Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pirates of the Persian Gulf

Noting that a majority in Congress calls the new war funding bill "supporting the troops" while she calls it "stealing Iraq's oil," columnist Ann Wright* on Saturday made a couple of very serious accusations:

"If the Iraqi Parliament refuses to pass the (oil) privatization legislation (i.e., the new Iraqi oil law which would give control of most of the country's petroleum resource to foreign companies for the next 30 years), Congress will withhold US reconstruction funds that were promised to the Iraqis to rebuild what the United States has destroyed there," Wright said, and adds the further charge that "The privatization law (was) written by American oil company consultants hired by the Bush administration."

Unfortunately, Colonel Wright did not support her accusations with documentary evidence such as hyperlinks or citations. If these very serious charges were true, I wanted to find the evidence. Wright accused congressional Democrats and Republicans alike of shamelessly blackmailing the Iraqi people by shaking them down for their oil, their only source of wealth, and also of open and blatant premeditated acts of brazen piracy, larceny, and brigandage.

She's accusing the Democratic Party especially of betraying not only the American people who voted them into power, but of betraying the Iraqi people as well, by turning them over to Cheney the Pirate.

Her accusations, as it turns out, are 100 percent accurate. A CBS News story from last Friday, published in the wake of the the congressional vote on the war funding bill, notes that "Continued U.S. reconstruction aid would be conditioned on progress toward the so-called benchmarks." And we also know that the passage of the Iraqi oil giveaway law by the Iraqi parliament is one of the bill's "benchmarks," because, as Robert Naiman noted at the Huffington Post on March 14, "Representative Dennis Kucinich is asking for something to be removed from the supplemental - the 'benchmark' that requires the Iraqi government to pass a new oil law."

Proving the second of Wright's accusations -- that the proposed Iraqi oil law was "written by American oil company consultants hired by the Bush administration" -- is also a slam dunk. Having studied the Arabic version of the proposed law for purposes of making and publishing an English translation of it, the Iraqi blogger Raed Jarrar notes that the Arabic of what was purported to be the original draft of the law looked "weak and translated. I have no doubt that the English version of the law is the original one, and that the Arabic one is nothing more than an edited translation of the English origin. The few changes in the content, between the Arabic and English versions show clearly that the Iraqi lawmakers who worked on the law did not change any of the parts that relates to foreign investments," Jarrar concludes.

He also identified the original source of the proposed new oil law by noting that the English version of the law which leaked in 2006 "shocked a number of specialists, like Erik Leaver from the institute for Policy Studies, because it had some exact text from a previously leaked seminar papers produced by a private contracting company called 'Bearing Point.'" In fact, the Virgina-based consulting firm BearingPoint, one of the world's largest, richest, and most powerful energy consultants, was hired by the Bush administration for no other purpose than to write the Iraqi oil law the American (especially Exxon) and European (B.P. and Shell) oil giants demanded of them.

The website Oil Change International reported the details of BearingPoint's Iraq contract: "BearingPoint, a Virginia based contractor is being paid $240m for its work in Iraq, winning an initial contract from the US Agency for International Development (USAid) within weeks of the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. A BearingPoint employee, based in the US embassy in Baghdad, was hired to advise the Iraqi Ministry of Oil on drawing up a new hydrocarbon law."

Apparently their advice consisted of writing the law, then handing it to the Iraqi parliament and the Oil Ministry, and threatening them with the withdrawal of reconstruction funds if they are unable to see the virtues of the new law.

Oil Change International adds that "BearingPoint employees gave $117,000 to the 2000 and 2004 Bush election campaigns, more than any other Iraq contractor."

This Iraq war is now demonstrably the most openly criminal and larcenous act of international pillage since the King of Belgium grabbed the Congo in 1876, with the sole intention of robbing those hapless Africans of their ivory and rubber. Oh yes, and he mentioned something about spreading Christianity and Democracy as well. Big deal. History doesn't repeat itself, but as Mark Twain said, "It rhymes."

Furthermore, the war and especially the latest war funding bill have laid bare the utter bankruptcy and moral depravity of the American political system, and of both major parties. Forget elections, folks, and forget about improving the American political system. The so-called system has degenerated into a simple dictatorship, and the only way it can be improved is out of existence.

When you have rats, you get a cat. When you're troubled by too many cats, you get a dog. If you've got dogs, find yourself a tyrannosaurus.

And if you've got Republicans and Democrats, and they're working together to promote international crime and mayhem on a cosmic scale, get yourself a Samuel Adams. Or a Tom Paine. Or a Robespierre. Or a Lenin. Or a Ho Chi Minh.

Hell, get all of 'em.

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