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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Ultimate Counterterrorism Weapon

By Douglas Farah

In the day-to-day discussions and actions to combat terrorism, particularly radical Islamist terrorism, we generally agree that it will be a long struggle that could last generations. I agree.

But it is useful to step back and realize there is a powerful weapon that we CAN use to great effect. Both presidential candidates agreed on it, and it is long overdue: that is to decrease our consumption of oil so that our money does not flow to those who want to destroy us.

The effects have already been dramatic, as this IHT article describes. Two regimes that pose direct threats to U.S, Latin American and Middle Eastern stability – Iran and Venezuela – are teetering on the edge of severe financial meltdowns because oil prices have dropped.

A third country that is increasingly willing to deal with rogue regimes – Russia – is also hard hit, although not to the degree of Iran and Venezuela. Saudi Arabia’s ability to fund the propagation of Wahhabi extremism and intolerance will also be curtailed if the prices stay down.

Why? Because these regimes conservatively built their budgets, including the expansionary weapons purchases, on oil averaging $80 to $90 a barrel. When it falls below that, particularly to where it has been recently, they are forced to choose between their expansionist and militarist dreams, and feeding their own people.

Both Obama and McCain focused on the fact that we spend billions of dollars buying oil from regimes that hate us and have a radically different view of what the world should look like than most of its neighbors. Both viewed the issue of energy independence as a matter of national security. While differing on the margins over where to drill and the priority given nuclear energy, the campaigns, representing candidates supported by about 96% of the voting population, were in agreement.

The choices are stark. Iran wants a Shiite theocracy, which puts it at odds not only with the West, but with the Sunni regimes. It cannot finance its nuclear program, its massive expansion into Latin America or terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Quds Force, without oil money. It has nothing else.

Venezuela wants a 21st century view of socialism and one party rule. Without oil money, Chávez cannot join Iran in pushing and financing the broad anti-democratic agenda he has established.

Bankrupting the enemy by cutting diminishing it export revenues is not a long-term proposition. It is happening now, with no formal policy in place to do this. And, unless policies are rapidly enacted to keep consumption low, the prices will inevitably rise again.

If the Obama administration can move quickly on this front, he will take a dramatic anti-terrorism action with no military or diplomatic actions needed.

There is a down side, at least in Venezuela. As oil revenues shrink, the Chávez government can replenish its coffers from the drug trade. It can survive, but it won’t because we are legally importing his products.

Source: Family Security Matters


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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Defeating Terror With a Sound Energy Policy

By Mehul Kamdar

It has yet to be determined whether it is political correctness run amok or whether it is sheer laziness that has left the world and its free nations in particular, reluctant to admit that the main source of funding for international terror these days comes from the vast energy reserves held by the nations of the Middle East. With the bulk of the world's oil under the control of the Arab nations and Iran, the West in particular and with India and China following, is stuck in a bind, unwilling to break free from the stranglehold that the worst sponsors of international terror have over them in their control over the world's crude oil. It is true that a change from the oil based transportation and power generation structure of these countries would require fundamental change in several directions if it is to succeed - it would not be inexpensive and neither would it be easy. But, if this is successfully pulled off, it would mean cutting off the oxygen of support to nations that the West in particular is unable to do anything about even while these nations openly permit organizations operating from their territory to carry out terror attacks on their main client states.

It is often farcical to see the USA in particular chafe and fume about Iran, a nation that it has done much to try to isolate (without much success, it must be stressed) while American presidents and the current, outgoing incumbent in particular, go with begging bowls to the ruling monarch of the nation that was home to most of the attackers responsible for the worst terrorist atrocity on its soil on 9/11 whenever oil prices are artificially raised or lowered by the Saudis in conjunction with their other Gulf, African and Venezuelan allies when they feel like gouging the rest of the world in order to build a palace or two or finance one or another mosque in other parts of the world to recruit and train more suicide attackers. Let there be no soft talk here - after the 9/11 attacks, when the USA captured Afghanistan driving the Taliban into ungoverned parts of Pakistan celebratory videos were found of Osama bin Laden waxing eloquent on the attack on the twin towers. A lame Saudi cleric Sheikh Atiyatullah who is clearly seen on the tape was taken back into Saudi Arabia afterwards and "forgiven" for his role in the attacks. The Saudis have never allowed him to be questioned or interrogated by the USA leaving Washington looking as helpless as a beheaded chicken in the bargain while the Saudi monarchy underlined its association with those who were responsible through its protection of Atiyatullah.

In order to deny the biggest sponsors of Islamist terror their chief source of funds with which they finance their jihad against the rest of the world, therefore, there is no option that the West and its partners in India and China have other than to eliminate the use of Middle Eastern oil and starve the Middle East of its main source of income. While some technologies to reduce oil consumption like nuclear technology and wind and solar energy exist and are being worked on, the fact is that none of this work is funded to any major extent in a race to rid the world of the use of oil as a fuel. Some technologies like Solar Thermal Energy are currently available at an advanced stage and ready to be deployed in nations with exposure to sunlight, including to power starved states of the USA like California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia and Florida. The use of insulated concrete form construction methods and the more advanced Thermasave (trademark of www.thermasave.us) methods would effortlessly help reduce the use of energy to a considerable extent depending on the extent to which they are deployed in new construction around the world. These methods could be further enhanced by integrating solar photovoltaic collectors and solar powered water heaters into all new constructions, reducing the need for oil to heat homes even in the colder parts of Europe and the USA and Canada and China.

There remains work to be done in the development of battery technology for transportation, but this could be achieved if the West put its mind to it. Greater technical achievements have been made in the past under even more dire circumstances - the development of Radio as a the tool that won World War -1 and of Radar that won World War -2 are developments that come immediately to mind. And the parallel is entirely apt as the world faces as great a danger from Middle Eastern terror as it did under Imperial Germany and under the Nazis. The danger that the world faces from Middle eastern terror is vastly greater than it did from the Nazis because it was not dependent on the Nazis to supply it with a vital component for its daily existence and could, therefore, fight the Nazis on a one to one basis. Defeating the current threat to the West's existence would require weaning itself off its addiction to Middle Eastern oil and starving the Gulf nations of their main source of income.

And the Middle east has not, exactly, remained unaware of this possibility. In recent months, as increasing awareness around the world pushes its nations to look for alternatives to oil, new bands of "experts" have come up offering to turn the Saudi deserts into a source of solar power to be sent into Europe via a new grid that would connect that nation across borders into European nations' power grids. Giving up national sovereignty as far as oil is concerned to surrender it immediately in order to buy electricity from the very nations that have used their income from oil to finance terror would be a terrible mistake, the equivalent of putting the Medellin and Cali cartels to oversee the Drug Enforcement Administration and Interpol simultaneously. Southern Europe, like the Southern United States have enough land to generate a substantial amount of power and manage their energy needs by using more nuclear and wind and wave power in addition to solar power. The sooner this happens, the better it would be for the world outside the borders of the murderous regimes that are clustered in the Middle East.

Source: Islam Watch


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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Iraq War vet’s service attacked in Ohio campaign

By Joel Mowbray

When Josh Mandel got a call from the Marines last year asking him to return voluntarily to Iraq, he had much more to contemplate than when he first enlisted in 2000. He had just been elected to the Ohio state legislature. Family considerations were also important to him. He ultimately decided to serve a second tour in Iraq “because I didn’t join the Marine Corps to say no when my country called,” Mr. Mandel explains.

Of all the factors he weighed, Mr. Mandel says political concerns were not among them. Now he has been forced to deal with the politics of that decision. The opponent in his tough re-election fight, trial attorney Bob Belovich, is attacking Mr. Mandel’s service, arguing that he abandoned voters. Mr. Belovich’s wife, Barbara, acknowledged in an interview for this column that she has told voters that Mr. Mandel “went AWOL” (a military term for desertion) by fighting in Iraq.

Even Mr. Mandel’s motives for serving in Iraq are being questioned. Mrs. Belovich claimed in an interview with this columnist that Mandel “put his personal ambitions ahead of his constituents.” Asked why anyone would enter a war zone out of “personal ambition,” Barbara Belovich replied curtly, “Certainly he wasn’t serving our needs.”

That’s not how one prominent local Democrat sees it. “I have great respect for what Josh did. To say that he didn’t serve his constituents by risking his life in Iraq is absurd,” says Broadview Heights mayor Sam Alai.

Considered a rising star by the Ohio GOP, Mr. Mandel wasn’t on anyone’s radar two years ago. In 2006, he was a long-shot candidate to win his Cleveland-area district, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by well over two-to-one. Democrats didn’t take him seriously, so they spent little money to retain the open seat. But after knocking on almost 20,000 doors, Mr. Mandel scored a stunning victory.

Mr. Mandel faces a much tougher race this time around. Ohio Democrats targeted him from the beginning, because at just 31 years old, he is seen as a top up-and-comer. Progressive Majority, a moveon.org-affiliated political action committee that focuses on local races, has made defeating Mr. Mandel a top priority. Then there’s the Obama effect. ACORN activists have blanketed the area, and every liberal group from moveon.org to the Obama campaign is working to maximize Democratic turnout.

The Belovich campaign has not been bashful in going after Mr. Mandel’s military service. At a major Democratic Party event in Cleveland this March, while Mr. Mandel was still in Iraq, Mrs. Belovich told Mr. Alai, “Josh Mandel isn’t serving our country, he’s serving George Bush.” Though in a phone interview Mr. Belovich denied hearing his wife’s comments, Mr. Alai says that’s impossible: “We were so close, I could have reached out and smacked him in the face. She said it, he heard it, and he said nothing. It was clear he didn’t disagree.”

At a Progressive Majority event in Cleveland this July, Mr. and Mrs. Belovich laid out their campaign blueprint for defeating Mandel. “[Mandel] feels that his obligation to George Bush is stronger than his, you know, his obligation to the people in the 17th District,” Barbara Belovich said. (An audio recording made by someone who overheard the discussion was recently posted online, and neither Bob nor Barbara Belovich deny making those remarks.)

As heard in the recording, Bob Belovich then added that Mandel won in 2006 in part because of his “blue sign” and “Jewish name.” Asked recently by this columnist what he meant by the comment, Belovich stated that many people think Mr. Mandel is a Democrat, including some who think so because Mr. Mandel is Jewish. Belovich, who is Catholic, then spent five minutes discussing the implications of Mr. Mandel being Jewish. (The district’s Catholic population is three to four times bigger than its Jewish one.)

“To some Jewish voters, they would be attracted to him because he’s Jewish. To other Jewish voters, they wouldn’t support him because of his stance on the issues.” Questioned as to whether he was speaking of Jews generally or Jewish Democrats specifically, Mr. Belovich responded that he was referencing Jewish voters overall. This apparently rules out the possibility of Jews supporting Mr. Mandel because of his policy positions or legislative achievements.

Asked if he thinks he’ll receive Jewish votes for being Jewish himself, Mr. Mandel answered, “Maybe my opponent has met people who blindly support me because I’m Jewish, but I certainly haven’t.” As for the attacks on his decision to return to Iraq, Mr. Mandel says, “If they want to take shots at me, I can defend myself. But what they’re saying comes awfully close to degrading the sacrifices of our young men and women over there now.”

Attacks on Mr. Mandel’s military service could easily backfire. But given that the lines are still being repeated so close to the election suggests that they’ve resonated with at least some voters in a district where the war remains deeply unpopular.

The obvious implication is that by serving in Iraq, Mr. Mandel was a do-nothing legislator. Yet he was one of the two people who lead the successful fight to force Ohio’s multi-billion dollar pension funds to divest from companies doing energy-related business in Iran and Sudan. Pension fund managers agreed to start divesting when legislation co-sponsored by Mr. Mandel and Rep. Shannon Jones was poised for passage.

Knowing the enormity of the challenge facing him, Mr. Mandel is making one last push for the homestretch. He vows to avoid negative campaigning. And he is optimistic that voters will reject his opponent’s tactics. “I really believe that no matter how someone feels about the war, just about everyone truly supports the troops,” says Mr. Mandel.

For Josh Mandel to win re-election in his heavily Democratic district, he needs to be right.

Source: TownHall


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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Divesting From the Islamic Republic

By Jamie Glazov

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Joel Anderson, a California State Assemblyman who represents San Diego’s East County.

FP: Joel Anderson, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

Anderson: It's my pleasure. Thank you for having me, Jamie.

FP: You are focusing on Iran and pursuing Iran divestment bills and resolutions. Tell us some of the things you are up to. What inspires you to pursue these courses of action?

Anderson: In the State Assembly, I sit on the Public Employment committee, which has oversight of California's public pension systems. CalPERS and CalSTRS -- the public employees and schoolteachers -- are the two largest public pensions in the nation. So, when I learned they were investing tens of billions of dollars in Iran, a terrorist regime, I was shocked and disappointed. I knew we had to do something to stop this practice.

FP: Ok, so what did you do?

Anderson: I introduced Assembly Bill 221 to divest CalPERS and CalSTRS from the Islamic Republic of Iran and prevent them from putting any more of our tax dollars at risk in a nation whose rogue leader craves nuclear technology and wants to start another Holocaust. We worked hard and formed a broad coalition to push this measure through a number of committees, the floor of each house, and ultimately secured the Governor's signature to make AB 221 law. I knew this was the type of bill everyone should share credit and we encouraged legislators to sign on as co-authors.

Ultimately, people fundamentally understand money is the mother's milk of terrorism.

FP: Have you encountered any obstacles from the Democrats in the CA Assembly and the CA Senate? How about pro-Islamic republic lobbyists?

Anderson: Well, ours was a bipartisan effort from the start. I actually wrote AB 221 based on a piece of legislation that a Democrat had authored to stop our money from going to Sudan. And before that, Democrat Maxine Waters -- prior to her election to Congress -- led the charge to divest from racial apartheid in South Africa. With very few exceptions, Democrats and Republicans joined together early on for many different reasons, because everyone agrees that divesting from Iran is simply the right thing to do. The most outspoken groups against my bill were outside radical groups tied to the Islamic Regime and California’s State Teachers’ Retirement System, who fought me in every committee hearing.

FP: Did you have the support of the Iranian opposition organizations and individuals in the US? Who are they?

Anderson: Our coalition really was an amazing group. We built a broad coalition from all walks of life: labor unions, ethnic organizations, holocaust survivors, state employees, students, you name it. The Iranian groups were fantastic. Roozbeh Farahanipour of Marze Por-Gohar, with the Iranians for a Secular Republic, testified before each legislative committee that heard the bill, and told his tragic, personal story of oppression by Iran's government. The Iranian American Chamber of Commerce, Committee for Religious Minority Rights in Iran, Iran of Tomorrow Movement, and Iranians for a Secular Republic also lent their strong support.

FP: Tell us a bit about Iran’s human rights abuses and your efforts and plans to try to stop them.

Anderson: The Islamic Republic of Iran’s lack of human rights includes public hangings, the stoning of innocent women, producing IEDS that kill civilians and promoting the ethnic genocide of a country. This is where California can have a powerful impact. By pulling back our hard-earned dollars from the companies that prop up this odious regime, we can send a clear message that supporting the Islamic Republic of Iran is the wrong place to invest our retirement nest eggs. Our citizens want nothing to do with their blood money.

FP: What is the Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 79? How did it do?

Anderson: ACR 79 was a follow-up to AB 221. I wanted to carry forward the spirit and intent of AB 221 by pushing for University of California -- a $42 billion pension -- to join CalPERS and CalSTRS in divesting from Iran. It gathered overwhelmingly bipartisan votes, as AB 221 did before, but the clock ran out before its final vote in the Senate.

FP: Tell us about Iran Divestment on California Port.

Anderson: Other governmental entities are starting to realize the danger of risking their investment dollars in a place like the Islamic Republic of Iran. We've already seen the City of Los Angeles take steps toward shoring up their retirement system, and now, other public employees at the county level are looking at that, too. As an example, the San Diego Port Authority has been in touch with me because they are concerned about the message we're sending by putting public dollars in a place like Iran. It is important to know we have a real opportunity to bring the Islamic Republic of Iran back to the world community without ever firing a shot. We can do it through divestment.

FP: Joel Anderson, thank you for joining us.

Anderson: Thank you Jamie.

Source: FrontPageMagazine.com


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Friday, October 10, 2008

OPEC's Heavy Hand

By Walid Phares

Who manufactured the financial meltdown? It wasn’t only Wall Street: OPEC’s heavy hand is felt but unseen by the media and our politicians.

In bypassing a narrow economic analysis of the ongoing crisis, we can detect clearly the connection between the dizzying ups in petrol pricing and the slowing of American buying capacity. Though we have to conclude that while it is due largely to both Wall Street’s corruption and politicians’ abuse of the system handed the tools of doom to the middle class, Main Street’s rapid disenfranchisement was manufactured overseas, thousands of miles away, at the hands of many of the members of OPEC, the oil-producing Cartel.

Indeed, as economic commentators tell us (including a strong accusation leveled by real estate tycoon Donald Trump on Fox News against OPEC), the oil powers are behind the instability that crumbled the will of millions of middle class Americans over the past three years.

If we go back in time, we can see that oil pricing by OPEC’s hard core shows clearly that US leadership wasn’t able to convince the top producers from the Gulf to give American oil consumers a chance. Most producing regimes replied that demand -- mostly from China and India -- was putting pressure on production. Pressed by Washington to produce more, the “regimes” alleged it would affect the selling price and thus minimize their profits, but promised they would try to “be understanding” of US needs in energy.

This attitude gave the producers discretion over price, while Jihadi propagandists roamed the media accusing Washington of putting unbearable pressure “on the region” to follow American injunctions in setting petrol’s prices. Was there a direct connection between the oil regimes and the Jihadi propagandist machine? We have no answer to that now, but clearly an oil strategy was in the works with a calculated impact on the US economy. This charge is still in its early stages, it will be challenged ferociously, but it will stand as long as convincing answers are not provided.

What adds to the inquiry into the OPEC destabilization factor are the many indicators that strategic political motives have appeared to be behind the pricing maneuvers. Over a period of half a decade, many voices heard on the region’s airwaves have intimated that the US economy will be made to pay for what America’s leadership is doing. Commentators, some funded by oil producers on several outlets including on al Jazeera, underlined that as long as average citizens in the United States (and eventually in the West) don’t feel financial pain, the war on terror and spreading of Democracy won’t be stopped.

Sheikh Yussuf al Qardawi, Muslim Brotherhood ideologue and mentor of the Qatari-funded channel, spoke openly of Silah al Naft, i.e, “the weapon of oil.” Indeed, it was called a weapon - as in a warfare situation -- and most likely it was used as such. Of course, the producing “regimes” will deny the existence of a real strategy to bring the US to its knees by striking at its pumps. They will dismiss statements made by emirs and commentators in this regard. The “field Jihadists”, however, won’t deny the existence of such a battlefield.

For years now, Salafist web sites and al Qaeda spokespersons have loudly called for an “oil Jihad against infidel America and its lackeys.” Online material is still circulating. But more revealing are the official speeches by Osama Bin Laden and his deputy on the “absolute necessity to use that weapon.”

Ayman Zawahiri called expressly and repetitively on the public to sell their US dollars and buy gold instead (Be’u al dullar washtaru al zahab). These were stunning statements ignored by most analysts at the time but that are making sense today. He predicted a collapse in the infidels’ economy, starting from American markets. Was he a part of the lobbying effort in the OPEC game? Most likely not, but he seems to have been privy to the game, having insiders in the Wahhabi radical circles in the Peninsula: in the end there are too many political signs to dismiss and the analysis of price warfare is too evident to ignore.

OPEC’s manipulation of the markets did hit Americans hard in their pockets. Hundreds of millions of John and Jane Does were intimidated, terrorized really, into abandoning their lifelong dreams of owning properties because of the aggressive stance of petro-regimes towards the US and its campaign to spread democracy in the Greater Middle East. In historical terms, America was punished for daring to change the status quo in the Arab and Muslim world to the advantage of the weakest and the suppressed: Shia and Kurds in Iraq, Syrian reformers, Lebanese civil society, Africans in Darfur, Iranian women and students, artists and liberals across the Arabian Peninsula. In return, the U.S was submitted to economic destabilization, steady, gradual and by small doses.

Let’s not underestimate the power of the Jihadi-oil lobby in America: it has decades of influence and it has long arms into the system, and it has powerful political allies. It knows when Americans are messing up their own system, and it knows very well how to push them over the cliff, into the abyss of economic calamity.

A counterpoint to this thesis would vigorously argue that the alleged OPEC destabilization over the US economy is illogical, as many countries in the Gulf are experiencing a recession as a result of Wall Street’s crunch. In other words, they wouldn’t do it to themselves. Yet the ideological forces manning the oil weapon aren’t particularly concerned about economic stability. Their driving factor is Jihadism. We’ve heard their ideologues stating that even if they were to incur losses among their own societies in order to defeat the infidel powers, then let it be.

Ten percent losses in local companies and markets are a price that radicals would absorb if the final prize is an earth-shattering change in US policy in the region and a triumphant return to pre-9/11 status. I find the rationale of this policy very Jihadist: if a world economic crisis is needed to remove the US democratization efforts from the region and to end its post 9/11 campaigns, the end justifies the means. In addition, how intriguing to see that Saudi Arabia and other producers are among the very few who didn’t have to pump much cash into their markets yet (Per news Agencies, today).

What some oil regimes -- or the ideological forces within -- want to accomplish from this alleged interference in US economics is to provoke a “regime change” in Washington, D.C., so that regimes in their region are not challenged anymore. But another issue is also coming to the surface: pressures against America’s financial structures seem to have escalated in parallel to increasing US talk and commitment to achieving energy independence. Since last April, the American debate finally reached a dramatic conclusion: “We’re sending 700 Billion Dollars a year to regimes that dislike us;” agree most national leaders; “and furthermore some of that money is ending up in the hands or accounts of Terrorists” affirm some among them.

This revolutionary conclusion is a direct affront to the multi-decades-long dominance of petro-dollars in US politics. What America is readying itself to do is to achieve its most dramatic war of independence since 1776: ending the dependence on Middle East Oil. Therefore, let’s not be surprised that these gigantic interests would strike at the heart of this economic revolution, as I coined it in my latest book, The Confrontation.

Back to the ongoing crisis on these shores, we nevertheless must admit that the original sins are domestic first: financial drunkenness and economic recklessness. Without these plagues, outside forces wouldn’t have been able to shake up America’s stability. But assuming that most capitalist societies travel through rough patches, it is vital to realize that America’s economy is under attack by forces aiming to maintain US dependency on foreign energy, as a means to obstruct the rise of democracy.

Seven years after 9/11, Americans are paying the price of liberty from their own economic flesh.

Source: Human Events


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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Soaring Price of Oil and Terrorism

By Victor Comras

A few days ago, when oil was just $115.00 per barrel, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared that the price of oil was still “unrealistically low,” and that “Oil … needs to discover its real value." And, within a few days the market seemed to comply driving the price up to $120.00 per barrel! The effects of this spiraling oil price on the US and world economy has been staggering, and the impact will continue to be intensified as the price of oil works its way through the international economic system. Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups could never had imagined that events they set off at the turn of the millennium could ever have caused such oil dislocation and demand around the world.

Against this background it is with great trepidation that I put my pen to addressing the link between the price of oil and terrorism. The factors involved in the pricing of oil are both extremely obscure and enormously complex, and few people can truly claim to understand them. I certainly am not one of them. But, broken down into its most basic components it apparently involves a mixture of the following factors: OPEC Oligarchy practices, intensified international competition for secure access to essential commodities, increased reliance on middlemen for oil lifting, profit-motive purchasing policies and upstream practices of major oil companies, the falling dollar, and intense speculative upward bidding of oil futures on the world’s merchantile exchanges. Taken together these factors have driven up the spot price of oil and pumped tens (dare I say hundreds) of billions of dollars into the coffers of countries known to either encourage or tolerate state and/or private funding for terrorism. One may well conclude, as I am beginning to believe, that mercantile speculation, greed, and corporate profit taking are as responsible as OPEC, if not more so, for the windfall profits that help fund terrorism.

Iran's Oil Minister Gholam-Hossein Nozari had a different answer. Speaking before the representatives of some 60 exporting and consumer countries at the bi-annual International Energy Forum, he blamed the spike in oil prices on “war and sanctions,” alluding to the measures the US had adopted toward both Iran and Iraq. But, this simplistic explanation doesn’t match reality. In fact, today’s oil prices don’t seem to have any direct relationship to the actual oil market conditions, demand and consumption. The fact is that oil output has generally kept pace with actual consumption rates, and bookings for oil transport ships and tankers are actually declining showing a slackening in demand. Speculation based on future worst case assumptions seems to be pressing the price of the oil, not past events. This includes anything from a projected heavy hurricane season to recent attacks on Nigeria’s Shell oil pipelines. But, the supply effect of such events in the past have been shown to be quite minimal and of short duration. Any reason to push oil prices higher seems to suffice for the oil traders.

Another explanation for today’s high oil prices is the declining value of the dollar. So why isn’t it that Europe is getting a bargain when it comes to buying oil? The fact is that the price of oil in Europe has also hit the roof, causing European leaders to consider extraordinary measures, such as drawing on their emergency oil reserves. The EU commission has just decided to launch its own “ public consultation” on whether changes should be made to the management of emergency oil stocks held by EU members in the face of these skyrocketing prices.

Today’s oil prices are considerably higher than anyone could have predicted a year or so ago. Look at what the International Energy Agency projected in their annual World Energy Outlook for 2007. They predicted that oil prices would now be the range of $45 to $56 per barrel, and would only reach $95.00 per barrel sometimes in 2030. Boy, are we ahead of that curve!. Remember, that in 2000, OPEC oil was selling for under $28.00 a barrel and oil consumption somewhere around 76 million barrels per day. Current estimates put oil consumption at around 84 million barrels, about the same as current production levels.

So, in actual fact, it is the oil speculators that appear to be responsible, more than any other group, for the high prices of oil, and the revenue boasts that may help support terrorism. Perhaps its time for governments to get a handle on such speculation by intervening in the oil market, as necessary to stabilize the price of oil. Just a thought!

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ron Paul Wants $8,000,000.00 To Market Wild American Shrimp

Ron Paul is a joke

It's in a subscribers only link at the Wall Street Journal. The Congressman wants $8,000,000.00 to pay for marketing of wild American shrimp and $2.3 million to fund research into shrimp-fishing.

These are but two of the Congressman's 65 earmarks sought thus far this year to the tune of $400,000,000.00.

Originally posted at www.theodoresworld.net

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