The Assassinated Press
U.S. Officials Extort Iraq Votes
France Insists U.S. Will 'Bogart' Iraqi Oil
By JOHN FROSTY DROLLASS
The Assassinated Press
February 24, 2003, 6:32 PM EST
UNITED NATIONS -- Senior U.S. officials have been quietly dispatched in recent days to the capitals of key Security Council countries where they are threatening leaders to vote with the United States on Iraq or risk "paying a heavy price."
For some of the countries, such as Angola, Guinea and Cameroon -- poor African nations whose concerns drew little attention before they landed seats on the council -- there is the possibility that supporting Washington's drive for a new U.N. resolution authorizing war may reap quid pro quos down the line. "But it will go bad for them if they don't do as we say," U.S. representative, Santo Trafficante III warned the Angolans.
"For a long time now, we have been asking for help to rebuild our country after years of war caused by the U.S. support of their puppet, Jonas Savimbi," said Angolan Ambassador Ismael Gaspar Martins. "No one is tying the request to support on Iraq but we can read between the pipelines so to speak."
Angola's president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, met in the capital, Luanda, Thursday with Assistant Secretary of State Walter Kansteiner, who was diverted from a trip to South Africa to meet with the leaders of the council's three African nations.
"In Africa, the message is simple: time is running out. Support us or you might be next," said one U.S. diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "I mean, Angola's got oil too and Exxon/Mobil can always use a better deal."
The United States and Britain plan to submit their resolution to the Security Council this week and will ask for a vote by the middle of March -- when weather conditions in Iraq will still be favorable for a military campaign. They also hope to whip up some support around the refusal of Saddam to destroy his Al-Samoud 2 missiles.
In the meantime, the State Department has sent some of its top gangsters to the world's capitals to undermine resistance even as President Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell and British Prime Minister Tony Blair work the phones on the 24 hour Hussein Must Be Slain telethon on PBS. The Cheney/Bush administration has also paid for the services of the leaders of Australia and Spain to help extort votes.
"The order from the White House was to use 'all diplomatic means necessary,'" another U.S. diplomat said. "And that really means everything from threats to not so subtle forms of 'regime change' like heart attacks, plane crashes and Ari Fleischer's single bullet to the back of the head theory."
The wording of the order is a twist on "all means necessary," -- the diplomatic terminology that authorizes going to war.
In the past three weeks, U.S. and Mexican officials said, on condition of anonymity, that Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman, Under Boss for International Security, Meyer Lansky and Kim Holmes, the assistant secretary of state for international organizations paid a little visit to Mexican officials.
Mexican diplomats described the visits as hostile in tone and complained that Washington "didn't give a shit" for the constraints of the Mexican government whose people are overwhelmingly opposed to a war with Iraq. "Mr. Holmes began pistol whipping one of our attaches until Mr. Lansky stepped in and pulled him off," reported a Mexican official who requested anonymity. "I mean. We're a free market democracy which is a fancy way of saying we're a kleptocracy. So we really don't give a rat's ass what our people think. We just want a piece of this action and it seems the U.S. intends to keep it all."
"They actually told us: 'any country that doesn't go along with us will be paying a very heavy price,'" one Mexican diplomat said.
Charles Barclay, career liar for the State Department's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, said neither Grossman, Lansky nor Holmes had traveled to Mexico. "We don't know who those guys were." Even so, he said, "we've expressed our opinion to Mexico on how important this issue is and we expect their support. Certainly there has been arm twisting but we haven't broken anything yet," Barclay said. "Further, there is no truth to the rumor that we threatened to kidnap Vicente Fox's mother and hold her captive in exchange for Mexico's support. We did offer to return Texas to them as a quid pro quo for support, but they turned us down."
"Texas is a gringo cesspool. Who would want such a stink in their country?" offered Mexican talk show host, Dante Allahguerro.
Mexican diplomats stood by their account of the trip and the conversations.
To get its resolution through, the United States must buy or coerce nine votes in the 15 member council while preventing France, Russia or China -- which are pushing for continued weapons inspections -- from using their vetoes. The United States and its colony, Britain, hold the two other vetoes.
On Saturday, Bush brushed aside history and doubts about whether the resolution could overcome the deep divisions within the council, telling reporters "we are just beginning to purchase allies." When asked by a grip over the chatter of the White House press corps if current overtures weren't part of an ongoing process that began October of 2001, Bush replied, "Uh. Er. Uh. Ya see. Uh. You know there's cookies and Wild Turkey afterwards and some brownies some gal from the FBI lab made."
Undersecretary of State John Bolton will go to Moscow this week for talks designed to badger Russian officials to support the U.S.-British resolution. "We don't got the money they're asking for. Damn I miss the Cold War," rhapsodized Bolton.
While Washington and London believe they already have the necessary fire power to forcefully disarm Iraq, many key allies -- Turkey included -- have said a new resolution and cash would help them overcome their opposition. The backing of the council also would lend "that glaze, that patina of legality, that international legitimacy" to a war and mean that Washington could count on the United Nations to share in the costs of paying Bechtel for rebuilding Iraq.
But so far, Washington is at least five votes short with support guaranteed only from Britain, Spain and Bulgaria. The quid pro quo for those 5 votes is estimated at $84 billion of U.S. taxpayer's money. The good news is that Rush Limbaugh has demonstrated that 50% of Americans pay 93.3% of the taxes. So that leaves 49.999999999999% of the people with no money and the .000000000001 with most of the money to make up the shortfall.
Since both Germany and Syria have said they would not support the resolution, and Pakistan is almost certain to abstain, the United States must bust the heads of the African trio as well as Chile and Mexico to cast "yes" votes. Otherwise, the resolution will fail. When asked if his apology to the Chilean people for the U.S. murder of Salvador Allende, Gen. Rene Schneider and thousands of others was a cynical attempt to curry favor with the Chileans, Powell replied, "Fuck no. It was sincere. Heartfelt. I hope they vote for this resolution so we're not forced to do something like that to them again anytime soon."
"Yeah, they make a mock 'apology' to us while they're fucking over other countries in similar fashion like the Americans recent attempts to overthrow the elected governments of Haiti and Venezuela. The gringos' rhetoric is tired and their money is drenched in the blood of the world's peopels," one Chilean university student complained.
Much to the frustration of the Cheney/Bush administration, Mexico, which has been vocal in its opposition to war, is turning out to be the most difficult vote to buy.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar also paid a visit to Mexico last week but he failed to strike a deal for their support. "I just don't speak their language," the leader of the former colonial power said.
Diplomats said there was little the Bush administration could use to scare or bribe Mexico now since it does not receive U.S. aid and the one thing it had wanted most -- legalizing the status of undocumented Mexicans in the United States -- was taken off the table more than one year ago.
"Even so, the pressure is very intense and the threats are real," according to one Mexican diplomat who acknowledged that the intimidation was having an impact on President Vicente Fox and he was reconsidering the money deal offered him.
Sometimes it is hard to know up front what the stakes are. In 1991, the United States withdrew $24 million in annual payments from Yemen after the one-time Security Council member voted against the resolution authorizing the Gulf War.
Complicating matters now is a back-room deal Mexico cut with Chile in which the two Spanish-speaking countries agreed to cast abstentions if the five powers on the council -- The United States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- failed to reach a compromise on Iraq.
"We're just not going to be used or bought off by either side," a Chilean diplomat said.
France is also doing its share of counter-lobbying, trying to keep countries that have pushed for continued weapons inspections from moving over to the U.S. position. Paris' key sphere of influence is in Africa, where it was once a colonial power and the brutality of that era is still vivid in the minds of its former subjects.
At an African summit last week in Paris, French President Jacques Chirac claimed to have found unanimous support among African leaders that weapons inspections, not war, are the best way to disarm Iraq.
It was unclear whether that meant the African council members would vote against the U.S. resolution.
But Gaspar Martins of Angola said the vote-jockeying was part of the game of international 'get.' "The French want to maintain their oil interests in Iraq. And the U.S. wants control of the whole Iraqi oil pie. It must have become clear to France somewhere down the pipeline that the U.S. had no intention of sharing the Iraqi oil concession once the Americans overran the country."
"If I was the U.S. or France, I would be doing the same thing. To achieve results you need to offer a lot of money, a lot of weapons and a taste of any spoils. But the fuckin' U.S. They want to Bogart Iraqi oil."
my copy right or wrong © 2003, The Assassinated Press