Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

02.19 Bees brought Bavarians together. And they have a lesson for us all

02.19 Florida is drowning. Condos are still being built. Can't humans see the writing on the wall? [Fear that Trump & Fox News incite makes us avoid unpleasant information we need to know]

02.18 Tesla big battery is holding its own in a burgeoning energy storage market

02.18 Trump administration condemned over delaying action on toxic drinking water

02.16 New experimental drug rapidly repairs age-related memory loss and improves mood

02.16 Toxic black snow covers Siberian coalmining region [0:49 video; If its killing us, stop doing it]

02.16 Renewable energy will be world's main power source by 2040, says BP [But in America's capitalistic bubble, bribed-to-be-biased media and government defy reality]

02.16 My generation trashed the planet. So I salute the children striking back

02.16 US coastal businesses hit by everyday impact of climate change, study shows

02.16 What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food [What does inaction tell us about capitalism and our government?]

02.14 Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence [If its killing us, make it illegal]

02.14 To avoid environmental catastrophe, everything must change [Consider why this headline is laughable or confusing to many, if not most, Americans...]02.13 Study Shows Toxic Pesticide Levels in Families Dropped by 60% After One-Week Organic Diet [2:10 video; Produce and canned vegetables laced with toxic chemicals—from fertilizers and herbicides, too—must be quickly phased out to use safe organic alternatives]

02.12 Biggest offshore windfarm to start UK supply this week

02.12 Scientists Are Totally Rethinking Animal Cognition

02.12 Politicians are complicit in the killing of our insects – we will be next

News Media Matters

02.16 We Shouldn't Stick Our Heads In The Sand, But We Do It Anyway [26:46 audio; Fear like Trump & Fox News incite makes us avoid unpleasant information we need to know]

02.16 The Realized Temptations of NPR and PBS [With bribed-to-be-biased media and government, we all live in a "Truman Show"-style concentration camp]

02.15 Samantha Bee: Fox News 'soiling themselves over the Green New Deal' [video clips from Samantha Bee, Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert]

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

02.19 The Political Revolution Is Back: Bernie Sanders Announces 2020 Run for President

02.18 The Green New Deal Isn’t Too Expensive. Doing Nothing Is.

02.18 With the Green New Deal, Democrats Present a Radical Proposition for Combatting Climate Change

02.18 Dictator Trump

02.18 With Americans Outraged Over Trump's 'Power Grab Based on Lies,' Nearly 250 President's Day Protests Planned Across the Country

02.16 ‘A Parkland every five days’: project tells stories of the children lost to gun violence [What does inaction tell us about capitalism and our government?]

02.16 Rambling Trump calls an emergency in speech that goes on and on and on [1:42 video; an incoherent president just paraphrases lies and distortion from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh...]

02.16 Calling Emergency Declaration a 'Patently Illegal Power Grab,' ACLU Sues Trump [Empathy and fairness are scarce when your President is a psychopath]

Justice Matters

02.19 California Leads 16 States Suing to Block Trump Border Plan

02.19 Fighting pollution: Toledo residents want personhood status for Lake Erie [Hurrah!]

High Crimes?

02.16 Elliott Abrams Defends War Crimes As Happening Back In The ’80s When Everyone Was Doing It

Economics & Corrupting-Capitalism

02.13 The Green New Deal offers radical environmental and economic change [For the survival of life on earth, capitalism must be effectively regulated or banned]

02.12 Climate and economic risks 'threaten 2008-style systemic collapse' [Willfull ignorance of Trump, Republicans, corporate-media and corporate-Democrats is steadfast, if not worsening]

02.11 Trump offers socialism for the rich, capitalism for everyone else [and the poor will die out like the insects]

02.10 Green New Deal Targets Link Between Trade Policy and Climate Change

International & Futurism

02.19 Centrism isn’t the solution to the mess we’re in

02.19 Renewables need urgent investment to ease Australia's transmission bottlenecks, experts warn

02.18 Hate-Fest in Warsaw

02.18 They Used To Hold Hands Through the Wall. Now, There’s Razor Wire.

02.15 Who Is Really A Socialist? [Who is really a Republican, etc.?]

02.15 In Germany, the Green New Deal Actually Works

02.14 House passes bill to end US support for Saudi war in Yemen [Congress does something good again!]

02.14 Millions Flowed From Venezuelan Oil Firm to Small Bulgarian Bank [Transactions like Manafort performed for Trump. Which Venezuelan political leader is likely behind this—Maduro or Trump-supported Guaidó?]

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Systemic Success: Blood Money and Black Gold in Iraq
Newspaper logo

LET'S NOT HOLD ANYONE ACCOUNTABLE!

Systemic Success: Blood Money and Black Gold in Iraq

by Chris Floyd
First published in Empire Burlesque earlier today, 12 November 2009

The New York Times is shocked -- shocked! -- to find personal enrichment of American elites at the heart of the rape and gutting of Iraq. Who could possibly have ever foreseen such a scenario as the Times revealed on Thursday, describing how "influential American adviser" Peter Galbraith helped "ram through" highly controversial provisions in the constitution that the occupying force and its collaborators imposed – provisions that could put more than $100 million in Galbraith's pocket.

Of course, Galbraith's war-profiteering machinations are hardly unique; the roll call of "advisers" and officials and other insiders feasting on Iraqi corpseflesh is longer than the Mississippi, and considerably more muddy. Just this week, the Financial Times noted that another gaggle of occupation geese, "including Zalmay Khalilzad, former US ambassador to Baghdad, and Jay Garner," the first appointed satrap of the conquered land, are now cashing in on their blood-soaked connections in Iraq.

Given the fact of the rampant corruption among the murder-mongering elite, one might darkly suspect that this sudden spotlight on Galbraith could be related to the embarrassment he recently caused to the Obama administration, which ordered the UN to fire him from his special envoy post after he insisted on a full investigation of the massive fraud in the Afghan elections. (Although one can't but wonder now if Galbraith took this principled stand only after failing to cut some juicy sweetheart deal with Hamid Karzai.)

However, although the Afghan imbroglio might have played some part in the prominence accorded the revelations by the Times (A call from Rahm to the editorial offices, perhaps: "Galbraith's fair game now; let him have it"), the story itself was initially unearthed by journalists in Norway, investigating Galbraith's ties to the Norwegian oil giant, DNO. And what a sordid little saga it is. As the Times notes:

Galbraith, an influential former American ambassador, is a powerful voice on Iraq who helped shape the views of policy makers like Joseph R. Biden Jr. and John Kerry. In the summer of 2005, he was also an adviser to the Kurdish regional government as Iraq wrote its Constitution — tough and sensitive talks not least because of issues like how Iraq would divide its vast oil wealth.

Now Mr. Galbraith, 58, son of the renowned economist John Kenneth Galbraith, stands to earn perhaps a hundred million or more dollars as a result of his closeness to the Kurds, his relations with a Norwegian oil company and constitutional provisions he helped the Kurds extract.

In the constitutional negotiations, he helped the Kurds ram through provisions that gave their region — rather than the central Baghdad government — sole authority over many of their internal affairs, including clauses that he maintains will give the Kurds virtually complete control over all new oil finds on their territory....

[The investigations] reveal in considerable detail that he received rights to an enormous stake in at least one of Kurdistan’s oil fields in the spring of 2004. As it turns out, Mr. Galbraith received the rights after he helped negotiate a potentially lucrative contract that allowed the Norwegian oil company DNO to drill for oil in the promising Dohuk region of Kurdistan, the interviews and documents show...

When drillers struck oil in a rich new field called Tawke in December 2005, no one but a handful of government and business officials and members of Mr. Galbraith’s inner circle knew that the constitutional provisions he had pushed through only months earlier could enrich him so handsomely.

As the scope of Mr. Galbraith’s financial interests in Kurdistan become clear, they have the potential to inflame some of Iraqis’ deepest fears, including conspiracy theories that the true reason for the American invasion of their country was to take its oil. It may not help that outside Kurdistan, Mr. Galbraith’s influential view that Iraq should be broken up along ethnic lines is considered offensive to many Iraqis’ nationalism.

Oh, our good Gray Lady! She just can't help herself, can she? Even as the Times publishes an actually excellent story outlining vile corruption in high places, it is still fretfully anxious to assure its readers that America's intentions are always pure, always good, despite any "mistakes" or the inevitable "bad apples." Hence the reference to Iraqi "conspiracy theories" that the American invasion was about taking their oil.

Poor little primitives. Of course it wasn't just about taking their oil. As the Times' own Thomas Friedman tells us (via Arthur Silber), it was also about America's need "to hit someone in the Arab-Muslim world" to assert its dominance. It was also about "the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf [which] transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein," as the elitist faction PNAC told us back in September 2000 (along with their open yearning for a "new Pearl Harbor" to "catalyze" the American people into support the militarist agenda). It was also about the hundreds of billions of dollars in government pork and outright graft that the invasion and occupation have provided to a select and powerful few. It was about our elites' profound psychological and sexual anxieties that evidently cannot be quelled without resort to violence, destruction, repression and mass death inflicted on innocent people. No, the American invasion of Iraq was about a lot of other things besides "taking their oil."

But by God, taking their oil was sure enough a great big part of it. The recent Jay Garner story has that black gold at its corroded heart as well, as the FT reports:

Mr Garner, the de-facto US governor of Iraq after the war, sat on the board of Vast Exploration when it bought 37 per cent of a Kurdistan oil block two years ago and remains an adviser to the Canadian company. “Jay is very well known in Kurdistan and Iraq and it was useful to the company,” said a spokesman for Vast.

This kind of war profiteering goes back to the very beginnings of the illegal war of aggression -- and it goes up to the very top. For example, here's a piece I wrote way back in December 2003, about the Bush family's direct involvement in blood money.

This kind of war profiteering goes back to the very beginnings of the illegal war of aggression -- and it goes up to the very top. For example, here's a piece I wrote way back in December 2003, about the Bush family's direct involvement in blood money. In detailing the cornucopia of dodgy, dirty dealing that is Neil Bush, I noted this:

Now comes the sweetest deal of all – enriched by the blood sugar seeping out from the bodies of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians. Yes, Neil has dipped his silver spoon into the reconstruction gravy being ladled out by his brother George, the White House warlord. Neil is now being paid a fat annual fee to "help companies secure contracts in Iraq," the Financial Times reports.

Bush is co-chairman of a pork funnel called Crest Investment Corporation. His partner, Jamal Daniel, is wired into the chief private conduit of war profits, New Bridge Strategies, a lobbying firm packed with Bush family retainers, many of whom left government service this spring to leap into the Iraq money pit. And what does Neil do to earn his crust of bloodsoaked bread? He told the divorce court that he "answers the phone when Jamal Daniel calls to ask for advice."

And what does Jamal Daniel get out of this unusual arrangement? Why, he gets to say, "I was just talking to my partner, the president's brother" when he's negotiating with Bush administration officials to win "reconstruction" contracts for his clients. As long as Brother George keeps tossing cannon fodder into the Iraqi cauldron, Brother Neil will keep padding his fat Bush wallet.

[For an update on Bush's exemplary life of elitist money-grubbing, see "The Anguish of the Overlords."]

Like Bush, Galbraith is a paradigm of how the system really works -- and how it is meant to work. Public service, private enrichment, principled stands, backroom dealing -- it's all one thing to our great and good. And behind it all is a willingness (when it is not an eagerness) to have many thousands upon thousands of people die, and many millions more suffer torment, ruin and grief, to keep the system's beneficiaries in their wonted, wadded place of power and privilege.


Chris Floyd at his deskChris 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 cfloyd72@gmail.com.

This column is republished here with the permission of the author.



Copyright © 2009 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on November 12, 2009.

 



Public Service Ads:
Verifiable Voting in Maryland