Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Robertson asks US to assassinate Chavez

As usual, Jeff over at Rigorous Intuition, one of my favorite blogs, is all over this. On TV yesterday, self-proclaimed evangelist Pat Robertson called for the US to assassinate Hugo Chavez. (The CIA already tried and failed to overthrow Chavez in a coup attempt.) According to Robertson, Venezuela under Chavez is becoming "a launching pad for Communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent." Evidently, no one told Robertson the cold war was over, and communism is no threat anywhere.

As for charges of Muslim extremism, it's odd to hear such an accusation from one who can only be called a Christian fundamentalist extremist. Jesus exhorted his followers NOT to take up violence, admonishing that those who live by the sword die by the sword, and that such is not the way of the Christ, who laid down his weapons, turned his other cheek, and brought only love to his fellow men.

That said, the power play for Venezuela has never been about communism per se, nor terrorism, anymore than our presence in Columbia has to do with the so-called war on drugs. It's the oil, stupid. It's always about oil. Even Somalia, our "humanitarian" mission under Bush Sr., was nothing but a naked grab for oil in that region. The mission itself was run out of oil company headquarters.

I spent a day last week at a frightening symposium called Oil Shockwave. Participants included James Woolsey, the former head of the CIA; Congresswoman Jane Harman, one of the events sponsors, and several others. The event included a mock cabinet meeting, with Woolsey in the role of the National Security Advisor. Mock footage from GNN - the fictious Global News Network - showed events on three different days, and how fairly small events caused tremendous shocks in the oil supply system. One person not on the panel talked later in the day how a thirty minute fire in a refinery in the Los Angeles area sent diesel prices up. The supply is so necessary and the demand so constant that small events can precipitate steep price raises.

The bottom line is, we're at the point where our demand for oil is rapidly exceeding our capacity to supply it. The world's three biggest oil producing regions are, in order from the top, the middle east (65% of the world's oil), Africa (around 10%) and Latin America (around 7%). The US's oil supply is only about 2% of the world's, so we are dependent on oil from other countries. The figures explain why we are at war in Iraq and why we care so much about Venezuela. How lucky are countries without major oil reserves, as they have not been targets of our imperialistic grabs for power. In the Middle East, the Saudi's control the greatest amount of the oil, which explains the close relationship the White House has to the Saudi's and our inability to do anything to bring about the democritization of their society. Women are treated as second class citizens, not even allowed to be seen in some areas. The ruling class is a dictatorship. But America can't complain, because by holding so much oil,the Saudi's hold the cards.

I have too little time to talk in depth about all I wish I could discuss here. But when you hear talk of us going to Iran - know that they are also a major oil and natural gas producer, two commodities in increasingly short supply. It isn't about Muslim extremism, although that's a handy excuse since the areas with large muslim populations in many case are also areas with huge oil reserves. Communism was such a threat to us not because it was a 'godless' or 'undemocratic' way of life, but because it meant the nationalizing of oil supplies, and it's harder to get oil that is under state control than to get oil that is bought and sold by global corporations.

I am reminded of the scene in Three Days of the Condor where the CIA operative known as "Condor" (Robert Redford) realizes that the plot he has been following is all about a preemptive move to control the Middle East because of oil. (See the film again, if you haven't. Very prescient.) Condor's point is that the people should be given the facts about the real reasons we're moving in the Middle East, and let them choose. His handler's point, however, is that if we wait too long, people won't want to be asked. They'll just want the oil gotten for them. It's a chillingly accurate portrayal of the moral quandries of the CIA and worse, the lack of education in the general populace. If we could convince the people of this country that oil is a finite world resource, and that our strategic reserves wouldn't last us but a few months in a crisis, I think we'd see a quicker move to renewable energy sources. But so long as science is minimized, global warming denied, and the belief that oil is limited is a myth, we're in for a long, dirty road to hell. It's already very late in the game for us to just now be waking up to these facts. I don't believe it's too late, yet, but there's no time to be lost.


Blogger Real History Lisa said...

And this story is raising quite a ruckus. The BBC, LA Times, Bloomberg and others are all reporting that Chavez is calling on the United States to take some sort of action against Robertson for his "criminal" remarks. This county cherishes free speech, for the most part. But it also forbids inciting to riot, and a statement from a Christian leader calling for the killing of a leader of another country seems perilously close to the line.

4:48 PM  
Blogger Real History Lisa said...

Check this story for more details.

4:48 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

I thought we were already at the point where public speech of the sort uttered by Pat Robinson is to be treated as terroristic and in deed, terrorism. So...why hasn't he been rendered? Are they having to wait until that Gulfstream jet has a chance to pick the old dingbat up and take him to Gitmo? I think so. That's what I think. . .they have to refuel the jet first. . .so, maybe the Patriot Act works after all? Jim

1:49 PM  
Blogger gary said...

Robertson apologized (after lying about saying it in the first place) but on Fox News last night they had two "experts" openly saying that Chavez should be killed.

11:45 AM  

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