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NB: The latest updates will be on top, so that daily readers will not have to scroll-down. Time is UTC-GMT. This is a continuation of https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/the-ongoing-saga-news-updates-tidbits-trivia/ There is an overlap in posts for Wednesday, 28 August only.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Our translation of Judge Joseph’s wife’s testimony ends today with her begging the Senate for help getting justice.  A new witness starts tomorrow. https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-witnesses-part-iii-of-the-senate-inquest-report-on-the-troubling-death-of-judge-jean-serge-joseph/

Grand Canyon Uranium Mining Moving Forward:  Judge Refuses Injunction Request
Grand Canyon Panorama 2013
(Photo by Roger Bolsius, creative commons via wikimedia)

3 minute air view of uranium mines at Grand Canyon

Uranium Mining and Nuclear Energy is simply the most ridiculous of all. It poisons, causes cancer and birth defects for millions and even billions of years. Insanely, a uranium mine near the Grand Canyon, “Canyon Uranium Mine” is being grandfathered in, in violation of new laws and common sense. Everyone can agree that an environmental study done in the 1980s was a long time ago.  Computer modeling of the impacts was virtually non-existent at the time. And, once things are grandfathered in, then they are used as justification to bring other similar things in, effectively undermining the intent of new laws! The Grand Canyon is supposed to be a UN protected, as well as US protected monument: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/75

Grand Canyon North
(Photo by Hendric Stattmann, creative commons via wikimedia)

From the Sept. 9, 2013 ruling by US District Judge David Campbell:
Grand Canyon Trust; Center for Biological Diversity; Sierra Club; Havasupai Tribe,  Plaintiffs,   
v.   
Michael Williams, Forest Supervisor, Kaibab National Forest; United States Forest Service, an agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture,  
Defendants,  
and  
Energy Fuels Resources (USA), Incorporated; EFR Arizona Strip LLC,   
Defendants-Intervenors.
No. CV13-8045-PCT-DGC 

ORDER       
This case arises out of the renewed operation of the Canyon Uranium Mine (“Canyon Mine”).  Plaintiffs allege that Defendants U.S. Forest Service and Michael Williams, Supervisor of the Kaibab National Forest, violated environmental and historical preservation laws by allowing the mine to resume operations.  Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. and EFR Arizona Strip LLC (together, “EFR”) have intervened as defendants on the ground that they own unpatented mining claims at Canyon Mine and conduct operations pursuant to a valid Plan of Operations (“Plan”) approved by the Forest Service…Plaintiffs have filed a motion for a preliminary injunction that seeks to halt mine operations…The motion is fully briefed…the Court will deny the motion.1 

I. Background.  
Canyon Mine is a breccia pipe uranium mine located in the Kaibab National Forest.  The site occupies approximately 17 acres of surface land in Northern Arizona and is approximately six miles south of the Grand Canyon National Park boundary and 35 miles southeast of the Havasupai Reservation…After having conducted exploration activities on the site from 1978 to 1985, Energy Fuels Nuclear, Inc., (“EFN”) submitted to the Forest Service a Plan for the Canyon Mine site that proposed the development of a uranium mine… After completing an Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq., the Forest Service issued a Record of Decision (“ROD”) approving the Plan, with modifications, on September 26, 1986.   

Red Butte, a prominent mesa located four miles south of Canyon Mine, is a sacred site to the Havasupai Tribe. .. The Tribe filed a lawsuit challenging the ROD on several grounds, including that the Forest Service’s approval of the Plan violated its first amendment right to free exercise of religion at the Canyon Mine site.  The Forest Service’s decision was upheld by the District Court and Ninth Circuit.  See Havasupai Tribe v. United States, 752 F. Supp. 1471 (D. Ariz. 1990), aff’d sub. nom., Havasupai Tribe v. Robertson, 943 F.2d 32 (9th Cir. 1991).  Operations started under the Plan, but work was stopped and the mine was placed on standby status when uranium prices dropped in 1992… All surface facilities for the mine had been constructed and the vertical underground shaft had reached approximately 50 feet…Denison Mines (“Denison”) acquired Canyon Mine from EFN in 1997…                                     

[1 Oral argument was scheduled for August 23, 2012, but the Court concluded that the parties’ briefs were sufficient for the Court to make a fully informed decision.  Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ request for oral argument was denied.  See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78(b); Partridge v. Reich, 141 F.3d 920, 926 (9th Cir. 1998). ]

Since the 1986 ROD, the National Historical Preservation Act (“NHPA”), 16 U.S.C. §§  470 et seq., which requires federal agencies to “take into account the effect of the[ir] undertaking[s] on any district, site, building, structure, or object that is included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register,” 16 U.S.C. § 470f,  was amended to define “historic properties” to include “[p]roperties of traditional religious and cultural importance to an Indian tribe . . . [that] may be determined to be eligible for inclusion in the National Register,” 16 U.S.C. § 470a(d)(6).  Pursuant to that amendment, the Forest Service determined in 2010 that Red Butte is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places as a traditional cultural property (“TCP”)… Canyon Mine is located within the Red Butte TCP boundary…On July 21, 2009, the Secretary of the Interior published notice of his intent “to withdraw approximately 633,547 acres of public lands and 360,002 acres of National Forest System lands for up to 20 years from location and entry under the Mining Law of 1872.”  Notice of Proposed Withdrawal, 74 Fed. Reg. 35,887 (July 21, 2009) (“the 2009 Notice”).  After completing an EIS, the Secretary issued a ROD (the “Withdrawal”) on January 9, 2012, “withdraw[ing] from location and entry under the Mining Law, subject to valid existing rights, approximately 1,006,545 acres of federal land in Northern Arizona for a 20-year period[.]”  AR 10310.  The EIS noted that the withdrawal area included four mines with approved Plans that predated the 2009 Notice (including the Canyon Mine), and assumed that mining operations would therefore occur in the withdrawal area…

On September 13, 2011, Denison advised the Forest Service that it intended to resume mining operations at Canyon Mine under the existing Plan…The letter stated that it was Denison’s position “that no action is required by [the Forest Service] in connection with Denison’s resuming mining operations under the Plan.”  Id.  In a follow-up letter dated November 1, 2011, Denison confirmed that “the resumption of active mining operations will not require any changes to Denison’s previously approved mining operations under the [Plan] and ROD.”  …Thereafter, the Forest Service requested that Denison postpone resuming mining activities while it conducted a mineral examination to verify the validity of the Canyon Mine’s mining claims. … Denison voluntarily agreed to postpone mining activities in response to the Forest Service’s request… Forest Service mineral examiners evaluated the Canyon Mine mining claims and issued a Valid Existing Rights Determination on April 18, 2012 (“VER Determination”).  

…The Forest Service also released a Canyon Mine Review (“Mine Review”) on June 25, 2012…The review “concluded that no modification or amendment to the existing [Plan] is necessary; that no correction, supplementation, or revision to the environmental document is required; and that operations at the Canyon Mine may continue as a result of no further federal authorization being required.” … 

Following a corporate merger transaction, Denison was renamed EFR.  …The news release announcing the merger noted that “[s]haft sinking is expected to begin at Canyon mine in the fourth quarter 2012, pending regulatory approval[.]” … EFR resumed mining operations after the Forest Service completed the Mine Review…

Plaintiffs’ complaint asserts eight claims for relief:  (1) the Forest Service violated NEPA by failing to supplement the 1986 EIS; (2) the Forest Service violated NEPA in deciding not to supplement the 1986 EIS; (3) the Forest Service violated NEPA by approving mining operations on lands subject to the Withdrawal; (4) the Forest Service violated NHPA by approving mining operations on lands subject to the Withdrawal; (5) the Forest Service violated NHPA by not completing a NHPA § 106 consultation as required under 36 C.F.R. § 800.13(b)(1); (6) the Forest Service violated the Organic Administration Act of 1897 and the National Forest Management Act (“NFMA”) by approving mining operations on lands subject to the Withdrawal; (7) the Forest Service’s VER Determination violated the Mining Law of 1872, the Federal Land Policy Management Act (“FLPMA”), the Withdrawal, the Organic Administration Act of 1897, and the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”); and (8) the Forest Service violated its regulations and the APA when it decided not to modify the Canyon Mine existing Plan. ” 
From: http://turtletalk.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/dct-order-denying-motion-to-dismiss.pdf The legal basis for denying the injunction, etc. are at the link.
See also related documents: http://turtletalk.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/plaintiffs-motion-for-pi1.pdf
http://turtletalk.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/usfs-response.pdf http://turtletalk.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/plaintiffs-reply1.pdf

Trust Legal Challenge Sets Back Utah Refinery
(Posted on September 12, 2013 by Ted Johnson)
The Grand Canyon Trust has led a challenge to a Utah state permit approving the Green River refinery. If built, the refinery could facilitate extraction of oil shale, tar sands and conventionally-developed fossil fuels on the Colorado Plateau” (continued here: http://www.grandcanyontrust.org/news/ )

Grand canyon hermits rest 2010
(Photo by Chensiyuan, creative commons via wikimedia)

Ok, by now everyone is already depressed, especially those reading the Judge Joseph case, so before moving forward we offer you an excerpt from Dr. King’s:  

How Long?

I know you are asking today, ‘How long will it take?’ … Somebody’s asking, ‘When will wounded justice, lying prostrate … be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men?’ Somebody’s asking, ‘When will the radiant star of hope be plunged against the nocturnal bosom of this lonely night, … plucked from weary souls with chains of fear and the manacles of death? How long will justice be crucified, … and truth bear it?‘ … I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, … however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, … because ‘truth crushed to earth will rise again.’ …How long? Not long, …because ‘no lie can live forever.’ …How long? Not long, …because ‘you shall reap what you sow.’ …’How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Excerpted from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_Long,_Not_Long Dr. Martin Luther King, Montgomery, Alabama (USA), March 25, 1965  (bold added)

Although we do not have time to discuss it today, some involved in the atrocities in El Salvador, mentioned yesterday, are finally going to be brought to justice.  Those guilty of atrocities under Pinochet are finally being brought to justice, although the process is still incomplete.  The man believed to have killed Victor Jara needs to be extradited from Florida.  Martelly-Lamothe’s regime are apparently letting Duvalier and his entourage off the hook, but the Duvalierists will get their punishment.  It may take another 10 years but the Duvalierists new and old WILL get theirs. 

“No olvidamos a los masacrados
En las calles y en el campo
Desaparecidos y torturados”

(We don’t forget those massacred
In the streets and in the countryside
The disappeared and the tortured)
From “Por Eso Luchamos” ca. 1983, by Cutumay Camones, http://www.folkways.si.edu/cutumay-camones/por-eso-luchamos/historical-song-latin-struggle-protest-world/music/album/smithsonian
[part of the New Song (Nueva_canción) movement which said to have been inspired by Victor Jara and others http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nueva_canción ]

Chile, 14 September 1973

As told to and then by Victor Jara’s wife, Jane:
The next day, Friday 14 September, the prisoners were divided into groups of about two hundred, ready to be transferred to the National Stadium.  It was then that Victor, slightly recovered, asked his friends if anyone had a pencil and paper and began to write his last poem.  Some of the worst horrors of the military coup took place in the Estadio Chile in those first days before it was visited by the Red Cross, Amnesty International or any representative of a foreign embassy….

Thousands of prisoners were kept for days, with virtually no food or water; glaring spotlights were focused on them constantly so that they lost all sense of time and even of day and night; machine guns were set up all around the Stadium and were fired intermittently either at the ceiling or over the heads of the prisoners; orders and threats were blared over loudspeakers; the commanding officer was a corpulent man and only his silhouette could be seen as he warned that the machine guns were nicknamed ‘Hitler’s saws’ because they could cut a man in half … and would do so as necessary.  Prisoners were called out one by one, made to move from one part of the Stadium to another.  It was impossible to rest. People were mercilessly beaten with whips and rifle butts.  One man who could no longer bear it threw himself over the balcony and plunged to his death among the prisoners below.  Others had attacks of madness and were gunned down in full view of everybody. http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/jaraunfinsong.html

[14 or 15 September 1973]
……Now these visions became confused with the torture and the sadistic smile of the Prince.  But even then, Victor still had hope for the future, confidence that people were stronger, in the end, than bombs and machine guns and as he came to the last verses, for which he already had music inside him – ‘How hard it is to sing, when I must sing of horror . . .’ – he was interrupted.  A group of guards came to fetch him, to separate him from those who were about to be transferred to the National Stadium.  He quickly passed the scrap of paper to a compañero who was sitting beside him, who in turn hid it in his sock as he was taken away.  His friends had tried each one of them to learn the poem by heart as it was written, so as to carry it out of the Stadium with them. They never saw Victor again.

In spite of the fact that large numbers were transferred to other prison camps, the Estadic, Chile remained full because more and more prisoners were constantly arriving, both men and women.  I have two more glimpses of Victor in the Stadium, two more testimonies … a message for me brought out by someone who was near him for some hours, down in the dressing rooms, converted now into torture chambers, a message of love for his daughters and for me … then once more being publicly abused and beaten, the officer nicknamed the Prince shouting at him, on the verge of hysteria, losing control of himself, ‘Sing now, if you can, you bastard!’ and Victor’s voice raised in the Stadium after those four days of suffering to sing a verse of the hymn of Popular Unity, ‘Venceremos’. Then he was beaten down and dragged away for the last phase of his agony.http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/jaraunfinsong.html (bold added)  For lyrics to the song “Venceremos, We Shall Prevail”, including Jara’s version see: http://everything2.com/title/Venceremos

“…Jara was repeatedly beaten and tortured; the bones in his hands were broken as were his ribs.[6] Fellow political prisoners have testified that his captors mockingly suggested that he play guitar for them as he lay on the ground with broken hands. Defiantly, he sang part of ‘Venceremos‘.…[6]” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V%C3%ADctor_Jara (bold added)

Friday, 13 Sept 2013

Man who filed complaint against Haiti Presidential Family STILL in prison; peaceful protestors dispersed with tear gas 

Those participating in a peaceful sit-in before the Ministry of Justice and Security in Port-au-Prince Haiti were dispersed with tear gas by police on Thursday morning September 12, 2013. They were demanding that Enold Florestal, and his brother, be freed from prison and that his lawyer André Michel be allowed to leave the country (as need be – currently he is blocked), and Justice for Judge Serge Joseph. They were asked to leave the premises and refused because it was their constitutional right to be there and then tear gas was thrown at them by police. (Summarized-Translated from Alterpresse, 12 September 2013: “Haïti-Politique : La police disperse un sit-in de protestation contre Martelly à P-au-P”:  http://www.alterpresse.org/spip.php?article15111#.UjJjHssaySM )

FRACKING IN HAITI?!

According to their web site, as of 30 April 2012, there were seven Permits (Concessions) given to Paret Petroleum (PP).  As you can see on the map it is pretty much all of Haiti!
PP Haiti
PP Map Showing 7 Permits: First Vertex Number Represents Permit Number
Additionally, according to Alterpresse, as of Feb 1, 2013, PetroGaz Haiti has 6 permits, totaling 3,000 km2. http://www.alterpresse.org/spip.php?article14036#.UjJ_PssaySM. PetroGaz Haiti is associated with Pierre Yvon Beauboeuf, formerly of the Haiti Bureau of Mines and Energy (BME), and, in the past, and perhaps currently, associated with the SOMINE mining permit, held by Majescor.  He may or may not be the Yvon Beauboeuf who is currently working as a “Director of Cabinet” in the Ministry of the Interior.  The permits held by PetroGaz Haiti are said to include areas in the southwestern peninsula, which are classified as of critical ecological sensitivity.  From what can be read in Trinidad and Tobago “Newsday” magazine:  “TT companies search for oil in Haiti”, by Vernon Khelawan, Thursday, June 13 2013, the permits include the area of Massif de la Hotte, Pic Macaya and Nan Pourcine in the southwestern peninsula.  

The game for oil and gas in Haiti seems to be fracking, because much historic exploration was done in Haiti and arrived at the same conclusion as the following 2010 document:  “Haiti apparently has no hydrocarbon resources on land or in the Gulf of Gonâve and is therefore heavily dependent on energy imports (petroleum and petroleum products).”  http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA528274

So, considering that Haiti’s Central Plateau has shale and there was lots of historic exploration showing that Haiti didn’t have oil and gas (or not worthwhile amounts), and now they do, we think that the main thing which has changed must be fracking.  Although we still must review the geological details again, it seems that the Central Plateau is a mix of shale and karst (possibly akin to Barnett shale in Texas, which has had problems with sinkholes related to their fracking). The karst will make transfer of poisonous mixtures a bigger problem and karst terrain could make fracking difficult to impossible as well — meaning there may still be nothing in the end.  The Central Plateau and the Artibonite, which is also on the map, is the agricultural heartland of Haiti.  The southwestern Peninsula is where there are many areas which are supposed to be protected.  We intend to go into all of this in more detail soon (by end of September).    

What we find really creepy, although it may be meaningless, is that Fritz Paret, Sr., Managing Director of Paret Petroleum, which has this huge part of Haiti under contract, appears a 1956 graduate of the School of the Americas (probably when it was still in Panama), later known as the “School of the Assassins”, due to the number of Latin American death squad members trained there.  Although we have no evidence of wrong-doing by Mr. Paret, we must note that one of his classmates (and there were only about 7 or 8 Haitians there along with him) was involved in a notorious 1987 massacre at a church.  However, another graduate from earlier in the year 1956 (Jean Beauboeuf) appears to have fallen-out with Duvalier and committed suicide and is thus listed as a “victim” of Duvalier.  Mr. Paret seems to have still been in the Haitian military or police until at least 1961.  He seems to have graduated from the Military Academy in Haiti in the class of “Capois la Mort (1956-57)” and to have been a military instructor at the Academy when Haitian Dictator General Prosper Avril was a student from 1958 to 1959. According to the Paret Petroleum web site, Fritz Paret, Sr., Managing Director –  Finance and Administration “has extensive commercial banking experience, including 25+ years with Chase Manhattan Bank where he had diverse experience… In Haiti he served in the Police and Military in Port-au-Prince and various regional districts, and was an Instructor and Lieutenant at the Military Academy.  He has…degrees from Notre Dame College in Haiti, and an MBA from Pace University in New York.”  We have found a 1981 Pace U. thesis of his online.  We do not have evidence to prove or disprove his work for Chase Manhattan, but with his MBA there is no reason to doubt this. http://lenouvelliste.com/article4.php?newsid=75765. http://www.derechos.org/soa/ha5662.html http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00015023/00155/1x http://soaw.org/about-the-soawhinsec/soawhinsec-grads/notorious-grads#chile  

He appears thus to be the Fritz Paret, who trained as MP (Military Police) from Sept. 8 to Dec. 9, 1959, at the School of the Americas. http://www.derechos.org/soa/ha5662.html Few Haitians trained at the School of the Americas.  About 7 or 8 were in the School at time he was.  One who studied at the same time as Fritz Paret was Franck Romain, author of the St. Jean Bosco Massacre:  “On Sept. 11, 1988, armed men broke into the St. Jean Bosco church while Fr. Jean Bertrand Aristide was saying mass and killed 12 parishioners and wounded at least 77.  They doused the church in gasoline and set it on fire.  Witnesses identified at least two of the gang members as deputies of Col. Romain, who was then Mayor of Port-au- Prince.  Col. Romain later publicly justified the massacre as legitimate.” (Americas Watch Report: Human Rights in Haiti, 1987)  http://soaw.org/about-the-soawhinsec/soawhinsec-grads/notorious-grads#chile  (also includes Haiti)  http://www.derechos.org/soa/ha5662.html  
Another Haitian graduate of SOA was “Colonel Gambetta Hyppolite
Dates/courses: 1959, Policia Militar para Alistados [Military Police] Info:  Ordered his soldiers to fire against the Provincial Electoral Bureau, 1987:  During the 1987 elections, Col. Gambetta Hippolite ordered his soldiers to fire on the Provincial Electoral Bureau in Gonaives as part of a larger army campaign to ‘stop the democratic elections
“. (Americas Watch Report: Human Rights in Haiti, 1987)  http://soaw.org/about-the-soawhinsec/soawhinsec-grads/notorious-grads#chile  (also includes Haiti)  There may have been some more recent atrocities by early graduates or by later ones, if any were trained by the SOA in Jean-Claude’s Duvalier’s time — we have not yet checked.  There were later atrocities, that’s for sure.    

According to the School of Americas Watch site:  
Augusto Pinochet is not a graduate of the School of the Americas; yet his influence is held in high esteem. in 1991, visitors could view a note from Pinochet, and a ceremonial sword donated by him, on display in the office of the Commandant (Charles Call, MH, 8/9/93)“. However, “Graduates of the School of the Americas have comprised 1 out of every 7 members of the command staff of DINA, the notorious Chilean intelligence agency responsible for many of the worst human rights atrocities during the Pinochet years.   http://soaw.org/about-the-soawhinsec/soawhinsec-grads/notorious-grads#chile They were involved in much higher percentages in some other parts of Latin America and involved in the murder of El Salvador’s Archbishop Romero, Maryknoll nuns and oh, so many more. This 10 or 15 minute video gives an overview:

Now we turn back 40 years to Pinochet’s coup against Allende; Victor Jara, his wife Jane’s ongoing search for justice – now in a Florida court:   

12-13 September 1973
From the complaint filed in Florida, September 4, 2013:
The Stadium served as one of the first mass detention centers of General Pinochet’s military regime.  In the days following the coup, the Chilean Army detained approximately 5,000 civilians at the Stadium.  When Victor Jara and the other detainees were marched into the Stadium, the Chilean Army soldiers systematically recorded each detainee’s name.  During this detention, members of the Chilean Army made threats and taunts, …. Many of these civilians were tortured and subjected to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment based merely on the suspicion of left-leaning political activism and therefore of being subversive to General Pinochet’s regime.  On or about September 12, 1973, General Sergio Arellano Stark deployed elements of the Chilean Army to the Stadium… Lieutenant Barrientos and soldiers under his command in the Second Combat Company of the Tejas Verdes were among the troops deployed to the mass detention site at the Stadium on or about September 12, 1973.  There, he and his subordinates continued to arbitrarily detain civilians, including Victor Jara.  Upon information and belief, officers of these units collaborated to establish a system of imprisonment, torture, and execution of suspected leftists at the Stadium. ….The officers took steps to operationalize the scheme to arbitrarily detain, torture, and kill suspected subversives at the Stadium.  Lieutenant Edwin Armando Roger Dimter Bianchi placed himself at the entrance to the Stadium, recorded the identities of the entering civilian detainees, and decided which detainees to interrogate. Defendant [Lt. Barrientos] was in command of the mass detention of detainees at the stadium.  Defendant also took command and exercised direct control over conscripts in the Second Combat Company of the Tejas Verdes…. Victor Jara was one of the hundreds of students, professors, and administrators arbitrarily detained at the University and then transferred to the Stadium on September 12, 1973.   In the course of transporting and processing the civilian prisoners, Captain Fernando Polanco Gallardo, a commanding officer in military intelligence, recognized Victor Jara as the well-known folk singer whose popular songs addressed social inequality and who had supported President Allende’s government.  Captain Polanco then separated Victor Jara from the group and beat Victor Jara severely.  He then transferred Victor Jara, together with some of the other civilians, to the Stadium.  During his three days of detention in that part of the Stadium, Victor Jara composed a poem about his experience, which one of his fellow detainees who survived the ordeal later delivered to his wife, Joan Jara.  He wrote: ‘How hard it is to sing when I must sing of horror. Horror which I am living, horror which I am dying”   http://cja.org/downloads/COMPLAINT.9.4.pdf

On 13 September 1973:
Victor Jara and others are still in the stadium
(told by survivors to his wife, Jane):
Some time next morning, Victor evidently decided to try to leave his isolated position and join the other prisoners.  Another witness, who was waiting in the passageway outside, saw the following scene.  As Victor pushed the swing doors to come out into the passageway, he almost bumped into an army officer who seemed to be the second-in-command of the Stadium.  He had been very busy shouting over the microphone, giving orders, screaming threats.  He was tall, blond and rather handsome and was obviously enjoying the role he was playing as he strutted about. Some of the prisoners had already nicknamed him ‘the Prince’.
As Victor came face to face with him, he gave a sign of recognition and smiled sarcastically.  Mimicking playing a guitar, he giggled and then quickly drew his finger across his throat.  Victor remained calm…, but then the officer shouted, ‘What is this bastard doing here?’  He called the guards who were following him and said, ‘Don’t let him move from here. This one is reserved for me!’
Later, Victor was transferred to the basement where there are glimpses of him in a passageway, there where he had so often prepared to sing, now lying, covered in blood, on a floor running with urine and excrement overflowing from the toilet.
In the evening he was brought back into the main part of the Stadium to join the other prisoners. He could scarcely walk, his head and his face were bloody and bruised, one of his ribs seemed to be broken and he was in pain where he had been kicked in the stomach.
….”  http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/jaraunfinsong.html

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Lamothe someplace in France or Belgium until the 14th.  This is your chance to protest him:

if you can figure out his location…probably still in Brussels and going to Paris. Also, the EU is supposed to soon vote on a package of 400 million euros for Haiti  (L’UE doit procéder bientôt au vote d’une enveloppe de 400 millions d’euros en faveur d’Haïti. http://www.hpnhaiti.com/site/index.php/politique/10371-haiti-france-cooperationvoyage-officiel-du-premier-ministre-lamothe-en-europe )

EU Nationals need to write and ask that the money be blocked until Haiti has its parliamentary elections and until investigation is made into Judge Joseph’s death and until the various corruption charges are investigated!  

Our Senate inquest post has been updated: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-witnesses-part-iii-of-the-senate-inquest-report-on-the-troubling-death-of-judge-jean-serge-joseph/

We do intend to return to oil and gas in the Near East, at least the Levant Basin and the Golan Heights.  We may or may not discuss additional pipelines in the Near or Middle East. Many will be surprised to see the link which we have found between the Levant Basin and Latin America, however.  We want to continue on with some information on the Chilean coup for a few days, along with the Levant Basin, Golan Heights oil and gas information.  

Majescor News   (waste of space, as usual)

$150,000 of shares at one cent per share of Majescor stock has been sold.  The monies will go for administrative purposes, according to their breakdown. As they say, “a sucker is born every minute”.  Although the information from the BME and more recent info suggests that this property is so low grade that it is really border-line as regards mining it, in principle anything, even seawater, is mineable.  But, to mine takes money (unless they are going to do forced labour corvee and make workers do it by hand). And, how will Majescor raise sufficient money when their stock is valued at one penny Canadian?  The more stock they issue to raise money the more the value of the existing stock should drop:  
Montreal, Quebec–(Marketwired – Sept. 9, 2013) –
Majescor Resources Inc. (“Majescor” or the “Company”) (TSX Venture:MJX), is pleased to announce the closing of the second and final tranche of its non-brokered private placement (the “Private Placement”) which was originally announced on July 30, with updates on August 8 and August 12, 2013. Gross proceeds of the second tranche totalling $75,000 have been received in connection with the issuance of 7,500,000 units (each a “Unit”) of the Company, at a price of $0.01 per Unit. Each Unit consists of one common share and one share purchase warrant (a “Warrant”). Each Warrant entitles the holder thereof to purchase one additional common share of the Company until September 9, 2015 at a price of $0.05 per share in year one and $0.10 per share in year two.
The total gross proceeds of the two tranches were $150,000 on the issuance of 15,000,000 units.
A director of the Company subscribed for 2,500,000 units for gross proceeds of $25,000.
The issued securities are subject to a four-month hold period in accordance with applicable Canadian Securities Laws.
The Private Placement is being conducted In accordance with the TSX Venture Exchange’s (the “Exchange”) Bulletin dated April 12, 2013 Re: Private Placements – Extension and Modification of Temporary Relief From Certain Pricing Requirements (the “Temporary Relief Measures”), and the Company wishes to advise that it will use proceeds from the first tranche of the Private Placement as follows:
Filing and late filing fees with Securities commissions    
$ 21,000
Private placement costs    $ 2,000
Audit fees    $ 13,000
Accounting fees    $ 28,288
Agent fees    $ 4,500
Annual General Meeting costs    $ 20,000
Income Tax    $ 8,905
Office rent and administration    $ 20,000
Outstanding payables    $ 32,307
TOTAL:    $ 150,000
The Company confirms that no funds raised as part of the Private Placement will be used to pay any liabilities owed to any related parties of the Company. The Offering was approved by the Company’s Board of Directors.
In Other News
In a correspondence received today, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers has rescinded the Management Cease Trade Order effective August 29th, 2013.
http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/majescor-announces-the-closing-of-its-non-brokered-private-placement-tsx-venture-mjx-1828639.htm

Chile’s Victor Jara vs. Haiti’s President Martelly

Victor Jara gave his life during Chile’s 1973 coup, because he sang for social justice (and thus, at least indirectly, against Anaconda and Kennecott Mining Companies).  Haiti’s President Martelly sang FOR the coup makers during the Coup against President Aristide.  Even though Allende was a Marxist, he was democratically elected and for change through democratic reforms.  Allende became angry at the US Ambassador Korry “because he believed that the ambassador’s reports had distorted Allende’s image in Washington.  He resented being compared to a ‘khaki-clad guerrilla coming down from the mountains with rifle in hand,’ especially when his goal was to establish a ‘Chilean-style reformist regime, not patterned after Cuba, Russia or Czechoslovakia.” http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/~streete/pdf/Destabilizing_Chile.pdf  
(Destabilizing Chile: The United States and the Overthrow of Allende” by Stephen M. Streeter) (bold added)

Aristide, democratically elected with an overwhelming majority, unlike Allende’s plurality, was not and is not a Marxist.  However, both stepped on elite toes and although we know what international toes Allende stepped on, the why the coups against Aristide remains unclear, although his attempts to stop drug trafficking which used (uses) Haiti as a drug transshipment point must be amongst the top reasons.   

It appears that the destabilization campaign and ultimate coup against Allende was used as a model for the coups against Aristide.  Allende got a similar offer of a plane out of town, it seems, as Aristide got, but if Aristide took the offer, Allende’s answer was reportedly different:  “At that time Admiral Gustavo Carvajal, one of the plotters, was on the phone to Allende offering him a plane if he would leave the country.  But the president … was trenchant:  ‘Who do you think you are, you treacherous shits? Stuff your plane up your arses! You are talking to the president of the republic! And the president elected by the people doesn’t surrender.” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/07/chile-coup-pinochet-allende (“Chilean coup” by Hugh O’Shaughnessy, 7 Sept. 2013)  Of course, it is hard to imagine a Priest, like Aristide, telling someone to stuff the plane where the sun don’t shine.  And, perhaps he recalled the impact of Allende’s refusal on the population. Aristide hoped to avoid bloodshed.   

By now those who have read about the Judge Joseph case or have seen videos of Haiti’s President Martelly calling the opposition “caca” and seen pictures and videos of his performances can even easily imagine Martelly, were he Chilean, telling coup leaders to cut Victor Jara’s arms and legs off and then telling Victor to sing and play guitar. (We doubt the Haitian macoute or macoute-like elements would bother to break his hands and just cut them off with a machete).  It appears entirely in Martelly’s character.  Jeb Sprague wrote an article calling Martelly a “Stealth Duvalierist” but nothing appears stealthy about Martelly’s Duvalierism. (It is rather Lamothe who we suspect as a “Stealth Duvalierist” or fascist) Sprague probably wanted to give Martelly the benefit of the doubt, as we have.  Nonetheless, had we known as much about Martelly as Sprague did we might not have given Martelly the benefit of the doubt:   In 2010 Sprague wrote:  “Under the Duvalier dictatorship, Martelly ran the Garage, a nightclub patronized by army officers and members of Haiti’s tiny ruling class. At a recent press conference, Martelly spoke nostalgically of the Duvalierist era, when François ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier and later his son Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ enforced their iron rule with gun and machete wielding Tonton Macoutes, a sort of Haitian Gestapo….In a 2002 article, the Washington Post explained how the konpa singer was a long-time ‘favorite of the thugs who worked on behalf of the hated Duvalier family dictatorship before its 1986 collapse.’  But the mainstream media of late has yet to pick up on the singer’s past affiliations.  Duvalierist affinities should not be taken lightly…total estimates of those killed under the U.S.-backed 29-year long dictatorship range from 30,000 to 50,000 people. After Baby Doc’s fall in February 1986, a mass democratic movement…burst forth and became known as the Lavalas… Martelly quickly became a bitter Lavalas opponent, making trenchant attacks against the popular movement in his songs played widely on Haitian radio.  Following his dramatic election with 67% of the vote in Dec. 16, 1990 elections, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a former parish priest and Lavalas movement leader, was inaugurated on Feb. 7, 1991 as Haiti’s democratically elected president, but then deposed by a military coup, for the first time, on Sep. 30, 1991, only eight months into his first term.  Martelly ‘was closely identified with sympathizers of the 1991 military coup that ousted former President Jean- Bertrand Aristide,’ the Miami Herald observed in 1996.  The military junta that ruled Haiti between 1991 and 1994 was bloody and brutal. According to Human Rights Watch, some 5,000 people were murdered by the junta’s soldiers and paramilitaries, and thousands more tortured and raped.  Hundreds of thousands were driven into hiding and exile.  Martelly became the coup’s joker, applauding the junta while it was in power.  He was friends with the dreaded Lt. Col. Michel François, who, as Police Chief, was the principal director of the coup’s executioners.http://www.haiti-liberte.com/archives/volume4-22/MichelMartelly_Stealth_Duvalierist.asp (bold added)
We still suspect that Martelly is essentially apolitical and simply likes whoever offers the best parties (the rich). But, in being apolitical in the context of a coup, he is political.

Now, 40 years on, Victor Jara’s wife, Joan, is pursuing one of his assassins in a Florida court.  So many death-squad goons have hidden out in Florida it is too bad that the sink-holes cannot selectively swallow them up.  Couldn’t sink holes serve some good purpose?! Unfortunately it seems that the sink-holes have only gotten good people.  To give some feeling for the September 1973 events in Chile, we have started alternating information from one of Joan’s, now out of print, books about Victor “Unfinished Song”, which we hope will soon be put back into print, and the complaint recently filed by her and her daughters in a Florida court (we have added bold): 
Victor was due that morning to sing at the Technical University, at the opening of a special exhibition about the horrors of civil war and fascism where Allende was going to speak.” http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/jaraunfinsong.html
On the morning of September 11, 1973, the Chilean Army, led by General Pinochet, staged a coup d’etat that toppled the democratically elected government of President Allende.  By late morning, General Pinochet ordered a full assault on the capital.  Soon after the Chilean Army stormed the presidential palace, President Allende was discovered dead, resulting from a self-inflicted gunshot.http://cja.org/downloads/COMPLAINT.9.4.pdf
From Allende’s last speech:  “This is the last time I shall be able to speak to you … I shall not resign … I will repay with my life the loyalty of the people … I say to you:  I am certain that the seeds we have sown in the conscience of thousands and thousands of Chileans cannot be completely eradicated … neither crime nor force are strong enough to hold back the process of social change. History belongs to us, because it is made by the people.” http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/jaraunfinsong.html
Allende had been given an ultimatum to surrender by the commanders of the Armed Forces led by General Augusto Pinochet … that unless he surrendered by midday the Moneda Palace would be bombed.” http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/jaraunfinsong.html
By late morning, General Pinochet ordered a full assault on the capital.” http://cja.org/downloads/COMPLAINT.9.4.pdf
Joan continues with the story:  “Monica was preparing the lunch, and Amanda and Carola were playing in the garden, when suddenly there was the thunder and whine of a diving jet plane and then a tremendous explosion. It was like being in the war again … I rushed out to bring the children indoors, closed the wooden shutters and convinced them that it was all a game.  But the jets kept on diving and it seemed that the rockets they were firing were falling on the poblacion just above us towards the mountains.  I think it was at this moment that any illusions that I may have had died in me … if this was what we were up against, what hope could there be?
Then came the helicopters, low over the treetops of the garden.  From the balcony of our bedroom I saw them, hovering like sinister insects, raking Allende’s house with machine-gun fire.  High above, towards the cordillera, another plane circled.  We could hear the high whine of its engine for hours on end – the control plane, perhaps?….
We listen to the news of the Moneda Palace being bombed and set on fire … we wonder if Allende has survived … there is no announcement about it.  A curfew is being imposed.
”  http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/jaraunfinsong.html
(When Joan says that “It was like being in the war again” she means England in WWII, which was bombed by the Nazis).  

Soon after the Chilean Army stormed the presidential palace, President Allende was discovered dead, resulting from a self-inflicted gunshot. 
Following the coup, four military commanders seized control and installed a military dictatorship that appointed General Pinochet as Commander-in-Chief and President, overthrowing Chile’s democratically elected government. 
In the first hours after the coup, members of the Chilean Army systematically searched and arrested individuals perceived to be supporters of or sympathizers with the Allende government, including former cabinet officers, former government appointees, former elected officials, and supporters and members of the Popular Unity Party, the Christian Democratic Party, the Chilean Communist Party, the Movimiento de lzquierda Revolucionaria (‘MIR’), and other political parties that had supported President Allende.  The Chilean Army then initiated a systematic crackdown on all opposition and dissent throughout the country.  General Pinochet’s new regime identified certain elements of the Chilean population as ideological enemies who were ‘subversive.’  The regime targeted individuals, particularly intellectuals, who fit this profile, including artists, university professors, physicians, and students….
On September 11, 1973, Chilean Army troops from the Arica Regiment of the Chilean Army from La Serena attacked the University. The troops prohibited civilians from entering or leaving the University premises.
http://cja.org/downloads/COMPLAINT.9.4.pdf
Through the long hours of the evening, listening to the explosions and heavy machine-gun fire all around the neighbourhood, they tell me that Victor tried to raise the spirits of the people around him. He sang and got them to sing with him. They had no arms to defend themselves...” http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/jaraunfinsong.html
All night long the machine-gun fire continued.  Some people who tried to get out of the university under cover of darkness were shot outright but it was not until early next morning that the assault began in earnest, with the tanks firing their heavy guns against the buildings, damaging the structure of some, shattering windows and destroying laboratories, equipment, books.  There was no answering fire because there were no guns inside.http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/jaraunfinsong.html
During the afternoon of September 12, 1973, military personnel entered the University and illegally detained hundreds of professors, students, and administrators.  Victor Jara was among those arbitrarily detained on the campus and, thereafter, was transferred to the Stadium, where he was ultimately tortured and killed.http://cja.org/downloads/COMPLAINT.9.4.pdf
After the tanks had crashed into the university precincts, the troops proceeded to herd all the people, including the Rector, out into a large courtyard…  Using rifle butts and boots to kick and beat people, they forced everyone to lie on the ground, hands on the back of their heads…After lying there for more than an hour, they were made to get into single file and trot, still with their hands on their heads, to the Estadio Chile, about six blocks away, subjected to insults, kicks and blows on the way. It was when they were lining up outside the stadium that Victor was first recognised by one of the non-commissioned officers. ‘You’re that fucking singer, aren’t you?’ and he hit Victor on the head, felling him, then kicking him in the stomach and ribs.  Victor was separated from the others …His friends saw him from afar, remember the wide smile that he flashed at them from across the horror that they were witnessing, in spite of a bloody face and a wound in his head.http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/jaraunfinsong.html

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

40 Years Ago Today
What Happens When You Cross Mining Companies:  
the September 11, 1973 Coup Against the Democratically Elected President Allende of Chile

Golpe de Estado 1973

The coup against President Allende seems largely related to his expropriation of Chilean Copper mines, as well as of ITT. The latter was apparently a large donor to US President Nixon’s election campaign.  And, at the time, there must surely have been some close relationship, such as interlocking directorates, between ITT whose phone lines would have required copper wire and the Copper Companies:  Anaconda and Kennecott.  Part, but seemingly not all, of the losses of expropriation would have been covered by the, at the time, newly formed Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).  If OPIC now is said to be self-sustaining and even contributes to the US budget, at the time it apparently had “thin reserves” (Kantor et. al., 2011: Reports of OPIC determinations).  Some hint was made by ITT about potential US liability via OPIC as a reason that the US should oppose Allende early on: http://www.naomiklein.org/files/resources/pdfs/itt_report.pdf

After Salvador Allende was overthrown by the 11 September 1973 coup d’état, Chile was ruled by a military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet that lasted up until 1990. The regime was characterized by the systematic suppression of political parties and the persecution of dissidents to an extent that was unprecedented in the history of Chile..” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_government_of_Chile_(1973–90) (references at link)  

The Clash refer to singer-songwriter Victor Jara in their song “Washington Bullets” on their 1980 album Sandinista!:
As every cell in Chile will tell, the cries of the tortured men.  Remember Allende in the days before, before the army came.  Please remember Victor Jara, in the Santiago Stadium.  Es Verdad, those Washington Bullets again.
On the morning of September 12, Jara was taken, along with thousands of others, as a prisoner to the Chile Stadium (renamed the Estadio Víctor Jara in September 2003).  In the hours and days that followed, many of those detained in the stadium were tortured and killed there by the military forces.  Jara was repeatedly beaten and tortured; the bones in his hands were broken as were his ribs.  Fellow political prisoners have testified that his captors mockingly suggested that he play guitar for them as he lay on the ground with broken hands.  Defiantly, he sang part of ‘Venceremos’ (We Will Win), a song supporting the Popular Unity coalition.  After further beatings, he was machine-gunned on September 16, his body dumped on a road on the outskirts of Santiago and then taken to a city morgue where 44 bullets were found in his body“. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V%C3%ADctor_Jara (references at link; bold added by us)
Chile- el pueblo vencera cropped
This all sounds so much like Haiti’s post-Aristide coup years:
The military rule was characterized by systematic suppression of all political dissidence. ….The worst violence occurred in the first three months of the coup’s aftermath, with the number of suspected leftists killed or ‘disappeared’ (desaparecidos) soon reaching into the thousands.  In the days immediately following the coup, the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs informed Henry Kissinger, that the National Stadium was being used to hold 5,000 prisoners, and as late as 1975, the CIA was still reporting that up to 3,811 prisoners were still being held in the Stadium.  Between the day of the military coup and November 1973, as many as 40,000 political prisoners were detained in the Stadium.  1,850 of them were killed, another 1,300 are missing since then.  Some of the most famous cases of ‘desaparecidos’ are Charles Horman, a U.S. citizen who was killed during the coup itself,  Chilean songwriter Víctor Jara, and the October 1973 Caravan of Death (Caravana de la Muerte) where at least 70 persons were killed.  Pinochet was also guilty of murdering many people in horrific ways.  Many were tortured in the National stadium.  The most infamous is potentially Pinochet’s henchmen dropping pregnant women out of aeroplanes.  He believed that this was a way of avenging dead soldiers who had been killed by Allende’s supporters, by killing off the seed of life.  He was quoted to have said ‘If you kill the bitch, you kill off the offspring.’  Other operations include Operation Colombo during which hundreds of left-wing activists were murdered and Operation Condor, carried out with the security services of other Latin American dictatorships…..
Following Pinochet’s defeat in the 1988 plebiscite, the 1991 Rettig Commission, a multipartisan effort from the Aylwin administration to discover the truth about the human-rights violations, listed a number of torture and detention centers (such as Colonia Dignidad, the ship Esmeralda or Víctor Jara Stadium), and found that at least 3,200 people were killed or disappeared by the regime.
A later report, the Valech Report (published in November 2004), confirmed the figure of 3,200 deaths but reduced the estimated number of disappearances. It tells of some 28,000 arrests in which the majority of those detained were incarcerated and in a great many cases tortured. Some 30,000 Chileans were exiled and received abroad, in particular in Argentina, as political refugees; however, they were followed in their exile by the DINA secret police, in the frame of Operation Condor which linked South-American dictatorships together against political opponents. Some 20,000–40,000 Chilean exiles were holders of passports stamped with the letter “L” (which stood for lista nacional), identifyng them as persona non grata and had to seek permission before entering the country.  According to a study in Latin American Perspectives, at least 200,000 Chileans (about 2% of Chile’s 1973 population) were forced to go into exile. Additionally, hundreds of thousands left the country in the wake of the economic crises that followed the military coup during the 1970s and 1980s.
http://en.wikipedia.org/qwiki/Military_government_of_Chile_(1973–90) (references at link; bold added)

Run up to the Coup against Allende

It is striking how much this looks like the US treatment of Haiti’s President Aristide.  From a US Government Report (Church Commission, Vol 7 on Covert Action: http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/contents/church/contents_church_reports_vol7.htm )

United States Economic Policies Toward Chile: 1970-1973 

A. COVERT ACTION AND ECONOMIC PRESSURE 

The policy response of the U.S. Government to the Allende regime consisted of an interweaving of diplomatic, covert, military, and economic strands. Economic pressure exerted by the United States formed an important part of the mix.  It is impossible to understand the effect of covert action without knowing the economic pressure which accompanied it. 

B. CHILEAN ECONOMIC DEPENDENCE 

The demise of the brief Allende experiment in 1970-73 came as the cumulative result of many factors-external and internal…A brief description of the Chilean economy will suffice to suggest the probable effect on Chile of U.S. economic actions and the possible interactions between economic and political factors in causing Allende’s downfall. Chile’s export-oriented economy remained, in 1970, dependent for foreign exchange earnings on a single product copper… However, the Allende Administration consciously adopted a policy of beginning to diversify Chile’s trade by expanding ties with Great Britain, the rest of the Western European countries, and Japan, and by initiating minor trade agreements with the Eastern Bloc countries. Nevertheless, Chilean economic dependence on the United States remained a significant factor during the period of the Allende government. In 1970, U.S. direct private investment in Chile st oaf $1.1 billion, out of an estimated total foreign investment of $1.6% billion. U.S. and foreign corporations played a large part in almost all of the critical areas of the Chilean economy. Furthermore, United States car K- orations controlled the production of 80 percent of Chile’s copper, which in 1970 accounted for four-fifths of Chile’s foreign exchange earnings. Hence, the Allende government faced a situation in which decisions of foreign corporations had significant ramifications throughout the Chilean economy. Chile had accumulated a large foreign debt during the Frei govern- ment, much of it contracted with international and Chile was able, through the Paris Club, to re-negotiate private banks. 800 million in debts to foreign governments and medium-term debt to major U.S. banks in early 1972. It also obtained in 1972 some $600 million in credits and loans from socialist bloc countries and Western sources; however, a study done by the Inter-American Committee on the Alliance for Progress concluded that these credits were ‘tied to specific development projects and [could] be used only gradually.’ Even with a conscious policy of diversifying its foreign trading patterns, in 1970 Chile continued to depend on the import of essential replacement parts from United States firms. The availability of short-term United States commercial credits dropped from around $300 million during the Frei years to around $30 million in 1972. The drop, a result of combined economic and political factors, seriously affected the Allende government’s ability to purchase replacement parts and machinery for the most critical sectors of the economy: copper, steel, electricity, petroleum, and transport. 

By late 1972, the Chilean Ministry of the Economy estimated that almost one-third of the diesel trucks at Chuquicamata Copper Mine, 30 percent of the privately owned city buses, 21 percent of all taxis, and 33 percent of state-owned buses in Chile could not operate because of the lack of spare parts or tires. In overall terms, the value of United States machinery and transport equipment exported to Chile by U.S. firms declined from $152.6 million in 1970 to $110 million in 1971. 

C. THE INSTRUMENTS OF UNITED STATES FOREIGN ECONOMIC POLICY TOWARD ALLENDE 

United States foreign economic policy toward Allende’s government was articulated at the highest levels of the U.S. government, and coordinated by interagency task forces. The policy was clearly framed during the Track II period. Richard Helms’ notes from his September 15, 1970, meeting with President Nixon, the meeting which initiated Track II, contain the indication: ‘Make the economy scream.’ A week later Ambassador Korry reported telling Frei, through his Defense Minister, that ‘not a nut or bolt would be allowed to reach Chile under Allende.’ While the Chilean economy was vulnerable to U.S. pressures over a period of a few years, it was not in the short run. That judgment was clearly made by intelligence analysts in the government, but its implications seem not to have affected policy-making in September and October of 1970. A February 1971 Intelligence Memorandum noted that Chile was not immediately vulnerable to investment, trade or monetary sanctions imposed by the United States. In fact, the im- position of sanctions, while it would hurt Chile eventually, was seen to carry one possible short-run benefit -it would have given Chile a justification for renouncing nearly a billion dollars of debt to the United States. The policy of economic pressure–articulated in NSDM 93 of November 1970-was to be implemented through several means. All new bilateral foreign assistance was to be stopped, although disbursements would continue under loans made previously. The U.S. would use its predominant position in international financial institutions to dry up the flow of new multilateral credit or other financial assistance. To the extent possible, financial assistance or guarantees to U.S. private investment in Chile would be ended, and U.S. businesses would be made aware of the government’s concern and its restrictive pohcres. The bare figures tell the story. U.S. bilateral aid, $35 million in 1969, was $1.5 million in 1971… U.S. Export-Import Bank credits, which had totalled $234 million in 1967 and $29 million in 1969, drop ed to zero in 1971. Loans from the multilateral Inter- American development Bank (IDB), in which the U.S. held what amounted to a veto, had totalled $46 million in 1970; they fell to $2 million in 1972 (United States A.I.D. figures). The only new IDB loans made to Chile during the Allende period were two small loans to Chilean universities made in January 1971 (4) Similarly, the World Bank made no new loans to Chile between 1970 and 1973. However, the International Monetary Fund extended Chile approximately $90 million during 1971 and 1972 to assist with foreign exchange difficulties.” 
([4] As with bilateral aid, disbursements were continued under previous commitments, $54 million was disbursed between December 1970 and December 1972. (IDB figures) [NB: Aristide was done dirtier than this in Haiti, the approved loans were not disbursed for him and Haiti was required to pay interest for non-disbursed loans!] 

“Reaction to events in Chile accounted for much of the momentum in the United States Government for the development of a policy on ex- propriation. In what came to be known as the Allende Doctrine, Chile proposed to deduct a calculation of ‘excess profits’ (over and above reinvestments and a 10-12 percent profit margin) from any compensation paid to nationalized firms in the copper sector. By this calculation, U.S. copper companies were in fact told they owed money.  The reaction of the U.S. Government was strong.  In January 1972, President Nixon announced that, when confronted with such situations, the U.S. would cut off bilateral aid and ‘withhold its support from loans under consideration in multilateral development banks.‘  While the State Department, the CIA, and the Department of Commerce all participated in the United States economic policy toward Chile, a central point in the execution of this policy was the Depart- ment of the Treasury.  The Department instructs U.S. representatives on multilateral lending institutions. In the IDB, for instance, the U.S. controlled 40 percent of the votes, sufficient to veto any ‘soft’ IDB loans. Loan proposals submitted to the IDB were held under study, never coming up for a vote by the IDB Board. Whether U.S. actions, and those of the multilateral institutions, were motivated by political interests or economic judgments of Chile’s ‘credit worthiness’ is a debate not yet definitively settled.  However, it seems clear from the pat- tern of U.S. economic actions and from the nature of debates within the Executive Branch that American economic policy was driven more by political opposition to an Allende regime than by purely technical judgments about Chile’s finances. The posture of the Export-Import Bank, a United States public institution, reflected the tone of U.S. economic policy toward Chile during the Allende period. In the fall of 1970, the Bank dropped Chile’s credit rating from ‘B,’ the second category, to ‘D,’ the last category.  Insofar as the rating contributed to similar evaluations by private U.S. banks, corporations, and international private investors, it aggravated Chile’s problem of attracting and retaining needed capital inflow through private foreign investment.  In mid-August 1971 the Bank decided that a $21 million credit for Boeing passenger jets would be deferred pending a resolution of the controversy over compensation for nationalized U.S. copper companies.  That Bank decision came one month after the nationalization and two months before the final decision on compensation.  In fact, the Boeing decision had been first announced in May, before the nationalization occurred.  The United States linked the question of indemnizabion for U.S. copper companies with Chile’s multilateral foreign debt. That foreign debt, an inheritance from the obligations incurred by the Alessandrl and Frei governments, vas the second highest foreign debt per capita of any country in the World. Yet, in the 1972 and 1973 Paris Club foreign debt negotiations with Chile’s principal foreign creditor nations, the United States alone refused to consider rescheduling Chile’s foreign debt payments until there was movement toward imdemnization for the U.S.-copper companies. The United States also exerted pressure on each of the other foreign creditor nations not to renegotiate Chile’s foreign debt as a group.http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/church/reports/vol7/pdf/ChurchV7_13_Appendix.pdf (bold added)

Note that:
The nationalised Chilean mines were kept under state control after the Pinochet’s 1973 Chilean coup d’état, despite the junta’s pro-U.S. leanings and this is still the case, largely because of public sentiment and because Codelco is a major contributor to the Chilean Exchequer. Codelco pays income tax, all dividends go to the government and it also pays a 10% tax on the export value of copper products and associated byproducts according to Law 13,136.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chilean_nationalization_of_copper (references at link; bold added)

In 1971, Chile’s newly elected Socialist president Salvador Allende confiscated the Chuquicamata mine from Anaconda. Anaconda lost two-thirds of its copper production.  Two years later, a compensation of $250 million was paid to Anaconda by the Chilean government, after the military overthrow of Allende in September 1973.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaconda_Copper (references at link; bold added)
 
It is not clear if the $250 million compensation to Anaconda was for lost production?  “Reports of Overseas Private Investment Corporation Determinations, Band 1”  Mark Kantor, Michael D. Nolan, Karl P. Sauvant, Oxford University Press, 2011 says that Anaconda claimed $165,900,000 but settled for $47.5 million cash up front form OPIC, plus OPIC guaranteed $47.5 million of Codelco stock issued to Chilex and OPIC aquired $27.5 million of Codelco. (Some more details of this can be examined online at google books)   

What has always been clear about this case (1973 Coup) is the power that these large companies are able to wield, both with the US government and against other governments which cross them.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Keystone XL Pipeline also in Kerry – Obama Hands

No more sense than they have been showing on Syria! A Thiarna déan trócaire orainn. Too much power for two men. And, by the way, John Kerry is not a Kerryman, and NOT of Irish descent but rather the name Kerry was adopted by his Viennese Jewish Kohn ancestors and his mother was a Forbes, a Boston Upper Upper Scottish and English family (this falls under trivia).

Keystone-pipeline-route

An important web site about this pipeline and the environment is found here: http://www.foe.org/projects/climate-and-energy/tar-sands/keystone-xl-pipeline

Keystone Pipeline “Phase 4: This phase is part of the Keystone XL pipeline and would start from the same area in Alberta, Canada as the main pipeline. The Canadian section would consist of 526 kilometres (327 mi) of new pipeline. It would enter the United States at Morgan, Montana and travel through Baker, Montana where American-produced oil would be added to the pipeline, then it would travel through South Dakota and Nebraska, where it would join the existing Keystone pipelines at Steele City, Nebraska. This phase has generated the greatest controversy because of its routing over the top of the Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska. On 1 March 2013, the U.S. State Department released its Keystone pipeline Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, which concluded that a large crude oil spill from the pipeline that reached the Ogallala could spread as far as 1,214 feet, with dissolved components spreading as much as 1,050 feet further. Secretary of State John Kerry is reviewing the permit application and the White House is expected to announce its decision after the Secretary has familiarised himself with the project.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keystone_Pipeline
Some have expressed (legimate) concerns about if the pipeline passes through areas which have had uranium mining that it may create cross-contamination of aquifers. We do not know if it passes through the area of old uranium mines or just nearby and cannot find any additional information.

The United States Department of the Interior, on April 29th 2013 gave comments to  U.S. Department of State (which is handling the approval because it is a cross-border pipeline). Here are a few excerpts:

The project has the potential to affect resources and values at seven units of the National Park System and one unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System. It would cross five trails in the National Trails System, including the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail, California National Historic Trail, Pony Express National Historic Trail, and Oregon National Historic Trail, and would come within 10 to 12 miles of the Niobrara National Scenic River (NSR) and 40 miles of Missouri National Recreational River (NRR). The proposed Keystone XL Pipeline alignment crosses an easement refuge (82 X) administered by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) located in the S1I2, Section 23, T37N, R32E in Phillips County, Montana. In addition, the project has the potential to impact the Hagen Site National Historic Landmark….
We had previously commented on Section 3.3.2.4, Potential Additional Mitigation Measures, where the project would require inspections of all intermediate valves and unmanned pumping stations during the first year of operation.  We were concerned whether these would take place weekly, monthly or just once during the first year of operation.  The DSEIS asserts that the project agrees to conduct inspections of valves and unmanned pump stations during the first year of operation, but there is no indication of the frequency of these inspections, and so does not address the previous NPS comment regarding frequency of inspections. The Draft EIS disclosed that the existing Keystone Oil Pipeline had 14 leaks from fittings and seals that have occurred to date and that their ‘Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition leak detection system’, along with ‘landowner reports’, identified these leaks.  Additionally, the Department of State, in consultation with Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and EPA, determined that the project should commission an engineering analysis by an independent consultant that would review the proposed Project risk assessment and proposed valve placement.  The engineering analysis would, at a minimum, assess the advisability of additional valves and/or the deployment of external leak detection systems in areas of particularly sensitive environmental resources.  The engineering analysis would determine the need for any additional mitigation measures.  We believe this is a prudent undertaking to protect water resources in the rivers it manages.
http://www.regulations.gov/contentStreamer?objectId=09000064813b2952&disposition=attachment&contentType=pdf (bold added for emphasis) The letter is several pages long so there is much more to be read at the above link.

Dirty little secret: Pipe valves and fittings almost always leak, especially with time (age). The pipes themselves can also break. Passing through a seismically active zone, as the Keystone pipeline does adds to the risk. Actually this is not really so secret anymore!


(Mayflower Pipeline video; see more on this below)

Defenders of the Black Hills Sample Letter to Obama re Keystone XL Pipeline
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500

Re: Keystone XL Pipeline

Dear President Obama:

Please do not grant the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline to carry tarsands oil across the United States. The following are reasons for my concerns.
1. More tests need to be completed on high temperature and pressure impacts to the pipeline.
2. The Keystone I Pipeline had more leaks and spills than predicted in the EIS. Can you personally insure that the XL Pipeline will be safe from leaks and spills?
3. An Emergency Response Action Plan for the Keystone XL Pipeline needs to be in place prior to any work beginning, and the public must be allowed to comment on such a plan. Too much is at stake: water, livestock, agricultural products, and the health of people.
4. An analysis of the impacts on climate change, including impacts caused by building the Pipeline, needs to be completed before a permit is granted. The public also needs to review the analysis and make comments.
5. An analysis of all the Native American cultural, burial, and archaeological sites, and meeting the approval of Native American nations involved, needs to be completed immediately to insure these irreplaceable sites will not be impacted or affected by the Keystone XL Pipeline in any way.
6. An analysis needs to be completed of the legal land ownership of all lands that will be crossed by the Keystone XL Pipeline. Much of the land area in the Northern Great Plains is still considered Treaty Territory under the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. That Treaty is protected by Article VI of the US Constitution and the March 3rd Act of 1871, and recently was upheld in Federal Court in April, 2009.
http://www.defendblackhills.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=253%3Aprotection-of-sacred-places&catid=32%3Aletters-for-you-to-send&Itemid=27 (we added bold for emphasis)

133 Native Nations Treaty to Block Keystone XL,
signed on January 25th 2013
:

“International Treaty to Protect the Sacred from Tar Sands Projects

Article IV

We mutually agree that tar sands projects present unacceptable risks to the soil, the waters, the air, sacred sites, and our ways of life including:
–       The destruction of rivers, lakes, boreal forests, homelands and health of the Cree, Dene, and Métis peoples in the Northern Alberta tar sands region and downstream Dene communities of Northwest Territories
–       The threat of pipeline and tanker oil spills into major river systems, aquifers and water bodies such as the Salish Sea, the North Pacific coast, and the Ogallala Aquifer.
–       The negative cumulative health and ecological impacts of tar sands projects on Indigenous Communities.
–       The irreparable harm to irreplaceable cultural resources, burial grounds, sacred and historic places, natural resources, and environmental resources of the central plains region which is the aboriginal homelands of many Indigenous Nations.
–       Greenhouse gas pollution that could lock the planet onto a path of catastrophic climate change.
See the rest of the treaty and more at this web site: http://www.protectthesacred.org/ and below:

Blocking the Keystone XL : the Battle of our Time -Dr. Sara Jumping Eagle

On January 25, 2013, the Ihanktonwan Dakota and the Pawnee Nation signed a formal Treaty by which both Nations and another 131 supporting Native Nations dedicated themselves to resisting the Keystone pipeline….The remaining bands of the OcetiSakowin, the Great Sioux Nation, in addition to other Canadian First Nations, and the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska plan on joining the fight to resist the Keystone XL pipeline as well.  The Ihanktonwan Representative Faith Spotted Eagle and the group Protect the Sacred has a video link explaining this historical event and treaty here: http://www.protectthesacred.org/.
On February 17 and 18, 2013 the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council passed a resolution to express the Intent of the Oceti Sakowin not to allow Keystone XL onto Oceti Sakowinlands.  The Treaty Council stated to President Obama the negative environmental impact the Keystone pipeline will have on the water of our lands.  This resolution, reaffirms the Treaty Council’s previous resolution from one year prior which stated,’The Great Sioux Nation hereby directs President Barack Obama and the United States Congress to honor the promises of the United States made through the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie treaties by prohibiting the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline and any future projects from entering and destroying our land without our consent.’  The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council under the Yellow Bird-Steele/Poor Bear Administration and under the current Brewer/Poor Bear OST Tribal Administration has also passed resolutions supporting the Treaty Council’s commitment to oppose the Keystone Pipeline. President Brewer and Vice President Poor Bear have participated in the grass roots movement Owe Aku (Take Back the Way) ‘Moccasins on the Ground’ resistance training in order to prepare for the possibility of the Keystone pipeline attempt to encroach on Oceti Sakowin lands and/or to threaten the Ogallala aquifer.  ‘We know that without drinking water on the Pine Ridge, it is genocide for our people, our Nation.  We are working as best we can to stop the tarsands oil pipeline from entering our territory,’ states Debra White Plume, founder of Owe Aku. The pipeline would also cross Mni Wiconi, the water line that brings water from the middle of the state of South Dakota to the Pine Ridge Reservation.
On April 17, 2013 many people traveled to Grand Island, Nebraska to give their comments in person to representatives to the United States State Department regarding TransCanada’s proposed additional pipeline, Keystone XL.  Representatives of several tribal Nations traveled to Grand Island to have their and our voices heard.  Faith Spotted Eagle and Armando Iron Elk, Sr., traveled as representatives of the Ihanktonwan Delegation,to defend the Sacred Water and stop the pipeline from encroaching on our treaty lands as is our sovereign right.  They described in their statements the fact that consultation on our own Oceti Sakowin lands had not occurred, the consultation process is entirely flawed, encroachment of the pipeline onto Oceti Sakowin lands would be deemed as illegal and breaking the 1851 and 1868 treaties, and the Ihanktonwan expressed dismay at the treatment the Tribes have received in not receiving the same signatory status as states and being relegated to ‘concurring parties’ when we are deemed sovereign nations.  Faith Spotted Eagle stated that there were over 8000 acres of un-surveyed lands which contain sacred places and endangered plants and animals that had not been evaluated as of yet. (If you would like to watch video of the event you can see it on the following link thanks to ‘net: Nebraska’s PBS and NPR stations’: http://www.netnebraska.org/interactive-multimedia/television/keystone-xl-pipeline-hearing-grand-island-ne-part-1 )
I listened to the Grand Island event live streaming on my phone, as I drove to work.  As I pulled into the parking lot, in Bismarck, North Dakota, I got chills as I listened to Ihanktonwan Dakota delegate Faith Spotted Eagle describe the historic treaty that had been signed in January.  This treaty between sovereign nations of the Ihanktonwan Dakota and the Ponca Nation,(and 131 supporting tribes) reaffirming the Peace Treaty they had signed 150 years earlier, yet also setting a new path.  This new path included the determination for all joined Tribal Nations to fight against the Keystone XL Pipeline, to protect our water, and prevent another attempt by the US government and Canada at land encroachment and resource destruction.  I got chills because in Armando Iron Elk Sr and Faith Spotted Eagle’s words, I could feel the strength of who we are, who our grandparents are – we are standing up for what is right – for what should be – and that cannot be tainted by oil.
This is the struggle of our time.  In our parents time there were other battles to fight, for civil rights, for fishing rights, the fight to survive – THIS IS OUR BATTLE OF OUR TIME – to protect the water for future generations.  Where will you be when everything is happening?  Will you stand by and watch it happen on facebook? Will you let it pass you by? Or will you be a warrior and protect Grandmother Earth?
We must let our tribal leaders know, that they should not be bought for a few jobs in the short-term, when their role is to make decisions based on what is best for next seven generations.  That is what we expect of them.  We must continue to protect the land, the water, the air, the animals…..The Ogallala aquifer is worth more than any money.  Our children and grandchildrencan NOT drink oil.
Pilamaye, Thank you, Dr. Sara Jumping Eagle, Oglala Lakota,Mdewakantonwan Dakota, resident of the Northern Plains, UnciMaka. http://lastrealindians.com/blocking-the-keystone-xl-the-battle-of-our-time-dr-sara-jumping-eagle/ (we added bold)

Mayflower Pipeline

The Mayflower pipeline “carried 95,000 barrels of oil per day more than 1,360 kilometres from Patoka, Ill., to Nederland, Texas. It’s part of a network of pipelines crisscrossing North America.

The oil it was carrying was Wabasca heavy crude, which originated as bitumen produced in the Alberta oil sands. Bitumen differs from conventional crude oil in that it’s very thick and sticky and requires toxic additives to help it flow through pipelines. These include known cancer-causing chemicals such as benzene. Once bitumen is diluted, it’s called dilbit.
….
The flow in the pipeline that runs through Mayflower was reversed in 2006 to carry dilbit from the oil sands. The March spill was not the first time a reversed pipeline has failed.

In 2010, an Enbridge pipeline ruptured in Michigan, spilling over three million litres of heavy Alberta oil into the Kalamazoo River. It was essentially the same kind of dilbit that spilled in Mayflower. Three years later, oil is still being removed from the river, and hundreds of nearby residents have complained about health problems.

Pipelines everywhere are aging. The Mayflower pipeline was 65 years old. The one that ruptured in Kalamazoo was built in 1969.” Excerpted from a much longer and worthwhile article: “Did Canadian oil poison this town?” By May Warren. http://www.ucobserver.org/features/2013/09/canadian_oil/ (bold added by us)

Monday, 9 Sepember 2013

Tapline, the US and the 1949 Syrian Coup d’Etat 

Tapline
(NB:  fernleitung is long-distance line, trunkline; sammelsystem is collection system)

In late 1945, the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO) announced plans to construct the Trans-Arabian Pipe Line (TAPLINE) from Saudi Arabia to the Mediterranean.  With U.S. help, ARAMCO secured rights-of-way from Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.  The Syrian right-of-way was stalled in parliament.” (D. Little [1990] 2003) http://coat.ncf.ca/our_magazine/links/issue51/articles/51_12-13.pdf (bold added for emphasis)

The Trans-Arabian Pipeline (Tapline), was an oil pipeline from Qaisumah in Saudi Arabia to Sidon in Lebanon. In its heyday, it was an important factor in the global trade of petroleum … Construction of the Trans-Arabian Pipeline began in 1947 and was mainly managed by the American company Bechtel.  Originally the Tapline was intended to terminate in Haifa which was then in the British Mandate of Palestine, but due to the establishment of the state of Israel, an alternative route through Syria (Golan Heights) and Lebanon was selected with an export terminal in Sidon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Arabian_Pipeline (references at link; bold added for emphasis)

So, Tapline construction started in 1947, but approval for the Syrian segment was still stuck in the Syrian parliament in 1948, because Syria had been occupied by the French from ca 1920 to 1946 and feared that the pipeline might lead to a new occupation, American this time around.  According to Professor Douglas Little [1990] 2003, “1949-1958, Syria:  Early Experiments in Covert Action“:   “Declassified records confirm that beginning in November 1948, [US operative] Meade met secretly with Syrian Army Chief of Staff Col. Husni Zaim at least six times to discuss the ‘possibility [of an] army supported dictatorship’ Meade and Zaim completed plans for the coup in early 1949.  On 14 March, Zaim ‘requested U.S. agents [to] provoke and abet internal disturbances ‘essential for coup d’etat’ or that U.S. funds be given him [for] this purpose.’  Nine days later, Zaim ‘promised a ‘surprise’ within several days’ if Meade could secure U.S. help.  As rumors of a military coup grew stronger, Assistant Secretary of State George McGhee arrived in Damascus, ostensibly to discuss resettling Palestinian refugees but possibly to authorize U.S. support for Zaim.  Shortly thereafter, students protesting government corruption and mishandling of the war with Israel took to the streets.  On 30 March, Zaim staged his coup, … On 16 May, Zaim approved ARAMCO’s TAPLINE.http://coat.ncf.ca/our_magazine/links/issue51/articles/51_12-13.pdf (bold added)

Oil started being transported through the pipeline in 1950.  Following the 1967 Six-Day War, the section of the pipeline which ran through the Golan Heights came under Israeli occupation, although the Israelis permitted the pipeline’s operation to continue.  “After years of constant bickering between Saudi Arabia and Syria and Lebanon over transit fees, the emergence of oil supertankers, and pipeline breakdowns, the section of the line beyond Jordan ceased operation in 1976. The remainder of the line between Saudi Arabia and Jordan continued to transport modest amounts of petroleum until 1990 when the Saudis cut off the pipeline in response to Jordan’s support of Iraq during the first Gulf War.  Today, the entire line is unfit for oil transport.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Arabian_Pipeline  (references at link)

According to the US EIA, “The Trans-Arabian Pipeline (Tapline) from Qaisumah to Sidon, Lebanon, completed in 1947, has been closed, in part, since 1984 (the portion to Jordan was closed in 1990, although there has been talk of reopening this portion).” http://www.eia.gov/countries/cab.cfm?fips=SA (Either they meant to say it was started in 1947 or part of it was finished!)

The Trans-Arabian Pipeline was 1,214 kilometres (754 mi) long with diameter of 30 inches (760 mm)“.  At the time of its construction, “it was the world’s largest oil pipeline system. The initial capacity of the pipeline was 300,000 barrels per day (48,000 m3/d) (bpd), eventually rising to a maximum capacity of about 500,000 bbl/d (79,000 m3/d) with the addition of several more pumping stations.  While the pipeline was considered groundbreaking and innovative at the time it was built, were it still operational” today “it would be considered somewhat outdated — nowadays, most modern long-distance pipelines constructed beginning in the second half of the twentieth century have been built to a diameter of 42″ or 48″ and thus” are “able to transport considerably more crude oil per day than Tapline did in its heyday.  The pipeline was supplied from the oil fields near Abqaiq.  The Tapline corridor has remained a potential export route for Persian Gulf oil exports to Europe and the United States.  At least one analysis has indicated that the transportation cost of exporting oil via the Tapline through Haifa to Europe would cost as much as 40 percent less than shipping by tanker through the Suez Canal.  In early 2005, rehabilitation of the Tapline at an estimated cost of US$100 to US$300 million was one of the strategic options being considered by the Jordanian government to meet oil needs.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Arabian_Pipeline (references at link; bold added for emphasis)

The pipeline was built and operated by the Trans-Arabian Pipeline Company. It was founded as a joint venture between the Standard Oil company of New Jersey (now ExxonMobil), Standard Oil of California (Chevron), The Texas Company (better known as Texaco, now a part of Chevron), and Socony-Vacuum Oil Company (ExxonMobil), however, it eventually became a fully owned subsidiary of Aramco. The company continued operating with no oil being transported until the end of 2002, when Aramco fully closed the Tapline subsidiary. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Arabian_Pipeline (references at link; bold added)

Those who are anxious to move quickly with this topic, due to its urgent importance, will want to not only read about the Levant Basin, Leviathan Field mentioned yesterday (see below) but also the recently granted oil and gas concessions in the Golan Heights. It appears that while Syria is engaged in Civil War that Israel will take out the oil and gas from there. We will most likely discuss these tomorrow.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Looking through the seemingly innumerable pipeline options, we are finally left with the impression that the main (new) thing at stake right now is, most likely, the recent discovery of offshore oil and gas in the Eastern Mediterranean, Levant Basin, probably the Leviathan Field, and perhaps a related pipeline to Europe.  But, that is another topic for another day.  First we think that we will look at two pipelines, although not just because they have the cute names of Tipline  and Tapline.  

Tipline

Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline
(Creative Commons via Wikimedia)
The Trans-Israel pipeline…, also known as the Tipline or the Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline was built in 1968 to transport crude oil from Iran to Europe.  The Iranians stopped the use of the pipeline after Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was overthrown as a result of the Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979.  The 254 km, 42″ pipeline’s capacity from a special pier in Ashkelon to Eilat’s port on the Red Sea is 400,000 barrels (64,000 m3) per day, and 1.2 million barrels per day (190,000 m3/d) in the opposite direction.  The pipeline is owned and operated by the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC) which also operates several other oil pipelines in Israel.  In 2003, Israel and Russia made an agreement to supply Asian markets with Russian oil delivered by tankers from Novorossiysk to Ashkelon and then reloaded onto tankers in Eilat for shipment to Asia. In other words, the oil would flow in the direction opposite to the one intended when the pipeline was originally constructed. This route from Europe to Asia is shorter than the traditional one around Africa, and cheaper than the one via the Suez Canal.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Israel_pipeline (references at link)

This pipeline is of particular note because Eilat is next to the port of Aqaba, where oil will arrive from Iraq via a newly proposed pipeline.  Although we could find no record of it, it would seem that the plan is to either take the oil from the Basra-Aqaba pipeline and put it into the neighboring Eilat to Ashkelon Pipeline, and send it on to Ashkelon, which is on the Mediterranean, hence bypassing the many chokepoints (and Syria), or, ideally they would link the two pipelines together.  
AqabaComposite
(By Zero0000 via Wikimedia)
The Tipline was co-owned by Israel and Iran under the Shah and there have been ongoing legal disputes over it ever since.  Even under the Shah, Israel did not want to admit to this relationship.  Even though Jordan and Israel are supposed to have friendly ties now, they probably would still not want to admit that they intend to share a pipeline.  So close that they are like twin cities, Eilat-Aqaba have been attacked by Islamist terrorists but now seem protected by Israel’s Iron dome. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocket_attacks_on_Eilat_and_Aqaba

Environmental Risks:

Of course, with all of the movement of oil in the Gulf of Aqaba, the Red Sea and the Suez Canal comes the inevitable risk of oil spills:  Strangely enough Aqaba may build a nuclear power plant, adding the additional risk of radioactive spills and leaks.  It is mega stupid as large earthquakes and even tsunamis can and have even recently occurred here:  In 1995, “The epicenter was located 60 kilometers (37 mi) south of the head of the Gulf of Aqaba where the countries of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia converge. Damage to buildings occurred in the coastal cities of Eilat, Israel and Aqaba, Jordan and a small tsunami was observed by witnesses there. Farther down the coast and closer to the epicenter in the Egyptian city of Nuweiba several well-built, modern, concrete reinforced homes were completely destroyed.”  Thus we risk Fukushima all over again, except we guess that this time it will be Fukuaqaba. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1995_Gulf_of_Aqaba_earthquake (reference at link) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Sea_Transform

The Gulf of Aqaba has coral reefs and abundant marine life which face threats from oil spills but also from municipal sewage, industrial pollutants, unregulated tourism, (and possibly nuclear leaks in the future).  Oil was and presumably still is shipped from the Sinai to Israel via the Gulf of Aqaba under the 1978 Camp David agreements which stipulated that Israel buy 2.5 million tons of oil per year from the Southern Sinai desert’s Abu Rodeis oil fields.  (There appears to be no oil pipeline.  The pipeline being constantly attacked in Sinai is the Arab Gas Pipeline for natural gas, seen on yesterday’s map.)  Obviously, these or other tankers pose a danger and “Due to the long narrow straits of the Gulf of Aqaba an oil spill of two thousand tons or more could be catastrophic.  Although there have been hundreds of oils spills in the Gulf of Aqaba region, there has not been one of catastrophic measures….Oil pollution can damage the reproductive system of corals, interfere with the production of larvae, and inhibit normal settling…The best way to prevent environmental damage from oil spills is to protect against the release of oil into the environment.  However, much of the oil that enters the Gulf’s marine environment comes not from large oil tankers, but from smaller oil platform accidents, and the dispersion of oil from pleasure boats…. Regarding tankers, the design of vessels can play an important role in decreasing the likelihood of accidents and oil spills.  Key design features include: (a) building double hulls with strong, special beams and springs to cushion blows to the vessel; (b) equipping vessels with technology to detect nearby rocks; (c) equipping vessels with advanced guidance and alarm systems to avoid collision with other vessels; and (d) assuring that the design of the pumping and piping systems is appropriate to avoid any leakages during loading and unloading….In any case of an oil spill, a well-trained emergency staff with well-equipped containment and cleanup machines is the last line of defense against environmental damage to the Gulf’s ecosystem.http://gurukul.ucc.american.edu/ted/aqaba.htm

Thus PERSGA was created:
The Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden:  PERSGA is an official regional organization based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, responsible for the development and implementation of regional programmes for the protection and conservation of the marine environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, and was formally established in September 1996, with the signing of the Cairo Declaration by all cooperating parties to the Jeddah Convention.” http://www.unep.ch/regionalseas/main/persga/persga.html

PERSGA began its efforts at a time when regional marine life faced threats from oil discharged by ships, from dredging and construction as well as from wastes produced by big industrial plants being built in crucial coastal zone areas.  PERSGA’s intervention also stemmed from concern over mankind’s unsustainable rate of consumption of natural resources and because most development was performed without taking into account environmental needs.  Such unsound development policies have inevitably resulted in increasing disturbances to the region’s ecological balance.  PERSGA thus assumes the task of promoting sustainable development in the region and encouraging both local and national activities that work towards safeguarding the natural environment. http://www.persga.org/inner.php?id=39 …. PERSGA has played an active role in promoting regional cooperation by supporting national environment plans as well as organizing workshops concerning conservation of environment in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.  PERSGA aims to provide for and address marine pollution issues, marine management and sustainable use of living marine resources, conservation of habitats and biodiversity, reduction of navigation risks, the establishment of a network of marine protected areas, integrated coastal zone management programmes, and to promote public awareness, participation and capacity building.  PERSGA’s most significant achievement to date has been the development of international law protecting the marine environment of the region.  The 1982 Jeddah Convention, signed by PERSGA’s seven member states, centers mainly on the prevention, reduction and fight against marine pollution.  Among its achievements on the ground, thanks to continued cooperation with UNESCO and ALECSO, PERSGA has adopted an oil spill trajectory model for the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, as well as a network of Tide gauges.  It has also worked in close cooperation with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to evaluate the status of marine mammals in the region.  By gathering such important data, PERSGA can better monitor the effects of its actions and design appropriate programmes aimed at sustaining biological health and diversity in the region.  In Djibouti and Sudan, for example, PERSGA carried out a survey of natural habitats so as to formulate plans for their protection.  Also in Sudan, a national plan for marine science was devised by PERSGA, which included mechanisms for the collection of data, assessment of pollution impacts, and the monitoring of pearl, oyster and shrimp cultivation in the Sudanese coastal waters.  PERSGA also conducted environmental assessments of the coasts of Saudi Arabia and Yemen in cooperation with  IUCN. the cooperation between PERSGA and IUCN has also led to the establishment of a marine national park off the coast of Aqaba in Jordan.  On a regional level, the organization has held several training workshops, focusing on environmental assessment procedures, surveys and monitoring mechanisms to deal with and to prevent oil pollution, the establishment of marine protected areas and the development of a sound coastal zone management programmes in the region.http://www.persga.org/inner.php?id=247

As we have discussed:  “The Red Sea and Gulf of Aden carry a significant ratio of the global seaborne trade and crude/ refined oil cargoes.  The Region is thus, constantly under threats of pollution by oil spills and maritime accidents.  PERSGA has designed its Navigation and Maritime Pollution Combating Program to increase the safety of shipping in the RSGA Region and to introduce measures to reduce risks and impacts of marine pollution.  The Regional Action Plan for Contingency Planning provides the framework through which states agreed to cooperate with each other in the event of a major oil spill or other pollution events that require regional response. PERSGA has established EMRSGA (Emergency Mutual Aid Centre for the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden) at Hurghada-Egypt, which is aligned with the implementation of the Regional Contingency Plan through coordinating pollution prevention and control mechanisms among PERSGA Member States, fostering collaboration, and assisting States in strengthening national capacities.  The Action Plan proposes a comprehensive program for training to build and promote capacities involved in its implementation in the region.http://www.persga.org/inner.php?id=148

It appears that there will always be oil leaks and spills, as long as the world remains petroleum dependent, although they can be reduced with effort.  Although tar balls have been widely noted after the US Gulf Coast BP oil disaster, they seem to occur elsewhere without major spills. See for instance information, albeit dated, on Mediterraean oil “tar balls” believed to originate from oil terminals: http://www.unep.org/regionalseas/publications/reports/RSRS/pdfs/rsrs091.pdf For an overview of risks associated with oil in the Red Sea area, see: http://www.itopf.com/information-services/country-profiles/documents/redsea.pdf  

According to the UNEP (UN Environment Programme):  
Discharges of oil from shipping, offshore extraction of oil, and transport of oil in pipelines is the result of either accidents or ‘normal’, deliberate operational discharges.  Accidental discharges (oil spills) occur when vessels collide or come in distress at sea (engine breakdown, fire, explosion) and break open, or run aground close to the shore, or when there is a blowout of an offshore oil well, or when a pipeline breaks.  Much can be done to avoid accidents, but there will always be unfortunate circumstances and situations that cause accidents to happen.  Operational discharges, on the other hand, are mostly deliberate and ‘routine’, and can to a very large extent be effectively controlled and avoided. It is much a question combining available technical solutions with information, education and a change of attitude among ship-owners, mariners, offshore platform and pipeline operators….
There is no certain figure of how many miles of offshore pipelines there is in the world today.  One estimation, published in the 2002 U.S. National Research Council (NRC) report, is 82,748 miles (about 52,000 kilometres) of pipelines.  Operational discharges from offshore oil pipelines usually consist of chemical discharges during construction, hydrostatic testing, commissioning, pigging, and maintenance of the pipeline systems.  Pipeline discharges usually contain corrosion and scale inhibitors, biocides, oxygen scavengers, and other agents.  However, pipelines can also continuously leak oil in small quantities, although the line is intact. (When a pipeline breaks, however, the spill will be an acute one, like any other accidental oil spill.)  Technical systems to detect and locate such smaller leaks are required as a means to avoid discharge of oil into the marine environment — as well as to save money for the pipeline operator.

Much more here: http://oils.gpa.unep.org/facts/operational.htm

How prevalent is offshore drilling?  According to “Black Tides” in the UK:  
Today, offshore oil extraction makes up nearly a quarter of worldwide production, with more than 20,000 platforms of all sizes and designs, found in four main areas:  the Gulf of Mexico, the Persian Gulf, West Africa and the North Sea.  The US National Academy of Sciences estimates the volume of operational discharge and accidental spills from this sector of activity at 80,000 tonnes in 1979, 50,000 in 1981 and 100,000 in 2000.” More here: http://www.black-tides.com/uk/source/terminal-worksite-platform/offshore-oil-platform.php

Saturday, 7 September 2013

We have a new post: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/investigation-of-martelly-lamothe-for-drug-trafficking-and-money-laundering/?preview=true&preview_id=1265&preview_nonce=6b0bd704c0&post_format=standard There is a bit of information and reference links about mining in Suriname and rainforest peoples within the notes-references of the above post, for those who are not interested in Haiti’s politics.  

As mentioned yesterday, near the Suez canal is the Sumed pipeline:
Sumed Pipeline
[Map from US EIA]
The Sumed pipeline (also known as Suez-Mediterranean pipeline) is an oil pipeline in Egypt, running from the Ain Sukhna terminal on the Gulf of Suez to offshore Sidi Kerir, Alexandria on the Mediterranean Sea.  It provides an alternative to the Suez Canal for transporting oil from the Persian Gulf region to the Mediterranean.  The project for an oil pipeline from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean commenced after the extended closure of the Suez Canal in June 1967.  Establishment of the pipeline company was agreed in 1973 between five Arab governments.  The Sumed pipeline was opened in 1977.

The Sumed pipeline is 320 kilometres (200 mi) long. It consists of two parallel lines of 42 inches (1,070 mm) diameter.  Its capacity is 2.5 million barrels per day (400×103 m3/d).  In 2009 it carried 1.1 million barrels per day (170×103 m3/d).  The pipeline is owned by the Arab Petroleum Pipeline Company/Sumed Company, a joint venture of EGPC (50%, Egypt), Saudi Aramco (15%, Saudi Arabia), IPIC (15%, the United Arab Emirates), three Kuwaiti companies (each of 5%), and QGPC (5%, Qatar).

Proposed extension
An extension of the Sumed is being considered. The proposed extension would traverse the Red Sea from Ain Sukhna to the Saudi coast near Sharm al Sheikh, and from there to the terminal of Saudi Arabia’s main east-west pipeline in Yanbu.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumed_pipeline (references at link)

Friday, 6 September, 2013

The Suez Canal

Suez ship
Ship on the Suez Canal

An elderly Scottish lady, who had served in the Merchant Marine, recently told of one of her most memorable moments of service:  when going through the Suez Canal they were shot at. She reassured the passengers that it was a military salute, but indeed the ship was being shot at.  When was this?  The 1956 Suez Crisis or perhaps even WWII?  A quick search failed to turn up a definitive answer but revealed a similar case which just occurred:  “Egypt arrests three after gun attack on ship in Suez Canal“, 05 Sep 2013:  “Egypt has arrested three people who opened fire with machine guns on a ship passing through the Suez Canal…” http://jordantimes.com/article/egypt-arrests-three-after-gun-attack-on-ship-in-suez-canal—-source
For info on the Suez Crisis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suez_Crisis

From the port of Aqaba, after getting through the Gulf of Aqaba, the next place for the oil to go through to reach the Mediterranean and on to Europe and the US would be the narrow passage of the Suez Canal.

Just what is the Suez Canal anyway? 
The Suez Canal…is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.  Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows ship transport between Europe and Asia without navigation around Africa.  
Suez Canal Ismailia2
The Suez Canal at Ismailia, ca. 1860, by Francis Frith. The Ismailia segment was completed in November 1862
The northern terminus is Port Said and the southern terminus is Port Tawfiq at the city of Suez. Ismailia lies on its west bank, 3 km (1.9 mi) from the half-way point.  When first built, the canal was 164 km (102 mi) long and 8 m (26 ft) deep.  After multiple enlargements, the canal is 193.30 km (120.11 mi) long, 24 m (79 ft) deep and 205 metres (673 ft) wide as of 2010.  It consists of the northern access channel of 22 km (14 mi), the canal itself of 162.25 km (100.82 mi) and the southern access channel of 9 km (5.6 mi).  The canal is single lane with passing places in the ‘Ballah By-Pass’ and the Great Bitter Lake.  It contains no locks; seawater flows freely through the canal. In general, the canal north of the Bitter Lakes flows north in winter and south in summer. The current south of the lakes changes with the tide at Suez.  The canal is owned and maintained by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) of Egypt.  Under international treaty, it may be used ‘in time of war as in time of peace, by every vessel of commerce or of war, without distinction of flag.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suez_Canal (references at link)

And how important is it?  The BBC described the Suez Canal as:
This thin blue ribbon – just 300m wide at its narrowest point – is one of the world’s most vital waterways, a crucial commercial shortcut. A ship that passes along the 162km (101 mile) Suez Canal is saved a 9,654km circumnavigation of Africa; the average journey time cut from 20 days to just 13 hours.” 13 October 2008, “Suez: the supertanker super highway“, by Christian Fraser, BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7666877.stm

According to the US Energy Information Administration:  
Egypt plays a vital role in international energy markets through the operation of the Suez Canal and Suez-Mediterranean (Sumed) Pipeline. In 2012, about 7% of all seaborne traded oil and 13% of liquefied natural gas (LNG) traded worldwide transited through the Suez Canal. The Suez Canal is an important transit route for oil and LNG shipments traveling northbound from the Persian Gulf to Europe and North America and southbound from North Africa and countries along the Mediterranean Sea to Asia. …Closure of the Suez Canal and the [nearby] Sumed Pipeline would necessitate diverting oil tankers around the southern tip of Africa, the Cape of Good Hope. That would add 2,700 miles to ship oil from Saudi Arabia to the United States, increasing both costs and shipping time, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Moreover, shipping around Africa would add 15 days of transit to Europe and 8-10 days to the United States, according to the International Energy Agency.http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=12371

By now it appears abundantly clear why the US and often Europe take(s) the position that they do in this region. There would seem to be no secret or not-so-secret lobby group, but rather an often flawed attempt for stability in the region of these waterways, at any cost, to keep the oil and liquified natural gas moving through, which keep these economies going. And, as long as these economies are oil and gas dependent, and as long as there is a need for any items of trade to make it from the Middle East toward the west, policy will not change.

Thursday, 5 September, 2013
Our Senate inquest post has been updated: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-witnesses-part-iii-of-the-senate-inquest-report-on-the-troubling-death-of-judge-jean-serge-joseph/

Some General News:
Fukoshima continues to leak and there is a costly proposal to freeze the ground to try to control the leaks. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23940214
Protest against goldmine plan in Rosia Montana continue on third day, Protesters demonstrate in Bucharest against government’s support for plan to create Europe’s biggest opencast goldmine.” By Grace Wong. 4 September 2013 http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/sep/04/protest-rosia-montana-gold-mine-protest
South African gold miners go on strike: Some 80,000 gold miners in South Africa have gone on a strike to call for higher pay, but their union has significantly scaled down its demands.” BBC, 3 September 2013 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-23941813

Thursday, 5 September, 2013

More pipelines…

Some of you may have read that an agreement for a pipeline which runs from Iraq to a port in Jordan, by-passing Syria, has just been signed: “Iraq signs ‘strategic’ pipeline deal with Jordan“. 4 Sep 2013, by Mohammad Ghazal. “Amman — The Iraqi ministry of oil said on Monday that Jordan and Iraq have signed an agreement to build a double pipeline that will supply the Kingdom with crude oil and natural gas…..The 1,680-kilometre double pipeline will pump one-million barrels of oil a day from Basra on the Arabian Gulf to Jordan’s Aqaba Port, and around 258 million cubic feet of gas.” The entire article is here: http://jordantimes.com/article/iraq-signs-strategic-pipeline-deal-with-jordan

Perhaps you will conclude that this solves the problem of the 
Strait of Hormuz chokepoint, discussed yesterday and which the US EIA calls “by far the world’s most important chokepoint with an oil flow of about 17 million barrels per day in 2011.” http://www.eia.gov/countries/regions-topics.cfm?fips=WOTC In 2012 Iraq exported 2.4 million barrels per day with about 2 to 2.1 million from Iraq’s Persian Gulf ports and about 0.3 to 0.4 million barrels exported via the Iraq-Turkey Pipeline in the north.  Exporting by its Persian Gulf ports means that it passes through the Strait of Hormuz.  It is easy to see that there is still 1 million barrels of current production that would pass through the Strait of Hormuz. And, Iraq wants to be exporting about 9.5 million barrels per day by 2017. http://www.eia.gov/countries/analysisbriefs/Iraq/iraq.pdf

Furthermore, this new pipeline runs to the Aqaba Port, which, itself, appears theoretically subject to critical chokepoints. It is on the Gulf of Aqaba or Gulf of Eilat “located at the northern tip of the Red Sea, east of the Sinai Peninsula and west of the Arabian mainland.
Sinai-peninsula-map
Gulf of Aqaba, Gulf of Suez, Sinai peninsula map, US gov via Wikimedia
Its coastline is divided between four countries: Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia….The Gulf of Aqaba measures 24 kilometres (15 mi) at its widest point and stretches some 160 kilometres (99 mi) north from the Straits of Tiran to a point where the border of Israel meets the borders of Egypt and Jordan…..At this northern end of the Gulf are three important cities: Taba in Egypt, Eilat in Israel, and Aqaba in Jordan.  All three cities serve … as strategically important commercial ports ….Further south, Haql is the largest Saudi Arabian city on the gulf.  On Sinai, Sharm el-Sheikh and Dahab are the major centers.  The largest population center on the Gulf of Aqaba is Aqaba, with a population of 108,000 inhabitants (2009), followed by Eilat with a population of 48,000 (2009).http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_of_Aqaba (references at link) So, once it get to Aqaba, Jordan, before it can get to the Red Sea, it must pass through this narrow waterway which borders 4 different countries.  In this context a 1949 plan by Israel to build a pipeline from Aqaba to Haifa is interesting, as discussed in this article: http://www.jta.org/1949/08/01/archive/israeli-plans-for-oil-pipeline-from-aqaba-to-haifa-reported-in-final-stages Of additional interest is the historic Mosul-Haifa oil pipeline:  
The Mosul–Haifa oil pipeline (also known as Mediterranean pipeline) was a crude oil pipeline from the oil fields in Kirkuk, located in north Iraq, through Jordan to Haifa (now on the territory of Israel).  The pipeline was operational in 1935–1948.  Its length was about 942 kilometres (585 mi), with a diameter of 12 inches (300 mm) (reducing to 10 and 8 inches (250 and 200 mm) in parts), and it took about 10 days for crude oil to travel the full length of the line.  The oil arriving in Haifa was distilled in the Haifa refineries, stored in tanks, and then put in tankers for shipment to Europe.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosul–Haifa_oil_pipeline (references at link)
Mosul-Haifa oil pipeline
1935-48, Historic Mosul-Haifa oil pipeline by Amirki, Creative Commons via Wikimedia
As we saw, before the oil can even get to the Red Sea it must get first through the Gulf of Aqaba and then the Straits of Tiran, which are even more narrow than the Gulf of Aqaba:  “The Straits of Tiran …. are the narrow sea passages, about 13 km (7 nautical miles) wide, between the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas which separate the Gulf of Aqaba from the Red Sea. It is named after Tiran Island located at its inflow, on which the Multinational Force and Observers has an observation post to monitor the compliance of Egypt in maintaining freedom of navigation of the straits as provided under the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty.  Sanafir Island lies to the east of Tiran, southeast of the shallow strait between Tiran and Saudi Arabia.  Access to Jordan’s only seaport of Aqaba and to Israel’s only Red Sea seaport of Eilat is contingent upon passage through the Gulf of Aqaba, giving the Straits of Tiran strategic importance.  Egypt’s blockade of the Straits to Israeli ships and ships bound for Israel in 1956 and again in 1967 was a catalyst, respectively, to the Suez Crisis and the Six-Day War.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straits_of_Tiran (references at link)
Strait tiran 83
Strait of Tiran, US gov via Wikimedia
And, that is not the end of the potential difficulties facing oil shipments taking this route.   

Wednesday, 4 September, 2013

In the Almighty Dollar the US Government Trusts: military production and oil & gas pipelines

Contrary to what is commonly said, if you examine US policy over the last 20 plus years, either their interests are purely economic and they don’t look at the long-term repercussions or their end game is to turn the world into a Muslim theocracy.  Even though the US is still a majority “Christian” nation, the US government has shown themselves opposed to secular regimes, which offer some protection to Christian minorities.  According to Dr. Stephen Zunes, Chair of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco (1/3/11)  “Perhaps the Middle Eastern country where Christians are safest is under the autocratic but secular Assad regime in Syria, where they number close to 2 million, roughly 10 percent of the population. Yet the United States has targeted that regime with punitive sanctions and threats to topple the governmenthttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-zunes/us-deserves-its-share-of-_b_801746.html For more updated information on the plight of middle eastern Christians see: http://gloria-deo.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-plight-of-middle-eastern-christians.html 
1in god we trust  
[photo by Themanwithoutapast, public domain, Wikimedia commons]

Hence, we could be wrong, but we think that the US government is primarily only looking at short-term economic goals.  The “In God We Trust”  on the US money is a hint. It is “god” little “g”, i.e. the “almighty dollar”.  Notice that the letters are all the same size on the bill.    

And, of course, no one should fool themselves, all countries have their economic interests and many countries have a “military industrial complex”.  Some countries don’t engage in war but export arms to other countries.  For defense budgets, the 2011 top ten ranking in spending is:   
1 United States 711 billion dollars and 4.7 percent of GDP followed by 
2 China which spends $143.0 billion and 2.0 percent of GDP;
3 Russia $71.9 billion 3.9 % GDP 
4 United Kingdom, 5 France, 6 Japan, 7 India, 8 Saudi Arabia, 9  Germany, 10 Brazil http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_industry (references at link)

If you look at the following list of “Largest Arms Exporters” (2001–12) by rank, you will notice that the US is not the only country which appears to have gone to the Military-Industrial Complex-Permanent War Economy in the Post-WWII period.  Look how prominent tiny Switzerland is and Sweden is on this list and think of the role they played as “neutrals” selling arms to Nazi Germany, as we discussed a few days ago:
1 United States, 2 Russia, 3 Germany, 4  France, 5  China, 6 Turkey 6  United Kingdom (both ranked 6), 7  Italy,  8 Israel, 9 Sweden, 10  Ukraine, 11 Spain, 12  Switzerland, 13, Canada, 14  South Korea   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_industry (references at the wikipedia link)

Although it appears generally believed that the so-called “Islamic Friendship Pipeline” (Iran, Iraq, Syria) would be the one that the US and France are upset over, we decided to take a look at various pipelines, over the next days:      
Arabian Sea map
[Map by Norman Einstein, Creative Commons via wikimedia]

Hormuz map
[Map by Kleptosquirrel, Creative Commons via wikimedia]

The 2011–12 Strait of Hormuz dispute is an ongoing dispute between a coalition of countries and Iran.  The dispute arose on 27 December 2011, when an Iranian Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz…..The dispute was interjected by an European Union sanction banning oil exports from Iran to Europe on 23 January 2012 in an attempt to deter Iran from continuing with their nuclear program.  Oil exports contribute to about 80% of Iranian public revenue, with roughly 20% being exported to Europe.  Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea, which both account for 26% of Iran’s oil exports have expressed a willingness to reduce oil exports from Iran. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011–12_Strait_of_Hormuz_dispute (references at link)

The Strait of Hormuz … is a strait between the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.  It is the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean and is one of the world’s most strategically important choke points.  On the north coast is Iran, and on the south coast is the United Arab Emirates and Musandam, an exclave of Oman.  At its narrowest, the strait is 21 nautical miles (39 km) wide.  About 20% of the world’s petroleum, and about 35% of the petroleum traded by sea, passes through the strait making it a highly important strategic location for international trade….Alternative…Routes: In June 2012, Saudi Arabia reopened the Iraq Pipeline through Saudi Arabia (IPSA), which was confiscated from Iraq in 2001 and travels from Iraq across Saudi Arabia to a Red Sea port.  It will have a capacity of 1.65 million barrels per day.  In July 2012, the UAE began using a new pipeline from the Habshan fields in Abu Dhabi to the Fujairah oil terminal on the Gulf of Oman, effectively bypassing the Strait of Hormuz.  It was constructed by China and will have a maximum capacity of around 2 million barrels per day, over three-fourths of the UAE’s 2012 production rate.  The UAE is also increasing Fujairah’s storage and off-loading capacities.  In a July 2012 Foreign Policy article, Gal Luft … indicated that tensions involving the Strait of Hormuz are leading those currently dependent on shipments from the Gulf to find alternative shipping capabilities.  He stated that Saudi Arabia was considering building new pipelines to Oman and Yemen, and that Iraq might revive the disused Iraq-Syria pipeline to ship crude to the Mediterranean.  Luft stated that reducing Hormuz traffic ‘presents the West with a new opportunity to augment its current Iran containment strategy.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strait_of_Hormuz  (references at link; bold added) Of course the elephant in the room here is why is a Saudi Islamist state ok and an Iranian Islamist state is not? Saudi has a clear record of funding and exporting “terrorists” so it isn’t that.

Kirkuk–Baniyas pipeline
Kirkuk-Baniyas pipeline Map Creative Commons via wikimedia

Kirkuk–Baniyas pipeline is a crude oil pipeline from the Kirkuk oil field in Iraq to the Syrian port of Baniyas.  The pipeline is around 800 kilometres (500 mi) long and the capacity is 300 thousand barrels per day (48×103 m3/d).  The pipeline was opened on 23 April 1952.  During the 2003 invasion of Iraq the pipeline was damaged by U.S. air-strikes and remained out of operation since then.  On 17 December 2007, Syria and Iraq agreed to rehabilitate the pipeline.  The pipeline was to be reconstructed by Stroytransgaz, a subsidiary of Gazprom.  However, Stroytransgaz failed to start the rehabilitation and the contract was nullified in April 2009.  As the rehabilitation of the existing pipeline occurred to be more costly than building a new pipeline, in September 2010 Iraq and Syria agreed to build two new Kirkuk–Baniyas pipelines.  One pipeline with capacity of 1.5 million barrels per day (240×103 m3/d) would carry heavier crude oil while another pipeline capacity of 1.25 million barrels per day (199×103 m3/d) would carry lighter crude oil. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirkuk–Baniyas_pipeline  (references at link; bold added)

According to the US Energy Information Administration:  
Despite the challenges facing many energy projects in Syria, there are several plans underway to enhance Syria’s role as an energy transit country.  One particular project proposes to build two oil pipelines (and one for natural gas) that would send Iraqi crude to the Mediterranean coast in Syria, and from there to international markets. The first of the proposed pipelines would send heavier crudes from northern Iraq and have a capacity of 1.5 million bbl/d.  The second pipeline would send lighter grades from southern Iraqi fields, and would follow the same route as the former Haditha-Banias pipeline; the second section is scheduled to have a 1.25 million bbl/d capacity.  It is unlikely that this proposal will make significant progress until the situation in Syria improves. Thus far, pledges to become an important transit country in the eastern Mediterranean remain unfulfilled, and this is unlikely to change until there is a resolution to the conflict. http://www.eia.gov/countries/cab.cfm?fips=SY (bold added)

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The Senate Inquest post has been updated.  The testimony of witnesses continues. Today Ketley Julien’s testimony began. She said that Judge Joseph said that this was “a deadly thing” and that President Martelly intentionally spit in his face, etc. https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-witnesses-part-iii-of-the-senate-inquest-report-on-the-troubling-death-of-judge-jean-serge-joseph/

Mining for the Permanent War Economy and Haiti

The term permanent war economy has been defined as the economic component within the military-industrial complex, whereby the collusion between militarism and war profiteering are manifest as a permanently subsidised industry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permanent_war_economy
But, there is so much more involved here.  Now there are well-paid private security – mercenary armies often financed and subsidized by tax-payers, whereas military in most, and perhaps all countries are poorly paid, if paid at all. [See for instance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_military_company http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackwater_(company) ]  Furthermore, there is not only the manufacture and sales of military equipment, but its use and destruction leads to more manufacture and sales.  Less often discussed is that the destruction of cities and infrastructure in war leads to contracts to rebuild.  And, everyone knows that construction is supposed to lead to a booming economy.  But, all of this destruction and construction leads to use and destruction of natural resources.  It is not a sustainable model from an environmental perspective (we leave aside here the social and psychological destructiveness).  Even quarries involved in rebuilding are terribly destructive to the environment and may lead to deforestation, disappearance of entire hills, and acid mine drainage.  Removing the protection of hills and forests can also increase violent wind damage which increases — you guessed it — housing and other construction.  Refugees accepted into host countries can also lead to construction booms within host countries, which are destructive to the host country’s environment.    
cruise missile
As there has been much discussion of Cruise Missiles which may be used by the US to attack Syria.  How much do they cost?
Currently cruise missiles are among the most expensive of single-use weapons, up to several million dollars apiece.  One consequence of this is that its users face difficult choices in targeting, to avoid expending the missiles on targets of low value.  For instance during ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ the United States attacked targets of very low monetary value with cruise missiles, which led many to question the efficiency of the weapon.  However, proponents of the cruise missile counter that the same argument applies to other types of UAVs:  they are cheaper than human pilots when total training and infrastructure costs are taken into account, not to mention the risk of loss of personnel.  As demonstrated in Operation Odyssey Dawn and prior conflicts, cruise missiles are much more difficult to detect and intercept than other aerial assets, suiting them to attacks against static air defense systems.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruise_missile

Although we have not yet found a breakdown of mined materials used in Cruise Missiles we found more generic lists of mined materials used for military purposes.  A US government document notes:  

“....tungsten, antimony, bismuth and nickel (all materials essential to defense systems) move to the 100 percent import reliance category when secondary supply sources are excluded.  Additionally, aluminum for defense applications is essentially 100 percent import reliant for its source of raw material (bauxite).  Nearly 100 percent of all new aluminum produced in the U.S. is made from alumina which is 90 percent dependent upon bauxite as its raw material source – the U.S. is 100 percent import dependent for its supply of bauxite.  Other materials, not studied by USGS, but equally important to defense applications, are also import reliant, for instance gadolinium and natural rubber.http://www.acq.osd.mil/mibp/docs/nds_reconfiguration_report_to_congress.pdf

A couple of days ago natural rubber was discussed as a strategically important resource listed in the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam war. Guinea, Jamaica, Australia, and Brazil are listed as primary US sources of Bauxite (2003-06). http://www.acq.osd.mil/mibp/docs/nds_reconfiguration_report_to_congress.pdf  But, who else was known for Bauxite mining? Jamaica’s neighbor, Haiti.  And, there may well still be bauxite there.  And, that may well be one strategic interest in Haiti.  

As far as other mined materials, below is a 2007 USGS (US Geological Survey) list of selected non-fuel mineral materials important for defense: 
BAUXITE and ALUMINA CESIUM FLUORSPAR INDIUM MANGANESE NIOBIUM RARE EARTHS RUBIDIUM STRONTIUM TANTALUM VANADIUM YTTRIUM GALLIUM BISMUTH PLATINUM ANTIMONY RHENIUM TITANIUM MINERAL CONCENTRATES TIN COBALT PALLADIUM TUNGSTEN TITANIUM (sponge) CHROMIUM ZINC SILICON (ferrosilicon) SILVER COPPER ALUMINUM NICKEL From Bauxite to Yttrium there is 100 percent import dependence and Gallium is at 99 percent import dependence. http://www.acq.osd.mil/mibp/docs/nds_reconfiguration_report_to_congress.pdf

Below is a list of US NDS Materials Stockpiles with Sales Suspended or Restricted, along with use and primary country of origin:  
Zinc Galvanizing agent for steel Canada, Peru, Mexico, Australia 
Tin Anti-corrosive, alloying agent Peru, Bolivia, China, Indonesia 
Iridium Hardening agent in platinum alloys South Africa, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada 
Platinum Catalyst; heavy-duty electrical contacts South Africa, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada 
Germanium Semiconductors and transistors, fiber optics, medical industry Belgium, Canada, Germany, China 
FerroChrome (High Carbon and Low Carbon) 
Stainless steel China, Africa, Kazakhstan 
Tungsten Metal Powder and Tungsten Ores and Concentrate (O & C) Steel hardening and toughening China, Canada, Germany, Portugal  
Tantalum Carbide Hard refractory ceramic Australia, Brazil, China, Germany  
Niobium/Columbium Nuclear industry, superconductor Brazil, Canada, Estonia, Germany 
Cobalt Magnetic properties, corrosion and wear resistant Norway, Russia, Finland, China 
Ferromanganese Used in steel production and steel deoxidizer South Africa, Belgium, Ukraine 
Beryllium Aerospace systems and nuclear weapons Kazakhstan, Germany, United Kingdom 
Chromium Metal Aerospace systems and high grade stainless steel South Africa, Kazakhstan, Russia, Zimbabwe http://www.acq.osd.mil/mibp/docs/nds_reconfiguration_report_to_congress.pdf

Monday, 2 September 2013

We have a new post, due to what Dr. King called in his 1967 anti-war speech “Beyond Vietnam”, “The fierce urgency of now”.  It is related to yesterday’s “Ongoing saga” update on Vietnam: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/syria-kerrys-vietnam-testimony-the-us-cant-right-every-wrong-we-cant-solve-the-problems-of-the-rest-of-mankind/

The Senate Inquest post has been updated.  The translation of testimony of Judge Joseph’s cousin and assistant, Berlens, aka “Ti Sourit” was completed today; a new witness starts tomorrow: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-witnesses-part-iii-of-the-senate-inquest-report-on-the-troubling-death-of-judge-jean-serge-joseph/

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Beyond Vietnam:

Indo-China
Source: Scottish Geographical Magazine, 1886

When listening to Dr. King’s 1967 speech about the Vietnam War, “Beyond Vietnam” one is struck by many things.  One of the things is that a lot of what he talks about in Vietnam sounds a lot like Haiti, in so many ways, which we need to get around to discussing.  Another thing is that in the end, the US had to do all of the things he said they needed to do in Vietnam, only they waited 8 years to do it, which cost many more lives on both sides. http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0115-13.htm

While we still do not know exactly why everyone’s so keenly interested in controlling Haiti, the declassified “Pentagon Papers”, dealing with the Vietnam war, are available. The most recent part was released in 2011.  They are located here: http://www.archives.gov/research/pentagon-papers/  
And, what did we find in them?  In July 1941:  “… the occupation of Indochina by Japan possibly means one further important step to seizing control of the South Sea area, including trade routes of supreme importance to the United States controlling such products as rubber, tin and other commodities.  This was of vital concern to the United States…..”  Shaplen is quoted as having said in his 1965 book:  “….the French took out rubber or rice or whatever else they wanted and sold it in the world marker at a high profit,….” http://media.nara.gov/research/pentagon-papers/Pentagon-Papers-Part-I.pdf  They say for instance ca 1951-52:  “Southeast Asia, especially Malaya and Indonesia, is the principal world source of natural rubber and tin, and a producer of petroleum and other strategically important commodities. The rice exports of Burma and Thailand are critically important to Malaya, Ceylon and Hong Kong and are of considerable significance to Japan and India, all important areas of free Asia.”  It is also observed that: “The area of Indochina is immensely wealthy in rice, rubber, coal, and iron ore.  Its position makes it a strategic key to the rest of Southeast Asia.  If Indochina should fall, Thailand and Burma would be in extreme danger, Malaya, Singapore and even Indonesia would become more vulnerable to the Communist power drive ….” http://media.nara.gov/research/pentagon-papers/Pentagon-Papers-Part-II.pdf  

Fast forward to today:  

Indeed Vietnam does have lots of oil:  Current US report on oil in Vietnam: http://www.eia.gov/countries/country-data.cfm?fips=VM Vietnam’s Customs office reported in July 2013 crude oil was a top-ranking export.  And, “As a result of several land reform measures, Vietnam has become a major exporter of agricultural products.  It is now the world’s largest producer of cashew nuts, with a one-third global share; the largest producer of black pepper, accounting for one-third of the world’s market; and the second-largest rice exporter in the world, after Thailand….Other primary exports include coffee, tea, rubber, and fishery products“.  Strangely enough, considering what is said in the “Pentagon Papers” Vietnam is said to be importing “high levels of iron and steel“.   Furthermore:  “The U.S. was the country that purchased the highest amount of Vietnam’s exports, while Chinese goods were the most popular Vietnamese import.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam Does this explain the strange irony that ca 2008, 33 years after the end of the Vietnam war, dresses “Made in Vietnam” were selling in a store near a US military base for $200, whereas almost identical dresses “Made in USA” were being sold in Switzerland, at the same time for the same $200?  Do you think the Vietnamese workers were paid the same as the US workers?  Is the cost of living the same in Vietnam?  How do Vietnam veterans feel about this?    

In May 2013 Global Witness published a document called “Rubber Barons:  How Vietnamese companies and international financiers are driving a land grabbing crisis in Cambodia and Laos and reported that “vast amounts of land have been acquired for rubber plantations in Cambodia and Laos by two of Vietnam’s biggest largest companies, Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) and the Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG). The rubber barons are financed by international investors including Deutsche Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – the private lending arm of the World Bank.”  Although it appears counterintuitive they also report the relationship between this and deforestation:  “Satellite imagery shows the extent of forest clearance within and beyond the boundaries of rubber concessions in Kratie Province, Cambodia, which are owned by Dong Phu and Dong Nai, two member companies of the Vietnam Rubber Group.”  They have satellite imagery comparing “forest cover between March 2008, four months before these rubber concessions were approved, and February 2013.  This is just one example of where VRG and HAGL have been illegally clearing large areas of intact forest.” Their full report is available here: http://www.globalwitness.org/rubberbarons/
(Our apologies to those only interested in the trade-routes and pipeline projects.  We still hope to get back to that, but it will be more likely Tuesday or Wednesday).  

Saturday, 31 August 2013 

The Military Industrial Complex

Eisenhower in the Oval Office

Military–industrial complex, or military–industrial–congressional complex, is a concept commonly used to refer to policy and monetary relationships between legislators, national armed forces, and the military industrial base that supports them.  These relationships include political contributions, political approval for military spending, lobbying to support bureaucracies, and oversight of the industry.  It is a type of iron triangle.  The term is most often used in reference to the system behind the military of the United States, where it gained popularity after its use in the farewell address of President Dwight D. Eisenhower on January 17, 1961, though the term is applicable to any country with a similarly developed infrastructure.  The term is sometimes used more broadly to include the entire network of contracts and flows of money and resources among individuals as well as corporations and institutions of the defense contractors, The Pentagon, the Congress and executive branch.  This sector is intrinsically prone to principal–agent problem, moral hazard, and rent seeking. Cases of political corruption have also surfaced with regularity. A parallel system is that of the Military–industrial–media complex, along with the more distant Politico-media complex and Prison–industrial complex.  A similar thesis was originally expressed by Daniel Guérin, in his 1936 book Fascism and Big Business, about the fascist government support to heavy industry. It can be defined as, ‘an informal and changing coalition of groups with vested psychological, moral, and material interests in the continuous development and maintenance of high levels of weaponry, in preservation of colonial markets and in military-strategic conceptions of internal affairs.’  An exhibit of the trend was made in Franz Leopold Neumann’s book Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism in 1942, a study of how Nazism came into a position of power in a democratic state.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military–industrial_complex

The term military-industrial complex has its origins in the 1961 Farewell Speech of US General and President Dwight Eisenhower, as discussed in this 3 minute video:

Below are some excerpts from this 1961 speech:  
Our military organization today bears little resemblance to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.  Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry.  American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well.  But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions.  Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment.  We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States corporations.  Now, this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience.  The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government.  We recognize the imperative need for this development.  Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications.  Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.  In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.  The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.  We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.  We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.  In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly.  A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.  Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields.  In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research.  Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.  The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present—and is gravely to be regarded.  Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.
…..
As we peer into society’s future, we—you and I, and our government—must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

During the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.  Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength.  That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.  Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative.  Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose.  Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment.  As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war—as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years—I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight……. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Eisenhower%27s_farewell_address_(audio_transcript)

From this it should be clear why and how President Obama went from being anti-war to fomenting wars. And, that he himself appears largely a hostage to the military-industrial complex.

Materials for indepth research of the US Military Industrial Complex may be found here: http://www.militaryindustrialcomplex.com/

Interestingly enough, considering the above mentioned “Fascism and Big Business” by Guerin, and “Behemoth” by Neumann, the best summary which we have found of the relationship between the military-industrial complex and mining was actually in yesterday’s update where the role of the various “neutrals” in providing needed resources to the Nazi war machine was discussed.  Today we found this interesting excerpt about the impact of war on mining:  “Butte mining, like most U.S. industry, remained in depression until the dawn of World War II, when the demand for war materials greatly increased the need for copper, zinc, and manganese.  Anaconda ranked 58th among United States corporations in the value of World War II military production contracts.  That relieved some of the economic tensions.  The end of World War II brought another downturn in the copper industry.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaconda_Copper
So, the permanent war economy is, indeed, related to mining. People fight over resources and resources are required to fight, forming a vicious circle of destruction.

We also found an interesting online book by Richard Cowen, a Professor of Geology, called “Exploiting the Earth”.  In one section he speaks of the importance of iron for making cannons, in particular he discusses the Wealden iron industry (active from ca 1496-1770).  He says:  “It is not an exaggeration to call the Wealden iron industry a military-industrial complex.  Many rich and powerful families were connected with the iron industry‹the Boleyns, the Sidneys, the Howards, the Nevilles, the Dudleys, and the Sackvilles were all landowners in the Weald. The political controversies that swirled around it make the story of the Weald eerily similar to 20th century examples.” http://mygeologypage.ucdavis.edu/cowen/~gel115/115CH10.html http://mygeologypage.ucdavis.edu/cowen/~gel115/
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wealden_iron_industry

Friday, 30 August 2013

The part of the Senate Report “Facts” has finally finished.  The Report will continue with the Interviews, most likely in a new post. https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/report-by-the-special-inquest-commission-on-the-troubling-death-of-judge-jean-serge-joseph-part-ii-the-facts/

Friday, 30 August 2013
(NB:  We do intend to come back to where we ended yesterday; most likely on Sunday )

King’s Anti-War position not all pie-in-the-sky; Wars are fought over, but also require resources

Some of you may say that King’s anti-war stance was pie-in-the-sky.  And, to some extent this is true, in that he was willing to die for his religious belief in non-violence — and he may well have died for this belief. But, his anti-war stance would also have been rooted in a knowledge of Nazi Germany, as told by refugees and veterans.  He would most likely have known, what many have forgotten, that the Nazis were created by certain conditions, to which Germany was subjected, but also, that Hitler could not have survived for long without help from so-called “neutrals”.  To wage war requires money and natural resources.  So, not only are there wars fought over natural resources, but natural resources are needed to fight wars!    

Dr. Martin Luther King worked closely with Rabbi Heshel, a refugee from Nazi Germany, and his German tutor is said to have been a holocaust survivor. As well, Boston, in the post-World War II years, when he was a student there, would have been infused with many German refugees, including academic refugees.  King’s Alma Mater, Boston University School of Theology did require and still requires knowledge of German if one’s focus is on Protestant theology and French if the focus is Catholic theology. As a Baptist preacher, King’s focus would have been protestant theology. And, according to Ash and Soellner (1996) “Forced Migration and Scientific Change: Emigre German-Speaking Scientists and Scholars after 1933”, approximately 2,000 academics and research scientists in Europe became refugees in the Nazi period and there were at least 500,000 general refugees from Germany alone. While most of these refugee academics were Jewish, non-Jewish ones also lost their jobs because they were considered “politically undesirable” [or left because they did not approve of the regime.] http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/samples/cam031/95024894.pdf See also: http://www.mjhnyc.org/college/about.html
(Haiti took a small number of World War II refugees, when others turned them away. Most stayed only temporarily.)  Academic friends of protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer offered him a teaching position in the US to get him out of Nazi Germany, which he turned down, feeling that he must suffer with his people or he would not understand them after the war.  He was eventually hanged by the Nazis for his involvement in a failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler.

So, it is not surprising that at least a few dozen academic refugees found positions in historically black colleges in the American South.  Having recently escaped persecution in Nazi Germany, they came face to face with rigidly segregated southern “Jim Crow” society.  A recent museum exhibition entitled “Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow” examines the relationship between these “two groups, each the object of exclusion and hatred, and examines the ongoing encounter between them as they navigated the challenges of life in the segregated South.”  http://www.mjhnyc.org/college/index.html  And, speaking of Magistrates fleeing persecution, as Haiti’s Judge Serge Joseph was apparently planning to do, had he lived, this exhibition also discusses a Magistrate who fled persecution:  The exhibition tells about the close relationship created between a German-Jewish judge and professor, exiled by the Nazis, Ernst Borinski, and students at Tougaloo College, a historically black college north of Jackson, Mississippi.  Dr. Borinski who fled Nazi Germany in 1938, had worked as a magistrate there.  He started teaching sociology at Tougaloo in 1947.  He stayed there until his death in 1983.  “He taught us how not to be victims,’ says Joyce Ladner, a sociologist and author who went on to become acting president of Howard University…In an oral history taken by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Prof. Borinski recalled telling students: ‘I am not from here, I am not even from America, but when I see the kinds of laws you have here I assure you it cannot last very long….I don’t want you to accept any one of them.”  Not surprisingly, some of these German-Jewish academics became active in the civil-rights movement.  One professor-activist, Georg Iggers, was 11 years old when he left his native Hamburg, but was “haunted by boyhood experiences of being banned from swimming or going to the movies” because of being Jewish.  This gave him empathy for African-Americans and led to his participation in the Civil Rights movement. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124053723862951143.html
For more on Tougaloo and its importance in the Civil Rights movement see: https://www.tougaloo.edu/give-today/civil-rights-endowed-chair-fund

A short clip about the exhibition is found here:

And, in this context, it is not so surprising that one of Dr. King’s close collaborators in both the Civil Rights movement and later in his protest of the war in Vietnam was Jewish Rabbi Heschel.  What was Rabbi Heschel’s experience?: “In late October 1938, when he was living in a rented room in the home of a Jewish family in Frankfurt, he was arrested by the Gestapo and deported to Poland. He spent ten months lecturing on Jewish philosophy and Torah at Warsaw’s Institute for Jewish Studies.  Six weeks before the German invasion of Poland, Heschel left Warsaw for London with the help of Julian Morgenstern, president of Hebrew Union College, who had been working to obtain visas for Jewish scholars in Europe.  Heschel’s sister Esther was killed in a German bombing. His mother was murdered by the Nazis, and two other sisters, Gittel and Devorah, died in Nazi concentration camps.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Joshua_Heschel
And, so Dr. King and Rabbi Heschel’s position against the war in Vietnam was not rooted in pie-in-the-sky ignorance.  

Both being learned men, however, they most surely would have known that Hitler could not have survived for long on his own.  Cutting off financial and military aid could, in theory, be done without violence or certainly with less violence. However, it is, most surely, more complex and difficult to achieve today than it would have been during World War II. It has been said that Switzerland had enough coal reserves, etc. to hold out about 2 years against Nazi Germany, whereas the Nazis could have held out only 2 or 3 months without the help of certain Swiss.  Sweden, another active “neutral” supporter of the Nazis, stopped their support when the tides started turning against Hitler, whereas the Swiss stayed with Hitler until the bitter end.  (Note here that we are speaking of many Swiss bankers and industrialists and are not speaking of individual, often rural Swiss, who risked their lives to help people during the war.  Even today Switzerland is a dichotomy of extremes, which makes for what looks like a sort of schizophrenia between those rooted in the traditions of one of the earliest democracies versus many bankers and industrialists).  Those who want to do serious research on this topic, which would require its own blog to be treated comprehensively, will find that the truth is getting buried deeper in the internet and one needs to keep going to page 18 or beyond in a search to find much truth. There is, of course, the Swiss Bergier Report in French and German, and Swiss Jean Ziegler wrote a book in English on the topic.  There used to be a lot of other useful things a few years ago.  For its conciseness and accessibility, we have chosen an excerpt from a US government document:       
“…. in the unique circumstances of World War II, neutrality collided with morality; too often being neutral provided a pretext for avoiding moral considerations…”  Argentina, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey aided and abetted the Nazi regime to various degrees. “Many of the neutrals had a rational fear that their own independence was only a Panzer division away from extinction.  But if self-defense and fear were factors in that rationale for neutrality, so too were profit in all neutral countries and outright Nazi sympathy in some. The neutrals ignored repeated Allied entreaties to end their dealings with Nazi Germany. Whatever their motivation, the fact that they pursued vigorous trade with the Third Reich had the clear effect of supporting and prolonging Nazi Germany’s capacity to wage war.”

“To varying degrees, each of the neutrals cooperated with Nazi Germany for their own economic benefit.  Sweden was one of Nazi Germany’s largest trading partners, supplying critically-needed iron ore and ball bearings, among other goods.  Portugal supplied a variety of vital mineral resources for the Third Reich’s war machine, including the ore for tungsten, a key additive used in the production of weapon-grade steel. Spain maintained an active trade in goods and raw materials. Turkey was Germany’s source of very scarce chrome.  Argentina’s pro-Axis regime failed to control the transfer of German funds from Europe.
……
in addition to its critical banking role for the Nazis, Switzerland’s industries engaged in direct production for the Axis and helped protect Axis investments; Swiss shipping lines also furnished Germany with a large number of boats for the transport of goods.  Switzerland also allowed an unprecedented use of its railways to link Germany and Italy for the transport of coal and other goods.  Switzerland provided Germany with arms, ammunition, aluminum, machinery and precision tools, as well as agricultural products. Swiss convoys carried products from Spain across France through Switzerland to Germany. Swiss banks serviced Nazi markets in Latin America. This conduct continued even as the Germans retreated and the threat of invasion evaporated.  As late in the War as early 1945, Switzerland vitiated an agreement it had just reached with the United States to freeze German assets and to restrict purchases of gold from Germany
.” http://www.ushmm.org/assets/state/ (We added bold for emphasis) It is important to note that Spain’s Franco was a fascist and owed much to Hiter, so, of course, he worked with the Nazis:  “German involvement in the Spanish Civil War began as soon as Spanish Civil War broke out in July 1936, Adolf Hitler immediately sent in powerful air and armored units to assist General Francisco Franco and his Nationalist forces“. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_involvement_in_the_Spanish_Civil_War

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Our post on the Senate Inquest Report has been updated: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/report-by-the-special-inquest-commission-on-the-troubling-death-of-judge-jean-serge-joseph-part-ii-the-facts/

Pipelines, War, and Pax

When examining Dr. Martin Luther King’s last Christmas Sermon (1967), which we discussed yesterday, one is struck by how avant-garde he seems.  Where he remains avant-garde, unfortunately, is in his argument that war is obsolete. And, although he appears to overlook how bad war has always been, there was, indeed, a clear shift and worsening of war during WWI, with the advent of newer technologies.  The philosophical underpinnings of his opposition to war were made crystal clear in this sermon, that is, his position that the ends cannot justify the means, because the type of seed planted leads to the type of tree which is grown. Hence, he argues that violent means cannot lead to peace.  He discusses, as well, Pax Romana and Pax Americana (without calling them this), and Napoleon and Hitler, while failing to discuss Pax Britannica. In Pax Romana, Pax Britannica, Pax Americana relative “peace” was associated with the sword. King says “It’s one of the strangest things that all the great military geniuses of the world have talked about peace. The conquerors of old who came killing in pursuit of peace, Alexander, Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, and Napoleon, were akin in seeking a peaceful world order.”  This history is interesting in the context of the US, UK and France setting themselves up to make peace in Syria by using war.  King was clear in his position that this cannot work.  You can continue to debate if he was right, but this was his opinion a little over 3 months before his assassination.

But, the point we are supposed to be getting to today is that in his sermon, and elsewhere, he appears avant-garde by several decades when discussing what is now called globalization. He pointed out “…as nations and individuals, we are interdependent….It really boils down to this:  that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny.  Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly…Did you ever stop to think that you can’t leave for your job in the morning without being dependent on most of the world? You get up in the morning …. And then you go into the kitchen to drink your coffee for the morning, and that’s poured into your cup by a South American.  And maybe you want tea: that’s poured into your cup by a Chinese.  Or maybe you’re desirous of having cocoa for breakfast, and that’s poured into your cup by a West African….And before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half of the world…” http://www.ecoflourish.com/Primers/education/Christmas_Sermon.html
Reading this one is struck by how he was decades ahead in speaking of globalization.  

But was he ahead or are we behind?  Globalization is nothing new, but the speed of transport and communications is new.  And, although the interrelatedness that King wanted to focus on is a much more philosophical and religious interrelatedness, the interrelatedness of resources has led to trade and enhanced understanding, but also to endless wars and power plays.  A few days ago we discussed the proposed pipeline in the Eastern Caribbean (i.e. the Lesser Antilles) and looking at the map one was instantly struck with a wondering if there are plans to eventually run pipelines up through the entire chain of islands to the Western Caribbean (Greater Antilles), including Haiti, and maybe that is the reason for coups and occupation forces  – Pax UN- we do not know. And, we also, once again, reflected upon Syria’s role as a pipeline transit point for oil and gas from landlocked countries to the Mediterranean coast.  Looking at a map almost a decade ago it was clear that all countries between Iraq and the Mediterranean had to either be “friends” or to “fall”, as Iraq (and Afghanistan) did.  But whose friends?  We have tried to sort through articles dealing with the various pipeline proposals for the region.  Those who are interested and anxious can read, for instance, about the Kirkuk Baniyas Pipeline, and the competition between contractors on this, as well as various other competitive pipeline projects running through Syria.  Europe has been concerned with having backup sources of gas, since Russia has repeatedly used cutting off gas as a foreign policy tool. See for instance: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2010/0621/Why-Russia-is-cutting-off-gas-supplies-to-Belarus Anyone who watches French TV is familiar with these concerns and not so surprised at the speed with which French President Hollande jumped on the US, UK bandwagon of war.  And, as most know by now, Syria has long been in Russia’s sphere of influence.  Although we may come back to the various pipeline projects, in the end, it really doesn’t matter which pipeline or pipeline project is at stake. What matters is the fact that Syria is being destroyed and lives ruined due to oil and gas competition playing itself out on its soil.  The only way to stop these wars is energy self-suffiency, by some combination of solar, local biogas (kitchen and other human and animal wastes), wind (not necessarily turbines but perhaps small windmills) – whatever may be the combined appropriate local strategy.  Also zero population growth:  fewer people is less energy consumption.  If sun-deprived Germany can make a bid for going solar, imagine what sunny places can do? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_Germany       

How far back do our networks of connectivity go? Is it back to the internet?  As we have seen the answer is no. Is it back to Dr. King’s time?  Once again the answer is no. Christopher Columbus and his discovery of Haiti while he was seeking a short-cut to Asia?  The answer is again no.  Marco Polo?  No further back.  At least as far back as 2,000 BC (BCE), where roads and trade networks were related to mining. For instance: “From the 2nd millennium BC nephrite jade was being traded from mines in the region of Yarkand and Khotan to China.  Significantly, these mines were not very far from the lapis lazuli and spinel (“Balas Ruby”) mines in Badakhshan and, although separated by the formidable Pamir Mountains, routes across them were, apparently, in use from very early times.” Tarim mummies which date as far back as 1600 BC suggest very ancient contacts between East and West.  “Following contacts of metropolitan China with nomadic western border territories in the 8th century BC, gold was introduced from Central Asia, and Hotan Kashteshi Hotan jade carvers began to make imitation designs of the steppes, adopting the Scythian-style animal art of the steppes (depictions of animals locked in combat).  This style is particularly reflected in the rectangular belt plaques made of gold and bronze with alternate versions in jade and steatite.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silk_Road

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

50 Years After Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech:
Haitian Sharecroppers & Tenant Farmers 
Have a Dream

In 1963, black Mississippi sharecroppers and tenant farmers had a dream. Today, Haitian sharecroppers and tenant farmers have a dream, and what is that dream?  It is for land, food security and education for their children.  And, many, and perhaps all, are aware that mining would finish destroying their livelihoods, which is most likely the reason for the lack of governmental transparency.  The government apparently knows that the majority would say no and hence hides what’s going on.  Even if mining benefited them in the short term, it poisons the land in the long term, thus further undermining food security, as well as contributing to deforestation.   

Through the work of Haiti Grassroots Watch we can hear these peasant dreams and concerns:
“….‘We…are against any eventual mining because we will not profit one bit.  It will have harmful impacts that destroy our fertile lands and our fruit trees and dry up our aquifers,” according to a member of the Tèt Kole women’s group….. “The awarding of permits behind closed doors, with no independent or community oversight, has angered many in Haiti, who fear that the government is opening the country up to systematic pillage…..
Peasant, human rights, food sovereignty and environmental organizations are worried about the disastrous effects the mining industry could have on water quality, farmland, and on the affected regions in general and have formed the national Collective Against Mining…On Jul. 5, over 200 farmers from the area around the Grand Bois deposit …got together to discuss the mining operation and their futures. They spoke of their worries for three hours….‘When someone talks about mining, our history makes us think of slavery, of the takeover of our farmlands,’ … ‘We could lose our fertile fields.  We will be forced off our land.  Where will we live?’….
During the meeting, many people said they were nervous. ‘This mining business should be a lesson for all of us,’ warned…a farmer from the…region of Grand Bois. ‘Not only will those of us who live around the mineral deposit perish, the entire country will be swallowed up! Of particular concern are the protection of ground water, food sovereignty, agricultural land, biodiversity, health, and land ownership….In a Jul. 22 note, the Collective wrote the following: ‘We want a truly national law and international conventions that protect life, water, land, and the environment, and that outlaw mining which brings with it pollution, destruction, contamination, and more hunger.
”  (We added the bold) Read the entire article here:  “As the government works on preparing ‘an attractive law that will entice investors’, Haitian popular organizations are mobilizing and forming networks to resist mining in their country.” by Haiti Grassroots Watch. http://upsidedownworld.org/main/haiti-archives-51/4404-grassroots-groups-wary-of-haitis-attractive-mining-law  

The Mule Train: A Journey of Hope Remembered

Dr. King’s concerns went much further than getting rid of the southern caste system of segregation.  Increasingly he spoke out for economic justice for everyone, black and white, and against the war in Vietnam.  Many believe that this and the pending Poor People’s Campaign is why he was assassinated.  

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. announced the Poor People’s Campaign in December, 1967, just a few months before his assassination.  As part of this campaign, thousands of African Americans traveled from across the U.S. to Washington, to petition the government for what King called an ‘economic bill of rights.’  The most symbolic of the groups to make the journey to the capital came from Marks, Mississippi.  Rather than traveling by bus or car, these people came in mule-drawn wagons.  ‘The work begun when the Mule Train set off on May 13, 1968 is still unfinished 30 years later,’ writes Roland Freeman…Planning for the Poor People’s Campaign began in early 1968. It was to be the largest and most wide-ranging civil disobedience campaign ever run by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and was conceived in part by Marian Wright, a lawyer with strong ties to the Mississippi civil rights movement. The campaign sought to unite Americans of all ethnicities, including poor Hispanic, Native American, white, Asian, and African American communities, in a movement that would transcend race while seeking social and economic justice by non-violent means.  Despite King’s assassination on April 4, plans for the campaign went ahead, led by Rev. Dr. Ralph David Abernathy.  On Monday, May 13, the Mule Train set off from Marks, Mississippi, on route to Atlanta. For the first part of its journey around 115 people traveled with the Mule Train in fifteen to twenty wagons. Participants ranged in age from 8 months to over 70 years, and throughout the journey to Washington new people joined the caravan as others dropped out.” (We added bold for emphasis) http://www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/press/release/PR0021

What Dr. King Would Have Said Today about Syria

More than one person has lifted up concerns that Dr. King would not be welcomed at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington celebrations. Certainly his comments would not be welcomed, because he seemingly would have been out-spokenly opposed to military intervention in Syria, as he was to Vietnam.  His last Christmas sermon (1967) includes the most clear statement of his philosophical position: “…ends are not cut off from means, because the means represent the ideal in the making, and the end in process, and ultimately you can’t reach good ends through evil means, because the means represent the seed and the end represents the tree.”  

He starts the sermon in a way which he could still use in a speech today.  He could start off, saying:  Today, “finds us a rather bewildered human race…Everywhere paralyzing fears harrow people by day and haunt them by night. Our world is sick with war; everywhere we turn we see its ominous possibilities….Wisdom born of experience should tell us that war is obsolete. There may have been a time when war served as a negative good by preventing the spread and growth of an evil force, but the very destructive power of modern weapons of warfare eliminates even the possibility that war may any longer serve as a negative good.
….Now the judgment of God is upon us, and we must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools…. 
….if we are to have peace in the world, men and nations must embrace the nonviolent affirmation that ends and means must cohere.  One of the great philosophical debates of history has been over the whole question of means and ends. And there have always been those who argued that the end justifies the means, that the means really aren’t important. The important thing is to get to the end, you see.
…. we will never have peace in the world until men everywhere recognize that ends are not cut off from means, because the means represent the ideal in the making, and the end in process, and ultimately you can’t reach good ends through evil means, because the means represent the seed and the end represents the tree.

It’s one of the strangest things that all the great military geniuses of the world have talked about peace.  The conquerors of old who came killing in pursuit of peace, Alexander, Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, and Napoleon, were akin in seeking a peaceful world order.  If you will read Mein Kampf closely enough, you will discover that Hitler contended that everything he did in Germany was for peace.  And the leaders of the world today talk eloquently about peace…What is the problem? They are talking about peace as a distant goal, as an end we seek, but one day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal.  We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means.  All of this is saying that, in the final analysis, means and ends must cohere because the end is preexistent in the means, and ultimately destructive means cannot bring about constructive ends
…..
I still have a dream today that one day war will come to an end, that men will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks,that nations will no longer rise up against nations, neither will they study war any more. I still have a dream today that one day the lamb and the lion will lie down together and every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid.
”  Excerpted from M.L. King’s 1967 Christmas Sermon, http://www.ecoflourish.com/Primers/education/Christmas_Sermon.html
Dr. King could have delivered this message today. And, it is an important one. He believed that you cannot arrive at peace by waging war or military attacks. His position is clear.  Given the threatened imminent attack on Syria he wouldn’t have time to talk about any other concerns on this day. However, you can be certain, that if he were alive today that he would be actively trying to negotiate a peaceful resolution for Syria and not at the celebrations.  

Our post about the Senate Report has been updated: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/report-by-the-special-inquest-commission-on-the-troubling-death-of-judge-jean-serge-joseph-part-ii-the-facts/