Recently I’ve been perceiving a Big Lie in the mass media regarding the BP oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico — “It’s not nearly as bad as the one the Iraqis deliberately did in 1991 to Kuwait’s Persian Gulf”. It’s gone international, and here’s a typical representation, from a May 3 New York Times article by John Broder and Tom Zeller, “Gulf Oil Spill Is Bad, but How Bad?” :
“The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is bad — no one would dispute it. But just how bad?…
…the Deepwater Horizon blowout is not unprecedented, nor is it yet among the worst oil accidents in history. And its ultimate impact will depend on a long list of interlinked variables…The ruptured well, currently pouring an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil a day into the gulf, could flow for years and still not begin to approach the 36 billion gallons of oil spilled by retreating Iraqi forces when they left Kuwait in 1991.”
36 BILLION? Is that a typo guys? Internet data on this vary fantastically and the higher the figures go, the further away any scientific citations are; from a low of 1.5 million barrels (the current figure at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_War, Gulf War oil spill ) to a previous “high” of 830,000,000+ [Wikipedia, “Oil Spill”] The New York Times shoots beyond “Wikipidiocy” more than one-hundred-fold to provide us with a spectacular new high! Funny how the amount of oil increases the further away we get from the event, and the longer the US still occupies Iraq…and this despite the fact that in a 1993 article, the same New York Times cited a UNESCO study where the amount was determined to be 8 million barrels. See “Gulf Found to Recover From War’s Oil Spill”
Is Iraq 100% “deliberately” responsible for the 1991 Persian Gulf oil spill?
An oft-repeated meme, especially in US and British media (concidentially the main instigators of aggression against Iraq over the past 20 years or so with the former still occupying it), is that the retreating Iraqi military opened oil valves on Kuwaiti oil tankers, oil refineries, oil wells, or combinations thereof; allegedly as some kind of military stratagem. There was an oil spill, the estimated amount of which varies widely, even exponentially, by source (as noted above). But what about this alleged ‘deliberate’ act of “enviromental warfare” or “ecoterrorism”?
- It’s never explained why the Iraqis would create a massive spill that would pollute their own gulf, as Iraq has a coastline with ports on the Persian Gulf.
- No evidence exists of this alleged crime…no video, no documents, no confessions, no trials.
- Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who traveled in the Gulf region including Iraq extensively before, during and after the Gulf War, in his book The Fire This Time “attributes this oil spill to U.S. bombing on Iraqi oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.” (page 100)
- In Clark’s Report to the Commission of Inquiry for the International War Crimes Tribunal [United States War Crimes Against Iraq]: Charge 12. “The United States waged war on the [Iraq & Kuwaiti]environment…Attacks by U.S. aircraft caused much if not all of the worst oil spills in the Gulf. Aircraft and helicopters dropping napalm and hel-air explosives on oil wells, storage tanks and refineries caused oil fires throughout Iraq and many, if not most, of the oil well fires in Iraq and Kuwait…” [emphasis mine]
- At the time of the spill, “…the immediate reports from Baghdad said that American air strikes had caused a discharge of oil from two tankers.” [Gulf War oil spill, Wikipedia]
- “[There was]…widely disseminated footage of oil spilling into the Persian Gulf and a cormorant covered with oil. When first distributed, this footage—which attributed blame for the oil spill to Iraq—incited sensational anger toward Hussein and support for the American troops around the world. This footage furthermore contributed to winning approval of the war from environmentalists, who had previously voiced opposition. However, it was subsequently revealed in a Japanese press report that this oil spill originated in Saudi Arabia.” Nobuo Kamioka, The Japanese Journal of American Studies, No. 12 (2001) “Support Our Troops: The U.S. Media and the Narrative of the Persian Gulf War”, page 74.
- “[In a January 1991] ABC [News] video, when a child asks about the oil spill in the Persian Gulf, the footage of cormorants covered with oil is shown, and a correspondent in Saudi Arabia [responds ] that although ‘no one is quite sure,’ it is likely that Hussein ‘purposely dumped the oil into the Persian Gulf . . . to prevent the Marines from easily traveling over the water,’ or ‘to set the oil on fire to create a problem…'” [emphasis added] Nobuo Kamioka, page 76
- I’ve never seen Saddam Hussein or any other Iraqi allowed to defend themselves about this particular alleged environmental crime.
Now, I remember at the time seeing an oil spill happened in the Persian Gulf. I was always skeptical about it being deliberate, and US politicians’ smug harping about Iraqi ‘ecoterrorism’ just didn’t add up. Despite the US’ mendacious propagandizing that Iraq was behaving aggressively and arbitrarily, it didn’t make sense for Hussein and Iraq — which went into Kuwait with the aim of reincorporating Kuwait into the Iraqi homeland after being arbitrarily divided by a British proconsul, and for redress of multiple documented grave provocations by Kuwait — to inflict such severe and allegedly ‘world record’ environmental damage on said homeland. The very fact that it was, as is often stated, “unprecedented” requires allegations about it to be held up to much greater scrutiny. The catastrophic damage which the US and its coalition partners subsequently inflicted on Iraq, both in the 1991 and later 2001 invasion and occupation (not to mention the genocide of the UN-imposed sanction in between), makes even the alleged “worst oil spill ever” pale in comparison. Who knows how many hundreds of thousands of tons of bombs have been dropped on Iraq, and the permanent damage done to the Iraqi environment, Iraqi people and Coalition Forces through the use of depleted uranium munitions? This ongoing genocide is a deeper reality which the New York Times strives to occlude.