Hole of Black Gold
May 2, 2002
By Michael Shannon
Forget about the tree falling in the forest; if something
happens but it's not on CNN did it really happen?
A very, very important event took place last weekend, right
smack dab in the middle of one of the biggest cities in America.
There were all sorts of very influential and powerful people
involved, discussing matters that not only have global geopolitical
and economic impact but also directly effect how you and I
live our daily lives.
But nowhere - not the vaunted New York Times, not
the ever fair and balanced Fox Network, not MSNBC, not the
Drudge Report, not even the major newspaper of the city in
question: the Houston Chronicle - did you read or see one
word or image from this momentous meeting. It was as though
it had never taken place.
What's even more inexplicable about the near total blackout
of reporting was that all of the above organizations knew
well in advance where and when it would happen. It was no
secret. All the editors, producers, station managers and their
bosses knew that Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and his entourage
were planning on having dinner with the pezzonovante
of the American oil industry in Houston on the night of Saturday,
April 27th. And yet none of them thought it was worth sending
a reporter or a cameraman down to have a look and ask a few
The way in which the media as a whole treated the Crown Prince's
visit was emblematic of how they treat the entire dynamic
of the Middle East. Not only did the America media downplay
the unbelievably audacious threats (New York Times,
April 25) that proceeded the arrival of the Crown Prince they
also swallowed hook, line and sinker the nonsense about the
Saudis wishing to broker a peace between the Israelis and
I'll go out on a limb here and state the obvious for the
record: the Saud family doesn't give a rat's ass about the
Palestinians. All they care about is holding on to their power,
position and oh yeah, their money. The Palestinians are, and
have been, the gypsies of the Arab world. None of the Arab
countries have made any real effort to absorb these people
into their respective nations.
That is why the "refugee camps" we see on TV are not made
up of tents or other temporary structures but rather of buildings
of bricks and mortar. Buildings that have stood for decades.
If the Saudis or any of their Arab brothers really cared about
these people this problem would have been solved a long time
ago. But that's not the way the story has been scripted so
it was vital that they stay on message and perpetuate the
I will never figure out the how and why we manage to give
these big shots - foreign or domestic - a free pass. Why do
we believe their lies? Are we really the pliable stooges of
a multi-leveled conspiracy? Or are we just naively holding
on to beliefs instilled by a youth spent listening to stories
of the exploits of George Washington and friends? Or do just
not want to be bothered pushing hard enough to get at the
When it comes right down to it it's most likely a combination
of all three.
During the middle of the Prince's tour I was watching one
of the most popular and effective of the cable nighttime political
talk shows when the whole surreal avoidance of the truth struck
me once again. Out of politeness I wont mention any names
because the host is a man whom I usually enjoy watching and
even admire for his reasoned approach to the night's topic
but this particular exchange was painful.
He asked his two guests. "If George Bush was tied to a chair
with an armful of sodium pentothal, what would he say was
the reason he wants to attack Iraq"? Both of the guests, both
intelligent, seemingly honest people, one on the right and
one on the left, answered with a verbal stew of regurgitated
pap about unfinished business, weapons of mass destruction,
war on terrorism, etc. etc. I wanted to scream at the TV,
"We are going to invade Iraq because Saddam can no longer
be counted on to conduct business as usual. That it has been
decided that a new deal needs to be cut. One which leaves
the control of Iraq's huge oil and natural gas reserves safely
in the hands of someone who will play ball."
The Crown Prince and his minions know this. And the thought
of that scares the hell out of those pompous, self-absorbed
oligarchs because the day may come, perhaps even sooner than
they realize, when they might be next. Which is why they came
to America to both plead and bully.
Yes, the survival of Israel should be a matter of national
importance to the United States. Yes, the Palestinian question
needs to be resolved. And yes, most assuredly, the infrastructure
that spawned the perpetrators of the September 11th attack
on America needs to be eviscerated - but when it all comes
down to it these are of secondary importance. At least, that
is, to the boys who pull the strings. To them the most important
thing is that nothing gets in the way of business. And outside
of Israel there is only business in the Mid East. If it wasn't
for the fact that those desert wastelands practically float
on oil we wouldn't give the whole lot of them a second thought.
And playing a starring role in this three ring circus is
of course the Bush family. It comes as no surprise that Bush
Pere, or Dad (depending on your degree of familiarity) spent
more time with the Crown Prince than the President did. After
all the Saudis have been doing business with 41 and his petro-pals
for years. They figure as long as those guys stay loyal everything
else can be worked out.
Oh how I wish I was a fly on the wall when they all sat down
the other night to break bread. To say that the conversation
would have been illuminating is putting it mildly.
Contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org