Progressive Calendar 03.31.07
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2007 04:28:31 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    03.31.07

1. Mexico/film        3.31 10am
2. Mexico border      3.31 10am
3. NWN4P vigils       3.31 11am
4. Northtown vigil    3.31 2pm
5. Prez explore       3.31 4pm
6. NLG                3.31 6pm
7. Cuba/film          3.31 6:30pm
8. GLBT sexuality     3.31 7pm
9. Jewish feminism    3.31 7:30pm
10. Israel/CTV        3.31 9pm
11. GandhiGrandson    3.31

12. Stillwater vigil  4.01 1pm
13. Afghanistan/ed    4.01 1:30pm
14. YAWR plans        4.01 3:30pm
15. KFAI's Indian     4.01 4pm
16. Monkey piano band 4.01 7pm

17. Kevin Zeese - The loopholes in the supplemental
18. Alan Maass  - Oil and the empire

--------1 of 18--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Mexico/film 3.31 10am

Saturday, 3/31, 10 to 11:30 am, filmmaker Pacho Lane shows film "Indigenous
Democracy" about the struggle of the Totonac people for autonomy in Mexico,
Resource Center of the Americas, 3019 Minnehaha Ave, Mpls.  www.americas.org


--------2 of 18--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Mexico border 3.31 10am

Saturday, 3/31, 10 am to 1 pm, immigration lawyer Rose Grengs speaks on
"Where Two Worlds Colide: U.S./Mexico Border" at the WAMM annual meeting, St
Joan of Arch Church Hospitality Room, 4537 - 3rd Ave S, Mpls.
www.worldwidewamm.org


--------3 of 18--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net>
Subject: NWN4P vigils 3.31 11am

Believe it or not ...
There are now two NWN4P weekly demonstrations as follows:

1.
NWN4P-Plymouth demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, along
Vinewood, just north of 42nd Ave.  and one block east of 494 in Plymouth.
Drive toward the Rainbow and Target Greatland on Vinewood, turn right by
Bakers Square and right again into the parking lot near the sidewalk.
Bring your own sign or use ours.
2.
NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7
and 101.  Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the entrance
fountain. Bring your own signs or use ours.


--------4 of 18--------

From: Lennie <major18 [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Northtown vigil 3.31 2pm

Mounds View peace vigil EVERY SATURDAY from 2-3pm at the at the southeast
corner of the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE in Blaine,
which is the northwest most corner of the Northtown Mall area. This is a
MUCH better location.

We'll have extra signs.  Communities situated near the Northtown Mall
include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden
Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids.

For further information, email major18 [at] comcast.net or call Lennie at
763-717-9168


--------5 of 18--------

From: PRO826 [at] aol.com
Subject: Prez explore 3.31 4pm

Our next PE [Presidential Exploratory, 3rd party progressive] meeting is
scheduled for March 31st (Sat) from 4-6pm at the Wolves Den located at
1201 E. Franklin Ave. in the strip mall.  It is a Native American run
coffee shop and has a separate meeting room.

We already have consensus that we will not be supporting any candidate
within the corporate system, so let's examine what we have to select from.

  Announced:

Elaine Brown  http://www.elainebrown.org/
Kent Mesplay  http://www.mesplay.org/
Kat Swift  http://www.prezkat.info/

Not Announced:

Harry  Belafonte http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Belafonte
Matt Gonzales  http://www.mattgonzalez.com/
Cynthia McKinney  http://www.cynthiaforcongress.com/
Bill Moyers  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Moyers
Ralph Nader  http://www.nader.org/
Cindy Sheehan  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cindy_Sheehan
Kevin Zeese _http://www.kevinzeese.com/_ (http://www.kevinzeese.com/)


--------6 of 18--------

From: Jess Sundin <jess [at] antiwarcommittee.org>
Subject: NLG 3.31 6pm

MN National Lawyers Guild's Annual Social Justice Dinner

Saturday, 3/31 @ 6:00PM Social Hour, 6:30PM Dinner, 7:30PM Awards & Speaker @
William Mitchell College of Law, 875 Summit Ave, St. Paul

This years Social Justice Dinner continues the tradition of being a very
good time for progressive folks, a very stimulating and encouraging time,
and (in short) an event not to be missed if you can at all help it!

Annual Social Justice Award: United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local
#1161, Worthington , MN, for its defense of immigrant workers swept up in
the ICE Raids; Paul Marino Peoples Lawyer Award: Kenneth E. Tilsen for a
lifetime of civil and human rights advocacy, in service to the people, in
the best tradition of the National Lawyers Guild.

Your attendance will help us build towards becoming a staffed chapter to
take on the challenges of the coming years, including the Republican
National Convention and the deepening crises for civil liberties and human
rights posed by an increasingly corporatized/militarized society.
Individual tickets: $50 per person. Student, low-income tickets: $15.
Tables seating eight: $350. Reserve by March 15, 2007. Dinner questions &
reservations: Bruce or Lorena at 612-436-3664.

For more info, call us at 612.379.3899
Check out our website at http://www.antiwarcommittee.org


--------7 of 18--------

From: Minnesota Cuba Committee <mncuba [at] usfamily.net>
Subject: Cuba/film 3.31 6:30pm

Saturday, March 31, 6:30 pm
Mujeres de Guerillas

St. Martin's Table, 2001 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis
http://communityofstmartin.org/smt/index.html for directions (This is a
change in location from the originally scheduled Mapps Coffe House.)

An homage to the more than three hundred women who participated in both
the underground movement and guerrilla army against the regime of the
Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, though often times forgotten. Consuelo
Elba Alvarez - who also served in the underground and in guerrilla column
number one led by Fidel Castro - has brought together the testimonies of
ten women combatants; why they joined the struggle, their experiences as
combatants and their lives afterwards until today. Alvarez's documentary -
the first of its kind - presents a side of the revolutionary struggle that
even few Cubans are familiar with including members of the families of
some of the women.

Consuelo Elba Alvarez has been involved in the performance arts since her
youth. Once a child and teenage actress, she is today an acclaimed
television director in Cuba. Amongst other works, her most well-known
telenovelas or soaps - which have been shown at international film
festivals - include Sin perder la ternura, Entre mamparas, Alguien me
habló de los naufragios, and Loma Arriba. She last visited the Twin Cities
in 2000 to talk about her work.

The movie is co-produced by Minnesotan August Nimtz who will be available
for questions after the showing.

Sponsored by Minnesota Cuba Committee
For more information call 612 623-3452 or 651 983-3981
http://groups.msn.com/minnesotacubacommittee


--------8 of 18--------

From: Kelly O'Brien <obrie136 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: GLBT sexuality 3.31 7pm

"Beyond Marriage: Building New Alliances Around the Politics of Sexuality"
Lisa Duggan, professor of American studies at New York University and
co-founder of BeyondMarriage.org

Saturday, March 31, 7:00 p.m.
Loft Literary Center, 1011 Washington Ave S., Minneapolis
Free and open to the public
FFI: U of M Institute for Advanced Study, 612-626-5054, www.ias.umn.edu
<http://www.ias.umn.edu/>

"Beyond Marriage: Building New Alliances Around the Politics of
Sexuality," offers a new focus for GLBT politics aimed both at arresting
anti-gay marriage amendments that have passed in a majority of states, and
challenging political and economic reforms attacking a spectrum of
non-traditional families. Beyond Marriage activists identify opposition to
same-sex marriage as only one part of a broader pro-marriage, "family
values" agenda that includes abstinence-only sex education, stringent
divorce laws, coercive marriage promotion policies directed toward women
on welfare, and attacks on reproductive freedom.

Sponsored by the U of M Twin Cities GLBT Oral History Project.


--------9 of 18---------

From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Jewish feminism 3.31 7:30pm

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb : "Jewish Feminism and Jewish-Muslim Peace Work"

Saturday March 31, 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. Powderhorn Park Community Center,
3400 15th Avenue South, Minneapolis. Join a Community Conversation and
Havdalah Ceremony to benefit Interfaith Inventions, founded by Rabbi Lynn.
Interfaith Inventions educates and enriches the lives of children and
adults through programs that promote respect and understanding between
people of diverse faiths. FFI: Call 612-408-3849.


--------10 of 18--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Israel/CTV 3.31 9pm

Minneapolis Television Network (MTN 17) viewers:

"Our World In Depth" cablecasts weekly in Minneapolis on MTN!  Households
with basic cable can watch.  MTN cablecasts are on Channel 17 Saturdays at
9 pm and the following Tuesday at 8 am.  Below are the scheduled shows
through April 14:

Sat, 3/31, 9 pm   "Is Criticism of Israel Anti-Semitic: An Evening
with Norman Finkelstein".  Part 1 of a talk given 11/5 in Mpls.


--------11 of 18--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Gandhi grandson 3.31

Saturday, 3/31, all day, the Mahatma's grandson Arun Gandhi speaks on "Non
Violent Principles and Applications" at conference with Pace e Bene's
Butigan at Normandale Community College, Bloomington.  $45 registration to
CTA-MN, PO Box 50419, Mpls 55419.  Questions to Judy at 612-927-6825.


--------12 of 18--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 4.01 1pm

A weekly Vigil for Peace

Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2 p.m.  Come after Church
or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song and witness to the human
desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be positive.  Sponsored by
the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers. If you have a United Nations flag or a
United States flag please bring it.  Be sure to dress for the weather .


--------13 of 18--------

From: Santwana Dasgupta <santwana [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Afghanistan/ed 4.01 1:30pm

Sunday, April 1 2007
1:30pm - 3:30pm
Paul and Sheila Wellstone Center for Community Building
179 Robie Street East, St. Paul, MN 55107-2360

Partnership for Education of Children in Afghanistan Presents Afghanistan
- A Thirst for Education. Dr. Ahmed Javed and Ms. Husnia Alokozay will
give a presentation on the past, current state, and future of education in
Afghanistan. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion on
audience questions.

Dr. Javed is a medical doctor studying Public Health at the University of
Minnesota and Ms. Alokozay is a 16 year old high school exchange student
both are from Afghanistan. Suggested donation $10. No one will be turned
away. info [at] afghanimodelschool.org or 612-821-8759.
www.afghanimodelschool.org
Home: 612-821-8759 Cell: 612-961-1344

NOTE:
75% of schools destroyed in 3 decades of conflict
Since 2002, 1,753 schools have been rehabilitated or constructed
In 2002, percentage of girls enrolled in school was 3%, in 2003 it
jumped to 30%.
More than 1 million girls aged between 7 and 13 years are still not
in school.


--------14 of 18--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: YAWR plans 4.01 3:30pm

Sunday, 4/1, 3:30 pm, meeting of Youth Against War and Racism to plan for
May 11th Capitol Campout, Vera's Cafe, 2901 Lyndale, Mpls.
brandon.madsen [at] gmail.com


--------15 of 18--------

From: Chris Spotted Eagle <cspottedeagle [at] comcast.net>
Subject: KFAI's Indian 4.01 4pm

KFAI's Indian Uprising for April 1, 2007  #207

JOHN TRUDELL (Santee Sioux), spoken-word performance artist.  Hear, Crazy
Horse, from his CD "Bone Days" ASITIS Productions (2001),
www.johntrudell.com.  Note: Crazy Horse (Lakota: T'asunka Witko (ca. 1840
­ September 5, 1877) was a respected war leader of the Oglala Lakota, who
fought against the U.S. federal government in an effort to preserve the
traditions and values of the Lakota way of life.

DECOLONIZATION OF AMERICAN INDIANS (part one) excerpt from a speech by
Elizabeth by Cook-Lynn (Crow Creek Sioux), Indian Country Today, February
23, 2007.  "One of the pragmatic realities of enforced colonialism, and
one of the first strategies for making colonialism work, is the challenge
of the power status of women and the dogged dispossession of women's
rights. Though I've been called a feminist, I don't want this discussion
to be understood as a feminist issue. It is not that. It is an issue of
colonization and imperial power based in religion."
http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096414555

DECOLONIZATION OF AMERICAN INDIANS (part two) by Elizabeth by Cook-Lynn,
Indian Country Today, March 2, 2007.  "We must decolonize entire
communities held in the grip of damaging non-tribal ideologies, which are
the basis for tribal/state and tribal/federal relationships that have not
changed in 200 years. Among the ideologies responsible for our condition
are Christianity, which has brought about a belief in male privilege so
that even Native men and women harbor this belief; Manifest Destiny, which
has brought about anti-Indian legislation, the superiority of white
colonizers and land theft; and capitalism, an economic system based in the
exploitation of resources. We must ask ourselves to what extent we have
adopted, and adapted to, these ideologies and how these adaptations have
been a detriment to us."
http://www.Indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096414583

THE MEASURE OF A MAN: A spiritual autobiography by Sidney Poitier (black
actor), HarperSanFrancisco (2000).  "Wherever there's a configuration in
which that are the powerful and the powerless, the powerful, by and large,
aren't going to feel much of anything about this imbalance. After a while
the powerful become accustomed to experiencing the power to their benefit
in ways that are painless. It's the air they breathe, the water they swim
in... If we examine our own history, we see quite clearly how long it took
before there was any acknowledgment of the inequities in our society.
Through most of the history of film, we were making movies, for Christ's
sake, where the Indians were all bad guys."

* * * *
Indian Uprising a one-half hour Public & Cultural Affairs program is for and
by Indigenous People broadcast each Sunday at 4:00 p.m. over KFAI 90.3 FM
Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul.  Producer and host is volunteer Chris
Spotted Eagle.  KFAI Fresh Air Radio is located at 1808 Riverside Avenue,
Minneapolis MN 55454, 612-341-3144.  www.kfai.org

KFAI's website's "Program Archives" section is temporarily shut down and
back up no later then April 2nd.  Programs can be heard via KFAI's "live
streaming" using RealAudio or MP3.  Go to www.kfai.org and click "KFAI Live
Streams."


--------16 of 18--------

From: Ed Voyce
Subject: Monkey piano band 4.01 7pm

The "Jerry Lee Lewis" Monkey Piano Band and Demolition Crew
April 1, 7pm
Miss Manners Biker Bar & Hair Salon
7300 1/3 University Av N, Fridley

Bikers! Latest Sturgis styles - page-boy, come-hither pigtails, and
to-die-for bangs! Done at your table while you slug down Miss
Manners' litter of liters of Shirley Temples and listen to this GREAT
BAND!

Now, you ask, who is this "Jerry Lee Lewis" Monkey Piano Band and
Demolition Crew, and why should I give a rat's sass?

Years ago, back in the 60s or thereabouts, back when Jerry Lee Lewis was
destroying pianos to save them, intimate biker bars across the Old South
attempted to book the one and only JLL. But would he come? No, he would
not. He told them to be fruitful and multiply - only not in those words.

So Mr JD Stephens, of Numb Knob Alabama, conceived the glorious idea of
training a band of monkeys to play JLL tunes on a dozen children's tiny
toy pianos. The first performance, at Knick-Knack Rebel Bar, April 1 1965,
was a huge success, one that will live forever in monkey-rock history.
People came from as far away as Zargle's Glen, Ramgoober, Lagniappe Crick,
Crockatoola, Pointy Peak, and Ewe's End. Hard to believe, but true.

What the monkeys lacked in musicianship or health habits they more than
made up for in wild enthusiasm. Some said, So how good do you have to be
to be better than JLL? After each number the audience gave each monkey a
mini Shirley Temple or two, and things just got better and better. (The
audience had more also, which was an even greater aid to music
appreciation.) Then Mr Bob-Bob Boberg got the earth-shaking idea of
bringing in a rock for each monkey. "This is a monkey rock band, right?"
he famously said.  Well, those pianos didn't last more than two or three
more numbers, and they were history. The audience was ecstatic. The Knick
Knack Rebel Bar did a land office business.

Well, the band (the JLLMPBDC) was an overnight sensation. In the next
several weeks it played at Varkville, Crazy Dog, Nelson's Nook, Salt Lick,
and Turkeytown, to standing ovations and libations. Toy pianos had to be
shipped in from as far away as Altanta, New Orleans, and Pigsnot (toy
piano capitol of the world).

Each place had to out-do the last place in sheer feral mayhem. Finally, in
Precious, Tennessee, at Zeke's Libation Lounge, after the third number,
all the monkeys were given lit blowtorches. Well, you can imagine what
quick work they made of _those_ (mostly plastic) toy pianos - they never
had a chance!  And, the crowd loved it!

Now the story at Zeke's gets a bit darker. Some of the monkeys had
long-term grudges aginst other monkeys. Each monkey wanted to be all that
he could be; lit blowtorches; need we say more. The crowd loved it even
more, as you can well imagine. And some of the monkeys hated master JD
Stephens' guts, and ganged up on him; fortunately he could run faster than
most of the monkeys, so he still appears to look fairly normal from most
angles.

Nevertheless, the band got even MORE gigs. Even though a good number of
biker bars across the Old South were partially or totally burned to the
ground.  (Several are marked with historic placards, and every summer
bikers make the grand tour of famous hulks.)

Within a year, however, the larger bar owners pressured state legislators
to ban monkey toy piano bands. It was the end of an era.

Until now. JD Stephen's son, DJ Stephens, has revived the idea, this time
for the North (no laws against it here), with specially bred idiot savant
monkeys, who do what they're told, most of the time. 24 (twenty-four)
count 'em 24 toy pianos, and hopped up JLL monkeys to play 'em! And (we
knew you were dying to ask) they will all have LIT BLOWTORCHES! This could
be (literally) the best (or at least last) concert of your lifetime!!!

The "Jerry Lee Lewis" Monkey Piano Band and Demolition Crew
April 1, 7pm
Miss Manners Biker Bar & Hair Salon
7300 1/3 University Av N, Fridley MN


--------17 of 18--------

Is Bush Lame or is Congress?
The Loopholes in the Supplemental
By KEVIN ZEESE
CounterPunch
March 30, 2007

While the headlines will read that the Senate voted to withdraw U.S.
troops in Iraq, the peace movement recognizes that the Senate bill will
extend the war not end it. The exit date in the bill is merely a goal for
the removal of combat troops, and there are large loopholes that would
allow a commander in chief to keep as many troops as s/he wants in Iraq.
The bill provides $123 billion to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
nearly $20 billion more requested by Bush.

The real issue now is whether the Democrats will cave into President
Bush's threatened veto by providing a funding bill with no exit
requirements or whether they will challenge the president further. If they
cave they will have given Bush new life - he will no longer be a lame
duck,
but rather will remain "the decider." The Congress will be seen as a "lame
Congress." How they respond will be determined after their April recess.

Many peace advocates held a demonstration shortly after the vote to
protest the extension, rather than end of the war. The demonstration
emphasized that the Democrats have the power to end the war and
highlighted the deaths of U.S. soldiers and Iraqis with a series of
gravestones and photos. The Hill described the protest as an "occupation"
of the Hart Senate office building. See citation below for full article.

The vote was mostly a party-line 51-47 vote. Forty-eight Democrats and
independent Bernard Sanders of Vermont were joined by two Republicans,
Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Gordon Smith of Oregon, in voting for the
measure. Opposed were 46 Republicans and Connecticut independent-Democrat
Joseph Lieberman. Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), did
not vote.

Regarding getting out of Iraq the bill requires beginning redeployment 120
days after the bill's passage and sets a goal - not a firm exit date - of
withdrawal of combat troops by March 31, 2008. Combat troops make up
roughly half the troops in Iraq which are projected to peak at 171,000
when the president's troop "surge" is completed. Thus, this could leave
80,000 non-combat troops in Iraq. However, the bill allows combat troops
to remain to protect Iraq's borders, fight terrorists, and protect the
Embassy among other purposes. So, it is not clear how many troops will
actually be withdrawn if the bill's "goal" is met.

The bill now goes to a conference committee with the House version and
then to the White Hose for a promised veto. The Congress will not respond
to the veto until it returns from its April recess.

For More Information:
Chris Good, Protesters stage 'occupation' of Hart office building, March
29, 2007.

Kevin Zeese is director of DemocracyRising.US and co-founder of
VotersForPeace.US.


--------18 of 18--------

The Global Scramble for Black Gold
Oil and the Empire
By ALAN MAASS
counterPunch
March 30, 2007

The oil men of the Bush administration are trying to set up one of the
biggest swindles in history - the great Iraq oil robbery.

The cabinet of the new Iraqi government - under pressure from the U.S.
occupiers who put them in power - approved a law that would undo Iraq's
nationalized system and give Western oil giants unparalleled access to the
country's vast reserves.

The oil companies would be guaranteed super-profits - on a scale unknown
anywhere else in the Middle East - for a period of 20 to 35 years from oil
pumped out of two-thirds or more of Iraq's oilfields. Meanwhile, Iraqis
would continue to endure poverty and the devastation of war while sitting
atop what is estimated to be the third-largest supply of the world's most
sought-after resource.

The great Iraq oil robbery isn't a done deal. Even if the law is finalized
by May as expected, the major oil companies say they won't have anything
to do with production in Iraq until "security" is established - and that
would mean a success for the occupiers and their Iraqi puppets that the
U.S. hasn't been able to achieve over the past four years since the
invasion.

Still, the law underlines the importance of the scramble for oil to the
U.S. empire - no matter how much George Bush and his administration deny
it with claims about spreading "democracy" and making the world safe from
terrorism.

The U.S. government's thirst for oil isn't only about profits - and still
less about securing supplies of a commodity that ordinary Americans depend
on - but is also about power. In a world in which the economic and
military might of nations depends significantly on access to oil, more
control for the U.S. means less control for its rivals.

These dual calculations - securing access for its own needs and
controlling the access of others - have been central to the history of oil
and the U.S.empire, from the end of the 19th century, to the start of the
21st.

-
During the opening months of the Bush administration in 2001, Dick Cheney
chaired a task force to set a new course for U.S. energy policy.

Cheney and the White House invited a showdown with Congress by refusing to
respond to even routine requests for information about the task force -
like who served on it, and what their recommendations were.

Most people assumed this meant the task force was made up of energy
industry executives, and their "deliberations" were organized around
plotting new ways to line their pockets. This turned out to be completely
accurate - and certainly not unexpected, given the makeup of the new
administration.

"It isn't so much under the sway of Big Oil as it is, well, infested top
to bottom with oil operatives, starting with the president and vice
president," left-wing journalist Jeffrey St. Clair wrote on the
CounterPunch Web Site.

"Eight cabinet members and the National Security Advisor came directly
from executive jobs in the oil industry, as did 32 other Bush-appointed
officials in the Office of Management and Budget, Pentagon, State
Department and the departments of Energy, Agriculture and - most crucially
in terms of opening up what remains of the American wilderness to the
drillers - Interior."

But Cheney and the task force had more on their minds than further
deregulation or drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge.

They were also laying out the strategic aims of the "war on terror" to
come.

It wasn't called the "war on terror" yet. The September 11 attacks would
take place half a year later, but ultimately, they were only the pretext
for carrying out long-held plans for a more aggressive U.S. imperialism.

Oil was at the heart of that agenda. Cheney's energy task force concluded
that declining resources and the rise of potential rivals such as China
meant the U.S. needed to tighten its grip - most of all, in the Persian
Gulf region, which sits on more proven reserves of oil than the rest of
the world combined.

The task force recommended that the U.S. press allies like Saudi Arabia
and Kuwait to "open up areas of their energy sectors to foreign
investment."

But another focus was Iraq - where oil production remained in a shambles
after the first Gulf War, and exports were restricted by U.S.-backed
United Nations sanctions. The task force reportedly examined maps of Iraqi
oilfields - and the Pentagon produced a memo on "Foreign Suitors For Iraqi
Oilfield Contracts" that analyzed contractors from dozens of countries and
their intentions toward exploiting Iraqi's oil if Saddam Hussein's
government was overthrown.

The interest in Iraq's oil wasn't new. A Pentagon document made the case
that an "oil war" was a "legitimate" military option back in 1999 - while
Bill Clinton was still president.

At that time, Dick Cheney was still lurking in the private sector, as the
CEO of Halliburton, but he clearly agreed with the Democratic
administration about the importance of oil. "The Middle East, with
two-thirds of the oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize lies,"
he said in a 1999 speech.

Of course, Cheney's industry colleagues lusted after Iraqi oil as a source
of profits. "Iraq possesses huge reserves of oil and gas...[that] I'd love
Chevron to have access to," Chevron CEO Kenneth Derr said in 1998.

But Cheney and like-minded "hawks" from previous Republican
administrations had their minds on a bigger picture. By the end of the
1990s, the newly formed Project for a New American Century provided a
soapbox for the "neoconservatives" who would populate the Bush
administration - such as Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton and future Cheney
aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

"While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate
justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the
Gulf transcends the issue of Saddam Hussein," the PNAC hawks declared in a
report issued not long before the 2000 election. War with Iraq would be
part of a plan of "maintaining global U.S. pre-eminence...and shaping the
international security order in line with U.S. principles and interests."

The PNAC dogma became the outline of the Bush Doctrine promoted by the
administration after the "war on terror" was launched - aggressive use of
U.S. power to prevent the development of any rivals to the U.S., now and
into the future.

Pre-emptive war and an expanded U.S. military presence worldwide would be
necessary to "dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military
buildup in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the U.S,"
according to the White House's National Security Strategy document issued
in 2002.

In this context, oil is a dominant factor - because as important as it is
to the economic fortunes of any country, it is even more so to their
military might.

-
No one would doubt the critical importance of oil to the global economy.
It accounts for 39 percent of global energy consumption, including 95
percent of energy used in ground, sea and air transportation. Petroleum is
also a basic component in a range of products, like plastics and paints,
that we take for granted today.

"But just as important," as Saman Sepheri wrote in the International
Socialist Review, "every tank, every airplane - from the B-52 to the
stealth bomber - every Cruise missile and most warships in the U.S. or any
other nation's military arsenal rely on oil to wage their terror."

The decisive relationship of war and oil first emerged in the First World
War. Britain, with its colonial control over Iranian oil, had a decisive
advantage over the German-led Axis powers, allowing the Allies to "[float]
to victory on a wave of oil," in the words of Britain's Foreign Secretary
Lord Curzon.

By the Second World War, the scramble for oil was a strategic priority on
all sides. "The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor to protect their flank as
they grabbed for the petroleum resources of the East Indies," author
Daniel Yergin wrote in his history of oil titled The Prize. "Among
Hitler's most important strategic objectives in the invasion of the Soviet
Union was the capture of the oil fields in the Caucasus. But America's
predominance in oil proved decisive, and by the end of the war, German and
Japanese fuel tanks were empty."

The U.S. emerged from the war as the dominant world superpower, and a
central part of its postwar strategy depended on maintaining control over
oil resources, particularly the vast reserves discovered in the Middle
East - "a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the
greatest prizes in world history," the State Department said in a
document.

U.S. companies had been decisive in establishing Saudi Arabia - the first
"fundamentalist" Islamic state built around the Saud clan. Texaco and
Standard Oil of California formed the Arab American Oil Company (ARAMCO)
to share its concessions for exploration and marketing of Saudi oil.
ARAMCO and the U.S. government ended up creating much of the Saudi state
machine from scratch to serve their needs.

During the early 1950s, in Iran, the other crucial pillar of Middle East
oil production, Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq nationalized the
British-controlled Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. The CIA organized a coup to
overthrow Mossadeq, restoring the brutal regime of the Shah to serve as a
regional strongman guaranteeing Western oil interests.

The other important surrogate for the U.S. was Israel. Without oil
resources itself, Israel was a colonial settler state funded with tens of
billions of dollars in U.S. aid to serve as a military watchdog against
any threat to Western interests by Arab nationalist regimes.

U.S. power over the region suffered a blow with the 1978-79 revolution
that toppled the Shah. President Jimmy Carter ordered the creation of a
Rapid Deployment Force to stop "any attempt by any outside force to gain
control of the Persian Gulf region [which] will be regarded as an assault
on the vital interests of the United States."

Meanwhile, the U.S. encouraged neighboring Iraq, under the dictatorship of
Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party, to invade Iran - and quietly backed
the decade-long war that followed, at a cost of more than 1 million lives.

When Hussein threatened to slip the leash, invading Kuwait in 1990, George
Bush Sr. organized a coalition of "the bullied and the bribed" for a war
that killed hundreds of thousands.

The same priority - on protecting and extending U.S. control over the flow
of Middle East oil - has continued through the rush to exploit newly
available oil reserves in the Caspian Sea region, the scheming for a
pipeline through Afghanistan and beyond.

-
The question of who controls the oil is made even more intense by the
threat that it is drying up. Depending on how pessimistic or optimistic
the estimate, world production of oil will peak in either the next few
years or next few decades - at which point, the cost of extracting the
remaining oil is expected to rise rapidly.

This end-of-oil scenario is emerging as worldwide demand for oil is
growing at a faster pace than ever.

The U.S. continues to claim the lion's share, accounting for 25 percent of
oil consumption with just 5 percent of the world's population. But the big
increases in demand are coming from the developing world's economic
powerhouses China and India - precisely the nations that sections of the
U.S. establishment fear could develop into rivals over the coming century.

The stage is thus set for oil to play the same central role in the
imperialist competition - economic, political and military - between
nations in the 21st century as it did in the 20th.

In this light, the Bush administration's motivations in pushing for the
new Iraq oil law are clearer.

For one thing, Iraqi oil production has been hampered by two decades of
war and sanctions - its reserves will be an important unexploited source
as oil becomes more scarce.

U.S. companies would love to take advantage of the super-profits
guaranteed by the production-sharing agreements (PSAs) that the Iraqi
government would sign under the law.

PSAs are usually used in situations where the oil is difficult to extract,
so the company's investment in production is substantial. But the opposite
is the case in Iraq - the cost of extraction is about $1 per barrel, and
the selling price on the world market is around $60 a barrel. And under
the PSA, foreign oil companies would be guaranteed 70 percent of the
profits - seven times the typical share under other contracts in the
Middle East.

But that's assuming they get away with it. The Iraqi government is
expected to approve the oil law, but getting Western oil companies to come
in under circumstances of a civil war and widespread opposition to the
U.S. military presence is another matter.

The other aim of the oil law, as left-wing Iraq expert Michael Schwartz
put it in a recent interview with Socialist Worker, is to give U.S.
companies "control over the spigots" - so that the U.S. will "get to
decide how much is going to get pumped at any particular moment, and who
it will be sold to." But the crisis of the occupation has frustrated this
aim as well.

Meanwhile, rather than being intimidated by U.S. power, Iran has benefited
from Washington's crisis in Iraq, and is more willing than ever to strike
out on its own. One consequence has been Iran's deeper ties with China -
the very country the U.S. hoped to force into line with its tightened grip
on Persian Gulf oil.

Washington's rulers aren't about to give up, however. For the last
century, the world's governments have been ready to go to war over oil -
and they will again, until a new society that places priorities on
democracy, freedom and justice is established.


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   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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