6/27/08 Oil, War and "...the inherent right of the government to lie...".

June 27, 1950, President Truman ordered the Air Force and Navy into the Korean War following a call from the United Nations Security Council for member nations to help South Korea repel an invasion from the North.

from a libertarian position: The Long History of Lies for War
Daily Article by David Gordon | Posted on 7/20/2007
[The Ruses for War: American Interventionism Since World War II. By John B. Quigley. Prometheus Books, 2007. 433 pgs.]
The purpose of his book, Quigley tells us, is to explore "U.S. military actions abroad over the past half-century. We look in each instance at what the president and his aides said, and what reasons they gave. Then we examine the situation in light of what is known today to determine whether the administration was truthful" (pp. 14–15).
Quigley, an authority on international law, examines around thirty cases, beginning with the Korean War and ending with Iraq, where the United States has used force. In each instance, he shows, the administration's account has been blatantly false...

Arthur Sylvester, Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Kennedy Administration, in 1962 said "that in crisis situations, he believed in 'the inherent right of the Government to lie.' He spoke of lying euphemistically as 'generation' of news, and said that 'news management' was 'part of the arsenal of weaponry' of government" (p. 380).

Here precisely the underlying claim of Quigley's book enters the scene. He shows, for case after case, that the president and his cohorts did not act to protect America from danger. Quite the contrary, the administration manufactured crises on flimsy pretexts...the United States had no reliable evidence on which to base its charge of North Korean aggression. The Truman Administration's claims were, to use a phrase of Churchill's, "terminological inexactitudes," and its rush to judgment delayed for over two years a negotiated settlement of the dispute between the two Koreas. In like fashion, China entered the war only after deliberate attacks on hydroelectric plants in Korea that supplied Manchuria with power; and its forays into Korea were at first very tentative. The United States claimed without adequate basis that China intended to conquer Korea in order to bring it within the Communist world empire. In point of fact, the American Supreme Commander, Douglas MacArthur, aimed to induce a Chinese attack, since he had hopes of overturning the Communist Chinese government.

As if this were not enough, the United States made another deceptive claim. It contended that South Korea was the victim of international aggression. But even if the North had launched a full-scale invasion of the South at the instigation of the Chinese or Russians, the best case for the US position, the American claim would still have been false. North and South Korea were not at the time separate countries; the two regimes were merely in control of administrative zones, supposedly temporary. The conflict was then a civil war; but had the US thus characterized it, it would have been unable to get UN backing to repel a foreign invasion. Much better for its purposes, then, to lie. When US forces, prior to Chinese entry, routed the North Korean army, they refused to stop at the 38th parallel, on the grounds that this was not an international boundary. Korea was either one country or two, depending on what best served the Truman administration's purposes....

from anti-imperialist position: Deane, Hugh, The Korean War 1945-1953 (San Francisco: China Books and Periodicals, Inc., 1999), $14.95, PB

"It is not a matter of what is true that counts, but a matter of what is perceived to be true."
Henry Kissinger


How to Win the War of Ideas
June 24, 2008

Military action against insurgents, terrorists and those who give them safe harbor is essential. It is working now in Iraq, and has helped keep Americans safe since 9/11. But as President Bush's National Strategy for Combating Terrorism put it two years ago, "In the long run, winning the War on Terror means winning the battle of ideas." Many of the strongest supporters of ideological engagement can be found in the Department of Defense, starting with Secretary Robert Gates, who reminded senators earlier this year that the Cold War was "as much a war of ideas as it was of military power." Unfortunately, since the rise of Islamic terror, we haven't done enough on this front.That's changing. Throughout the government and the private sector, the war of ideas is in early renaissance. The enthusiasm is bipartisan, and we have the opportunity to leave a robust legacy for the next administration. But what kind of war of ideas will fit the terrorist threat today? First, we need to get the goal straight.

While educational exchanges and other such efforts seek over the long term to encourage foreigners to adopt more generally favorable views of the United States, the war of ideas today should have a different, specific focus. The aim must be to ensure that negative sentiments and day-to-day grievances toward the U.S. and its allies do not manifest themselves in violence. We want to create an environment hostile to violent extremism, especially by severing links between al Qaeda and like-minded groups and their target audiences.

For starters, we should confront the ideology of violent extremism directly. The most credible voices here are those of Muslims themselves – especially Islamists – who have publicly disavowed al Qaeda's methods and theology. Lately such apostates include Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, also known as Dr. Fadl, who laid the foundation for the movement's bloody ideology and has now repudiated it, and Noman Benotman, a Libyan close to Osama bin Laden who rebuked al Qaeda bluntly last year. Our public diplomacy efforts should encourage Muslims, individuals and groups, to spread the denunciations of violence by these men and others far and wide. But non-Muslim Americans themselves should not shrink from confidently opposing poisonous ideas either.

A second approach to the war of ideas may, in the long run, be even more effective. Call it "diversion." ...We do that by helping to build networks (virtual and physical) and countermovements – not just political but cultural, social, athletic and more: mothers against violence, video gamers, soccer enthusiasts, young entrepreneurs, Islamic democrats. For example, there is an emerging global network of families of Islamic victims of terrorist attacks. While winning hearts and minds would be an admirable feat, the war of ideas needs to adopt the more immediate and realistic goal of diverting impressionable segments of the population from being recruited into violent extremism.

Unlike the containment policy of the Cold War, today's diversion policy may not primarily be the responsibility of government. My own job, as the interagency leader for the war of ideas, is to mobilize every possible American asset – public and private, human and technological – in the effort.

Where does Iran fit in? The pool of future suicide bombers and insurgents is sustained by people like the leadership of Iran. Both of the approaches I have outlined – ideological confrontation and diversion – should appeal to a proud and sophisticated Iranian population that is open to pluralistic ideas.
What we seek is a world in which the use of violence to achieve political, religious or social objectives is no longer considered acceptable, efforts to radicalize and recruit new members are no longer successful, and the perpetrators of violent extremism are condemned and isolated.

Military success is necessary, but it is not sufficient – for the simple reason that we face as an enemy not a single nation, or even a coalition, but a stateless global movement. Without a vigorous war of ideas, as we kill such adversaries others will take their place.
Mr. Glassman was sworn in on June 10 as under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs.

Fight Terror With YouTube
Daniel Kimmage, a senior analyst at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Anonymity and accessibility, the hallmarks of Web 1.0, provided an ideal platform for Al Qaeda’s radical demagoguery. Social networking, the emerging hallmark of Web 2.0, can unite a fragmented silent majority and help it to find its voice in the face of thuggish opponents, whether they are repressive rulers or extremist Islamic movements... There is a simple lesson here: unfettered access to a free Internet is not merely a goal to which we should aspire on principle, but also a very practical means of countering Al Qaeda. As users increasingly make themselves heard, the ensuing chaos will not be to everyone’s liking, but it may shake the online edifice of Al Qaeda’s totalitarian ideology.

a little neuroscience sheds light on psy warfare --- rooted in our deep capitalist worldview indoctrination
...The brain does not simply gather and stockpile information as a computer’s hard drive does. Facts are stored first in the hippocampus, a structure deep in the brain about the size and shape of a fat man’s curled pinkie finger. But the information does not rest there. Every time we recall it, our brain writes it down again, and during this re-storage, it is also reprocessed. In time, the fact is gradually transferred to the cerebral cortex and is separated from the context in which it was originally learned....This phenomenon, known as source amnesia, can also lead people to forget whether a statement is true. Even when a lie is presented with a disclaimer, people often later remember it as true.
With time, this misremembering only gets worse. A false statement from a noncredible source that is at first not believed can gain credibility during the months it takes to reprocess memories from short-term hippocampal storage to longer-term cortical storage. As the source is forgotten, the message and its implications gain strength....

digest note:
Beyond a psywar pretext for deepening and expanding the failing u.s. terror war and fascist state infrastructure, this 'report' reflects the irresolvable contradictions, especially anti-imperialist resistance, that is defeating u.s. led global war agenda for world rule. Further crimes in its futile battle for imperialist security planned against resistance and revolution will only deepen its crisis and hasten its demise. As Marx' labor theory of value revealed, the source of profit is the exploitation of human labor power. From an analysis of the contradictions inherent in the nature of capital itself as a social relation, Marx demonstrated why ultimately "capitalism produces its own gravediggers" .

Report links global warming, terror threats, national security
Global warming probably will mean more illegal immigration and humanitarian disasters, undermining shaky governments and possibly expanding the terrorism threat against the U.S., intelligence agencies say. "Logic suggests the conditions exacerbated (by climate change) would increase the pool of potential recruits for terrorism," said Tom Fingar, deputy director of national intelligence for analysis. Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Central and Southeast Asia are most vulnerable to warming-related drought, flooding, extreme weather and hunger. The assessment warns of a global spillover from increased migration and water-related disputes, Fingar said in prepared remarks Wednesday to a joint hearing of a special House committee on global warming and a House Intelligence subcommittee. Climate change alone would not topple governments, he said. But it could worsen problems such as poverty, disease, migration and hunger, creating conditions that could destabilize already vulnerable areas, Fingar said. But he warned that efforts to reduce global warming by changing energy policies "may affect U.S. national security interests even more than the physical impacts of climate change itself." ... It predicts that the United States and most of its allies will have the means to cope with climate change economically. Unspecified "regional partners" could face severe problems.

Soaring commodity prices create some fault lines
Dan Rather
We are witnessing the outlines of what happens when the world's have-nots feel they can no longer eke out the necessities of life. In the developed world, it may be worth noting that those who have less are often the very same people our society depends on to get our food to us; in the developing world, it should be recognized that hunger fuels anger, ignites revolution and feeds terrorism. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/367696_ratheronline22.html

Court refuses to force EPA decision on global warming
\ A federal appeals court refused Thursday to make resistant Bush administration speed up a decision on whether greenhouse gases and global warming threaten public health and welfare.

Congress passes $162 billion Iraq war spending bill

Officials: Roughly 30,000 troops heading to Iraq in 2009
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and President Bush, earlier this year, told NATO allies they would increase troop levels in Afghanistan in 2009 in response to the growing violence.

THE BOMBINGS IN LONDON: SUMMIT: Bombings Rewrite Agenda for World Leaders
July 8, 2005
The bombings in London on Thursday knocked the meeting of major industrial nations off its carefully scripted focus on global warming and African poverty and turned it into a forum for President Bush and other world leaders to pledge unity in confronting terrorism. Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, as the host, had set an agenda that was intended in part to shift the attention away from his support for the war in Iraq and his partnership with Mr. Bush. But even before the first working session started, it was apparent that the tone and substance this meeting of the Group of 8 leaders had been violently reshaped.., Mr. Bush and the American delegation were clearly focused on the terrorist threat. The American president left a meeting during the middle of the morning and, sitting outside his hotel suite, held a videoconference over a secure line with his national security team in Washington to discuss the possible threat to the United States....''The contrast couldn't be clearer between the intentions and the hearts of those of us who care deeply about human rights and human liberty, and those who kill, those who have got such evil in their hearts that they will take the lives of innocent folks,'' Mr. Bush said. ''The war on terror goes on.'' ...
If the bombings were intended, as Mr. Blair said, to disrupt the summit meeting, they also had the effect of unifying a group of leaders who have had their differences over everything from the war in Iraq to trade and exchange rates.
In addition to the leaders of the eight major industrial nations -- the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada and Russia -- those of China, India, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa were also on hand for Thursday's session.
''The leaders will stand firm against this evil,'' said President Vicente Fox of Mexico, adding that the bombings had stirred them all to work harder at coming to agreement on a wide variety of issues, including trade and global warming. ''It is passing from word to action, the spirit coming out of this meeting,'' Mr. Fox said.
Two European leaders who were frequently at odds with Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair over the war in Iraq pledged to stand shoulder to shoulder with Britain. President Jacques Chirac of France, who has also been squabbling with Mr. Blair on other issues, said his nation was in ''total solidarity'' with the British. Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of Germany said the international community ''must do everything in its power to fight terrorism together with all the means at its disposal.''

Friday, April 18--With a 21-gun salute at midnight, Rhodesia became the independent African nation of Zimbabwe, ending decades of struggle by the country's blacks for majority rule. Robert G. Mugabe, elected the nation's first prime minister, is major hero of the liberation struggle.

Zimbabwe: A brutal regime
As we muddle our way through our imperfect democracy, it seems impossible to switch places with the people of Zimbabwe, where the democratic system has taken an epic beating at the hands of President Robert Mugabe.
P-I Editorial http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/368413_mugabeed.html

Mugabe Rival Quits Zimbabwe Runoff, Citing Attacks
Mr. Tsvangirai’s decision to quit the race seems intended to force Zimbabwe’s neighbors to take a stand. There are growing cracks in the solidarity that African heads of state have shown for Mr. Mugabe, an 84-year-old liberation hero whose defiant anti-Western rhetoric has long struck a resonant chord in a region with a bitter colonial history.
The United States and Britain are pressing to put Zimbabwe’s political crisis on the United Nations Security Council agenda on Monday, a step South Africa, the region’s most powerful nation, has consistently opposed.Gordon D. Johndroe, the White House National Security Council spokesman, said in an e-mail message that the United States wants the United Nations to consider taking additional steps. “Mugabe cannot be allowed to repress the Zimbabwean people forever,” he said.

"Democratic change" : code for submitting to u.s. capitalist domination
Condemnation of Mugabe's regime has been slow in coming from African leaders, but they deserve praise for finally breaking their silence. Such carefully worded declarations may sound like gross understatement of the brutality of Mugabe's regime, but these diplomatic baby steps indicate that the reluctance of African powers to condemn a past comrade in the fight for independence may finally be waning.One can only hope this new willingness to engage will lead to further political pressure on Mugabe to relinquish power. In particular, South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, ought now to reassess his reluctance to condemn Mugabe's savage tactics and use his uniquely influential position to foster the kind of democratic change in Zimbabwe that was hoped for in the aftermath of March's elections.

Former "terrorist" turned Imperialist insurance agent
Mandela talks of leadership failure in Zimbabwe
Former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela, left, chats with Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown during a meeting at a hotel in central London, Tuesday June 24, 2008.
Mandela said there had been a tragic failure of leadership in Zimbabwe in his first public comments about the country's political crisis. In carefully worded comments at London dinner, Mandela said: "We watch with sadness the continuing tragedy in Darfur.

"If war aims are stated which seem to be solely concerned with Anglo-American imperialism, they will offer little to people in the rest of the world. The interests of other peoples should be stressed. This would have a better propaganda effect."
- Private memo from The Council of Foreign Relations to the US State Department, 1941

FROM A REVEALING IMPERIALIST THINK-TANK: The Council on Foreign Relations" CFR.org
Wall Street Journal: Nightmare: editorial on Zimbabwe says outside intervention, preferably by the Africans themselves, now appears the one remaining way to end the political nightmare in Zimbabwe.

Washington Post: editorial on Zimbabwe says there is no hope of political peace or economic recovery there until Mr. Mugabe leaves office. That, it concludes, must remain the starting point of U.S. policy.

Times of London: Columnist David Aaronovitch writes that intervention in Zimbabwe is the only solution.

New French security doctrine defines terrorism, not invasion, as the country's primary challenge and closes ranks with NATO and America.
"CFR.org - The Council on Foreign Relations"

Oil climbs amid Nigeria concerns

Oil Hits New High above $142, Dow Down Another 107 points Friday after 358 point plunge Thursday

U.S. capital's juggernaut for global rule depends on strategic control of energy resources for political-eonomic leverage, not consumption. Its futures market speculation -- not 'third world overpopulation', 'supply & demand', or other racist lies -- drive up oil and food crops prices & profits -- effectively producing genocidal destruction
When Will We the People Fight Back?
Oil and Racism
By Reza Fiyouzat
Synopsis: "The article challenges 'Peak Oil' arguments by presenting alternative figures for the amount of oil actually available in the U.S. It also draws out the racist themes in the 'Peak Oil' explanations. Finally, the article stands for socialization of all natural resources (including oil), a basic plank of a larger platform that must be viewed as the only way to fight back against an imperialist setup that requires constant wars."

... Shocking bulletin to Western 'environmentalists': 'Oil Producing' countries too have environments... we in the Middle East have been bucked again and again and again, in one form or another, for the past one hundred years. And all that, for what? For oil. And for all those one hundred years, our environments have been subjected to all those nasty damages that make American environmentalists cringe when any mention is made of drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

As it relates to the issue of oil, there is proliferation of a language and mentality that is racist to the core. The two variations, militarism and capitalistically defined 'environmentalism', are espoused by the right and the liberal wings respectively. The line of thinking starts out with something like this: Those damned Ay-rabs (say, Saudis) are holding us hostage (or, insert any other OPEC member the State Dept and media lackeys are bullying that day); and concludes with: So, we must reduce our dependence on foreign oil (with the adjective 'foreign' intoning a four-letter word). By all means, do!
But ... Hostage to what? Hostage to our needs, hostage to our way of life. That's about the gist of it. The attitude is as narcissistic as it is racist.

Is There a Shortage?
A component of the liberal racist argument is the quantitative comparisons of proven worldwide oil reserves. In an inverse pissing game, they paint a picture of an abundance of oil those, say, Saudis are 'sitting on' (260 billion barrels), compared to the measly sum available underneath the U.S. (a mere 21 billion; weep, weep!). This '21 billion barrels' is the figure usually given for the amount of oil available in the U.S.; Wikipedia gives this number, as do numerous mainstream and even some leftist journalists and writers. However, this is an erroneous figure.

According to a report prepared by the Dept of Interior, for the U.S. Congress, dated February 2006, the amount of actually recoverable oil available to the U.S. exploiters is more than five times the 'official' 21 billion barrels. "The total endowment of technically recoverable oil and gas on the [U.S. Outer Continental Shelf] is comprised of known resources—i.e., cumulative production, and estimates of remaining proved and unproved reserves and reserves appreciation—plus estimates of undiscovered resources. The estimate of the total hydrocarbon endowment ... is 115.4 billion barrels of oil (Bbo) and 633.6 trillion cubic feet of gas," (from the Executive Summary, p. vi-vii, emphasis added).
For comparison, the current proven reserves the Iraqis are 'sitting on' is likewise 115 Bbo.

Additionally, according to a 2004 report prepared by the Dept of Energy's Office of Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserves, "The vast extent of U.S. oil shale resources, amounting to more than 2 trillion barrels, has been known for a century. [...] The huge resource base has stimulated several prior commercial attempts to produce oil from oil shale, but these attempts have failed primarily because of the historically modest cost of petroleum with which it competed. With the expected future decline in petroleum production historic market forces are poised to change and this change will improve the economic viability of oil shale," (emphasis added). The market forces clearly are a-changing, so shale oil is no longer such an uneconomic energy source after all.

There are therefore vast amounts of available oil that consumers in the U.S. can start tapping into, thereby cutting their urge to wage wars of possession for energy resources of others. As you see, you do have your own oil, and lots of it, too. Just dig it up!
So, why is all this oil kept underground? As relates to oil, what are the strategic interests of the U.S. ruling classes? The view from the Third World is not complicated. The good singer once sang: God blessed the child who's got his own. Well, the U.S. ruling classes sure have got their own, but what they really want is to keep their own. And the reason for that is: If the resources of other societies in the periphery are depleted first, the center can continue to hold its central place, strategically. It is really very simple.

Other understated facts:
1) Non-OPEC countries produce 60% of the oil available on the world market. Canada, for example, is the biggest exporter of oil to the U.S. Yet, do you ever read any headlines demanding the Canadians increase their oil production, or threatening to sue Canada for withholding higher levels of oil production and driving up the prices? Not very likely!

2) The real demand for oil has not increased at the same rate (or, in proportional percentages) as the increases in oil prices. Even given the increased demand (due to 'insatiable appetites' of the economies of India and China), surely the global gross output of products cannot have jumped by so much as to explain the rate of the increases in oil prices. The world aggregate production is the key, not merely the Chinese and Indian GNP growth. The production sites for specific commodities may have changed locations, hence the increase in demand for oil in some locations, but the world capitalist system as a whole has not increased its production levels by an amount that can explain the rise in energy costs.

3) Most oil companies secure their inventories through long-term contracts, such as five, ten- to thirty-year contracts, and at set prices. This means that the handful of monopolies that control about 70-80% or more of the distribution networks (the key element in control of oil prices) are getting their supplies mostly at prices set ten, twenty or even thirty years ago. ...

Peak Oil people use capitalist vocabulary, while trying to shoehorn quasi-non-capitalist semantics into those bourgeois concepts. If they were to use their vocabulary correctly, they would say the following: The remaining oil is not as easy to get to as was the first half, so it will not be as profitable to dig up as the first half. The resource is there; it's just not as profitable as before. Rude bulletin to the Oil companies: Well, mother suckers, you have enjoyed gluttonous, astronomical profits for an entire century, it's time to settle for a smaller take. What the Peak Oilers never ask is: for whom is it not profitable to extract the oil? They don't ask such questions because of where the answer may take them. Extracting oil may not be as profitable as before for those who seek to maximize their profits, but it can remain highly 'profitable' for a very long time for those who are concerned with meeting a need.

Another thing... is that, according to capitalist logic, exactly in such conditions as exist right now in the 'market' those who want to maximize their profits actually have an incentive not to extract more oil. If a commodity is precious and rising in value, you can help the value rise further by holding onto your precious goods. It's called hoarding; as old as capitalism. Besides these lesser objections, the fundamental question not addressed by Peak Oilers is ownership relations. Maybe there is something fundamentally wrong with the proprietary relationships, especially over natural resources, dictated by the capitalist system.

The End of the World as We Know It? You Bet!
One possible conclusion we can reach concerning the current round of historical events is that those with the greatest economic and political power to shape the next hegemonic structures are the military-oil-finance capitalists, who are unilaterally trying to rearrange the world into something resembling their wet dreams.

The outlines of such a possible future (if unchallenged soon) are already in place: permanent wars for decades; the intensification of the one-sided class warfare worldwide and at home; complete dissolution of civil liberties; extremely heightened levels of incarceration and proliferation of prison camps; increased poverty for increasing portions of the human species; the eventual depletion of most major energy resources of the Third World countries; and by the end of the process, a world fit for the lifestyles of only the wealthiest.

All these elements of a fascistic state must give the working classes a tremendous amount of substance against which to organize. In organizing a counter-offensive, any organization or political activist who wishes to advance the sovereignty of people and workers, must demand the socialization of all natural resources. It is time people realized that capitalism's answers to questions of resource management have been utter failures on all key counts: socio-economically, politically and environmentally.

As explained above, there is no shortage of oil, and it is not disappearing that fast, and all the frenzy about its disappearance is covering up something more sinister, especially since the people most worried about the depletion of energy resources also have problems with 'world population trends'; by which they mean there's too many people in the Third World. Their rhetoric provides smooth winds for the sails of those who want to wage wars of possession over the resources of other peoples.

Henry Kissinger is well known for explaining that a fundamental problem facing imperialist planners in the U.S. is world population, particularly the Third World population. Capitalist world system's capacity to feed and house does not cover more than an optimal number (which number falls far below the current population levels). As this system ages, it will be even less able to house and feed, and the leaders of the current world system know this too well. They have peered into the future and seen too many pissed off humans, which cannot be a pleasant prospect for the rulers. So, dissolution has become the solution.

For a declining world power with enough arms and weaponry to destroy the world many times over, what better way to remain powerful than to destroy others? One way of destroying is by bombs and bullets; and while you're at it, use uranium munitions, hence besetting others' environments with radioactive poisonous material that burns cancers into cells for thousands of years. Another way to destroy others is sucking up all their resources.

But, just as important, if not more so, is the 'others' within: the U.S. ruling class can no longer provide even a modicum of a half decent existence for tens of millions of the citizens under its legal and formal jurisdiction, and the rulers have no intention of doing anything to better people's lives. Meaning, tens of millions (and counting) of unpleased humans live here at home. And the rulers seem to think that it will get far worse; if the suspension of habeas corpus is any indication.

In U.S. history, the only other time that habeas corpus got suspended was during the Civil War (which, incidentally, means that this time around, it has been suspended for longer than it was during the Civil War!). In this light, it is easy to fancy that for the ruling classes in the U.S., a civil war is already underway. We the People have been ambushed. When will the people fight back? That is the question.
Reza Fiyouzat can be reached at: rfiyouzat@yahoo.com

Speculating on Oil
The oil market used to be dominated by people in the business of directly buying and selling of oil for consumption. However, experts say, more recently the market has attracted general investors, such as pensions and hedge funds, who have poured billions into oil futures and other derivatives on behalf of their clients. One hedge fund manager recently told Congress that over the last five years, speculator demand for oil futures (PDF) nearly equaled the rise in China’s physical oil demand. Over that same period, he noted that financial speculators stockpiled—via the future markets—the equivalent of over one billion barrels of petroleum, eight times more than the U.S. government physically stockpiled. Oil investment analyst D. Barry McKennitt says that speculation on the scale seen in recent years magnifies price volatility. But other financial analysts defend investors that critics brand as “speculators.” Some say that global supply growth has been lower than was forecast (Reuters). BP’s latest global energy review (PDF), for example, predicts Russia’s oil output will experience multi-year drops starting in 2008, a troubling reversal from the rising output predicted in previous forecasts. Other analysts worry that using speculators as scapegoats will cause even more market volatility (Reuters). http://www.cfr.org/publication/16596/speculating_on_oil.html

Congress Looks for a [COVER-UP OF] Culprit for Rising Oil Prices
A pre-eminent energy expert is to testify on Wednesday before lawmakers that the suspicion that investors are alarge cause for skyrocketing oil prices is misguided.
Daniel Yergin, is expected to tell Congress that the focus on speculation is largely misguided. Mr. Yergin will join numerous other energy experts who have declared that the rise in oil prices can be explained by basic economic factors, such as the limited growth in supplies in recent years, a weakening dollar, a global surge in energy demand and a string of production disruptions in countries like Nigeria. “There is a shortage psychology in the financial markets and that is reflected in the price of oil,” Mr. Yergin said in the interview. “You are seeing a lot of people who have never invested in commodities who are now piling into the market. But calling it speculation is way too simplistic.”...
analysts who testified before a House panel on Monday estimated that oil prices could fall to around $60 a barrel if speculators were driven out of the commodity market.But others warned that assessing how much, if at all, investors have pushed up prices is an impossible task.
There is now less than two million barrels a day of unused capacity, a safety cushion that has declined from about five million barrels a day in 2002.[see Reza Fiyouzat article above]

Exxon Valdez $2.5 Billion Oil Spill Ruling Overturned
The Supreme Court reduced what had once been a $5 billion punitive damages award against ExxonMobil Valdez Spill to about $500 million.

New York's High Court affirmed a ruling that dropped claims against Grasso, former chairman of the New York Stock Exchange.
“Mr. Grasso is gratified by the court’s decision,” said Gerson A. Zweifach, one of Mr. Grasso’s lawyers along with Mark C. Zauderer. “He always had faith in the justice system.”
The New York State Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling dismissing four of six counts originally brought by Eliot Spitzer, then New York’s attorney general, against Mr. Grasso. The decision leaves Mr. Spitzer’s successor, Andrew M. Cuomo, two claims to pursue.

Faster Inflation May Unleash `Financial Tsunami': Chart
(Bloomberg) -- Rising consumer prices will leave more U.S. consumers unable to pay their debts and may lead to a "financial tsunami"...

perpetual war for bigger and bigger pieces of the world...
The Pentagon needs more than $100 billion bill to repair and replace worn out or destroyed equipment, vehicles and weapons, officials and members of Congress say, but paying for it may endanger plans to boost the size of the military.

A Partnership of Equals
How Washington Should Respond to China's Economic Challenge
By C. Fred Bergsten
The United States and the EU would like to co-opt China by integrating it into the regime that they have built and defended over the last several decades. There are increasing signs, however, that China has a different objective. In numerous areas, it is pursuing strategies that conflict with existing norms, rules, and institutional arrangements.
Some take this lightly, viewing it as simply the usual free-riding and skirting of responsibility by a powerful newcomer cleverly exploiting the loopholes and weak enforcement of existing international rules to pursue its perceived national interests. After all, they say, even the United States and the EU do the same on occasion, as do other major emerging-market economies. And to be sure, there is no evidence that China's challenges to the current economic order derive from any cohesive or comprehensive strategy concocted by the country's political or intellectual leadership. Despite calls in Beijing for "a new international economic order" and talk of how a "Beijing consensus" might supplant the so-called Washington consensus, to date China's proposed alternative approaches do not add up to a revisionist challenge to the status quo.Nevertheless, the situation is worrisome. Given its status as a powerful newcomer benefiting from an efficient economic order, China actually has a profound interest in seeing that the international rules and institutions function effectively. It should be trying to strengthen the system, whether the present version or an alternative version more to its liking.

Moreover, Chinese recalcitrance seems to be increasing rather than decreasing over time. At the outset of its economic reform process, in the late 1970s, China was eager to join (and to replace Taiwan in) the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. These institutional ties subsequently played important, and apparently welcome, roles in China's early development success. Later, Beijing not only endured lengthy negotiations and an ever-expanding set of requirements in order to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) but also used the pro-market rules of that institution to overcome resistance to reform among die-hards inside China itself.

But a country's attitudes can change dramatically along with its circumstances. Russia, for example, was a supplicant for international capital and support after its bankruptcy in 1998 and with world oil prices near $20 a barrel, but it is aggressively pursuing a resumption of great-power status now that it has recovered and with oil over $100 a barrel. China appears to be undergoing a similar evolution, albeit with a more cautious leadership and an incremental style. It is also experiencing the same internal backlash against globalization as have the United States and many other countries. This attitudinal shift simply has to be reversed, even if doing so requires a fundamental adjustment of the international economic architecture....

China is rapidly approaching a moment when its chosen strategy of integration into the world economy will force it to assume increased responsibility for the successful functioning of that economy. China's own interests, in other words, should lead it to accept an invitation from the United States to help steer the system in a mutually acceptable direction. The Chinese today are hotly debating whether their country should proceed unilaterally or work within the international system, and an offer of true partnership could tilt the outcome of that debate decisively and constructively, raising the possibility that China could continue its upward trajectory without provoking the clashes that previous rising powers have.

If China is reluctant to get too close to the United States -- say, because of continuing controversies over security issues -- alternative institutional arrangements are of course available. The EU could be a member from the outset of a G-3, a group of the current global economic superpowers. The new G-5, recently created by the IMF to conduct its intensified multilateral consultative process, which adds Japan and Saudi Arabia (to represent the oil producers) into the mix, is another possibility. The central need is to embrace China in the context of a new and effective leadership grouping in light of its critical role in the world economy and its legitimate desire to be engaged in systemic management at all relevant stages of the process.

Under seven successive presidents, the United States has chosen to engage, rather than confront, China, taking the eminently sensible view that provoking an unnecessary confrontation would be profoundly contrary to U.S. interests. Given the signs that China's economic advance will continue, the same logic suggests that Washington should make every effort to engage Beijing as a true partner in steering global economic affairs. At a minimum, creating a G-2 would limit the risk of bilateral disputes escalating and disrupting the U.S.-Chinese relationship and the broader global economy. At a maximum, it could start a process that might, over time, generate sufficient trust and mutual understanding to produce active cooperation on crucial issues.

Right now, the prospects of such active cooperation are uncertain. But in addition to their differences, the two countries share many common interests, and their global economic positions are converging rather than diverging. Developing a partnership of the sort outlined here will not be easy and will take much time and effort. But the issues at stake are so important that even partial success would be worthwhile, and the only way to gauge the idea's feasibility is to try it. The upcoming negotiations to create a global strategy to counter global warming offer a compelling opportunity for just such an experiment.[...]


"The principal beneficiary of America's foreign assistance programs has always been the United States."
US Agency for International Development Source: "Direct Economic Benefits of U.S. Assistance Programs," 1999

"...depopulation should be the highest priority of U.S. foreign policy towards the Third World."
Henry Kissinger, National Security Memo 200, April 24, 1974

“…There are only two possible ways in which a world of 10 billion people can be averted. Either the current birth rates must come down more quickly. Or the current death rates must go up. There is no other way. There are, of course, many ways in which the death rates can go up. In a thermonuclear age, war can accomplish it very quickly and decisively. Famine and disease are nature’s ancient checks on population growth, and neither one has disappeared from the scene … To put it simply: Excessive population growth is the greatest single obstacle to the economic and social advancement of most of the societies in the developing world.”
Speech to the Club of Rome by Robert McNamara, Oct. 2, 1979

“Overpopulation and rapid demographic growth of Mexico is already today one of the major threats to the national security of the United States. Unless the U.S.-Mexico border is sealed, we will be up to our necks in Mexicans for whom we cannot find jobs.”
Robert McNamara, then World Bank president, March 19, 1982

Destruction of locks and dams, however – if handled right – might offer promise. It should be studied. Such destruction does not kill or drown people. By shallow-flooding the rice, it leads after time to widespread starvation (more than a million) unless food is provided – which we could offer to do ‘at the conference table’."
- John McNaughton, US State Department Vietnam policy, as quoted in ‘The Mentality of the Backroom Boys.’ Article by Noam Chomsky, 1973

Weather Slows Rescue After Typhoon Sinks Philippine Ferry
Hundreds of people, including as many as 45 children, were feared dead after their boat capsized and sank. [Typhoon] Fengshen, its winds at more than 90 miles per hour, caused more destruction in the northern Philippines ... The bad weather hampered efforts to locate the Princess of the Stars and its passengers, coast guard officials said.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who is in the United States for a state visit, scolded coast guard officials during a teleconference on Sunday for allowing the ferry to sail despite typhoon warnings. She ordered government agencies to coordinate rescue and relief efforts.

From China's earthquake, signs of political change
By focusing citizens on China's systemic weaknesses, the earthquake created pressure for change. What matters next is how Beijing responds.

No post-cyclone disaster seen in Myanmar
Dire warnings by U.N. agencies and private humanitarian groups who feared second wave of post-cyclone casualties did not take place. And barriers the ruling military junta put in the way of foreign aid appears not to have caused a measurable increase in deaths from illness and lack of food.... casualties appear to have been caused directly by the cyclone -- surprising when most foreign assistance and foreign aid workers were kept out of the disaster zone.

As Sand Bubbles Up Along an Illinois Levee, So Do New Questions
The flooding that has claimed 24 lives and forced thousand to evacuate across six states continued Sunday, as the Mississippi crested in northern Missouri....
Last year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, after consulting with the Army Corps of Engineers, found that the five-levee system that protects the metropolitan area of East St. Louis, Ill., did not meet its standards for flood protection...
The [Army Corps of Engineers] corps estimates that it would cost roughly $200 million to bring the 70-year-old levee system into compliance — quite a challenge for a region that is home to East St. Louis and several other deeply impoverished communities trying to attract development.The assessment of the five-levee system is part of a nationwide effort to update FEMA’s flood maps. The levees’ failure to meet the agency’s standards means that when the updated maps are published in 2009, they will no longer show the levees as providing protection from a 100-year flood, according to Norbert Schwartz, the agency’s director of mitigation for the region.Rather, the 195,000-acre region — comprising parts of Madison, Monroe and St. Clair Counties — will be considered an unprotected flood plain. Such a designation would require homeowners with federally backed mortgages to buy flood insurance, could raise flood-insurance rates and could affect the region’s economic development. “We’ve got 3,000 families living without utilities,” Mr. Smith said. “We have sewers that are collapsing. And you’re going to put $200 million into our levee system? How could we afford it?”...
“But the underlying theme to everything that’s going on,” Dr. Pinter added, “is that the current estimates for flood frequency and intensity appear to be grossly underestimated.”
Dr. Pinter maintains that while climate change and levee construction have contributed to increased flooding in the St. Louis area, the real culprits are river modifications made to ease navigation, which put further stress on the levee systems. “All of our analyses point, at least on this stretch of river, to the river navigation engineering as being the 800-pound gorilla in the system,” Dr. Pinter said. “These types of river-training structures are the major mechanisms that drive flooding rivers higher.”
Dr. Pinter and colleagues have presented their findings to the Army Corps, which so far has resisted the notion that navigational devices have increased flooding.

In Iowa, Life's Possessions Become Debris Piles
The flooding that has inundated much of the Midwest is not over, and residents are finding little to salvage.
The flooding that has inundated much of the Midwest over the last few weeks is not over, as the Mississippi River, swollen by its northern tributaries, continues to threaten dozens of communities downstream in Illinois and Missouri. And floodwater is still standing as far north as Iowa City. An estimated 35,000 people have been displaced by the floods, and 24 have been killed in what the federal government describes as the biggest disaster it has faced since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.... In Cedar Rapids alone, it is estimated that the 4,200 flooded houses are producing about a ton of debris each, mostly heavy appliances, electronics and furniture. Beyond that, businesses, schools, hospitals, churches and government offices are flooded, bringing the city’s total flood-related garbage load to about 300,000 tons, officials estimated...A typical garbage truck can handle about four tons of trash.“We’re looking at 10 to 15 times as much garbage as we’ve ever dealt with, so this is huge,” said Mark Jones, the superintendent of the city’s solid waste and recycling division. Backup trucks are arriving from across the state. “As you could see, it would take us forever to do this,” he said. At the moment, Mr. Jones said he was concerned with the immediate clearing but, after that, demolitions will begin. Several hundred buildings are expected to come down — including houses like the Galvins’, still standing but structurally unsound — and that will present another tremendous burden.Statewide, officials said it was too early to predict how much clearing and cleaning would have to be done. Although Cedar Rapids was hardest hit, the flood ran through the core of the state, roughly from Mason City to Des Moines...
Total crop loss in Iowa — including hay and pasture — is most likely nearing $3 billion. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has already approved more than $16 million in grants for individuals and households in the state, an amount that will probably increase.
The emotional toll and the impact on physical health are beyond calculation. While there have been no outbreaks of specific diseases related to the flood, water contamination is a serious concern, and officials recommended that anyone working or living in the flooded zone get shots for hepatitis and tetanus.“These floodwaters are all contaminated with Lord knows what — everything that’s been washed out of the sewer plants and garages, basements, businesses, manure,” said Doug Hawker, an environmental specialist with the Department of Natural Resources. “It’s bad. We honestly don’t know what all is in it, but it’s an absolute witch’s brew.”
In Missouri, where floodwaters swallowed homes and agricultural fields north of St. Louis, the authorities said it was too early to determine the full scope of the flood’s destruction.
“We haven’t had a chance to do damage assessment,” said Susie Stonner, a spokeswoman for Missouri’s emergency management agency.“There’s no federal disaster assistance for this current round of flooding yet,” Ms. Stonner said. “... we can’t get in until the water recedes.” The Mississippi River has yet to crest in Illinois, so damage reports there are preliminary, too. Levee breaches have inundated hundreds of houses and businesses and countless acres of farmland.

Tropical Diseases Add to Burden Among the Poor in the U.S.

State Dept. Investigating"...illegal Chinese origins of ammunition that Pentagon contractor bought to supply Afghan security forces..."!!!
American Envoy Is Linked to Arms Deal Cover-Up
The American ambassador to Albania endorsed a plan to remove evidence of illegal Chinese origins on ammunition being shipped to Afghanistan

Obama to Bush: Hamas must recognize Israel
“A fundamental principle of America’s Middle East policy must be our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security. I believe that is a bipartisan commitment and I will work to continue and advance that consensus. But I am deeply concerned that Israel’s security has been put at greater risk, both because of renewed threats from implacable enemies like Iran, Hizbullah, and Hamas, and because of policy choices by the United States.” ... The democratic candidate wrote the president that he expects the other Arab states to increase their support for the Israel-Palestinian peace efforts. He believes that the assistance can come in two possible ways. Firstly, by means of wide-ranging financial aid to the Palestinian Authority, allowing it to improve the Palestinian people’s condition. “Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing states of the Gulf, in particular, have the resources to make a profound investment in Israeli-Palestinian peace…and we must urge them to do just that,” Obama wrote. The second possibility is by means of the Arab states’ assistance in enhancing the process. “The Arab states should support the Palestinians and prepare their own people for peace by making gestures of normalization toward Israel...."The entire regional atmosphere would improve,” wrote Obama who hopes that “Arab governments would reach out to Israelis with a sincere indication of their readiness to accept Israel as a legitimate nation in the Middle East." http://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/CdaArticlePrintPreview/1,...

more racist electoral chump change from israel-devotee
As Senator Barack Obama courted voters in Iowa last December, Representative Keith Ellison, the country’s first Muslim congressman, stepped forward eagerly to help. Mr. Ellison believed that Mr. Obama’s message of unity resonated deeply with American Muslims. He volunteered to speak on Mr. Obama’s behalf at a mosque in Cedar Rapids, one of the nation’s oldest Muslim enclaves. But before the rally could take place, aides to Mr. Obama asked Mr. Ellison to cancel the trip because it might stir controversy. Another aide appeared at Mr. Ellison’s Washington office to explain. “I will never forget the quote,” Mr. Ellison said, leaning forward in his chair as he recalled the aide’s words. “He said, ‘We have a very tightly wrapped message.’ ” ...
the senator has visited churches and synagogues, he has yet to appear at a single mosque. Muslim and Arab-American organizations have tried repeatedly to arrange meetings with Mr. Obama, but officials with those groups say their invitations — unlike those of their Jewish and Christian counterparts — have been ignored. Last week, two Muslim women wearing head scarves were barred by campaign volunteers from appearing behind Mr. Obama at a rally in Detroit....

warning: a bipartisan position stupidly admitted
... senior aide to Sen. John McCain said a terrorist attack would benefit the Republican nominee....

P20G: Into the Dark: The Pentagon Plan to Foment Terrorism
From the Moscow Times, Nov. 1, 2002.
Darkness Visible: The Pentagon Plan to Foment Terrorism is Now in Operation (2005)
From the Moscow Times, Jan. 25, 2005. This is the follow-up to "Into the Dark."

straight from slimy 'progressive opposition' imperialist neolib/soros mouths...
FPIF Commentary

An Honorable Way Out of Iraq
...Instead of negotiating a long-term presence, the U.S. should be negotiating a withdrawal. Both large portions of Iraqis and U.S. citizens are widely supportive of a timetable for withdrawal. The following ten point plan would set the stage for a responsible withdrawal:
1. Announce that we respect the Iraqis as co-equal in their humanity and aspirations.
2. We will leave Iraq fully and completely within a maximum of two years with a schedule of withdrawal to be negotiated with Iraqis. During the remainder of the occupation all contractors will be subject to Iraqi laws.
3. We will leave no military bases in Iraq.
4. We will support the United Nations to provide security forces from Iraq-friendly countries to help the Iraqis, if needed.
5. Appropriate military equipment currently in Iraq will be transferred to the Iraqis.
6. We will have the right to compete for Iraqi oil in the open market. Iraqis will not be forced to hire U.S. companies to manage it.
7. We reserve the right to attack al-Qaeda training camps if they appear in Iraq. We will give Iraq notice before we attack them. If the Iraqis eliminate these camps on their own, there will be no need for our action.
8. We will have a reconstruction package that will include financial assistance but will emphasize technical support. We will help in re-settling refugees back into Iraq.
9. The U.S. will encourage non-government organizations from the United States and around the world to help in the reconstruction of Iraq.
10. We will increase the quota for Iraqis to study in the United States on condition that they must return to Iraq.
Let us prove to the Iraqis and the rest of the world that our main concern is to deter terrorism. While the current Administration does not have the moral fortitude to take these suggestions, the next president can and should adopt, at least, a similar outline of policies toward Iraq, if we ever want to repair our tarnished image around the world.
Adil E. Shamoo, a Foreign Policy In Focus senior analyst, is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He writes on ethics and public policy.

Mississippi’s Misplaced Priorities
Congress is finally asking hard questions about Mississippi’s handling of $5 billion in emergency federal aid that was supposed to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.... The original law requires states and localities to spend 70 percent of the money they receive on projects that clearly benefit low- and moderate-income people. Congress lowered that requirement to 50 percent after Katrina and allowed the Gulf Coast states to waive the income tests for certain projects.


6/24 Bill Clinton offers support to Obama
"He's as smart as they come. He's a great strategist. We're going to want him campaigning for me," Obama said Tuesday. Bill Clinton was an outspoken critic of Obama during the primary race. He said Obama's opposition to the Iraq war was a "fairy tale" and raised questions about whether the first-term Illinois senator had the experience to lead the country. His remarks angered some black leaders who felt Clinton was dismissing Obama's historic bid, as when he compared Obama's win in South Carolina to Jesse Jackson's victories there in the 1980s. Clinton fumed in response that it was Obama's campaign that "played the race card on me."

6/25 Obama shares fundraisers with Clinton
Obama asked his finance team to help Clinton pay back at least $10 million from her failed presidential campaign, setting the stage for joint appearances by the two former rivals later in the week... The former first lady and New York senator reported a $22.5 million debt at the end of May, more than half of which was a personal loan to her presidential campaign... Clinton donors had been making a clear case to Obama that he needed to use his fundraising resources to help her get out of the red. Her national finance co-chair, Hassan Nemazee, told The Associated Press last week that Clinton would be freer to campaign for Obama and raise money for him if she did not have to concentrate on retiring her debt.... http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1131ap_obama_hillary_clinton.html

The United States still reigns supreme when it comes to fat wallets, though: One in every three millionaires in the world lives in America. Combined, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America account for just one in 10.... there were about 600,000 more millionaires in the world in 2007 than in 2006, for a total of about 10.1 million. That's a 6 percent increase from the previous year... less than one-fifth of 1 percent of the world's 6.7 billion people... the superrich - those with at least $30 million in assets - got richer, too. There were 103,000 of them around the world last year, 9 percent more than the year before, and their wealth grew by nearly 15 percent... That means their average wealth was more than $4 million, the highest it's ever been. Home values were not included in asset totals.
The wealth of the world's richest is projected to reach almost $60 trillion by 2012, the report said.

Merrill Lynch and Capgemini Release12th Annual World Wealth Report
NEW YORK, June 24, 2008 — Driven by market capitalization growth in emerging economies, the wealth of the world's high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs1) increased 9.4 percent to U.S. $40.7 trillion in 2007, according to the 12th annual World Wealth Report, released today by Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER ) and Capgemini. The number of HNWIs in the world increased 6 percent in 2007 to 10.1 million, the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (Ultra-HNWIs2) increased by 8.8 percent, and for the first time in the history of the Report, the average assets held by HNWIs exceeded U.S. $4 million.

Court overturns injunction on S.D. abortion law
A federal appeals court ruled that South Dakota can begin enforcing a law requiring doctors to tell women seeking abortions that the procedure ends a human life.
The 7-4 decision by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis sends the case back to U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier of Rapid City for proceedings that will result in a decision on whether the law passed by the 2005 South Dakota Legislature is constitutional.
The 2005 law would make doctors tell women "that the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being." Women also would have to be told they have a right to continue a pregnancy and that abortion may cause women psychological harm, including thoughts of suicide. Planned Parenthood has failed to show that the information to be given to women seeking abortions is untruthful, misleading or irrelevant to the woman's decision, the appeals court majority said. Taking into account definitions in the law, the information required to be given is biological in nature, so Planned Parenthood has not shown the information is ideological, the decision said. Sarah Stoesz, president of Planned Parenthood in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, said the law would force doctors to read ideological language to women seeking abortions."They are imposing compelled speech on doctors. It is not about providing information to women. It is about intruding in the doctor-patient relationship. It is unprecedented and extremely outrageous"...Planned Parenthood's lawsuit contends the law violates doctors' free-speech rights, but also is an undue burden on a woman's right to an abortion. South Dakota voters in 2006 rejected a ballot measure to ban nearly all abortions. A measure on this year's ballot also would ban abortions but would allow exceptions in cases involving rape, incest and a threat to a woman's life and health. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1110ap_abortion_lawsuit.html

Lock and Load
The Supreme Court's ruling on gun rights is a decision that will cause immeasurable pain and suffering and turn America into a more dangerous country.


The limitation of tyrants is the endurance of those they oppose.
Frederick Douglass

Those who have the privilege to know, have the duty to act.
Albert Einstein

A nation which enslaves another forges its own chains.
Karl Marx