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Health Care & Environment
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]
11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]
11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]
11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
International & Futurism
11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]
11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]
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 email@example.com.
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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