Sunday, March 20, 2005

More Delicious Neo-Con Treats

Wondering about what's propelling that pesky insurgency in Iraq? Greg Palast has the answer. Apparently one of the big goals of the neoconservatives in Iraq was neither to make big bucks off the oil, nor to "liberate humanitarianism". Nope, it was to:

The industry-favoured plan was pushed aside by a secret plan, drafted just before the invasion in 2003, which called for the sell-off of all of Iraq's oil fields. The new plan was crafted by neo-conservatives intent on using Iraq's oil to destroy the Opec cartel through massive increases in production above Opec quotas
Sadly, the insurgents put the "kibosh" on this deal, as they were able to elicit mass support by claiming that:

"Insurgents used this, saying, 'Look, you're losing your country, you're losing your resources to a bunch of wealthy billionaires who want to take you over and make your life miserable,'" said Mr Aljibury from his home near San Francisco.
"We saw an increase in the bombing of oil facilities, pipelines, built on the premise that privatisation is coming."
Fortunately for OPEC, the oil industry appeared to be somewhat unhappy about the idea of crashing oil prices, so the new plan is to let the Iraqis nationalize the industry. Unfortunately for everybody in Iraq, the damage was already done.

(Thanks to Juan Cole for pointing this out on Friday, and for authoritatively showing that the entire idea was rubbish to begin with. To me, it's reminiscent of Perle's crackpot plan to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan by setting up loudspeakers blaring pro-American propaganda. I wouldn't dislike the people running the world so much if they weren't so, well, stupid.)

Lies, Damned Lies, and the Bush Administration

(Hat Tip: Hunter at Daily Kos.)

Well, well, well. It would appear that the old "everybody agreed on such-and-such an intelligence issue" gambit ain't going to work anymore, at least not for the Bush administration.

Such an argument requires that information-sharing is going on, so that countries can vet their intelligence against each other. Even if no sharing is going on, at least that's something that can be trusted to be honest, and states can act with the full knowledge that while there may be knowledge being hidden, at least they know where they stand. You can't have both: you can't both hide your information and gain other's trust by sharing it.

Unless, of course, you're the current Executive. In which case, you LIE.

In an effort to increase pressure on North Korea, the Bush administration told its Asian allies in briefings earlier this year that Pyongyang had exported nuclear material to Libya. That was a significant new charge, the first allegation that North Korea was helping to create a new nuclear weapons state.

But that is not what U.S. intelligence reported, according to two officials with detailed knowledge of the transaction. North Korea, according to the intelligence, had supplied uranium hexafluoride -- which can be enriched to weapons-grade uranium -- to Pakistan. It was Pakistan, a key U.S. ally with its own nuclear arsenal, that sold the material to Libya. The U.S. government had no evidence, the officials said, that North Korea knew of the second transaction.

Pakistan's role as both the buyer and the seller was concealed to cover up the part played by Washington's partner in the hunt for al Qaeda leaders, according to the officials, who discussed the issue on the condition of anonymity. In addition, a North Korea-Pakistan transfer would not have been news to the U.S. allies, which have known of such transfers for years and viewed them as a business matter between sovereign states.
Ok, if one wants to split hairs, one could say that this "cover up" isn't technically a lie of commission, but of omission. It doesn't matter one whit, because this isn't about North Korea. What it IS is the United States no longer being a trustworthy intelligence-sharing and -gathering partner, because its allies can no longer trust it to not lie to cover up a key strategic ally.

It throws one of the underlying concepts of the entire intelligence community into doubt. Without honesty in the sharing of intelligence, every ally of the U.S. must ask itself whether the United States is "playing" them to isolate a foe or protect an ally. They'll ask that question, and the answer will be "we can't take that chance". They won't trust the U.S., and (therefore) the U.S. won't be able to trust them, because the Americans must realize that nobody likes to play the sucker. The United States has just lost all credibility in Asia, and I doubt it'll return any time soon.

Considering that the core of the War on Terrorism is and MUST BE intelligence gathering and sharing, this literally couldn't be a more foolish act.

I've said it before, I'll say it again... somewhere in Pakistan, Osama Bin Laden is laughing his ass off.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Wolfowitz's World

Ok, the nomination of John Bolton for the UN ambassador job was one thing. That was a clear and understandable "fuck you" to the world community. It was disturbing and incredibly shortsighted, but in keeping with the predominant interpretation of the Bush administration's--and its backers--attitudes towards the body and multilateralism in general. It also drew a line in the sand for the Europeans, but there's nothing new there.

That said, Wolfowitz as head of the world bank?

What possible reason could there be for that choice? Anti-Europeanism isn't worth it. He hasn't demonstrated any significant knowledge or skills that would lend themselves to the job, notwithstanding the Economist's piffle about Wolfowitz somehow leveraging the (overrated) "Revolution in Military Affairs" to radically alter the World Bank. He has extraordinarily damaged credibility after the WMD fiasco. The developing world will cry foul, and the NGOs will become even more alienated from the US than now, defying the logical belief that that was no longer even possible.

The whole situation becomes more and more bizarre by the day.

Sunday, March 13, 2005


Someday, I'm going to understand why seemingly intelligent people enjoy taking shots at those who actually bother to think about the world around them (in other words, "intellectuals").

But not today.