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Health Care & Environment
11.22 Hinkley Point C subsidy has dealt consumers 'a bad hand', say MPs [even ignoring the possibly huge costs of nuclear calamities in the future...]
11.22 Renewables will drive 'steep decline' in wholesale electricity price in Australia – report [with a steep decline in air pollution too!]
11.20 Keystone XL pipeline decision: what's at stake and what comes next? [the public's water is at risk]
11.19 'My eyes are burning': Delhi holds half marathon despite pollution warning [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]
News Media Matters
11.22 RIP net neutrality: FCC chair releases plan to deregulate ISPs [like the end of The Fairness Doctrine for the news media under Reagan, we expect content and practices to tilt further to favor monoplies and 'conservatives']
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.21 World’s Cheapest Solar Power in Mexico a Coal-Killer [Trump's obsession to help the coal industry and power plants is obviously stupid in many ways]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.20 Monaco builds into the Med to house new throng of super-rich [Can we ever have laws to fully prosecute $Billionaire tax dodgers if the courts and government are bribed? If not, can we have a civilized anarchy instead?]
International & Futurism
11.22 Vladimir Putin briefs Donald Trump on plan to end Syrian civil war [in the forthcoming agreement, we presume that all of the oil and gas wealth (from pipeline decisions, etc.) will go to the warlords du jour, with only nice words for the people of the region who have suffered so much...]
11.20 Zimbabwe is not the banana republic of western fancy. After Mugabe, it can thrive [let's all pretend like he really did resign...] [when it's safe, create and grow a government sovereign wealth fund with national mineral wealth mining profits—like Norway did—to facilitate becoming a stronger society, improve public services and build a world-class economy]
U.S. MEDIA IGNORES THIS CORRUPT CRONYISM GONE MAD:
Uranium Enrichment: The Bushes, The Saudis and The BombThursday, 29 May 2008
The Saudis have been trying to get hold of nuclear weapons for decades, with the active help of their business partners, the Bush Family.
Did you hear the alarming story about a country led by draconian Muslim religious extremists acquiring enriched uranium for their nuclear plants -- plants which could be weaponized any time in the future, putting weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Sharia law fanatics who repress women, chop off heads and throttle all dissent? What's more, they were given this weapons-grade material by a rogue nation led by a goonish tyrant who gained power only because he was the wastrel son of the former leader. Break out the regime change machinery right away; this evil must be stopped!
What's that? No, we're not talking about Iran getting souped-up nukestuff from North Korea. We're talking about George W. Bush's bestowal of enriched uranium on his pals and business partners, the Saudi royals, the most draconian religious tyrants in the world. Harvey Wasserman has the goods at Democracy Now:
How strange: Bush and the many beaters of drums for war with Iran tell us over and over that Tehran's nuclear program must be aimed at building weapons, for why else would a country awash in oil want to pursue nuclear energy? Yet when Bush's smooching buddy King Fahd and his immensely corrupt court of baksheeshers -- led, of course, by the billion-dollar bribe maven, Prince Bandar Ibn Sultan (or as he is known in America's own two-bit royal family, "Bandar Bush") -- say they want to supplement their oil resources with nuclear power, why, that's perfectly logical. Enriched uranium? By all means, be our guest!
The truth is that the Saudis have been trying to get hold of nuclear weapons for decades, with the active help of their business partners, the Bush Family. As the New Yorker reported years ago, the Saudis paid Saddam Hussein at least $5 billion from 1985 to 1990 to support his nuclear weapons program, with the understanding that they would get some of the big bombs for themselves. What's more, this sinister transaction was carried out with the full knowledge and tacit approval of, among others, a certain president named George Bush:
Then Saddam did a bad thing: he messed around with another set of Bush Family business partners: the Kuwaiti royals. That was the end of his Bush/Saudi-backed nuke program. (The Reagan-Bush administrations had also helpfully supplied Saddam with materials for chemical weapons too, then provided him with military intelligence to help him direct this CW at the Iranians). But it was not the end of Saudi Arabia's quest for an "Islamic bomb." They simply turned to Pakistan, which, wisely, has never upset a Bush Family business partner. As Greg Palast reports:
Whether the Saudis had the same arrangement with Khan as they did with Saddam -- "Here's the loot, go make bombs, then give us some" -- is not known. (Well, the Bushes probably know, but not us peons.) The Saudis' current yen for enriched uranium would tend to indicate that there was some other pro quo for their layout of quid. But even if Dr. Khan has not already given the Saudis a couple of nukes to play with, someone else has provided them (and the rest of the world) with handy-dandy blueprints for building a bomb. And who might that be? Why, that nation-devouring scourge of WMD everywhere, of course: George W. Bush.
As we noted here in November 2006, the Bush Administration dumped thousands of captured Iraqi documents on the internet, including, as the New York Times put it, "detailed accounts of Iraq's secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb." Just hours after this story broke, six Arab nations formally announced they were launching nuclear programs of their own: Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates -- and Saudi Arabia. From the November 2006 post:
As we further noted at the time, these nuclear bomb blueprints were dumped on a world where
How much do "national Security" stalwarts really care about restraining nuclear proliferation and keeping nightmare weaponry out of the hands of tyrants, terrorists and extremists.
So here are your "National Security" stalwarts in action. This is how much they really care about restraining nuclear proliferation and keeping nightmare weaponry out of the hands of tyrants, terrorists and extremists. In their endless, ruthless, relentless quest for blood money -- for the power and privilege that war and fear and human suffering bring -- our militarist elites are more than happy to put the whole world at risk.
Here's more on how the Bush Family used the U.S. military as its own private militia to help out their Kuwaiti business partners. From a piece written in 2005:
Isn't this where we came in?
As the story notes, this is precisely the same thing that Saddam alleged before the first Gulf War -- allegations that happened, by and large, to be true. There was also a huge financial conflict between the two countries: Kuwait had given Saddam some $10 billion during the Iran-Iraq war to help him keep the "Persian horde" (and revolutionary Shiite tide) from sweeping through the region. In those days, Saddam was seen as the bulwark of the Arabs against this threat to their regimes. After the war, the Kuwaiti royals decided that money had been a loan, and they wanted it back; Saddam insisted that it had been a straight-forward payment for services rendered.
All of this -- the oil theft, border encroachments, the debt row -- dovetailed with the long-standing (pre-Saddam) belief among Iraqis that Kuwait was actually part of their national territory, unfairly gouged out by the British colonial map-makers to give their court favorites, the al-Sabahs, a nice accessible oily playground. Of course, the whole region -- including the creation of Iraq itself -- was carved up in similar fashion by a few bureaucrats in London, setting the stage for what will obviously be centuries of rancour and conflict in the region. (The same way the arbitrary, unnatural borderlines throughout much of Africa have led to decades of chaos and war.)
The first Gulf War was itself the spark not only for the second, current war but also for the "war on terror."
But this is not the place to get into the merits, if any, of these various conflicts. The point is, they existed, and were the root causes of the first Gulf War -- which was itself the spark not only for the second, current war but also for the "war on terror." For it was the installation of American troops on the "sacred" soil of Saudi Arabia that led Osama bin Laden to turn against his former allies and paymasters in the Reagan-Bush administrations, and declare "war" on the United States.
And here's an historical footnote you don't often see -- or rather, you NEVER see it in the mainstream media: another reason for bin Laden's pique is that HE wanted to fight Saddam in Kuwait. Here's how it happened.
Negotiations brokered by the Arab League had come very close to resolving the immediate conflict between Saddam and Kuwait. The talks finally foundered on the Kuwaitis' insistence on getting their $10 billion loan/gift back from Saddam. When a desperate, last-ditch effort by the League was put on the table, with Saddam massing troops on the border, the Kuwaiti royals were unruffled: "We will call in the Americans." (This at a time when Bush officials were testifying under oath before Congress that the US had no obligations or agreement with Kuwait to defend it from attack. This was also the time when Bush's woman in Baghdad, April Glaspie, famously told Saddam that the US would not take sides in this dispute between Arab nations.)
Ah, but you see, there was one other very important connection in the tangled web that led to war: President George H.W. Bush had been a long-time business partner of the Kuwaiti royals, a connection going back 30 years, since the days that his CIA-connected company, Zapata Oil, had drilled Kuwait's first offshore wells. Despite the fact that there was no compelling American interest in jumping into this regional conflict, Bush had no compunction about shedding American blood to protect his partners and his investments.
But how to convince the American people to intervene in a falling out among thugs in the far-off desert? Hit them in the pocketbook, of course. The internal Arab struggle was pitched as a dire threat to the American economy. After the invasion of Kuwait, Cheney solemnly announced that Saddam had massed a huge military force on the Saudi border. In a matter of days, Cheney said, Saddam could seize the Saudi fields and cut off the main U.S. oil supply. Only war would save American jobs.
But it was all a lie. The St. Petersburg Times (Florida) obtained satellite imagery of the Kuwaiti-Saudi border: there were no troop concentrations there, just miles of empty desert. Military intelligence reports confirmed the absence. Yet this phantom border build-up was given as the main reason for ditching negotiations and moving to war. Cheney refused to explain the anomaly.
Then came the atrocity stories. A comely Kuwaiti lass testified before Congress that she had seen Saddam's evil minions ripping innocent babies from hospital incubators. Outraged Congressmen repeatedly cited this abomination in their calls for war. Bush I cried that Saddam was "worse than Hitler." (And given the fact that Bush's father did business with Hitler – even after Germany declared war on America – he perhaps had some unique insights in this regard.)
But the atrocity stories were also a lie, part of a $10 million PR campaign to "sell" the idea of war to the public. The comely lass was in fact the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to Washington – where she had safely passed the invasion, having seen neither incubators, dead babies nor a single Iraqi marauder.
Where does Osama come in? After Saddam crossed the border into Kuwait, Osama went to his patrons, the Saudi royals, and offered the services of his CIA-trained army of holy warriors from the Afghan war. Let me fight Saddam and drive him from Kuwait, Osama said. But the Saudis and Kuwaitis refused. They preferred the services of a more powerful warlord: George Bush, who used U.S. forces as his own private militia to bail out his royal business partners. The rest, as they say, is history.
Now we see that -- surprise, surprise! -- the same old national interests and concerns and conflicts have re-emerged in the "new" government of Iraq. Doubtless in good time the new government of Iraq -- of whatever political or religious stripe -- will the feel the pressing need to acquire weapons of mass destruction to defend itself from outside threats and assert its importance in the region. And the whole ungodly bloody mess can start anew.
History doesn't just repeat itself: it comes back up again and again, like a bad case of botulism from gobbling raw meat.
Chris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column is republished here with the permission of the author.
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This story was published on May 29, 2008.
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