Comments: New Tomdispatch

Interesting and I don't have any specific objections to what Klare writes.

Here's one point I'd like to emphasize, though.

For most of the 20th Century U.S. foreign policy has been at least informed by, if not utterly dominated and driven by Big Oil. If someone maps out CIA-directed coups (to include JFK's removal from office) and wars waged around the globe they most often were for the benefit of oil companies.

As bad as that is, strategic victories for U.S. oil companies don't mean that the results of those victories accrue to Americans. Our military have become the Hessians for Big Oil. Taxpayers get to pay for oil companies. Corporations are stateless. Money moves across national boundaries. We're in Rollerball territory, only without James Caen and the entertaining sports game.

Right now we are involved in Iraq (for oil companies) and Afghanistan (for oil companies). One big problem in the latter is that the stubborn people with their wacky religion in the mountains there are making it difficult to lay down that pipeline to Central Asia. Iran wants to run a competing pipeline (why the CIA keeps stirring up things there), Russia is building one westward in competition with the lines running across Georgia and a proposed one that would run through Turkey. But there's one China is building that would help to feed its enormous appetite for oil, and that one is pretty much out of reach of U.S. military fiddling.

All those resources around Baku and thereabouts were once part of Herbert Hoover's portfolio which he lost with in the Russian Revolution (one reason why when he oversaw American relief efforts at the end of WWI he wouldn't send anything to starving Russians). In essence, the war in Afghanistan is a continuation of the American plutocracy to regain control of those fields.

While Big Oil can probably get some of that oil (through the westward pipelines), the majority will go to China, or through Russia and Iran where some other plutocrats control the meters.

The immediate problem for the average joe in the U.S. is that profits, either sucked from other lands or domestically, just aren't getting shared. Political power has been reduced because political power in the U.S. can be bought, and with every purchase the means to any egalitarian reform becomes less likely.

Other stuff, but I'll leave it there for the time being.

Posted by Bob In Pacifica at January 6, 2010 10:04 AM

"As the second decade of the twenty-first century begins,..."

Umm, one problem. Since the twenty-first century did not start until 2001, we are still in the first decade of the twenty-first century. You are one year early. The second decade of the twenty-first century will not start until 2011.

Posted by Fortunatus at January 6, 2010 05:49 PM

Dude, just coz Dionysius Exiguus was too backward to know what a zero was doesn't mean we have to stick with his error 1500 years later. It's bad enough we still give August 31 days just to salve the ego of that tosser Octavian.

Posted by weaver at January 6, 2010 06:21 PM

Klare is always worth reading.

Bob in Pacifica:

Your comment is quite informative. I guess 'plutocracy' is as good a word as any. Certainly this never-ending militarization and marketization of society destroys reform efforts and sometimes even rationality.

I don't disagree with much of what you say, but I have a few points to add. In particular, I think it's not quite right to refer to our military as Hessians for the oil companies. The relationship is much more symbiotic, and the oil companies and military can each be quite conservative rather than aggressive AT TIMES. As a young fellow I once got a close up look into that international oil subculture, and they sure are a bunch of yahoos even at the management level. But at the top they are about money and risk, which can make them cautious in the same way some of the military branches can be cautious (the service branches have their own agendas and rivalries).

I tend to think the real aggressiveness in our foreign policy comes from long-range planning at State, the Pentagon, and Langley, and the battles are between ideologues of different stripes--either red, white, and blue or green, green, and green. Often of course the agenda is controlled by a mix of each of those groups. But I think there is a zero percent chance that any of those three pillars of the National Security State have failed to examine the global energy situation going forward twenty, thirty, and forty years from now based on various patterns in energy production and consumption and determined what is best to protect US global interests, which is to say US corporate energy and banking interests. At this point, I think the banks, oil companies, intel agencies, and military are more closely related than West Virginia kissing cousins.

As for Central Asia, yes we have been angling to control it for a century. I assume you're right that Hoover had oil interests (I know he had mining interests), but the real players were of course the Rockefeller interests, who were pitted against BP and the Rothchilds in the battle over the oil in the Caucasus, and also against Sinclaire, the "small producer" who was negotiating for exploration rights in Sakhalin. It's forgotten history now, but there was real competition between the US and British oil interests in the 20s, which were very similar to the present in that oil was considered scarce and important. There were some in the US, including in the navy, who considered the Brits rivals if not adversaries. And I'd love to know the behind-the-scenes politics around the whole world in the 20s, especially in the US and Russia. Not many people know it, but Stalin did some work for the Rothschild interests in his early days, before the Revolution--Uncle Joe never really was all that red. I might be the only person in the whole damn world who believes it possible, but Warren Harding died of food poisoning when he was, according to James Goodrich, quite close to recognizing the USSR, which at that time would not have been good for the Rockefellor interests. (Similarly, Harding was pissing off Doheny because it was also flirting with recognizing the government of Mexico, which Doheny didn't want). Whether Lenin was poisoned by Uncle Joe for similar reasons I have never explored, but then not many folks in the US have trouble believing Stalin could or would poison someone. If you care to read a little about Harding's policies and Goodrich's efforts to get Harding to recognize the USSR, an effort Goodrich thought was going to succeed, here's a link:

http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1065&chapter=115564&layout=html&Itemid=27

That's from Chapter 13: Emissary to Russia - Dane Starbuck, The Goodriches: An American Family

As for the present, the Chinese recently completed one major pipeline. Read Pepe Escobar over at Asia Times for great stories on this. The Great Game is damn hard to follow without any intelligence bulletins, but I feel virtually sure that all the players are anticipating that Central Asia is going to involve the next great oil and gas discoveries. After all, the biggest field discovered in the last 30 years was there, and the biggest in the last 10 years too.

Finally, NOTHING is out of the reach of US military fiddling. But it is increasingly also true that NOTHIGN is out of the reach of Chinese economic fiddling. The US and China probably couldn't even play Russian Roulette, because if one dies they both die. I guess the game is really chicken. They can't try to match us militarility without provoking really bad consequences. We can't try to destroy them militarily because it will destroy the world economy too.

Or so it seems. From 1900 to 1913 or so, that's apparently what almost everybody thought about war between the great powers of Europe. War would destroy everyone, so obviously it won't happen. Who could be so crazy?

Oops.

Posted by N E at January 7, 2010 01:17 AM

Hi NE, back again but only for vacation.

If there its any reassurance they'll both lose. The novel Warday, the only fictional account that accurately projects the geo-political consequences of a nuclear war illustrates this perfectly.

The setting, Cold War 1980s. Soviet Union tries to stop development of a U.S. anti-ballistic missile system by striking first. Result? Completely "limited" nuclear exchange. Both countries send each other into the Stone Age (post-nuclear EMP effect), both countries receive devastating decapitation strikes, both empire's economic and military might immediately dissolve. A new world emerges where the Japanese occupy Dixie and the United Kingdom secures much of the rest.

Of course, (ironically) China is unrealistically left out of the Warday universe but it didn't help that the sequel(s), the premise being that they would of described the rest of the world after the war, were shelved indefinitely due to the author moving on to his more infamous work, his "non-fiction" Communion series dealing with his encounters with "the visitors".

See, NE. No matter how hard you try those aliens won't go away!

Seriously though, when all is said and done, the cooler heads that control the military part of the complex will prevail. There's a reason the U.S. recently installed a hotline with China as it did the Soviet Union. Neither country's elite wants their dominance to disappear in a mushroom cloud. If only because they won't like the competition.

You know Bob in Pacifica maybe its just me but the more I look into it, the more I think the United States may be led by the nose here. If George Soros of all people can write about the "the pervasive influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC]" and then a AIPAC historian (Micheal Oren) comes out and insists that oil instead is driving U.S. foreign policy in the Mideast, somethings fishy.

The guy who supposedly crashed Flight 77 into the Pentagon was cleared by a Eddie Shalev to rent a Cessna mono-plane. Why care? 99% of his other instructors failed the guy. Why else? He was ex-IDF. (How the FBI and 9/11 Commission Suppressed Key Evidence about Hani Hanjour, alleged hijack pilot of AAL 77 By Mark H. Gaffney)

Surprise! Surprise!

Would I go as far to say America's War's are actually Isreali? Most of our oil comes from Mexico and Canada anyway. Why bother with Middle Eastern, right?

Posted by Nikolay Levin at January 7, 2010 05:14 AM

Nikolay:

Great to see your musings! I hope your studies for the semester went well!

Israel is the client state of the US, not vice versa.

I don't like Netanyahu and his fans any more than I like crazy right-wing zealots of any stripe (though frankly, I know more than a few who are really pretty decent people on a personal level). But Israel really doesn't control the US, even if everyone in Congress is afraid of tussling with it. If Israel and the Pentagon ever came into open disagreement (which won't happen anytime soon), nearly all those lovers of Israel in Congress would line up behind the Pentagon so fast it would make you dizzy. This love affair between the right wing in the US and in Israel is fairly new (post-1967 for sure--I guess power is an aphrodisiac). And like many things that appear to be permanent, it need not be, which I doubt the Israelis forget much. The right wing, including in the military, once upon a time liked Nazis a lot more than Jews, and George Marshall didn't threaten to resign from Truman's cabinet at the prospect of Israel being recognized because of his Zionism. See Josef Bendarsky, The Jewish Threat.

Our unaccountable intel agencies and those of our clients are undoubtedly all so "cooperative" that they must feel like they are having a regular intel orgy a lot of the time. That seems to be nothing new, particularly with Israel, going at least way back to the strange, powerful, and dangerous James Angleton. (Of course I've never been an insider in that weird world, and Dick Russell's The Man Who Knew Too Much gave me a sense of how ignorant that makes me about it. It's a shame that you have to be a professional liar to function in intel, or we could trust the "refugees" more.)

What galls me is how the intel agencies can "confirm" their own lies or spin or excuses or whatever with each other, so that the media almost always accepts what they say as true unless some other powerful faction in the government opposes it. This has been happening with our recent foreign black muslim underwear bomber (you couldn't make up this stuff). How the hell can anything said by Saudi intel be believed by anyone? Same for all the rest of them, including Mossad of course. Across the board, their job is deception, and they are corrupt to the core.

None of this means there wasn't intel/military involvement in 9/11. My worthless opinion is that there was. For example, it sure looks like some pretty high tech demolition took place. See Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe by Niels H. Harrit, Jeffrey Farrer, Steven E. Jones, Kevin R. Ryan, Frank M. Legge, Daniel Farnsworth, Gregg Roberts, James R. Gourley and Bradley R. Larsen. Of course, I'm no expert, so you can safely ignore what I think. It's not like I've been peer-reviewed, and I might be crazy. Besides, if I'm right, we're in the middle of a depressingly bad situation of appalling stability and with alarming implications, so it's probably better if I'm wrong!

Happy New Year, and study hard when you get back to class!

Posted by N E at January 7, 2010 07:47 AM

N E, there was a book called THE SECRET WAR AGAINST THE JEWS, haven't read it for a long time, but one interesing point made (and something that should be pretty clear to most everyone now) is the constant flow of people and power between Big Oil and the intelligence agencies. It shouldn't be a surprise that the Dulleses were negotiating with King Saud's folks over oil back in the thirties and forties. Peter Dale Scott once wrote a list of all the CIA-sponsored coups in the years after the JFK assassination. You can guess what was bubbling up from the ground in all of those places. Point being that when we discuss State Dept as an entity versus Big Oil (or Big Energy) or Wall Street or the military or CIA or whatever, what we are talking about are a mostly congealed mass of American power which preempts the political theater that is American Democracy. The Bush Family are the perfect representatives (or the Rockefellers) of that congealed mass even if Dubya made for a terrible front man. From a corporate standpoint, you've got Halliburton, grown from supplying oilfield equipment to gunning down brown women and children in the streets.

Also, I agree that the Asia Times has been coming up with great informative articles regarding the politics behind the wars above the oil all around Pipelineistan.

Oh, and if you want to get a glimpse at the 9/11 charade, take a look at Wally Hilliard's flight school in Florida where Mo Atta hung out. Hilliard had all these puddle-jumper airlines based in South Florida that never flew scheduled flights anywhere. While Atta was studying how to fly airliners into buildings one of Hilliard's planes was busted at Orlando International with forty-three pounds of heroin. The pilot walked away. Can anyone say CIA?

Posted by Bob In Pacifica at January 7, 2010 10:03 AM

Bob in Pacifica:

We are on the same page. I believe that book The Secret War Against the Jews was written by John Loftus and maybe a co-author. I haven't read it, though I think I looked at it once.

The books by Christopher Simpson on the American collaboration with Nazis at the end of WWII and during the Cold War are extremely good (especially Blowback), as is Linda Hunt's Secret Agenda, which I once downloaded online for free and I think still can be obtained that way. Our army always thought highly of the German military. Michael McClintock's Instruments of Statecraft (about the German origins of our counterinsurgency policies) is also available online. It seems our military brass was very favorably impressed by the Nazi/Wehrmacht handling of the Ukraine during 1942 in particular. We put their experience to good use in Korea and Vietnam, which involved far more genocidal and sickening behavior by our side than I ever realized until recent years, and I wasn't exactly naive before.

You mention Peter Dale Scott, and he has written some very fine books, though I think the U of C press must have really been cautious about The Road to 9/11. Still, all the background material in that book about the 70s is excellent, especially the material relating to Iran. Dale Scott is wise to see the interconnectedness of our political scandals--there is often meaningful continuity. But overall his 9/11 book is just so cautious, which is perhaps necessary for any major publishing house, even an academic press. The just-released book by Colody and Schachtman, the Forty Years War, is a perfect example. The first half of the book about the late 60s and early to mid 70s and Watergate is excellent, especially in making Woodward's chicanery clear. (though I think the device of making Fritz Kraemer the focal point overstates the uniqueness of his views). Then in my view the book turns insipid. I hope to god that saying Ronald Reagan read voraciously about foreign policy wasn't Colodny's idea, and it's going to take him a while to live that down with me. I actually laughed out loud at that idiotic sentence.

I always enjoy seeing the word "charade" in close proximity to 9/11 too, because that's exactly the right word, so thanks for that. That charade so upset my intellectual equilibrium when I first realized that several thousand people had been murdered with at least some level of government collusion, or even orchestration--and more to the point that absolutely nothing was going to happen to those responsible--that I began a profoundly throrough reexamination of the factual basis for my views as a whole. No one with any existentialist bent to their thinking and a belief in intellectual courage can escape the reaction that follows reaching a conclusion like that. I suspect that all that can be avoided is reaching the conclusion in the first place, and I seem to have turned my head and forgotten to duck at the wrong time. (It might be fun to get a shrink's opinion of that.)

So yeah, 9/11 was a charade, and the CIA routinely deals in drugs, and the whole of our official history is made of lies, and seemingly decent people think it's OK to torture people even if they might not be guilty of anything, and the truth about just about anything you can name is scandalous, but knowing it and fixing it are different things. I think there's a seed of hope in the thesis Rebecca Solnit's latest book, and in the basic decency of many if not most people, but it's going to take some work to pump that decency into our elites, because that's where conformity of thought and an inhuman lack of empathy is most rigourously enforced by ideology and simple peer pressure, and very effectively. What a waste.

Posted by N E at January 7, 2010 02:03 PM

Thanks NE.

Interestingly enough, Zionists and Nazis were almost one and the same. Remember, it was Hitler that was trying to push Jews out of Germany and into Palestine. It was Zionist influence that caused five ships full of refugees to be turned away from the United States and back into Germany.

Ben Gurion, first prime minister of Isreal once said this, “If I knew it was possible to save all the children in Germany by taking them to England, and only half of the children by taking them to Eretz Israel, I would choose the second solution. For we must take into account not only the lives of these children but also the history of the people of Israel."

You're right that the Nazis were favored over Jews. But faithful Jews aren't Zionists.

Try and wrap your head around that one.

The quote above, including other great information is documented in the Jews Against Zionism site. But if you're more of a hardcover guy, Ben Hecht's "Perfidy" and Rabbi Weissmandl's "Min Hametzer" are good suggestions. If you're not great with Hebrew, the best book I'd have to recommend would have to be "51 Documents", pure historical evidence all laid out in written form.

I'm not saying there isn't a chance that Zionists just found a niche in the American military-industrial establishment. Its just that, and especially noted in this article, it seems that throwing around this military juggernaut is totally counter-productive. What? The military-industrial complex is loaning to China and securing their oil investments too? Perhaps the nation-states of the world have indeed become vassals of international corporate conglomerates.

Still. There is more. But I think these quotes by Zionist leaders will add a whole new element. I'll leave you to ruminate on them.

“Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it.”

Ariel Sharon to Shimon Peres, October 3, 2001, as reported on Kol
Yisrael radio.

“When we have extracted everything we can from America, it can dry up and blow away.”

Benjamin Netanyahu to convicted Israeli spy Jonathon Pollard in his jail cell.

Posted by Nikolay Levin at January 7, 2010 05:28 PM

Nikolay, you did say one thing that I agree with:

"Perhaps the nation-states of the world have indeed become vassals of international corporate conglomerates."

That is certainly true of most nation states already, and in many respects it's even true of the U.S., because Bob of Pacifica is right that our military does in many respects serve as Hessians for corporate interests. But the National Security State in the United States isn't a puppet on strings either.

But Nikolay, that Netanyahu quote cries out for a voice-authenticated tape recording as supporting evidence, and Sharon's quote doesn't sound like anything a sane politician ever put in writing either. So call me skeptical there.

And I'm just not with you at all about Zionists and Nazis being the same. I'm pretty disgusted with what Israel has been doing for quite a while now, but rounding up several million unarmed people, including children, and murdering them in retribution for acts for which they bore no responsibility isn't something that is easily matched. I get tired of everybody having to be as bad as the Nazis.

So Nikolay, good luck in your studies, and may we soon both soon be surprised by an outbreak of world peace and justice instead of what Klare's article suggests is more likely.

Posted by N E at January 7, 2010 08:14 PM

So it is, NE.

And thanks again, I'll need that luck.

You might just hear from me before the next semester starts up.

If not, chances are, I'll see you in that..well... indefinite post in the future. Heh heh.

Posted by Nikolay Levin at January 8, 2010 12:51 AM

Right on, weaver!

Posted by 99 at January 8, 2010 02:46 AM

N E: "when I first realized that several thousand people had been murdered with at least some level of government collusion, or even orchestration ..."

I take that by "people" you mean "Americans", since of course many thousands, even millions of people have been murdered (and maimed and tortured) with at least some level of government collusion and orchestration in my lifetime, and I'm only talking about the US government there. And then too, the American warlord Lincoln killed half a million of his own people in the 19th century. Does it only really hit home when the people murdered are Americans (and of course, many of the dead on 9/11 were not Americans)? Life is cheap in America; they don't feel pain there the way we do.

When some 9/11 Truthers began infesting the comments section at Chris Floyd's blog last summer, I realized something about them. They believed that Bush (or Cheney, or Bush/Cheney -- it wasn't entirely clear) orchestrated the 9/11 attacks in order to justify the War on Terror. They also attacked Howard Zinn for ignoring history (!), and they seemed to be only vaguely aware that Zinn opposes the War on Terror. I realized that they believed that one could only oppose the War on Terror if, in fact, 9/11 had been an inside job, perpetrated by the Bush junta; if it were actually carried out by terrorists acting on their own without Bush's or Cheney's collusion, they would apparently support it; or at least they could not imagine any reason to oppose the War on Terror if it wasn't an Inside Job. To me this bespeaks a lack of imagination.

Posted by Duncan at January 9, 2010 09:50 AM

Duncan

I know what you're saying, and of course much killing, and even murder, goes on in war too, but the word 'murder' has a precise definition. Many more afghanis and iraqis have been killed since 9/11 than Americans were killed in it, but murdering thousands of your own citizens is taking things to another level.

Of course, it's quite arguable that the civilian lives we take in our wars are often killed in a way that is morally equivalent to murder. Personally, I often don't see much difference. But your comment equates all killing in war with murder across the board and glosses over moral differences that have potential importance. Once you do that, you end up seemingly not being able to tell Lincoln from Dick Cheney.

I don't spend a lot of time thinking about "9/11 Truthers" as a whole, and many may be crazy, even if you just count real opinions as opposed to the trolls and such, because heresies attract oddballs and kooks like a magnet. Whether or not that's true, "9/11 Truth" is not really a movement, and it never will be. But it will be a good thing for our society when the people who run our government and media are unable to foreclose debate on questions directly related to their own criminality, especially involving murder. That isn't the case in our society right now. Big crimes in our system guarantee coverups, because the consequences of the public knowing what actually happened would result in a shakeup that would endanger too many interests, and those interests won't allow that. (I don't feel any uncertainty about that.)

So I don't think dismissing "Truthers" as cranks makes the world better. Though I doubt it's your intent, I think you are giving a helping hand to the very people and forces that you despise, and undermining steps toward change that you would like. All, basically, because the "Truthers" don't impress you, and perhaps rightly so. So your view may be justified, but it's still a step away from what you actually want.

And I think you're wrong that people who oppose murder in NYC don't generally care about people in Asia or mind wars that arise more honestly (if that actually ever happens--there isn't much precedent in the last century). Being upset about murder in the US isn't the same as dismssing it elsewhere, and opposing false flag terrorism doesn't make one pro-war generally.

As for Zinn (and Chomsky), they have long viewed taking positions on the JFK assassination or 9/11 as bad politics, but candidly, they have now grown old being politically ineffective, and it has reached the point that at this time where they aren't even considered a mild threat by the military or intel agencies, which I suggest is because they don't say much that's all that bold. In light of that, others, including you, might want to rethink what constitutes bad politics.

That being said, Zinn and Chomsky each have my respect for believing the right things and working to bring about something better. They haven't succeeded, but that shouldn't surprise anyone who isn't waiting for a messiah.

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Posted by coetsee at January 12, 2010 08:48 AM