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Black 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 questions.

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 the Palestinians.

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 fraud.

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 truth?

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

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