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Friday, November 13, 2009


Julian Borger, diplomatic editor for the UK Guardian, reports today that his newspaper has been fined by an Iraqi court for reporting criticism of the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki. There’s a certain irony attached to this inasmuch that the offending article was actually about al-Maliki’s increasing authoritarianism.

We were told over and over again prior to and then during the war that killed hundreds of thousands, maybe over a million, displaced millions more, and completely gutted an entire nation that is still suffering daily that all of this suffering was in aid of bringing true democracy and freedom to Iraq. Now, the very foundation upon which democracy is built, freedom of the press, has been removed rendering all that suffering as worthless.

And, as for resources; only this last week the Iraqi puppet government dished out the oil contracts and guess who gets the biggest shares of Iraq’s vast resources? You don’t need to guess.

But didn’t we on the left mention that this was likely to happen? Did we not say that all this waffle about bringing ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ to Iraq was merely rhetorical nonsense designed to bring public opinion on side to support the war? Did we not say that the governments that made up the Coalition of the Willing and their neocon backers weren’t really in the slightest bit interested in ‘Freedom’ or ‘Democracy’? Did we not say that the geo-political reality of the war’s intention was to give the West hegemony over the region in order to both secure its resources for the West and eliminate an enemy of Israel?

Now, the remaining façade of ‘democracy’ has been torn away. Corrupt politicians run Iraq under the protection of the US and the West. In return, the West gets the lion’s share of Iraq’s resources.

It was never about ‘freedom’ or ‘democracy’; it was always only ever about power, hegemony, oil and Israel.

The vast majority of the world knew all along that this was what it was really all about but our leaders never listened to our voices as unprecedented numbers of us all over the planet marched down our nation’s streets in protest.

There is no real ‘democracy’ in the West. You may vote for this corrupted super-rich bunch of megalomaniacs or you can vote for that bunch of corrupted super-rich megalomaniacs.

Why on earth would we expect it to be any different in Iraq?


Anonymous said...

Of course! We're the corrupt ones! I mean we shot random citizens and dump their bodies in mass graves!
Yeah, thigs are messed up there, but it's better than before. I have two close cousins that both served in Iraq, one of them took NEW clothes and shoes to Iraqui children. We have pictures of them, smiling and laughing.
But wait! We must of held guns at their backs, or told them that they had to smile for the camera to get the clothes.
EVERY GOVERNMENT is corrupt. New governments are even more likely to sucumb to corruption. The United Nations is coruppted!
The mater of fact is, they are getting a chance. I agree that we need to pull out of Iraq and let them stand on their own, but at least we aren't slaughtering them senselessly.

Damian Lataan said...

No way is it 'better than before'. What utter nonsense. A lot of people suffered under Saddam. But now every single Iraqi has suffered in one way or another because of the invasion, slaughter and occupation by the West.

Your cousins took NEW clothes and shoes for Iraqi children? Whoopee-bloody-patronising-doo!

vlad said...

"Your cousins took NEW clothes and shoes for Iraqi children? Whoopee-bloody-patronising-doo!"

Awesome.....thats like giving a starving man a shit sandwich with salt and pepper shakers!

Amnesia's Goldmen said...

Only those willfully ingnorant believed our governments b.s.!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Before we invaded, Iraq had one of the most modern societies in the region. They had a great public works, roads and medicine. Now the place looks like something out of the biblical days, only worse. And for what, WMD's, nope, Democracy, that's just laughable. There are only two reasons to steal their oil and because Isreal, our true masters told us too!

Aletho News said...

In fairness and in the interest of objectivity one must acknowledge that the oil service contracts have a total value of only months of the expense of the ongoing occupation. If anything, their details support the argument that oil never was even a consideration in the invasion. In fact prior to the invasion big oil was lobbying for the sanctions on Iraq to be lifted so that they could engage in this same type of service contracts.

Economist Ismael Hossein-zadeh explains it well at the link below.

Anonymous said...

My pal and I looked at each other in disbelief when GWB 'beat' Gore.
We 'knew' then and there. R.I.P. Sadaam

vlad said...

"There are only two reasons to steal their oil and because Isreal, our true masters told us too!"

In the land of the Goy, the Khazar is king!

james said...

There are two aspects to oil sales that rarely get mentioned.
The US always has, and always will, have access to Middle East oil. But by invading Iraq they have inhibited Chinese access to the oil and ended Saddam's sales of Iraqi oil in currencies other than the US dollar.

Limiting Chinese access to oil and minerals is pivotal in containing China's economic and military expansion and thus as a future threat to US world domination.

Oil sales in $US is the backing that gives the US currency it's value because other's have to accept it to buy oil. Without that value afforded by other peoples oil, the US cannot finance it's military expansion at other people's expense. No one would have a need or motivation to accept the US currency of (then) little value for their resources and production.

Oil sales denominated in $US is foundational to the US Empire. Without it, it would (will) crumble.

Aletho News said...

In fact China has been the single biggest winner of new opportunities under the new Iraqi regime, not only in oil service contracts but also in market penetration with export goods.

Secondly, Haliburton and G.E. have been busy over the past several years completing new West-East pipelines that transport Asia's energy resources directly to China. See:

Finally Paul Craig Roberts has debunked the meme about currency of oil trade having more than symbolic relevance:

... the oil [currency of exchange]... is symbolic, because the dollar is not the reserve currency due to oil exports being billed in dollars. It's the other way around. Oil exports are billed in dollars, because the dollar is the reserve currency.
What is important to the dollar's value and its role as reserve currency is whether foreigners continue to consider dollar-denominated assets sufficiently attractive to absorb the constant flow of red ink from US trade and budget deficits. If Iran and other countries do not want dollars, they can exchange them for other currencies regardless of the currency in which oil is billed.
Indeed, the evidence is that foreigners are not finding dollar-denominated assets sufficiently attractive. The dollar has declined dramatically during the Bush regime regardless of the fact that oil is billed in dollars. Iran is dropping dollars in response to the dollar's loss of value. This is a market response to a depreciating currency, not a punitive action by Iran to sink the dollar.
Oil bills are only a small part of the problem. Oil minister Nozari's statement about the loss suffered by oil exporters applies to all exporters of all products.
A quarter century ago US oil imports accounted for the US trade deficit. The concerns expressed over the years about "energy dependence" accustomed Americans to think of trade problems only in terms of oil. The desire to gain "energy independence" has led to such foolish policies as subsidies for ethanol, the main effect of which is to drive up food prices and further ravage the poor.
Today oil imports comprise a small part of the US trade deficit. During the decades when Americans were fixated on "the energy deficit," the US became three to four times more dependent on foreign made manufactures. America's trade deficit in manufactured goods, including advanced technology products, dwarfs the US energy deficit.
For example, the US trade deficit with China is more than twice the size of the US trade deficit with OPEC. The US deficit with Japan is about the size of the US deficit with OPEC. With an overall US trade deficit of more than $800 billion, the deficit with OPEC only comprises one-eighth.
If abandonment of the dollar by oil exporters is not the cause of the dollar's woes, what is?
There are two reasons for the dollar's demise. One is the practice of American corporations offshoring ... US production declines, US jobs and skill pools are destroyed, and the trade deficit increases. Foreign GDP, employment, and exports rise.
US corporations that offshore their production for US markets account for a larger share of the US trade deficit than does the OPEC energy deficit...

See also:

Why Iran`s Oil Bourse can`t break the Buck

the cook said...

iraq is in the mess it is in because of israel plaine and simple.we have and are having endless wars for that shitty little illeagal state,once you disarm the jew there will be peace and not until then will there be peace.check your history of the last 200 years and you will see for yourself what the jew has and continues to lavon affair uss liberty,911 to name a few.control the jew i garunntee peace,let it keep doing what it is and we all burn.

james said...

Sounds like I stepped on a corn there!

Aletho quoted Paul Craig Roberts as saying-
"... the oil [currency of exchange]... is symbolic, because the dollar is not the reserve currency due to oil exports being billed in dollars. It's the other way around. Oil exports are billed in dollars, because the dollar is the reserve currency."

Notwithstanding Roberts and Engdahl, this is exactly wrong, period. The rest of the argument is then rendered irrelevant.
The oil majors (and their govts) went along with the OPEC price hikes in the 70's so long as OPEC agreed to denominate all oil sales in US dollars. This was agreed to. This allowed the US Federal Reserve to increase the amount of dollars on issue to match the value of not only the US domestic annual GDP but also the value of all the oil sales for a given year for the entire world without causing inflation or, in other words, devaluing the dollar.

All countries were forced to borrow or trade goods to obtain $US before they could buy oil. The $US became the world's reserve currency by force then rather than by consumer judgement or opinion as it had been prior to the 70's oil crises (and as Roberts erroneously claims it is still).

This situation was changed briefly by Saddam Hussein before the US invasion. After the US occupation, Iraqi oil was then again denominated in $US. Iran is now selling oil in non-$US denominations and this is the major immediate threat it poses to the US (and israel by extension). When the $US is no longer needed, it will no longer be wanted. The 'Gravy Train' for the US will grind to a halt

All these extra dollars were created as loans attracting interest. Debtor countries have had to trade goods and resources to the US to pay this interest. Given that the Fed made these dollar loans out of thin air, all this trade (or "tribute") to cover the interest bill has allowed the US to grow militarily at little to no cost to itself but at great cost to the rest of the world.

This is all about to end unless the US/israel can stop Iran selling oil in non-US currency one way or another! Bombing their oil facilities under the cover of bombing their nuclear installations would be one way of achieving this.

Bibi's Lunatic Fringe said...

Terrific deal for Big Oil. Lousy deal for US taxpayers!
According to Joe Stiglitz taxpayers have spent $2 Trillion on the insane slaughter-fest in Iraq for $50 Billion in oil; effectively making the cost to taxpayers 40 times the price the oil corps will pay.

If Big Oil had been left to its own devices and forced to spend its own money to jockey for favours in Iraq I doubt they'd have opted for a $2 Trillion gambit.

Ah-h, there's nothing quite as cheap and expendable as "other peoples money."
And other people's kids.

The oil companies were in on this from the beginning. What assholes.

Aletho News said...

James I'll have to take a former Wall Street Journal Economics Editor and Assistant US Treasury Secretary's analysis over yours.

Besides, he's no doubt considered the facts such as:

1) Electronic banking practices have progressed quite a bit in four decades thus rendering your suppositions moot.

2) Currency of transaction is generally a wash. Currently the oil importer can even short the dollar in these transactions because they can exchange whatever currency they opt to hold for dollars and settle payment 90 days after delivery of the oil. This is exactly the opposite effect on the dollar that you suppose the situation results in.

A more comprehensive examination of this question can be found at;

Is the Left Promoting War on Iran?


I note that you provide no evidence that big oil "was in this from the beginning". And of course you can't because none exists. Of course that only makes sense because the wars and sanctions were only interfering with and impeding their operations in the M.E.

Bibi's Lunatic Fringe said...

"I note that you provide no evidence that big oil "was in this from the beginning". And of course you can't because none exists."

Can't argue with that. However, a mix of 'who benefits?' and 'follow the money' - abbreviated to 'who benefit$ seems relevant.

1. People who profit from war. Apart from manufacturers, their shareholders and commission agents, recipients and lobbyists, this includes oil corps who make a killing on fuel supply for the mobile hardware.

2. Israel. Saddam (among other arab leaders, but louder and more defiantly) cushioned Palestinians from Israel's excessively vicious culture-cide and general humiliation. A peek at Gaza confirms that the destruction of Iraq translated to Mission Accomplished for the Israelis.

3. Big Oil - purely from the point made above and the fact that Big Oil's moral principles weren't compromised by destroying Iraq to get at the world's cheapest (to extract) high quality light crude.

4. I won't buy into your debate with James. I don't understand national finance but I no longer trust P.C.R. and thus find people who disagree with him more persuasive.

5. I've read the MSM reports of (closed door) pre-Iraq war meetings between the Bushites and the Oilites (Cheney having a foot in both camps) and have no trouble dismissing the prepared statements issued therefrom as spin based on crocodile tears. Big Oil has suffered no disadvantage to date from the Iraq war.

As has already been acknowledged, control of Iraq's oil has not yet been handed out to oil corps affiliated with the Coalition of the Willing so it would be poetic justice if non-COW affiliates trump COW affiliates. But then there are all those US "embassies" and military bases.

james said...

"James I'll have to take a former Wall Street Journal Economics Editor and Assistant US Treasury Secretary's analysis over yours."

I don't have a problem with that, Aletho. My argument doesn't rely on any personal status I might have or not have but on a couple of facts and the logic that flows from them. I note you have not disputed the facts or the logic.

I am surprised, though, that you would quote these two gentlemen as authorities in a forum such as this; in the Financial Times Letters to the Editor page, maybe. These two are hardly disinterested parties to the scam that pits the banks against the rest of society.

I can only assume you are unaware of the massive scam that privately owned Central Banks such as the US Federal Reserve represent and the control that these same Central Bank owners have over the Financial press (the Rothschilds own a controlling interest in the "Economist", for instance) and Government appointments such as the Assistant US Treasury Secretary.

To your points-
1, electronic transfers do not impact on the facts or logic or results I presented.
2, delaying the payment 90 days doesn't change anything fundamentally either.

If the oil is sold in $US, then $US need to be found one way or another by the purchaser to settle the sale. It's straight forward. This creates a demand for $US and also provides tangible value to back them up because they can always be converted to oil, a product of tangible value just like gold used to be when there was a gold parity or standard in effect. Take away that mandated backing and the mandated demand and the $US must sink.

The way banks settle inter and intra money transactions has no bearing on the fact that $US are required of the buyer to purchase oil.

james said...

Bibi, you may be interested the results of googling "Cheney Energy Task Force Meetings"
Plus here's some direct links for you-
Daily Kos Note Wilkerson's comments.
The Judicial Watch link is kaphut but you can go here-
Judicial Watch
be sure to click the link at the bottom of the page to the "maps and charts of oilfields"

for who was at the meetings

Aletho News said...


"3. Big Oil - purely from the point made above and the fact that Big Oil's moral principles weren't compromised by destroying Iraq to get at the world's cheapest (to extract) high quality light crude.

Big Oil has suffered no disadvantage to date from the Iraq war."

Big oil has suffered through decades of impeded access to Iraqi and Iranian oil, imposed by Zionists in charge of US policy.

Through the 80's the US policy of "dual containment" instigated and perpetuated the Iran/Iraq war. This policy and its war which only served to "contain" Iraq and Iran for Israel, deprived big oil of a secure and stable Persian Gulf.

Through the 90's big oil was prohibited by the Israel lobby dominated congress from doing business in Iran, Libya, Sudan and Iraq through the ILSA sanctions among others. This prohibition continues to date in Iran and Sudan.

Of course there is no possibility of big oil "getting" Iraq's oil because in the modern post-colonial world that has existed for almost half a century oil in the ground is owned nationally, big oil benefits from service contracts and shipping fees etc...

Aletho News said...


"If the oil is sold in $US, then $US need to be found one way or another by the purchaser to settle the sale. It's straight forward. This creates a demand for $US"

Yes, well that "demand" lasts only until the seller of the oil exchanges the payment into the asset of their choice.

In reality, if the seller were paid in euros they could just as readily invest in US dollar denominated assets. In short, unless one buys into the racist notion that Arabs are too stupid to manage their investments your argument is entirely baseless.

james said...

Aletho wrote, "Yes, well that "demand" lasts only until the seller of the oil exchanges the payment into the asset of their choice."
And then the "demand" is renewed the moment another buyer comes along and also when the original buyer needs to buy more.

This turning over or churning of the "demand" and the consequent currency needed is refered to as the "velocity" or "velocity rate" of the money supply required for a market. National GDPs, for instance have a velocity rate of 0.9 to 1.1 usually of the entire year's production of goods and services. So it is reasonable to assume that the amount of $US dollars required to service the need of the oil markets would be equivalent to one year's total sales. A given quantity of money won't supply two markets at the one time. This money ($US) can only originate from one source, The US Fed.
Your point in no way counters my argument.

"In reality, if the seller were paid in euros they could just as readily invest in US dollar denominated assets"
Yes, after exchanging the Euros for $US which the seller requires. Hence the reason for posting the price in $US. And the $US dollars would originate from where? The US Federal Reserve, again, where else?!

"In short, unless one buys into the racist notion that Arabs are too stupid to manage their investments your argument is entirely baseless."
Wow, that was artful - implying I must be a racist because only a racist would advance this argument. I hesitate to ask where you pulled that one from!

After avoiding challenging my original facts, you make this totally unfounded 'ad hominem' charge.

This is a classic tactic used by disinfo agents and gatekeepers together with avoiding the central points of an argument and introducing red herrings all the time. If you persist in these tactics, Aletho, you run the very real risk of being perceived as a disinfo agent yourself and undo your credibility as a blogger as a result.

Aletho News said...

Yes James, velocity. This is where the advances in electronic banking transactions over the past four decades come in. The time that one would hold dollars to complete a given settlement would be measured in hundredths of a second. Even considering that some parties may not be diligent in allocating their proceeds as they plan, without being cumulative the impact of these transactions on global dollar holdings would be minuscule. Trillions of dollars are exchanged for other currencies daily.

There simply is no angle that you can use to get around the fact that the only way that currency of transaction is something other than a wash is if one of the parties is too stupid to allocate their funds as they deem appropriate. Is that your argument or not?

Damian Lataan said...

Hi James, Atheo and BLF
I've switched off the moderation bizzo to make it easier for you guys to continue the debate if you wish.

I'm finding it tough to resist getting involved but I know I'll be spending far too much time than I can afford to if I do!


Bibi's Lunatic Fringe said...

Jolly decent of you Damian. I've had my say and someone who disagrees has said so. That's fine by me. I rarely feel the need to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that my suspicions are correct, or that anyone who disagrees is wrong.
It could go on forever.

james said...

Atheo, still at it, eh? Anyway, first off, forgive me for using your blog's new name, Aletho, by mistake.

Now, if you can turn over even one dollar, never mind billions, every 1/100th of a second, you are sitting on a goldmine at least as big as the one the owners of the various private Central Banks around the world have. Think of the transaction fees, . . . if you can! I think you'd be a certainty to be invited to the bankers' parties. And I think you'd fit right in, too, like so many pees in a pod. You sound like you speak the same language as they do.

Sadly, though, I can't see it happening for you. Reason is that the rest of the West, at least, has these same or similar electronic bank clearing facilities and the various Central Banks and their governments haven't had to shrink their nations' Money Supply drastically to prevent massive inflation. In fact, you will find that these Money Supplys have expanded each and every year.

“ is if one of the parties is too stupid to allocate their funds as they deem appropriate”. Is this stupid party anything to do with the “Arabs” that are “too stupid” that you mentioned before? Am I detecting a bias here? Hmmm . . . don't know. What I do know is that if you keep this up will be seen as being a racist as well as a disinfo agent. How much damage do you want to do to yourself, Atheo?

“Is that your argument or not?”
One more time through this, because you asked nicely, and then I'm done. Okay?

After the oil crises in the seventies, the OPEC countries agreed to sell all their oil for $US only. That not only increased the demand for $US but also gave $US a guaranteed value. People holding US paper could always exchange it for oil which as an enduring value just like gold. They don't call it “black gold” for nothing! It is also guaranteed because the oil sellers have to accept it in exchange for their oil.

This is what makes $US the world's reserve currency. Indeed, it is forced on the world (if you want oil, that is) in just the same manner as a government forces it's population to accept its nominated “legal tender” as the country's reserve currency because the government will only accept this currency in payment of taxes and various govt charges (if you want to stay out of jail, that is). So, effectively, everyone needs to get their hands on some legal tender to stay out of jail! Sounds bizarre but the logic holds if you think it through. Just as the same logic holds for the worlds oil sales.

So the private owners of the bank that gets to issue this extra currency to satisfy the world's increased (and increasing) demand for their dollars has a huge windfall. All the world's oil sales have to be financed by new money made out of thin air by these same bankers at virtually no cost and is lent out at interest each and every year. It doesn't take too many years of this till the banks are making more money out of the oil than the countries selling the oil in the first place are! The bankers only need a computer, after all. I'm sure someone as financially literate as yourself, Atheo, would be alive to this quirk (for want of a better name). Is this why you keep on with the words “too stupid” when refering to “one of the parties” to these oil sales?

This lovely “quirk” or scam, if you like, can only persist, though, while the oil producers continue to denominate their oil sales in $US. Do you think the banks would be upset with the oil countries should they decide to end this arrangement? Upset enough to go to war?

Which brings me back full circle to Damian's topic; the reasons for the Iraq War. Thank you, Damian, for your forbearance and for your great blog.

Atheo, I'm done, mate! If I have not made my argument intelligible to you by now, I will just have to accept that it is beyond me.

Bibi's Lunatic Fringe said...

Thanks for the tips & links, James.
It's refreshing to see a position supported by explanations rather than rhetoric and innuendo.

james said...

You're very welcome, BLF, and thanks

Aletho News said...


You need to question why all your arguments are so easily refuted. Why do your sources disseminate theories that don't stand up to the least critical analysis? For example you state that I should "think of the fees".

In any export-import transaction fees are generated. The use of the dollar as the currency of transaction is not the cause of the fees. If Saudi Arabia sold oil in euros they would still incur fees. The fact that businesses use financial services is not a result of pricing in dollars or settling transactions in dollars. In any event the fees on currency exchange transactions would amount to a tiny portion of financial services costs that are incurred. Letters of credit and shipping insurance for example are far more costly.

The balance of your riposte is hard to make out as it seems that your economics vocabulary is lacking.It seems that you are not really interested in discovering anything that contradicts the memes that you cling to though so it doesn't matter.

james said...

For those who have been following this comment thread, you may be interested in reading Twenty-Five Ways To Suppress Truth: The Rules of Disinformation written by H. Michael Sweeney.
I think you will find it very instructive to review all of Atheo's responses to both BLF and myself after reading this 'how to' disinfo document.

Anonymous said...

James, I think you are well reasoned and I like your analysis.

You might find this link to be of your liking....

Ron Paul discussing this exact topic you've been arguing here. Keep up the nice work, I have learned from you today.