Tuesday, July 31, 2007

THE EMPIRE SLOWLY SLIPS THROUGH BUSH'S FINGERS


Chávez ofrece refinería
Esteban Solís


* Será construida en León y tendrá un costo de US,500 millones y podrá procesar 150 mil barriles de petróleo
* También hizo referencias al modelo de la democracia participativa y directa a través de los consejos, con buenos resultados en su país
* Ocupó buena parte de su intervención para fustigar al presidente de Estados Unidos, George W. Bush


Varieties of imperial decline - Honduras and Miranda
by toni solo


On July 20th Presidents Hugo Chavez Frias of Venezuela and Daniel Ortega Saavedra of Nicaragua laid the foundation stone for a US$4 billion oil refinery called "El Sueño Supremo de Bolívar" - the Supreme Dream of Bolívar. The refinery, located on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, near the university city of Leon, will be capable of processing 150,000 barrels of oil a day. All told, the project will create over 3000 local jobs and is projected to generate profits of US$700 million a year. A joint venture company - ALBANISA - formed by the two State oil companies of Venezuela and Nicaragua, with 55% and 45% holdings respectively, will run the project. (2)

DownstreamToday.com

The refinery's first stone was laid at 5 p.m. local time (2300 GMT) Friday by Ortega and Chavez in Piedras Blancas (Puerto Sandino), near the Pacific coast and some 90 kilometers (55 miles) west of Managua.

Leon Nicaragua Photo Tour

HOW DO YOU SAY "PEACENIK" IN ARABIC


There are several choices. This is one of them

السلام عليك يا مذل المؤمنين

The word (peacenik) was invented with the suffix \"-nik\" in order to associate the idea of seeking peace with Soviet sympathizers (\"soft on communism,\" as they used to call them in the Cold War). In other words, the word was invented to mockingly malign pacifists or peace activists. All traditional words describing peace activists had postitive connotations, so a new word was needed with negative, subtly anti-American, anti-democratic connotations. Although the Cold War and the Soviet Union are gone, the word has proven useful in many contexts where one seeks to malign or mock peace activism as naive or misguided. Peace activists themselves, by and large, do not mind the word, although they are aware of the mocking intentions behind it.



ArabInk: I strongly disagree that "peacenik" has such negative connotations. It depends very much upon whom you ask and how the term is used. It is very much an artifact of the cold war era, the -nik suffix coming from Yiddish/Russian. See also "beatnik".

As to connotations, the term may very well be construed as an insult in meetings of Rumsfeld's inner circle, but in a meeting of Quakers - or soccer moms, for that matter - it would be a point of pride. I suspect "beatnik" is the parent of "peacenik"; the original intention probably being to associate the negative mainstream stereotype of the beatnik/hippie with anti-war activists of the 60s. But of course, once the term got loose there was no way to prevent the intended victims of its sarcasm from turning it on its head and making it a positive.

Monday, July 30, 2007

HACKING THE VOTE


YOU CANT HACK MY ATM, BUT YOU CAN HACK MY VOTING MACHINE! YOU BETTER FIRE THE FAULTY FED DISTRCT ATTORNEYS, TOO!


State-sanctioned teams of computer hackers were able to break through the security of virtually every model of California's voting machines and change results or take control of some of the systems' electronic functions, according to a University of California study released Friday.

The researchers "were able to bypass physical and software security in every machine they tested,'' said Secretary of State Debra Bowen, who authorized the "top to bottom review" of every voting system certified by the state.

including Sequoia, whose systems are used in Alameda, Napa and Santa Clara counties; Hart InterCivic, used in San Mateo and Sonoma Counties; and Diebold, used in Marin County.

Election Systems and Software, which supplied equipment to San Francisco, Contra Costa, Solano and Los Angeles counties in last November's election, missed the deadline for submitting the equipment,

Sunday, July 29, 2007

New UN map charts West Bank reality


A new map of the West Bank (see below), 40 years after its conquest by Israel in the Six Day War, gives the most definitive picture so far of a territory in which 2.5m Palestinians are confined to dozens of enclaves separated by Israeli roads, settlements, fences and military zones.

Produced by the United Nations’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, it is based on extensive monitoring in the field combined with analysis of satellite imagery. It provides an overall picture officials say is even more comprehensive than charts drawn up by the Israeli military.

The impact of Israeli civilian and military infrastructure is to render 40 per cent of the territory, which is roughly the size of the US state of Delaware or the English county of Norfolk, off-limits to Palestinians.


The rest of the territory, including main centres such as Nablus and Jericho, is split into isolated spots. Movement between them is restricted by 450 roadblocks and 70 manned checkpoints...

...The map is one of a number of documents whose publication has coincided with Monday’s anniversary of the 1967 war. Amnesty, the rights group, issued a report that accused Israel of a land grab in the West Bank and called for urgent action to address “widespread human rights abuses committed under the occupation”.

The Israeli justice ministry branded the report as “one-sided, immoral and riddled with mistakes”.
Published: June 4 2007 16:51 | Last updated: June 4 2007 16:51

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007

AN INCREDIBLE GRAPHIC



The map tells the truth. There is no peace process. Arabs know. Muslims know. Israelis know. Eyal Weizman just published a book called Hollow Land: Israel's Architecture Of Occupation which chronicles how an apartheid was enforced through a garrison state of roadblocks, checkpoints, strongpoints, security zones, sterile areas, summit settlements, mobile homes, bridgeheads, walls, and military bases. Here none dare call it Reservation. None dare whisper Concentration. To keep what it has taken, Israel must hold back many peoples, and many nations.

Found on Adored by Hordes

BLATANT FACT FROM VOLTAIRENET


Brzezinski confirms that the United States can organise attacks in their own territory

Auditioned on February 1st, 2007 by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the former National Security Adviser read a statement the terms of which had been carefully chosen.

He indicated that : " a plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran involves
  1. Iraqi failure to meet the benchmarks,
  2. followed by accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure,
  3. then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the US blamed on Iran,
  4. culminating in a ‘defensive’ US military action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan".

Two Interpretations
  • the former National Security Adviser tried to beat the neoconservatives to it and to cast doubt in advance on any circumstance which would lead to the war.
in addition,
  • to suggest that in case of collision with the war partisans, he could reopen the September 11th file.

In any case, Thierry Meyssan’s hypothesis - According to which the September 11th attacks would have been perpetrated by a Military-Industrial Complex faction to provoke the Afghanistan and Iraq wars - Leaves suddenly the taboo domain to be discussed publicly by Washington elites.

MORE BLATANT FACTS

BILL RICHARDSON



At the close of the Clinton administration, Richardson signed on as a senior managing director with Kissinger McLarty Associates,

joined the boards of three large oil companies:

  • Houston-based Diamond Offshore Drilling, a company once run by George Herbert Walker Bush;
  • Denver-based Venoco; and
  • Valero, North America's largest independent refinery. Until recently, Richardson held Valero stock worth between $100,001 and $250,000 and options valued between $250,001 and $500,000, according to disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission. He divested himself of his stake in Valero in May, saying his financial ties to the company had become a "distraction" to his presidential campaign.

Currently, he is one of the leading recipients of campaign contributions from oil and gas companies among the presidential contenders.

WHO IS HILLARY



After Clinton delivered a foreign-policy cold-cock to Barack Obama's head during a Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday:

Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard, a neo-conservative weekly, wrote that she delivered her answer to the now-famous "would-you-meet-with-despots" question "firmly and coolly."

Rich Lowry of National Review, a conservative weekly, gushed like a schoolboy with a new crush: "She excels . . . Clinton has run a nearly flawless campaign and has done more than any other Democrat to show she's ready to be president."

David Brooks, the conservative columnist at The New York Times, wrote that Clinton "seems to offer the perfect combination of experience and change" and said she's changing perceptions in a way that may persuade voters to give her a second look.

Charles Krauthammer, the conservative columnist of The Washington Post, summed up the Clinton-Obama smackdown: "The grizzled veteran showed up the clueless rookie."

Crónica visual de la resistencia


Con el título En Oaxaca, las paredes hablan, el encuentro reunirá en el Hemiciclo a Juárez de la ciudad de México, a partir de las 11 horas, a varios colectivos y artistas que realizarán in situ una larga manta con su propuesta gráfica. El proceso consiste en diseñar una imagen en cartón o plástico rígido, recortarla y estamparla luego en cualquier superficie con la ayuda de pintura en aerosol.



Junto con Zapata y Juárez, Ricardo Flores Magón sigue siendo un referente en las luchas sociales contemporáneas

MEXICO IN BANDS

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bother Hagee and AIPAC


Max Blumenthal

AIPAC Cheers an Anti-Semitic Holocaust Revisionist (and Abe Foxman Approves)

Sarah Posner | March 12, 2007

The Goy Who Cried Wolf: The Israel lobby gives America's leading Christian right warmonger a warm welcome.

Jews On First! ... because if Jews don't speak out, they'll think we don't mind

Pastor John Hagee at AIPAC Conference Warns Iran it Could Suddenly Vanish
Christian Zionist Leader Keynotes at American Israel Public Affairs Committee Annual Conference


Glenn Greenwald
Thursday July 26, 2007 07:02 EST
The mainstream, sane, serious Joe Lieberman

Now, here is just a part of what the sane, serious, moderate, mainstream Joe Lieberman said when addressing Rev. Hagee's group two weeks ago:

Thank you for that kind introduction and that warm welcome. May I in turn greet you with the ancient words of welcome offered to pilgrims in Jerusalem -- "Bruchim Habaim B'Shem Hashem" -- blessed be those who come in the name of the Lord.

Bother Hagee and the Christians United for Israel Summit

TWO ARTICLES


http://www.alternet.org/audits/57273/?page=2

The reaction of Hagee and his board --
  • former Reagan administration official and Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer,
  • former Promise Keepers chair George Morrison,(Faith Bible Chapel, Alvada, CO)
  • former Republican Senate candidate Bishop Keith Butler (Word of Faith International Christian Center in Southfield, MI.)and
  • Mac Hammond, (Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota) a close friend of Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Fool for Christ)

-- ranged from mock outrage to patronizing amusement. Hagee insisted that "our support of Israel has absolutely nothing to do with end times prophecy. It has absolutely nothing to do with eschatology."

House Minority Leader Roy Blunt pointed to AIPAC board members and quipped that Hagee could be that organization's president, too. CUFI, Blunt added, is "part of God's plan."

Joe Lieberman echoed that sentiment, calling CUFI "miraculous" and claiming to "see God's hand" working in it. Lieberman compared Hagee to Moses -- a "man of God" -- who has become a "leader of a mighty multitude."

John McCain thanked Hagee for spiritual guidance, because "it's hard to do the Lord's work in the city of Satan."

David Brog, CUFI's executive director (who is Jewish) maintained that just like God placed Harry Truman in his mother's womb at a juncture in history when his support of Israel was needed, God placed Hagee in his mother's womb as well.










THE SECOND ARTICLE

Rapture Ready: The Unauthorized Christians United for Israel Tour

Tom Delay: I was in on the ground floor ... the second coming is what i live for.. obviously we have to be connected to Israel to enjoy the second coming of christ

This is a great 10 minute film

Nada se puede descartar: Carlos Fazio


Detrás de la represión en Atenco, "el interés de grupos de poder por inducir el llamado voto del miedo"

Miércoles 28 de junio de 2006, por Prometeo Jorge Rodríguez Lucero

La agenda de antemano comprometida con los Estados Unidos permanecerá invariable, gane quien gane; la cesión de espacios de soberanía; represión y mano dura contra la violencia de abajo; virulencia y voto del miedo. Así han sido las campañas.


“México seguirá en una fase de profundización de conflictos, tanto políticos como sociales. Sin descartar una crisis económica disparadora de mayores tensiones a nivel nacional” augura Carlos Fazio Varela, analista político y articulista del diario La Jornada, cualquiera que sea el resultado después de las elecciones.

Agenda con lo Estados Unidos, invariable gane quien gane

En el debate reciente los candidatos a la presidencia tocaron poco el tema de la relación México - Estados Unidos. En realidad, se limitó a las relaciones fronterizas y a continuar o lograr un Acuerdo Migratorio, pero no profundizaron temas fundamentales como el Tratado de Libre Comercio, el Plan Puebla Panamá, deuda externa y la deuda de agua e intervención en materia de seguridad.

EPR (Part I in English) (Carlos Montemayor)


[Three bombs exploded on July 5, blowing up a steel pipeline which supplies natural gas from Mexico City to the state of Guanajuato. A fourth exploded on July 10, severing another pipeline supplying natural gas to Querétaro. Both pipelines belonged to Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the state-owned national oil company. Also on July 10 the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR, its Spanish initials) issued a communiqué taking responsibility for the bombings. Below is Part I of a two-part analysis by Carlos Montemayor, an expert in Mexican guerrilla movements. Part II will follow later. CSC (translator)]

[The EZLN declared that the assessment repeated here by Montemayor that "Tiburcio Cruz Sánchez" had been "an EZLN military advisor" is not true. SI Marcos said that "El EZLN no ha tenido, no tiene, ni tendrá asesores militares" ("The EZLN has neved had, doesn't have and will never have any military advisor").
See note in La Jornada -- de tod@s para tod@s]

The looting of the Mexican Southeast

And how the indigenous counter-reforms, electricity privatization, counterinsurgency, ad inf, are all tied neatly together.

Originally published in Spanish by La Jornada
***********************************
Translated by irlandesa

La Jornada
Monday, August 26, 2002.
The Southeast: Transnational Plunder

Carlos Fazio

There is renewed interest at some official diplomatic missions in Mexico in knowing what the EZLN is going to do in response to a foreseeable adverse ruling by the Supreme Court of Justice on the legality of the constitutional counter-reform on indigenous affairs.

another text on plan colombia

May 2001
by Carlos Fazio

Uruguayan-Mexican journalist and writer

This phenomenon has allowed the consolidation of an emergent, rich and violent class that in alliance with the traditional native oligarchy has today shaped Colombia as a criminal, mafia-type state.

At the same time, on the demand side there has been no progress either. The U.S. drug market has 14 million consumers and is growing.

But this line of analysis would be weakened without considering the other underpinning of the White House's "war on drugs": its military component.

from: MIKE FULLER STORIES


BY PEDRO DE LA HOZ—Granma daily staff writer—

five outstanding Mexican academics in Havana

  • Gilberto Lopez Ribas,
Anthropologist Gilberto López y Rivas, one of the founders of the In Defense of Humanity Network of Networks
  • Gustavo Iruegas,
Former diplomat Gustavo Iruegas, with vast experience in the field
  • Carlos Fazio,
Uruguayan journalist Carlos Fazio, a columnist for the Mexican daily La Jornada
  • Martin Hernandez and
social activist Martín Hernández, a Christian who is a disciple of the doctrines of archbishops Oscar Arnulfo Romero and Sergio Méndez Arceo
  • Miguel Alvarez.
Miguel Alvarez from the Service and Consultancy for Peace (SERAPAZ)


At the event titled "Intellectuals for Sovereignty and against the Empire,"

Lopez Ribas and Irruegas are members of the Benito Juarez Tribunal, a group "tasked with judging, from an ethical and judicial standpoint, the activities of the United States of America in the international arena."

Carlos Fascio said the US won't really block out Mexicans because it needs their cheap labor, and compared the situation to the apartheid between Israel and Palestine.

Martin Hernandez, a warmhearted member of a solidarity group based on teachings of murdered Salvadorean Archbishop Arnulfo Romero said he brought Christian greetings against the "bullets of the Empire."

Miguel Alvarez, from an NGO linked to Chiapas, spoke of a new sense of resistance and construction of alternatives, with Zapatism as a reference. He said that movement has proven it is possible to "step out and build a new identity based on collectivity, and hope is now key in construction of actors from within and without."

JOHN ROSS ON PEMEX


On July 11th, newspapers in Mexico City began receiving a series of communiqués under the rubric of the "Military Zone Command of the Popular Revolutionary Army and State Committee of the Party of the Popular Democratic Revolution"

In documents distributed to the press, the EPR identified itself as a Marxist-Leninist military organization composed of 14 little-known guerrilla "focos" that seemed to revolve around an alliance between a clandestine clique of Maoists with a predilection for bombing - the PROCUP - and the Party of the Poor, founded by the long-dead guerrilla martyr Lucio Cabanas along Guerrero's Costa Grande in the 1970s.

the arrest of two top EPR comandantes May 24th in Oaxaca when Eduardo Reyes Amaya and "Raymundo Rivera Bravo" AKA Gabriel Alberto Cruz Sanchez were taken into custody in a hotel in the city's market. Cruz Sanchez is described by guerrilla historian Carlos Montemayor as a 30-year veteran of clandestine armed movements in Mexico and is thought to be the brother of Tiburcio Cruz Sanchez also known as Francisco Cerezo, a maximum EPR leader and patriarch of a clan that includes three activist sons, two of whom are serving long prison sentences for bombing banks in 2001.

According to the Oaxaca daily Noticias, which the hated governor Ulises Ruiz has tried to shut down repeatedly,

But whether the attack was a
  • government ruse to reign in social discontent, induce terrorist paranoia as a tool of control, and underscore the need for opening up PEMEX to private investment or a
  • legitimate initiative by the armed resistance, the bombings have spiced up a pot already over boiling with upheaval.

... and the mysterious religious right formation "El Yunque" which has had so much influence in both the Fox and Calderon administrations.

Others such as the left-leaning daily La Jornada analyst Carlos Fazio scoff at the bombing as a "hoax."

What surprised Felipe Canseco, a former leader of the PROCUP and uncle of the Cerezo clan was how long it took the EPR to respond to the disappearance of its leaders in Oaxaca on May 25th. "When I went down, he comrades took action the next day," he recalls. Canseco, who served eight years for guerrilla activities, estimates that there are 30 armed groups operating in 22 out of Mexico's 32 states.

One of the hottest pirate DVDs on the Mexican street these days is "The Violin", which depicts the military's "dirty war" in Guerrero in the 1970s in brutal detail. ... those terrible years when an estimated 650 Cabanas supporters along the Costa Grande were forcibly disappeared and held in secret lock-ups where they were tortured and eventually killed and thrown into the Pacific Ocean from Mexican air force planes near Acapulco.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

CIA AND DARFUR


In 1978 oil was discovered in Southern Sudan. Rebellious war began five years later and was led by John Garang, who had taken military training at infamous Fort Benning, Georgia. "The US government decided, in 1996, to send nearly $20 million of military equipment through the 'front-line' states of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Uganda to help the Sudanese opposition overthrow the Khartoum regime." [Federation of American Scientists fas.org]

Between 1983 and the peace agreement signed in January 2005, Sudan's civil war took nearly two million lives and left millions more displaced. Garang became a First Vice President of Sudan as part of the peace agreement in 2005.

"There was always confusion on central issues such as whether the Sudan People's Liberation Army was fighting for independence for southern Sudan or merely more autonomy. Friends and foes alike found the SPLA's human rights record in southern Sudan and Mr Garang's style of governance disturbing." ... "John Garang did not tolerate dissent and anyone who disagreed with him was either imprisoned or killed."

CIA use of tough guys like Garang in Sudan, Savimbi in Angola, Mobutu in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), had been reported, even in mass media, ... as commercial media focuses on presenting the U.S. wars of today in a heroic light.

Oil and business interests remain paramount and although Sudan is on the U.S. Government's state sponsors of terrorism list, the United States alternately praises its cooperation in tracking suspect individuals or scolds about the Janjaweed in Darfur. ... Ken Silverstein talk about his article "highlighting strong ties between the U.S. and Sudanese intelligence services, despite the Bush administration's criticism of human-rights violation in the Sudan." Title was "Sudan, CIA Forge Close Ties, Despite Rights Abuses." ... But last November saw the opening of a new U.S. consulate in Juba the capital of the Southern region. (Maybe consider this an example of "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!" especially where oil is involved.)

...we are going to continue to see newsreels of our mass media ... testimony of how evil another Islamic nation's government is,

... U.S. backing the Southern Sudan rebellion way back then. If we had supported a side that wound up winning, we would be bragging about our having supported 'freedom fighters'. But we just threw a lot of money and outdated weapons at a John Garang in the Sudan, as we did with Jonas Savimbi in Angola, to the ultimate destruction of millions of people, and they LOST! Like we did in Vietnam, and half-way lost in Korea, and now are mid-way losing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

JIM LOBE ARTICLES


LobeLog.com
Jim Lobe is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy, particularly the neo-conservative influence in the Bush administration. The Washington Bureau Chief of the international news agency Inter Press Service (IPS), Lobe has also written for Foreign Policy In Focus, Alternet, Tompaine.com, and was featured in BBC and ABC television documentaries about motivations for the US invasion of Iraq.
This blog is an initiative of IPS news agency and its Washington DC bureau chief Jim Lobe.

Wikipedia

Monday, July 23, 2007

FROM ROOTLESS COSMOPOLITAN: Iraq: The Slimiest Benchmark


  • And the most concrete litmus test cited for establishing Iraqi bona fides appears to be the passing of the draft oil law
  • Washington is not hiding its belief that passing of the oil law a primary test for the viability of the Maliki government.
  • But in the great Rove-ian tradition of Orwellian political communication, ...
  • An oil law whose primary beneficiaries appear to be the major U.S. oil companies has become, in Rove-speak, the foundation-stone of national reconciliation in Iraq —
  • the U.S. media for the most part dutifully parrots the idea that the purpose of the law is to ensure an equitable distribution of oil revenues between Iraq’s regions, defined as they are by ethnicity and sect.
  • But that, in fact, is a relatively minor part of the oil law.
  • “the draft law in fact says little about sharing oil revenues among Iraqi groups and a lot about setting up a framework for investment that may be disadvantageous to Iraqis over the long term.” (CSM)
  • The law aims to set a framework for investment by outside oil companies, including favorable production-sharing agreements that are typically used to reward companies for taking on risk, he says. (former Iraqi oil minister Issam Al Chalabi)
  • “We know the oil is there. Geological studies have been made for decades on these oil fields, so why would we let them [international firms] have a share of the oil?” he adds.
  • “Iraqis will say this is solid proof that Americans have staged the war … because of this law.”
  • Indeed, the opposition to the law inside Iraq appears to have united a broad political spectrum, ranging from mainstream Sunni parties and nationalist groups backing the insurgency to the Sadrists and the national trade union of Iraqi oil workers.
  • as Antonia Juhasz pointed out in a remarkable New York Times op ed, the draft law in fact would take Iraq entirely out of the international mainstream by putting ownership and control of its oil reserves in the hands of foreign companies
  • what good is a law that makes for a more equitable distribution of Iraqi oil profits at the same time as ensuring that the lion’s share of those profits go to foreign oil companies

Friday, July 20, 2007

DARFUR


The United States, acting through surrogate allies in Chad and neighboring states has trained and armed the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army, headed until his death in July 2005 by John Garang, trained at the US Special Forces school at Fort Benning, Georgia

Eritrea hosts and supports the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), the umbrella National Democratic Alliance (NDA) opposition group, and the Eastern Front and Darfur rebels.

There are two rebel groups fighting in Sudan's Darfur region against the Khartoum central government of President Omar al-Bashir - the Justice for Equality Movement and the larger Sudan Liberation Army (SLA).

In February 2003, the SLA launched attacks on Sudan government positions in the Darfur region. SLA secretary-general Minni Arkou Minnawi called for armed struggle, accusing the government of ignoring Darfur. "The objective of the SLA is to create a united democratic Sudan." In other words, regime change in Sudan.

ALSO

*War and Thievery in The Guise of Humanitarianism*

ALSO

Tue, Jun. 5th, 2007, 07:36 pm
Mahmood Mamdani on Darfur: "The Politics of Naming: Genocide, Civil War, Insurgency"

Who are Sudan's Darfur rebels?
By Martin Plaut
BBC Africa analyst

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Gwynne Dyer Articles 2007



Gwynne Dyer Articles 2007

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES: STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH


Western companies may get 75% of Iraqi oil profits

Last Update: 7:34 PM ET Jan 8, 2007

(This article was originally published Monday.)

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

Iraq's massive oil reserves may be thrown open for large-scale exploitation by Western oil companies - which could end up grabbing up to 75% of the beleagured nation's oil profits - under a law seen coming before the Iraqi parliament within days, the Independent reported on its Web site Monday.

A draft of this controversial law, which the U.S. government has been helping to craft and has been seen by the Independent, would give oil giants such as BP PLC (BP), Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) and ExxonMobil Corp. (XOM) 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude and let these foreign oil companies undertake their first large-scale operations in the country since the industry was nationalized in 1972.

Oil industry executives and analysts say the law, which would allow Western companies to pocket up to three-quarters of profits in the early years, is the only way to get Iraq's oil industry back on its feet after years of sanctions, war and loss of expertise. However, opponents say Iraq, where oil accounts for 95% of the economy, is being forced to surrender an unacceptable degree of sovereignty, the Independent reported.

Supporters counter that the 75%-profit provision will last only until they have recouped their initial drilling costs. After that, they would collect about 20% of profits, according to industry sources in Iraq. This is still twice the industry average for such deals.

Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister, Barham Salih, who chairs the country's oil committee, is expected to unveil the legislation as early as Monday and the government hopes to have the law enacted by March, according to the report.

Newspaper Web site: http://www.ft.com

AFRICAN OIL



  • But what has most made Sudan a violent place has been the discovery of oil.
  • The Khartoum government has already lost control of the south, where most of its reserves lie.
  • The China National Petroleum Corporation bought the rights to Block 6, the largest oil and gas concession field still controlled by Khartoum, which lies mostly in Darfur.
  • Production costs are believed to be a bargain 22 cents (less than 12p) a barrel,
  • and with Rolls-Royce Marine reportedly supplying tens of millions of dollars worth of pumping equipment this summer Block 6 production is alleged to have risen from 10,000 to 40,000 barrels a day.

  • To the east lies Somalia, where the descent into war is portrayed as historical enmity ...
  • The real reason is likely to be that the Ogaden region, which borders Somalia, sits on a not yet exploited gas field.
  • The Malaysian oil giant Petronas has bought three concession blocks there. Addis Ababa fears a resurgent Somalia will seek to annex Ogaden.
  • The likely coming war there is in part gas-powered.


Ogaden (pronounced and often spelled Ogadēn, Somali: Ogaadeen) is a part of the Somali Region in Ethiopia. Sometimes known as "Abyssinian Somaliland," some locals refer to it as Ogadenia (Somali: Ogaadeeniya). The inhabitants are predominantly ethnic Somali and Muslim. The fact that some Somalis call the entire Somali region of Ethiopia "Ogadenia" is a cause of much friction in the region, because there are significant other clans in the Ogaden, such as the Sheikhal, Hawiye and Marehan.[citation needed] For this reason the titles "Somali Galbeed", which means "Western Somalia," is often preferred by supporters of the concept of Greater Somalia.

FROM THE BLOG: RECLAIMING SPACE



Reclaiming Space

Kucinich Claims War Masks the Real Objective: Iraqi Oil


It’s all about Iraq’s oil - rich, abundant, and coveted by multinational companies waiting to line their deep pockets.

  • the White House and Democratic-led Congress are helping oil companies grab a stake in Iraq’s vast oil fields while claiming to be interested merely in winding down the Iraq war.
  • The claim has brought Kucinich derision within his own Democratic Party. Leaders reject the suggestion that they would help “privatize” Iraqi oil.
  • And Republicans dismiss him altogether, with Republican Party spokesman Dan Ronayne saying, “It sounds like congressman Kucinich is trying to get noticed with a nutty conspiracy theory.”

At the heart of the issue is a measure that, if ratified by the Iraqi parliament, would set the stage for rebuilding the war-torn country’s oil industry.
  • Oil in Iraq, with the world’s third-biggest reserves, could pay for massive reconstruction and modernization.
  • only 15 of Iraq’s 74 discovered oil fields have been developed, according to a study by Amy Myers Jaffe, a fellow in energy studies at Rice University in Houston.

  • Who should develop that? What role should Baghdad play and what role should provincial governments have? If private industry helps, how should it be rewarded?

The framework for answering these questions is in the bill before the Iraqi parliament - a bill that’s been gaining detractors in Iraq.

  • Some members of Congress - but not Kucinich - say it or some other so-called hydrocarbon act could serve as a benchmark for Congress and the administration to measure Iraq’s progress. It could be a measure on which to base eventual withdrawal of American troops.
  • with Sunnis and Kurds differing on the central question of provincial versus central control.
  • Some in Iraq also see the measure as a way for Western corporations to gain control through revenue- sharing provisions.

“Everyone knows that the oil law does not serve the Iraqi people, and that it serves Bush, his supporters and the foreign companies at the expense of the Iraqi people who have been wronged and deprived of their right to their oil despite enduring all difficulties,” Hasan Jum’a Awwad, head of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions, said in a May 12 letter to Democrats in the U.S. Congress.

  • Iraq’s oil industry is in shambles. It needs help, but outside experts keep getting killed. Multinational oil companies, whose shareholders expect a return on investment, could help.

  • Iraq could go it alone, but ... Iraq needs up to $10 billion to restore production to pre-war levels, she said, and more than $20 billion - ... - to raise output to about 5 million barrels a day, the high end of its historical production levels.

  • “If it is decided that higher levels of production are desired,” Jaffe wrote, “it is inevitable that the potential role of outside investors and lenders will loom large.”

While that does not mean companies would give their resources and expertise out of charity, Karen Matusic, a spokeswoman for the American Petroleum Institute, says it does not mean privatization, either. She asks why Kucinich would not want to help Iraq, which lacks the tools.

  • “They don’t have the kinds of funds or even technology needed to develop those fields,” she said.
  • Sen. George Voinovich, an Ohio Republican, shares that view.
  • “That oil is capital,” and all sides in Iraq need it, said Voinovich spokesman Chris Paulitz.
  • Kucinich agrees with the sentiment. But he worries it won’t work out that way.
  • “It’s clear,” he said, “that the people of Iraq are under enormous pressure to give up their oil.”

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: skoff@plaind.com, 216-999-4212

© 2007 The Plain Dealer