Washington, DC, September 22, 2004 -- The Center for Public Integrity --as part of its ongoing series on "The Politics of Oil"-- today released a four-part update which focuses on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and their lobbying activities in the past year.
Since mid-2003, OPEC members have spent at least $13.3 million in lobbying the U.S.federal government and currying favor with the American public, the studies show. Some of the highlights of the reports:
* Politicos in Iraq, such as Ayad Allawi and Adnan Pachachi of the Iraqi Governing Council, have all hired their own K Street advocates;
* Saudi Arabia has battled against post-9/11 spin, spending $6.6 million since mid-2003 in lobbying the U.S. government, more than any of the other 10 members of OPEC;
* Former Senator Bob Dole is the leading lobbyist for Indonesia in protecting the interests of Pertamina, the country's state oil company;
* Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's representatives have wooed grassroots activists in the U.S. and spent more than $1.6 million lobbying the U.S. government since mid-2003.
To read the reports, log on to www.publicintegrity.org .
Swift Boat Swill
by Nicholas Turse @The Village Voice
From the National Archives: New proof of Vietnam War atrocities
John Kerry is being pilloried for his shocking Senate testimony 34 years ago that many U.S. soldiersnot just a few "rogues"were committing atrocities against the Vietnamese. U.S. millitary records that were classified for decades but are now available in the National Archives back Kerry up and put the lie to his critics. Contrary to what those critics, including the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, have implied, Kerry was speaking on behalf of many soldiers when he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 22, 1971, and said this:
They told stories that at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam, in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.
The archives have hundreds of files of official U.S. military investigations of such atrocities committed by American soldiers. I've pored over those recordsâwhich were classified for decadesfor my Columbia University disssertation and, now, this Voice article. The exact number of investigated allegations of atrocities is unknown, as is the number of such barbaric incidents that occurred but weren't investigated. Some war crimes, like the Tiger Force atrocities exposed last year by The Toledo Blade, have only come to light decades later. Others never will. But there are plentiful records to back up Kerry's 1971 testimony point by point. Following (with the names removed or abbreviated) are examples, directly from the archives: More
Zero: How many post-9/11 terrorist convictions can Ashcroft claim? He locked up 5000 "suspected terrorists," but no actual ones apparently.