The Truth About the Gulf Oil Crisis – A Special Report by Ty Bollinger

July 19, 2010 by admin1  
Filed under Featured, News

The BP oil “spill” or “leak” in the Gulf of Mexico is a national nightmare that seems to have no end. In a recent speech, Barry Soetoro (aka Barack Obama) said “There is oil leaking. We need to stop it, and we need to stop it as soon as possible.” Ummmmm…it’s not a leak, Mr. Obama. It’s a volcanic gusher spewing out an Exxon Valdez every two to four days. This is a blow out, an explosion of oil spewing out of the earth under great pressure. In the words of Wilford Brimley in the 1981 movie Absence of Malice, “You had a leak? You call what’s goin’ on around here a leak? Boy, the last time there was a leak like this, Noah built hisself a boat.”
What is really going on in the Gulf of Mexico? I will give you the facts and let you “connect the dots.” Keep in mind the well-documented history of “false flag” events which are indicative of the “Hegelian Dialectic” (i.e., problem, reaction, solution). Click HERE for an overview of this technique as well as over 70 historical examples.

Before the Explosion

  • We now know (through witness testimony from Tyrone Benton) that there were cracks reported in the drill casing two weeks prior to the disaster and that it was leaking, but BP did nothing about it. (LINK)
  • Hours before the explosion, Deepwater Horizon installation manager Jimmy Harrell was witnessed by other rig workers screaming “Are you ****ing happy? Are you ****ing happy? The rig’s on fire! I told you this was going to happen!”  (LINK)
  • Goldman Sachs sold 44% of their total holdings, 4,680,822 shares of BP stock in the first quarter of 2010. The investment firm earned about USD $266 million on the sale. (LINK)
  • Contrary to popular opinion, the Deepwater Horizon (Mississippi Canyon 252) oil rig that exploded is not the property of BP, but rather is the property of Transocean. (LINK) Both companies are financially directed by Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and UBS investment bankers, all operating in the Rothschild League of banks. (LINK)
  • BP CEO Tony Hayward sold £1.4 million worth of his BP shares weeks before the explosion. This represented 1/3 of his holdings. (LINK)
  • A little over one week before the explosion, Halliburton purchased an oil spill prevention company called Boots & Coots. Apparently, Halliburton also had some “psychic insight” on what was soon to come. (LINK)
  • Halliburton has admitted that it was involved in the “cementing” process (a process that involves plugging holes in the pipeline seal by pumping cement into it from the rig). Halliburton was forced to admit in testimony at a congressional hearing in April 2010 that it knew that the cementation jobs were likely to fail. (LINK)
  • Just hours before the rig explosion, The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) took part in a “surprise inspection” aboard the Deepwater Horizon. In an interview, Zac Zimmerman revealed how odd this particular BLM visit really was, in light of the fact that many rigs have burned for weeks at a time without collapsing. (VIDEO)
  • On April 14, 2010 (6 days before the explosion), the Management Board of the Eurex Stock Exchange introduced an equity option on shares of Transocean. Get this….the equity option was effective on April 20th… the day of the explosion. Basically, this gave all the “insiders” ONE FULL DAY to dump their uninsured Transocean stock (using put options) at the highest possible price, then repurchase the same stock after it plummeted. (LINK)

The Explosion

  • What caused the explosion? Why would the explosion on the surface of the platform create the situation in which crews are unable to stop the oil flow from the well’s head, which is nearly a mile deep? I understand that the oil rig sunk after a horrific fire, so I guess it’s possible that the sinking platform could have somehow irreparably damaged the pipeline at the floor of the Gulf, but it seems unlikely to me, with all the safety features on these rigs and wells. (LINK)
  • One worker on the rig at the time of the explosion (10 PM on April 20th) reported that the lights on the platform went out just before the explosion. She was one of the 115 people who escaped the burning rig. Eleven others were not so fortunate; they remain missing and are presumed dead. (LINK)
  • Coincidentally, (or was it?) the oil rig exploded on Hitlers birthday, just in time to poison Earth Day 2010.

Reaction to the Explosion

  • Obama (along with Department of Homeland Security) sent SWAT (“Special Weapons and Tactics”) teams to the Gulf to “inspect” the rigs and platforms. Why on earth would you deploy SWAT teams in response to an oil spill unless it was an act of terrorism, an act of war, or they if they were sent to carry out  some sort of covert operation? (LINK)
  • Wackenhut (aka G4S) has been hired by BP to block and/or arrest reporters who attempt to interview the workers in and around Grand Isle, LA. Wackenhut is a known CIA-front group (LINK) and also has ties to other “shadow government” agencies. Wackenhuts private thugs are forcing the public off public beaches. (VIDEO)
  • Yahoo! News’ Brett Michael Dykes reported that BP paid busloads of temporary cleanup workers to show up as “stage props” for Obama’s visit to the oil spill cleanup operations on Grand Isle. Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts (whose district encompasses Grand Isle) told Dykes that BP bused in “hundreds” of temporary workers to clean up local beaches. According to Roberts, as soon as Obama was en route back to Washington, the workers were clearing out of Grand Isle too. (LINK)
  • A local Louisiana resident commented, “The cleanup crew was there for appearances only; their garbage bags were empty. When Obama left, they got on a bus and left, too.” (LINK)
  • BP has admitted to buying Google and Yahoo keywords in an attempt to control publicly available information about this disaster. (LINK)
  • The FAA has declared a “no-fly zone” in the Gulf. (LINK)
  • There seems to be a complete cover up and news blackout of the events as they are unfolding. (LINK) (LINK)
  • Obama has authorized the deployment of more than 17,000 National Guard members along the Gulf coast? (LINK) What exactly are these National Guard troops going to be doing?  Are the troops going to be used to help stop the oil or to control the public? Could the government be preparing for mass evacuations? (LINK) (LINK)
  • Obama is not using his authority to stop the damage in the Gulf, but is more concerned with passing the Cap-and-Trade bill, (LINK) which is based upon the global warming scam. (LINK) Did you notice that its no longer referred to as “global warming” but rather “climate change?” Have you ever wondered why? The truth of the matter is that since 1995, the earth has NOT been warming (LINK), so they had to rename the issue. Of course, it didnt help them when over 31,000 scientists signed a petition rejecting global warming! (LINK)
  • But the facts didnt stop Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup and the other Wall Street “behemoths” from buying heavily into global warming and carbon trading. You see, these companies that made billions off of derivatives and other scams and are now getting bailed out on your dime are going to make billions from the carbon trading scam.
  • Why did Obama refuse the help of “thirteen entities that had offered the U.S. oil spill assistance within about two weeks of the Horizon rig explosion?” Was he more concerned about ramming through his environmental agenda? (LINK)
  • This is classic Agenda 21 (aka “sustainable development”), a UN program spearheaded by George H.W. Bush at the Rio Conference, where he implemented this “de facto” US policy. (LINK) A few of the primary tools that Agenda 21 uses to implement control, steal private property, and further the eugenics agenda (VIDEO) are the global warming lies, man made water shortages, environmental disasters, and the Endangered Species Act. (LINK)

Oil, Gases, Chemicals & Dispersants

  • Hydrogen sulfide, benzene, and methylene chloride and other toxic gases are also spewing out (along with the oil) in concentrations 1000 times greater than what the EPA considers to be “safe” for humans. Any one of these chemicals in these concentrations would be lethal. Mixed together into a toxic soup, the oil disaster is truly unthinkable and a medical and health disaster of unfathomable proportions. When the hurricanes come they will absorb this toxic seawater and drop it as “toxic rain.” (LINK)
  • BP (with approval from the US government) has dumped hundreds of thousand of gallons of their toxic chemical dispersant, Corexit 9500, at their undersea wellhead and on surface waters. (LINK) Because it is so incredibly toxic (four times more toxic than the oil and twenty times more toxic than other dispersants), the UK has completely banned Corexit 9500, since it ruptures red blood cells, causes internal bleeding, and liver & kidney damage. If there were a major oil spill in the UK’s North Sea, BP would not be able to use it, (LINK) so why is BP being allowed to use Corexit 9500 in the Gulf of Mexico?
  • Corexit 9500 is produced by Illinois-based Nalco Corporation.  A search of Nalco’s Web site reveals the company history, which leads right to the doorstep of Goldman Sachs! (LINK) Yes, Goldman Sachs owns a controlling interest in Nalco (via Apollo Management). (LINK) If you dig a little deeper you will find Nalco is also associated with Warren Buffett, Maurice Strong, Al Gore, George Soros, and Hathaway Berkshire. (LINK) (LINK)
  • The toxic chemicals have evaporated into the atmosphere and have condensed, falling on the plant life, farms, and the entire environment surrounding the Gulf of Mexico causing corrosive lesions on plants and killing birds. Its raining chemicals in Louisiana & Mississippi. (VIDEO)
  • The residents of southern Louisiana are now experiencing a “toxic Gulf” washing ashore. (VIDEO)
  • The evidence is growing stronger and stronger that there is substantial damage beneath the sea floor. (LINK) (LINK)
  • Why is Evergreen Air (a known CIA-front company) spraying Corexit chemtrails in the Gulf by the cover of night, literally dumping toxic chemicals on peoples homes? (LINK) (LINK)  And please dont be so naïve as to believe that the government wouldnt allow harm to its own citizens. This is the same government that poisoned its own citizens during prohibition. (LINK) This is the same government that used US soldiers as guinea pigs for radiation experiments and mustard gas experiments. (LINK) This is the same government that used soldiers and civilians as “unknowing test subjects” for studying the effects of LSD on the brain. (LINK) And this is the same government that is currently allowing plastic, silicone, and petroleum to be included in McDonalds Chicken McNuggets. (LINK)
  • Why are dolphins, sharks, other marine life, and various birds fleeing the Gulf? Remember the Tsunami in the Indian ocean a few years back? The animals fled first, while the clueless people stayed behind and got clobbered by the deadly wave. Could a similar event be brewing in the Gulf? All it takes is one hurricane to turn the entire region into a toxic stew of chemical poison. (LINK)
  • Could the giant gas bubble and magma deposits which have been detected below the ocean floor result in a potential tsunami of biblical proportions?  (VIDEO)

The First Amendment?

Shockingly, CNN reports that the US government has issued a new rule that would make it a felony crime for any journalist, reporter, blogger or photographer to approach any oil cleanup operation, equipment or vessel in the Gulf of Mexico. Anyone caught is subject to arrest, a $40,000 fine and prosecution for a federal felony crime. (LINK). Yes, this is happening right now in America. This isnt a hoax. I know, it sounds more like something you might hear about in China or Venezuela or some other nation run by dictators. But now its happening in the USA. When those who seek truth are branded criminals by the government, it is only a matter of time before that government expands its criminalization labeling to include anyone who disagrees with it. (LINK)

These are the seeds of tyranny, and the criminal US government is planting them at your doorstep right now!!

And just so you dont think I blame this whole mess on Obama, I want to make it clear that there is virtually no difference between a Republicrat US President and a Demopublican US President. The last real President we had was JFK and they killed him for speaking out against the “New World Order” and “Secret Societies.” Plus, he wanted to abolish the Fed and pull out of Vietnam. Three strikes and youre OUT! Every US President since JFK has been nothing more than a puppet for the globalists.

I leave you with these 2 telling quotes:

The individual is handicapped by coming face-to-face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists.” – J. Edgar Hoover

If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.” – Samuel Adams

Russell Means: UN Listening Session is US Smokescreen

March 18, 2010 by Russell Means Freedom  
Filed under Featured, News

Map showing the Republic of Lakotah, as dictated by the 1858 Treaty of Fort Laramie.

Thursday, March 18, 2010
Russell Means: UN Listening Session is US Smokescreen

Statement by Russell Means, Republic of Lakotah
on the Occasion of the United States State Department “Listening Session” in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 16 March 2010

Once again, the occupation government of the United States of America has trotted out its dogs and ponies to provide a smokescreen and diversion from its continuing crimes against the indigenous peoples and nations of the Western Hemisphere. The reason for today’s media spectacle is supposedly for the US State Department to “listen” to input from indigenous peoples and nations for inclusion in the U.S.’s report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, universal periodic review process.

As we can see, many indigenous people have been duped to participate, yet again, in a lying and duplicitous process of the United States. The United States has absolutely no interest or intention of admitting to the world its human rights record that is neither justifiable nor defensible. In particular, the record of the United States with regard to historical, and ongoing, violations of over 370 treaties that were negotiated and signed with indigenous nations must be, but will not be, addressed by the United States. Instead, as is its ongoing practice, the United States will use this session, and the one tomorrow on the territory of the Diné (Navajo) Nation, as its justification that indigenous peoples were “consulted,” and “listened to,” while the U.S. simultaneously lies to the world about its disgraceful human rights record.

The Republic of Lakotah will not legitimize this embarrassing process. Instead, we will submit our report directly to the UN Human Rights Council, not to be filtered or sanitized by the State Department. Let us be clear, our report will be scathing. The United States continues, on a daily basis to violate the terms of the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties with the Lakotah. Our report will indicate that the United States never intended to abide by the terms of the treaties, and has violated them consistently from the time of their signing to the present.

Our report will also cite the United States’ own language in acknowledging that “the treaties retain their full force and effect even today because they are the legal equivalent of treaties with foreign governments and have the force of federal law.” Periodic Report of the United States of America to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, April 23, 2007, paragraph 335. In light of the United States’ own admissions, in addition to reporting to the Human Rights Council on the egregious human rights record of the US towards indigenous peoples, the Republic of Lakotah will report to the Council and to the world, the exercise of its own rights under principles of international law. The United States has continually breached the treaties with the Lakotah, and international law allows the Lakotah to return to our status quo ante position prior to the signing of the treaties.

On March 30, 2010, the Republic of Lakotah will repeat its position to the United States, and will transmit its communication to the President of the United States and to the Secretary of State, demanding that the United States cease and desist it activities in Lakotah territory, and insisting that the United States withdraw its presence from our homeland.

Posted at Censored News http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com

Ward Churchill provides Examples of Genocide – Documentary Evidence

Women Say No To War

October 11, 2009 by Russell Means Freedom  
Filed under Featured, Genocide

CODEPINK co-founders Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans recently returned from an eye-opening trip to Afghanistan. Their experiences convinced them even further that sending 40,000 more US troops would be disastrous for Afghan women and children. On October 3, their last day in the country, a US bomb hit a farmer’s house, killing two innocent women and six children. That same day, a fierce gun battle in mountainous Nuristan Province left eight U.S. Servicemen dead.

Watch the video interview with Dr. Roshanak Wardak, an Afghani member of parliament as she speaks with CODEPINK about the effects of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan and what Obama should do about sending more troops.

“After eight years of U.S. military presence, Afghan women told us more troops will just mean more civilian deaths and more Taliban,” Medea reports, not to mention more US casualties, more devastated families in both countries. “Afghan women want peace talks and economic development, not endless war.”

Jodie adds, “We were told that most men join the Taliban out of economic desperation; providing jobs will do more for security then spending billions on more troops. It’s time to change our military focus to a focus on improving the health, education and welfare of the Afghan people.”

Near the end of their journey, the delegation met with women from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to discuss issues of peace. The women–including members of Parliament, Dr. Roshnak Wardak and Shukria Barakzai; Suraya Parlika of the Afghan Women’s Network, and businesswoman Wazhma Karzai, President Karzai’s sister-in-law–signed a letter asking Obama to focus on economic needs in Afghanistan, not war.

As Dr. Ghazanfar states, “To fight is not the solution. We have a mouth and a brain, we should talk.”

Won’t you sign on to the women’s letter to urge Obama to stop sending troops to Afghanistan? You can use our tools –including a downloadable petition to a United for Peace or AFSC vigil marking the 8th anniversary of the war in your area this Wednesday.

Jodie reminds us “The protection of Afghan women is often used to justify our military presence, but we met an astounding array of Afghan women who said that sending more U.S. troops is not the answer.  President Obama should listen to these women.”

Thank you for using your mouth and your brain to speak out for peace in Afghanistan,

Dana, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Janet, Jodie, Medea, Nancy, Paris, Rae, Suzanne, and Whitney.

Article from a CODEPINK ALERT Newsletter

More information about CODEPINK…

www.WomenSayNoToWar.org

What is CODEPINK?

CODEPINK emerged out of a desperate desire by a group of American women to stop the Bush administration from invading Iraq. The name CODEPINK plays on the Bush Administration’s color-coded homeland security alerts — yellow, orange, redthat signal terrorist threats. While Bush’s color-coded alerts are based on fear and are used to justify violence, the CODEPINK alert is a feisty call for women and men to “wage peace.”

“I am Obama’s prisoner now” – Leonard Peltier Speaks out After Parole Denial

September 18, 2009 by admin1  
Filed under Featured, News

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I am Obama’s prisoner now
September 14, 2009

On August 21, Native American activist Leonard Peltier, one of America’s longest-serving political prisoners, was denied parole by the U.S. Parole Commission.

In 1977, Leonard was sentenced to two consecutive life terms for the deaths of two FBI agents who were killed in a gunfight on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota on June 26, 1975. His co-defendants Bob Robideau and Dino Butler were acquitted on the basis of self-defense, but the government managed to secure a conviction against Leonard, despite never producing any witness who could identify him as the person who killed the agents.

Leonard wrote the following after his parole was denied.

THE UNITED States Department of Justice has once again made a mockery of its lofty and pretentious title.

After releasing an original and continuing disciple of death cult leader Charles Manson who attempted to shoot President Gerald Ford, an admitted Croatian terrorist, and another attempted assassin of President Ford under the mandatory 30-year parole law, the U.S. Parole Commission deemed that my release would “promote disrespect for the law.”

If only the federal government would have respected its own laws, not to mention the treaties that are, under the U.S. Constitution, the supreme law of the land, I would never have been convicted nor forced to spend more than half my life in captivity. Not to mention the fact that every law in this country was created without the consent of Native peoples, and is applied unequally at our expense. If nothing else, my experience should raise serious questions about the FBI’s supposed jurisdiction in Indian Country.

The parole commission’s phrase was lifted from soon-to-be former U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley, who apparently hopes to ride with the FBI cavalry into the office of North Dakota governor. In this, Wrigley is following in the footsteps of William Janklow, who built his political career on his reputation as an Indian fighter, moving on up from tribal attorney (and alleged rapist of a Native minor) to state attorney general, South Dakota governor, and U.S. congressman.

Some might recall that Janklow claimed responsibility for dissuading President Clinton from pardoning me before he was convicted of manslaughter. Janklow’s historical predecessor, George Armstrong Custer, similarly hoped that a glorious massacre of the Sioux would propel him to the White House, and we all know what happened to him.

Unlike the barbarians that bay for my blood in the corridors of power, however, Native people are true humanitarians who pray for our enemies. Yet we must be realistic enough to organize for our own freedom and equality as nations. We constitute 5 percent of the population of North Dakota and 10 percent of South Dakota and we could utilize that influence to promote our own power on the reservations, where our focus should be.

If we organized as a voting bloc, we could defeat the entire premise of the competition between the Dakotas as to which is the most racist. In the 1970s we were forced to take up arms to affirm our right to survival and self-defense, but today the war is one of ideas. We must now stand up to armed oppression and colonization with our bodies and our minds. International law is on our side.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

GIVEN THE complexion of the three recent federal parolees, it might seem that my greatest crime was being Indian. But the truth is that my gravest offense is my innocence.

In Iran, political prisoners are occasionally released if they confess to the ridiculous charges on which they are dragged into court, in order to discredit and intimidate them and other like-minded citizens. The FBI and its mouthpieces have suggested the same, as did the parole commission in 1993, when it ruled that my refusal to confess was grounds for denial of parole.

To claim innocence is to suggest that the government is wrong, if not guilty itself. The American judicial system is set up so that the defendant is not punished for the crime itself, but for refusing to accept whatever plea arrangement is offered and for daring to compel the judicial system to grant the accused the right to right to rebut the charges leveled by the state in an actual trial. Such insolence is punished invariably with prosecution requests for the steepest possible sentence, if not an upward departure from sentencing guidelines that are being gradually discarded, along with the possibility of parole.

As much as non-Natives might hate Indians, we are all in the same boat. To attempt to emulate this system in tribal government is pitiful, to say the least.

It was only this year, in the Troy Davis case, that the U.S. Supreme Court recognized innocence as a legitimate legal defense. Like the witnesses who were coerced into testifying against me, those who testified against Davis renounced their statements, yet Davis was very nearly put to death. I might have been executed myself by now, had not the government of Canada required a waiver of the death penalty as a condition of extradition.

The old order is aptly represented by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who stated in his dissenting opinion in the Davis case:

This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is “actually” innocent. Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged “actual innocence” is constitutionally cognizable.

The esteemed senator from North Dakota, Byron Dorgan, who is now the chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, used much the same reasoning in writing that “our legal system has found Leonard Peltier guilty of the crime for which he was charged. I have reviewed the material from the trial, and I believe the verdict was fair and just.”

It is a bizarre and incomprehensible statement to Natives, as well it should be, that innocence and guilt is a mere legal status, not necessarily rooted in material fact. It is a truism that all political prisoners were convicted of the crimes for which they were charged.

The truth is the government wants me to falsely confess in order to validate a rather sloppy frame-up operation, one whose exposure would open the door to an investigation of the United States’ role in training and equipping goon squads to suppress a grassroots movement on Pine Ridge against a puppet dictatorship.

In America, there can by definition be no political prisoners, only those duly judged guilty in a court of law. It is deemed too controversial to even publicly contemplate that the federal government might fabricate and suppress evidence to defeat those deemed political enemies. But it is a demonstrable fact at every stage of my case.

I am Barack Obama’s political prisoner now, and I hope and pray that he will adhere to the ideals that impelled him to run for president. But as Obama himself would acknowledge, if we are expecting him to solve our problems, we missed the point of his campaign.

Only by organizing in our own communities and pressuring our supposed leaders can we bring about the changes that we all so desperately need. Please support the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee in our effort to hold the United States government to its own words.

I thank you all who have stood by me all these years, but to name anyone would be to exclude many more. We must never lose hope in our struggle for freedom.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
Leonard Peltier

–the preceding article first appeared in socialistworker.org:

http://socialistworker.org/2009/09/14/obamas-prisoner-now

Hyperinflation, 7/7 Investigations and Japan, Aug. 1945 Remembered – Rock Creek Free Press

August 3, 2009 by admin1  
Filed under Featured, News

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In this month’s issue, Rock Creek Free Press looks into the coming hyperinflation, investigations into the London 7/7 bombings, as well as Dick Cheney’s hot summer. Also up for discussion is the history and legacy of the atomic bombings of Japan, Swine-flu vaccine dangers and domestic spying programs in this month’s issue of the Rock Creek, available for download below:

rock-creek-free-press-aug-2009

Whose Iraq is it? – 21st Century Colonialism in Iraq

July 27, 2009 by admin1  
Filed under Featured, News

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One of the earliest metaphors President George W. Bush and some of his top officials wielded in their post-invasion salad days in Iraq involved bicycles. The question was: Should we take the “training wheels” off the Iraqi bike (of democracy)? Then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, for example,commented smugly on the way getting Iraq “straightened out” was like teaching your kid to ride a bike:

“They’re learning, and you’re running down the street holding on to the back of the seat. You know that if you take your hand off they could fall, so you take a finger off and then two fingers, and pretty soon you’re just barely touching it. You can’t know when you’re running down the street how many steps you’re going to have to take. We can’t know that, but we’re off to a good start.”

That image (about as patronizingly colonial as they come) of the little pedaling Iraqi child with an American parent running close behind, was abandoned when around the first corner, as it turned out, was an insurgent with an rocket-propelled grenade. Many years and many disasters later, though, Americans, whether in the Obama administration, the Washington punditocracy, or the media are still almost incapable of not being patronizing when it comes to Iraq. Take a typical recent piece of “news analysis” in the New York Times by a perfectly sharp journalist, Alissa J. Rubin. It was headlined in print “America’s New Role in Iraq Prompts a Search for Means of Influence” and focused, in part, on Vice President Joe Biden’s recent trip there supposedly to “assuage” Iraqi feelings that they are being “moved to the bottom shelf.”

Rubin writes (and this sort of thing has been written countless times before) that the Americans are now in search of a “new tone” for their dealings in that country. (In the Bush years, this was often called — in another strange imperial metaphor — “putting an Iraqi face” on things.) “They have,” she comments, “a reputation for being heavy-handed, for telling Iraqis what to do rather than asking what they want.” But of course, as the piece makes clear, whatever his tone, Biden arrived in Iraq to tell Iraqis what they should do — or as she puts it, to try to “solve” the “troubles… that stymied three previous ambassadors and President George W. Bush”: continuing sectarian animosities, the passage of an Iraqi oil law, and the Kurdish problem.

These, it seems, are still our burden and we really can’t imagine it any other way. As the Iraqis quoted in Rubin’s piece make clear, the dominant role played by the U.S. is resented by the occupied — especially the elite — who have contempt for the occupiers, even if they find it hard to imagine life without them.

I mention this only because the tone of American writing and thought on Iraq has always been tinged with what Michael Schwartz, TomDispatch regular and author of a superb study, War Without End: The Iraq War in Context, says is a deeper colonial urge, one that unfortunately may not be fading, even as discussion of a U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq grows. (Catch a TomDispatch audio interview with Schwartz by clicking here.) Tom


Colonizing Iraq

The Obama Doctrine?
By Michael Schwartz

Here’s how reporters Steven Lee Myers and Marc Santora of the New York Timesdescribed the highly touted American withdrawal from Iraq’s cities last week:

“Much of the complicated work of dismantling and removing millions of dollars of equipment from the combat outposts in the city has been done during the dark of night. Gen. Ray Odierno, the overall American commander in Iraq, has ordered that an increasing number of basic operations — transport and re-supply convoys, for example — take place at night, when fewer Iraqis are likely to see that the American withdrawal is not total.”

Acting in the dark of night, in fact, seems to catch the nature of American plans for Iraq in a particularly striking way. Last week, despite the death of Michael Jackson, Iraq made it back into the TV news as Iraqis celebrated a highly publicized American military withdrawal from their cities. Fireworks went off; some Iraqis gathered to dance and cheer; the first military parade since Saddam Hussein’s day took place (in the fortified Green Zone, the country’s ordinary streets still being too dangerous for such things); the U.S. handed back many small bases and outposts; and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki proclaimed a national holiday — “sovereignty day,” he called it.

All of this fit with a script promisingly laid out by President Barack Obama in his 2008 presidential campaign. More recently, in his much praised speech to the students of Egypt’s Cairo University, he promised that the U.S. would keep no bases in Iraq, and would indeed withdraw its military forces from the country by the end of 2011.

Unfortunately, not just for the Iraqis, but for the American public, it’s what’s happening in “the dark” — beyond the glare of lights and TV cameras — that counts. While many critics of the Iraq War have been willing to cut the Obama administration some slack as its foreign policy team and the U.S. military gear up for that definitive withdrawal, something else — something more unsettling — appears to be going on.

And it wasn’t just the president’s hedging over withdrawing American “combat” troops from Iraq – which, in any case, make up as few as one-third of the 130,000 U.S. forces still in the country — now extended from 16 to 19 months. Nor was it the re-labeling of some of them as “advisors” so they could, in fact, stay in the vacated cities, or the redrawing of the boundary lines of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, to exclude a couple of key bases the Americans weren’t about to give up.

After all, there can be no question that the Obama administration’s policy is indeed to reduce what the Pentagon might call the U.S. military “footprint” in Iraq. To put it another way, Obama’s key officials seem to be opting not for blunt-edged, Bush-style militarism, but for what might be thought of as an administrative push in Iraq, what Vice President Joe Biden has called “a much more aggressive program vis-à-vis the Iraqi government to push it to political reconciliation.”

An anonymous senior State Department official described this new “dark of night” policy recently to Christian Science Monitor reporter Jane Arraf this way: “One of the challenges of that new relationship is how the U.S. can continue to wield influence on key decisions without being seen to do so.”

Without being seen to do so. On this General Odierno and the unnamed official are in agreement. And so, it seems, is Washington. As a result, the crucial thing you can say about the Obama administration’s military and civilian planning so far is this: ignore the headlines, the fireworks, and the briefly cheering crowds of Iraqis on your TV screen. Put all that talk of withdrawal aside for a moment and — if you take a closer look, letting your eyes adjust to the darkness — what is vaguely visible is the silhouette of a new American posture in Iraq. Think of it as the Obama Doctrine. And what it doesn’t look like is the posture of an occupying power preparing to close up shop and head for home.

As your eyes grow accustomed to the darkness, you begin to identify a deepening effort to ensure that Iraq remains a U.S. client state, or, as General Odierno described it to the press on June 30th, “a long-term partner with the United States in the Middle East.” Whether Obama’s national security team can succeed in this is certainly an open question, but, on a first hard look, what seems to be coming into focus shouldn’t be too unfamiliar to students of history. Once upon a time, it used to have a name: colonialism.

Colonialism in Iraq

Traditional colonialism was characterized by three features: ultimate decision-making rested with the occupying power instead of the indigenous client government; the personnel of the colonial administration were governed by different laws and institutions than the colonial population; and the local political economy was shaped to serve the interests of the occupying power. All the features of classic colonialism took shape in the Bush years in Iraq and are now, as far as we can tell, being continued, in some cases even strengthened, in the early months of the Obama era.

The U.S. embassy in Iraq, built by the Bush administration to the tune of $740 million, is by far the largest in the world. It is now populated by more than 1,000 administrators, technicians, and professionals — diplomatic, military, intelligence, and otherwise — though all are regularly, if euphemistically, referred to as “diplomats” in official statements and in the media. This level of staffing — 1,000 administrators for a country of perhaps 30 million — is well above the classic norm for imperial control. Back in the early twentieth century, for instance, Great Britain utilized fewer officials to rule a population of 300 million in its Indian Raj.

Such a concentration of foreign officialdom in such a gigantic regional command center — and no downsizing or withdrawals are yet apparent there — certainly signals Washington’s larger imperial design: to have sufficient administrative labor power on hand to ensure that American advisors remain significantly embedded in Iraqi political decision-making, in its military, and in the key ministries of its (oil-dominated) economy.

From the first moments of the occupation of Iraq, U.S. officials have been sitting in the offices of Iraqi politicians and bureaucrats, providing guidelines, training decision-makers, and brokering domestic disputes. As a consequence, Americans have been involved, directly or indirectly, in virtually all significant government decision-making.

In a recent article, for example, the New York Times reported that U.S. officials are “quietly lobbying” to cancel a mandated nationwide referendum on the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) negotiated between the United States and Iraq — a referendum that, if defeated, would at least theoretically force the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from the country. In another article, the Times reported that embassy officialshave “sometimes stepped in to broker peace between warring blocs” in the Iraqi Parliament. In yet another, the military newspaper Stars and Stripes mentioned in passing that an embassy official “advises Iraqis running the $100 million airport” just completed in Najaf. And so it goes.

Segregated Living

Most colonial regimes erect systems in which foreigners involved in occupation duties are served (and disciplined) by an institutional structure separate from the one that governs the indigenous population. In Iraq, the U.S. has been building such a structure since 2003, and the Obama administration shows every sign of extending it.

As in all embassies around the world, U.S. embassy officials are not subject to the laws of the host country. The difference is that, in Iraq, they are not simply stamping visas and the like, but engaged in crucial projects involving them in myriad aspects of daily life and governance, although as an essentially separate caste within Iraqi society. Military personnel are part of this segregated structure: the recently signed SOFA insures that American soldiers will remain virtually untouchable by Iraqi law, even if they kill innocent civilians.

Versions of this immunity extend to everyone associated with the occupation. Private security, construction, and commercial contractors employed by occupation forces are not protected by the SOFA agreement, but are nonetheless shielded from the laws and regulations that apply to normal Iraqi residents. As an Iraq-based FBI official told the New York Times, the obligations of contractors are defined by “new arrangements between Iraq and the United States governing contractors’ legal status.” In a recent case in which five employees of one U.S. contractor were charged with killing another contractor, the case was jointly investigated by Iraqi police and “local representatives of the FBI,” with ultimate jurisdiction negotiated by Iraqi and U.S. embassy officials. The FBI has established a substantial presence in Iraq to carry out these “new arrangements.”

This special handling extends to enterprises servicing the billions of dollars spent every month in Iraq on U.S. contracts. A contractor’s prime responsibility is to follow “guidelines the U.S. military handed down in 2006.” In all this, Iraqi law has a distinctly secondary role. In one apparently typical case, a Kuwaiti contractor hired to feed U.S. soldiers was accused of imprisoning its foreign workers and then, when they protested, sending them home without pay. This case was handled by U.S. officials, not the Iraqi government.

Beyond this legal segregation, the U.S. has also been erecting a segregated infrastructure within Iraq. Most embassies and military bases around the world rely on the host country for food, electricity, water, communications, and daily supplies. Not the U.S. embassyor the five major bases that are at the heart of the American military presence in that country. They all have their own electrical generating and water purification systems, their own dedicated communications, and imported food from outside the country. None, naturally, offer indigenous Iraqi cuisine; the embassy imports ingredients suitable for reasonably upscale American restaurants, and the military bases feature American fast food and chain restaurant fare.

The United States has even created the rudiments of its own transportation system. Iraqis often are delayed when traveling within or between cities, thanks to an occupation-created (and now often Iraqi-manned) maze of checkpoints, cement barriers, and bombed-out streets and roads; on the other hand, U.S. soldiers and officials in certain areas can move around more quickly, thanks to special privileges and segregated facilities.

In the early years of the occupation, large military convoys transporting supplies or soldiers simply took temporary possession of Iraqi highways and streets. Iraqis who didn’t quickly get out of the way were threatened with lethal firepower. To negotiate sometimes hours-long lines at checkpoints, Americans were given special ID cards that “guaranteed swift passage… in a separate lane past waiting Iraqis.” Though the guaranteed “swift passage” was supposed to end with the signing of the SOFA, the system is still operating at many checkpoints, and convoys continue to roar through Iraqi communities with “Iraqi drivers still pulling over en masse.”

Recently, the occupation has also been appropriating various streets and roads for its exclusive use (an idea that may have been borrowed from Israel’s 40-year-old occupation of the West Bank). This innovation has made unconvoyed transportation safer for embassy officials, contractors, and military personnel, while degrading further the Iraqi road system, already in a state of disrepair, by closing useable thoroughfares. Paradoxically, it has also allowed insurgents to plant roadside bombs with the assurance of targeting only foreigners. Such an incident outside Falluja illustrates what have now become Obama-era policies in Iraq:


“The Americans were driving along a road used exclusively by the American military and reconstruction teams when a bomb, which local Iraqi security officials described as an improvised explosive device, went off. No Iraqi vehicles, even those of the army and the police, are allowed to use the road where the attack occurred, according to residents. There is a checkpoint only 200 yards from the site of the attack to prevent unauthorized vehicles, the residents said.”

It is unclear whether this road will be handed back to the Iraqis, if and when the base it services is shuttered. Either way, the larger policy appears to be well established — the designation of segregated roads to accommodate the 1,000 diplomats and tens of thousands of soldiers and contractors who implement their policies. And this is only one aspect of a dedicated infrastructure designed to facilitate ongoing U.S. involvement in developing, implementing, and administering political-economic policies in Iraq.

Whose Military Is It?

One way to “free up” the American military for withdrawal would, of course, be if the Iraqi military could manage the pacification mission alone. But don’t expect that any time soon. According to media reports, if all goes well, this isn’t likely to occur for at least a decade. One telltale sign of this is the pervasive presence of American military advisors still embedded in Iraqi combat units. First Lt. Matthew Liebal, for example, “sits every day beside Lt. Col Mohammed Hadi,” the commander of the Iraqi 43rd Army Brigade that patrols eastern Baghdad.

When it comes to the Iraqi military, this sort of supervision won’t be temporary. After all,the military the U.S. helped create in Iraq still lacks, among other things, significant logistical capability, heavy artillery, and an air force. Consequently, U.S. forces transport and re-supply Iraqi troops, position and fire high-caliber ordnance, and supply air support when needed. Since the U.S. military is unwilling to allow Iraqi officers to command American soldiers, they obviously can’t make decisions about firing artillery, launching and directing U.S. Air Force planes, or sending U.S. logistical personnel into war zones. All major Iraqi missions are, then, fated to be accompanied by U.S. advisors and support personnel for an unknown period to come.

The Iraqi military is not expected to get a wing of modern jet fighters (or have the trained pilots to fly them) until at least 2015. This means that, wherever U.S. air power might be stationed, including the massive air base at Balad north of Baghdad, it will, in effect, be the Iraqi air force for the foreseeable future.

Even the simplest policing functions of the military might prove problematic without the American presence. Typically, when an Iraqi battalion commander was asked by New York Times reporter Steven Lee Myers “whether he needed American backup for a criminal arrest, he replied simply, ‘Of course.’” John Snell, an Australian advisor to the U.S. military, was just as blunt, telling an Agence France Presse reporter that, if the United States withdrew its troops, the Iraqi military “would rapidly disintegrate.”

In a World Policy Journal article last winter, John A. Nagl, a military expert and former advisor to General David Petraeus, expressed a commonly held opinion that an independent Iraqi military is likely to be at least a decade away.

Whose Economy Is It?

Terry Barnich, a victim of the previously discussed Falluja roadside bombing,personified the economic embeddedness of the occupation. As the U.S. State Department’s Deputy Director of the Iraq Transition Assistance Office and the top adviser to Iraq’s Electricity Minister, when he died he was “returning from an inspection of a wastewater treatment plant being built in Falluja.”

His dual role as a high official in the policy-making process and the “top advisor” to one of Iraq’s major infrastructural ministries catches the continuing U.S. posture toward Iraq in the early months of the Obama era. Iraq remains, however reluctantly, a client government; significant aspects of ultimate decision-making power still reside with the occupation forces. Note, by the way, that Barnich was evidently not even traveling with Iraqi officials.

The intrusive presence of the Baghdad embassy extends to the all-important oil industry, which today provides 95% of the government’s funds. When it comes to energy, the occupation has long sought to shape policy and transfer operational responsibility from Iraqi state-owned enterprises of the Saddam Hussein years to major international oil companies. In one of its most successful efforts, in 2004, the U.S. delivered an exclusive $1.2 billion contract to reconstruct Iraq’s decrepit southern oil transport facilities (which handle 80% of its oil flow) to KBR, the notorious former subsidiary of Halliburton. Supervision of that famously mismanaged contract, still uncompleted five years later, wasallocated to the U.S. Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

The Iraqi government, in fact, still exerts remarkably little control over “Iraqi” oil revenues. The Development Fund for Iraq (whose revenues are deposited in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York) was established under U.N. auspices just after the invasion and receives 95% of the proceeds from Iraq’s oil sales. All government withdrawals are then overseen by the U.N.-sanctioned International Advisory and Monitoring Board, a U.S.-appointed panel of experts drawn mainly from the global oil and financial industries. The transfer of this oversight function to an Iraqi-appointed body, which was supposed to take place in this January, has been delayed by the Obama administration, which claims that the Iraqi government is not yet ready to take on such a responsibility.

In the meantime, the campaign to transfer administration of core oil operations to the major oil companies continues. Despite the resistance of Iraqi oil workers, the administrators of the two national oil companies, a majority bloc in parliament, and public opinion, the U.S. has continued to pressure the al-Maliki administration to enact an oil law that would mandate licensing devices called production-sharing agreements (PSAs).

If enacted, these PSAs would, without transferring permanent ownership, grant oil companies effective control over Iraq’s oil fields, giving them full discretion to exploit the country’s oil reserves from exploration to sales. U.S. pressure has ranged from ongoing “advice” delivered by American officials stationed in relevant Iraqi ministries to threats to confiscate some or all of the oil monies deposited in the Development Fund.

At the moment, the Iraqi government is attempting to take a more limited step: auctioning management contracts to international oil companies in an effort to increase production at eight existing oil and natural gas fields. While the winning companies would not gain the full discretion to explore, produce, and sell in some of the world’s potentially richest fields, they would at least gain some administrative control over upgrading equipment and extracting oil, possibly for as long as 20 years.

If the auction proves ultimately successful (not at all a certainty, since the first round produced only one as-yet-unsigned agreement), the Iraqi oil industry would become more deeply embedded in the occupation apparatus, no matter what officially happens to American forces in that country. Among other things, the American embassy would almost certainly be responsible for inspecting and guiding the work of the contract-winners, while the U.S. military and private contractors would become guarantors of their on-the-ground security. Fayed al-Nema, the CEO of the South Oil Company, spoke for most of the opponents of such deals when he told Reuters reporter Ahmed Rasheed that the contracts, if approved, would “put the Iraqi economy in chains and shackle its independence for the next 20 years.”

Who Owns Iraq?

In 2007, Alan Greenspan, former head of the Federal Reserve, told Washington Postreporter Bob Woodward that “taking Saddam out was essential” — a point he made in his book The Age of Turbulence — because the United States could not afford to be “beholden to potentially unfriendly sources of oil and gas” in Iraq. It’s exactly that sort of thinking that’s still operating in U.S. policy circles: the 2008 National Defense Strategy, for example, calls for the use of American military power to maintain “access to and flow of energy resources vital to the world economy.”

After only five months in office, the Obama administration has already provided significant evidence that, like its predecessor, it remains committed to maintaining that “access to and flow of energy resources” in Iraq, even as it places its major military bet on winning the expanding war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. There can be no question that Washington is now engaged in an effort to significantly reduce its military footprint in Iraq, but without, if all goes well for Washington, reducing its influence.

What this looks like is an attempted twenty-first-century version of colonial domination, possibly on the cheap, as resources are transferred to the Eastern wing of the Greater Middle East. There is, of course, no more a guarantee that this new strategy — perhaps best thought of as colonialism lite or the Obama Doctrine — will succeed than there was for the many failed military-first offensives undertaken by the Bush administration. After all, in the unsettled, still violent atmosphere of Iraq, even the major oil companies have hesitated to rush in and the auctioning of oil contracts has begun to look uncertain, even as other “civilian” initiatives remain, at best, incomplete.

As the Obama administration comes face-to-face with the reality of trying fulfill General Odierno’s ambition of making Iraq into “a long-term partner with the United States in the Middle East” while fighting a major counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan, it may also encounter a familiar dilemma faced by nineteenth-century colonial powers: that without the application of overwhelming military force, the intended colony may drift away toward sovereign independence. If so, then the dreary prediction of Pulitzer Prize-winning military correspondent Thomas Ricks — that the United States is only “halfway through this war” — may prove all too accurate.

A professor of sociology at Stony Brook State University, Michael Schwartz is the author of War Without End: The Iraq War in Context (Haymarket Books), which explains how the militarized geopolitics of oil led the U.S. to dismantle the Iraqi state and economy while fueling a sectarian civil war. Schwartz’s work on Iraq has appeared in numerous academic and popular outlets. He is a regular at TomDispatch.com. (An audio interview with him on the situation in Iraq is available by clicking here.) His email address is m@optonline.net.

[Michael Schwartz's Note on Further Reading: For daily regular and reliable information about the now hard-to-keep-track-of situation in Iraq, you should go to Juan Cole's indispensable Informed CommentAntiwar.com, and Truthout. They all get you the news of the day and much more. For more focused and often in-depth information on specific topics, keep track of what is posted on Dahr Jamail's website, on Ben Lando's ever useful Iraq Oil Report, and read anything by Patrick Cockburn at the (London) Independent. Two of my favorite, though only occasional, commentators on things Iraqi are Badger at Missing Link and Reider Visser at Historiae. Both seem to have information and offer analyses that don't appear elsewhere.]

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