Saturday, January 25, 2020


The US War to Control the Middle East for OIL
By Dick Bennett, Presented at Fayetteville’s Town Square, 1-25-20
I.  US  Hostility
     Recall the cooperation between the US and Iran during the US/Soviet Cold War following WWII.  Iran became part of the US Truman Doctrine to contain Soviet economic and military threats worldwide, which after the collapse of the SU and  9-11 was widened to include all so-called terrorist threats world wide. 
      But the Iran-US alliance crashed in 1953 when President Eisenhower approved CIA plans to overthrow the elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, who had incurred the wrath of British and US oil companies by nationalizing Iran’s oil.  Once Mossadegh was deposed, the US became the main ally of the new Shah and his infamous secret police.   In that moment the US went from friend to foe in the minds of many Iranians which has lasted to this day.
     It was also the CIA’s first successful covert operation to overthrow a government that refused to obey the US, later examples being Guatemala’s  Arbenz, Congo’s Lumumba, and Cuba.
    Eventually, the Shah was overthrown, he fled to the US, and Iranian citizens then captured the US Embassy in Tehran, and held 52 US diplomats hostage for 444 days, known as the Hostage Crisis.   Every night the US press reminded the public of the crisis.   For example, for 444 days Ted Koppel’s ABC News America Held Hostage reminded Americans that Iranians had kidnapped their diplomats.
     Other aggressions by the US followed, sometimes with tit for tat response by Iran, but in the minds of Iranians none equaled the US/CIA /UK overthrow of Mossadegh.   And all arose as part of the US War to Control the Greater Middle East. 
     Take the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, begun by Iraq and killing hundreds of thousands of Iranians.  At first the US declared neutrality . But in 1982, the US secretly provided Iraq with highly classified intelligence, including on Iranian troop movements, and covertly shipped American weapons to Iraq.     
    Hardly remembered today but milestones in the evolving US War for the Greater Middle East are these events involving the Navy with US openly pro-Saddam Hussein:
Operation Praying Mantis, in which the US Navy destroyed the Iranian Navy.  “The smallest fighting ship in the US Navy easily outgunned the largest ship in Iran’s Navy.”  And inadvertently the USS Vncennes shot down an Iran Air 655.  For which VP George H.W. Bush refused to send flowers, saying:   “I will never apologize for the United States—I don’t care what the facts are.”
Iraq bombed the USS Stark, Saddam Hussein blamed Iran, and immediately accepting the lie in the words of President Ronald Reagan, declared, “the villain in the piece really is Iran”;
the doubling of US warships operating in the Persian Gulf itself with one or two carrier battle groups and another WWII battleship;
the sinking of the Iran ship Iran Ajr.
These events crossed an important threshold when the US initiated a distinct military campaign.   The official Pentagon explanation was to protect the oil.  But its broader purpose was to ensure Iraq’s victory in the Iraq-Iran War, the First Gulf War, for this goal would establish the United States as the region’s ultimate arbiter, asserting a purpose implicit in the Carter Doctrine, which inaugurated the US War to Control the Middle East.  This was the unstated mission of the US forces gathering in the Persian Gulf in ever greater strength during the First Gulf War.
II.  Iran’s Many Peaceful Overtures and US Dismissals    
War looms again between the US and Iran.  Can you tell me why?  For a hundred reasons we should be allies.   We don’t have time here today to identify all the reasons.  But we can select two moments of the chronology of Iran/US relations to illustrate their much longer history.

      Begin by remembering the September 11, 2001, bombing by airplane hijackers of the NYC Trade Towers and Pentagon in Washington.  

What follows is clear.   But a perversity in the minds of US leaders makes evidence inconsequential and clarity opaque.
        On 9-11-2001, a handful of middle-easterners-- mainly extremist Wahhabist Sunni, Al Qaeda, Saudi Arabians-- blew up the Towers in NYC and the Pentagon in Washington, DC.  What?  Stop there.   Who were these people?   Our leaders soon knew who they were.  15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi Arabians, Sunni Saudi Arabians (Sunni the ruling religion of Saudi Arabia); in addition they were fundamentalist Wahhabist Sunni, AND they were members of Al Qaeda (that is, followers of bin Laden).  The hijackers were extremist Wahhabi- Sunni- Al Qaeda- Saudi Arabians,   You would think such vicious violation of our homeland, such total evil, would have stopped all mobility by Saudis coming or going in the US, and given the hysteria of the moment Saudis in the US would have been rounded up and jailed without a mention of the Bill of Rights.  But instead, members of the Saudi elite in the US were permitted immediate exit to fly home.     
       What?  Very confusing.  No Iranians?   No Iranians commandeered the aircraft, our declared enemies? No.   Iran was Shia with no ties to Al Qaeda’s Bin Laden.    Alas, more folly follows.
     The 9/11, 2001 attacks were planned in Afghanistan, where Al Qaeda’s bin Laden and his followers lived under the protection of the Taliban.  What? The Taliban are fundamentalist Sunnis same as the Saudis.   
     What?  And the Iranians?  Because the Taliban had harbored al Quada and had murdered Iranian diplomats. for a half-dozen years Shia Iran had been fighting the fundamentalist Sunni Taliban by assisting the Afghan Northern Alliance.  The US and the Iranians were allies against the Taliban!
      And what did Iranians think of the 9/11 attacks?   In some Arab nations, people celebrated the attacks on Israel’s main supporter.   But Iranians held candlelight vigils and their leaders expressed condolences and anticipated a warming of US-Iranian relations. 
      Then when the Bush administration invaded and toppled the Sunni fundamentalist Taliban Afghanistan and pushed Al Qaeda mainly into Pakistan, the Iranians offered to help the US rebuild the country.  Specifically , not only did they help to arrange a meeting of all sides in Bonn, Germany to create an interim government, their representative Javad Zarif was essential to gaining agreement with the Northern Alliance.  The US special envoy to Afghanistan James Dobbins praised tIran’s constructive collaboration with the US.  We here today might include Iranian Mr. Zarif as a world peace leader.
     At the international donors’ conference to help rebuild Afghanistan, Iran aplayed a positive role, pledging a staggering $500 million in assistance—the same amount as the US.    Iran even offered to pay to rebuild the Afghan Army, which the US refused.   And Iran helped extradite Al Qaeda fighters who had fled Afghanistan and were living in Iran.
      How did the US reward this collaboration?           
       In his January 29, 2002 ,State of the Union address, President Bush called Iran part of the “axis of evil.”  Bush’s speech undercut particularly any positive relations with Iranian reformists who had lobbied to engage the US, and it strengthened the hand of Iranian hard-liner war makers.   
     One might have expected Iran to shift into war mode after that  threatening speech, but it did not. 
    Three months after the invasion of Iraq, the UK, Germany, and France sought a conference with Iran over its nuclear policy.  The US refused to join the talks.   But the Bush administration “didn’t talk to evil.”
     Iran signed the Tehran Declaration with the other three nations anyway agreeing to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to suspend all uranium enrichment.
     Now Remember Iraq’s Saddam Hussein’s brutal persecution of its Shia minority population and Saddam Hussein’s brutal invasion of Iran in 1980 and the ensuing horrific 8-years war between Iraq and Iran.  So when Bush II invaded Iraq, Iran sought a “grand bargain “with the US, a bold peace treaty offering to negotiate nearly every issue the US had been concerned with—Iran’s nuclear program, its support for Palestinian militant groups, its policy in Iraq, and accepting Israel’s right to exist.  In return, the US would have to give up hostile behavior toward Iraq, end economic sanctions, and allow access to peaceful nuclear power.
     By now you can guess the US reply?    Iran’s grand offer never even received a reply.  The blowback of that refusal hurt US chances of controlling Iraq, and it convinced Iranian hardliners that armed force was the only effective way to treat the US.
       This period marked a historic change in Iran’s Iraq policy.  It’s when Iran began funding, training, and equipping Shia militias inside lraq.
     When by 2005 and US occupation of Iraq was a disaster, the Bush administration finally decided to engage Iran diplomatically.  But despite Iran having already suspended uranium enrichment, the White House demanded that Iran give up fuel production altogether, stopping its nuclear power program.   Now Iran refused.
   And it was at this time the government of Iran turned rightward.  Conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defeated reformist Hashemi Rafsanjani as President of Iran.  The reformists had repeatedly tried to build a positive relationship with the US, but the US had shut the door to them.  With Ahmadinejad Iran’s hardliners surged into power.  And       lmost immediately Iran restarted its suspended nuclear program.
     In summary, US clenched fist rejection of living and working with Iran defeated peace in the Middle East. 
     The Bush hardliners had destroyed US ability to build a consensus for cooperation with Iran.  It would take the election of Barack Obama for that to be achieved.
      Another powerful influence not yet mentioned, that helps to explain the otherwise massively irrational behavior by the US, is Israel.  Many post-9-11 opportunities to improve US-Iranian relations were torpedoed at least partly by pro-Israeli/Zionist partisans, beginning with US reluctance to accept Iran’s help vs. Taliban.    

Conclusion on the Falsification of language by US Imperial Aggressors and the Failure of Memory by the American people.
I’ll paraphrase Andrew Bacevich’s ethical conclusion to his chapter 6 on the US undeclared war against Iran that began with the killing of US sailors in USS Stark by Iraq and killing of Iranian civilians in Iran Air 655.   “In using terms like accident or tragedy to describe the deaths suffered by the Stark and inflicted by the Vincennes,I U.S. civilian and military officials at the time had sought to drain each event of moral or political significance” Yet these killings impart a stain the passage of time has not eradicated.    “US military participation in this first of several Gulf Wars began [in] cynicism and betrayal.  It ended with an atrocity.”  With the onset of the several future Gulf Wars, “Americans simply chose to forget their involvement in the first.”
References to Dick’s Talk 1-25-20
Bacevich, Andrew J.  America’s War For the Greater Middle East: A Military History.  Random House, 2016.  (The US war to control greater middle-eastern oil “has become a monumental march to folly.”  My main source for Part II.)
Benjamin, Medea.  Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  OR Books, 2018.  (My main source in Part I.)
Matter of Fact, Channel 7, Sunday, December 12, 2020, 5:50.  Summary about 5 minutes of US/Iran aggressions against each other, mainly initiated by the US.
Parsi, Trita.  Losing an Enemy and A Single Role of the Dice.  (Apparently Benjamin’s chief source for her analysis of Iran/US pp. 154ff.)
Rashid, Ahmed.  Descent into Chaos: The U.S. and the Disaster in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia.  Penguin, 2008.  (I was not writing a scholarly paper in which I would weigh various versions of historical events; rather, I read Rashid and Bacevich to assess my elaboration on the events and my general conclusions, but I used only Bacevich directly.)
“Stop This War.”  The Nation (January 27, 2020).

Monday, January 20, 2020


Compiled by Dick Bennett

The future foretold in 2012 and discussed at the August 2013 OMNI Climate Book Forum was a summary of what was well-known by scientists.    
--*Guzman, Overheated.  2012.   Summary of what might happen to humans if average temp rises 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.  The OMNI Forum August 2013 on Guzman was led by Chad Pollock. [The preceding copied from my annotated climate books bibliography.]   That is, we have known basically, i.e., sufficiently, what we know today about the catastrophe of higher temperature at least since 2012, but even then the facts were already well-published.     On the crucial cap of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial level here’s a tiny sample of the books that reported the facts: Ward (2007, 2010 rev. B. Fitzpatrick), Lynas (2008),  Dumanoski (2009, rev. Neath 2012),  Monbiot (2009), Dyer (2010), Hertsgaard (2011), Guzman (2012).  The members of this Forum have known the truth of the rapidly approaching planetary catastrophe for 13 years, and our leaders could have, should have known also if they had sought the truth.  --Dick

Contents of #2: A Sample of Publications Mainly During 2019
Kendrick Frazier.  Hot Month, Hot Year, Hot Planet: Absorbing The Latest Climate News.”  Skeptical Inquirer.   Nov./Dec. 2019.
WMO warns of record heat levels.  UN Wire. 12-4-19. 
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. On the Green New Deal. 11-27-19
Jeffrey St Clair. The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink (Google search). 2019.
UN Wire.  12-20-19.  
Nancy Shute. "Why This Warmer World Is Not just a Passing Phase."  Science News. August 6, 2019.
Monthly Review. "For a new world."  7-28-19.
The Nation. Consequences of Warming: Creatures, wasps, snakes, Lyme disease, dengue fever, pitch pine beetles. July 2019.
Bill McKibben - 350 Action. On Green New Deal. 2019.

Somini Sengupta.   A Heat Wave Tests Europe’s Defenses. Expect More.   NYT. July 2019

Rhoda Feng.  “Outdoor Workers in Every Florida County Endangered by Heat.”   Public Citizen News.  Nov./Dec. 2018.
Heat Index, What It Is, Note and Google Search. 6-30-19.


Kendrick Frazier.  Hot Month, Hot Year, Hot Planet: Absorbing The Latest Climate News.”  Skeptical Inquirer, Volume 43No. 6
November / December 2019.
(This article is available to subscribers only.  Subscribe now or log in to read this article.  I subscribe but I could not find the article online. )
 Frazier provides a succinct summation of facts of recent warming and how scientists and journalists are responding 2019. 
     Part I.  The facts, reality.  E.g., “current warming is unprecedented over the past 2,000 years.”
Disclosures by the NOAA’s State of the Climate (2019).  “All in all, the first seven months of 2019…much-warmer-than-average conditions across much of the world’s land and ocean surfaces.”
Part II.  Alaska and Iceland rapid warming, our canary in the coal mine for climate warming.
E.g., “Iceland is preparing for a world without ice.”
III.  Three new studies show uniqueness of our unparalleled, unprecedented anthropogenic, simultaneous, global epoch (while discovering degrees and variations of change).
IV.  Science journalists have reported the science, refuted the climate naysayers., and analyzed human behavior when confronted by dire facts (fear, evasion).  
Frazier is editor of SI and “has reported on climate and weather research for decades when Earth Sciences editor and then editor of Science News.
The same no. of SI includes a rev. of the book Pseudoscience: The Conspiracy against Science Guide, ed. Kaufman and Kaufman.   --Dick

WMO warns of record heat levels.  UN Wire (12-4-19). 
Temperatures reached record highs in the last decade, hovering around 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial period average and approaching levels scientists say would prompt significant, damaging change, the World Meteorological Organization says. The world's oceans have also increased notably in temperature and acidity, the WMO reports.
The Guardian (London) (12/3),  Reuters (12/3) 
Wed, Nov 27, 4:49 PM (17 hours ago)
to me

We’re on the brink, Dick.
The United Nations Environment Programme just issued a shocking warning: if we continue at our current pace, the Earth will warm 3.2 degrees Celsius by 2100. That would render huge parts of the planet uninhabitable, force millions to become climate refugees, endanger vital resources for even more, and lead to catastrophic natural disasters.
78% of ALL emissions come from G20 countries. If we wanted to meet the UN’s requirements, we could. But Trump shredding the Paris Climate Agreement has set us back, and allowed countries like China to brush off emissions. Every year that we don’t take big action makes it harder and harder to catch up in the future.
The eyes of all future generations are upon us. We must meet this crisis with the urgency it demands; the tools to do so are here for us to use, all we need is the courage to act.
In solidarity,
Team AOC 
Paid for by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for Congress

And now a full book on temp:
Editorial Reviews. Review. "The toughest book yet on global warming and its perpetrators. ... The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink (Counterpunch) by [St. Clair ... Environmental journalists Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank take you on a sobering ...
Earth on the Brink By Jeffrey StClair and Joshua Frank Click here for the digital book Click here for paperback & digital book.  
Mar 18, 2019FEATURING JOSHUA FRANK – The recent Polar Vortex of 2019 was ... He is the co-author with Jeffrey StClair of 'The Big Heat: Earth on the ...
Mar 6, 2019 - ... Frank joins the show to discuss his new book, co-authored with Jeffrey StClair, The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink. We are living on the frontl.


The global community is doing "stunningly little" to reduce carbon emissions and a worldwide revolution is needed if there is to be any hope of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees as set out in the Paris climate deal, says United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Philip Alston. "We will be extremely lucky if we get close to a rise of 2 degrees and the prospects are rising every day that we will be up 3 to 4 degrees," Alston warns.
Why this warmer world is not just a passing phase
BY NANCY SHUTE.  Science News.  5:00AM, AUGUST 6, 2019.

In the late 1990s, three scientists published a paper charting the Earth’s temperatures over the last millennium. For the first 900 years, the trend line was the definition of boring: just little blips up and down. That changed around 1900, when the mean global temperature shot up, and kept rising.
That now-famous trend line, dubbed “the hockey stick” because of its sharp upward slope, is so vivid that it has played a key role in two decades of argument over whether the Earth’s atmosphere is warming, and whether those changes are caused by heat-trapping gases generated by human activities. 
It’s not hard to pick apart a single study’s data. Critics of the hockey stick pointed to centuries-long temperature shifts such as the Medieval Climate Anomaly and the Little Ice Age to argue that anomalies in the 20th century were also short-term, natural shifts. Critics also noted the patchwork nature of the pre-1900 data, which didn’t rely on direct measurements, and said there was no direct evidence that increased greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels was causing the current temperature rise.
Uncertainty is central to the enterprise of science. It’s a rare day when a single study — or dozens, or hundreds — answers a question without a doubt. And because uncertainty almost always remains, scientists have to explain both quantitatively and qualitatively how uncertain they are. That’s good science. But climate change naysayers used that uncertainty to say, “The scientists aren’t sure.” And it meant that when we journalists reported accurately on the science by noting uncertainty, we gave more ammunition to doubters.
Well, scientists are now sure. In 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international consortium convened by the United Nations to evaluate the science of climate, released a report saying there was greater than 95 percent certainty that the substantial warming was due to human activities. And scientists are increasingly linking extreme weather events worldwide, from heat waves to hurricanes, to human-caused climate change (SN: 1/19/19, p. 7).
In this issue, we report on how the city of Boston is regularly flooding due to rising sea levels. Freelancer Mary Caperton Morton explains how policy makers and scientists are racing to develop responses to keep the venerable city functioning as the water moves inland. And earth and climate writer Carolyn Gramling reports on a startling new study that lays to rest the argument that the warming we’re experiencing is just another normal climate shift. This one is clearly different, the data show: Those earlier temperature fluctuations were regional; what’s happening now is worldwide
Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State who is one of the researchers who developed the hockey stick data chart, said back in 2005 that he thought that people wouldn’t take climate change seriously until they saw it in their own backyards. People in Boston think they’re seeing it, as do people in many other communities around the world who are bracing for more extreme heat, rainfall, drought and storms. Our charge at Science News is to continue to report on the science while chronicling humankind’s responses, for good or ill.
CO2 was identified as a prime driver of global warming in the 1950s and has been the subject of many international meetings over the past 30 years. Despite increasing calls to reduce carbon emissions, they continue to rise faster and faster.

 Jordan Davidson.   EcoWatch , August 5, 2019.
The street thermometer in front of the EU Commission headquarters shows a temperature of 46° Celsius (114° F), on July 25 in Brussels, as a new heatwave hits the Belgium capital. Thierry Monasse / Getty Images
The latest heat wave that crippled Paris with 109 degree Fahrenheit heat and saw the mercury hit 104 degrees Fahrenheit in the Netherlands and Belgium was caused by humans, according to a new study published on Friday, as the Associated Press reported.
Extreme heat is poised to rise steeply in frequency and severity over the coming decades, bringing unprecedented health risks for people and communities across the country.

For a new world. (7-28-19)
Basking in record-breaking high temperatures, slowly barbecuing ourselves, Britons may well welcome the benefits of global warming. Don’t fool yourselves.   Source  share on Twitter Like For a new world on Facebook

Consequences of Warming: Creatures, wasps, snakes, Lyme disease, dengue fever, pitch pine beetles, The Nation, July 29/August 5, 2019, p. 4.

The hottest June in history
Dear Dick,
It is very hot. According to the satellites, last month was the hottest June ever recorded. France just saw 115 degrees Fahrenheit; Anchorage, Alaska, which had never topped 85 degrees, hit 90 last week. And it's very wet — Washington, D.C. just suffered 'historic' flooding, and as I write this today it's the French Quarter of New Orleans that's underwater, after the wettest 12 months in American history.
What we have long feared is playing out, faster and more brutally even than most scientists imagined. But politics is hot too. One candidate after another has embraced the Green New Deal. Working alongside many allies, we’ve been pushing for it as hard as we know how — because it’s the first legislation on the same scale as the crisis it tries to solve.
Around the world, we got a wonderful shot in the arm a few weeks ago when our partners and colleagues at 350 Africa announced that plans for a massive Kenyan coal-fired power plant had been beaten, a breakthrough victory for an entire continent.
But we all can fight some of the time — so even if you can't afford a penny, don't worry. Just make sure your calendar is marked for September 20th for the first all-ages climate strike.
With thanks,
Bill McKibben

The New York Times The New York Times

Wednesday, July 3, 2019
Across Europe in June, heat records shattered. In years to come, researchers say, many more heat waves are likely to batter the Continent.

Rhoda Feng.  “Outdoor Workers In Every Florida County Endangered by Heat.”   Public Citizen News (Nov./Dec. 2018), 7.   “…the problem is rapidly getting worse due to global warming.”  PC and partners are calling on OSHA to issue heat standards to protect workers.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) has just released a brief—but very important—report on the impact of heat stress on workers. What the ILO finds is that the areas of the world most threatened by heat deaths of workers are Southern Asia and Western Africa.   Source  share on Twitter Like Burnt workers are the newest wave of climate casualty on Facebook

From Bill McKibben, Falter
P. 39 on heat—“heat alone, the most obvious effect of climate change.”  Nine of the deadliest heat waves in human history have happened since 2000.”  In 2016 temperatures in cities in Pakistan and Iran “peaked at slightly above 129 degrees F.”  But it was dry heat.  Simultaneously at the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, the high humidity produced a heat index over 140 degrees F.  
      What is survivable?  When temperatures pass 95 degrees F. and the humidity is above 90%, humans can survive only “for a few hours.”  Unfortunately, 1.5 billion people, a fifth of humanity, including Iran, lives in an area of such temperatures, and the planet is warming.
      A note on the politics of warming.  I am writing this June 22, 2018, when the US is threatening Iran with ruin both by economic and military violence.   “In 2015, in the Bandar-e Mahshahr in Iran, the heat index reached 165 degrees, the highest ever witnessed on the planet.”  But this evokes no compassion on the part of US leaders and many of the populace, who seek 1% America First domination of the planet through control and use of the fossil fuels that caused the heat, and not the well-being of the human or other species.  --Dick
Heat Index  Google Search 6-30-19
Noun: a measure indicating the level of discomfort the average person is thought to experience as a result of the combined effects of the temperature and humidity of the air.
NBC Washington
Star Tribune
Sioux City Journal
FOX 4 Kansas City WDAF-TV
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1 day ago
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Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)