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Thursday, April 9, 2015

International Sea Dogs, Smuggling and Playing Both sides

This article follows from my post arms-lobbyists and war Mongering.

I suspect the seditious campaign to undermine, sabotage, subvert and prevent an arms agreement with Iran is worse than mere cynicism and is essentially pure treason. Not to stop Iran from getting a bomb, but to bid up the prices for the centrifuges, equipment, tools and ingredients that they buy from their patrons in the Arms Industry. I looked at who was lobbying for War, and the folks paying them to lobby were all Arms manufacturers.

Waging War for Profit Against Iran -- While Smuggling to them

Our experience with Iran since 1980 has been that sanctions not only haven't been effective but have been counter-productive. I used to think they weren't effective because they mostly hurt ordinary people and the target country and not the elites. But then I started revisiting the stories around the "October Surprise" of 1980 -- when the Iranians waited until Ronald Reagan took office and the rumor later circulated that Reagan's foreign policy team had sabotaged the negotiations.

I started digging and I found out the story was more nuanced than that. The Iranians might not have released the Hostages anyway, and the original story, that the GOP offered a better deal than the Carter Administration did. In a way both stories are correct. The Iranians had been attacked by the Iraqis by November of 1980 and they accepted both the GOP and the Carter Administration Deal. And they also made some back channel side-trades with the Israelis to get arms in exchange for deporting their 2000 year old Jewish Population to Israel. Later some of that money would be used to fund dictators and dirty wars in Central and South America. But it turns out that mostly that money was used to enrich GOP and allied Freebooters. The main motive wasn't "Arms for Hostages" but Freebooting for profit. As I found out about the Israeli Arms Industry which sold huge amounts of material in the 80's:

“More than anything else, the weapons industry wanted to make money. As one Israeli Defense Ministry official, a key figure in Operation Seashell, recalls: “I do not remember even one discussion about the ethics of the matter. All that interested us was to sell, sell, sell more and more Israeli weapons, and let them kill each other with them.” [Arms Lobbyists and War-Mongering]

Large Profits

And one can understand why almost anyone would want to smuggle arms and tools. Especially if they can cloak the effort in their flag (Israeli, Saudi or USA, doesn't matter the money buys nice houses, big yachts, prosecutors and judges, and hitmen or anyone who complains too loud). The profits are great while they last.

According to "Crimes of the President" Markups of weapons during the period when it was enforced were more than "ten times more than ordinary sales prices." "During the time of the embargo the numbers of countries selling weapons to Iran boomed from 40 countries to 53 countries." An embargo raises the profits for illegal arms sales.

Whether you are talking about an Israeli, USA, Saudi or an Arms dealer/supplier from nearly any country the story is the same as for the Robber Barons and "Sea Dog" pirates of the 19th century. As Bill Moyers quotes:

“sea-dog capitalists, dynasty builders, for whom accumulation was a singular, all-consuming obsession. They reckoned with outside authority if they had to, manipulated it if they could, but just as often went about their business as if it didn’t exist. Bred to hold politics in contempt, one Social Register memoirist recalled growing up during the “great barbeque.” He was taught to think of politics as something “remote, disreputable, and infamous, like slave-trading or brothel-keeping.” []

The same people who get on TV and cynically talk about how the USA must stop Iran from getting Nuclear bombs, behind our backs sold (and may still be selling) the Iranians the tools they need to build them. For example Cheney's Halliburton is alleged to:

"According to journalist Jason Leopold, sources at former Cheney company Halliburton allege that, as recently as January of 2005, Halliburton sold key components for a nuclear reactor to an Iranian oil development company. Leopold says his Halliburton sources have intimate knowledge of the business dealings of both Halliburton and Oriental Oil Kish, one of Iran’s largest private oil companies." []

Are Cheap Spy Novels Actually Closer to Reality than We Thought?

These folks behavior looks more like a cheap spy, mafia, or spy novel then one would want it to be. Everyone doing business with each other while spying on one another and stabbing each other in the back. And when they get caught they claim they were working undercover to stop the thing they were actually making money from building.

"Additionally, throughout 2004 and 2005, Halliburton worked closely with Cyrus Nasseri, the vice chairman of the board of directors of Iran-based Oriental Oil Kish, to develop oil projects in Iran. Nasseri is also a key member of Iran’s nuclear development team. Nasseri was interrogated by Iranian authorities in late July 2005 for allegedly providing Halliburton with Iran’s nuclear secrets. Iranian government officials charged Nasseri with accepting as much as $1 million in bribes from Halliburton for this information." [halliburton article]

Smuggling, Oligarchy and Media Buys

We don't know about other smuggling. I suppose the combination of super wealthy people buying our media, and the rash of "suicides" among investigative reporters might be a reason. But we don't even know what we don't know about which USA companies or international Conglomerates are smuggling weapons equipment to Iran presently. We can guess. Even if they aren't they make money from the conflict by selling to Irans local enemies, or just using the fear to sell to DoD or Homeland (in)Security.

Which is why there is a lot of cynicism in efforts to sabotage the peace talks. One of the Consulting/lobbying Organizations behind the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI), whose owner, Ralph Scheunemann, initially housed the Committee within his offices:

"Orion Strategies" (owned by Randy Scheunemann) "and the Mercury Group. Clients of the Mercury Group have included Swiftships Shipbuilders, Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, BP America, Air Force Memorial Foundation, Lockheed Martin, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and Sporting Arms and Ammunitions Manufacturers." [Rightweb article]

War is Good for the Arms Business

Most of which will make money from war with Iran. And I suspect some of which make money from selling things to Iran through smugglers. As for peace with Iran? Not so good. It is

"a long standing truism of the weapons trade: 'War - or the threat o war - is good for the arms business' says William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy." []

The weapons industry needs people to be afraid to afford the high markups that make their CEOs and middlemen fabulously rich. If the Nuclear business could possibly kill everyone in the world. Fear is good for business. As Robert Koehler writes:

"as Greg Mallo of the Los Alamos Study Group has noted, three privatized nuclear laboratories — Los Alamos, Sandia and Livermore — are behind the immense investment in upgraded, more destructive nuclear warheads. This aggressive pressure from the American business sector is a lot more frightening than any aggression emanating from Iran, and may indicate where the real push for war comes from. War is profitable to too many people. We need a peace treaty with the military-industrial complex." []

Meanwhile even civilian nuclear plants are turning out to be nuclear bombs. The Fukushima Burnout erupted more radioactive material than hundreds of bombs would have. And all because of some miscalculations about earthquakes and Tsunamis.

But there are fortunes to be made in the arms industry, and these fortunes can spare up to millions to bribe and buy Senators and Politicians.

Secret War:
"The Secret War with Iran" by Ronen Bergman []
Where Iran got it's equipment:
Further Reading:
Why we need this deal []

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