4 September 2008
I love it! I just came across an article, “Did We Just Invade Pakistan?” but you’ll search in vain for any headline in the mainstream media that even comes close to calling it a US invasion of Pakistan.
This is how the BBC reported it:
“Pakistan fury over ‘US assault’
Pakistan has summoned the US ambassador to protest at an alleged cross-border raid which officials say killed at least 15 villagers in the north-west.”– news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7597529.stm
Talk about double-standards! Note that the BBC puts the ‘US assault’ in single quotes and talks of an ‘alleged cross-border raid’ which calls into question whether or not the US-led ‘coalition of the willing’ did in fact assault, invade or otherwise use its helicopter gunships against yet another sovereign nation killing perhaps twenty people some of which are, by one report, children (‘US forces kill 20 in Pakistan cross-border raid’).
Predictably of course, the US denies that it ‘assaulted’ Pakistan. The BBC is not merely the mouthpiece for the UK state but also for the US. So much for ‘objective’ journalism. (For a cross-section of reactions see ‘Pakistan News-links 3-4 September 2008’.)
So what gives here? How come when Russia conducts a ‘cross-border raid’ to repel an invasion by Georgia of the Autonomous Region of Southern Ossetia, we read how it’s condemned by the ‘international community’? But then the ‘international community’ is at best ten countries, all of which are ‘allies’ of the US. (For complete and in-depth analysis of media coverage of Russia’s ‘cross-border’ raid see Media Len’s excellent ‘When news is noise – Georgia, South Ossetia and the political pipeline ’.)
More importantly mainstream coverage (if that’s what it can be called) of events reflects the built-in bias of the West when it comes to countries other than those of the G-7. It’s yet another case of don’t do as I do, do as I say!
Pointedly though, the Russian ‘cross-border raid’ shook the West up. Russia was the country the West thought it had cowed and beaten into submission, good only for its oil and gas and football-loving oligarchs (it seems the nouveau-riche are the same the whole world over). Letting sleeping giants slumber lest you rouse them to action, seems to have escaped the notice of the empire, so thoroughly arrogant in its assumptions about its ‘right’ to do whatever it chooses in the name big capital.
But it seems that ‘allowing’ Georgia to have a ‘cross-border raid’ all its own has unleashed a hornet’s nest, it just ain’t one of ‘our’s’. You surely have to ask yourself why (aside from the upcoming US presidential ‘election’) it prompted such a wave of vicious anti-Russian propaganda and lies.
Yes of course it’s about oil and that damn pipeline, but as the Media Lens piece notes:
“The $4 billion BTC pipeline, managed by and 30 percent owned by British Petroleum, was routed through Georgia to avoid sending Caspian oil through Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, or Russia. A 10-mile pipeline could have connected Caspian oil to the well-developed Iranian pipeline system.” (www.csmonitor.com/2008/0816/p14s01-cogn.html)
So for the sake of ten miles, the West turns the world upside down and embarks on yet another madcap adventure in the name of, as the BBC calls it, “energy security”, but there’s more at stake here than oil, the global economy is in crisis. The price of oil is diving (as is sterling) due to the economic depression. There are threats from leading OPEC producers of actually cutting back on production (hey, I thought we were running out of oil?).
Meanwhile the mainstream media continues peddling the same old shit, anything to divert the public’s attention away from the hole that capitalism has dug for us, which is what the “Russian aggression” hysteria is all about. It’s now beyond certainty that the US were not only informed in advance of the 72-hour long assault on Southern Ossetia but were present in Georgia during the attack.
Raiders of the lost empire?
“Talking to NATO raiders about the international law which they actually seek to undermine is the same as cas[t]ing pearls before swine. What the global raiders want is to ignore laws, to manipulate you, to seize your property, and to sink your ships, literally speaking. The whole world is watching NATO raiders flock to the Black Sea and cluster in the proximity of the Russian border under a humanitarian pretext.” — ‘Raiders in Action’, Irina Lebedeva, Strategic Culture Foundation.
Far away from the headlines presented in the Western media to a public reared on soundbites of no substance there exists another reality which when investigated, reveals a very different set of circumstances that has nothing to do with the ‘Russian bear’ but comes down to the fact that the US (with UK support) has being playing a double game with its so-called allies, ‘allies’ the US has no compunction in dumping when it suits it.
The ill-fated invasion of Southern Ossetia has created a serious dilemma for Europe, Israel and Turkey to name but a few and reveals that by trying to isolate Russia it has in fact achieved the complete opposite!
“The parallel preparation for the Georgian offensive against South Ossetia and buildup of the US Navy presence in the Persian Gulf were seen by many analysts (in Tehran especially) as a prelude to a US attack against Iran. Under the circumstances, the devastation of the Georgian military infrastructure by the Russian army made the use of Georgia as a foothold for an operation targeting Iran much less probable, and thus reduced the threat of the US-Iranian armed conflict. Besides, Iran seized the opportunity opened as a result of the developments in the Caucasus to strengthen its own position in the European energy market.” — ‘Impact of Five-Day War on Global Energy’ by Igor Tomberg.
And there’s worse (from a Western perspective):
“Having faced problems shipping its oil to the West, Azerbaijan turned to Iran for new transit routes. Iran News reported the first transit oil shipment from Azerbaijan to Iran on August 26.
“Besides, Tehran is increasingly exerting pressure on Europe in the framework of the “political support for energy” formula. Judging by the interview given by head of Nabucco Gas Pipeline International Reinhard Mitschek, the possibility of gas hunger gives Iran a chance to get heard in Europe. According to Mitschek, market studies show that potential exporters need more than 100% of the Nabucco capacity (up to 31 bn cu m of natural gas annually). Europe is interested in buying gas from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, and Iran. Considering that Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have no reserves sufficient to load a major pipeline, Iran remains the only potential source provided that massive investments are poured in gas production in the country.” (ibid)
And as for Israel, well currently, 80% of Israel’s 300,000 bpd oil import are supplied by Russia, hence Israel’s involvement in supplying Georgia with $200 million of weapons but the Georgian invasion has screwed Israel up big time as the Georgia ‘adventure’ has jeopardized Israel’s access to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (BTC), which is where Turkey fits in as it too generates revenue of $300,000 a day from the BTC.
The upshot of the US’s adventurist policies is that:
“Russia has…established itself as the only stable transit space connecting Europe, Central Asia, and the Caspian region. When the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzerum pipeline suspended shipments following the halt of BTC and Baku-Supsa, Georgia as a transit country drew another round of criticisms from the expert community. The August 13 report entitled “Turkey and the Problems with the BTC” presented by the Jamestown Foundation says: “…the long-term impact of the crisis is to throw into sharp relief the West’s assumptions about the expediency of using Georgian territory for oil and natural gas projects without taking Moscow’s views into consideration”.” (ibid)
US threats to Russia by sending warships to the Black Sea are essentially nothing more than publicity stunts to back up its propaganda war in the Western media and Russia knows it. Once more, the US ruling elite have proved themselves be incompetent empire builders, doing great damage to their interests and especially to their so-called allies. In turn, this explains why the two leading European powers, France and Germany have been somewhat circumspect in their public utterences about ‘Russian aggression’.
Can Europe afford the United States (let alone the rest of the planet)? I think not, the ramifications of the Georgia ‘cross-border assault’ have yet to be fully felt, but in my opinion it has fundamentally changed global power relations and left the US weaker and its allies divided.