Monday, March 28, 2005

Things of note

Brad e-mails to advise us all to visit Greg Palast's website where he's posted his article from April's Harper's Magazine. The title of the article is "BAGHDAD COUP D'ETAT FOR BIG OIL"
and here's an excerpt:

Within weeks of the first inaugural, prominent Iraqi expatriates -- many with ties to U.S. industry -- were invited to secret discussions directed by Pamela Quanrud, National Security Council, now at the State Department. "It quickly became an oil group," one participant, Falah Aljibury. Aljibury is an advisor to Amerada Hess' oil trading arm and Goldman Sachs."The petroleum industry, the chemical industry, the banking industry -- they'd hoped that Iraq would go for a revolution like in the past and government was shut down for two or three days," Aljibury told me. On this plan, Hussein would simply have been replaced by some former Baathist general.However, by February 2003, a hundred-page blue-print for the occupied nation, favored by neo-cons, had been enshrined as official policy. "Moving the Iraqi Economy from Recovery to Sustainable Growth" generally embodied the principles for postwar Iraq favored by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and the Iran-Contra figure, now Deputy National Security Advisor, Elliott Abrams. The blue-print mapped out a radical makeover of Iraq as a free-market Xanadu including, on page 73, the sell-off of the nation's crown jewels: "privatization… [of] the oil and supporting industries."It was reasoned that if Iraq's fields were broken up and sold off, competing operators would crank up production. This extra crude would flood world petroleum markets, OPEC would devolve into mass cheating and overproduction, oil prices would fall over a cliff, and Saudi Arabia, both economically and politically, would fall to its knees. However, in plotting the destruction of OPEC, the neocons failed to predict the virulent resistance of insurgent forces: the U.S. oil industry itself. Rob McKee, a former executive vice-president of ConocoPhillips, designated by the Bush Administration to advise the Iraqi oil ministry, had little tolerance for the neocons' threat to privatize the oil fields nor their obsession on ways to undermine OPEC. (In 2004, with oil approaching the $50 a barrel mark all year, the major U.S. oil companies posted record or near-record profits. ConocoPhillips this February reported a doubling of its quarterly profits.)

Bob e-mails asking that we pass on this from CodePink:

Save Salinas Public Libraries Join an Historic 24-Hour Emergency Read-In * Save the Salinas Public Libraries * Celebrate Your Love of BooksSaturday April 2nd, 1:00p.m. to Sunday April 3rd, 1:00p.m. Cesar Chavez Public Library, Salinas Then at 1:00p.m. Sunday, we will join festive Cesar Chavez Holiday CelebrationsALL of Salinas's public libraries are scheduled to SHUT DOWN for lack of funds - We MUST not and WILL not allow this to happenLibraries are the soul of our communities, providing vital services to all--especially the most low-income members and children. If we allow the Salinas libraries to close, we will see a wave of library closings throughout the country. We NEED YOU to help save our libraries!Join famous authors, poets, elected officials, community folks and book lovers from all over the state for a 24-hour celebration of reading and literacy, starting at 1pm on Saturday, April 2nd and culminating on Sunday, April 3 with the yearly Cesar Chavez Holiday march and cultural celebration in Salinas. Bring your family, your sleeping bag, and your favorite books!!!We will be calling on Governor Schwarzenegger and other state elected officials to find equitable solutions to pay for the operating costs of our libraries in poorer communities.
Can we unite to keep Salinas libraries open?
Si, Se Puede! Yes, we can!
Contact us for information on carpools, overnight accommodations, etc. Let us know you are coming. Find out how you can help. Email:, call 415-575-5555 or in Salinas 831-754-5554, or visit www.codepinkalert.orgFor more info on the libraries see www.savesalinaslibraries.orgSponsors: United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO, Salinas Action League, CODEPINK: Women for Peace, Global Exchange, Vote! The Citizenship Project.®Sign this
"SAVE OUR LIBRARIES" petition and we will deliver the signatures to the Governor at the end of the read-in!

Bob: This is really important and I hope everyone, whether they participate or not, will try to get the word out.

Billie e-mailed note Jude at Iddybud and wanting this highlighted:

I wanted to share one of my favorite artists with you. Art and story telling are two ways that Native Americans share their culture. Eli Thomas is one of the best interpreters of Native culture, throught his art. Eli is a member of the Wolf Clan from the Onondaga Nation where he presently resides. He studied Fine Arts at SUNY Potsdam and Studio Art at SUNY Buffalo, but he now uses a technique which he considers to be self-taught. Displayed in his artwork are the oral traditions and cultural symbols of the Onondaga Nation.

Bille: There are links in the post and it's longer than what I've selected but I think we could all use a little more art in our lives.

Krista notes Norman Solomn's article at Guerrilla News Network entitled "Little Reporting on Paranoia in High Places:"

Journalists often refer to the Bush administration's foreign policy as "unilateral" and "preemptive." Liberal pundits like to complain that a "go-it-alone" approach has isolated the United States from former allies. But the standard American media lexicon has steered clear of a word that would be an apt description of the Bush world view.
Early symptoms met with tremendous media applause in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Skepticism from reporters and dissent from pundits were sparse while President Bush quickly declared that governments were either on the side of the USA or "the terrorists." Since then, the paranoiac scope of the administration's articulated outlook has broadened while media acceptance has normalized it--to the point that a remarkable new document from the Pentagon is raising few media eyebrows.
Released on March 18 with a definitive title--"
The National Defense Strategy of the United States of America"--the document spells out how the Bush administration sees the world. Consider this key statement: "Our strength as a nation state will continue to be challenged by those who employ a strategy of the weak using international fora, judicial processes, and terrorism."

Rachel e-mails to note Reporters Without Borders' "Special task force will investigate columnist's murder:"

The Philippine National Police set up a special task force on 28 which will be headed by senior superintendent Roldolfo Mendoza and chief superintendent Antonio Billones, regional police chief of Western Mindanao.
The announcement comes after President Gloria Arroyo said a "thorough investigation" would be carried out into the killing of Esperat.
Palace communications director Silvestre Afable said in a statement that "the government may also put up a reward for the immediate arrest of Esperat's killer."
Reporters Without Borders would conduct a fact-finding visit to the Philippines from 7-13 April that would above all investigate the murders of journalists.

Lastly, remember the Un-embed the Media tour kicks off tonight in New York:

Phil Donahue--Fired By MSNBC for Airing Antiwar Voices
Sgt. Camilo Mejia--First Court-Martialed Iraq War Objector, Just Released From Prison
Juan Gonzalez--Democracy Now! Co-Host and NY Daily News Columnist
Amy Goodman--Democracy Now! Host and Co-Author with
David Goodman--of The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media That Love Them.
A WBAI fundraiser hosted By WBAI's Bernard White and Democracy Now!'s Jeremy Scahill
Marking the launch of the paperback edition of Amy and David Goodman's national best-seller, The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media That Love Them.
The event will be ASL-interpreted.

Monday, March 28New York Society for Ethical Culture2 West 64th Street (at Central Park West) New York, NY