GWB’s war in Iraq may not be going as planned. But for those who’ve stopped believing the myth that prewar Iraq represented any sort of threat to the United States, there is plenty of circumstantial evidence mounting that the real reason for the American invasion of Iraq was the most obvious one: Oil. In this case, “oil” doesn’t mean that we went to war for the commercial benefit of U.S. oil companies—and in fact, most U.S. oil firms and their executives were against the war.
But in Iraq, “oil” means the strategic commodity that is the single most important world resource. Even a novice geostrategist knows that who controls oil controls the world. And in this case, America’s rival for control of oil is, first and foremost, China.
Two weeks ago, China, Russia and four Central Asian “Stans,” including Uzbekistan, rather impolitely asked the United States to withdraw from Central Asia. That part of the world is a significant oil and gas region, and neither Moscow nor Beijing want the United States to put down roots there. But Central Asia’s oil and gas resources pale next to the Middle East, and that is where America’s imperial presence has set off alarms in Beijing.
Until recently, China's view of the global energy map focused narrowly on the Middle East, which holds roughly two-thirds of the world's oil. Special attention was directed toward one well-supplied country: Iraq. Through cultivation of Saddam Hussein's government, China sought to develop some of Iraq's more promising reserves. Beijing advocated lifting the United Nations sanctions that prevented investment in Iraq's oil patch and limited sales of its production.
Then the United States went to war in Iraq in 2003, wiping out China's stakes. The war and its aftermath have reshaped China's basic conception of the geopolitics of oil and added urgency to its mission to lessen dependence on Middle East supplies.
It has reinforced China's fears that it is locked in a zero-sum contest for energy with the world's lone superpower, prompting Beijing to intensify its search for new sources, international relations and energy experts say.
A June 24 New York Times article subtly attacked China and its CNOOC oil firm over its bid to buy Unocal, a U.S. oil company with long experience in Asia, calling the intended purchase (in its page-one headline) a “costly quest for energy control.”
But if any nation “controls” energy, it is the United States. Meanwhile, neoconservatives, Bush administration officials, some members of Congress and a few labor-connected liberals are making a big deal of CNOOC’s Unocal bid.
For perspective, let’s recall that Unocal is the company that did more to support the Taliban than any other U.S. entity, courting those Islamic radicals in search of a pipeline, oil and gas deal in central Asia—and hiring various malleable U.S. strategists to support the Taliban on its behalf, including incoming U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad. It’s hard to imagine anything that China could do with Unocal that would do more damage to U.S. interests than Unocal has already done.
Still, the outcry goes on, most recently during a congressional hearing at which Jim Woolsey, the former CIA director, and Frank Gaffney, the neocon-linked military strategist, railed against China. (CNOOC, btw, is partly owned by Shell Oil, which bought a big chunk of the mostly state-owned firm when it conducted a public stock offering in 2002.)
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, road transportation in China will be the driving force for that country’s enormous oil appetite in the next two decades, noting that “the Chinese passenger car market grew tenfold between 1990 and 2000.” By 2025, says EIA, China’s oil demand will reach nearly 13 million barrels of oil per day. (Saudi Arabia’s entire output is only about 8 million barrels a day-now!.)
Q:Who will provide that quantity to them and who will decide at what price?
Metropolitan Police handout photo shows a CCTV image of (L-R:) Hasib Hussain, Germaine Lindsay (dark cap), Mohammed Sidique Khan (light cap) and Shahzad Tanweer, the four suspected London suicide bombers, arriving at Luton train station at 07:21 on July 07.
Below is a CCTV image circulated by the Metropolitan Police. Take a look at this photo of the four alleged London bombers:
Was a "Bomber" Superimposed onto Metropolitan Police Surveillance Camera Photo?
At first, (almost) everything looks fine, but look closer... look at the guy with the white hat... check out his left arm (HIS left arm).... the lower of the rails of the railing is IN FRONT of his left arm...
The CLG has also inspected this image. "The white-hatted man was apparently superimposed onto the photo. Not only is his arm 'behind' a railing that is supposedly several feet behind HIM, but also, upon magnification in Photoshop, part of the bar actually goes into his head. This was 'touched-up,' but pixels of his head mix unmistakably with pixels from the railing." --Michael Rectenwald.
Americans are weighing the merits of an all-seeing network of 24-hour-a-day security cameras similar to the system which has aided Britain's recent terror investigations.(AFP/HO/File)
At present, the London underground has an analogue video network and video transmission at 180 stations. Confirmed by new reports, there are close to two thousand video cameras which monitor London's Underground and mainline rail stations. It is estimated that "the average Briton is caught on various cameras up to 300 times on a normal day.
The key issue raised in this commentary refers to videocameras inside the underground carriages. In most European metro systems, the trains are equipped with a videowatch installation, with video cameras inside each carriage. The driver of the train is able to see inside each of the carriages, and the digital video files would be available to police investigators.
EVERY London bus and Underground train car has multiple Video Cameras!
The Police claim the bus videos malfunctioned, but made no similar claim about the video cameras in the Underground train cars.
The Muslim men are claimed to have ridden from Luton to King's Cross where they split up to take separate trains. I've also read it takes about 25 minutes to ride from Luton station to where the bombs were detonated.
Therefore, there MUST be some 25 minutes continuous video of first four men, riding from Luton, then video of each (supposed) "Muslim" Bomber, seated with his rucksack on each of the 3 separate Underground cars, riding from King's Cross - to where the 3 bombs exploded SIMULTANEOUSLY!
Interesantno kako je i u ovom slucaju kao i kod "911" otkazala tehnika bas u najvaznijem trenutku....
With the dawn of the 21st century the world has entered a new stage of geopolitical strle.
The first half of the 20th century can be understood as one long war between Britain (and shifting allies) and Germany (and shifting allies) for European supremacy.
The second half of the century was dominated by a Cold War between the US, which emerged as the world's foremost industrial-military power following World War II, and the Soviet Union and its bloc of protectorates.
The US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq promises to be the final geopolitical strle of the industrial period - a strle for the control of Eurasia and its energy resources.
The industrial era differs from previous periods of human history in the large-scale harnessing of energy resources (coal, oil, natural gas, and uranium) for the purposes of production and transportation - and for the deeper purpose of expanding the human carrying capacity of our terrestrial environment. All of the scientific achievements, the political consolidations, and the immense population increases of the past two centuries are predictable effects of the growing, coordinated use of energy resources. In the early decades of the 20th century, petroleum emerged as the most important energy resource because of its cheapness and convenience of use. The industrial world is now overwhelmingly dependent on oil for agriculture and transportation. Modern global geopolitics, because it implies worldwide transportation and communication systems rooted in fossil energy resources, is therefore a phenomenon unique to the industrial era.
The control of resources is largely a matter of geography, and secondarily a matter of military technology and control over currencies of exchange. The US and Russia were both geographically blessed, being self-sufficient in energy resources during the first half of the century. Germany and Japan failed to attain regional hegemony largely because they lacked sufficient indigenous energy resources and because they failed to gain and keep access to resources elsewhere (via the USSR on one hand and the Dutch East Indies on the other).
Yet while both the US and Russia were well endowed by nature, both have passed their petroleum production peaks (which occurred in 1970 and 1987, respectively). Russia remains a net oil exporter because its consumption levels are low, but the US is increasingly dependent on imports of both oil and natural gas.
Both nations long ago began investing much of their energy-based wealth in the production of fuel-fed arms systems with which to expand and defend their resource interests globally. In other words, both decided decades ago to be geopolitical players, or contenders for global hegemony.
Roughly three-quarters of the world's crucial remaining petroleum reserves lie within the borders of predominantly Muslim nations of the Middle East and Central Asia - nations that, for historical, geographic, and political reasons, were unable to develop large-scale industrial-military economies of their own and that have, throughout the past century, mainly served as pawns of the Great Powers (Britain, the US, and the former USSR). In recent decades, these predominantly Muslim oil-rich nations have pooled their interests in a cartel, the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC).
While resources, geography, and military technology are essential to geopolitics, they are not sufficient without a financial means to dominate the terms of international trade. Hegemony has had a financial as well as a military component ever since the adoption of money by Bronze Age agricultural empires; money, after all, is a claim upon resources, and the ability to control the currency of exchange can effect a subtle ongoing transfer of real wealth. Whoever issues a currency - especially a fiat currency, i.e., one not backed by precious metals - has power over it: every transaction becomes a subsidy to the money coiner or printer.
During the colonial era, rivalries between the Spanish real, the French franc, and the British pound were as decisive as military battles in determining hegemonic power. For the past half-century, the US dollar has been the international currency of account for nearly all nations, and it is the currency with which all oil-importing nations must pay for their fuel. This is an arrangement that has worked to the advantage both of OPEC, which maintains a stable customer in the US (the world's largest petroleum consumer and a military power capable of defending the Arab oil kingdoms), and of the US itself, which receives a subtle financial tithe for every barrel of oil consumed by every other importing nation.
At the end of WWII, when the US and the USSR emerged as the word's dominant powers, the US had established permanent bases in Germany, Japan, and South Korea, all to hedge in the Soviet Union. America even waged a failed and extremely costly war in Southeast Asia to gain yet another vector of Eurasian containment. When the USSR collapsed at the end of the 1980s, the US appeared free to dominate Eurasia, and thus the world, more completely than had any other nation in world history. The decade that followed was one characterized primarily by globalization - the consolidation of corporatized economic power centered largely in the US. It appeared that US hegemony would be maintained economically rather than militarily.
In contrast with this , the new administration of George W. Bush appeared to be taking a more strident tack - one that took old allies for granted in its unabashed unilateralism. In his shredding of international environmental, human rights, and weapons-control agreements; in his pursuit of a doctrine of pre-emptive military action; and especially in his seemingly inexplicable obsession with the invasion of Iraq, Bush was expending enormous political and diplomatic capital, needlessly creating enemies even among trusted allies. His rationale for war - the elimination of 's weapons of mass destruction - was patently silly, since the US had supplied many of those weapons and Iraq posed no current threat to anyone; moreover, a new Gulf war risked destabilizing the entire Middle East.
What could possibly justify such a risk? What was motivating this bizarre new change in strategy?
"The potential impact of a revaluation of the Chinese yuan (which is currently pegged to the US dollar) on the Chinese oil market has been a subject of debate. Some have said that the yuan may be as much as 30-35% undervalued versus the US dollar. Although most believe that it is extremely unlikely that the Chinese government will substantially revalue, or allow the yuan to float freely, the pressure for some level of revaluation does appear to be building. Because the retail price of the major oil products is regulated by the government, it is difficult to state with certainty the impact of a revaluation on oil consumption. However, it does appear that a revaluation would boost consumption, at least in the short run.
Price impact on oil consumption
A revaluation would reduce the cost of imported oil and products. In the present environment, however, where retail prices are below international levels, the government may choose not to pass the reduced cost on to consumers at the retail level.
Rather, refiners might be allowed to boost their refining margins, which are currently very low or in some cases negative. In any case, the impact on apparent demand would likely be positive as at the margin domestic suppliers would be more inclined to supply the domestic market, rather than exporting products as they have in recent months. This would boost consumption by eliminating rationing/shortages, of which there have been some reports.
Impact of the income effect on oil consumption
In the long run, a revaluation could slow merchandise exports, reduce economic growth and slow oil demand growth. In the short run a revaluation could boost China’s economy as the cost of imports goes down and it would take time for consumers of China's merchandise exports to shift their purchasing patterns. The net impact is a brief increase in Chinese purchasing power, and possibly more rapid oil demand growth in the short run.
Of course, the overall impact of a revaluation on the Chinese oil market will depend on the magnitude of the revaluation and international oil prices at the time, but it should also be noted that a revaluation could have a broader impact on the Asia Pacific region. Although the currencies of the other major oil consumers in Asia have generally risen versus the Chinese yuan and the US dollar, countries have intervened in an attempt to limit the increase in the value of their currencies in an effort to maintain their competitive position versus China. If the Chinese revalue, other countries might also revalue, or allow their currencies to appreciate, which would reduce the price of oil in terms of domestic currency, possibly spurring demand"
FYI, Kina je ipak revalvirala Yuan u cetvrtak! Ne bas znacajno, ali znakovito...
LONDON (AFP) 7/22/05 - Oil prices rose, supported by a revaluation of the yuan currency the previous day, seen as encouraging Chinese demand for energy from the world's second-biggest consumer of crude. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in September, added 87 cents to 57.95 dollars per barrel in early deals on Friday. In London, the price of Brent North Sea crude oil for delivery in September increased by 1.00 dollar to 56.72 dollars per barrel. According to Sucden analyst Sam Tilley, oil prices on Thursday "recovered some losses from the previous few days after China announced it would revalue its currency".
"A revaluation of the yuan could possibly increase demand for crude in China as imports would effectively be cheaper, but in the longer term the revaluation could slow China's growth."
Late on Thursday the Chinese central bank had announced that the yuan was now pegged to a basket of unnamed currencies and would be allowed to "float" within a 0.3-percent range from its new value of 8.11 yuan to the dollar. That value effectively represents about a 2.0-percent appreciation of the yuan which for a decade was pegged to the dollar at around 8.28 yuan per dollar. Analysts said that the revaluation makes it moderately cheaper for Chinese buyers to purchase oil imports because they are denominated in US dollars.
LONDON - Iznenađujuća odluka Kine o aprecijaciji juana na deviznim je tržištima prošloga tjedna rezultirala rastom vrijednosti azijskih valuta te spuštanjem tečaja dolara. Prvi put u zadnjih gotovo 10 godina Kina je aprecirala svoju valutu, postavivši u četvrtak novi tečaj za američki dolar u visini od 8,11 juana u odnosu na dosadašnjih 8,28. Također, ukinula je desetljeće staro fiksno vezivanje juana za dolar te umjesto toga uvela vezivanje tečaja nacionalne valute na košaricu valuta.
More evidence of emerging Cold War between the US and China has exploded this week, as Donald Rumsfeld issued new threats towards China regarding its expanding military. The Chinese have responded with predictable fury. Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan entered the fray, alluding to East-West financial warfare involving the outflow of foreign investments and harm to the dollar, and repeating the Wall Street mantra that China must float its currency.
Meanwhile, the Sino-US race for oil ("China's Global Hunt for Oil") continues to ramp up, as China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) is positioning for bid for Unocal.
It may seem ironic that Chinese oil interests are poised to acquire the company that was (along with the myriad other machinations over Central Asian oil and gas pipelines) central to the buildup to 9/11, the ensuing "war on terrorism", and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. (Unocal's role is exhaustively detailed in Ahmed Rashid's Taliban, Forbidden Truth by Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, and summarized in "Unocal and the Afghanistan pipeline".)
But maybe it is not so ironic.
Henry Kissinger, a former Unocal consultant deeply involved in the pre-9/11 pipeline consortium, sits on CNOOC's international board, which he joined in October 2001. Essentially, Kissinger has been on both sides of the oil deal for years, from CentGas/Central Asia to whatever comes of CNOOC's play for Unocal.
While the flames of world war burn, true inner circle elites like Kissinger play all sides, up and down, profiting all along the way.
Dakle, kao sto se moglo predvidjeti, Kina ne zeli sjediti skrstenih ruku dok se sirom svijeta vodi borba za kontrolu naftnih rezervi. Obzirom da ima prilicnu kolicinu dolara u 'drzavnom' vlasnistvu odlucila je udariti tamo gdje je Amerika najslabila, dakle u njihovoj kuci. Americka reakcija je bila u ponudi Chevrona za iste dionice (naravno novcano slabijoj jer Kinezi imaju prednost u raspolaganju s dolarima i faktoru povrata investicije), koja je trenutno blokirala transakciju koju USA nebi smio dopustiti. Cekamo razvoj dogadjaja....
White House Bulletin, July 7, 2005
Scotland Yard Reportedly Tipped Off.
An Israeli official reportedly said that Scotland Yard had called the security officer at the Israeli Embassy to say they had received warnings of a possible attack moments before the blasts. The official added the former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to stay at his hotel rather than attend an economic conference at a hotel located above one of the Underground stations where the blasts occurred. There are also unconfirmed reports that British police had begun evacuating passengers from some trains prior to the bombs going off. However, British media were reporting this morning that British police officials are saying they had no warnings of the attacks.
Copyright White House Bulletin, 2005
Netanyahu Changed Plans Due to Warning
By AMY TEIBEL, Associated Press Writer Thu Jul 7, 7:14 AM ET
JERUSALEM - British police told the Israeli Embassy in London minutes before Thursday's explosions that they had received warnings of possible terror attacks in the city, a senior Israeli official said.
Benjamin Netanyahu had planned to attend an economic conference in a hotel over the subway stop where one of the blasts occurred, and the warning prompted him to stay in his hotel room instead, government officials said.
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said he wasn't aware of any Israeli casualties. Just before the blasts, Scotland Yard called the security officer at the Israeli Embassy to say they had received warnings of possible attacks, the official said. He did not say whether British police made any link to the economic conference. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the nature of his position.
The Israeli Embassy was in a state of emergency after the explosions in London, with no one allowed to enter or leave, said the Israeli ambassador to London, Zvi Hefet. All phone lines to the embassy were down, said Danny Biran, an Israeli Foreign Ministry official.
The ministry set up a situation room to deal with hundreds of phone calls from concerned relatives. Thousands of Israelis are living in London or visiting the city at this time, Biran said. Amir Gilad, a Netanyahu aide, told Israel Radio that Netanyahu's entourage was receiving updates all morning from British security officials, and "we have also asked to change our plans." Netanyahu had been scheduled to stay in London until Sunday, but that could change, Gilad said.
Copyright Associated Press, 2005
Jerusalem Post, 7 July 2005
There were reports on Israel Radio that Scotland Yard had received early warnings of an imminent terrorist attack, and had shared details of these warnings with the Israeli Embassy in London.
However, staff at the Israeli Embassy have flatly denied the claim.
A spokesman said, "We were informed like everybody else, after the explosions. We were holding a conference, but after the police came to inform us of what had happened we took the appropriate action and decided not to continue with the conference."
The spokesman said the embassy was operating normally, and added, "We are horrified by the callous terror attacks in London this morning. Our thoughts are with the people of London and the families of those affected.
As oil prices remain volatile the markets do their best to forecast future prices. Unfortunately this is not an easy task. While it may appear extraordinary to outsiders one of the main problems in the oil market is the reliability of basic statistics. The oil industry calls the problem 'data transparency'. As an example this week is a 'revision' to oil demand growth in the United States in 2004.
Previously the growth in oil demand was thought to be 2.4%, about 484,000 barrels per day. In fact it was 697,000 barrels per day or 3.5%. That is in fact 46% more than was previously stated - a huge revision.
"Oil market data is generally a black art like using a set of chicken bones," says Paul Horsnell of Barclays Capital. "If Columbus had thought he'd hit India when in fact he was in the Caribbean, that's about the level of oil market data."
"The revisions to US demand growth are small in percentage terms, they are generally 99% accurate. But the change is huge in barrel terms, and this is from the USA who have the best oil data in the world."
"Sestions that oil consumption will grow to up to 120m bpd by 2020 and that automobile and airline traffic will increase at extraordinary rates are futile and damaging." Dr Michael Smith, Energy Files
The barrel difference was in fact 213,000 per day. Added up that is 77.75 million extra barrels per year, about one day of global production.
"Oil data is like paint thrown across a canvas, you get the broad outline of the situation. But even then it's not just a Jackson Pollack painting, the paint actually moves of its own accord after it has been applied," says Mr Horsnell.
One of the major problems surrounding oil data is in reserves.
CLAIMED OPEC OIL RESERVES
Kuwait: 92bn (64bn)
UAE : 92bn (34bn)
Iran : 93bn (64bn)
Iraq: 100bn (48bn)
Saudi Arabia: 258bn (170bn)
Claimed oil reserves, bn barrels 1990s/1970s
These are the basins of crude oil that lie underground. They are either held by governments or the 'oil majors' like BP, ExxonMobil or Shell, or a combination of both. Many countries simply do not allow outsiders to audit the size of these fields. This is especially true of the major Middle East oil producers of OPEC and the countries of the former Soviet Union.
Some believe that reserves stated by OPEC countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are not accurate. "There are a lot of questions to answer over OPEC reserves," says Bruce Evers of Investec Bank. "The quality of overall oil market data is poor, but with OPEC there remains considerable debate over the reliability of their reserve estimates."
One of the main reasons is that in the 1980s OPEC decided to switch to a quota production system based on the size of reserves.
The larger the reserves a country said it had the more it could pump.
The more it could pump the more money it could make.
As a result in 1985 Kuwait revised its reserve estimates by 50% overnight.
It was soon followed by United Arab Emirates, Iran, and Iraq. In 1988 Saudi Arabia became the last to join the revised reserve estimates party, adding a whopping 88bn barrels.
"Something needs to be done," says Mr Evers. "OPEC have never fully explained the reasons behind these changes, they have never issued any guidelines. The market needs to know."
Although previous estimates may have been conservative, what troubles some analysts is that twenty years later, these reserve estimates are unchanged, in fact some have increased.
Whilst it is obviously possible to add reserves by new field discoveries it can seem a perplexing situation to market makers. Kuwait for example still claim exactly the same reserve level as they had in 1985 despite pumping millions of barrels every day since then. Nor are company estimates any better, with Shell forced to make four revisions downwards of its official reserves since 2002, losing around 4.8bn barrels and damaging its share price.
Even current figures for OPEC production are unclear.
OPEC say they are producing exactly 28 million barrels a day (mbpd). This includes their latest 500,000 barrels per day increase announced at their last quarterly meeting by Kuwaiti oil minister Al-Sabbah. But OPEC have also admitted that their members break their own quotas to take advantage of high prices.
So is it really 28mbpd?
The International Energy Agency says OPEC pumped 29.3 mbpd in May 2005. The IEA say this is actually a fall from April 2005 of 55,000bpd.
Who is correct?
"There is no official OPEC output data," says Mr Horsnell. "they just kind of pass on the data they are given by their member countries. It is really not that easy for OPEC, you can't blame them, it is down to their members."
Gaps between data-sets can in fact show up areas of the oil market that need careful study. It is no easier to forecast the future demand for oil, and analysts are growing increasingly sceptical of oil company attempts to do so. As oil prices continue to soar, the lack of accurate data could make it harder for the oil market to predict its future direction.
Iran will probably have nuclear weapons in 2006. That means that if US are going to act, it must be in 2005 or 2006. An air strike is always a possibility, but it is so easy for the Iranians to move much of their program underground that it is doubtful that it can solve the problem. At best, it will delay the problem giving US more time.
A more realistic solution, but still short of all-out invastion would be a "Khuzestan Incursion" scenario.
Khuzestan [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khuzestan] is the southwesternmost province in Iran. It is on the Persian Gulf and borders Iraq. While most of Iran is covered by high mountains, Khuzestan is a low-laying plateau. These mountains effectively isolate the province from the rest of Iran. Most importantly, this is where virtually all of Iran’s oil fields are located.
The "Khuzestan Incursion" scenario could consist of the following. Once Iraqi elections have been held and the insurgency has been cut down to a small enough level that the Iraqi army can handle it (not happening yet!), the US moves half of its occupying army to southeast Iraq. This force would consist mainly of Mechanized Infantry divisions.
This force would rapidly take over the province and hold it. Any Iranian counter-attack would be forced to go through the narrow mountain roads, making them very vulnerable to air strikes.
Once the US Army has taken control of the province, Bush gives the following ultimatum.
1. Iran must destroy all WMD weapons and facilities, allow UN arms inspectors for verification, and promise never to seek WMD.
2. Iran must immediately stop funding, training and organizing terrorists groups and promise not to do so in the future.
3. Iran must abolish the Council of Guardians and transfer all its power to elected officials.
4. Iran must hold new parliamentary and presidential elections..
If not fullfiled US will keep that region until .... forever?
p.s. they need allies like Blair for this plan and therfore retreat of British troops from Iraq should have been stopped...how?...public should support stay in Iraq, of course...
Any other opinion?