Above the President

The relevance of much of what happens in the world today escapes public scrutiny, compliments of the corrupt corporate media. This site aims to help change that. Topics include the UN, oil pipelines, monetary policy and the fate of empires.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Iraqi Blueprint for Terror

Taking his cues on cluelessness from his boss, the Bush administration's ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, has praised the new Iraqi draft Constitution as "one of the most enlightened constitutions in the world, second to perhaps one or two others." He's certainly correct that the proposed Iraqi Bill of Rights contains plenty of warm and fuzzy platitudes similar to the U.S. Constitution.

Of course, so did the Soviet Constitution.

Unocal consultant Khalilzad is no smarter than his boss

In the American system of governance (paraphrasing the U.S. Declaration of Independence), men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. The U.S. Bill of Rights does not, therefore, "grant" rights to anyone. Instead, it protects already existing rights by prohibiting the government from intruding on those rights. Khalilzad's proposed Iraqi Constitution, on the other hand, follows the myopic (and barbaric) model that a government is somehow able to "grant" rights to its citizens. If a government can grant rights, it can also withdraw them. This is the model that was followed by the Soviets, and by the UN Charter on Human Rights.

The New American has recently published an interesting study comparing and contrasting basic human freedoms in these three documents (U.S., Soviet and Iraqi Constitutions, respectively). A quick glance at the table indicates that the Iraqi Constitution, on the whole, closely follows the Soviet model, and would barely be recognizable to an American. Perhaps the "one or two" constitutions Khalilzad had in mind as being "more enlightened" than this Iraqi document are the Soviet and UN constitutions?

See also the article: U.S. Blood is not Buying a Free Iraq

Points where the proposed Iraqi Constitution differs (radically) from the U.S. model include:

  • Freedom of Religion: Islam is the official state religion, and no law can be passed that contradicts or disputes the rules of Islam.
  • Freedom of Religion: all hate language is banned and prohibited.
  • Freedom of Speech and Press: permitted so long as it does not disrupt public order and morality.
  • Freedom of Speech and Press: all hate language is banned and prohibited.
  • Freedom of Assembly: permitted so long as it does not disrupt public order and morality.
  • Freedom of Assembly: public protests and demonstrations will be organized by law.
  • Right to Bear Arms: not permitted in the Iraqi constitution.
  • Right to Trial by Jury: none.
  • Right Against Search and Seizure: communications will not be spied upon or monitored unless required for legal and security measures, in accordance with the law.
  • Right to Face an Accuser: none.
  • Protection Against Self Incrimination: none.
  • Additional Individual Rights: may be constrained to any extent necessary, but only "by law."

U.S. blood is not buying "freedom" in Iraq

In addition, the Iraqi constitution contains a number of curious "collective rights" designed to empower the State, and for which there is no analogue in the U.S. Constitution or any of its amendments:
  • Socialized Medicine: guaranteed health insurance.
  • Government Housing: state guarantees housing for its citizens.
  • Industrial Planning: state shall be empowered to reform the Iraqi economy as it sees fit.
  • Guaranteed Employment: work is a "right" for all Iraqis, and the proposed constitution regulates the relation between employees and employers.
  • Nationalization of Natural Resources: environmental protection clauses
  • State Control of Women and Family: state shall preserve the family's existence and ethical and religious values.
Again, none of these "collectivist rights" (listed above) can be found anywhere in the U.S. Constitution, nor do they belong in the constitution of any freedom loving people. The old Soviet constitution(s) contained provisions for each of the collectivist provisions listed above. I could go on for quite some time, but the point I believe is clear.

Ironic that Bush and Cheney campaigned against socialized medicine in the United States, and yet they are busy forcing it upon the people of Iraq.. Even more ironic is their desire to make the state an all-powerful, all-pervasive entity in Iraq. Benito Mussolini once described facsism as "everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state." The proposed Iraqi Constitution is incovertible proof that the Bush administration has sacrified hundreds of American lives, and billions of American taxdollars, to the cause of building and creating Islamo-fascism, rather than fighting it.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Kennedy and ..... Khomeini??

Just finished reading Robert Dreyfuss' Hostage to Khomeini. It's an interesting book, or at least the first half of it certainly is. Past the midpoint, the book unfortunately drifts off into blanket condemnations of everything which the author does not understand (especially concerning arcane Mideast religious sects like the Sufis). Sweeping generalizations for which little or no supporting evidence is provided are in fact quite characteristic of writers who have been apprenticed into the trade of journalism by the likes of Lyndon LaRouche. Thankfully, however, the first half of the book is packed with enough (accurate) information to make it a worthwhile (if not invaluable) resource.

"Death to America!" (Iran, 1979)

Most students of the 1979 Iranian Revolution concede that this seeming "fundamentalist Islamic, Death-to-the-USA Revolution" was in reality a British-led (i.e., BP and BBC) covert op, with ample support, backup and logistics provided by the unwittingly American taxpayer compliments of the CIA and NSC Director Zbigniew Brzezinski. Broadly speaking, the goals of the covert op were to:
  1. Renegotiate BP's concessions to the Persian oil fields on "friendly" terms (the concessions were up for renewal in 1978).
  2. Keep Iran from developing its own technological base, especially in the area of nuclear power.
  3. Provide price-support for a sagging U.S. dollar by precipitating another "oil embargo" crisis a-la 1973 (thereby inflating global demand for otherwise worthless U.S. Federal Reserve Notes).

U.S. Special Forces led an utterly botched and
"rescue" attempt on April 24-25, 1980

A more distant goal may have been to pressure West Germany and France away from forming a joint monetary union known as EMS which could have challenged the hegemony of the IMF. There are two schools of thought on why the American hostages were taken at the U.S. Embassy in November 1979. One is that the Carter administration, which had secretly begun shipping arms to Khomeini earlier that year (and which would eventually blossom into Iran-Contra later in the 1980s), was tardy in delivering on some of its promises. The hostages were taken as ransom until Washington could make good on its promised arms shipments. The other school of thought is (again) that Washington "permitted" the hostages to be taken so as to escalate an international crisis, with the goal in mind of driving West Germany and France away from the EMS. Dreyfuss leans towards the latter model, I still haven't made up my mind yet.

It's interesting to note that documents uncovered at the U.S. State Department indicate that central planners in Washington had anticipated entering into financial "recycling" arrangements with Iran as early as 1973 (much like the recycling agreements in place with the Saudi kingdom), although for some reason the Shah never took the bait. Perhaps this too contributed to his downfall.

Italian oil magnate Enrico Mattei was
murdered in a plane crash on Oct 27, 1962

The most interesting revelation from this book, though, is just how long the Shah truly was a thorn in the side of British Petroleum. In 1953, the Italian government formed a state-owned oil company called ENI (Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi) and put the flamboyant entrepreneur Enrico Mattei in charge of the venture. The idea was to gradually wean Italy off dependence on the Anglo-American oil consortium (aka, the "Seven Sisters") by developing natural resources and by contracting with outside firms. ENI aggressively pursued oil deals with, among others, the Soviets throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Mattei's sins in Iran go back a long, long way. ENI was in fact the first company to contract for oil concessions with the short-lived, democratically-elected government of Mohammed Mossadegh, who came to power in Iran in 1953. Mossadegh was soon thrown out of power in a CIA coup led by Kermit Roosevelt (son of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt), but by 1957 Mattei was back in Iran cutting deals with the Shah. Mattei proposed a new joint venture (Societe Irano-Italienne des Petroles, or SIRIP) to develop a previously unexplored 8,800 square-mile area of Iran. The Shah signed the deal in August, 1957, and in March, 1961, Italy's first-ever oil tanker (the "Cortemaggiore") unloaded 18,000 tons of Persian crude at the Italian Adriatic Sea port of Bari.

Washington was, to say the least, very alarmed.

The original orders to take out the Shah and put Khomeini in
power came in 1962 from President John F. Kennedy himself.

The Anglo-American oil cartel promptly swung into high gear to counter the growing threat. In early 1961, soon after assuming the presidency, Kennedy sent Averell Harriman (of Bush-Nazi banking fame) to Iran to present U.S. demands to the Shah. The demands were quite simple: don't cut any deals with the Soviets, and don't cut any deals with Italy's ENI. Perhaps because Iran has been a defacto British protectorate (or, perhaps, colony) ever since 1905 and perhaps because it was the CIA that brought the Shah to power in the first place in 1953, Washington thought it appropriate to pursue "diplomacy" -- at least initially -- with Tehran in this case. As fate would have it, Mattei was not nearly so lucky: the head of ENI soon met with an untimely death later the next year (1962) in a plane crash over Lombardy, Italy.

During his 1961 meeting with the Shah in Iran, Harriman forced the Shah to accept Ali Amini, a Washington puppet, as his new prime minister. Predictably, Amini and the Shah did not exactly hit it off, and in 1962 the Shah traveled to propose a new deal to Kennedy: the Shah would oust Ali Amini as his prime minister, but henceforth he (the Shah) would take his marching orders directly from Washington. Kennedy agreed. Upon his return to Iran, the Shah promptly fired Amini, and -- just as promptly -- reneged on his end of the bargain, enraging Kennedy in the process.

Long gas lines once again graced America's cities and
streets following Khomeini's 1979 Revolution

At this point, a man named Teymour Bakhtiar enters the picture. Bakhtiar was a known asset of British intelligence and was appointed (by the British) as the head of Iran's deaded secret police, the SAVAK, in 1957 (shortly following the putsch that brought the Shah, and British Petroleum along with him, back into power). Bakhtiar was dismissed from his post in 1961 by a suspicious Shah, and later fled to Switzerland in 1962 when directly confronted, face-to-face, by the Shah with evidence of his treason.

Later that same year (1962), President Kennedy called General Bakhtiar to Washington for a high level strategy session. The ostensible reason for Bakhtiar's trip from Switzerland was to receive medical treatment, but his first stop in the U.S. was at the Kennedy White House. The subject of the meeting was how to undercut the Shah's power in Iran. The means they settled on to accomplish this goal: a man now known to history as Ruhollah Khomeini.

And lo and behold! 1963 would find the Ayatollah Khomeini back in Iran, leading the charge against the Shah's industrial modernization program (dubbed the "White Revolution").

And what of the poor Enrico Mattei? How do we know that it was the CIA that was behind his untimely murder, and not just some random act of God? Consider the following facts:
  • Earlier in 1962, his plane had been deliberately sabotaged. The sabotage was discovered at the last moment, by chance, by his pilot.
  • Immediately upon Mattei's death, CIA Station Chief in Italy, Thomas Karamessines, suddenly disappeared and fled the country (although he would later surface to make a cameo appearance in Chile during Henry Kissinger's September 11, 1973 overthrow of the democratically-elected Allende government).
  • Karamessines detailed report on Mattei's death, dated October 28, 1962, remains classified as "top secret" by the U.S. Government to this day.
  • Perhaps slightly less suspicious, although still noteworthy, is that Director of Central Intelligence at the time, John McCone, had a stake in Standard Oil of California (Chevron) worth over $1 million (1962 dollars).
You'll find the information concerning Kennedy and Khomeini documented in and around p. 85 of Dreyfuss' text.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Teagle Maneuvers in Russia

Came across an interesting tidbit of information on the Oil Rulers Web site concerning Walter Teagle, the head of Exxon immediately after WWI. Seems that Teagle bought out the Nobel brother's Russian oil venture in Baku for about $11.5 million in 1920. This would lend credence the idea that Standard Oil (i.e., Rockefellers) were keen on acquiring the Baku oil fields, and that they had already been in negotiations with the Lenin regime for these concenssions.

Walter Teagle, head of Exxon and Time Man of the Year (1929)
bought back concessions in Baku from the Nobel brothers in 1920.

Of course, by 1924, Josef Stalin was running the show in Russia, prompting:

  1. Alliance between British and American oil interests, leading to the Red Line Agreement of 1927
  2. Destruction of Germany (i.e., hyperinflation), along with "reconstruction" of Germany as an Anglo-American client state, complete with dictator-to-go Adolf Hitler
  3. Staging a showdown over Stalin's oilfields in the form of WWII, where Anglo-American darling Hitler would charge into Russia and take back the Soviet oil fields for his (ultimately) benefactor Rockefeller.
As history would have it, Hitler wound up printing his own money shortly before the outbreak of hostilities in WWII, prompting London to reverse strategy and take out Hitler first and Stalin later. Also, since Stalin didn't die with WWII, it was decreed that a new Cold War must be waged until the Soviet oil fields can once again come into Standard control.. a Cold War which proved too useful to end even after Rockefeller stooge Khrushchev took power in the 1950s

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Rise of the German State

To summarize briefly, the geopolitical oil outlook in early 1922 looked something like:

  • The British had control of Kuwait, Basra and Baghdad
  • The French had control of Mosul
  • The Americans (i.e., Standard Oil) had control of the entire Soviet Union
The allocations were not necessarily "static", per se.. there was a great deal of infighting between the groups, and especially so between the Americans and the British. The Americans (i.e., Standard Oil) had been angling to get a hold of at least some Iraqi oil since at least as early as 1919, and as we've seen in an earlier post, the British were aggressively trying to wrestle control of the Soviet oil fields away from Standard and its Bolshevik puppets (giving rise to such historical "scandals" like the Teapot Dome scandal).

Baku's oil fields were the scene of intense
international competition in the early 1920s

Such was the situation in early 1922. At this point, two events, both of which would ultimately have a momentous impact on subsequent world history, and neither of which seem to have been anticipated by the Western powers, occurred almost simultaneously:
  • The Rapallo Treaty was signed between Walter Rathenau (Germany) and G. V. Chicherin (Russia) in April 16, 1922
  • Vladimir Lenin suffered the first of four strokes on May 26, 1922. Lenin would soon die on January 21, 1924, creating a power vacuum in the as yet highly unstable Soviet (i.e., Standard Oil) state.
Both events must be considered in detail. First we must consider some of the economic motivations the British had for waging WWI in the first place.

The Rise of German Power

Beginning with the political unification of Germany in 1871 under Bismarck, a new center of political and economic might was suddenly created right in the heart of Europe. What had hitherto been a disjointed, balkanized "buffer zone" between France, Austria-Hungary and Russia, had suddenly been transformed into a new, powerful political state in its own right. Moreover, with the adoption of a policy of "national economy" as set forth by Friedrich List, the German economy was charging ahead of its European competition by leaps and bounds.

Otto von Bismarck united Germany in 1871,
after defeating Austria-Hungary in war

There were two things in particular that alarmed the British Crown about this sudden rise of German power:
  • German colonialism, and the threat it posed to the British Empire
  • German shipping building and advancing naval technology, and the threat it posed to Britain's hitherto unrivaled supremacy on the seas (since the sinking of the Spanish Armada in 1588, at any rate).
A more distant cause for concern was the fact that the new German state was not teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, as was the British Empire of the late 19th century. The Germans were operating from a much more secure, and much less debt-ridden, economic basis than the British were.

German U-Boats were London's worst nightmare in WWI,
overturning 300+ years of unrivaled British naval supremacy

Of the two threats cited above, the threat of colonial expansion is probably what ultimately sparked WWI (from London's perspective). However, one should still bear in mind that by 1914 the German Navy undoubtedly reigned supreme on the high seas surrounding Europe, and would likely have won the war for Germany had the U.S. not intervened in 1917.

There were two areas where German colonialism concerned London. One area was in Africa, and especially the German colonies in what area now Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Namibia. Namibia has extensive deposits of gold, diamonds and natural gas, while Tanzania sits on a strategic corridor connecting the (southern) Horn of Africa to Egypt, the Nile Valley and the Suez. The British, who were in control of both South Africa (gold and diamonds) and Egypt (strategic shipping through the Suez), desired to build a railway connecting these two colonies, and German Tanzania sat smack the middle of it.

German colonies (circa 1900) are shown in pink

The second, much more serious (from London's viewpoint), area of German expansion concerned the Ottoman Empire. So as to counteract growing Russian influence in the Balkans, Bismarck entered into a series of alliances and agreements with the Ottomans beginning 1878. These agreements culminated in a project known to history as the Baghdad-Berlin Railway, a project which would ultimately light the sparks that set off the First World War.

Clearly, neither Germany nor Britain have any indigenous sources of oil (North Sea crude excepted, which isn't really indigenous to Britain and was technologically inaccesible anyway in 1914). The lack of pretty much any natural resources (whatsoever) in Europe is largely what has driven Europe's policy of imperial colonialism since the 16th century. With the advent of petroleum-based technological innovations (circa 1859 and onwards), though, the wars for control of natural resources began to grow much more aggressive and much more deadly.

The Baghdad-Berlin Railway was nearing completion in 1914

Bismarck's solution to this problem (i.e., lack of oil) was to contract with the Ottomans and construct a railway that would bring Mesopotamian crude directly into Berlin straight from Baghdad. The British, quite clearly, did not take kindly to this idea. It's out of scope for this post to discuss the "true" causes of WWI, but know that the Baghdad-Berlin Railway played a very key role. Curiously, the Austrian archduke Ferdinand (whose assassination allegedly "sparked" WWI) was killed in Serbia just a few miles away from where construction was being completed on one of the final links of the Baghdad-Berlin Railway.

In the next post, we'll have a look at the Treaty of Versailles, and how the British divided up what remained of German assets to (a) ensure that Germany would never again threaten British naval supremacy; and to (b) implement a policy of a "strategic denial" upon defeated Germany with respect to natural resources (and more especially with respect to oil).

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Carving up the Middle East

In my earlier post (Detering and Sinclair Duke it Out), we had a look at some of the subversive tactics used by the British, and specifically by the Royal Dutch Shell Company and its chairman, Sir Henry Detering, to gain oil concessions from the Soviets in 1921 and 1922. By early 1922, the British had effectively eliminated their American competition via the notorious Teapot Dome Scandal, and were ready to negotiate with the Soviets for oil concessions on their own terms. To this end, the British convened the World Economic Conference in Genoa, Italy in April, 1914. Briefly, the goals of this conference were (to recap):

  • Explore the possibility of returning to a pre-1914 gold standard
  • Open diplomatic relations between Great Britain and the Soviet Union
  • Keep the Americans (and Standard Oil) out of the whole process.
Such was British posturing with respect to Soviet oil concessions, concessions for which they were fiercely competing with the U.S.-based Standard Oil Company, who -- until the Teapot Dome Scandal became front-page news -- had the upper hand in Russia viz its support for Lenin and his Communist revolutionaries.

Mosul, located on the upper shores of the Tigris River, near
the ruins of the Biblical city of Nineveh, is Iraq's 2nd largest city

One thing remained yet undone, though, and it's a key to understanding why the German economy was later ravaged by hyperinflation. As part of the Sykes-Picot Agreement (arrived at in 1916), which carved out concessions in the Middle East between France and Great Britian, the French were awarded territory around what is now Mosul, Iraq. The area is, of course, rich in oil, something the British suspected even in 1916 when they signed Sykes-Picot, and which was proven beyond any reasonable doubt in the intervening years.

The British therefore naturally desired to wrestle control of Mosul away from the French and back into their own sphere of influence. To understand their strategy for doing so, we must first understand a little bit about the Sykes-Picot Agreement, and about British involvement in the Middle East during WWI.

The British Wage Jihad at Gallipoli

Historians often focus on the massive changes that WWI brought to Europe and Russia, and occassionally less so on the equally profound changes the war had on American life. But what is little discussed in Western educational institutions is the impact that WWI had on Middle East. By the time the bitter fighting was over, four centuries of Ottoman rule over the Middle East would be over, and Christians would be in control of Jerusalem for the first time since the Crusades.

The Gallipoli Peninsula was the site of an early, important
defeat for British forces in the Middle East during WWI

The following is a brief synopsis of the some the key, early events in the Mideast Theater:
  • Ottoman Empire declares war on France, Russia and Great Britain in November, 1914
  • British (and Indian) troops land in Basra to defend the Anglo-Persian pipeline
  • Ottomans attack Britain's "jugular vein," the Suez Canal, in February, 1915. An attempt to raise in Islamic revolt in Egypt fails, however, and results in heavy losses for the Ottomans.
  • In February and March, 1915, the Royal Navy launches a campaign against Istanbul to force the Ottomans out of the war, but is unable to fight its way through the Dardanelles
It was at this point that the British, along with French reinforcements, organized an ill-fated attempt to seize Istanbul by landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula. The fighting was savage, and the Allies suffered heavy losses (205,000 British causulties, and 47,000 French causulties), and were eventually forced to retreat.

Mustafa Kemal Pasha (Kemal Ataturk) successfully defended
the Gallipoli Peninsula from Allied attacks in 1915

The loss at Gallipoli, and the heavy causulties the French sustained in supporting British military objectives (in 1915), is key to understanding how the Middle East would eventually be carved up between the French and the British (in 1916). After all, the Anglo-Persian pipeline in Basra, and the Suez Canal in Egypt (the primary targets of Ottoman attacks against British assets), were hardly of any overriding importance to the French. Why should the French be expected to sacrifice so many of their troops for British mercantile interests, when they have the Germans to contend with in the trenches?

The British would soon be forced to compensate the French for their losses at Gallipoli, and the compensation would come in the form of oil concessions in Mosul.

The Sykes-Picot Agreement

If there was ever any question as to why the British were even in the Middle East in the first place during WWI, the question can easily be answered by casually glancing at the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Concluded in May, 1916, it was essentially a deal struck between Sir Mark Sykes (UK) and Georges Picot (France), although Italy and Russia were signatories as well and received small allotments in Anatolia (what is now Turkey) and the Causaus Mountains, respectively. The lion's share of all the spoils (including all the known oil fields in the region) were divided between the French and the British.

Sykes-Picot Agreement of May, 1916. The French concessions
(including Mosul) are shown in blue; the British concessions
(including Baghdad, Basra and Kuwait) are shown in red.

Some things that Britain and France agreed to under Skyes-Picot:
  • In each of their respective areas, France and Britain retain exclusive rights to enterprise and exclusive rights to make (local) banking loans.
  • Britain gets the Palestine ports of Haifa and Acre.
  • Construction on the Baghdad Railway would be suspended south of Mosul (in the French region) and north of Baghdad (in the British region), until a railway connecting Baghdad with Aleppo (in what is now Syria) had been completed.
  • Britain had the sole right to build a railway connecting the Palestine port of Haifa with Baghdad, and had perpetual right to transport troops along this line at all times.
  • Britain and France would control the import of arms into the region.
Looks "fair" enough on paper (unless you're an Arab), but keep in mind the relative deployment of forces in the region. While France was engaged in a murderous war of attrition with Germany in the trenches of the Western Front, Britain was busy sending over 1.4 million of her finest troops into the Middle East. So as not to be accused of utter complacency, the Crown did concede to send "some" reinforcements over to the Western Front, mostly out of the colonial brigades stationed in India and Africa.

France was keenly aware of the disproportionately heavy burden that she was bearing, as well as the (unnecessary) 47,000 causulties that she suffered at Gallipoli fighting for the British Crown. It is for this reason that Picot was able to negotiate a concession to the oil fields of Mosul in 1916 as part of Sykes-Picot. It was a concession that the British were (very) reluctant to make in 1916, and which they were (very) keen to win back in the following years.

Lenin released a copy of the confidential Sykes-Picot
Agreement in 1917, embarrasing the Allies and stirring up
distrust among Britain's most important WWI asset, the Arabs

As a historical note, the Sykes-Picot Agreement was first made public by none other than Rockefeller-stooge Vladimir Lenin soon after he took power in Moscow and dug up a dusty copy of the contract with the Czar's seal of approval on it (for what should perhaps be somewhat obvious reasons .. after all, where was Standard Oil when Mesopotamia was being carved up? ..it would seem that old J.D. Rockefeller had been rudely shut out of the negotiations), although delving into that here will take us too far off topic. As another historical note, the British -- for all their calculating -- saw no value whatsoever (at the time) in the region that is now Saudi Arabia, an oversight that Rockefeller's Standard Oil would be more than happy to take advantage of soon afterwards in the 1930s.

We are now almost ready to discuss the topic of German hyperinflation, which I'll address in my next post.