29 February, 2008

Americans join Iraqis in un-peoplehood

The war everyone forgot
The war everyone forgot
29 February 2008

IRAQ remains a significant concern for the population, but that is a matter of little moment in a modern democracy. Not long ago, it was taken for granted that the Iraq war would be the central issue in the presidential campaign, as it was in the midterm election of 2006. But it has virtually disappeared, eliciting some puzzlement. There should be none.

The Wall Street Journal came close to the point in a front-page article on Super Tuesday, the day of many primaries: "Issues Recede in '08 Contest As Voters Focus on Character." To put it more accurately, issues recede as candidates, party managers and their public relations agencies focus on character. As usual. And for sound reasons. Apart from the irrelevance of the population, they can be dangerous.

Progressive democratic theory holds that the population . "ignorant and meddlesome outsiders" . should be "spectators," not "participants" in action, as Walter Lippmann wrote.

The participants in action are surely aware that on a host of major issues, both political parties are well to the right of the general population, and that public opinion is quite consistent over time, a matter reviewed in the useful study, "The Foreign Policy Disconnect," by Benjamin Page and Marshall Bouton. It is important, then, for the attention of the people to be diverted elsewhere.

The real work of the world is the domain of an enlightened leadership. The common understanding is revealed more in practice than in words, though some do articulate it: President Woodrow Wilson, for example, held that an elite of gentlemen with "elevated ideals" must be empowered to preserve "stability and righteousness," essentially the perspective of the Founding Fathers. In more recent years the gentlemen are transmuted into the "technocratic elite" and "action intellectuals" of Camelot, "Straussian" neocons of Bush II or other configurations.

For the vanguard who uphold the elevated ideals and are charged with managing the society and the world, the reasons for Iraq's drift off the radar screen should not be obscure. They were cogently explained by the distinguished historian Arthur M Schlesinger, articulating the position of the doves 40 years ago when the US invasion of South Vietnam was in its fourth year and Washington was preparing to add another 100,000 troops to the 175,000 already tearing South Vietnam to shreds.

By then the invasion launched by President Kennedy was facing difficulties and imposing difficult costs on the United States, so Schlesinger and other Kennedy liberals were reluctantly beginning to shift from hawks to doves.

-  In 1966, Schlesinger wrote that of course "we all pray" that the hawks are right in thinking that the surge of the day will be able to "suppress the resistance," and if it does, "we may all be saluting the wisdom and statesmanship of the American government" in winning victory while leaving "the tragic country gutted and devastated by bombs, burned by napalm, turned into a wasteland by chemical defoliation, a land of ruin and wreck," with its "political and institutional fabric" pulverised. But escalation probably won't succeed, and will prove to be too costly for ourselves, so perhaps strategy should be rethought.

As the costs to ourselves began to mount severely, it soon turned out that everyone had always been a strong opponent of the war (in deep silence).

Elite reasoning, and the accompanying attitudes, carry over with little change to commentary on the US invasion of Iraq today. And although criticism of the Iraq war is far greater and far-reaching than in the case of Vietnam at any comparable stage, nevertheless the principles that Schlesinger articulated remain in force in media and commentary.

It is of some interest that Schlesinger himself took a very different position on the Iraq invasion, virtually alone in his circles. When the bombs began to fall on Baghdad, he wrote that Bush's policies are "alarmingly similar to the policy that imperial Japan employed at Pearl Harbor, on a date which, as an earlier American president said it would, lives in infamy. Franklin D Roosevelt was right, but today it is we Americans who live in infamy."

That Iraq is "a land of ruin and wreck" is not in question. Recently the British polling agency Oxford Research Business updated its estimate of extra deaths resulting from the war to 1.03 million . excluding Karbala and Anbar provinces, two of the worst regions. Whether that estimate is correct, or much overstated as some claim, there is no doubt that the toll is horrendous. Several million people are internally displaced. Thanks to the generosity of Jordan and Syria, the millions of refugees fleeing the wreckage of Iraq, including most of the professional classes, have not been simply wiped out.

But that welcome is fading, for one reason because Jordan and Syria receive no meaningful support from the perpetrators of the crimes in Washington and London; the idea that they might admit these victims, beyond a trickle, is too outlandish to consider.

-  Sectarian warfare has devastated Iraq. Baghdad and other areas have been subjected to brutal ethnic cleansing and left in the hands of warlords and militias, the primary thrust of the current counterinsurgency strategy developed by General Petraeus, who won his fame by pacifying Mosul, now the scene of some of the most extreme violence.

One of the most dedicated and informed journalists who have been immersed in the shocking tragedy, Nir Rosen, recently published an epitaph, "The Death of Iraq," in Current History.

"Iraq has been killed, never to rise again," Rosen writes. "The American occupation has been more disastrous than that of the Mongols, who sacked Baghdad in the 13th century" . a common perception of Iraqis as well. "Only fools talk of 'solutions' now. There is no solution. The only hope is that perhaps the damage can be contained."

Catastrophe notwithstanding, Iraq remains a marginal issue in the presidential campaign. That is natural, given the spectrum of hawk-dove elite opinion. The liberal doves adhere to their traditional reasoning and attitudes, praying that the hawks will be right and that the United States will win a victory in the land of ruin and wreck, establishing "stability," a code word for subordination to Washington's will. By and large hawks are encouraged, and doves silenced, by the upbeat post-surge reports of reduced casualties.

In December, the Pentagon released "good news" from Iraq, a study of focus groups from all over the country that found that Iraqis have "shared beliefs," so that reconciliation should be possible, contrary to claims of critics of the invasion. The shared beliefs were two. First, the US invasion is the cause of the sectarian violence that has torn Iraq to shreds. Second, the invaders should withdraw and leave Iraq to its people.

A few weeks after the Pentagon report, New York Times military-Iraq expert Michael R Gordon wrote a reasoned and comprehensive review of the options on Iraq policy facing the candidates for the presidential election. One voice is missing in the debate: Iraqis. Their preference is not rejected. Rather, it is not worthy of mention. And it seems that there is no notice of the fact. That makes sense on the usual tacit assumption of almost all discourse on international affairs: We own the world, so what does it matter what others think? They are "unpeople," to borrow the term used by British diplomatic historian Mark Curtis in his work on Britain's crimes of empire.

Routinely, Americans join Iraqis in un-peoplehood. Their preferences too provide no options.

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posted by u2r2h at Friday, February 29, 2008 0 comments

24 February, 2008

Insulin Shock! Diabetics die from too LITTLE sugar

Insulin Shock! Diabetics die from too LITTLE sugar

For decades, researchers believed that if people with diabetes lowered their blood sugar to normal levels, they would no longer be at high risk of dying from heart disease. But a major U.S. study of more than 10,000 middle-aged and older people with Type 2 diabetes has found that lowering blood sugar actually increased their risk of death, researchers reported.

The researchers announced that they were abruptly halting that part of the study, whose surprising results call into question how the disease, which affects 21 million Americans alone, should be managed.

The study's investigators emphasized that patients should still consult with their doctors before considering changing their medications.

Among the study participants who were randomly assigned to get their blood sugar levels to nearly normal, there were 54 more deaths than in the group whose levels were less rigidly controlled. The patients were in the study for an average of four years when investigators called a halt to the intensive blood-sugar lowering and put all of them on the less intense regimen.

The results do not mean blood sugar is meaningless. Lowered blood sugar can protect against kidney disease, blindness and amputation. But the findings inject an element of uncertainty into what has been dogma: that the lower the blood sugar the better, and that lowering blood-sugar levels to normal saves lives.

Medical experts were stunned.

"It's confusing and disturbing that this happened," said Dr. James Dove, president of the American College of Cardiology. "For 50 years, we've talked about getting blood sugar very low. Everything in the literature would suggest this is the right thing to do."

Dr. Irl Hirsch, a diabetes researcher at the University of Washington, said the study's results would be hard to explain to some patients who had spent years and made enormous efforts, through diet and medication, getting and keeping their blood sugar down. They will not want to relax their vigilance, he said.

"It will be similar to what many women felt when they heard the news about estrogen," Hirsch said. "Telling these patients to get their blood sugar up will be very difficult."

He added that organizations like the American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists would be in a quandary. Their guidelines call for blood-sugar targets as close to normal as possible.

And some insurance companies pay doctors extra if their diabetic patients get their levels very low.

The low-blood-sugar hypothesis was so entrenched that when the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases proposed the study in the 1990s, they explained that it would be ethical. Even though most people assumed that lower blood sugar was better, no one had rigorously tested the idea. So the study would ask if very low blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes - the form that affects 95 percent of people with the disease - would protect against heart disease and save lives.

Some said the study, even if ethical, would be impossible. They doubted that participants - whose average age was 62, who had had diabetes for about 10 years, who had higher than average blood-sugar levels, and who also had heart disease or had other conditions, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, that placed them at additional risk of heart disease - would ever achieve such low blood-sugar levels.

The study tested three types of treatments simultaneously - intense or less intense blood-sugar control; intense or less intense cholesterol control; and intense or less intense blood-pressure control. The cholesterol and-blood pressure parts of the study are continuing.

The researchers asked whether there were any drugs or drug combinations that might have been to blame for the higher death rate. They found none, said Dr. Denise Simons-Morton, a project officer for the study at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Even the drug Avandia, suspected of increasing the risk of heart attacks in diabetes, did not appear to contribute to the increased death rate.

Nor was there an unusual cause of death in the intensively treated group, Simons-Morton said. Most of the deaths in both groups were from heart attacks, she added.

For now, the reasons for the higher death rate are up for speculation. Clearly, people without diabetes are different from people who have diabetes and get their blood sugar low.

It might be that patients suffered unintended consequences from taking so many drugs, which might interact in unexpected ways, said Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of the department of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic.

Or it may be that participants reduced their blood sugar too fast, Hirsch said. Years ago, researchers discovered that lowering blood sugar very quickly in diabetes could actually worsen blood vessel disease in the eyes, he said. But reducing levels more slowly protected those blood vessels.



Created 60 years ago as a cornerstone of the welfare state, the National Health Service is devoted to the principle of free medical care for everyone in Britain. But recently it has been wrestling with a problem its founders never anticipated: how to handle patients with complex illnesses who want to pay for parts of their treatment while receiving the rest free from the health service.

Although the government is reluctant to discuss it, hopscotching back and forth between private and public care has long been standard here for those who can afford it. But a few recent cases have exposed fundamental contradictions between policy and practice in the system, and tested its founding philosophy to its very limits.

One such case was Debbie Hirst's. Her breast cancer had metastasized, and the health service would not provide her with Avastin, a drug that is widely used in the United States and Europe to keep such cancers at bay. So, with her oncologist's support, she decided last year to try to pay the roughly £60,000, or $116,000, cost herself, while continuing with the rest of her publicly financed treatment.

By December, she had raised £10,000 and was preparing to sell her house to raise more. But then the government, which had tacitly allowed such arrangements before, put its foot down. Hirst heard the news from her doctor.

"He looked at me and said, 'I'm so sorry, Debbie. I've had my wrists slapped from the people upstairs, and I can no longer offer you that service,' " Hirst said.

"I said, 'Where does that leave me?' He said, 'If you pay for Avastin, you'll have to pay for everything' " - in other words, for all her cancer treatment, far more than she could afford.

Officials said that allowing Hirst and others like her to pay for extra drugs to supplement government care would violate the philosophy of the health service by giving richer patients an unfair advantage over poorer ones.

Patients "cannot, in one episode of treatment, be treated on the NHS and then allowed, as part of the same episode and the same treatment, to pay money for more drugs," Health Secretary Alan Johnson told Parliament. "That way lies the end of the founding principles of the NHS."

But Hirst, who is 57 and was first diagnosed with cancer in 1999, went to the news media, and so did other patients in similar situations. And it became clear that theirs were not isolated cases.

In fact, it is widely acknowledged by patients, doctors and officials across the health care system that patients suffering from every imaginable complaint regularly pay for some parts of their treatment while receiving the rest free.

"Of course it's going on in the NHS all the time, but a lot of it is hidden - it's not explicit," said Dr. Paul Charlson, a general practitioner in Yorkshire and a member of Doctors for Reform, a group that is highly critical of the health service. Last year, he was the co-author of a paper laying out examples of how patients with the initiative and the money dip in and out of the system, in effect buying upgrades to their basic free medical care.

"People swap from public to private sector all the time, and they're topping up for virtually everything," he said.

For instance, he said, a patient put on a five-month waiting list to see an orthopedic surgeon might pay £120 for a private consultation, and then switch back to the health service for the actual surgery from the same doctor.

"Or they'll buy an MRI scan because the wait is so long, and then take the results back to the NHS," Charlson said.

In his paper, he also wrote about a 46-year-old woman with breast cancer who paid £250 for a second opinion when the health service refused to provide her with one; an elderly man who spent thousands of pounds on a new hearing aid instead of enduring a year-long wait on the health service; and a 29-year-old woman who - with her doctor's blessing - bought a three-month supply of Tarceva, a drug to treat pancreatic cancer, for more than £3,150 on the Internet because she could not get it through the NHS.

Asked why these were different from cases like Hirst's, a spokeswoman for the health service said that no officials were available to comment.

In any case, the rules about private co-payments, as they are called, in cancer care are contradictory and hard to understand, said Nigel Edwards, the policy director of the NHS Confederation, which represents hospitals and other health-care providers. "I've had conflicting advice from different lawyers," he said, "but it does seem like a violation of natural justice to say that either you don't get the drug you want, or you have to pay for all your treatment."

Karol Sikora, a professor of cancer medicine at the Imperial College School of Medicine and one of Charlson's co-authors, said that co-payments were particularly prevalent in cancer care. Armed with information from the Internet and patients' networks, cancer patients are increasingly likely to demand, and pay for, cutting-edge drugs that the health service considers too expensive to be cost-effective.

"You have a population that is informed and consumerist about how it behaves about health care information, and an NHS that can no longer afford to pay for everything for everybody," he said.

As wrenching as it can be to administer more sophisticated drugs to some patients than to others, he said, "if you're a doctor working in the system, you should let your patients have the treatment they want, if they can afford to pay for it."

In any case, he said, the health service is riddled with inequities. Some drugs are available in some parts of the country and not in others. Waiting lists for treatment vary wildly from place to place. Some regions spend £140 per capita on cancer care, Sikora said, while others spend just £45.

In Hirst's case, the confusion was compounded by the fact that three other patients at her hospital were already doing what she had been forbidden to do - buying extra drugs to supplement their cancer care. The arrangements had "evolved without anyone questioning whether it was right or wrong," said Laura Mason, a hospital spokeswoman. Because their treatment began before the Health Department explicitly condemned the practice, they have been allowed to continue.

The rules are confusing.

"It's quite a fine line," Mason said. "You can't have a course of NHS and private treatment at the same time on the same appointment - for instance, if a particular drug has to be administered alongside another drug which is NHS-funded."

But, she said, the health service rules seem to allow patients to receive the drugs during separate hospital visits - the NHS drugs during an NHS appointment, the extra drugs during a private appointment.

One of Hirst's troubles came, it seems, because the Avastin she proposed to pay for would have had to be administered at the same time as the drug Taxol, which she was receiving free on the health service. Because of that, she could not schedule separate appointments.

But in a final irony, Hirst was told early this month that her cancer had spread and her condition had deteriorated so much that she could have the Avastin after all - paid for by the health service. In other words, a system that forbade her to buy the medicine earlier was now saying that she was so sick she could have it at public expense.

Hirst is pleased, but only to a point. Avastin is not a cure, but a way to extend her life, perhaps only by several months, and she has missed valuable time. "It may be too bloody late," she said.


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posted by u2r2h at Sunday, February 24, 2008 0 comments

21 February, 2008

Air war against IRAN - 1500 targets..


... despite the Constitution granting the war power to Congress, in
Vietnam (1964), Kuwait (1990) and Iraq (2002) our presidents have asked
Congress for permission to make war only when they expected major fighting
on the ground. Even to invade Iraq, George W. Bush said he did not need
permission and asked for it only after Congress, and the public, raised an

In 1999, President Clinton conducted a 78-day air war against Serbia even
though the House deadlocked 213-213 on a resolution supporting it, and the
Senate never voted at all. Clinton didn't care; his position was that he
didn't need permission for an air war.

What matters is not only the Constitution; it is the outcry. Government
does what it can get away with — and in the last year of the Bush
presidency, it is still an open question how much that is.


Last year, there was a push in the administration for an air war against
Iran. The given reason was Iran's plan to build an A-bomb. Then came the
National Intelligence Estimate that said Iran had given up on it five
years ago.


===== IRAK ========

Asheville, NC Wednesday, February 20, 2008 2:31

Asheville Citizen-Times - NC,USA

Local News

Veterans for Peace to observe Iraq invasion anniversary

Includes reading of names of dead troops, blood drive

by Joel Burgess

published February 19, 2008 5:00 am

ASHEVILLE – The local chapter of Veterans for Peace will be observing the
fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion with several events.

"Five days for five years," is the theme of a series of events the week of
March 17-21 to mark the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, said James
Latimore with the local chapter.

On March 18, the chapter is planning to read the names of the troops who
have been killed in action. The reading will be held at the site of the
billboard at Lexington and Hilliard avenue and will start at sunrise.

The chapter is also sponsoring a blood drive the same day and is looking
for donors.

The chapter will record a phone interview of Noam Chomsky for the Veterans
Voices radio program on WPVM-FM that day. It will be broadcast March 19.

For more information, contact Latimore at trusteejamesl@charter.net.


If you want to puke, read the COMMENTS of BORN-YESTERDAYs:

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posted by u2r2h at Thursday, February 21, 2008 1 comments

18 February, 2008

Turkey Gladio NATO staybehind False Flag Terror

Gladio . Death Plan For Democracy

by Peter Chamberlin

In late January 2008, a secret paramilitary group (formerly?) allied with America was busted in Turkey. Thirteen members of a shadowy right-wing group in Turkey were charged with "forming an armed terrorist group in order to provoke members of the public into armed revolt against the government."


"The detention in Istanbul last week of alleged members of a shadowy Turkish ultranationalist group has revived charges that elements within the Turkish security apparatus have long tried to destabilize the country through a campaign of bombings and assassinations. These allegedly include false flag operations that have been attributed to Kurdish separatists and violent Islamists... The Turkish media have claimed that the latest arrests follow intelligence reports that the gang was planning to carry out a series of high level assassinations...what Turks call... deep state has its origins in what are commonly called Gladio operations " - Mass Arrests Expose Operations of Turkey's "Deep State" - By Gareth Jenkins

The use of proxy mercenary forces to terrorize nations into submitting to US political demands has been the cornerstone of American foreign policy since at least the era of the Berlin Wall, and it still is.

"Terrorism - the use of violence and threats to intimidate or to coerce, esp. for political purposes."

According to this definition from Dictionary.com, the government of the United States of America is the primary source of state terrorism in the world.

In Europe, the American government actively sought to eliminate political opposition to its fascist world plans through the use of open violent repression and covert terroristic "false flag" attacks upon popular patriotic resistance movements and their leaders. Using ultra right-wing homegrown fascists, in both Europe and America, secret paramilitary militias were created, called "Stay Behind" forces at the end of World War II. Since then, the CIA activated these groups to successfully quash anti-American liberal and social democratic popular resistance movements. The agency denies this, but the series of exposes of their network in Europe since 1990 have proven the professed denials to be false.

The secret American plans to turn dissent into a weapon for destroying democracy were applied equally, yet differently, in America and Europe. Here, the procedure called for using more subtlety, as opposed to Europe, where everything would happen outside of the controlled environment of the corporate US media. In Europe, so-called "pro-communist" forces could be fought more aggressively, using secretive groups like Gladio to physically attack the antiwar, Labor-oriented and liberal protest movements. Behind the scenes, terror attacks were carried-out by anonymous sources to be blamed on the opposition party. Using the extreme right-wing Gladio forces in this manner, as well as infiltrating and sabotaging leftist groups from within, proved devastating at the polls. People ran away from the resistance in droves, seeking security in the waiting arms of the fascists and the all-powerful state. But many people did also see through the BS of the "official story" of events like the bombing of a train stations in Bologna, Italy.

The secret plans for Europe entailed large covert paramilitary units in every NATO nation, that were trained and ready to suppress all anti-American protests by liberals and social democrats. The official name of the covert programs was "Gladio." The official cover story (and its original purpose) was that these right-wing paramilitary units were "Stay Behind" forces, which were created as copies of the French "underground" resistance, to be activated upon a Soviet conquest and occupation of Europe. The Stay Behind/Gladio forces saw a change of mission in the sixties, when the European socialist/liberal alliance began to awaken strong nationalist movements in every NATO country.1

The Timewatch investigation documents the secret formation of these neo-fascist units throughout Europe, highlighting individual local leaders and their personal testimony about participating in armed attacks upon government armories and supermarkets, as well as terror bombings, like the bomb that was detonated at Bologna's train station, killing 85 and wounded over 200. Other revelations from the video about the operation include a damning investigation of Gladio by the European Union, interviews with key Gladio players like neocon Michael Ledeen, shadowy Iran/Contra figures Gen. John Singlaub, CIA spokesmen like former Director William Colby and Ray Cline, as well as pivotal controversial documentation on secret Army participation.

In contradiction of CIA denials about the true purpose of Gladio and the scope of its operations and neoconservative lies that there was no Gladio, the following excerpt, from joint resolution (EP 22.11.90) of the European Parliament condemns actions of US and allied intelligence agencies involved.


"Whereas in certain Member States military secret services (or uncontrolled branches thereof) were involved in serious cases of terrorism and crime as evidenced by, various judicial inquiries... these organizations operated and continue to operate completely outside the law... whereas the various `GLADIO' organizations have at their disposal independent arsenals and military resources which give them an unknown strike potential, thereby jeopardizing the democratic structures of the countries in which they are operating or have been operating..."

This officially condemns the lame official excuses, like that given by former CIA Director William Colby (claiming on the video that these were small contingency plans for providing covert intelligence sources only, in case of Soviet occupation), while exposing the duplicity of stooges like neoconservative Michael Ledeen (who was implicated in the Gladio political action while working for a right-wing Italian news service), who falsely argues that Gladio was merely a Soviet disinformation program that was based:

"on an old forgery, designed to show that there's some kind of... accusing the United States basically of what the Soviet union was doing in Italy, which was creating a secret underground paramilitary organization capable of organizing to subvert Italian democracy."

This, "there is no spoon" explanation echoes the equally lame counter-story given by alleged Gladio participant, Licio Gelli, Grand Master of super-secretive P2 Masonic lodge, that the dreadful Bologna train station bombing was a "transportation accident," taking place in an open marketplace, where explosives were commonly sold, when "someone threw a cigarette away."

The "old forgery" that Ledeen referred to was a document known as "US Defense Training Manual 30-31B. The State Dept. claims that the CIA "debunked" this document as a Soviet forgery, even though it is somehow listed within the classified sections of manual libraries .


The allegedly forged document, signed by Army Chief of Staff Gen. W.C. WESTMORELAND, contained the following admission:

"There may be times when host country governments show passivity or indecision in the face of Communist subversion...US Army Intelligence must have the means of launching special operations which will convince host country governments and public opinion of the reality of the insurgent danger... To this end, U.S. Army intelligence should seek to penetrate the insurgency by means of agents on special assignment, with the task of forming special action groups among the more radical elements of the insurgency. When the kind of situation envisaged above arises, these groups, acting under U.S. Army intelligence control, should be used to launch violent or non-violent actions according to the nature of the case."

Since this is a very precise description of the known activities of Gladio given by participants in it, we must assume that history has confirmed that 30-31B is real. In Gladio operations, like those attributed to the "Deep State" group in Turkey, the plans for covert acts of terrorism (which were theoretically intended to implicate the Communists or other enemies of the US, thus turning the population against them) were supposed to be activated at that moment in the national struggle where the Communist/liberal forces turn away from armed struggle, to embrace non-violent democratic elections, according to the (CIA-alleged) disinformation known as "Army Field Manual 30-31B." But, as described so vividly in the BBC documentary, the right-wing terror attacks upon leftist leaders preceded the use of those tactics by the "pro-communist" forces. In addition to staging false flag attacks meant to be blamed upon the leftists, an intensive effort was made to infiltrate those movements, in order to incite radicals within them into carrying-out their own copycat attacks.

While Ledeen and the CIA try to claim that Gladio is a "legend," fabricated by the Soviets in an attempt to blame the US for their actions, the revelation of historical evidence is indicting America and the agency for introducing political terrorism to Western electoral politics. Gladio is an ongoing operation by our government to savagely kill and wound thousands of our own allies, in order to blackmail them into supporting America's fascist plans for the world. "Political action" took on a whole new meaning at the hands of the CIA and its hidden allies.

Terrorism, as political action, became the driving force in American foreign policy, and any nation that sought our aid, or to become allied with us, had to accept this reality and the necessity to keep blaming others for our own commissioned attacks. The historical record of "terrorist" bombings throughout the world is, for the most part, a record of our actions, done under the cover of layers of "plausible deniability," created by the compartmentalization of terrorist strike forces into different secret levels.

If the mercenary Gladio paramilitary forces could not provide a sufficient level of violence to satisfy the Company's needs, then the agency could rely on its own paramilitary units, or on special troops from Defense Intelligence under the 30-31B provision. If the work required an extra layer of "plausible deniability" then there were always criminal organizations for hire and the super-secret network of "rogue operators" like Ed Wilson, who were officially alleged to be "former CIA." In the book, Charlie Wilson's War, former agent Wilson told President Anastasio Somoza of Nicaragua that he could raise an army of 1000 "ex" agents to defeat anti-government rebels, for the right price.

In America we have seen that same commitment to the use of political violence play-out within the CIA/corporate/Republican alliance, especially during the Nixon Administration as seen in bloody incidents like the Kent State massacre, where right-wing Republican Ohio Governor James Rhodes strove to impress his Republican masters by having young unsuspecting National Guardsmen fire live ammunition into a crowd of young unsuspecting college students. Behind the scenes government provocateurs led radical movements like the SDS, the Weathermen and the Black Panthers into violent actions, intended to discredit and slander the antiwar movement. With the empowerment of Reagan, Bush and agency director Casey, CIA involvement in American politics was out in the open.

Co-opting the highly patriotic party Republican Party and the American right-wing in a subversive program to eliminate democracy by turning it into a weapon in this country was not a simple task. It took a great deal of foresight, intricate planning and an enormous amount of cash. In order to gain control over America's right-wing as it had in Europe, the Company had to formulate a program of intricate deception, in order to gain their trust, as a first step to dominating their efforts.

Since grassroots conservatism in this country is based on a conspiracy theory-based belief system, the agency had to promote the far-reaching conspiracy theories that were common to the movement. This meant that the CIA had to promote evidence of all-encompassing theories, such as those concerning Jews, the "Illuminati" and international bankers, to win the trust of suspicious Republican bigots. Undercover agents had to pose as movement leaders and researchers, who were committed to exposing the plots of our would-be "masters." The agency chose to play both the race card and the religion card, by making the "Zionist" plot to colonize Palestine (a real conspiracy) the cornerstone of the CIA/corporate plot against the world. The agency promoted joint CIA/MOSSAD actions for the dual purpose of forwarding both US corporate plans for the world and Israeli designs to reclaim the land of "Greater Israel," which were critical to conspiracy plans for the Middle East and creating a state of permanent war there.

The master manipulators at the agency underwrote secret efforts by Zionist agents, who also served US interests, to undermine American democracy and simultaneously cuddling-up to the American extreme right-wing. The Gladio-styled plan was to take over the ultra-nationalist right and to infiltrate and corrupt the anti-government left. They helped to create secretive anti-Semitic organizations, as well as Zionist groups. The two-pronged attack focused on exposing Zionist subversives, while working to build a popular wave of anti-Semitism as a national counter-reaction to Zionist crimes which they had helped to expose.

The key to convincing the masses of conservative Republican voters of this vast covert conspiracy was found in the "big lie," where the government agents chose to expose choice tidbits of its own massive brainwashing and social control campaigns, attributing them to agents of "Zion." The brainwashing science possessed by the government and applied through its foundations and institutes (such as Rand, Ford, Carnegie, Stanford and Tavistock Institute) dwarfs the alleged manipulative powers of any imagined conspiracy. This proved to be extremely successful, especially when combined with spectacular fear producing terror attacks.

In truth, mind control science, developed and implemented since World War II (largely by Jewish scientists and psychologists), is all CIA. With the rise of former CIA director George Bush to the position of "vice president elect," (and their "October surprise" obtained with a purloined speech prep book for the great debate) the agency began to apply those behavioral control techniques of Gladio to the political process.

The political product of that behavioral research, which became known as "neoconservatism,"


was a deliberate attempt to duplicate the psychology of pre-WWII Europe (especially that of Nazi Germany) here in America, based on the scientific research of the Jewish intellectuals, who had fled from there for their lives. The recreation of a radical anti-Semitic political belief system here would be enhanced by popular resistance and reaction to the fascist neoconservative policies of Zionist dual-citizenship neocons. Leaders were found who could inspire armies of individuals to believe that there is a powerful dark conspiracy afoot that can mobilize secret armies of millions, to control every aspect of every life, or nearly so. The success of the brainwashing program can be measured directly by the number and intensity of individuals who believe in theories of "racial superiority," whether they be believers in ideas of either "Jewish superiority" or in counter-theories of white or "Aryan" superiority.

Today's resistance movement of counter-reaction to neoconservative/Zionist fascism is under assault by dueling forces, who either want to silence the movement, or to misdirect and co-opt it. If the movement is silenced by Zionists or divided by anti-Zionists, it will not be able to disrupt the neoconservative plans to launch nuclear war against Iran and thereby usher in a state of permanent war.

The over-eager Zionist zealots who willingly became part of this conspiracy have unknowingly sealed Israel's fate, as the intended target for the coming wave of anti-Semitism. Little did they know that their Republican friends planned to drag-up Zionism's historical record of utilizing anti-Semites in their secret plans to force the Jewish "Diaspora" out of Europe to forcefully colonize Palestine, as proof of a global "Jewish conspiracy." The intensive campaign of lies and subterfuge that have been used to hide fascist Israeli intentions to "ethnically cleanse" Palestine and the surrounding area of its Arab inhabitants, confirm all the negative stereotyping of the "Jewish state," especially in light of "Israel lobby" plans to force America to fight Israel's wars, even the ones started by Israel.

The Gladio-centered US foreign policy, which was so successfully played-out in Europe, effectively countered the Soviet expansion at a high cost to European democracy. The application of that policy to Islamic countries facing a Soviet threat, such as Afghanistan, helped to roll-back the Soviets, but at a terrible cost. The training of Islamic paramilitary forces to carry-out terror attacks for political reasons, evolved into the unfolding nightmare known as the war on terror.

In Afghanistan, the CIA armed, trained and supported Islamic "Gladios" who carried-out Brzezenski's plans for staging terrorist attacks upon popular local Afghan tribal leaders, as a means to instigate the widespread tribal warfare which eventually lured the Soviets to intervene in December 1979. (July 3, 1979, President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul.) Reagan whole-heartedly supported the new terror politics as a weapon for attacking the Soviet empire, even expanding the Islamic militant form of Gladio to all member states of the Soviet Union and their allies, when he signed National Security Decision Directive 166 in March 1985. In Central America, his Gladio-like duplication trained paramilitary armies and death squads. This policy became known as the "El Salvador option," when George W. Bush embraced it in Iraq, making it the centerpiece of his strategy for the "war on terrorism."


1. The following three-part investigation from the BBC, entitled "Timewatch . Operation Gladio" can be seen at either YouTube (part 1 of 15 is embedded below),


or at Google Video (in three parts). You can download the Google videos here.



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posted by u2r2h at Monday, February 18, 2008 1 comments

Paul Thompson: Newly-Released FBI 9/11 Timeline

The tireless Paul Thompson has just posted some very interesting information from the FBI about the alleged 9/11 hijackers and their movements in the US during the months and weeks preceding the attacks. Much of this FBI Timeline has been redacted to the point of invisibility - but what remains is still well worth reading. It suggests heavy, high-level Saudi involvement, which could hardly have taken place without the tacit approval of US authorities and intelligence agencies. It also indicates quite clearly that, far from endeavouring to avoid the police at all costs, the Nineteen Deathloving Superstudents sometimes went out of their way to contact them.

And although all this information was available to the Kean/Hamilton/Zelikow Commission, they seem to have made a point of ignoring it.

Among the many gems:

Around 10:00 a.m. on the morning of 9/11, a housekeeper at the Park Inn in Boston went to clean the room that hijackers Wail and Waleed Alshehri used the night before. She was confronted by a foreign male who told her that someone was still sleeping in the room and that she should come back around 1:00 p.m. The FBI was obviously puzzled by this, as the FBI’s timeline entry for this event ends with five question marks.

Hijackers Marwan Alshehhi and Hamza Alghamdi purchased hundreds of dollars of “pornographic video and sex toys” in Florida. They spent $252 on video and toys in early July 2001, and then another $183 later that month. Furthermore, Satam Al Suqami likely paid for a sex escort in Boston on September 7, 2001. Alshehhi was also recognized by six dancers at Cheetah’s, a nightclub in Pompano Beach, Florida. This fits in with other evidence of the hijackers drinking alcohol, paying for lap dancers, watching pornographic videos, etc…—hardly the expected behavior of religious radicals.

Hijacker Nawaf Alhazmi was mugged outside of his apartment in Alexandria, Virginia, by an “unknown black male” on May 1, 2001. He filed a police report about this and gave his correct name and address. In August 2001, Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar were watchlisted by the CIA, and an FBI investigator began looking for them in the US. But, as one news report later noted, the investigator “never performed one of the most basic tasks of a police manhunt. He never ran Almihdhar or Alhazmi through the NCIC computer,” a widely used police database that should have listed this mugging, as well as a speeding ticket Alhazmi had received the month before.

A commenter from another board shares the following:

the Westin Hotel spectacle on 9/12

Several People In Custody

Earlier, two women and one man had been taken into custody at a downtown Boston hotel during a major search by the FBI.

A witness described the search effort there. "SWAT teams were all around holding machine guns," said witness R.J. Ryan of Boston, who joined hundreds of other onlookers outside the Westin Copley Hotel.

"They put somebody in the van. Then they started moving everybody," he said.

WCVB-TV in Boston reported that the hotel search was apparently triggered by the discovery that a credit card that was used to purchase at least some of the airline tickets Tuesday also was used at the Westin Hotel.

Reports are that investigators received information that two men fitting the description of suspects in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks had been staying on the 16th floor of the hotel recently and had a "Do Not Disturb" sign on their door.

Suicide hijackers taught to fly in America, says FBI

The FBI was believed to have made major breakthroughs in their efforts to identify the terrorists in Florida and in Boston, where three of the four planes originated.

Police said associates of Osama bin Laden had been under surveillance in Boston in the past and he might have set up a cell in the city. Police in Providence, Rhode Island, stopped a train from Boston bound for New York.

No details were released, but it is believed that officers were looking for men who had evaded the FBI in an earlier search of the Westin Hotel, in Boston.

Lastly, they say, If cooperativeresearch doesn't have an entry for the Westin raid, I should probably put these links together and submit an entry. Looking, and...no, no entry for the Westin raid.

Also, credit where it's due, Kudos to KJF for posting the original FOIA request that led to the (partial) release of these documents.
Important new information about the 9/11 hijackers

from http://amsam.org/
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posted by u2r2h at Monday, February 18, 2008 0 comments

Kosovo protects US pipeline

A Discreet Deal in the Pipeline

Nato Mocked Those Who Claimed There was a Plan for Caspian Oil

by George Monbiot

Gordon Brown knows precisely what he should do about BP. The company's £10bn profits are crying out for a windfall tax. Royalties and petroleum revenue tax, both lifted when the oil price was low, are in urgent need of reinstatement. These measures would be popular and fair. But, as all political leaders are aware, you don't mess with Big Oil.

During the 1999 Balkans war, some of the critics of Nato's intervention alleged that the western powers were seeking to secure a passage for oil from the Caspian sea. This claim was widely mocked. The foreign secretary Robin Cook observed that "there is no oil in Kosovo". This was, of course, true but irrelevant. An eminent commentator for this paper clinched his argument by recording that the Caspian sea is "half a continent away, lodged between Iran and Turkmenistan".

For the past few weeks, a freelance researcher called Keith Fisher has been doggedly documenting a project which has, as far as I can discover, has been little-reported in any British, European or American newspaper. It is called the Trans-Balkan pipeline, and it's due for approval at the end of next month. Its purpose is to secure a passage for oil from the Caspian sea.

The line will run from the Black sea port of Burgas to the Adriatic at Vlore, passing through Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania. It is likely to become the main route to the west for the oil and gas now being extracted in central Asia. It will carry 750,000 barrels a day: a throughput, at current prices, of some $600m a month.

The project is necessary, according to a paper published by the US Trade and Development Agency last May, because the oil coming from the Caspian sea "will quickly surpass the safe capacity of the Bosphorus as a shipping lane". The scheme, the agency notes, will "provide a consistent source of crude oil to American refineries", "provide American companies with a key role in developing the vital east-west corridor", "advance the privatisation aspirations of the US government in the region" and "facilitate rapid integration" of the Balkans "with western Europe".

In November 1998, Bill Richardson, then US energy secretary, spelt out his policy on the extraction and transport of Caspian oil. "This is about America's energy security," he explained. "It's also about preventing strategic inroads by those who don't share our values. We're trying to move these newly independent countries toward the west.

"We would like to see them reliant on western commercial and political interests rather than going another way. We've made a substantial political investment in the Caspian, and it's very important to us that both the pipeline map and the politics come out right."

The project has been discussed for years. The US trade agency notes that the Trans-Balkan pipeline "will become a part of the region's critical east-west Corridor 8 infrastructure ... This transportation corridor was approved by the transport ministers of the European Union in April 1994". The pipeline itself, the agency says, has also been formally supported "since 1994". The first feasibility study, backed by the US, was conducted in 1996.

The pipeline does not pass through the former Yugoslavia, but there's no question that it featured prominently in Balkan war politics. On December 9 1998, the Albanian president attended a meeting about the scheme in Sofia, and linked it inextricably to Kosovo. "It is my personal opinion," he noted, "that no solution confined within Serbian borders will bring lasting peace." The message could scarcely have been blunter: if you want Albanian consent for the Trans-Balkan pipeline, you had better wrest Kosovo out of the hands of the Serbs.

In July 1993, a few months before the corridor project was first formally approved, the US sent peacekeeping troops to the Balkans. They were stationed not in the conflict zones in which civilians were being rounded up and killed, but on the northern borders of Macedonia. There were several good reasons for seeking to contain Serb expansionism, but we would be foolish to imagine that a putative $600m-a-month commercial operation did not number among them. The pipeline would have been impossible to finance while the Balkans were in turmoil.

I can't tell you that the war in the former Yugoslavia was fought solely in order to secure access to oil from new and biddable states in central Asia. But in the light of these findings, can anyone now claim that it was not?



from http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=281493&page=15


AMBO Trans-Balkan Pipeline Agreement Finally Signed
December 30, 2004

Posted on Wednesday, December 29 @ 10:00:00 EST by CDeliso

Top representatives of Macedonia, Bulgaria and Albania met on Tuesday in Sofia to ink a memorandum of understanding with Ted Ferguson, president of the AMBO (Albania-Macedonia-Bulgaria Oil) pipeline project. The American-based corporation has been struggling since 1994 to get the attention of key political and industrial backers, in order to begin construction.

The first obstacle was the preoccupation of relevant parties during the Clinton Administration with the massive Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline in Anatolia. Then came the wars in Kosovo and Macedonia in 1999 and 2001, which left investors jittery. Now that the situation seems to have stabilized, however, the future looks bright for AMBO.

This week's gala event in Sofia brought together the major leaders of the countries involved: the Macedonian, Bulgarian and Albanian Prime Ministers, Vlado Buckovski, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Fatos Nano respectively. On Monday they signed a political declaration confirming their countries'

support for the pipeline. At the same time, reports the Macedonian Information Agency (MIA), Macedonian Minister of Economy Fatmir Besimi, Bulgarian Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Valentin Cerovski, Albanian Minister of Industry and Energy Viktor Doda and AMBO's Ferguson signed a memorandum of understanding.

".The construction of [the] AMBO oil pipeline is of strategic interest for Macedonia, the region and beyond, while the project is concrete proof that the climate of solidarity and understanding exists in this region, and I believe that it will improve the citizens' living," declared Buckovski. For his part, Nano called the project ".an excellent example for partnership" as well as "more than exchange of material energy."

But is the signing merely symbolic? After all, a rival pipeline that looked good to go until recently - the Burgas-Alexandropolis deal between Russia, Bulgaria and Greece - appears to have stalled due to internal disagreements.

However, AMBO president Ted Ferguson (erroneously named as "Pat" by the BBC) claims that his project has received $900 million of investor funds ".from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) - a US development agency - the Eximbank and Credit Suisse First Boston, among others." A big mystery until now had been whether the AMBO project actually had any solid backers. While the cash now appears to be there, an announcement has yet to be made regarding the committing parties among the oil industry.

The construction of the pipeline should take three or four years and when finished will transport 750,000 barrels of oil per day. According to the Sofia News Agency, some 25 percent of the oil to be used has already been supplied.

As could be expected, the Greek government is pushing for the Burgas-Alexandropolis alternative, citing its relative cost-effectiveness and time-saving qualities. However, as backers of AMBO have long pointed out, the Greek project does not really take care of the prevailing environmental concern (that is, avoiding the congested Bosporus shipping lanes), as it merely transfers the problem to the island-congested Aegean.

An oil spill in the Aegean would be devastating for Greece's vital tourism industry.

The AMBO project, on the other hand, avoids the sea entirely, crossing the Balkan Peninsula overland and terminating at the Adriatic port of Vlore.



Analytics: Europe’s response to Russia - Constanza-Trieste project

[ 05 Feb 2008 16:56 ]

Before Russia completed the attack on South-Eastern Europe through South Stream gas pipeline, there is something new emerging in the region. This time European Union intends to strike on weak spot of Russia.

The ink had hardly dried on the agreements signed with participation of President Vladimir Putin, when Bulgarian President Georgi Pyrvanov stated that his country still gives political support to Nabucco gas pipeline. Prime Minister Sergey Stanyshev even claimed that South Stream and Nabucco pipelines supplement each other.
“Some say Bulgaria betrayed European Union and supported Russia’s interests and this project is the alternative of Nabucco. It’s nonsense.” It is interesting that this statement coincided with the statements of Sofia-accredited U.S. diplomats that Russia’s strengthening positions in the Balkans worry them. Prime Minister of Bulgaria refused these accusations and assured that relations with Russia will not change official Sofia’s geopolitical direction towards the West.

But it seems this assuredness does not suffice everybody. Happenings in Bulgaria’s Burgas city prove it. The residents of the city, which is the outfall of Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, the second giant energy project between Moscow and Sofia, held mass rally and protested against the project. "Our rulers sold Bulgaria", "Don’t turn Burgas into a second Chernobyl," read the posters of the protestors, who even staged an auction and sold parts of the pipeline. The agreement signed by Bulgaria, Russia and Greece with participation of Russian president envisages transportation of Russian oil to Aegean Sea bypassing Turkey’s Bosphorus and Dardanelles. Question arises how “Borjomi scenario” is realized around the project, which is considered as the alternative to Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. But the referendum in Burgas on February 17, which will decide the fate of the pipeline, shows seriousness of the situation. 51% of the city residents are to participate in the voting, so that the referendum can be considered valid. President Georgi Pyrvanov stated that local referendums will not influence the fate of the project.

On the other hand, Romanian President Traian Basescu’s speech about Constanza-Trieste before foreign diplomats accredited in Bucharest shows that the happenings in Burgas are no of local character.
“Nabucco pipeline is of strategic character for Romania and European Union. Direct, effective and safe delivery of the Caspian oil is possible through Constanza-Trieste pipeline,” he said.
President Basescu expressed his hope that European Union in its new policy on Central Asia will apply more suitable approach to this strategic region.
“Romania will try to achieve the goals of this policy through the relations with its strategic partners Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan,” he said. 1.400 kilometer- Constanza-Trieste pipeline or Pan-European Oil Pipeline which is a competitor of Burgas-Alexandroupolis and Bulgas-Vlore pipelines will link the Black and Adriatic Seas. Pan-European is a proposed oil pipeline from Constant,a in Romania via Serbia and Croatia to a point near Rijeka and from there through Slovenia to Trieste in Italy. It would carry around 60 million tonnes of oil per year. The feasibility study for the project has estimated that the pipeline will commence operations in 2012.
Viorel Palashka, Romanian deputy Minister of Economy stated in the middle of January that, the government supports the joining of “Gaz de France “Company and Kazakhstan to Constanza-Triesta pipeline project. This project was the focus of attention of Bucharest along January. This issue was debated during the visit of Romanian President Traian Basescu to Belgrade on January 29.Serbia is a key country for this project and Constanza-Triesta pipeline became insolvent because of Kosovo crisis in 1999.Official Bucharest assured Belgrade that its position will be close to Serbian positions.
“We debated this project with Boris Tadic I am sure that, our political and economical partnership will successfully develop,” he said. Serbian President Boris Tadic noted that they are interested in the necessity of Constanza port and in the development of cooperation on implementation of above-said project.
Against the back drop of South stream gas pipeline Romanian-Serbian dialogue was drawn more attention last month. Most parts of the pipeline are already built except for a connection between the city of Pitesti, Romania and the city of Pancevo, Serbia, and a section between Croatia’s northern Adriatic region through Slovenia to Trieste. Compared to the Burgas-Alexandroupolis and AMBO pipelines, a pipeline which runs entirely across land and directly joins the central European pipeline network carries smaller risks associated with oil spills. There is a threat that the number of tankers passing through the Turkish straits will not fall significantly and that oil pipelines would increase the total amount of oil being transported rather than replacing tanker traffic. Bucharest and Sofia, candidates to EU competes for Pan-European pipeline and South stream gas pipeline and these countries depend on Serbia. Serbian President Boris Tadic stated that the country intends to make investment in oil infrastructure of Constanza port. It is interesting, is Gazprom which bought Serbian Oil Company last month behind the investments? /APA Analytics /



Feb. 17, 2008, 2:23PM -- Iran Opens Its 1st Oil Products Bourse

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran established its first oil products bourse Sunday in a free trade zone on the Persian Gulf Island of Kish, the country's oil ministry said.

A statement posted on the ministry's Web site said 100 tons of polyethylene consignment was traded at the market's opening on the island, which houses the offices of about 100 Iranian and foreign oil companies.

Oil and petrochemical products will be traded in Iranian Rials, as well as all other hard currencies, the statement quoted Iranian Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari as saying. About 20 brokers are already active in the market, it said.

"The bourse provides an economic opportunity for Iranians, other countries and foreign customers," Nozari was quoted as saying.

Iran produces more than 20 million tons of petrochemical products per year.

Iran has already registered for another oil bourse, in which it has said it hopes to trade oil in Euros instead of dollars, to reduce any American influence over the Islamic Republic's economy.

A bourse official, Mahdi Karbasian, told the IRNA official news agency that such an oil market would begin operating within the next year.

While most oil markets are traded in U.S. dollars, Iran first floated the idea of trading oil in Euros in the early 2000s during the tenure of reformist president Mohammad Khatami. It gained new life after the nationalist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected in 2005.

As the fourth-largest oil producer in the world, Iran has a measure of influence over international oil markets. The country ranks second for output among OPEC Countries, and controls about 5 percent of the global oil supply.

Tehran also partially controls the Persian Gulf's Strait of Hormuz, through which much of the world's oil supply must pass.

Iran has sought to wield its oil resources as a bargaining tool in its ongoing standoff with the West over its nuclear program.

The U.N. Security Council is considering imposing a third set of sanctions on Iran for defying a request to halt uranium enrichment. But Tehran has expressed doubt that the world body would impose sanctions on the country's oil sector, because such a move would likely drive global oil prices higher.



AMBO Pipeline Moves Forward: Interview with Gligor Tashkovich -- 1/9/2005 (Balkanalysis.com)

In this exclusive interview with Gligor Tashkovich, the Executive Vice President for Government & Media Relations for the AMBO (Albania-Macedonia-Bulgaria Oil) pipeline project, Balkanalysis.com readers are treated to the inside story on the pipeline’s progress from one of the project’s leaders. Mr. Tashkovich, contacted last week soon after the Sofia summit on AMBO, shares the following insights with Balkanalysis.com director Christopher Deliso.

Christopher Deliso: First of all, congratulations. You have been working on this for a long time, since 1994, and it must feel great to finally be getting official agreement on the AMBO project.

Gligor Tashkovich: Thanks. Well, it certainly isn’t the first agreement.?There was the initiative signed in July 2003 by the three presidents [Alfred Moisiou of Albania, Gjorgi Parvanov of Bulgaria, and the late Boris Trajkovski], for example, and there are several others.

CD: Yes, but can you tell us what is the precise significance of this current signing? Is it simply an agreement towards a common initiative, or does it hold any leaders or countries responsible for anything, establish a time line, etc?

GT: There were two trilateral signings that took place, one at the Prime Ministerial level and one at the Ministerial level.?The collective significance was that AMBO moved into the FEED stage with these signed agreements. FEED is an acronym for Front-End Engineering and Design. Typically once you enter the FEED stage, the project will be built ? a 95 percent-plus likelihood. The signed agreements also trigger commitments from some of the larger interested vendors to join our efforts.

CD: Can you name any of these interested parties?

GT: No, I can’t name them at this time - sorry.?Check back in 4-8 weeks.

CD: Looking back over the past year, can you say if there were any individuals, either from?the US side or from the Balkan governments who really made a difference in getting things moving?

GT: Yes, Dr. Peter Watson, President of OPIC has been a?terrific cheerleader for us within the Bush Administration. Also Albanian Prime Minister Nano, former Macedonian Minister of Economy Boris Rikalovski, and several high-level?people in the Bulgarian government.

CD: Along the same lines, was there any particular “breakthrough” point, action?or decision?that you can point out as having been vital for things to get to where they are today?

GT: Yes, the public withdrawal of support for the Bourgas-Alexandroupolis [pipeline project] by both the President of Transneft (the Russian oil pipeline operator) Simeon Vainshtok and LUKoil Vice President Leonid Fedun.? There was another breakthrough point too, but I will be able to speak on that at a future time.

CD: We all know that Balkan governments change with the weather. Have you sought any specific institutional safeguards, either from them, the EU or other bodies to make sure that the project goes ahead efficiently no matter who or what parties are in power over the next 2 years?

GT: All three governments are party to the Energy Charter Treaty?which regulates the construction of oil pipelines across national and supra-national territories. We also have multiple agreements from each county over the past 11 years - so no matter which party comes to power in which country, a previous government affiliated with Party X has already given support for the project.

CD: What is the current state of play with Burgas-Alexandroupolis? They can’t be overjoyed to see you surge ahead.

GT: All I can tell you is that the Russians withdrew their support.?The Greeks keep acting like nothing is happening - but all of their lobbying efforts are falling on deaf ears.?The Greek media continue to illustrate one side of the story, and the Greek Government Ministers keep putting up a brave face. Bourgas-Alexandroupolis was always a reactive project to AMBO.?Therefore, we must always set the pace.

CD: Bulgaria is EU-bound and stable. Albania is poor and somewhat chaotic, but has no enemies either. Macedonia on the other hand is in danger from Kosovo Albanians who wish to break the country apart. In this light, how will the pipeline project be affected if unrest in Kosovo continues to seep across the border - especially in 2005, the year when “final status” is supposed to be negotiated in the increasingly volatile province?

GT: I predict that the 2005 deadline you cite will slide based on what I have been reading over the last several months. The most important thing to keep in mind is that oil companies work in considerably more unstable parts of the world than the Balkans. The Balkans are reasonably peaceful in comparison.?So it is a matter of relativity.

CD: Have you sought any specific guarantees regarding Macedonia’s stability? If so, who or what will vouch for the country? Will US policy change if mischief-makers start causing trouble in a pipelined Macedonia?

GT: You could make the case, somewhat easily I suspect,?that America will care what happens to Macedonia if an oil pipeline carrying oil supplying America runs through it.?Gosh knows there has been plenty of commentary on the web about the intersection of oil and international politics in general.

CD: What view do international pipeline insurers take about working in this part of the world? Do they have reservations? What is the cost comparison compared with other European regions?

GT: You can probably go to the websites of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and look up this information. I don’t have it handy, sorry.?These entities (and also the U.S. Export-Import Bank) have what are called County Limitation Schedules that discuss the level of coverage, if any, that they have for certain countries or certain types, i.e., public or private projects within countries.

CD: The BBC cited AMBO President Ted Ferguson as saying some $900 million has already been guaranteed for financing. Is this correct, and is there a higher target goal to be reached? Can you give more details?

GT: This is debt financing.?We have also raised some equity and we need to raise more. The debt-equity ratio is approximately 75 percent/ 25 percent.?The year 2000 construction estimate for the pipeline was $1.13 billion within a margin of error of -10 percent and +20 percent.

CD: I know you have said many times in the past that all the major oil companies are potential players. But now that the initial inter-governmental signing is done, you have some cash and are talking about completing the pipeline in the foreseeable future, do you have any updates on prospective oil companies to work with?

GT: Nope, sorry!? You are a subscriber to the AMBO News Service.?You know which companies are exporting oil from the Caspian region into the Black Sea.?Ask them.?We will put out a press release when we have news that we can share on this.?I can’t tell you when that will occur - except to say that I expect it to be in 2005 - and hopefully sooner rather than later.

CD: Finally, on the environment. I know the point of AMBO is partially to avoid the environmental dangers of the Bosporus, and that your pipeline construction and valve structure makes leaks rare and, even if occurring, localized. Nevertheless have you run into any opposition from local environmentalists, the way BTC was hampered by people in Georgia over Borjomi? And has the re-planned route caused any more concerns?

GT: No - no objections of any kind.?And if you should be in touch with any local environmentalists, please tell them that we would like to engage them sooner rather than later in a constructive conversation where we can address any fears they have up front and be confident of our pledges concerning the environment.?The Macedonian government did change the route to move it away from Lake Ohrid.?A Microsoft Powerpoint map shows the before/after changes between the two routes.



"The `AMBO' Corporation (Pound Ridge, NY) has announced, on 17th January 1997, that Mr. E.L. (Ted) Ferguson - formerly Director of Oil & Gas Development for Europe and Africa for `Brown & Root Energy Services' has joined `AMBO' as President & CEO.... The `AMBO' Corporation (an acronym for the `Albanian- Macedonian-Bulgarian Oil Corporation') is the project developer of the 826 million $ Trans-Balkan Oil Pipeline which will carry crude oil from the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Bourgas to the Albanian Adriatic Sea port of Vlor....The feasibility study for `AMBO's ` Trans-Balkan Oil Pipeline, conducted by the international engineering company of `Brown & Root Ltd.' in London.... The resulting pipeline will become a part of the region's critical East-West corridor infrastructure which includes highway, railway, gas and fiber optic telecommunications lines. This pipeline will bring oil directly to the European market by eliminating tanker traffic through the ecologically sensitive waters of the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas."
Skopje, 23 January, 1997


"The routes of potential trans-Balkan oil pipelines were laid down according to the interests of their future [EU and US] users....The territory of Yugoslavia (both former and present federation) is significant, therefore, because of its geographic position. Influential American analysts insist on the claim that Yugoslavia is in the immediate neighborhood of a zone of vital US interests - Black Sea/Caspian Sea region. And wherever there are vital US interests, there are NATO troops to protect them. European interests, claim our interlocutors, are even greater, because it is definitely not in the interest of the European Union countries that the key to their supplies is held by someone else....The project SEEL (South East European Line), initiated by the Italian company ENI is actually the corridor for transportation of Caspian oil from Constanta to Trieste, which passes through Serbia and uses the existing system of the Adriatic oil pipeline, all the way to Omisalj... Because of the political situation in Serbia this project was delayed for some better times... Until the fall of Slobodan Milosevic's regime Croatia insisted that the connection with Constanta bypass Serbia by going through Hungary [a less economic route]. However, after October 5 and the political changes in Yugoslavia, the meeting of this same group held in Brussels on October 26 and 27, 2000, expressed support for the transport of Caspian oil following the route from Black Sea, Romania, Yugoslavia and Croatia, respectively from Romanian port Constanta, through Pitesti, and Pancevo to Delnice in Croatia, from where the new pipeline would go towards Trieste and the old one continue to Omisalj on the island of Krk."
Underground Games in Kosovo
Reporter, Banja Luka, Srpska, B-H, February 27, 2001



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posted by u2r2h at Monday, February 18, 2008 1 comments

17 February, 2008

Berlin Baghdad Railway

F. William Engdahl

A Century of War, Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order.

Title of the German Edition: Mit der Oelwaffe zur Weltmacht, der Weg zur neuen Weltordnung. 1st English edition published 1993


The Lines are Drawn: Germany and the Geopolitics of the "Great War"

Germany's "Wirtschaftswunder"

AFTER 1873, GROWING divergence between the depressed economy of the British Empire and the emerging industrial economies of Continental Europe, above all the German Reich, created the background for the outbreak of the Great World War in 1914. The role of petroleum already had become central in this conflict, to a degree that few outside a tiny elite of London and New York bankers and financiers realized until years later.

Toward the final decade of the 19th century, British banking and political elites had begun to express the first signs of alarm over two specific aspects of the impressive industrial development in Germany. The first was emergence of an independent, modern German merchant and military naval fleet. Since 1815 and the Congress of Vienna, the English Navy had been the unchallenged lord of the seas. The second strategic alarm was sounded over an ambitious German project to construct a railway linking Berlin with, ultimately, Baghdad, then part of the Ottoman Empire.

In both areas, the naval challenge and construction of a rail infrastructure linking Berlin to the Persian Gulf, oil figured as a decisive, if still hidden, motive force for both the British and the German side. We will see why these two developments were regarded as virtual casus belli by the Anglo-Saxon establishment at the turn of the century.

By the 1890's, British industry had been surpassed in both rates and quality of technological development by an astonishing emergence of industrial and agricultural development within Germany. With the United States concentrated largely on its internal expansion after its Civil War, the industrial emergence of Germany was increasingly seen as the largest "threat" to Britain's global hegemony during the last decade of the century.

By the 1870's, decades of piecemeal German adoption of the economic reforms of Friedrich List, creation of a national modern rail transport infrastructure and tariff protection for emerging domestic industries, began to yield notable results, more so in the context of the political unity of the German Reich after 1871.

Until approximately the 1850's, imitation of the apparently successful British economic model was the dominant policy followed in Germany, and the free trade economics of such British economists as Adam Smith or David Ricardo were regarded as holy gospel in German universities. But increasingly, after England went into prolonged depression in the 1870's which hit Germany and Austria as well, Germany began to realize the serious flaws in continuing faithfully to follow the "British model." As Germany increasingly turned to a form of national economic strategy, and away from British "free trade" adherence, in building a national industry and agriculture production, the results were remarkable.

As one indication of this shift away from the English model, from 1850 to the eve of the First World War in 1913, German total domestic output increased five-fold. Per capita output increased in the same period by 250%. The population began to experience a steady increase in its living standard, as real industrial wages doubled between 1871 and 1913.

But the heart of the German industrial revolution was the explosion of technological progress. Germany established a national system of technological schools (Technische Hochschulen) and colleges, modelled on the French Ecole Polytechnique, for the education of scientific and engineering cadre for industry, and a system of "Handelshochschulen," organized with support from the various chambers of commerce and industry, for education of business cadre. Moreover, German universities placed emphasis on natural sciences in their curricula. German engineering and science began to blossom. This was paralleled by a nationwide system of "Fachschulen" for training of skilled tradesmen. The net result of it all was a dramatic increase in the technological competence of the German working population after the 1870's.

As late as 1870, British large industrial companies dwarfed their young German rivals. But that was to change drastically over the next three to four decades. In the decades before 1914, in terms of fueling world industry and transportation, coal was king. In 1890, Germany produced 88 million tons of coal, while Britain produced more than double as much, 182 million tons. But by 1910, German output of coal climbed impressively to 219 million tons, while Britain had only a slight lead at 264 million tons.

Steel was at the center of Germany's growth, with the rapidly emerging electrical power and chemicals industries close behind. Using the innovation of the Gilchrist Thomas steel-making process, which capitalized on the high-phosphorus ores of Lorraine, German steel output increased 1,000% in the twenty years from 1880 to 1900, leaving British steel output far behind. As late as 1890, Britain still led Germany in production of pig iron, with 7.9 million tons versus 4.6 million tons for Germany. But by 1910, German pig iron output was 50% greater than Britain's at 14.6 million tons to 10 million tons. At the same time, the cost of making Germany's steel dropped to one-tenth the cost of the 1860's. By 1913, Germany was smelting almost two times the amount of pig iron as British foundries.1

The rail infrastructure to transport this rapidly expanding flow of industrial goods was the initial "locomotive" for Germany's first "Wirtschaftswunder." While the initial expansion of the German railway system began in the 1840's and 1850's, under the initial influence of Lisf s Zollverein and his national railway plan state-backed rail infrastructure fully doubled the kilometers of track from 1870 to 1913.

Following the development of centralized electric power generation and long-distance transmission under the impulse of Oskar von Miller and others, the German electrical industry grew from an infant industry employing 26,000 in 1895 to dominate fully half of all international trade in electrical goods by 1913. German chemical industry, under the impulse of great researchers such as Justus von Liebig and others, grew from one vastly inferior to both French and British industry, to become the world's leader in ana-line dye production, pharmaceuticals and chemical fertilizers.

Introduction of scientific agriculture chemistry by von Liebig and others led also to astonishing rates of productivity increase during this period for German agriculture. Going from a situation in the early decades of the 1800's which was literally desperate, with outbreaks of famine and harvest failure, when it seemed more economical to import grain from Russia or even Argentina, Germany re-imposed a protective tariff blocking imports of cheap grain in the 1890's.

The mechanization of farming began to show progress, going from 20,000 harvesting machines in 1882 to some 300,000 by 1907. Despite often inferior and sandy soils, German chemical fertilizer development led to improving harvest yields. Grain harvest yields had improved as a result, by 80% at the time of the World War, compared with the period before 1887 when fertilizers were first introduced on a significant scale. By contrast, Russia, at the outbreak of the war, with three million acres more under grain cultivation, produced 19 million tons less grain than Germany. By 1913 Germany was 95% self-sufficient in meat production, despite per capita meat consumption having doubled since 1870, while Britain in 1913 imported 45% of its meat requirements.

Paralleling the expansion of its industry and agriculture, Germany went from a net emigration country in the early 1800's, to a country with strong population growth by the end of the century. Between 1870 and 1914 Germany's population increased almost 75% from 40,000,000 to more than 67,000,000 people.

Large industry grew in a symbiosis after the 1880's together with large banks such as Deutsche Bank, under what became known as the "Grossbanken" model, or simply "German model" of interlocking ownership between major banks and key industrial companies.2

Germany's "Wirtschaftwunder" arose in this period after 1870. The much-proclaimed industrial recovery from the devastation of war and world depression in the late 1950's represented, to a very significant degree, the recovery of the foundations laid during the 1880's up to l914.

A Berlin Bank Panic

The development of an independent national economic policy in Germany took its second impetus from the consequences ironically, of a banking panic. In 1890, as a result of the near-failure of the prestigous London merchant bank, Baring Brothers, arising from their huge losses in Argentine bond speculation and investment, and the ties of German banking to this Argentine speculation, a Berlin bank panic ensued, as the dominoes of an international financial pyramid began to topple.

Berlin, and German investors generally, were caught up in international railroad speculation mania in the 1880's. With the crash of the elite Baring Bros., with some $75,000,000 invested into various Argentine bonds, down came the illusions of many Germans about the marvels of financial speculation.

In the wake of the financial collapse of Argentina, a large wheat exporter to Europe, Berlin grain traders Ritter & Blumenthal had foolishly attempted a "corner" on the entire German wheat market, planning to capitalize on the consequences of the financial troubles in Argentina. This only aggravated the financial panic in Germany when their scheme collapsed, bankrupting the esteemed private banking house of Hirsclifeld & Wolf in its wake, and causing huge losses at the Rheinisch-Westphalische Bank, further triggering a general run on German banks and a collapse of the Berlin Stock Market, lasting into the autumn of 1891.

Responding to the crisis, the Chancellor named a Commission of Inquiry of 28 eminent persons, under the chairmanship of Reichsbank President Dr. Richard Koch, to look into the causes and to propose legislative measures to prevent further such panics from occuring. The Koch Commission was composed of a broad and representative cross-section of German economic society including representatives from industry, agriculture, universities, political parties, as well as banking and finance.

The result of the commission's work, most of it voted into law by the Reichstag in the Exchange Act in June 1896, and the Depot-gesetz of that July, was the most severe legislation restricting financial speculation of any industrial country of the time. Futures positions in grain were prohibited. Stock market speculation possibilities were severely constrained, one result of which has been the relative absence of stock market speculation as a major factor affecting German economic life since then.

The German Exchange Act of 1896 definitively established a different form of organization of finance and banking in Germany, from that of England or America—Anglo-Saxon banking. Not only this, but many London financial houses reduced their activity in the restrictive German financial market after the 1890's as a result of these restrictions, lessening the influence of City of London finance over German economic policy. Significantly, to the present day, these fundamental differences between Anglo-Saxon banking and finance and a "German model" as largely practiced in Germany, Holland, Switzerland and Japan, are still somewhat visible.3

The Necessity of Ship and Rail Infrastructure

Thus, while England's national industrial and finance policy, especially after 1873, fostered industrial retardation of technological progress, that of Germany fostered quite the opposite. By 1900, the trends of divergence between the two countries were evident to all. But a growing friction between Germany and England in the years before 1914 was centered on two special aspects of Germany's impressive overall economic development. First and foremost was the dramatic emergence of Germany as a pre-eminent modern shipping nation, ultimately threatening the decades-long English domination of the seas.

As long as Germany did not control her own modern merchant ship fleet, and did not have a navy to defend it, Germany could never determine her own economic affairs. England was still the sovereign on the world's oceans, and intended to remain so. This was the heart of British geopolitical strategy- Under such conditions, an increasing majority in Germany argued that the nation's economic life would be ever subject to the manipulations of a foreign shipping power for the essential terms of its vital international trade.

In 1870, the tota! merchant fleet of the German Reich barely totalled 640,000 tons. The German merchant fleet at the time was the fifth largest in the world, behind the British, American, French, and Norwegian. By 1914, the German fleet had risen to Number Two, just behind England, and gaining rapidly.

German export goods in 1870 were subject to both the rates and ships of other nations, above all England. By 1914, this had changed dramatically. Already by 1901, 9,000,000 tons on 52,000 different ships left German ports sailing under German flag. By 1909, these figures had increased to 65,000 vessels totalling 13,000,000 tons under German flag. In this time, fully 70% of all German trade was dependent on the sea. Control of the terms of this trade was clearly vital for the economic security of Germany. But few in London finance and shipping circles welcomed that prospect.

The parallel developments in German steel and engineering were directly applied to construction of a modern merchant shipping fleet. Replacement of wind power with steam propulsion and of wooden hulls, first with iron reinforcing and later with steel hulls, allowed Germany's merchant fleet to become larger and more efficient. In 1891, the German fleet could count three steamers over 7,000 BWT. By 1914, the German flag carried five steamers above 20,000 BWT, nine between 15-20,000 BWT, and 66 between 7,000 and 10,000 BWT.

During this time, German sea transport developed with extraordinary rapidity and efficiency. By 1914 two large companies, the Hamburg-American and the North German Lloyd, held some 40% of all Germany's commercial marine. Organization, economies of scale, and emphasis on construction of the most efficient and modern ships, was the secret of the spectacular growth in this period. A French observer of the day, commenting on the extraordinary success of German marine transport in this period noted, "It is this concentration which makes possible the rapid amortization of capital and, in consequence, the 'scrapping' of ships which have become old, the perpetual rejuvenation of the floating machinery. You do not find in the German mercantile marine old vessels of thirty or forty years. What the German industries, properly speaking—metallurgy, electro-technique, etc.—secure by standardized production, the German merchant service obtains by the frequency and regularity of sailings." He adds, "In the case of the Germans, the creation of shipping lines does not follow trade, it precedes it, and in preceding it, it brings it into existence."*

Following the final incorporation of Hamburg into the German Reich in 1888, Hamburg, and later Bremen-Bremerhaven, became the centers for construction of the most modern and efficient port facilities in all Europe, drawing the rail freight of much of central Europe north, to be shipped out to world markets. Through establishment of a national infrastructure policy which encouraged cheapest possible transport communications, Germany in the decade and a half before 1914 expanded its shipping presence throughout the world, as well into traditional market monopolies of English shipping in British colonies or traditional British "spheres of influence" such as Egypt, or even the Americas.

In 1897, little more than one year after the Reichstag passed the restrictive financial speculation controls, Grand-Admiral von Tir-pitz announced the first German naval construction program, which the Reichstag approved in 1898, followed in 1900 by a second law doubling the number of naval ships to be built.

By 1906, England had launched a superior new, all-big gun battleship class with the Dreadnaught, which was swifter and carried more firepower than any existing battleship. In response in 1906, Germany passed a little-publicized law mandating replacement of the German naval fleet every 20 years. By 1909, to the astonishment of the British, Germany launched its Nassau series with four ships superior to the Dreadnaught ships were soon superceded by both British and German shipbuilders with an even more advanced Super-Dreadnaught series. Britain never imagined that Germany could develop such a modern fleet in its own naval yards, and in such a short time. Reviewing the background of the 1914 Great War in an Oxford University lecture in 1951, Sir Llewellyn Woodward tersely stated, "Germany, like every other power, was free to build for herself as large a fleet as she might wish. The question was one of expediency and of realist calculation. A German battle fleet could not be other than a challenge to Great Britain, the dominant sea power."5.

It was becoming clear to some in England by about 1910 that dramatic remedies would be required to deal with the awesome German economic emergence- For the first time, as we shall now see, petroleum also emerged as a significant factor in the geopolitical calculus of war.

1. Bom, Karl Erich. "Wirtschafts-und So/ialgeschichte des DeulschenKaiserreichs (1867/71-1914)." SteinerVer[ag,Stutlgart, 1985.
2. Borchardt, Knut. "Deutsche Wirtschaft seit 1870." German Economy, 1870 to the present. Weidenfeid & Nicholson. London. 1167.
3. Loeb, Ernst. "The German Exchange Act of 18%." in The Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol. xi. 1897. Boston.
4. Hauser, Henri. "Germany's Commercial Grip on the World." Translated from the French. Chas. Scribner's & Sons. New York. 1918. pp.106*
5. Woodward, Sir Llewellyn, in "Prelude to Modern Europe." Norfolk, Methuen &Co. 1971. p. 135.


A Global Fight for Control of Petroleum Begins

A British Admiral sees beyond lamp oil

IN 1882, THE BLACK heavy sludge we know today as petroleum had little commercial interest other than for fuel to light new mineral oil lamps, a technique developed in Berlin in 1853 by a German lamp manufacturer named Stohwasser. The fuel was then known as "rock oil" because it seeped through rocks in certain oil areas such as Titusville, Pennsylvania, Baku in Russia, or in Galicia, now part of Poland. In 1870,]ohn D. Rockefeller created the Standard Oil Co. to exploit this market for lamp oil and various oil medicine "cures" in the United States. The development of the internal combustion engine had not yet revolutionized world industry.

But at least one man understood the military-strategic implications of petroleum for future control of the world seas. Beginning with a public address in September 1882, Britain's Admiral Lord Fisher, then Captain Fisher, argued to anyone in the British establishment who would listen that Britain must convert its naval fleet from bulky coal-fired propulsion to the new oil fuel. Since 1870 Russian steamers on the Caspian Sea had burned a heavy fuel oil the Russians called "mazut." Fisher and a few other far-sighted individuals began to argue for adoption of the new fuel. He insisted that oil-power would allow Britain to maintain decisive strategic advantage in future control of the seas.

Fisher had done his homework on the qualitative superiority of petroleum over coal as a fuel, and knew his reasoning was sound. A battleship powered by a diesel motor burning petroleum issued no tell-tale smoke, while a coal ship's emission was visible up to 10 kilometers away. Where some 4 to 9 hours were required for a coal-fired ship to reach full power, art oil motor required only 30 minutes and could reach peak power within 5 minutes. To provide oil fuel for a battle ship required the work of 12 men for 12 hours. The same equivalent of energy for a coal ship required the work of 500 men and 5 days. For equal horsepower propulsion, the oil-fired ship required 1 /3 the engine weight, and almost one-quarter of the daily tonnage of fuel, a critical factor for a fleet, whether commercial or military. The radius of action of an oil-powered fleet was up to four times as great as that of the comparable coal ship.1 But at the time, Fisher was regarded by his English peers as an eccentric dreamer.

Meanwhile, by 1885 a German engineer, Gottlieb Daimler, developed the world's first workable petroleum motor to power a road vehicle. Although automobiles were regarded as playthings of the ultra-rich until the turn of the century, the economic potentials of the petroleum era were beginning to be more broadly realized by many beyond Admiral Fisher and his circle.

D'Arcy captures the secret of the burning rocks

By 1905, British Secret Services and the British government had finally realized the strategic importance of the new fuel. Britain's problem was that it had no known oil of its own. It had to rely on America, Russia or Mexico to supply it, an unacceptable condition in time of peace, impossible in the event of a major war.

A year before, in 1904, Captain Fisher had been promoted to the rank of Britain's First Sea Lord, the supreme commander of British naval affairs. Fisher promptly established a committee to "consider and make recommendations as to how the British navy shall secure its oil supplies."

Britain's presence in Persia and the Arabian Gulf—the latter still part of the Ottoman Empire—was quite limited in this time. Persia was not part of the formal British Empire. For some years, Britain had maintained consulates at Bushire and Bandar Abbas, and kept British naval ships in the Gulf to deter other powers from entertaining designs on strategic waters so close to Britain's most vital colonial source of looting, India. In 1892, Lord Curzon, later Viceroy of India, writing on Persia, stated, "I should regard the concession of a port upon the Persian Gulf to Russia, by any power, as a deliberate insult to Great Britain and as a wanton rupture of the status quo, and as an international provocation to war..."2

But in 1905, Her Majesty's Government, through the agency of the notorious British "ace of spies," Sidney Reilly, secured an extraordinarily significant exclusive right over what were then believed to be vast untapped petroleum deposits in the Middle East. In early 1905, Her Majesty's Secret Service sent Reilly (born Sigmund Georgjevich Rosenblum in Odessa, Russia) with the mission to extract rights to exploit the mineral resources of Persia from an eccentric Australian amateur geologist and engineer named William Knox d'Arcy.

D'Arcy, a devout Christian who had studied history deeply, became convinced that accounts of "pillars of fire" at the holy sites of the ancient Persian God of Fire, Ormuzd, derived from the practice of the priests of Zoroaster lighting naptha—oil—seeping from the rocks in those select sites. He spent years wandering the areas where these ancient Persian temples existed, searching for oil. He made numerous visits to London to secure financial support for his quest, with diminishing support from British bankers.

Sometime in the 1890's, the new Persian monarch, Reza Khan Pahlevi, a man committed to modernizing what today is Iran, called on D'Arcy as an engineer who knew Iran thoroughly, asking him to aid Persia in development of railways and the beginnings of industry.

In 1901, in gratitude for his services to Persia, the Shah awarded to D'Arcy a "firman," or royal concession, giving D'Arcy "full powers and unlimited liberty, for a period of sixty years, to probe, pierce and drill at their will the depths of Persian soil; in consequence of which all the sub-soil products sought by him without exception will remain his inalienable property."

D'Arcy paid the equivalent of 20,000 dollars cash and agreed to pay the Shah a 16% "royalty" from sales of whatever petroleum was discovered. Thus the eccentric Australian secured one of the most valuable legal documents of the day, granting him and "all his heirs and assigns and friends" exclusive rights to tap the oil potential of Persia until 1961. D'Arc/s first successful oil discovery came in the region of Shushtar north of the Persian Gulf.3 Sidney Reilly managed to track D'Arcy down in 1905, just as the latter was on the verge of signing a joint oil exploration partnership with the French through the Paris Rothschild banking group, before retiring back to his native Australia.

Reilly, disguised as a priest and skillfully playing on d'Arcy's strong religious inclinations, persuaded d'Arcy instead to sign over his exclusive rights to Persian oil resources in an agreement with a British company which he claimed to be a good "Christian" enterprise, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. The Scottish financier Lord Strathcona was brought in by the British government as a key shareholder of Anglo-Persian, while the government's actual role in Anglo-Persian was kept secret. Reiily had thus secured Britain's first major petroleum source.

By rail from Berlin to Baghdad

In 1889, a group of German industrialists and bankers, led by Deutsche Bank, secured a concession from the Ottoman government to build a railway through Anatolia from the capital, Constantinople. This accord was expanded ten years later, in 1899, when the Ottoman government gave the German group approval for the next stage of what became known as the Berlin-Baghdad Railway project. The second agreement was one consequence of the 1898 visit to Constantinople by German Kaiser Wilhelm II. German-Turkish relations had gained high importance over those ten years.

Germany had decided to build a strong economic alliance with Turkey beginning in the 1890's, as a way to develop potentially vast new markets to the East for export of German industrial goods. The Berlin-Baghdad Railway project was to be the centerpiece of a brilliant and quite workable economic strategy. Potential supplies of oil lurked in the background and Britain stood opposed. The seeds of animosities tragically acted out in the Middle East in the 1990's trace directly back to this period.

For more than two decades, the question of construction of a modern railway linking Continental Europe with Baghdad was at the center of German-English relations as a point of friction. In the estimation of Deutsche Bank director Karl Helfferich, the person responsible at the time for the Baghdad rail project negotiations, no other issue led to greater tensions between London and Berlin in the decade and half before 1914, with the possible exception of the issue of Germany's growing naval fleet.4

In 1888, under the leadership of Deutsche Bank, a consortium secured a concession for construction and maintenance of a railway connecting Haidar-Pascha outside Constantinople, with Angora. The company was named the Anatolian Railway Company, and included Austrian and Italian shareholders as well as a small English shareholding. Work on the railway proceeded so well, that the section was completed ahead of schedule and construction was further extended south to Konia.

By 1896 a rail line was open which could go from Berlin to Konia deep in the Turkish interior of the Anatolian highlands, a stretch of some 1,000 kilometers of new rail constructed in less than 8 years in an economically desolate area. It was a true engineering and construction accomplishment. The ancient rich valley of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers was coming into sight of modern transportation infrastructure. Hitherto, the only rail infrastructure built in the Middle east had been British or French, all of it extremely short stretches in Syria or elsewhere to link key port cities, but never to open up large expanses of interior to modem industrialization.

For the first time, the railway gave Constantinople and the Ottoman Empire vital modern economic linkage with its entire asiatic interior. The rail link, once extended to Baghdad and a short distance further to Kuwait, would provide the cheapest and fastest link between Europe and the entire Indian subcontinent, a world rail link of the first order.

From the English side, this was exactly the point. "If 'Berlin-Baghdad' were achieved, a huge block of territory producing every kind of economic wealth, and unassailable by sea-power would be united under German authority," warned R.G.D. Laffan, at that time a senior British military adviser attached to the Serbian Army.

"Russia would be cut off by this barrier from her western friends, Great Britain and France," Laffan added. "German and Turkish armies would be within easy striking distance of our Egyptian interests, and from the Persian Gulf, our Indian Empire would be threatened. The port of Alexandretta and the control of the Dardanelles would soon give Germany enormous naval power in the Mediterranean."5

Laffan hinted at the British strategy to sabotage the Berlin- Baghdad link. "A glance at the map of the world will show how the chain of States stretched from Berlin to Baghdad. The German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Bulgaria, Turkey. One little strip of territory alone blocked the way and prevented the two ends of the chain from being linked together. That little strip was Serbia. Serbia stood small but defiant between Germany and the great ports of Constantinople and Salonika, holding the Gate of the East... Serbia was really the first line of defense of our eastern possessions. If she were crushed or enticed into the 'Berlin-Baghdad' system, then our vast but slightly defended empire would soon have felt the shock of Germany's eastward thrust."

Thus it is not surprising to find that behind the enormous unrest and wars throughout the Balkans in the decade before 1914, including the Turkish War, the Bulgarian War, and continuous unrest in the region, the guiding hand of England was actively fostering conflict and wars, directed at rupturing the Berlin-Constantinople alliance, and especially the completion of the Berlin-Baghdad rail link, just as Laffan hints. But it would be a mistake to view the construction of the Berlin-Baghdad railway project as a "German" coup against England. Germany repeatedly sought English cooperation in the project. Since the 1890's, when agreement was reached with the Turkish government to complete a final 2,500 kilometer stretch of rail, which would complete the line down to what is today Kuwait, Deutsche Bank and the Berlin government made countless attempts to secure English participation and co-financing of the enormous project.

In November 1899, following his visit to Constantinople, German Kaiser Wilhelm II went to meet with Queen Victoria in Windsor Castle to personally intercede in favor of soliciting a significant British participation in the Baghdad project. Germany well knew that Britain asserted interests in the Persian Gulf and Suez in defense of her India Passage, as it was known. Without positive English backing, it was clear that the project would face great difficulties, not least political and financial. The size of the final leg of the railway was beyond the resources of German banks, even one as large as Deutsche Bank, to finance alone.

From its side, however, for the next fifteen years, England sought with every possible means to delay and obstruct progress of the railway, while always holding out the hope of ultimate agreement to keep the German side off balance. This game lasted literally until the outbreak of war in August, 1914.

But the trump card which Her Royal Britannic Majesty played in the final phase of the negotiations around the Baghdad railway, was her tie with the corrupt Sheikh of Kuwait. In 1901, English warships off the Kuwait coast dictated to the Turkish Government that henceforth they must consider the Gulf port located just below the Shaat al Arab, controlled by the Anaza tribe of Sheikh Mubarak al-Sabah, to be a "British Protectorate."

At that point, Turkey was too economically and militarily weak to do anything but feebly protest the British de facto occupation of this distant part of the Ottoman Empire. Kuwait in British hands blocked successful completion of the Berlin-Baghdad rail from important eventual access to the Persian Gulf waters and beyond.

In 1907, Sheihk Mubarak Al-Sabah, a ruthless sort who reportedly seized power in the region in 1896 by murdering his two half-brothers as they slept in his palace, was convinced to sign over, in the form of a "lease in perpetuity," the land of Bander Shwaikh to "the precious Imperial English Government." The document was co-signed by Major C.G. Knox, Political Agent of the Imperial English Government in Kuwait. Reportedly, there were generous portions of English gold and rifles to make the signing more palatable to the Sheikh.

By October 1913, Lt.-Colonel Sir Percy Cox secured a letter from the ever-obliging Sheikh, wherein the Sheikh agreed not to grant any concession for development of oil in the land "to anyone other than a person nominated and recommended by the British government."6.

By 1902, it was known that the region of the Ottoman Empire known as Mesopotamia—today Iraq and Kuwait—contained resources of petroleum. How much and how accessible was still a matter for speculation. This discovery shaped the gigantic battle for global economic and military control which continues to the end of the 20th century.

In 1912, Deutsche Bank, in the course of its financing of the Baghdad rail connection, negotiated a concession from the Ottoman Emperor giving the Baghdad Rail Co. full "right-of-way" rights to all oil and minerals on a parallel 20 kilometers either side of the rail line. The line had reached as far as Mosul in what today is Iraq.

By 1912, German industry and government realized that oil was the fuel of its economic future, not only for land transport but for naval vessels. At that time, Germany was itself locked in the grip of the large American Rockefeller Standard Oil Company trust. Standard Oil's Deutsche Petroleum Verkaufgesellschaft controlled 91% of all German oil sales. Deutsche Bank held a minority 9% share of Deutsche Petroleums Verkaufgesellschaft, hardly a decisive interest.

In 1912, Germany had no independent, secure supply of oil. But geologists had discovered oil in that part of Mesopotamia today called Iraq, between Mosul and Baghdad. The projected line of the last part of the Berlin-Baghdad rail link would go right through the area believed to hold large oil reserves.

Efforts to pass legislation in the Berlin Reichstag in 1912-13 to establish a German state-owned company to develop and run the new found oil resources, independent of the American Rockefeller combine, were stalled and delayed, until the outbreak of World War in August 1914 pushed it off the agenda. The Deutsche Bank plan was to have the Baghdad rail link transport Mesopotamian oil over land, free from possible naval blockade by the British and thereby make Germany independent in its petroleum requirements.

The new Dreadnaughts

But it was not until 1909, that Admiral Fisher's plans for Britain's oil-fired navy began to be implemented. Germany had just launched the first of its advanced improvement of the English Dreadnought series. The German Von der Tann carried 80,000 horsepower engines, which, while still coal-fired, were capable of a then astounding 28 knots speed. Only two British ships could match that speed. Britain's coal-fired fleet was at its technological limit and British naval supremacy was decisively threatened by the rapidly expanding German economic marvel. By 1911, a young Winston Churchill succeeded Lord Fisher as First Lord of the Admiralty. Churchil immediately began a campaign to implement Fisher's demand for an oil-powered navy. Using Fisher's arguments, Churchill pointed out that, with ships of equal size, oil gives far greater speed, and, per unit of weight, gives a decisive advantage in domain of action without refueling.

In 1912, the United States produced more than 63% of the world's petroleum, Russia's Baku 19%, and Mexico about 5%. Britain's Anglo-Persian Exploration Co. was not yet producing major supplies of petroleum, but even then, British government strategy had determined that British presence in the Persian Gulf was essential national interest. As we have seen, Germany's relentless extension of the Berlin-Baghdad railway line played a significant role in this determination.

By July 1912, Prime Minister Asquith's government, on Churchill's urging, appointed a Royal Commission on Oil & The Oil Engine. The retired Lord Fisher was named to chair it.

By early 1913, acting secretly, and again at Churchill's urging, the British Government bought up a majority share ownership of Anglo-Persian Oil (today British Petroleum). From this point, oil was at the core of British strategic interest7

If England could not only secure her own direct petroleum needs for the transport and energy technology of the future, but, perhaps more decisive, deny economic rivals access to secure petroleum reserves in the world, the dominant role of Britain might be maintained into the nexf decades. In short, if England's stagnating industry could not compete with Germany's emerging Daimler motors, it would control the raw material on which the Daimler motors must run. Just what this policy of British petroleum control implied for the course of world history will become more clear.

Sir Edward Grey's fateful Paris trip

Why would England risk a world war in order to stop the development of Germany's industrial economy in 1914?

The ultimate reason why England declared war in August, 1914, lay fundamentally "in the old tradition of British policy, through which England grew to great power status, and through which she sought to remain a great power," stated German banker, Karl Helfferich, in 1918. "England's policy was always constructed against the politically and economically strongest Continental power," he stressed.

"Ever since Germany became the politically and economically strongest Continental power, did England feel threatened from Germany more than from any other land in its global economic position and its naval supremacy. Since that point, the English-German differences were unbridgeable, and susceptible to no agreement in any one single question." Helfferich sadly notes the accuracy of the declaration by Bismarck in 1897, "The only condition which could lead to improvement: of German-English relations would be if we bridled our economic development, and this is not possible."8

In April, 1914, George, King of England, and his Foreign Minister Edward Grey, made an extraordinary visit to meet French President Poincare in Paris. It was one of the few times Sir Edward Grey left the British Isles. Russia's Ambassador to France, Iswolski, joined, and the three powers firmed up a secret military alliance against the German-Austro-Hungarian powers. Grey deliberately did not warn Germany beforehand of its secret alliance policy, whereby England would enter a war which engaged any one of the carefully-constructed web of alliance partners England had built up against Germany.9

The British establishment had determined well before 1914 that war was the only course suitable to bring the European situation "under control." British interests dictated, according to their balance-of-power logic, a shift from her traditional "pro-Ottoman and anti-Russian" alliance strategy of the 19th century, to a "pro-Russian and anti-German" alliance strategy as early as the late 1890's, when the emerging alliance between France's Gabriel Hanotaux and Russia's Serge Witte, together with an emerging industrial Germany, seemed imminent.

Fashoda, Witte, Great Projects and Great Mistakes

Indeed, fear of the emerging German economic challenge towards the end of the 1890's was so extreme among the leading circles of the British establishment, that Britain made a drastic change in its decades-long Continental alliance strategy, in a bold effort to tilt European events back to England's advantage.

A seminal event, which crystalized this alliance shift, was, oddly enough, an eyeball-to-eyeball military confrontation over Egypt, where historically both England and France had major interests through the Suez Canal Company. In 1898, French troops marching across the Sahara to the east under Colonel Jean Marchand, encountered British forces under command of General Kitchener at Fashoda on the Nile. A tense military showdown ensued, with each ordering the other side to withdraw, until finally, after consultation with Paris, Marchand withdrew. The Fashoda Crisis, as it became known, ended in a de facto Anglo-French balance-of-power alliance against Germany, in which France foolishly ceded major possibilities to industrialize Africa.

The decision to send the French Expeditionary Force under Marchand to Fachoda for a head-on military confrontation with England in Africa, came from Colonial Minister Theophile Delcassé. Britain had steadily moved to what became a de facto military occupation of Egypt and the Suez Canal, despite French claims to the area going back to Napoleon. Since 1882, British troops had "temporarily" occupied Egypt, and British civil servants ran the government in order to "protect" French and British interests in the Suez Canal Company. England was stealing Egypt out from under France.

Delcasse acted against the better interests of France and against the explicit policy design of French Foreign Minister Gabriel Hanotaux. Hanotaux, who was absent from government for a critical six months when the Fashoda folly was decided, had a conception of development and industrialization of France's African colonies. A moderate Republican who was known as an Anglophobe, Hanotaux had a conception of an economically unified French Africa centered around development of Lake Chad, with a railroad linking the interior from Dakar in French Senegal to French Djibouti on the Red Sea. The idea was referred to in France as the Trans-Sahara Railway project. It would have transformed the entirety of Saharan Africa from West to East. It would also have blocked major British strategic objectives to control the entire region from Africa, across Egypt and into India. Hanotaux carefully pursued a policy of normalizing relations between France and Germany, a development most threatening to British balance-of-power machinations. In early 1896, the German Foreign Secretary asked the French Ambassador in Berlin whether France would consider joint action in Africa for "limiting the insatiable appetite of England... [It] is necessary to show England that she can no longer take advantage of the Franco-German antagonism to seize whatever she wants."

Then, the infamous Dreyfus Affair erupted in the press in France. Its direct aim was to rupture the delicate efforts of Hanotaux to stabilize relations with Germany. A French army Captain named Dreyfus was prosecuted on charges of spying for the Germans. Hanotaux intervened into the initial process in 1894, correctly warning that the Dreyfus affair would lead to "a diplomatic rupture with Germany, even war." Dreyfus was exonerated years later, and it was revealed that Count Ferdinand Walsin-Esterhazy, in the pay of the Rothschild banking family, had manufactured the evidence against Dreyfus. By 1898, Hanotaux was out of office, and succeeded by the malleable Anglophile, Theophile Delcasse.

After Fachoda in 1898, Britain skillfully enticed France, under Foreign Minister Delcasse, to give up fundamental colonial and economic interests in Egypt and concentrate on a French policy against Germany, with Britain secretly agreeing to back French claims on Alsace-Lorraine, as well as supporting French ambitions in other areas not vital to British designs. Describing these British diplomatic machinations around Fachoda some years later (in 1909), Hanotaux remarked, "It is an historical, proven fact that any colonial expansion of France has been seen with fear and concern in England. For a long time, England has thought that, in the domination of the Seas, she has no other rival to consider than that power endowed by nature with a triple coastline of the Channel, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. And when, after 1880, France, induced by the circumstances and stimulated by the genius of Jules Ferry, began to reconstitute her dismembered colonial domain, she came up against the same resistance. In Egypt, in Tunisia, Madagascar, Indo-China, even the Congo and Oceania, it is always England she confronts."

After Fachoda, the Entente Cordiale was fashioned and ultimately formalized in a secret agreement between France and Britain, signed by Delcasse, Hanotaux' successor, in 1904. Germany's economic threat was the glue binding the two unlikely allies.

Commenting on this sad turn of events afterwards, Hanotaux noted the success with which Britain had imposed a new foreign policy on France, "a marvelous invention of English diplomatic genius to divide its adversaries."

Over the next eight years, Britain reversed its geopolitical alliance policy in another profound manner as well, and shifted developments in Russia to British advantage. Beginning 1891, Russia had embarked on an ambitious industrialization program with the passage of a stringent protective tariff and railroad infrastructure program. In 1892, the man responsible for the railroad plan, Count Sergei Witte, became Minister of Finance. Witte had enjoyed close relations with France's Hanotaux and a positive basis for Franco-Russian relations developed around the construction of the railway system of Russia.

The most ambitious project initiated in Russia at that time had been construction of a railroad linking Russia in the West to Vladivostock in the far East—the Trans-Siberian Railway project, a 5,400 mile-long undertaking, which would transform the entire economy of Russia. This was the most ambitious rail project in the world. Witte himself was a profound student of the German economic model of Friederich List, having translated List's "National System of Political Economy"into Russian, which Witte termed, "the solution for Russia."

Witte spoke of the rail project's effect on uplifting the culturally backward regions of the interior. "The railroad is like a leaven which creates a cultural fermentation among the population. Even if it is passed through an absolutely wild people along the way, it would raise them in a short time to the level requisite for its operation," he said in 1890. A central part of Witte's plan was to develop peaceful and productive relations with China, independent of British control of China's ports and sea lanes, through the overland openings which the Siberian rail line would facilitate.

As Finance Minister from 1892 until he was deposed during the suspiciously-timed Russian 1905 "revolution," Witte transformed Russia's prospects dramatically from its former role as "bread basket" for British grain trading houses, into a potentially modem industrial nation. Railroads became the largest industry in the country and were inducing transformation of the entire range of related steel and other sectors- Furthermore, Witte's friend and close collaborator, the scientist Dimitri Mendeleyev, who had founded Russian agro-chemistry based on the ideas of the German Justus Liebig, was appointed by Witte to head a new Office of Standard Weights and Measures, in which he introduced the metric system to further facilitate trade with the Continent of Europe.

Britain energetically opposed the economic policies of Witte and the Trans-Siberian Railway project with every means at its disposal, including attempts to influence reactionary Russian landed nobility linked to English grain trade. Shortly after the inception of the Trans-Siberian Rail project, a British commentator, A. Colqhum, expressed the dominant view of the British Foreign Office and the City of London. Referring to the new Russian rail project, undertaken with French financing and which would ultimately link Paris to Moscow to Vladivostock by rail, Colqhum declared, "This line will not only be one of the greatest trade routes that the world has ever known, but it will also become a political weapon in the hands of the Russians whose power and significance it is difficult to estimate. It will make a single nation out of Russja, for whom it will no longer be necessary to pass through the Dardanelles or through the Suez Canal. It will give her an economic independence, through which she will become stronger than she has ever been or ever dreamed of becoming."

For decades, British balance-of-power alliance strategy in Europe had been built around support of Ottoman Turkey's Empire, as part of what British strategists called the Great Game—blocking the emergence of a strong and industralized Russia. Support of Turkey, which controlled the vital Dardanelles access to warm waters for Russia, had been a vital part of British geopolitics until that time. But as German economic links with the Ottoman Empire grew stronger at the end of the century and into the early 1900s, so did British overtures to Russia, and against Turkey and Germany. It took a series of wars and crises, but following unsuccessful British attempts to block Russia's Trans-Siberian Railway to Wladiwostok, which the Russians largely completed in 1903, Russia was badly humiliated in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, in which Britain had allied with Japan against Russia. After 1905, Witte was forced to resign his position as Chairman of the Council of Ministers under Czar Nicholas II. His successor argued that Russia must come to terms with British power, and proceeded to sign over rights to Afghanistan and large parts of Persia to the British, and agreed to significantly curtail Russian ambitions in Asia.

Thus, an Anglo-French-Russian Triple Entente in effect had been fully established by 1907. Britain had created a web of secret alliances web encircling Germany, and had laid the foundations for its coming military showdown with the Kaiser's Reich. The next seven years were ones of preparation for the final elimination of the German threat.10.

Following British consolidation of its new Triple Entente strategy of encirclement of Germany and allies, a series of continuous crises and regional wars were unleashed in the "soft underbelly" of Central Europe, the Balkans. In the so-called First Balkan War in 1912, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece, backed secretly by England, declared war against the weak Ottoman Turkey, resulting in stripping Turkey of most of her European possessions, followed by a second 1913 Balkan War over the spoils of the first, in which Romania joined to help crush Bulgaria. The stage was being set for Britain's Great European War.

On July 28,1914, three months after Edward Grey's Paris talks, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, was assassinated in Sarajevo by a Serb, setting off a predictably tragic chain of events which detonated the Great War.

1. Mohr, Anton. "The Oil War." . Harcoort Brace & Co, New York, 1926
2. Ibid. p. 124.
3. Hanigen, Frank C. "The Secret War." The John Day & Co., New York, 1934.
4. Helfferich, Karl. "Der Weltkrieg: Vorgesehichte des Weltkrieges." Uilstein & Co. Berlin. 1919. pp.120-165.
5. Laffan, R.G.D., 'TheSerbs: TheGuardiansof theGate," 1917. Reprinted by Dorset Press, New York, 1989. pp. 163-4. Emphasis added-w.e.
6. Abu-Hakima, Ahmad Mustafa. "The Modern History of Kuwait." Luzak & Co. Ltd. London. 1983. pp. 188-197.
7. Hanigen. op eit. pp. 22-3.
8. Helfferich. op cit. pp. 165-6-
9. WeUs, H.G. "Experiment in Autobiography." The Macmillan Co- New York, 1934. pp.658-9.
10. Material tor this section is drawn extensively from the unpublished manuscript, "The Dreyfus Affair", by Dana Sloan, January 1977, New York; and Hanutaux, Gabriel, "Fashoda: The African Negotiation." La Revue Des Deux Mondes, Fev-rier 1909, Paris. Material on Witte, drawn from Barbara Frazier, 'The Railroad Plan of Scientist Mendeleyev and Statesman Witte to Civilize Russia," The New Federalist, June 10,1991, Leesburg, Virginia; Von Laue, T. H. "Sergei Witte and the Industrialization of Russia," Atheneum, New York, 1974.


Oil Becomes the Weapon, the Near East the Battleground

A Bankrupt Britain Goes to War

ONE OF THE BETTER KEPT secrets of the 1914-18 World War is that on the eve of August 1914, when Britain declared war against the German Reich, the British Treasury and the finances of the British Empire were bankrupt. An examination of the actual financial relations of the principal parties to the war reveals an extraordinary background of secret credits, coupled with detailed plans to reallocate raw material and physical wealth of the entire world after the war, especially areas believed to hold significant petroleum reserves in the Ottoman Empire.

By most accounts, the trigger which unleashed the Great War was pulled by a Serbian assassin on June 28,1914, at the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, when he murdered Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. Following a month of frenzied negotiations, Austria declared war on July 28 against the tiny state of Serbia, holding her responsible for the assassination. Austria had been assured of German support should Russia back Serbia. The following day, July 29, Russia ordered mobilization of her army in the event war became necessary.

That same day, the German Kaiser telegrammed Czar Nicholas, begging the Czar not to mobilize, and causing the Czar momentarily to rescind his order. On July 30, the Russian High Command persuaded the hesitant Czar to resume the mobilization. On July 31, the German Ambassador to St. Petersburg handed the Czar a German declaration of war against Russia, then reportedly burst into tears and ran from the room.

The German General Staff, having been prepared for possible war on both the Eastern and Western fronts, implemented the Schlieffen Plan. As France and Russia had mutual defense commitments, Germany decided that France must be defeated swiftly, correctly calculating that Russia would be slower to mobilize. On August 3, 1914, Germany declared war on France, and German troops entered Belgium en route to attack France.

Then, on August 4, only eight days following Austria's declaration of war against tiny Serbia, Britain announced it had declared war against Germany. The nominal reason given was Britain's prior committment to protect Belgian neutrality. The actual reason was far from any spirit of neighborly charity.

Britain's decision to go to war against Germany in August 1914 on the Continent was remarkable, to say the least, given that the British Treasury and the Pound Sterling system, the dominant currency system of world trade and finance, were de facto bankrupt. Recently declassified internal memoranda from the British Treasury staff of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lloyd George, raise additional questions. In January 1914, a full six months before the nominal casus belli at Sarajevo, Sir George Paish, senior British Treasury official, was asked by the Chancellor to make a definitive study of the state of the all-important British gold reserves.

In 1914, the Sterling Gold Standard was the prop of the world monetary system. In fact. Sterling had become so accepted in international commerce and finance for more than 75 years, that Sterling itself was considered "as good as gold." In 1914, Sterling played a role comparable to that of the U.S. dollar before August 15,1971.

Sir George's confidential memorandum reveals thinking in the highest levels of the City of London at the time: "Another influence fanning the agitation for banking reform has been the growing commercial and banking power of Germany, and the growth of uneasiness lest the gold reserves of London should be raided just before or at the beginning of a great conflict between the two countries." This confidential report was written more than six months before the heir to the Austrian throne was assassinated in Sarajevo.

Paish then discussed his concern over the growing sophistication of the large German trade banks following the 1911-12 Balkan crisis, which had led the German banks to stock up their gold reserves. Sir George warned his Chancellor Lloyd George that any future run on the banks of London, under prevailing conditions, "might seriously hamper a nation in raising money to conduct a great war."1

On May 22,1914, a senior British Treasury official, Basil Blackett, drafted another confidential memorandum for Chancellor Lloyd George. This memo dealt with the "Effect of War on Our Gold reserves." Blackett writes, revealingly, "It is of course impossible clearly to forecast what would be the effect of a general European war in which most of the Continental countries as well as Great Britain were engaged, leaving only New York (assuming the neutrality of the United States) among the big money markets of the world available from which gold could be attracted to the seats of war."2

Equally astonishing, in light of Britain's decision to go to war that fateful August 4, was a letter from Sir George Paish to Lloyd George dated 2 a.m. Saturday morning, August 1,1914: "Dear Mr. Chancellor, The credit system upon which the business of this country is formed, has completely broken down, and it is of supreme importance that steps should be taken to repair the mischief without delay; otherwise, we cannot hope to finance a great war if, at its very commencement, our greatest houses are forced into bankruptcy." 2-

Specie payments (gold and silver bullion) were promptly suspended by the Bank of England, along with the Bank Act of 1844. This decision placed large sums of gold into the hands of the Bank of England, in order that Britain's government could finance food and war materiel purchases for the newly declared war against Germany. Instead of gold, British citizens were given Bank of England notes as legal tender for the duration of the emergency. By August 4, the British financial establishment was ready for war.

But the secret weapon was to emerge later, as the special relationship of His Majesty's Treasury with the New York banking syndicate of Morgan, as we shall soon see.

Oil in the Great War

Between 1914 when fighting began and 1918 when it ended, petroleum had definitively emerged as the recognized key to success of a revolution in military strategy. The age of air warfare, mobile tank warfare and swifter naval warfare all depended on abundant and secure supplies of the new fuel.

England, under the foreign policy guidance of Sir Edward Grey, precipitated what became the bloodiest, most destructive war in modern history, in the months leading up to August 1914. According to official statistics, deaths directly due to the war or indirectly inflicted by it numbered between 16,000,000 and 20,000,000, with the great majority, 10,000,000 or more, being civilian deaths. The British Empire itself incurred more than 500,000 dead and total casualties of almost 2,500,000 in the four-year long world "war to end all wars."

Rarely discussed, however, is the fact that the strategic geo-political objectives of England, well before 1914, included not merely the crushing of its greatest industrial rival, Germany, but, through the conquest of war, the securing of unchallenged British control over the precious resource which by 1919 had proven itself as the strategic raw material of future economic development—petroleum. This was part of what some English establishment strategists then termed the Great Game, creation of a new global British Empire, whose hegemony would be unchallenged for the rest of the century, a British-led New World Order.

A study of the major theaters of the 1914-1918 Great War reveals the extent to which securing petroleum supplies was already at the center of military planning. Oil had opened the door to a terrifying new mobility in modern warfare. The German campaign into Rumania under Field Marshall von Mackensen, had the priority of reorganizing Steaua Romana, the previously English, Dutch, French and Rumanian oil refining, production and pipeline capacities, into a single combine. During the course of the war Rumania was the only secure German petroleum supply for her entire air force, tank forces, and U-boats. The British campaign in the Dardanelles, the disastrous defeat of Gallipoli, was undertaken to secure the oil supplies of the Russian Baku to the Anglo-French war effort. The Ottoman Sultan had embargoed shipments of Russian oil out through the Dardenelles.

By 1918, the rich Russian oil fields of Baku on the Caspian Sea were the object of intense military and political effort from the side of Germany, and also Britain, which pre-emptively occupied them for a critical matter of weeks, denying the German General Staff vital oil supplies in the August 1918 period. Denial of Baku was a decisive last blow against Germany, which sued for peace some weeks later, only months after it seemed Germany had defeated the Allied forces. It was proven that oil was at the center of geopolitics.

By the end of the First World War, no major power was unaware of the vital strategic importance of the new fuel, petroleum, for future military and economic security. At the end of the Great War, fully 40% of the British naval fleet was oil fired. In 1914, at the onset of the war, the French army had a mere 110 trucks, 60 tractors and 132 airplanes. By 1918, four years later, France had increased to 70,000 trucks and 12,000 airplanes, while the British and, in the final months the Americans, put 105,000 trucks and over 4,000 airplanes into combat service. The final Anglo-French-American offensives of the war consumed a staggering 12,000 barrels of oil daily, on the Western Front.

By December 1917, French supplies of oil had become so low that General Foch enveighed on President Clemenceau to send an urgent appeal to President Woodrow Wilson. "A failure in the supply of petrol would cause the immediate paralysis of our armies, and might compel us to a peace unfavorable to the Allies," Clemenceau wrote to Wilson. "The safety of the allies is in the balance. If the Allies do not wish to lose the war, then, at the moment of the great German offensive, they must not let France lack the petrol which is as necessary as blood in the battles of tomorrow."

Rockefeller's Standard Oil group answered Clemenceau's appeal, giving Marshall Foch's forces vital petrol. Lacking sufficient Rumanian oil supply as well as access to the Baku, despite a Russian-German Brest-Litovsk agreement to cease hostilities, German forces were unable to successfully mount a final offensive in 1918, as trucks necessary to bring sufficient reserves were unable to secure petrol.

Britain's Foreign Minister, Lord Curzon commented, quite accurately, "The Allies were carried to victory on a flood of oil...With the commencement of the war, oil and its products began to rank as among the principal agents by which they would conduct, and by which they could win it. Without oil, how could they have pro-. cured the mobility of the fleet, the transport of their troops, or the manufacture of several explosives?" The occasion was a November 21,1918 victory dinner, ten days after the armistice ending the war. France's Senator Henry Berenger, director of France's wartime Comite General du Petrole, added that oil was the "blood of victory. Germany had boasted too much of its superiority in iron and coal, but it had not taken sufficient account of our superiority of oil."?

With this emerging role of petroleum in the war, we should now follow the thread of the postwar Versailles reorganization, with a special eye to British objectives.

Britain's creation of the League of Nations through the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919, became a vehicle to give a facade of international legitimacy to a naked imperial territory seizure. For the financial establishment of the City of London, the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of British lives in order to dominate future world economic development through raw materials control, especially of the new resource oil, was a seemingly small price to pay.

England's Secret Eastern War

If anything demonstrated the hidden agenda of the British allied powers in the 1914-18 war against the central powers grouped around Germany, Austria-Hungary and Ottoman Turkey, it was a secret diplomatic accord signed in 1916, during the heat of battle. The signatories were Britain, France, and later Italy and Czarist Russia. Named after the two officials, English and French, who drafted the paper, the Sykes-Picot Agreement spelled out betrayal, and England's intent to grab commanding control of the undeveloped petroleum potentials of the Arabian Gulf after the war.

While France was occupied with Germany in a bloody and fruitless slaughter along the French Maginot Line, Britain moved an astonishingly large number of its own soldiers, more than 1,400,000 troops, into the Eastern Theatre.

England's public explanation for this extraordinary commitment of preciously scarce men and materiel to the eastern reaches of the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf, was that this would ensure the more effective fighting capacity of Russia against the Central Powers, as well as to allow Russian grain out through the Darde-nelles into Western Europe where it was badly needed.

This was not quite the reality however. Following 1918, England continued to maintain almost one million soldiers stationed throughout the Middle East. The Persian Gulf had become an "English Lake" by 1919. The angry French feebly protested that, while millions of their forces bled on the Western Front, Britain took advantage of the stalemate to win victories against the weaker Turkish Empire. France had lost almost 1,500,000 soldiers and another 2,600,000 badly wounded.

In November 1917, following the Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia, Lenin's Communists discovered among the documents of the Czarist Foreign Ministry a secret document which they quickly made public. It was a Great Powers' plan to carve up the entire Ottoman Empire after the war, and parcel out relevant parts to the victorious powers. The details had been worked out in February 1916, and were secretly ratified by the relevant governments in May 1916. The world at large knew nothing of this secret wartime diplomacy.

From the British side, Sir Mark Sykes, an adviser on Eastern Affairs to Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, Secretary of State for War, drafted the document. The document was designed to secure French acquiescence to a huge diversion of British manpower from the European Theatre into the Middle East. To get that French concession, Sykes was authorized to offer French negotiator Georges Picot, former Consul-General in Beirut, valuable postwar concessions in the Arab portion of the Ottoman Empire.

France was to get effective control over what was called "Area A," encompassing Greater Syria (Syria and Lebanon), including the major inland towns of Aleppo, Hama, Horns and Damascus, as well as the oil-rich Mosul to the northeast, including the oil concessions then held by Deutsche Bank in the Turkish Petroleum Gesellschaft. This French control paid nominal Up service to recognition of Arab "independence" from Turkey, under a French "protectorate."

Under the Sykes-Picot accord, Britain would control "Area B" in the region to the south-east of the French region, from what today is Jordan, east to most of Iraq and Kuwait, including Basra and Baghdad. Further, Britain was to get the ports of Haifa and Acre, and rights to build a railway from Haifa through the French zone to Baghdad, with rights to use it for troop transport.

Italy was promised a huge section of the mountainous coastline of Turkish Anatolia and the Dodecanese Islands, while Czarist Russia was to receive the areas of Ottoman Armenia and Kurdistan, southwest of Jerevan 4

Out of these secret Sykes-Picot paragraphs, the British created the arbitrary divisions which largely exist down to the present day, including the creation of Syria and Lebanon as French "protectorates," and Trans-Jordan, Palestine (Israel), Iraq, and Kuwait as English entities. Persia, as we have seen, had been under effective British control since 1905, and Saudi Arabia was considered unimportant to British strategic interests at that point, one of the few major blunders they were to realize later to their great dismay.

Britain had been forced by its relative weakness following the disastrous failure of its Gallipoli Expedition in 1915 to grant France the oil concessions of the Mosul, in addition to recognition of previous French claims over the Levant. But Britain's loss of the Mosul oil riches was only a temporary tactical expedient, in her long-term designs to dominate world petroleum supplies, as we shall see.

"Selling the same horse twice"

When details of the secret Sykes-I'icot agreement became public, the major embarrassment for Britain was the simultaneous and blatantly contradictory assurances England had given Arab leaders in order to secure Arab revolt against Turkish rule during the war.

Britain had gained the invaluable military assistance of Arab forces under Sherif Husain ibn Ali, the Hashemite Emir of Mecca, and guardian of the Muslim Holy Places of Mecca and Medina. Britain had assured the Arab forces who served under the command of T.E Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia"), that the reward for their help in defeating the Turks would be English assurance of full postwar sovereignty and Arab independence. The assurances were contained in a series of letters between Sir Henry McMahon, England's High Commissioner in Egypt, to Sherif Husain of Mecca, then self-proclaimed leader of the Arabs.

Lawrence was fully witting in the British fraud to the Arabs at the time. "I risked the fraud," he admitted some years later in his memoirs, "on my conviction that Arab help was necessary to our cheap and speedy victory in the East, and that better we win and break our word, than lose...The Arab inspiration was our main tool for winning the Eastern war. So 1 assured them that England kept her word in letter and spirit. In this comfort they performed their fine things; but of course, instead of being proud of what we did together, 1 was continually and bitterly ashamed."5

The loss of 100,000 Arab lives was part of this "cheap and speedy victory." But Britain quickly betrayed those promises in a move to secure to its own interests the vast oil and political riches of the Arab Middle East.

Adding insult to injury, once publication of the Sykes-Picot agreement revealed a contrary commitment to France in the Middle East, Great Britain and France issued a new Anglo-French Declaration on November 7,1918, four days before the European Armistice ending the war with Germany. The new declaration insisted that Britain and France were fighting for "the complete and definite emancipation of the peoples so long oppressed by the Turks, and the establishment of national governments and administrations deriving their authority from the initiative and free choice of the indigenous populations."6

That noble result never came about. Once the solemn pledges of Versailles had been signed, Britain, with its approximately one million strong military force in the region, established its military supremacy over the French area of the Middle East as well.

By September 30, 1918, France had agreed to British terms for creating what were called "zones of temporary military occupation." Under this agreement, the British would occupy Turkish Palestine under what was called Occupied Enemy Territory Administration, along with the other parts of the British sphere.

Knowing French inability to significantly deploy troops into the designated French areas, after the exhaustion of war in Europe, Britain generously offered to act as the overall supreme military and administrative guardian, with General Sir Edmund Allenby, Commander-in-Chief Egyptian Expeditionary Force, as the de facto military dictator over the entire Arab Middle East after 1918, including the French sphere. In a private discussion in London in December 1918, British Prime Minister Lloyd George told France's Clemenceau that Britain wanted France to attach the "Mosul to Iraq, and Palestine from Dan to Beersheba under British control." In return, France was said to have been assured of the remaining claims to Greater Syria, as well as a half share in the exploitation of Mosul oil, and a guarantee of British support in the postwar period in Europe, should France ever have to "respond" to German action on the Rhine.7

This private understanding set the stage for later events in a profoundly tragic manner.

Arthur Bal four's strange letter to Lord Rothschild

Postwar British designs for redrawing the military and economic map of the Ottoman Empire included an extraordinary new element for its completion—more extraordinary, in that the advocates of the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine were English "Gentile Zionists" for the most part, including Lloyd George."

On November 2,1917, in the darkest days of the Great War, with Russia's war effort on behalf of the Anglo-French alliance collapsing under economic chaos and the Bolshevik seizure of power, and with the might of America not yet fully engaged in Europe as a combatant on the side of Britain, Britain's Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour, sent the following letter to Walter Lord Rothschild, representative of the English Federation of Zionists:

"Dear Lord Rothschild, I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet: 'His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours for the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-]ewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.' 1 should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation. Yours sincerely, Arthur )ames Balfour" q

The letter was the basis on which a post-1919 British League of Nations Mandate over Palestine was established, and under whose guiding hand, territorial changes of global consequences were to be wrought. The almost casual reference to "existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine" by Balfour and the Cabinet was a reference to the more than 85% of the existing population, who were Palestinian Arabs. In 1917, less than 1% of the inhabitants of Palestine were Jewish.

It is notable that the letter was an exchange between two close friends. Both Balfour and Walter Lord Rothschild were members of an emerging imperialist faction in Britain, which sought to create an enduring global Empire, one based on more sophisticated methods of social control.

Also notable, is the fact that Lord Rothschild spoke, not as head of any international organization of Jewry, but rather as a member of the English Federation of Zionists, whose president at the time was Chaim Weizmann. Rothschild money had essentially created that organization, and had subsidized since 1900 the emigration of hundreds of Jews fleeing Poland and Russia to Palestine, through the Jewish Colonisation Association, of which England's Lord Rothschild was president for life. England was generous in offering lands far away from her shores, while in the same period she was far from having open arms to welcome persecuted Jewish refugees to her own shores.

But more relevant than the evident hypocrisy in the Balfour-Rothschild exchange, was the British geopolitics which lay behind the Balfour note. It is not insignificant that the geographical location for the new British-sponsored Jewish homeland lay in one of the most strategic areas along the main utter/ of the enlarged post-1914 British Empire, in a sensitive position along the route to India as well as in relation to the newly-won Arab petroleum lands of Ottoman Turkey. A minority settlement under British protectorate in Palestine, argued Balfour and others in London, would give London strategic possibilities of enormous importance. It was, to say the least, a cynical ploy from the side of Balfour and his circle.

Balfour backs the new concept of Empire

Beginning approximately in the early 1890's, a group of English policy elites, primarily from the privileged colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, formed what was to become the most influential policy network in Britain over the next half century and more. The group denied its existence as a formal group, but its footprints can
be found around the establishment of a new journal of Empire, The Round Table, founded in 1910.

The group argued that a more subtle and more efficient system of global empire was required to extend the effective hegemony of Anglo-Saxon culture into the next century.

At the time of its inception, this "Round Table" group as it was sometimes called, was explicitly anti-German and pro-Empire. Writing in the Round Table in August 1911, three years before England declared war against Germany, the influential Philip Kerr {Lord Lothian) declared, "There are at present two codes of international morality—the British or Anglo-Saxon and the continental or German. Both cannot prevail. If the British Empire is not strong enough to be a real influence for fair dealing between nations, the reactionary standards of the German bureaucracy will triumph, and it will then only be a question of rime before the British Empire itself is victimized by an international 'hold-up' on the lines of the Agadir incident. Unless the British people are strong enough to make it impossible for backward rivals to attack them with any prospect of success, they will have to accept the political standards of the aggressive military powers."10

In place of costly military occupation of British colonies, they argued for a more repressive tolerance shaped around creation of a British "Commonwealth of Nations," which were to be given the illusion of independence, enabling England also to reduce the costs of expensive far-flung armies of occupation from India to Egypt, and now across Africa and the Middle East. The term "informal empire" was sometimes used to describe the shift.

This emerging faction was grouped around the influential London Times, and included such voices as Albert Lord Grey, historian and member of British secret intelligence Arnold Toynbee, as well as H.G. Wells, Alfred Lord Milner of the South Africa project, and the proponent of a new field termed geopolitics, Halford J. Mack-inder, of the London School of Economics. Its principal think-tank became the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House), formed in the corridors of Versailles in 1919.

The idea of a Jewish-dominated Palestine, beholden to England for its tenuous survival and surrounded by a balkanized group of squabbling Arab states, formed part of this group's concept of a new British Empire. Mackinder, commenting at the time of the Versailles peace conference, described his influential group's vision of the role a British protectorate over Palestine would play in the of British advance toward a post-1918 global empire, to be shaped around the new British-defined and dominated League of Nations.

Mackinder described how the more far-thinking of the British establishment viewed their Palestine project in 1919: "If the World-Island be inevitably the principle seat of humanity on this globe, and if Arabia, as the passage-land from Europe to the Indies and from the Northern to the Southern Heartland, be central to the World-Island, then the lull citadel of Jerusalem has a strategical position with reference to world-realities not differing essentially from its ideal position in the perspective of the Middle Ages, or its strategical position between ancient Babylon and Egypt."

He noted that "the Suez Canal carries the rich traffic between the Indies and Europe to within striking distance of an army based on Palestine, and already the trunk railway is being built through the coastal plain by Jaffa, which will connect the Southern with the Northern Heartland."

Commenting on the special significance of the thinking behind his friend Balfour's 1917 proposal to Lord Rothschild, Mackinder noted, "The Jewish national seat in Palestine will be one of the most important outcomes of the war. That is a subject on which we can now afford to speak the truth...a national home at the physical and historical center of the world, should make the Jew 'range' (sic) himself ...There are those who try to distinguish between the Jewish religion and the Hebrew race, but surely the popular view of their broad identity is not far wrong."11

Their grand design was to link England's vast colonial possessions, from the gold and diamond mines of Cecil Rhodes' and Rothschild's Consolidated Gold Fields in South Africa, north to Egypt and the vital shipping route through the Suez Canal, and on through Mesopotamia, Kuwait and Persia into India in the East.

British conquest of the German colony of Tanganyika (German East Africa) in central Africa in 1916 was not a decisive battle in a war to bring Germany to the Peace table; it constituted completion of a vital link in this chain of British imperial control, from the Cape of Good Hope to Cairo.

The Great Power able to control this vast reach would control the world's most valuable strategic raw materials from gold, the basis of the international Gold Standard for world trade, to petroleum, emerging as the energy source of the modern industrial era in 1919.

This has remained as much geopolitical reality in the 1990's as it was in 1919. With such control, every nation on earth would fall under the sceptre of the Britannic Empire. Until his death in 1902, Cecil Rhodes was the prime financial backer of this elite new "informal empire" group.

The Boer War (1899-1902) was a project of the group, financed and personally instigated by Rhodes in order to secure firm English control of the vast mineral wealth of the Transvaal, at that time in control of a Dutch-origin Boer minority. The war itself, in which Winston Churchill rose to public notice, was precipitated by Rhodes and Alfred Milner, and others of their circle, in order to bring what was believed to be the world's richest gold-producing region firmly under British control.

The Transvaal held the world's largest gold discovery since the 1848 California Gold Rush, and its capture was essential to the continued role of London as the capital of the world's financial system and of its gold standard. Lord Milner, Jan Smuts and Rhodes all were part of the new Empire faction which defeated the independent Boers, and created a Union of South Africa as part of Iheir Great Game.12

Thus, by 1920 Britain had succeeded in establishing her firm control over all of southern Africa, including former German South West Africa, as well as the newly-discovered vast petroleum wealth of the former Ottoman Empire, by means of its military presence, conflicting promises, and the establishment of a British Protectorate over Palestine as a new Jewish homeland. But all accounts were not quite in order in 1920. The British Empire had come out of the war as bankrupt as she had entered it, if not more so.

1. Paish, Sir George. "Memorandum on British Gold Reserves sent toChancellor." (an. 1914. Treasury Files of British Public Record Office. T171 53.
2. Paish. "Letter to the Chancellor Lloyd George, dated 2 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, 1914." Public Record Office. T170 14.
3. Hanigen, Frank C. "The Secret War." New York. 1934: The John Day Co., pp.82-3.
4. "Documents on British Foreign Policy, 1919-1939." First Series. Vol. IV, pp. 245-
5. Lawrence, T.E. "Seven Pillars of Wisdom." London, Cape. 1935, p. 24. i.
6. Nevakivi, J. "Britain, France and the Arab Middle East, 1914-1956. London, 1969, p. 264.
7. Zeine.Z.N. "The Struggle for Arab Independence: Western Diplomacy and the Rise and Fall of Faisal's Kingdom in Syria." Beirut. I960, p. 59. i.
8. Rose, N.A. "The Gentile Zionists: A Study in Anglo-Zionist Diplomacy, 1929- 39." London: Frank Cass. 1973.
9. Wilson, Derek. "Rothschild: A story of wealth and power." London. Mandarin. 1990, p. 341.
10. Kerr, Philip (Lord Lothian). "The Round Table." August, 1911, pp. 422.3.
11. Mackinder, Hal ford J. "Democratic Ideals and Reality." New York. 1969: W.W. Norton & Co., p. 89. Emphasis added.
12.Quigley, Carroll. "The Anglo-American Establishment from Rhodes to Clivden." New York. 1981: Books in Focus Inc. p. 5.

Baghdad Railway

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Ottoman Empire planned to construct a Baghdad Railway under German control. The Baghdad Railway consisted of the already constructed Orient Express line and the newer Constantinople-Baghdad line through Turkey, Syria and Iraq. By this railway, Germans attempted to establish a port at the Persian Gulf. The Ottoman Empire desired to maintain its control of Arabia and to expand its influence across the Red Sea into Egypt, which was controlled by Great Britain. The railway became a source of international disputes during the years immediately preceding World War I. Although it has been argued that they were resolved in 1914 before the war began, it has also been argued that the railroad was a leading cause of the First World War. Technical and diplomatic delays meant that by 1915 the railway was still 300 miles short of completion, severely limiting its use in the war itself.

If it had been completed the Berlin-Baghdad (and, ultimately, Basra) railway linkages would have enabled transport and trade from Germany through a port on the Persian Gulf, from which trade goods and supplies could be exchanged directly with the farthest of the German colonies, and the world. The journey home to Germany would give German industry direct supply of oil. This access to resources, with trade less affected by British control of shipping would have been beneficial to German economic interests.

The railway also threatened Russia, since it was accepted as axiomatic that political influence followed economic, and the railway was expected to extend Germany's economic influence towards the Caucasian frontier and into north Persia where Russia had a dominant share of the market.

By the late 19th Century the Ottoman Empire was weak, and cheap imports from industrialised Europe and the effects of a disastrous war had resulted in the country's finances being controlled by the Ottoman Public Debt Administration, composed of and answerable to the Great Powers. The Europeans saw great potential to exploit the resources of the weakening empire, irrigation could transform agriculture, there were chrome, antimony lead and zinc mines and some coal. Not least there was potentially vast amounts of oil. As early as 1871 a commission of experts studied the geology of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and reported plentiful oil of good quality, but commented that poor transportation made it doubtful these fields could compete with Russian and American ones. During 1901 a German report announced the region had a veritable "lake of petroleum" of almost inexhaustible supply.

In 1872 German railway engineer Wilhelm von Pressel was retained by the Ottoman government to develop plans for railways in Turkey. However private enterprise would not build the railway without subsidies, so the Ottoman Government had to reserve part of its revenues to subsidise its construction, thus increasing its debt to the European powers.

The process of construction of a rail line from İstanbul to Baghdad begun during 1888 when a German arms dealer, Alfred von Kaulla (of Wurttemburger Vereinsbank) and Georg von Siemens, Managing director of Deutsche Bank, created a syndicate and obtained a concession from Turkish leaders to extend the Haydarpaşa - İzmit Railway to Ankara. Thus came into existence the Anatolian Railway Company (SCFOA, or ARC).

After the line to Ankara was completed during December 1892, railway workshops were built in Eskişehir and permission was obtained to construct a railway line from Eskişehir to Konya, and that line was completed in July 1896. The two lines were the first two sections of the Baghdad Railway. Another railroad built at the same time by German engineers was the Hejaz railway, commissioned by Sultan Hamid II.

The Ottoman Empire chose to place the line outside the range of the British Navy guns. Therefore, the coastal way from Iskenderun to Alep was avoided. The line had to cross the Amanus mountains inland at the cost of expensive engineering including an 8 km tunnel between Ayran and Fevzipaşa.

During 1898 and 1899 the Ottoman Ministry of Public Works received many applications for permission to construct a railway to Baghdad, it was not because of lack of competition that the Deutsche Bank was finally awarded the concession. A Russian plan was rejected for fear of it extending Russian influence in Constantinople. A well-financed British plan collapsed due to the outbreak of the Boer War. A well-financed French proposal entitled the Imperial Ottoman Railway enabled them to become financiers of the winning Deutsche Bank plan.

Other nations of Europe paid little attention to the building of the railway lines until 1903 when the Ottoman Government gave permission to an Ottoman corporation to build the railway line from Konia to Baghdad. This Baghdad Railway Company was controlled by a few German banks. McMurray rejects the theory that the railroad tied Turkey to Germany.

There was concern in Russia, France, and Britain after 1903 as the implications of the German scheme to construct a great Berlin-Baghdad railway became apparent. A railway that would link Berlin to the Persian Gulf would provide Germany with a connection to her colonies in Africa, i.e., with German East Africa and German South-West Africa (present-day Tanzania and Namibia). The railroad might eventually strengthen the Ottoman Empire and its ties to Germany and might shift the balance of power in the region.

Despite obstructions at the diplomatic level, work began slowly on the railway. Both geographical and political obstacles prevented the completion of the Baghdad Railway before World War I commenced in 1914.

Route of the railway
Route of the railway

The railway passed through the following towns and places, in the order given, north to south:

* Konya
* Anatolian table lands
* Karaman
* Ereğli
* The foothills of Taurus
* Gülek Pass
* Çukurova plain
* Adana
* Yenice
* Amanus range
* Aleppo
* Nusaybin
* Mosul
* Baghdad
* Basra

The line Mersin–Yenice–Adana existed prior to the construction of the Bagdad railway and was used for the later in its section Yenice–Adana.

British view of the railway

Initial support

The initial reaction of Great Britain was one of strong support. A long article outlining the positive benefits of the enterprise appeared in the Times newspaper. It was argued that Germany was a major trading partner of Britain, and that though the competition for trade would affect Britain the fact that it was a good trading partner that was winning the trade instead would make up for the loss.

Steamer price war and settlement

The railway would obviously compete with British trade in Mesopotamia, but this would not happen for many years. However in 1906 the Hamburg-American Steamship Line announced its intention to run regular steamships between Europe and the Persian Gulf. After a futile price war the British lines, which had lost their monopoly, came to agreement in 1913 with their competitors, ending a rivalry which had caused considerable political concern.

Britain blocks further development
Railway Station Mouslimie, Syria
Railway Station Mouslimie, Syria

In 1911 the railway company looked to build a branch line to Alexandretta from Aleppo to pick up on the valuable trade of Northern Syria and the Northern Messopotamian valley. However the Young Turk government could not offer further railway concessions without raising customs duties from 11 to 14 percent. Such a raise required the agreement of all the powers, but was vetoed by Great Britain after Sir Edward Grey spoke in the House of Commons—"... if the money is to be used to promote railways which may be a source of doubtful advantage to British trade ... I say it will be impossible for us to agree to that increase ...".


The main British commercial interest that the British Government insisted was protected, was that of the Right Honorable James Lyle Mackay, Baron Inchcape of Strathnaver. As well as being the foremost shipping magnate of the British Empire, Lord Inchcape was a director of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company and of the D'Arcy Exploration Company. On February 23 a contract was signed in London between Lord Inchcape and the Baghdad Railway Company. In March 1914 the German government was obliged to recognize southern Mesopotamia, as well as central and southern Persia, as the exclusive field of operations of the Anglo-Persian Company.

Role in origins of World War I
Bagdad-Railway Station, Aleppo, Syria
Bagdad-Railway Station, Aleppo, Syria

Discussion of the railway's role as a contributing factor to the outbreak of war is complicated by two issues. Firstly historians and political analysts who wrote about this issue directly after the war were not in possession of closed diplomatic records. Full diplomatic documents of the German government were released between 1922 and 1927, British documents between 1926 and 1938. Only some Russian documents were released, and Italian documents only came out after the Second World War.

Secondly, war historians tend to give an interpretation of the facts that is clouded by their own partisanship, political orientation, language, and current perspectives. Socialist historians emphasised imperial rivalries and economic monopolies as the driving force for the war, as was popularly reported with respect to the railway at the time and especially as revealed in the Russian diplomatic documents.

Other historians have argued that intractable nationality issues in the denial of self-determination to minority groups were the dominant cause. They argue that although the railway issue was heated before 1914 (Corrigan shows that the Railway issue was driving Germany and Turkey further apart) conservative historians agree that it was not a cause of World War I, because the main controversies (over financing) had been resolved before the war started.

"Some of the optimism should be attributed to the willingness of the German government to compose long-standing differences... and in June 1914 a settlement was achieved over the Baghdad railway." (Evans)

"Many economic and colonial issues which had been causing friction between French, German and British governments before 1914, such as the financing of the Berlin-Baghdad railway and the future disposition of the Portuguese colonies, had been resolved by the summer of 1914." (Henig)

However, war began on August 1, 1914—and one day later the secret treaty establishing the Ottoman-German Alliance was signed, perhaps giving credence to the notion that the issue had not been fully resolved. In fact, restriction of German access to Mesopotamia and its oil, and strategic exclusion from rail access to the Persian Gulf was enforced by British military presence during WW1, and afterwards by removal of the would-be Baghdad Railway from German ownership. Thus the potential consequences to Anglo-German economic rivalry in oil and trade by the existence of the railway, rather than the financing of it is seen by some as the deeper issue.

During the War

Main article: Mesopotamian Campaign

By 1915 the railway ended some 50 miles east of Diarbakr (now called Diyarbakır). Another spur, heading east from Aleppo, ended at Nasibin (now called Nusaybin). Additionally some rail was laid starting in Baghdad reaching north to Tikrit and south to Kut. This left a gap of some 300 miles between the railroad lines. Additionally, there were three mountains which the railroad was going to go through, but the tunnels through these three mountains were not complete. So the railroad was, in actual fact, broken into four different sections at the start of the war. The total time to get from Istanbul to Baghdad during the war was 22 days. The total distance was 1,255 miles (2019 km). The breaks in the railroad meant that the Ottoman government had significant difficulties in sending supplies and reinforcements to the Mesopotamian Front. The fighting in Mesopotamia remained somewhat isolated from the rest of the war. During the conflict, Turkish and German workers labored to complete the railway for military purposes but with limited manpower and so many more important things to spend money on, only two of the gaps were closed.

After the War
The Baghdad Railway passes varied landscapes: Bridge between the Turkish/Syrian border station Meydan Ekbez and the junction Mouslemiye
The Baghdad Railway passes varied landscapes: Bridge between the Turkish/Syrian border station Meydan Ekbez and the junction Mouslemiye
The Baghdad Railway passes varied landscapes: The plains north of Aleppo, Syria
The Baghdad Railway passes varied landscapes: The plains north of Aleppo, Syria

In 1919, the Treaty of Versailles cancelled all German rights to the Baghdad Railway. However, the Deutsche Bank transferred its holdings to a Swiss bank.

People in Turkey, Italy, France, and Britain created various arrangements that gave a certain degree of control over the Baghdad Railway to various indistinct interests in those nations. Investors, speculators, and financiers were involved by 1923 in secretive and clandestine ways.

The British Army had completed the southeastern section from Baghdad to Basra, so that part was under British control. The French held negotiations to obtain some degree of control over the central portion of the railway, and Turkish interests controlled the oldest sections that had been constructed inside of Turkey, but talks continued to be held after 1923. The American involvement in the Near East began in 1923 when Turkey approved the Chester concession, which aroused disapprovals from France and the United Kingdom.

On 1936-03-31, Iraq bought the lines on its area for £494,000 from the United Kingdom and started closing the last gap. On 1940-07-15, the railway was completed. Two days later, the Toros Ekspresi for the first time made the journey Istanbul–Baghdad without interruption. Previously the missing part between Nusaybin and Kirkuk had been covered with buses.

Later the railway was extended to Basra, thus connecting the Bosporus with the Persian Gulf. Due to the strained relations between Turkey, Syria and Iraq however continuous traffic remained rare, and other means of transport soon reduced its strategic and economic relevance.

Current situation

Most of the line is in a usable condition. Due to the situation in Iraq, little can be said about the part in this country. Robinson's World Rail Atlas shows it as intact.

Most of the stations are still original.

The part between Toprakkale and Narlı has been electrified for heavy ore transport.

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posted by u2r2h at Sunday, February 17, 2008 0 comments

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