Bulletin N°250


3 August 2006
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
We received this important economic analysis, item
A., from Dr. Bertell Ollman, who like all of us is trying to make sense of the escalation of war in the Middle East.
B. is an article sent to us by Dr. Richard Du Boff, which describes another terrorist attack, in another era: Austin, Texas forty years ago.

Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
Université Stendhal
Grenoble, France

From Bertell Ollman :
Date: Wed, 02 Aug 2006
Subject: The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil

Francis -
Why the war in Lebanon? All we know for sure is that it is not what the two parties are telling us. The Israelis said at first that it is a response to the kidnapping of a couple soldiers, adding later that it is also a way of stopping the rockets that their own attack has provoked, which are obviously false.  The Lebanese govt. says it is a terrible overreaction on the part of the Israelis and a war crime, which is obviously true. But neither answer explains what is going on, so it may be time to stop repeating them, even the true one.
Attached is one of the better pieces I've seen which begins to make sense of this terrible, but unfortunately highly predictable, tragedy.

The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil
by Michel Chossudovsky
July 26, 2006

Is there a relationship between the bombing of Lebanon and the inauguration of the World's largest strategic pipeline, which will channel more a million barrels of oil a day to Western markets?

Virtually unnoticed, the inauguration of the Ceyhan-Tblisi-Baku (BTC) oil pipeline, which links the Caspian sea to the Eastern Mediterranean, took place on the 13th of July, at the very outset of the Israeli sponsored bombings of Lebanon.

One day before the Israeli air strikes, the main partners and shareholders of the BTC pipeline project, including several heads of State and oil company executives were in attendance at the port of Ceyhan. They were then rushed off for an inauguration reception in Istanbul, hosted  by Turkey's President Ahmet Necdet Sezer in the plush surroundings of the Çýraðan Palace.

Also in attendance was British Petroleum's (BP) CEO, Lord Browne together with senior government officials from Britain, the US and Israel. BP leads the BTC pipeline consortium. Other major Western shareholders include Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, France's Total and Italy's ENI. (see Annex)

Israel's Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Binyamin Ben-Eliezer was present at the venue together with a delegation of top Israeli oil officials.

The BTC pipeline totally bypasses the territory of the Russian Federation. It transits through the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Georgia, both of which have become US "protectorates", firmly integrated into a military alliance with the US and NATO. Moreover, both Azerbaijan and Georgia have longstanding military cooperation agreements with Israel. In 2005, Georgian companies received some $24 million in military contracts funded out of U.S. military assistance to Israel under the so-called "Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program".


Israel has a stake in the Azeri oil fields, from which it imports some twenty percent of its oil. The opening of the pipeline will substantially enhance Israeli oil imports from the Caspian sea basin.

But there is another dimension which directly relates to the war on Lebanon. Whereas Russia has been weakened, Israel is slated to play a major strategic role in "protecting" the Eastern Mediterranean transport and pipeline corridors out of Ceyhan.

Militarization of the Eastern Mediterranean

The bombing of Lebanon is part of a carefully planned and coordinated military road map. The extension of the war into Syria and Iran has already been contemplated by US and Israeli military planners. This broader military agenda is intimately related to strategic oil and oil pipelines. It is supported by the Western oil giants which control the pipeline corridors. In the context of the war on Lebanon, it seeks Israeli territorial control over the East Mediterranean coastline.In this context, the BTC pipeline dominated by British Petroleum, has dramatically changed the geopolitics of the Eastern Mediterranean, which is now linked , through an energy corridor, to the Caspian sea basin:

"[The BTC pipeline] considerably changes the status of the region's countries and cements a new pro-West alliance. Having taken the pipeline to the Mediterranean, Washington has practically set up a new bloc with Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Israel, " (Komerzant, Moscow, 14 July 2006)

Israel is now part of the Anglo-American military axis, which serves the interests of the Western oil giants in the Middle East and Central Asia.
While the official reports state that the BTC pipeline will "channel oil to

Western markets", what is rarely acknowledged is that part of the oil from the Caspian sea would be directly channeled towards Israel. In this regard, an underwater Israeli-Turkish pipeline project has been envisaged which would link Ceyhan to the Israeli port of Ashkelon and from there through Israel's main pipeline system, to the Red Sea.

The objective of Israel is not only to acquire Caspian sea oil for its own consumption needs but also to play a key role in re-exporting Caspian sea oil back to the Asian markets through the Red Sea port of Eilat. The strategic implications of this re-routing of Caspian sea oil are farreaching.

In April 2006, Israel and Turkey announced plans for four underwater pipelines, which would bypass Syrian and Lebanese territory.

"Turkey and Israel are negotiating the construction of a multi-million-dollar energy and water project that will transport water, electricity, natural gas and oil by pipelines to Israel, with the oil to be sent onward from Israel to the Far East,

The new Turkish-Israeli proposal under discussion would see the transfer of water, electricity, natural gas and oil to Israel via four underwater pipelines. 

“Baku oil can be transported to Ashkelon via this new pipeline and to India and the Far East.[via the Red sea]"

"Ceyhan and the Mediterranean port of Ashkelon are situated only 400 km apart. Oil can be transported to the city in tankers or via specially constructed under-water pipeline. From Ashkelon the oil can be pumped through already existing pipeline to the port of Eilat at the Red Sea; and from there it can be transported to India and other Asian countries in tankers. (REGNUM )

Water for Israel

Also involved in this project is a pipeline to bring water to Israel, pumping water from upstream resources of the Tigris and Euphrates river system in Anatolia. This has been a long-run strategic objective of Israel to the detriment of Syria and Iraq. Israel's agenda with regard to water is supported by the military cooperation agreement between Tel Aviv and Ankara.

The Re-routing of Central Asian Oil

Diverting Central Asian oil and gas to the Eastern Mediterranean (underIsraeli military protection), for re-export to Asia, serves to undermine the inter-Asian energy market, which is based on  the development of direct pipeline corridors linking Central Asia and Russia to South Asia, China and the Far East.

Ultimately, this design is intended to weaken Russia's role in Central Asia and cut off China from Central Asian oil resources. It is also intended to isolate Iran.

Meanwhile, Israel has emerged as a new powerful player in the global energy market.

War and Oil Pipelines

Prior to the bombing of Lebanon, Israel and Turkey had announced the underwater pipeline routes, which bypassed Syria and Lebanon. These underwater pipeline routes did not overtly encroach on the territorial sovereignty of Lebanon and Syria.

On the other hand, the development of alternative land based corridors (for oil and water) through Lebanon and Syria would require Israeli-Turkish territorial control over the Eastern Mediterranean coastline through Lebanon and Syria.

The implementation of this project requires the militarisation of the East Mediterranean coastline, sea ways and land routes, extending from the port of Ceyhan across Syria and Lebanon to the Lebanese-Israeli border.

Is this not one of the hidden objectives of the war on Lebanon? Open up a space which enables Israel to control a vast territory extending from the Lebanese border through Syria to Turkey.

"The Long War"

Israeli Prime minister Ehud Olmert has stated that the Israeli offensive against Lebanon would "last a very long time". Meanwhile, the US has speeded up weapons shipments to Israel.

There are strategic objectives underlying the "Long War" which are tied to oil and oil pipelines.

The air campaign against Lebanon is inextricably related to US-Israeli strategic objectives in the broader Middle East including Syria and Iran. In recent developments, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice stated that the main purpose of her mission to the Middle East was not to push for a ceasefire in Lebanon, but rather to isolate Syria and Iran. (Daily Telegraph, 22 July 2006)

At this particular juncture, the replenishing of Israeli stockpiles of US produced WMDs  points to an escalation of the war both within and beyond the borders of Lebanon.


The BTC Co. shareholders are: BP (30.1%); AzBTC (25.00%); Chevron (8.90%); Statoil (8.71%); TPAO (6.53%); Eni (5.00%); Total (5.00%), Itochu (3.40%); INPEX (2.50%), ConocoPhillips (2.50%) and Amerada Hess (2.36%). (source BP)




Route of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline

© Map by Eric Waddell, Global Research, 2003.  (click to enlarge)

For details on the Campaign against the pipeline see :

See related articles:

The Militarisation of the Eastern Mediterranean: Israel's Stake in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, by Michel Chossudovsky.

Planned US-Israeli Attack on Iran, by Michel Chossudovsky.

Is Israel running out of Bombs? New Deliveries of WMD "Made in America" The Replenishing of Israeli WMD stockpiles points to escalation both within and beyond the borders of Lebanon, by Michel Chossudovsky.

from Richard Du Boff :
Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2006 13:54:16 -0400
Subject: Remembering Great Moments in U$ history...

This article just appeared in the Houston Chronicle, August 1, 2006.

 After rampage, 'you never felt the same'.
 When gunman Charles Whitman killed 16, he shook the entire nation


AUSTIN - On a sweltering Texas afternoon 40 years ago today, former Eagle Scout and Marine Charles Whitman transformed the tranquil University of Texas campus into a killing field.

From his perch on the UT Tower's observation deck, 28 stories high, Whitman opened fire for an hour and a half before an Austin police officer killed him.

He left 16 people dead and 31 wounded.
"It was surreal. We didn't have mass killings in those days," said Houston criminal defense attorney Herb Ritchie, who was barricaded in a tower office a few floors beneath Whitman. "After that, you never felt the same. You were never safe anywhere or with anybody," said Ritchie, now 60.

President Kennedy's assassination in Dallas just three years before had shocked the nation, leaving many to wonder, "My God, what next?" said Don Carleton, director of UT's Center for American History.
But it was Whitman's unprecedented reign of terror in broad daylight that forever shattered the nation's sense of safety in public places, Carleton said. "I think it was a beginning, unfortunately, of a loss of innocence," he said. "From a historian's standpoint, it is such a tragic kind of thing. It's such a harbinger of Oklahoma City, the World Trade Center."
Whitman stabbed his wife and mother to death before venting his rage on students, faculty and tourists on campus the next day.
It was Aug. 1, 1966, the year the war in Vietnam escalated. Op art was the rage, Indira Gandhi became prime minister of India and Truman Capote published his groundbreaking true-crime novel, In Cold Blood.

UT has remained mostly silent about the horrible day the tower became a sniper's perch. To mark the 40th anniversary today, the school plans to simply lower flags on campus to half-staff, said Robin Gerrow, director of public affairs.
"It's not a celebratory event," said Carleton. "We have a sensitivity toward the families of the victims. We want to handle this whole thing with a keen sense of their loss." Carleton also plans to accept today 95 original and copied historical documents, the Whitman collection of the late UT Chief of Security Allen Hamilton.

Half Price Books purchased the collection last year for an undisclosed price from one of Hamilton's relatives and quickly decided to donate the records to UT.

While many of the documents are copies of records long in the public domain, the collection includes originals of handwritten notes by campus police officers and Whitman's frequent traffic tickets.
"We all could have taken it on eBay," said Kathy Doyle Thomas, Half Price Books executive vice president in Dallas. "That was not their (the Hamilton family's) intent, and that was definitely not our intent. It was sensitive and a horrendous event in Austin history."
The documents will supplement extensive records the history center has on file about the Whitman killings that were gathered by Gary Lavergne in his 1997 book, A Sniper in the Tower, Carleton said.

Both collections include Whitman's chilling final letters detailing what he was about to do and why.
At 6:45 p.m. on July 31, Whitman said he planned to kill his wife and mother to spare them the anguish and shame over the killings he was carefully planning. "I don't really understand myself these days," he wrote. "I am supposed to be an average young man. However, lately (I can't remember when it started), I have been a victim of many unusual and irrational thoughts."

Whitman wrote that he was upset over his parents' split and his father's abuse of his mother. He also complained of intense headaches and requested an autopsy be performed. The autopsy revealed a tumor pushing on Whitman's brain stem.

He also wrote of spending two hours with University Health Center psychiatrist Dr. M.D. Heatley, "to convey my fears that I felt (some) overwhelming violent impulses."

Indeed, Heatley confirmed at a news conference after the killings that Whitman had told him of his plans, said former Dallas newspaper reporter Ernest Stromberger, now 66. "It was just surreal," he said. "This psychiatrist just sat there and said, 'Well, you know, he came to me. ... He had these feelings of anger and he wanted to go up on the tower and shoot people.' Everyone was just stunned."
UT history professor Norman Brown said he would have been right in range of Whitman's fire had he stuck to his original plan to walk across the main mall, as usual, just under the tower. Instead, he popped into a nearby bookstore.

At 6 feet 6 inches tall, Brown said, he "would have made a large target for him."
Neal Spelce, a retired Austin television and radio reporter, said he arrived at the scene shortly after hearing about the shootings over a police radio. "The impression was what I saw and heard and felt," he said, describing the sniper shooting, dead bodies lying around him, people's screams for help and sirens echoing through campus under a blazing midday sun. "It was a surreal sensory experience and it continued."
Spelce said he stayed crouched down as bullets whizzed by and continued reporting, his voice broadcast on television and accompanied by a stationary shot of the tower. "It was sight, sound, feeling - the whole range of emotions all capsulized there for more than an hour," he said.

Ritchie said he was a 20-year-old sophomore working for a professor in the tower when he heard a loud bang.
Fear filled the office when a professor who went to investigate came back to report dead bodies in the stairwell. They had to barricade themselves in the office because the university had shut off the elevator, Ritchie said.
"I put a rolling blackboard up against a door, and I shoved a desk against the door," he said, and then he looked at the scene below. I remember the real brave students. I remember seeing really heroic, brave students going out there and picking someone up and going back behind the wall while the firing was going on."
Former Austin Police Officer and Texas Ranger Ray Martinez stands in front of the University of Texas Tower in Austin. Martinez and another officer are credited with killing the UT Tower sniper.