Friday, May 29, 2009

First Crime(s)? Nail Cheney/Bush Junta & Two Countries' Depth Of Corruption

Remember the private meeting held in April of 2001 that gathered all the major oil companies and their enablers such as Halliburton/KBR to the Bush administration's bosom to discuss gods-know-what? Because no one from any other group, including any public-interest or consumer group was allowed to attend this meeting, the case can now be made fairly easily that a prosecutable crime took place which can be directly attributed to Dick Cheney - our Dick. As if - and you thought he was so smart. (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)

The Bushies have fought hard to keep the notes from this meeting, and more importantly, the names of the individuals who attended, secret. There is no longer any reason to do so, and the White House could easily make them public. What they would show, I think, is that the administration was planning a war of aggression, and was planning to gin up some incident, probably in the no-fly zone, to claim we had been attacked. But if they were dividing up the oil fields in advance, that indicates a war crime. A big one.
Cheney was sued by many of these left-out groups, and a very friendly judiciary ruled that as these secretive matters were "national security" untouchables, they were legal. Not.
Of course, that wasn’t true. According to Wikipedia, “In the Summer of 2003 a partial disclosure of these materials was made by the Commerce Department. This resulted in the release of documents, maps, and charts, dated March 2001, of Iraq’s, Saudi Arabia’s and United Arab Emirates’ oil fields, pipelines, refineries, tanker terminals and development projects. That case eventually went to the Supreme Court and the ruling was to send the case back to the Court of Appeals.” There was much speculation at the time that Cheney, who was one of many neocons who signed the PNAC letter in 1998 urging Pres. Clinton to attack Iraq, was divvying up the oil fields of Iraq. It appears now that was what he was up to, sort of. Remember, this is nearly five months before 9/11. Bush and Cheney had only been in office for 12 weeks or so. The task force was virtually the first thing they did. It appears that even then, they were planning to attack Iraq under some pretense or another. They were convinced that if they did so, Saddam would set fire to his oil fields. With no 9/11 hysteria to give them cover, they had to come up with a plausible excuse to attack and make a case for a brief, successful war. Part of that would be that Iraq’s oil would pay for the war. Wolfowitz and others were mumbling about that even before Bush took office. Going in with the oil fields ablaze would look bad — unless they could say, hey, we knew this would happen, and we have a plan. What was probably offered to the oil companies was long-term leases in return for paying to fix the oil wells and pay off the war expenses out of the first profits. The oil companies would then have years of profits, which would probably be shared with the puppet regime we put in power after Saddam. This is, of course, speculation, but it fits the few facts that have become public. . . . The attacks on 9/11 gave them an excuse to attack Iraq, and the mess that followed, they continue to claim, came because Iraq was behind the attacks on NYC and DC. We now know, of course, that wasn’t true. Neither was the WMD argument, but those arguments were mere pretexts. We may never know what the real reason was, but I suspect it was really a crusade, a chance to become heroes and “spread democracy” to an area that was a huge thorn in the side of everyone in the oil industry, including both Bush and Cheney. But planning an unprovoked war is a war crime, no matter what your motive. All we need is the list of attendees and a flock of subpoenas. I doubt that oil execs are keen on going to jail to save Bush and Cheney. Everything that followed, including torture, Abu Ghraib, over 4,000 service deaths, hundreds of thousands of dead civilians, rape, murder, etc., is an outgrowth of that meeting. Get the list, nail Cheney and Bush.
John Pilger is kind enough to fill us in on what is capsizing Britain's economic empire presently, but not to worry - the Bank of London received its bailout dollars already. (At approximately the same time Goldman (Government) Sachs did.)

The theft of public money by members of parliament, including government ministers, has given Britons a rare glimpse inside the tent of power and privilege. It is rare because not one political reporter or commentator, those who fill tombstones of column inches and dominate broadcast journalism, revealed a shred of this scandal. It was left to a public relations man to sell the “leak”.

Why?The answer lies in a deeper corruption, which tales of tax evasion and phantom mortgages touch upon but also conceal. Since Margaret Thatcher, British parliamentary democracy has been progressively destroyed as the two main parties have converged into a single-ideology business state, each with almost identical social, economic and foreign policies.

This “project” was completed by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, inspired by the political monoculture of the United States. That so many Labour and Tory politicians are now revealed as personally crooked is no more than a metaphor for the anti-democratic system they have forged together.Their accomplices have been those journalists who report Parliament as "lobby correspondents" and their editors, who have “played the game” wilfully, and have deluded the public (and sometimes themselves) that vital, democratic differences exist between the parties.

Media-designed opinion polls based on absurdly small samplings, along with a tsunami of comment on personalities and their specious crises, have reduced the “national conversation” to a series of media events, in which the withdrawal of popular consent – as the historically low electoral turnouts under Blair demonstrated – has been abused as apathy.

Having fixed the boundaries of political debate and possibility, self-important paladins, notably liberals, promoted the naked emperor Blair and championed his “values” that would allow “the mind [to] range in search of a better Britain”. And when the bloodstains showed, they ran for cover. All of it had been, as Larry David once described an erstwhile crony, “a babbling brook of bullshit”.

How contrite their former heroes now seem. On 17 May, the Leader of the House of Commons, Harriet Harman, who is alleged to have spent £10,000 of taxpayers’ money on “media training”, called on MPs to “rebuild cross-party trust”. The unintended irony of her words recalls one of her first acts as social security secretary more than a decade ago – cutting the benefits of single mothers. This was spun and reported as if there was a “revolt” among Labour backbenchers, which was false. None of Blair’s new female MPs, who had been elected “to end male-dominated, Conservative policies”, spoke up against this attack on the poorest of poor women. All voted for it.

The same was true of the lawless attack on Iraq in 2003, behind which the cross-party Establishment and the political media rallied. Andrew Marr stood in Downing Street and excitedly told BBC viewers that Blair had “said they would be able to take Baghdad without a bloodbath, and that in the end the Iraqis would be celebrating. And on both of those points he has been proved conclusively right.”

When Blair’s army finally retreated from Basra in May, it left behind, according to scholarly estimates, more than a million people dead, a majority of stricken, sick children, a contaminated water supply, a crippled energy grid and four million refugees.

As for the “celebrating” Iraqis, the vast majority, say Whitehall’s own surveys, want the invader out. And when Blair finally departed the House of Commons, MPs gave him a standing ovation – they who had refused to hold a vote on his criminal invasion or even to set up an inquiry into its lies, which almost three-quarters of the British population wanted.

Such venality goes far beyond the greed of the uppity Hazel Blears.“Normalising the unthinkable”, Edward Herman’s phrase from his essay The Banality of Evil, about the division of labour in state crime, is applicable here. On 18 May, the Guardian devoted the top of one page to a report headlined, “Blair awarded $1m prize for international relations work”. This prize, announced in Israel soon after the Gaza massacre, was for his “cultural and social impact on the world”. You looked in vain for evidence of a spoof or some recognition of the truth.

. . . This was the same Blair who committed the same crime – deliberately planning the invasion of a country, “the supreme international crime” – for which the Nazi foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop was hanged at Nuremberg after proof of his guilt was located in German cabinet documents.

Last February, Britain’s “Justice” Secretary, Jack Straw, blocked publication of crucial cabinet minutes from March 2003 about the planning of the invasion of Iraq, even though the Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, has ordered their release. For Blair, the unthinkable is both normalised and celebrated.“How our corrupt MPs are playing into the hands of extremists,” said the cover of last week’s New Statesman. But is not their support for the epic crime in Iraq already extremism? And for the murderous imperial adventure in Afghanistan? And for the government’s collusion with torture?

It is as if our public language has finally become Orwellian. Using totalitarian laws approved by a majority of MPs, the police have set up secretive units to combat democratic dissent they call “extremism”. Their de facto partners are “security” journalists, a recent breed of state or “lobby” propagandist.

And for your added enjoyment for this weekend's reading pleasure, Jim Hightower enlightens us about the recent outbreaks of corruption's pestilence and disease (from our betters).

America’s pot-pie threat lurks in an ingredient that today’s producers of frozen foods don’t list on their packages: salmonella.

In just one salmonella outbreak in 2007, the Banquet brand of pies sickened an estimated 15,000 people in 41 states.The true culprit in such poisonings, however, is not the little deadly bug, but the twin killers of corporate globalization and greed.

Giant food corporations, scavenging the globe in a constant search for ever-cheaper ingredients to put in their processed edibles, are resorting to low-wage, high-pollution nations that have practically no food-safety laws, much less any safety enforcement.

Consider the case of ConAgra Foods, a massive conglomerate that sells 100 million pot pies a year under its Banquet label. Each pie contains 25 ingredients sourced from all over the world — often from subcontractors who don’t report their sources. Until the 2007 salmonella contamination of its pies, ConAgra did not even require suppliers to test for pathogens, nor did it do its own tests. Since poisoning one’s customers turned out to be a bad strategy for earning repeat business, the conglomerate now runs spot checks — but even when it detects contamination in a pie, it has not been able to determine which ingredient is the bad one. ___________________________

The following recipients of President Obama’s bailout billions rank among his top 20 contributors to his 2008 presidential election campaign, according to Open Secrets. Goldman Sachs: $955,473 Citigroup: $653,468 JP Morgan Chase & Co.: $646,058 Morgan Stanley: $485,823 Bank of America: $274,493 Wachovia: $214,151 Lehman Brothers: $276,088 AIG: $112,170

No surprises? Surprise! Suzan ______________________

No comments: