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It’s the Oil, Stupid

Dilip Hiro,
How the Bush Administration’s Iraqi Oil Grab Went Awry
Greenspan’s Oil Claim in Context

Here is the sentence in The Age of Turbulence, the 531-page memoir of former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan, that caused so much turbulence in Washington last week: “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.” Honest and accurate, it had the resonance of the Bill Clinton’s election campaign mantra, “It’s the economy, stupid.” But, finding himself the target of a White House attack — an administration spokesman labeled his comment, “Georgetown cocktail party analysis” — Greenspan backtracked under cover of verbose elaboration. None of this, however, made an iota of difference to the facts on the ground.

Here is a prosecutor’s brief for the position that “the Iraq War is largely about oil”:

The primary evidence indicating that the Bush administration coveted Iraqi oil from the start comes from two diverse but impeccably reliable sources: Paul O’Neill, the Treasury Secretary (2001-2003) under President George W. Bush; and Falah Al Jibury, a well-connected Iraqi-American oil consultant, who had acted as President Ronald Reagan’s “back channel” to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein during the Iraq-Iran War of 1980-88. The secondary evidence is from the material that can be found in such publications as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

According to O’Neill’s memoirs, The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill, written by journalist Ron Suskind and published in 2004, the top item on the agenda of the National Security Council’s first meeting after Bush entered the Oval Office was Iraq. That was January 30, 2001, more than seven months before the 9/11 attacks. The next National Security Council (NSC) meeting on February 1st was devoted exclusively to Iraq.

Dilip Hiro is the author of Secrets and Lies: Operation “Iraqi Freedom” and, most recently, Blood of the Earth: The Battle for the World’s Vanishing Oil Resources, both published by Nation Books.
(25 September 2007)
Also at Common Dreams and antiwar-dot-com.

Bolivia’s Evo to UN: “Let’s respect our Mother Earth”

Evo Morales, Bolivia Rising
Letter from President Evo Morales to the member representatives of the United Nations on the issue of the environment.

Sister and brother Presidents and Heads of States of the United Nations: The world is suffering from a fever due to climate change, and the disease is the capitalist development model. Whilst over 10,000 years the variation in carbon dioxide (CO2) levels on the planet was approximately 10%, during the last 200 years of industrial development, carbon emissions have increased by 30%. Since 1860, Europe and North America have contributed 70% of the emissions of CO2. 2005 was the hottest year in the last one thousand years on this planet.

Different investigations have demonstrated that out of the 40,170 living species that have been studied, 16,119 are in danger of extinction. One out of eight birds could disappear forever. One out of four mammals is under threat. One out of every three reptiles could cease to exist. Eight out of ten crustaceans and three out of four insects are at risk of extinction. We are living through the sixth crisis of the extinction of living species in the history of the planet and, on this occasion, the rate of extinction is 100 times more accelerated than in geological times.

Faced with this bleak future, transnational interests are proposing to continue as before, and paint the machine green, which is to say, continue with growth and irrational consumerism and inequality, generating more and more profits, without realising that we are currently consuming in one year what the planet produces in one year and three months. Faced with this reality, the solution can not be an environmental make over. …

Evo Morales Ayma
President of the Republic de Bolivia

(24 September 2007)
Suggested by Rick Dworsky. Also at CounterCurrents.

An Int’l Court to Try Ecological Crimes?

Thalif Deen, IPS
UNITED NATIONS – As the United Nations takes an increasingly dominant role in guiding the climate change debate, there is renewed interest in a longstanding proposal for the creation of an international court to try environmental crimes.

But some diplomats and environmentalists are sceptical whether such a court will have the political support of the overwhelming majority of the U.N.’s 192 member states for it to be a reality.

“It took ages for the creation of an international war crimes tribunal,” says one Third World diplomat, “and a world court for environmental crimes can take generations.”

Satish Kumar, an avowed environmentalist and editor of the London-based environmental magazine Resurgence, is a strong advocate of such a court.

“We have no right to make waste,” he argues. “And if I dump my waste on your house, it’s a crime. You can take me to court.”

“But if we put our waste on nature, nature can’t take us to court? Nature should have a right to take us to court. And the United Nations should establish a nature court,” Kumar told IPS.

He pointed out that environmental crimes — from the dumping of toxic wastes to the military destruction of natural resources — should be deemed “crimes against nature”.

Dr. Franoise Burhenne-Guilmin, senior counsel at the Environmental Law Centre of the Switzerland-based International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), thinks the proposal may hit legal and logistical snags.
(24 September 2007)
Also at Common Dreams.

Iran gets over 70pc oil income in non-US currencies

Reuters via Trade Arabia
Iran has boosted the income it gets from crude oil sales in non-US dollar currencies to more than 70 percent, an oil official said.

A switch in payment by Nippon Oil and other Japanese refiners to yen has helped the Islamic Republic towards its goal of maximising oil revenue in currencies other than the dollar while the greenback stays weak.
(26 September 2007)