Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Volume 3,  Number 11              April 13 - 19, 2003            Quezon City, Philippines


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The Spoils of War Always Belong 
to the Looters

You make war and you reap its spoils. That precisely is what is happening in Iraq right now, where those who plotted the war on the pretext of removing “weapons of mass destruction” (nothing of this sort has been found by “coalition forces” so far) and “regime change” (to install a pro-U.S. client regime, what else) are also expected to divide the spoils among themselves. The plotters – Bush and his father, other top Republican hawks, former generals and CIA chiefs, defense contractors, rightist think tanks and an Iraqi convict – always see light at the end of the tunnel of war. And the war against Iraq is just the first leg.

By Bobby Tuazon 

Burned Iraqi bank notes burned and torn after looters smashed into a bank in Baghdad

Exactly 50 years after a CIA-engineered coup toppled the government of Mossadeq, the Americans are back in Iraq in vengeance. The three-week long “shock and awe” offensive launched by the Bush military – several times more devastating than the bombing of Hiroshima during World War II – is all but over and the conquerors are now planning an interim client government and the “reconstruction” of Iraq that is centered on privatizing its vast oil resources in favor of U.S. private energy interests.

U.S. President George W. Bush Jr., Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other top U.S. officials have repeatedly denied that the war is all about oil. It is all about “regime change” – toppling a dictatorship – and removing “weapons of mass destruction (WMDs),” they said. Every skeptic on earth believes however that these are mere spins that were meant to hide the truth of the Bush agenda. No WMD has been found by the “liberators” so far, and British generals have admitted it would be difficult to find any – at least for now. Saddam Hussein will be replaced by a convict who is wanted by Jordan.

In fact, the main concern right now of the “key players” in the war against Iraq is to divide the spoils. And we’re not even referring to the soldiers and pilots who committed – and continue to commit – genocidal attacks on the Iraqi people. We’re referring instead to those who plotted the takeover of Iraq as early as 1992 when, under the Defense Policy Guidelines (DPG) paper, they laid down the “road map” for the removal of Saddam Hussein, the consolidation of U.S. hegemony in the Middle East and making sure that the oil wealth in the region remains accessible to American investors.

Ruling oligarchy

Gradually unfolding are reports that the “reconstruction boom” and privatization of oil that is expected in Iraq will be monopolized by the war plotters themselves – the Bushes, top administration officials, former CIA chiefs, advisers and consultants, think tanks and defense contractors. These warmongers are closely linked to the military-industrial complex that, in recent years and especially under Bush, has become more visible and more influential in the U.S. government. But they’re not just closely linked – they’re part of the U.S. ruling oligarchy.

“The war against Iraq,” the New York Times said in a recent issue, “has become one of the clearest examples ever of the influences of the military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhow warned against so eloquently in his farewell address in 1961. This iron web of relationships among powerful individuals inside and outside the government operates with very little public scrutiny and is saturated with conflicts of interest.”

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney who, as defense secretary of then President George Bush Sr., played a key role in the 1991 Operation Desert Storm and became involved in the writing of the DPG is among the first to benefit from the war. His oil-service company, Halliburton, has won a contract in the first $100 billion reconstruction of Iraq. Despite his resignation as chief executive officer of this big firm upon taking over as vice president in 2001, Cheney still receives $1 million a year. This confirms that either he remains in the company or the company’s stakes are secure in the Bush administration. Halliburton’s new contract in Iraq involves the rebuilding of exploration and drilling facilities.

Also seen to grab a big pie is the Carlyle Group, a shadowy $14 billion private investment house that has Bush Sr. as one of the top advisers along with former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos and other world leaders and CIA officials. Carlyle’s subsidiary, United Defense, a maker of missile launchers and other modern war equipment, produces lethal weapons that are now used in the war against Iraq. Carlyle is also expected to take a hand in Iraq’s “reconstruction” particularly through new defense contracts.

Carlyle is well-represented in the Bush circle that played a key role in making the war blueprint against Baghdad. A senior counselor to Carlyle – James A. Baker – heads the James A. Baker Institute for Public Policy that early in the Bush presidency supported “regime change” in Baghdad. Baker, the former Secretary of State of Ronald Reagan, also advises Bush Jr.

Aside from Halliburton, U.S. giant multinationals are likewise expected to benefit from the war – especially so because former executives of these companies are well-ensconced in the Bush administration. One of these companies, Chevron Texaco, had at one time National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice as a board member.

Defense Policy Board

Members of the Defense Policy Board (DPB) – an elite group of  Pentagon officials, former Cabinet secretaries, ex-CIA chiefs and private defense contractors – will also see a bonanza of profits coming to them, in return for designing the war strategy against Iraq. (Most meetings of DPB, whose 30 members are appointed by the U.S. president, are classified and the American public hardly knows anything about the existence of this group much less the extent of its power on defense issues.)

Richard Perle, who until March 31 chaired DPB, has been identified with Global Crossing which is lobbying for a piece of action in the Iraq reconstruction. For his services, Global pays $725,000. A protégé of Rumsfeld in Pentagon, Perle recently participated in a Goldman Sachs conference where prospective investors were advised on what to expect from the war in Iraq – as well as other wars that would follow particulary against North Korea and other “rogue regimes.”

Perle is by the way an influential member of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ultra-rightist, pro-Jewish think tank that has advocated the redrawing of the Middle East map to allow Israel a strong hand against Palestine and other Arab states and, hence, safeguard U.S. hegemony in the region.

Perle’s colleagues in DPB have significant ties to defense contractors in the military-industrial complex such as Boeing, TRW, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Booz Allen Hamilton, Bechtel and the Rand Corporation. These companies and two others have won lucrative contracts in the Middle East for the past two years.

A DPB member, retired Marine Corps Gen. Jack Sheehan, is a senior vice president of Bechtel Group. Another member, former CIA director James Woolsey, is a principal in the Paladin Capital Group, a venture capital firm that, according to the Center for Public Integrity, is soliciting for investments that specialize in domestic security in the post-war reconstruction of Iraq. A member of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, Woolsey is being pushed by top Pentagon officials to help run Iraq.

Bechtel Group

Bechtel Group, one of the largest contractors in the U.S., has been a top bidder for the rush to “rebuild” Iraq. It has on its board George Shultz, a former state secretary, and chairman of the advisory board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a fiercely pro-war group formed by the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). PNAC, another shadowy group formed in 1997 by Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush and Perle, among others, has advocated for redrawing the map of the world to suit U.S. interests and preserve Pax Americana for the rest of the 21st century. The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq was formed last year to help fund anti-Saddam opposition activities.

Shultz was asked whether his involvement in Bechtel and PNAC represented a conflict of interest in future investments in Iraq. He answered: “I don’t know that Bechtel would particularly benefit from it. But if there’s work that’s needed to be done, Bechtel is the type of company that could do it. But nobody looks at it as something you benefit from.”

Tying up all these interlocking interests – and more - are two persons expected to figure in the post-war occupation and interim government in Iraq: retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay Garner and the “opposition” Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmad Chalabi. Garner has been appointed by Bush to head the military occupation of Iraq which, based on latest reports, may last for at least 10 years. Chalabi is being groomed to head the interim government.

Garner, upon retiring from military service, became president of SYColeman, a defense contractor that helped Israel develop its Arrow missile-defense system. Garner, a pro-Israel Zionist, is the choice of Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz as “viceroy designate” of Iraq.

Chalabi, on the other hand, is an Iraqi exile who maintained connections with oil investors. A friend of Cheney, Chalabi is being hand-picked to head the interim government among other claimants to the Saddam presidency, because it was he alone who supports significant American control in Iraq’s oil industry.  His 22-year life sentence in Jordan, where he was convicted on multiple counts of embezzlement of hundreds of millions of dollars, is expected to be withdrawn, courtesy of Bush. Bulatlat.com

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