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Can we do a class action lawsuit against oil companies for Iraq War?

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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:01 AM
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Can we do a class action lawsuit against oil companies for Iraq War?
Even if the GOP loses in the fall, Bush is impeached, and top members of the cabinet are tried as war criminals here or sent to the Hague, the underlying causes for the war would remain: oil company execs can pick up a phone and dictate our foreign policy.

If you don't believe it, you only have to read THE PRIZE by Daniel Yergin, a Pulitzer Prize winning history of oil. The author is such a lefty that he went to work with Papa Bush at the Carlyle Group. When oil companies have problems negotiating with a foreign government, they pick up a phone and expect a coup or war to be in the pipe before they hang up, as happened in Iran in the 1950s, and likely happened with Saddam because he wasn't going to play ball on subservient enough terms.

Some of those who made those calls and asked for the war have even gone on the record on the BBC:

We pay the cost for securing oil for those companies, and they keep the profits and decide how much to screw us at the pump. Additionally, the consequences of having our foreign policy dictated by them means we will have to live with the hatred of a large chunk of the world population long after the last barrel of oil is sucked out of the ground.

We have never profited from these companies being based here any more than the average Saudi has benefited from all the oil under their sand. During the Great Depression, the United States was the Saudi Arabia of oil, the number one exporter. That didn't feed or shelter a single family out of work. And even today, as over a hundred thousand of our troops fight to hold Iraq's oil for them, those companies gouge us at the pump and demand more tax cuts.

In many ways, this is similar to the tobacco situation. Private companies profited, but society as a whole was forced to bear the cost, both monitarily and in lives. The same is true with the cost we bear of our taxes, our reputation abroad, the lives of our soldiers securing and protecting oil, and the lives of innocent Americans who will die in terrorist attacks in response to decades of a foreign policy that stole and killed from many to profit the very, very few.

A poll of Arab countries a while back showed that our popularity there has declined as a result of the invasion of Iraq, and most don't think we are there to spread democracy. They know why we are there, and even an Arabic version of Fox News wouldn't be able to make them forget what they have heard their parents and grandparents mutter for decades and then seen with their own eyes. What is beneath their land does not belong to them, and if they get in the way of the rightful owner, the full weight of the world's only superpower will fall on them.

The people who live with that reality don't latch on to a corporation or holding company to be mad at. They blame us who only get a plastic flag, a yellow ribbon, and a couple of shitty country songs at most.

These kinds of wars will not stop until we hold those who instigate them responsible, and that means going a level higher than the heartless bastard in his bunker and the retarded son of privilege. As destructive as those two are, they are not acting on their own initiative, but serving a handful of business interests with the oil industry up front and the rebuilding and defense contractors following like hyenas, feeding on the dead and dying left in the wake of the predator.

Sadly, most of our legislators, including most Democrats, dare not do more than barely imply the relationship between the criminal and the crime. The closest they can get is saying that category of criminal and those crimes are bad in an abstract sense like "We wouldn't have invaded Iraq if their main export was coconuts," but if that was the kind of case prosecutors made against Charles Manson, he would still be on the streets. Sometimes, when the predators are felling generous, they let Congress kick a hyena like Halliburton to lull the public back to sleep, but the crime itself cannot be interferred with by mere elected officials. As Grover Norquist said about elections in Iraq,:

The right to trade, property rights, these things are not to be determined by some democratic election.
(on video to BBC's Greg Palast)

There is no evidence the interests he serves feel any different about our democracy than they do about Iraq's

It took some brave lawyers to take on big tobacco, and class actions have been done against big oil before, as happened with the Exxon Valdez oil spill. As we have seen with the recent rulings on Bush ignoring the FISA laws, the courts are the only branch of government that still functions with some relationship to reality. Even conservative judges are freer than legislators to follow the facts and their consciences since they don't have to worry about the next election or getting some corporate job after they are kicked out of office.

Are there any lawyers brave enough to step up to the plate, hit these guys where it hurts (in the wallet), and make these companies play by the rules and pay for their actions, the way you or I would if we killed one person to steal a few thousand dollars? They have killed hundreds of thousands to steal hundreds of billions. If there is no punishment for a crime of that magnitude, we should give up with the pretense of being a people of laws, admit that there is only the law of the jungle, and take our place behind the other hyenas, hoping that the predator leaves some scraps of flesh and gristle for us.
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orpupilofnature57 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:26 AM
Response to Original message
1. Only if we prosecute all their Agent's, and their all busy Ruining the ..
Edited on Sun Aug-20-06 04:26 AM by orpupilofnature57
World! Jefferson warned of commerce infiltrating our government, F.D.R. spoke of those who would pluck the wings of Democracy to feather their own cap.
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bluestateguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:54 AM
Response to Original message
2. I just want $1.20 gas again, as we had in the Clinton Administration
The good old days.
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 05:07 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. when oil companies own the government, is it any wonder the price is up?
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pooja Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 06:57 AM
Response to Original message
4. As I came to work today there was a sign out by the Exon...
said "United We Stand". I think people are making an effort not to buy gas from them. Especially since the record profits that they earned last quarter and our ever emptying pockets.
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whistle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 07:48 AM
Response to Original message
5. Can it be shown that the oil companies took oil out of Iraq following
...the U.S. occupation? Or did the oil companies conspire to stop the flow of Iraqi oil to limit supply and cause an artificial rise in worldwide oil prices?
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 02:10 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Bush cancelled Saddam's oil contracts with other countries and
restructured their oil industry to American oil companies specifications, which by itself is a war crime under the Geneva and Hague Conventions.

Greg Palast has found evidence and witnesses who make a pretty good case for the war being about capping production, which isn't that different from price fixing that goes on domestically, or that OPEC does. The difference is, Iraq was done with bullets and bombs instead of meetings and emails.

In one way, the oil companies behaved better than the Bushies. The Bushies wanted to privatize Iraq's oil, so you could buy a piece of land or the oil rights on it, and never give Iraq another penny no matter how much oil was pumped from the ground. The oil companies were smart enough to know that such a bald-faced theft wouldn't go over with the Iraqis, so they favored PSA's, which are structured like Hollywood profit-sharing schemes when a writer, director, or actor gets a cut of the film's profit. In Hollywood, they keep two sets of books though, so if someone isn't a player, they can cut them out of their fair share. They told the author of Forrest Gump that the movie didn't make any money. This oil deal works as a variation on that.

Greg Palast's timeline of Iraq oil meeings (with video interviews with the players):

Evidence for war to cap oil production and keep price up:

Detailed report on restructuring of Iraq's oil industry to benefit our oil companies:

The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time author's website:

Colin Powell's chief of staff on oil motive for Iraq War:

Naomi Klein on privatization and its effects in Iraq:

Economic war crimes in Geneva and Hague Conventions:

The Hague Convention of 1907 (IV) see articles 47, 53, 55

The Geneva Convention of 1949 (IV) we've broken almost every section of article 147, and Bush has personally broken article 148.

Broader background on oil, war, and foreign policy:
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