Tuesday 16th of August 2022

War buddies

War buddies

What quagmire?

From the ABC

US general denies Afghanistan 'quagmire'
As 150 Australian SAS troops prepare to leave for Afghanistan, America's top general is being forced to deny claims the country is becoming a military quagmire. General Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says coalition troops are not being bogged down by rebel attacks. "Quagmire is overused I think a little bit," he said.

In a rare appearance at Washington's foreign press centre, General Myers was keen to underline the multi-national nature of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan

Meanwhile in Baghdad-naland, Washington DC
as related by many web sites, including empire burlesque:

WASHINGTON - Representatives of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and Government Accountability Project (GAP) today urged Congress to investigate - and repeal - an executive order signed by President George W. Bush that gives sweeping powers to U.S. oil companies operating in Iraq.

The two public interest organizations charged that President Bush far overreached a May 22, 2003, United Nations resolution that was designed to protect Iraqi oil revenues for humanitarian purposes when he signed an executive order that could place U.S. corporations above the law for any activities "related to" Iraqi oil, either in Iraq or domestically. Bush signed Executive Order 13303 the same day that the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1483, which sets up a development fund, from Iraqi oil revenues, for "humanitarian purposes."

"This order reveals the true motivation for the present occupation: absolute power for U.S. corporate interests over Iraqi oil," said IPS Senior Researcher Jim Vallette. "This is the smoking gun that proves the Bush administration always intended to free corporate investments, not the Iraqi people."

When one reads Executive order 13303 from the "president" one can only quote from the GAP report:

Memorandum July 18, 2003
To: Sustainable Energy and Economy Network (SEEN)
From: Tom Devine, Government Accountability Project (GAP) legal director
You asked for an assessment of Executive Order (EO) 13303, "Protecting the Development Fund for Iraq and Certain Other Property in Which Iraq Has an Interest," 68 Fed Reg. 31931-32 (daily ed. May 28, 2003). This memorandum evaluates the EO text on its face. Supporting legal research will follow.

In terms of legal liability, the Executive Order cancels the concept of corporate accountability and abandons the rule of law. The basis for this conclusion is summarized below.

A. Nature of immunity The opening sentence of Section 1 decrees that "any judicial process" is "null and void." That removes all enforcement for civil and criminal liability, with respect to protected activities for entities covered by the EO.

B. Activities exempt from accountability The scope of the EO's mandate for lawlessness is limited only by the imagination. Section 1(b) shields value "of any nature whatsoever" if it "aris[es] from" or is "related to" the "sale or marketing of … all Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products" or "interests." That means all corporate activities with roots or any connection to Iraqi oil. It covers everything from extraction through transportation, advertising, manufacture, customer service, corporate records and payment of taxes. It covers compliance with contractual obligations involving Iraqi oil that industry enters with the U.S. government in post-war Iraq.
The scope can be further expanded to virtually all oil-related commerce, by blending Iraqi oil with domestic supplies for any given commercial transaction. Since the EO also covers petroleum "products," It includes commerce such as plastics in the petrochemical industry or anything else for which Iraqi oil becomes relevant.

C. Beneficiaries Section 2 of the EO benefits United States "persons," defined by Section
3(b) to include corporations or "other organization[s]" who "come into possession or control" of anything relevant for all Iraqi oil or products "in which any foreign country or a national thereof
has any interest…." Translated from the legalese, this is a license for corporations to loot Iraq and its citizens.1

The EO violates U.N. Security Council Resolution 1483, rather than implements it. While the Resolution grants limited immunity for oil-related reconstruction activities, three limitations

1 The EO does not cancel pre-existing legal obligations (Sec. 2(b), or licensing requirements. Sec. 4(b). sustain liability under the following circumstances: 1) in general after "title passes to the initial purchaser;"
2) in general for any misconduct beyond "privileges and immunities enjoyed by the United Nations"; and 3) for "any legal proceeding in which recourse to such proceeds or obligations is necessary to satisfy liability for damages assessed in connection with an ecological accident, including an oil spill, that occurs after the date of adoption of this resolution." The EO's immunity blank check overrides all three boundaries required by the Security Council resolution.

A. Cancellation of civil and criminal liability abroad. Accountability would be erased for crimes; violations of Iraqi civil law, international treaties, contractual terms with government or nongovernmental parties; or U.S. laws such as the Alien Tort Claims Act.

B. Cancellation of civil and criminal liability domestically Examples here include oil industry liability for -- job related injuries involving domestic oil activities due to occupational safety violations; employment laws ranging from child labor and minimum wage to equal opportunity; domestic environmental laws from clean air to Superfund; consumer fraud; Sarbanes Oxley accounting standards to protect shareholders; virtually all other remedial or
public health and safety laws on the books; and whistleblower protection such as the Sarbanes Oxley's law shield for employees challenging abuses of this unprecedented corporate power..

C. Cancellation of liability under government contracts Under the EO there is no accountability to the taxpayers for taxpayer supported spending to Bechtel, Halliburton or other firms with relevant U.S. contracts, including enforcement of contractual terms. EO 13303 waives the entire system of administrative law under Federal Acquisitions Regulations (FAR) for government contracts. This cancels any legal responsibility for items such as competitive bidding so the taxpayers get the best terms available under the free market, minority hiring, occupational safety, or accounting and record keeping to demonstrate how taxpayer funds are spent. It cancels liability for civil fraud in government contracts under the False Claims Act, 31 USC 3729, the nation's most effective anti-fraud statute. In short, the EO is a blank check for pork barrel spending.

D. Cancellation of liability for International Financial Institutions In Section 1(a) the EO extends its liability waiver to the Development Fund for Iraq, which is the financing conduit for post war economic activity. This means that World Bank and other capital from International Financial Institutions will be exempt from enforcement of any appropriations or other congressional checks and balances such as the Pelosi amendment requiring environmental assessment for U.S. financed Bank spending, or any other controls imposed by U.S. law. The Executive Order is a blank check for corporate anarchy. Its sweeping, unqualified language places industry above domestic and international law for anything related to commerce in Iraqi oil.

And as told by Chris Floyd of the Moscow Times...
Published: July 15, 2005

"Yes, just one day after London's agony, the state terrorists who perpetrated the ongoing mass atrocity of aggressive war in Iraq celebrated an important victory in their campaign of violence and fear: 11 juicy oil fields are being put up for tender to international investors, AdnKronos International reports.
The corporate cornucopia of these fertile fields in oil-laden southern Iraq -- 3 million barrels per day, said Jihad (Asim Jihad, of course, spokesman for the Iraqi Oil Ministry) -- will surpass the nation's entire current output of 2.2 million bpd: rich pickings for the oil barons whose branch office in the White House has done such outstanding advance work for them.
With oil prices soaring past $60 per barrel -- on their way to the $100 mark in the near future, some experts say -- the $25 billion ante that the Iraqis are seeking will be a small price to pay for a seat at this game."


Lust for Oil

From Sinister Paradise
Dubai, like its neighbors, flouts ILO labor regulations and refuses to adopt the international Migrant Workers Convention. Human Rights Watch in 2003 accused the Emirates of building prosperity on "forced labor." Indeed, as the British Independent recently emphasized in an exposé on Dubai, "The labour market closely resembles the old indentured labour system brought to Dubai by its former colonial master, the British."
Like their impoverished forefathers," the paper continued, "today's Asian workers are forced to sign themselves into virtual slavery for years when they arrive in the United Arab Emirates. Their rights disappear at the airport where recruitment agents confiscate their passports and visas to control them"
In addition to being super-exploited, Dubai's helots are also expected to be generally invisible. The bleak work camps on the city's outskirts, where laborers are crowded six, eight, even twelve to a room, are not part of the official tourist image of a city of luxury without slums or poverty. In a recent visit, even the United Arab Emirate's Minister of Labor was reported to be profoundly shocked by the squalid, almost unbearable conditions in a remote work camp maintained by a large construction contractor. Yet when the laborers attempted to form a union to win back pay and improve living conditions, they were promptly arrested.
Paradise, however, has even darker corners than the indentured-labor camps. The Russian girls at the elegant hotel bar are but the glamorous facade of a sinister sex trade built on kidnapping, slavery, and sadistic violence. Dubai -- any of the hipper guidebooks will advise -- is the "Bangkok of the Middle East," populated with thousands of Russian, Armenian, Indian, and Iranian prostitutes controlled by various transnational gangs and mafias. (The city, conveniently, is also a world center for money laundering, with an estimated 10% of real estate changing hands in cash-only transactions.)

Huge tanker bomb kills 60 Iraqi Shias

Everything's going bonzer

From the ABC

Howard denies Iraq war a disaster
Prime Minister John Howard says he does not believe the allied intervention in Iraq has been a disaster.

He says the nomination of new Iraqi Prime Minister-elect, Jawad al-Maliki, is a healthy development.

Since the nomination at least seven people have died in Baghdad in a mortar attack on the Defence Ministry, and police say they have also found the bodies of six men who had all been shot in the head.

But Mr Howard has rejected a suggestion the Iraqi conflict could be seen in military terms as a disaster, similar to the World War I military defeat at Gallipoli.

He says it took Australia years to embrace democracy and Australians cannot expect Iraq to do the same in a few hundred days.

"I think we impose unreasonable standards," Mr Howard said.

"I don't believe the verdict on Iraq is by any means in, and I don't accept that it's been a disaster."

read more at the ABC
Gus thinks that there was a less bloody solution to the "Saddam problem" if one really saw it as a "problem" than lie, go to war and kill more than 100,000 people... This month alone saw the death of 61 US soldiers and countless civilians... Most of the dead soldiers do not make the headlines anymore... Reconstruction looks like a war zone in progress and the price of petrol has hit the high notes... Yes Johnnee, things are going bonzer...

Hey, But who's trying to "impose unreasonable standards"? Hey? You and your warring little mates including junior who's like a kid wanting to see more fireworks... nucular fireworks... Blimey! Go and hide!... Whether you accept or not that "the Iraqi conflict is seen in military terms as a disaster" is irrelenvant. It is a disaster.