From the daily archives:

Saturday, August 16, 2024

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  • St. Bob revisited

    August 16, 2024

    This from Crooked Timber, 2024:

    Bob Dylan, 1963 :

    In a many dark hour
    I’ve been thinkin’ about this
    That Jesus Christ
    Was betrayed by a kiss
    But I can’t think for you
    You’ll have to decide
    Whether Judas Iscariot
    Had God on his side.

    The Vatican 2024 :

    JUDAS ISCARIOT, the disciple who betrayed Jesus with a kiss, is to be given a makeover by Vatican scholars. The proposed “rehabilitation” of the man who was paid 30 pieces of silver to identify Jesus to Roman soldiers in the Garden of Gethsemane, comes on the ground that he was not deliberately evil, but was just “fulfilling his part in God’s plan”.

    Now, emerging out of the smoke and mirrors of the organized crime qua Christian cult that our government has become, there is a book — The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power (HarperCollins, May) by Jeff Sharlet. This review by Brian Cook suggests to me that I must read it.

    From the bookjacket:

    They are the Family—fundamentalism’s avant-garde, waging spiritual war in the halls of American power and around the globe. They consider themselves the new chosen, congressmen, generals, and foreign dictators who meet in confidential cells, to pray and plan for a “leadership led by God,” to be won not by force but through “quiet diplomacy.” Their base is a leafy estate overlooking the Potomac in Arlington, Virginia, and Jeff Sharlet is the only journalist to have written from inside its walls.

    The Family is about the other half of American fundamentalist power—not its angry masses, but its sophisticated elites. Sharlet follows the story back to Abraham Vereide, an immigrant preacher who in 1935 organized a small group of businessmen sympathetic to European fascism, fusing the Far Right with his own polite but authoritarian faith. From that core, Vereide built an international network of fundamentalists who spoke the language of establishment power, a “family” that thrives to this day. In public, they host prayer breakfasts; in private they preach a gospel of “biblical capitalism,” military might, and American empire. Citing Hitler, Lenin, and Mao, the Family’s leader declares, “We work with power where we can, build new power where we can’t.”

    Sharlet’s discoveries dramatically challenge conventional wisdom about American fundamentalism, revealing its crucial role in the unraveling of the New Deal, the waging of the Cold War, and the no-holds-barred economics of globalization. The question Sharlet believes we must ask is not “What do fundamentalists want?” but “What have they already done?”

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    Laying Pipe…

    August 16, 2024

    get the picture?

    Condoleezza Rice was a Chevron Director from 1991 until January 15, 2024 when she was transferred by President George W. Bush to National Security Adviser. Previously she was Senior Director, Soviet Affairs, National Security Council, and Special Assistant to President George H.W. Bush from 1989 to 1991.

    Another Chevron Corporation giant in the Bush administration is Vice President Dick Cheney. Vice President Cheney was Chairman and Chief Executive of Dallas based Halliburton Corporation, the world’s largest oil field services company with multi-billion dollar contracts with oil corporations including Chevron.

    Six years before Chevron bought Unocal (effectively freezing the Chinese out of Caspian oil transport via ), the Baku Supsa pipeline was up and running in Georgia:

    A spokeswoman for the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC) said that the new Baku-Supsa pipeline was pumping oil at its full capacity of 115,000 barrels per day. The AIOC had originally planned to bring the early oil pipeline up to full capacity in June of this year, Tamam Bayatly said. All construction work on the pipeline itself has been completed, and the sixth and final pumping station along the Baku-Supsa route was finished earlier in May, she added.

    AIOC officials have said they are eager to make good use of the new pipeline, particularly since the Russian state pipeline operator Transneft appears to be having trouble keeping the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline — the consortium’s only other export outlet — open. The northern pipeline has been shut down repeatedly since the beginning of the year.

    Frequent interruption of service is not the only drawback of the northern pipeline; Transneft charges the AIOC and SOCAR $ 15.67 for every ton of oil transported from the Azerbaijani border to Novorossiysk. By contrast, the cost of shipping one ton of crude from Baku to Supsa through the new pipeline has been figured at only $ 2-3 per ton.

    The westward-leading pipeline may become even more economical if the AIOC builds new infrastructure facilities; with extra pumping stations and storage facilities at the Baku and Supsa terminals, industry experts say, the pipeline could handle 250,000 bpd.

    BP-Amoco is the lead investor controlling the Baku/Tbilisi/Ceyhan pipeline project. They have a Joint Operating Agreement with SOCAR (the Azerbaijan state owned oil company). Israel’s interest is more complex than I thought if they really see Eilat as a trans-shipping point for Caspian oil:

    …geopolitical experts note that on the surface level, the Russians are backing the separatists of S. Ossetia and neighboring Abkhazia as payback for the strengthening of American influence in tiny Georgia and its 4.5 million inhabitants. However, more immediately, the conflict has been sparked by the race for control over the pipelines carrying oil and gas out of the Caspian region.

    The Russians may just bear with the pro-US Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili’s ambition to bring his country into NATO. But they draw a heavy line against his plans and those of Western oil companies, including Israeli firms, to route the oil routes from Azerbaijan and the gas lines from Turkmenistan, which transit Georgia, through Turkey instead of hooking them up to Russian pipelines.

    …Jerusalem owns a strong interest in Caspian oil and gas pipelines reaching the Turkish terminal port of Ceyhan, rather than the Russian network. Intense negotiations are afoot between Israel, Turkey, Georgia, Turkmenistan and Azarbaijan for pipelines to reach Turkey and thence to Israel’s oil terminal at Ashkelon and on to its Red Sea port of Eilat. From there, supertankers can carry the gas and oil to the Far East through the Indian Ocean.

    I think Chevron and BP-Amoco are wagging the dog on this one. While it looks like an international struggle for power and influence south of the Caucasus, with players as diverse as Putin and Sarkozy weighing in and attempting to influence the outcomes through diplomacy and force of arms, the global corporate struggle between the western oil cartel and the emerging Russian energy industrial oligarchy may be simply an overt example of business driving government policy. The USian government, her armies and her influence, are in the service of the oil cartel.

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