equipped Georgia to attack South Ossetia, which begs the question: What are they thinking?
The answer here, as in all modern U.S. conflicts — from Kosovo, to Iraq, to Colombia, to Afghanistan, to Somalia and the entire continent of Africa — can be summed up in one word: oil.

For years, Washington has been supporting and/or installing Georgian politicians who are favorable to the U.S. oil agenda — most recently the corrput autocrat, Mikhail Saakashvili — while pouring military aid into the Georgia, and arming and training their troops for… for…. For what? For war. This has been utterly clear to Russia over the past several years, and especially over the past several months, as they’ve watched U.S. and Georgia forces amass on the Russian border, as part of the euphemistically named “NATO Partnership for Peace program.”

 

 

Written by canarypapers

August 9, 2008 at 12:01 pm

The U.S. War Machine Leaves an Ugly Slick of Oil & Blood

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UPDATE — DECEMBER 31, 2009: The post below, originally published on July 26, 2008, was written as an outcropping of our disgust over the genocide and ethnic cleansing taking place in the United States’ brutal covert war in Somalia. We never finished this post and never will (see note at bottom of this page). However, the information herein continues to be as relevant today as it will be tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. (Think Obama constitutes a change from the Bush Administration’s warmongering for oil under the guise of fighting terrorism? Think again.)

Many Americans would be surprised to know that, throughout the course of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. has also been busy with wars elsewhere in the world. Only, we don’t call them wars. We call them things like peacekeeping missions, nation-building or “low intensity conflicts.” Or, as is the case in Colombia, where the U.S. is at work wresting control of oil pipelines and trying to destabilize the bordering oil-rich countries, such as Venezuela, while demonizing the leaders of these countries, we call it a “war on drugs” — even as the U.S. is the pusher man working out of Colombia, using the proceeds from our drug sales to fund our war machine in South America. (Think about it. Has cocaine ever been cheaper or more available than since Clinton and Bush began their war on drugs in Colombia? The same is true of heroin in the Afghanistan drug trade). And we don’t, as a rule, fight these wars ourselves. Instead, we buy off corrupt dictators and/or destabilize and overthrow democratically elected leaders and install corrupt dictators of our own choosing. Then we build armies for them — funding, training and arming these paramilitaries to the tune of millions, so that they can fight our various covert and proxy wars on terror around the globe, which are, coincidentally, in the most mineral-strategic countries on the planet — from South America to Africa and the Middle East. It is no coincidence that the U.S. is the world’s largest arms supplier, our war machine generating loyalties, death and destruction in over 174 states and territories.


These wars are given little scrutiny on the media radar, even as they’re claimed to be part of the larger war on terror — or, in the case of, say, Sudan, they fly under the guise of humanitarian efforts. Much like Somalia, Yemen is not so strategic for its oil reserves, but for its natural gas reserves. Oh, and there’s also that matter of its location (location, location). Specifically, Somalia and Yemen are located across from each other, like mirrors, on either side of the opening from the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. This strait connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden through which our oil and gas laden ships must pass.The U.S. has been covertly warring for years to control this shipping lane. As such, news stories — past present and future — on Ethiopia, Djibouti, Yemen, Somalia and, yes, pirates are inseparable from this larger story, a story about a superpower that will use any ruse to get what it wants, up to and including climbing in and out of bed with friends, enemies and even the terrorists we claim to be fighting.

As for the collateral damage from our clandestine wars — genocide, ethnic cleansing and untold millions of human lives ground into starvation, disease, misery, death and civil war — America alternately ignores and feigns outrage. When it becomes strategically feasible and/or necessary, the U.S. military steps out of the shadows, setting up high-profile military installations, so that we may help these poor victims, or protect them from the “bad guys,” with whom we may or may not still be in bed. This is the story being replayed in countries throughout the world. Yemen is no exception.

Considering that during the months before 9-11, the FBI had their finger on the pulse of the pre-9-11 terrorist network in Yemen (to which the Bush Administration was in
“ignore” mode), it is curious that U.S.has subsequently enjoyed the sort of relationship with Yemen over the past 8 years, where we could rendition detainees there to be tortured at our CIA black sites in Yemen. Which makes it somehow ironic that the media is using the Yemen connections of the recent underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab
/AbdulMutallab, to help us recall and re-ignite our anger over 9-11. It seems the American public is now being signaled that it’s time to switch from from ignore-mode to the outrage-mode being feigned by our leaders. This is, of course, our cue, as patriotic, freedom-loving Americans to rally behind our pre-Christmas bombing campaign waged on the innocent men, women and children in Yemen, which promises to be an ongoing campaign in the war formerly known as Bush’s war on terror. It is no coincidence that this latest bombing campaign was already underway when the underpants bomber boarded the plane for America. Nor is it a coincidence that the trail of the underpants bomber is littered with questions that, for the official record, go unasked and unanswered.

Such has been the nature of America’s war on terror, beginning with 9-11. Our leaders can afford to be arrogant and sloppy because, truth be known, the U.S. is untouchable. We encourage those interested in these stories to do their own research. This page is a good starting point. Our apologies that we cannot finish our own effort out, and for any dead links on this page.


July 26, 2008

An odd coincidence: Pick any oil-rich spot on the globe, and you will find the U.S. engaged in the war on terror.

In this vein, why has there been such a preponderance of al Qaeda terrorists (or, rather, a preponderance of **propaganda about **al Qaeda) surrounding the oil fields of the world over the past 7 years?

The current war in Iraq is not the first U.S. war for oil. Nor is it the first war for oil that has claimed massive civilian casualties, which were then concealed by the U.S. media. This is the first war for oil, however, fought on the grounds that a foreign country posed a direct threat to the U.S. — false grounds – which our government intentionally deceived us into believing. This is also the first war for oil fought under the mantle of spreading freedom and democracy, even as the U.S. government funds and arms both sides in a civil war: Shiites against Sunnis and Sunnis against Shiites – who then terrorize, torture, slaughter and commit ethnic cleansing of the very Iraqi populations we’re supposedly fighting to “save” from the evil terrorists. There’s a term for the type of warfare being waged by the U.S. in Iraq. It’s called war crimes.


That the American people have not demanded accountability from Congress, and have largely remained silent about the atrocities of this war – whether through complacent ignorance or sheer disbelief that our government could actually commit such atrocities — has only served to condone this war and the policies of this administration. Our collective silence has, in effect, given Bush-Cheney carte blanche to wage other wars on terrorism – wars now being fought in countires throughout the world, with scarcely a mention in the U.S. media.

Unknown to most Americans is that dozens of countries throughout the world have now been accused of harboring al Qaeda terrorists. Unknown to most Americans is that the Bush-Cheney Administraion is and has been waging clandestine wars in these countries, under the banner of “fighting terrorism,” sometimes called “peacekeeping missions” and “nation-building.” Unknown to most Americans is that we are currently spending millions of dollars in each of these countries, to fight mere handsful of alleged al Qaeda terrorists, whose existence — in many instances — is based on “intelligence” as leaky as the intelligence that sent us to war in Iraq. The potential and the reality (as seen in both Iraq and Afghanistan) is that these wars result in “chasing needles by burning haystacks,” as entire populations of innocent civilians are brutalized by the Bush-Cheney war machine , as it pursues small handsful of terrorists, who may or may not even exist.

In Iraq, alone, the Bush-Cheney war machine left in its wake over 4 million “displaced” Iraqi citizens – driven from their homes through violence and ethnic cleansing. From this point forward, if there were any questions left regarding the true intention of the U.S. forces, one need look no further than the billions of U.S. dollars spent building the enormous network of permanent U.S. bases over the past 7 years. These mega-bases have been built with every U.S. lifestyle amenity imaginable — from Baskin Robbins to Burger King, from miniature golf to swimming pools, from Hertz Rent-a-Car to department stores, and from football stadiums to movie theatres — not to mention air-conditioning, satellite internet access, cable television and international phone service.
The average Iraqi citizen has not enjoyed some of these amenities — such as electricity, food, water, shelter, sanitation and health care – since the days of Saddam Hussein. Ironically, construction on the permanent U.S. bases in Iraq proceeded swiftly toward completion, while U.S. work on to restore the most rudimentary of services for Iraqis — such as water purification, food, health care and electricity — fell to the wayside.

A Crude Awakening

Despite what we, in America, hear on the evening news, the words ‘victory’ and ’success’ do not belong in the same sentence with the word ‘Iraq.” The situation in Iraq is one of humanitarian crisis. Five years into the U.S. invasion of their country, Iraq is now deemed, the worst humanitarian crisis in the Middle East since 1948. Human rights and relief agencies throughout the world (International Red Cross, Amnesty International, Oxfam) have described the situation as “disasterous,” as a “dire humanitarian crisis,” calling Iraq, “one of the most dangerous countries in the world…. a place of carnage and despair.” Our vice-president, Dick Cheney, recently described Iraq as a “successful endeavor,” a sentiment we hear echoed daily from our mainstream U.S. media. Would the American public be silent, if they knew that we are waging similar wars in dozens of countries?
Question: When is a war a war?
Is it a war, if it’s called a ‘low-intensity conflict’? Is it a war, if only a small number of U.S. military troops are sent in? And is it a war, if the soldiers are from private mercenary armies hired through U.S. corporations? And is it a war, if our military funds, trains and arms rogue armies to fight these wars? Is it a war if the military’s stated purpose is ‘peacekeeping’ or to lend humanitarian aid? And what if it’s a little of each? Is it a war?
The answers lie in the oil fields: If U.S. military engagement and/or aid results in the U.S. gaining control of a country’s oil/mineral profits — at the expense of the native populations, who suffer impoverishment, torture, ethnic cleansing and/or genocide as a result of our actions — then that military engagement is, indeed, a war. It is a war for oil.  
Curious to know just how many wars are being fought for oil, we decided to take a head count of each and every country where the U.S. is fighting the war on terror. Our bet is that each and every one is also, ultimately, a war for oil. Whether the resulting silence from this truth is deafening, or not, is anyone’s guess.

Pick a Continent, Any Continent…

Say, Africa. Although Africa is but one stop on Dick Cheney’s proposed world tour for oil, it’s a good place to start, since the entire continent stands to be devoured, beginning with its name. Renamed in February 2007 (for military purposes only, mind you) Africa is now called the U.S. African Command (USAFRICOM or AFRICOM). As shown on this map, USAFRICOM was created from the existing United States European Command (USEUCOM), United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) and United States Pacific Command (USPACOM). Whatever that means. It is with some haste, then, that we inventory the African countries involved in Bush-Cheney’s global war on terror.

Lost in all the flurry of Bush’s February 2007 announcement of the surge in Iraq was his concurrent announcement of another surge — this one on the continent of Africa. Having neatly accomplished ‘Iraqi solutions for Iraqi problems’ in their war for oil distribution in Iraq, Bush-Cheney — poised, now, to undertake another empire — easily won congressional approval for “African solutions to African problems.” aka, U.S.AFRICOM: the U.S. African Command and its military arm ACOTA. A Department of Defense military operation, AFRICOM was created by Bush-Cheney to enhance our efforts to bring peace and security to the people of Africa. Started in October 2007, and set to be fully operational by September 30, 2008, AFRICOM is installing military commands in a total of 53 African countries – that’s all of Africa, except Egypt.

In an August 2007 congressional briefing, State and Defense Department officials emphasized to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that AFRICOM’s aim is to boost cooperation on anti-terrorism and peacekeeping activities, and programs that promote regional stability. In this same briefing, Theresa Whelan, Deputy Assistant for African affairs, echoed this sentiment — assuring Congress that AFRICOM is focused on security, not combat. On the heels of this assurance, however, she nonetheless cautioned: ” I would anticipate that there would be an increase in the amount of exercises we conduct and other military-to-military cooperation activity.”

Many in Africa are understandably suspicious. Believing, perhaps, that past is prologue — the majority of countries are protesting the presence of AFRICOM, as are many individuals around the world, including some high-profile activists, such as Danny Glover , who consider the ongoing U.S.-British militarization of Africa to be little more than a strategy toward gaining control of Africa’s natural resources, most notably its oil. As one critic noted: “Peace operations” and “nation building” are what the military and the mercenaries call their activities. But just like Bush’s “healthy forests” and “clear skies” initiatives, the names mean the opposite of what they do.


The Oil Fields of Africa: Black Gold, Texas Tea

The conundrum the Bush-Cheney Administration faces in Africa is the same all the world over: how to pry the mineral rights from the rightful owners — the African people, in this case — while convincing Congress and the American public that our presence is purely benevolent? The events of September 11th provided an easily path: wage war on terror. This path is all the easier in Africa, where so many countries are already under the control of corrupt, suppressive dictators, whose loyalties are easily purchased.

The tactics used by Bush-Cheney are generally the same, however, no matter what the county. First, they make a case for terrorism in the country – preferably al Qaeda. Then, and not necessarily in this order, they (1) provide U.S. military assistance to fight terrorism, (2) accuse any one who disagrees with the U.S. military presence of being a terrorist insurgent, (3) incite existing cultural tensions toward divisiveness or civil war, (4) fund and arm the “goods guys” and/or the “bad guys” (aka terrorists) to physically remove — through either ethnic cleansing and sometimes genocide — the native populations living on the lands around the oil fields and pipelines, (5) if these populations protest, label them as terrorist insurgents.

Throughout each step of the process, U.S. oil interests are expanded and secured — under the guise of “economic development” for the host country. When all is said and done, however, it is the U.S. who owns the controlling interests in their oil fields. Of course, by the time AFRICOM was created, Bush-Cheney had already done the legwork, having identified terrorist influences in most of the oil-rich African countries set to receive AFRICOM’s military commands. And in a few countries — such as Somalia and Sudan — they’d already accomplished steps 1 through 5.

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As an aside, a smattering of quotables on the topic:

After the end of the Cold War, U.S. policy toward Africa was driven by President George H. W. Bush’s vision of a “New World Order.” …. President Bush announced in his 2006 State of the Union Address his intention to “to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025,” …. analysts estimate that Africa may supply as much as 25% of all U.S. oil imports by 2015. — from the Report for Congress, “Africa Command: U.S. Strategic Interests and the Role of the U.S. Military in Africa,” March 10, 2008.

Today that new world is struggling to be born, a world quite different from the one we’ve known. A world where the rule of law supplants the rule of the jungle. – From President George H.W. Bush’s speech, “Toward a New World Order,” delivered before the nation and a joint session of Congress, September 11, 1990

Along with Latin America, West Africa is expected to be one of the fastest growing sources of oil and gas for the American market. African oil tends to be of high quality and low in sulfur, making it suitable for stringent refined product requirements, and giving it a growing market share for the refining Centers on the East Coast of the U.S.Dick Cheney, May 16, 2001

In the aftermath in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, it is increasingly clear that the United States ignores Africa at its peril….The continent’s failed states and huge swaths of ungoverned territory offer sanctuary to terrorist groups.American Enterprise Institute May 2004 conference bulletin: Leave No Continent Behind: U.S. National Security Interests in Africa

Oh, and one other dirty little secret from 5,000 years of history: Ethnic cleansing works. Armed Forces Journal, June 2006. “Blood Borders: How a Better Middle East Would Look,” by Ralph Peters

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It is easy to understand, then, the fears of African citizens, who feel helpless to the incoming U.S. military presence in their countries. Some in America know this same helplessess, as we’ve seen war protesters branded as terrorist sympathizers or “homegrown terrorists” in recent years. The difference between Americans and Africans is that we do not have a history (up to this point, anyway) of being forced from our homes by the U.S. military, or of witnessing the mass slaughtering of our families, neighbors, communities, of whole towns of people, who protested the policies of the U.S. government. The fear of these African countries is understandable, then, as America’s war on terror turns its calculating eye toward the oil fields of Africa.

U.S. Oil & Mineral Claims vs. Terrorist Claims in Africa:
An Alphabetical Compendium of Coincidences

 
Algeria
Angola
**Benin (important for its proximity to Nigeria oil and its political-economic relationship w/ECOWAS)
**Burkina Faso (important for its proximity to Nigeria oil and its political-economic relationship w/ECOWAS)
**Cape Verde (important for its proximity to Nigeria oil and its political-economic relationship w/ECOWAS)
Chad / Chad-Cameroon
Congo-Brazzaville
Côte d’Ivoire (peacekeeping)
Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire)
Djibouti
Equatorial Guinea
Ethiopia (= Somalian war)
Eritrea
Gabon
**Ghana
Guinea-Bissau
**Lesotho
Liberia
Libya (pre-U.S. sanctions and post-U.S. sanctions)
**Madagascar
**Malawi
**Mali
Mauritania
**Morocco
**Mozambique
**Namibia
Niger
Nigeria
Senegal
Sierra Leone
Swaziland
**Tanzania
Togo
Zambia
Zimbabwe
** these countries receive aid through compacts with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. government corporation, created by Bush in 2002, to “undercut terrorism by attacking poverty overseas.” While most of these countries lack significant oil reserves, their geographical & political relationships with oil-rich countries lends a strategic importance to U.S. interests in Africa.
 
 
EDITOR’S NOTE: Our original idea with this post was to document every mineral/gas/oil-rich country in the world where the U.S. is engaged in various military operations. Frankly, the task is too disgusting to continue. To anyone interested in such things, just google to find which countries have rich reserves of oil and gas (or gold, diamonds and other minerals). Then google the name of any of these countries + “al Qaeda” or “insurgents” or “Dick Cheney” or “U.S. military,” or “USNORTHCOM” or “Blackwater,” or “mercenary armies,” or the name of either Bush Jr. or Sr.

Dig just a little, and you will find the U.S. in the thick of it, secretly funding covert and proxy wars, arming and training paramilitaries. You can also google terms such as: genocide, ethnic cleansing, humanitarian crisis, starvation, rape, death squads, disease, etc. and find your way to the U.S. through the back door, so to speak. Depending on the country, you may also find a “war on drugs,” particularly in South America, but also in Afghanistan. This is how the U.S. funds some of it’s illegal wars, as there is only so much money that can be hoodwinked out of Congress to fund our covert wars. One notable exception to the rule will be Darfur, where China beat us to the punch. In Sudan, however, the U.S. and China seem to be in partnership, each country jockeying for their fair share of oil an

The Surge in Iraq: Ethnic Cleansing, with Perks

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To hear the mainstream media, the most pressing issue in Iraq right now is the surge. Not U.S. war crimes in Iraq; not ethnic cleansing; not torture; not the U.S. no-bid contracts for Iraqi oil. Not the fact that this is an illegal war to begin with (see video, below). Just the surge: Did it work? Did it reduce U.S. deaths? Was it a success? Did it help? Did it curb violence? Did it improve security in Iraq?

There are as many ways of asking the question as there are ways of answering it, and the sheer volume of questions exaggerates the urgency of the topic, much like the flag-pin flak that dominated headlines for several months this spring. This would be good news — the media’s current obsession with the surge — were it seeking to correct history, or even to correctly record history. Instead, the media seems to be working in concert with the Bush Administration to re-write history.

As is the case with most aspects of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, it will likely be 30 years or more before the history books catch up with the truth. For now, the best the truthsayers can hope for is that, against formidable odds, the issues of true urgency in Iraq and the rest of the world will sooner be given the attention — and ultimately the justice — that they deserve.

Enter Democracy, American Style

On July 14th, the New York Times published Obama’s forward-looking op-ed, titled, My Plan for Iraq, which focused on ending the war in Iraq. The next day, Obama purged his website of criticism toward the surge. This was likely in response to the growing media circus over Obama’s criticism of the surge, as the media doggedly ignores the dull nuances of actually ending the war in Iraq, in favor of muckraking new controversy over last year’s news. To this end, the media has been barraging both candidates with the same bald-faced question: Was the surge a success?

Here again, we’re seeing the fruit of the U.S. media, which operates under a perverse field-of-dreamsesque tactic to the delivering the news: if you can’t build a media circus with substance or facts, just start throwing shit — elephants, tent posts, camel dung, flag pins, rumors, rotton apples, innuendo and lies — and keep pitching it. The viewers will throng to see your discordant pile of bullshit and will be every bit as outraged as you want them to be.

Just yesterday, CBS aired a Katie Couric interview with Obama, in which Couric (who could have asked the likely next-president anything under the sun) instead pitched him a rotten apple: Was the surge a success? Did the surge — the addition of 30,000 additional troops — help the situation in Iraq? To this, Obama offered a detailed answer, with many nuances, which included his perspective that the surge in Iraq has spent resources that could have been spent in Afghanistan, where bin Laden is supposedly located. Couric — apparently not satisfied with the lack of fodder in Obama’s answer — re-phrased her question: Do you think the level of security in Iraq would exist today without the surge? (Read that: Are you patriotic? Do you love America as much as John McCain?)

Instantaneously, on the heels of this interview, the network broadcast Couric’s interview with John McCain – not to get his perspective on the surge, but to get his perspective on Obama’s perspective of the surge. To this end — while McCain’s name was utterly absent in Couric’s interview with Obama — 100% of the questions she posed to McCain were specifically about Obama — including her one comment in the interview, when she observed, “You sound very frustrated with Senator Obama’s perspective.”

If the grin on McCain’s face was any indication, he was more than happy to partake in Katie’s interview style. He began by parading his latest talking point: Obama would “rather lose the war than lose the campaign.” From here, he found a dozen different ways to chide Obama’s naivetee and to accuse him of denying “the sacrifice of brave young Americans.” At the end of the interview, Katie asked McCain about Barack Obama’s assertion that the war on terror is centered in Afghanistan, where 9-11 was planned. McCain argued that Iraq is the center in the war on terror. And to back this up, he recited a quote, which he attibuted to bin Laden: Go to the country of the two rivers.

If those words sound like lofty, Big Chief-to-Kimosabe dialogue, straight out of a B-grade western, you’ll have to consider their true source: a convoluted trail of sources, actually, that winds through Washington, intersecting with a cowboy from Crawford, Texas and another from Wyoming, before resuming its torturous route through the Middle East, into Iraq, then back again.

The Land of the Two Rivers.

Even tho it’s faster to just say Iraq, there are some people — and McCain’s apparently one of them — who find it faster to say the land of the two rivers. This is because the phrase has become code, in military circles — an efficient form of verbal shorthand for drawing a political-geographical-historical connection between Al Qaeda terrorists, Iraq, 9-11 and Osama bin Laden.

For the uninitiated, ‘the land of the two rivers’ refers not to Iraq, per se, but to al Qaeda in Iraq, which goes by the name, Tandhim Qa’idat Al-Jihad fi bilad Al-Rafidain, which translates roughly to The Al Qeada Jihad Organization in the Land of the Two Rivers. This was the official name assigned to Al Qaeda in Iraq when it formed in 2004. (NOTE: Pause here to reflect on the fact that Al Qaeda did not exist in Iraq until one year after the U.S. invasion). Since then, this phrase has been oft repeated in the many purported Al Qaeda missives and messages purportedly sent by Osama bin Laden and Al-Zarqawi, and purportedly posted on various jihadist websites. The ‘two rivers’ phrase has also become a staple item on some U.S. websites — from McCain’s campaign website, to the White House website, to various right-wing havens. While I’ve yet to discover any of the purported jihadist websites, nor even the names of these purported jihadist websites that purportedly, originally posted these purported terrorist messages, I’m sure they must exist, because the White House tells us so.

There are some who believe that most, if not all, of these terrorist messages are counterfeit — sourced out of thin air, or from “intelligence” gathered from torture sessions, then manufactured and released by the propaganda machines of our own government and AIPAC . Regardless, this has nothing and everything to do with Barack Obama.

The Circus Comes to Town

As Obama and his predecessor John Kerry well know — when it comes to matters of flag, country and war — it takes only the slightest perversion of the facts to twist public perception. And the Republicans are masters of the smear, which is why McCain repeatedly seeds the media with statements such as, “Obama was wrong about the surge and refuses to acknowledge that fact.” McCain’s hope, here, is that one of these seeds will take root and grow into a full-fledged smear: Obama is a terrorist appeaser; he’s weak on war; he’s unpatriotic; he’s unAmerican. And the U.S. media scans every inflection of every word — ever-ready to pitch the next circus.

Fact is, Obama was right: the surge was wrong. Fact is, McCain was also right: the surge was a success. But not for the reasons you’ve heard. The surge was a success because, in 2007, we began paying our enemy to stop killing us. The surge was a success because we hired and armed tens of thousands of these enemies — Sunni insurgents – to work side-by-side with U.S. soldiers, despite that only weeks earlier, these same Sunnis had been ambushing and killing Americans. The surge was a success because, at the moment we began paying and arming these Sunnis, we officially began funding and arming both sides in the civil war.

The surge was a success because the 30,000+ U.S. troops sent to Iraq provided the necessary manpower to implement the concurrent surge of 90,000 Sunni insurgent troops we were hiring. The surge is working because these 90,000 Sunnis — along with the 450,000 Shiites security forces already in the U.S. employ — are doing just as the U.S. directs: carrying out the ongoing campaign of ethnic cleansing — Sunnis against Shiites, and Shiites against Sunnis — called “the worst human displacement in Iraq’s modern history” . By intensifying the divisions (and, in some cases, creating division where none existed before) the U.S. undermines the goal of reconciliation and compromise between Shiites and Sunnis .

The media, working under the auspices of our government, reports this dynamic as a “refusal” of the Iraqi government to take control. This myth (which seems to suggest that Iraqis are too lazy or corrupt to take control of their own country) will continue to be reported and will continue to be swallowed by the American public, so long as the U.S. can fuel rage between the Sunnis and Shiites. But only so long as the U.S. keeps funding this civil war — paying Sunnis to brutalize Shiites, and paying Shiites to brutalize Sunnis.

Lest we forget, this is a war for gas and oil. A unified Iraq serves no good purpose in this war. The surge is working because the U.S. has made great strides in dividing Iraq into a more conquerable state.

If this sounds foreign to you, it’s not because I’m a raving conspiracy theorist, but because most of what we’ve been told about the surge is a lie. Fact is, however, most Americans — whether by naivetee or choice — prefer to believe the propaganda, to the extent that, when they do hear a morsel of truth, they turn away in disbelief, either because it is too horrible to contemplate, or because it seems too incredible to be true.

Our administration and our media have conditioned us to do this — to relegate all anti-Bush news into the realm of the tin-foil hat conspiracy theorists. And this would be just fine with me, if not for the fact that these disbelieving Americans, who enjoy such a complacent ignorance of the facts, are the same Americans who will be electing our next president, not to mention our representatives on Capitol Hill.

The fact is, were the voting American public more informed about the facts, our politicians wouldn’t be compelled to campaign from both sides of the fence: addressing the real truth, while also pandering to the Bush Administration’s version of the truth, as perpetuated by the media and swallowed — hook, line and sinker — by the American public. If Americans were truly paying attention — which would require considering the validity of uncomfortable and often outrageous truths — our elected officials could not *get away* with doing this — with capitulating on their party’s policies, based not on facts, but on the public’s perception of the facts, as woven by a propaganda-driven media that is bereft of the facts. This is part and parcel of how we got into this war in the first place.

Pleasant Truths vs. Dry Statistics

When was the last time the evening news mentioned the 100,000 Iraqis who have been killed during this war? Or ethnic cleansing? Or the millions of Iraqis violently displaced from their homes? When you hear on the evening news that the surge is a success, you can believe it, so long as you understand, “For whom?”

The death toll of 4000, reached by American soldiers over a period of 5 years has been reached more than 25 times by Iraqi citizens. During the first 7 months of the surge, alone (February-August 2007), a total of 4000 Iraqi men, women and children were killed every 7 weeks. Using the most conservative of estimates, a total of 17,117 Iraqi men, women and children were killed during the first 7 months of the surge. That’s an average of 81 people killed each day. That’s 2445 people killed each month — more deaths, even, than before the surge, when the average daily death was a staggering 79 per day. In May 2007, alone, the Iraqi death toll was only 20 fewer people than were killed on September 11th on U.S. soil.

Before your eyes completely glaze over from math fatigue, consider this: The monthly death toll was instantly cut in half after August 2007. And the trend continued, so that — to date — Iraqi deaths averaged 36 per day, instead of 81.

What happened? What happened during August 2007 to cause such a sudden, dramatic decline in Iraqi deaths?

Bush-Cheney-Petraeus would like us to believe it was the success of the surge — despite that the level of violence only grew during the first 7 months of the surge. A more logical explanation would be the ceasefire declared in August 2007 by one of our ‘enemies — Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Shiite Mahdi Army, who opposes the U.S. occupation as strongly as he opposed the Saddam Hussein regime. Many of the Mahdi Army leaders are, in fact, former political prisoners who suffered torture under Saddam Hussein. Maqtada al-Sadr’s unilateral ceasefire in August 2007 was said to be in response — not to the surge — but in effort to weaken the rogue elements that had infiltrated his army and committed violence in their name, which ran contrary to their cause. Whatever the reasons for the ceasefire, it instantly cut the Iraqi death toll in half. Just like that.

Well, sort of….

There’s the Surge, and then there’s the Surge

When Bush announced the surge in his January 2007 address to Americans, most of us heard the part about sending 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq. What we missed was the *other* surge he annonced: “We will accelerate the training of Iraqi forces, which remains the essential U.S. security mission in Iraq. We will give our commanders and civilians greater flexibility to spend funds for economic assistance,” In plainspeak, Bush was announcing the addition of 90,000 Sunni insurgents to the U.S. military, being armed and paid — on the U.S. taxpayers’ dime — to work as security forces. Bush failed to mention, however, that our new “Iraqi forces” were actually Saddam Hussein’s former henchmen, who had been working side-by-side with al Qaeda for the previous several years — ambushing and killing American soldiers.

On the heels of Bush’s speech, it became necessary to re-define the enemy, to un-demonize the Sunni insurgents: No longer were Sunnis the enemy; only ‘extremist’ Sunnis were enemies. This was necessary, if for no other reason than to gain Congressional approval for the $150 million budget (received) to hire, train, arm and sometimes bribe these Sunni insurgents. And, because this plan looked as bad on the surface as it truly was, military commanders in charge of recruiting these Sunni security forces were officially, for the record, ordered to “not deal with those who have American blood on their hands.” As if this blood could literally be seen on their hands, or as if the “bad” insurgents would have, tattooed on their foreheads, “I killed Americans.”

Equally important to un-demonizing our Sunni enemies, was the need to un-demonize our own history with these Sunnis, so that the U.S. military could make the transition from hunting down, torturing and executing Sunnis, to hiring them to work side-by-side with our own military. This strategy must surely have seemed odd to those 450,000 Shiites — still in the employ of the U.S. military — who had spent the past several years torturing and killing innocent Sunni citizens and insurgents alike, while displacing them from their homes in a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing.

Yes, the U.S. strategy of hiring Sunnis to work with our security forces must have seemed awfully odd to the thousands of Shiites in U.S. employ, working with the U.S.-backed Badr Brigade (not to be confused with the Sadr Army) in Iraqi interior ministry, who’d spent the past 3 years working in the infamous U.S.-backed Wolf Brigade Death Squads (see video, below), terrorizing, torturing and ultimately executing Sunnis – many of whom were forced to make public confessions before being executed, with their confessions broadcast on the show titled, “Terrorism in the Grip of Justice,” (a joint effort between MEMRI and the U.S.) which aired six nights per week during the spring of 2005 on the U.S.-funded Al-Iraqiya television network.

To engineer a fragile peace, the U.S. military created and backed dozens of new Sunni militias, which now operate beyond the control of Iraq’s central government.

To make this transition more palatable, our government began calling these former Sunni insurgents, “volunteers.” To date, the U.S. military employs approx. 90,000 of these volunteers at the rate of $360 per month, plus weapons and ammunition. The Sunni sheiks who oversee these ‘volunteers’ receive an average of $8000 per month. These salaries are but a tiny fraction of that $150 million total allocation in the 2008 U.S. budget to pay off these Sunni insurgents and their sheiks. These soldiers go by various euphemisms, such as Iraqi Security Volunteers, or ISVs; neighborhood watch groups; Concerned Local Citizens; Critical Infrastructure Security; Sahwa; or, most famously, the Sunni Awakening. The U.S. military’s use of the term “volunteer” with these soldiers is particularly misleading, as is implies these Sunnis are somehow volunteering their time in the name of Iraqi security. Or, perhaps our government merely views these Sunnis as being like our own military — serving in a volunteer, rather than a compulsory capacity.

What’s Next?

In his prepared testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in April 2008, Nir Rosen commented on the U.S. military’s stance in arming both sides in a civil war:

“David Kilcullen, the influential Australian counter insurgency advisor (to Petreaus), defined it as ‘balancing competing armed interest groups.’ Though supporters of the war touted the surge as a success, they forgot that tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Iraqis who have been killed, the millions displaced, and the thousands of dead and wounded Americans just so that violence could go back to the still horrifying levels of just a couple of years ago.”

Recognized at its inception as a tricky ploy (paying off and arming America’s enemies to act like America’s friends) this strategy at least — along with Sadr’s ceasefire –worked to lower the death toll of both Iraqis and Americans. Hence, the success of the surge. Problem is, while arming both sides in a civil war to work as “security forces,” the U.S. has not undermined the supposed goal of forging Iraqi unity, but we have created a deadly house of cards.

As Nir Rosen earlier observed in his March 2008 Rolling Stone article, titled, The Myth of the Surge, “Loyalty that can be purchased is, by its very nature, fickle.”

With only the slightest provacation, either side in this civil war — both now armed to the teeth with U.S. weaponry — could turn their weapons against U.S. soldiers. It’s no wonder, then, that Petraeus has repeatedly urged caution over the current lull in violence, terming it a “fragile and reversible” peace, while simultaneously pushing for a “pause” in any planned troop withdrawals after July 2008.

One of many tent cities spanning the horizons throughout Iraq. Here, the people lack food, water, electricity and other basic needs of human existence. They are also prey to marauding killers. Human displacement is but facet of the U.S. strategy in Iraq (divide & conquer the citizenry for easier plundering of their oil resources). This tactic has resulted in what’s been called “the worst human displacement in Iraq’s modern history.” One could infer from this that the U.S. even topped Saddam, in terms of inhumanity and ethnic cleansing.
Our Fragile Peace in Iraq: A multi-trillion-dollar death contraption made of spit, baling wire and duct tape, held together with a pack of lies
Our fragile peace in Iraq has been accomplished by the U.S. strategy of funding two sides in a civil war and empowering both to kill and displace one another, resulting in what’s been called, “the worst human displacement in Iraq’s modern history” . By intensifying the divisions between the Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis — and making impossible any sort of unity in Iraq — the U.S. can continue to tout the myth of the Iraqi government’s “refusal” to take control of their government. That is, so long as we continue to fund their civil war and to back ethnic cleansing — paying Sunnis to displace Shiites and paying Shiites to displace Sunnis.
Former Sen. Mike Gravel, not one to mince words, hit the nail on the head when he observed:

“Obviously the tactic of bribing the Sunni warlords will fail the minute we stop bribing them. And then of course the cowardly act of blaming Iraqi President Nuri al-Maliki for the failure in Basra, of saying it was all his initiative, when we were totally complicit.”

In a perfect world, every politician of good conscience would be railing against 7 years of lies, and would be unafraid to stand side-by-side with Wexler, Kucinich, Baldwin, Hinchey , Holtzman & Barr and others who are daring to speak the truth on Capitol Hill. Instead, we live in a world where those rare truthsayers on Capitol Hill — such as Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich and Cynthia McKinney — are belittled, ridiculed, ignored, painted as nuts, hacks, conspiracy theorists and terrorist appeasers, and ultimately driven out of town on a rail.

For this reason, and this reason alone, I am willing to temporarily suspend my disgust at Obama for deleting his criticism of the surge, not to mention his equally reprehensible backslide on the FISA bill. I do this in the hope that his eye is ultimately on the bigger picture, that he is merely being pragmatic, trying to avoid the sort of dog and pony show that could potentially — and against all that is sane and rational in this world — swiftboat his candidacy. My hope is that Obama hasn’t truly lost his bearings, but that he indeed *gets it* as I’ve clearly heard him articulate in many of his speeches and statements. My hope is that he indeed intends to do the right thing by this country and this planet — not the least of which is to purge from our national dialogue the lies we’ve been conditioned to believing for the past 7 years. This is a war for oil. And no amount of spin can change the fact that it is just plain wrong.

NOTE: THIS POST WAS TRANFERRED FROM A PREVIOUS CANARYPAPERS BLOG (SAME NAME, DIFFERENT SERVER). FOR SOME REASON, THE FORMATTING DIDN’T MAKE A SMOOTH TRANSFER. OUR APOLOGIES FOR THE DISCORDANT APPEARANCE/LAYOUT OF THE TEXT.

The White House Propaganda Machine: When the Truth Just Won’t Do

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A well-oiled contrivance, the White House propaganda machine is running at full pitch these days. And, although the evidence is right under our noses, much like a gas leak, most of us don’t smell it. Here, we will describe the key notes to that smell, so that you will learn to detect — from a 10-foot pace — the distinct odor of fat, stinking elephants in the middle of the room.

In Jeff Huber’s excellent April 2008 post, titled, “When Did Iran Start Beating Its Wife Again?” he describes the White House propaganda machine’s ongoing work to prime the U.S. and the international community for war in Iran. As evidence, he cites an April 2008 article in the New York Times, titled, “Questions Linger Over Scope Of Iran’s Role in Iraq Fighting,” which turns out to be a virtual schoolroom for those interested in seeing how the propaganda machine works.

As any good propagandist could tell you, there are three steps to effective propaganda. The 1st step is the easiest: make the stuff up. The 2nd step is to officiate the lies, which goes hand-in-hand with the 3rd step: disseminating the lies. In Huber’s post, he shows us how the above-mentioned NYT article neatly accomplished the 2nd and 3rd steps, as Huber counts no less than 30 references to phantom “official” sources, whose quotes serve to officiate the Bush-Cheney propaganda line on Iran. Most readers of the NYT article would simply skim past the following words, unawares that they’d just been fed a cookie:

Officials say…intelligence and administration officials said…American officials have publicly portrayed…military, intelligence and administration officials showed…officials said…some officials said…a senior official familiar with the intelligence about Iran said in an interview…officials said…top American officials in Iraq have portrayed…none of the officials interviewed disputed…officials said…the officials offered an assessment…statements by Mr. Bush and other officials…officials declined to detail publicly…one of the officials said…according to two senior administration officials…those and other officials said…A senior administration official described…the officials said…the officials said…the officials said…a senior official said…the officials said…the official said…the officials said…a senior official familiar with the intelligence reports on Iran said in an interview…according to other officials…the officials said…officials said…according to a senior American official…

As you read the “facts,” as quoted by these phantom, un-named sources, you may notice that these “facts” bear an eerily resemblance to the “facts” reported by the media during the 2001-2003 lead-up to the war in Iraq. As we learned with Iraq, swaying world opinion is an easy job: just take a handful of lies and repeatedly throw them into the news until the lies become accepted fact. With respect to Iran, just as in Iraq, our government wants us to perceive Iran as an evil, freedom-hating, terrorist empire, actively manufacturing WMDs, specifically nuclear bombs to kill Americans and Israelis, and also working hand-in-hand with Al Queda terrorist cells, crossing the border into Iraq to train and arm Iraqis to kill Americans.

Ideally, by the time the U.S. bombs Iran (in case you haven’t been paying attention, the U.S. is already perched to go to war with Iran — another war for oil, being waged under the false flags of WMDs/terrorism) Bush-Cheney would like the world community — the U.S. citizenry and Congress in particular — to resemble, in spirit, the angry, rampaging villagers in Frankenstein, wielding torches and pitchforks, demanding death to the monster. To that end, our government hires professionals to disseminate propaganda to the American citizens. Your tax dollars pay for our government to, “manufacture and disseminate intelligence leaks to influence the media and the public to support the administration’s policies.”
This is nothing new. What is new, however, is the extent to which the U.S. corporate media uses government propaganda as their primary news source. This has been a growing influence over the past 25 years, as one corporate arm has grown to encompass another and another — the lines becoming increasingly blurred as the media is owned by corporate conglomerates — most of them with ties to military and defense — who almost entirely fund the campaigns of our lawmakers, and whose lobbyists are appointed to government positions and vice-versa — bringing us to our current state, where the distinctions between the independent media, corporate PR and government propaganda no longer exists.

Few in the U.S. realize just how well-organized the White House/Pentagon propaganda machine has become. Here, we offer a quick-sketch chronology of the propaganda agencies utilized by our government over the past 25 years:

  • OPD (National Security Council’s Office of Public Diplomacy) 1983-1986 Started under Ronald Reagan in 1983 and headed by Otto Reich ,whose job was to covertly disseminate intelligence leaks to journalists, to trump up a Nicaraguan “threat,” and to sanctify the U.S.-backed Contra guerrillas fighting Nicaragua’s government as “freedom fighters.” The propaganda was aimed at influencing Congress to continue to fund the Contras. A few of Otto Reich’s planted “leaks” that were later revealed as lies: (1) Nicaragua had acquired chemical weapons from the Soviets, (2) high-level Sandinistas were involved in drug trafficking, (3) the leak that served to discredit and intimidate those in the U.S. media who weren’t following the Reagan war script, that U.S. reporters were receiving sexual favors from Sandinista-provided prostitutes in return for favorable coverage, and (4) the timely leak, on the eve of Reagan’s re-election, that Soviet MiG fighter jets were arriving in Nicaragua. The OPD was declared illegal on September 30, 1987, after an investigation by the Comptroller General, who found that the OPD engaged in “prohibited, covert propaganda activities, beyond the range of acceptable agency public information activities,” and that the OPD also violated “a restriction on the State Department’s annual appropriations prohibiting the use of federal funds for publicity or propaganda purposes not authorized by Congress.” The declassified records of the OPD and Otto Reich are available here, at the National Security Archives website.
  • U.S. Army’s 4th PSYOPS Group at CNN (The U.S. Army’s 4th Psychological Operations Group at Fort Bragg) 1999. Ordinarily, our government only conducts psychological operations in foreign countries, and not in the U.S., where — in theory, anyway — we turn to the media for an independent voice of truth. So you can imagine the surprise of some when, beginning during the last days of the Kosovo War in 1999, the Army’s 4th PSYOPS began working within the news division at CNN, as part of CNN’s ‘Training With Industry’ program. The details on this are sketchy, but it appears that public scrutiny and controversy put an end to the PSYOPS work at CNN several weeks after it started. (As an aside: The 1300-member 4th PSYOPS Group is one of many government PSYOPS groups that works to disseminate U.S. government propaganda. Integral to the U.S. war machine, their work is ongoing. Composed of soldiers and officers, the PSYOPS‘ duties include disseminating “selected information” to “influence media and public opinion in armed conflicts in which American state interests are said to be at stake.” The 4th PSYOPS served various purposes in the 1980s-90s. In the 1980s, they broadcast radio and television programs into Nicaragua, which were intended to undermine the Sandinista government. They were also variously used in the 1980s-90s in the first Gulf War, the Bosnian War and Kosovo War and in efforts to encourage public support for American “peacekeeping missions in the Balkans.)
  • OSI (Office of Strategic Influence) 2001-2002. Started after September 11th, 2001 and headed by Air Force Brig. Gen Robert Worden to “to provide news items, possibly even false ones, to foreign media organizations as part of a new effort to influence public sentiment and policy makers in both friendly and unfriendly countries.” Due to public criticism, the Pentagon was forced to officially “close” the OSI in February 2002, although the closing was in name only. The program, itself, lived on, as Donald Rumsfeld announced in a November 2002 media briefing: “And then there was the Office of Strategic Influence. You may recall that. And ‘oh my goodness gracious isn’t that terrible, Henny Penny the sky is going to fall.’ I went down that next day and said fine, if you want to savage this thing fine I’ll give you the corpse. There’s the name. You can have the name, but I’m gonna keep doing every single thing that needs to be done and I have.”
  • IAO (Information Awareness Office). Started in 2002 and assumed to be ongoing. Working under the auspices of DARPA (and perhaps as an umbrella to the White House Iraq Group, AKA the White House Information Group or WHIG and the Iranian Directorate, AKA the Directorate for Iran and the Office of Special Plans – and gawdknowswhatotheroffices of propaganda) the IAO may or may not be the successor to the OSI. The Information Awareness Office works to: “imagine, develop, apply, integrate, demonstrate, and transition information technologies, components, and prototype closed-loop information systems that will counter asymmetric threats by achieving total information awareness that is useful for preemption, national security warning, and national security decision making.” Reading this job description, it’s difficult to comprehend just what they do. I don’t imagine they’d have it any other way.
  • The Man Behind the Curtain in Emerald City (Dick Cheney) Somewhere along the way, our administration figured out a more efficient way to disseminate propaganda: straight from the elephant’s mouth. Here’s how it works: Cheney delivers his talking points to an assembly of Pentagon allegiates and corporate heads, who are given officious-sounding titles for the occasion, such as “military expert,” and “military analyst” and “White House Official.” These corporate heads are primarily defense & military contractors, lobbyists, senior corporate executives and board members — many of whom are former military officers, all of whom are already being paid obscene salaries by our government to staff our mercenary armies throughout the world. Once Cheney has delivered his talking points, these “experts,” “analysts” and “officials” they then either report straight to the media, or they conduct whatever “investigations” are necessary to support the talking points. Then they commence to disseminating.

With all of the above in mind, here are a few rules of thumb to follow when trying to discern propaganda from fact:

  1. Credibility. As a rule, when our government wages serious accusations against other countries and individuals (e.g. “They’re making weapons of mass destruction to kill Americans” or “They are freedom-hating terrorists” or “They are a safe-haven for al Queda”) the sources for these quotes should be accountable for what they’re accusing. It is realistic for American citizens to expect legitimate sources for these accusations. It’s called transparency, and allows the rest of us in the world to decide whether the quoted military and White House officials are speaking from a true place of authority, or if we are simply being fed cookies by phantom corporate heads, with conflicts of interest, who are merely echoing our government’s talking points. By the same token, when you hear that evidence exists to support these accusations, you should expect tangible proof of this evidence. While there are exceptions to this rule, these should be rare and only rarely accepted and, even then, only from governments who have proven they own the integrity to be entrusted with such a rare exception.
  2. Gag Orders. Anytime you see a government silencing its citizens, whether through censorship or intimidation, it’s a red flag. This administration has not been favorable to those who dissent their policies, or ask questions, or speak outside of the Bush-Cheney script. To this end, they paint those who protest their policies with the same paint brush they use on rogue terrorists (AKA: peace activist = terrorist appeaser; skeptic citizen who doesn’t believe the Bush-Cheney talking points = conspiracy theorist; Congressman voting against Bush-Cheney agenda = weak on terrorism). When you see this happening, take a whiff. Somewhere in the room is a big, fat stinking elephant.
  3. History. With specific regard to the Bush-Cheney Administration, whenever you hear them accusing citizens or politicians in any country (including our own country) as being terrorists, terrorists-appeasers, or safe-havens for terrorist, check the facts. You are guaranteed to find oil in the equation. The country in question will either have vast oil reserves, or will be strategic to transporting the oil. Anyone who impedes the Bush-Cheney mandate for controlling the oil in that region — be that obstacle a member of the U.S. Congress, or one of our allies, or an international humanitarian group, or the media, or an ordinary citizen — that obstacle will be painted, alike, with the same terrorist paint brush. Check your facts. Look for oil. Don’t believe everything you read.

Bush-Cheney would like us to believe that all versions of the news, except theirs, are the ramblings of left-wing conspiracy nuts. While it’s true that some of the alternative news sites propose far-out theories, none are so outrageous or dangerous as the lies being fed to us by the Bush-Cheney Administration. And I can hardly fault those individuals who have wandered too far, when exploring the myriad webs of deceit spun by Bush-Cheney. These instances are the exception. Most versions of the news that are painted as “conspiracy theories” by Bush-Cheney are actually factual.

Here at the Canary Papers, we are careful to research all of our facts, and aspire to offer credible references, via links within our posts, for nearly everything we write. This site also offers a variety of links to international, alternative and independent media sources, where you can often find more factual accounts of the news. Feel free to send us other links. We’ll post them. And if you have a question, feel free to ask. We promise not to call you a terrorist and will do our level best to point you toward some answers.

p.s. Be sure to check out the 2 videos at the bottom of this page, from the 2006 film, “American Blackout.” The first video, below, is a 6-minute clip. The second video is the full-length, 89-minute version. An artfully produced film, “American Blackout” is primarily a challenge to Americans to refuse allowing the 2008 election be a repeat of the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. The star in this effort is former U.S. Rep., Cynthia McKinney — a rare politician who doesn’t follow the standard script for Washington politicians. An outspoken, straightforward and passionate leader, McKinney is devoted to fighting the corruption and propaganda that both influence and define American politics today. The film documents some of her work to restore truth to the American political process — from her demands for an independent investigation of 9-11, through her battles against voter fraud and voter disenfranchisement in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. She has paid dearly for her efforts. Yet, like David to Goliath, she fights on. America could use more politicians like Cynthia McKinney.

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