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Demonization and Wars for Oil

by Gary Sudborough Sunday, Aug. 25, 2002 at 4:48 PM

The actual reasons for a war against Iraq

In nations like Nigeria and Indonesia where U.S. oil companies have unhindered access to oil and pay no attention to pollution or the welfare of the local population, there is no attempt on the part of the U.S. corporate media to demonize these countries or their leaders. For example, Indonesia's military has killed far more people than Saddam Hussein, 200,000 in East Timor and a million more in the 1965 coup that brought Suharto to power, but there is no attempt on the part of the corporate media to designate Indonesia as an evil, terrorist nation. On the contrary, the United States is even trying to quash a court case and investigation into human rights abuses by Exxon-Mobil against people in Aceh province of Indonesia.

The same is true of Nigeria. The Ogoni people and others have long protested the oil fires and pollution of their water and destruction of the fish they depend on for food. Playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa was executed by the Nigerian government for protesting the environmental destruction. Amy Goodman of Pacifica radio's program Democracy Now did a series called Drilling and Killing, where she documented how Chevron-Texaco used their helicopters to transport Nigerian soldiers to violently suppress demonstrations by local villagers.

It is no coincidence that the three countries of the Middle East that have nationalized their oil are identical to the ones demonized by the U.S. government and corporate media. I'm talking about Iran, Iraq and Libya. Mossadegh in Iran was overthrown by the CIA in a 1953 coup and replaced with the Shah precisely because he nationalized the oil. The recent U.S.-supported attempted coup against Hugo Chavez in Venzuela was partly a result of his increase in royalties on exported oil to pay for programs for the poor.

It is obvious from U.S. support for repressive governments in Indonesia and Nigeria that Saddam Hussein's mistake is not that he is a thug, supporter of terrorism or possesses weapons of mass destruction, but rather that he doesn't follow orders. The United States wants a more compliant dictator in Iraq that will allow complete control of the oil by multinational oil companies. They want to convert the situation in Iraq, Iran and Libya to one more like that in Indonesia or Nigeria, where oil companies can maximize their profits by a total lack of concern for the needs of the local people or the preservation of the environment.

Always beware of the official justifications for war. The colonialists said they had to bring civilization and Christianity to the savages. The actual goal was the gold, silver and other natural resources. On and on these excuses go through bringing them democracy and freedom, stopping communism, fighting drugs, ending ethnic cleansing, eliminating weapons of mass destruction and now the "war on terrorism." If one understands imperialism, one will know that another war against the Iraqi people, who have suffered so much from the embargo and effects of depleted uranium, will be a war crime of enormous proportions.

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