Elephants Not in the Room

Is self-hyping reporter Greg Palast kidding or is he finally showing off his Zionist-imperialist colors?

Does he think that progressives cannot see past his mordant wit to those whose agenda his writing serves?

His recent article takes on Iran and the “elephant in the room (camel in the tent?) that can’t be acknowledged”: Saudi Arabia. ((Greg Palast, “The Baker Boys: Stay Half the Course: Iraq Study Group or Saudi Protection League?” Greg Palast, 7 December 2006.)) Palast’s derisory language is tawdry and trivial. What would the reaction be if someone wrote about a “bagel in the kibbutz”?

That the “shy mullahs” of Iran are seeking a nuclear bomb is axiomatic for Palast. After all, “Iran has zero need of ‘peaceful’ nuclear-generated electricity. It has the second-largest untapped reserve of natural gas on the planet, a clean, safe, cheap source of power. There’s only one reason for a ‘nuclear’ program.” This glaring contradiction comes from the same Palast who devotes a sizeable chunk of his currently promoted book, Armed Madhouse, to Peak Oil. Apparently, Iranians are not affected by Peak Oil. But maybe the Shah of Iran was when the US assisted Iran in starting up its nuclear power program.

Palast is also denying Iranians the inalienable right to an equivalent self-defense that the “shy rabbis” have secured for Israel. ((Kim Petersen, “The Inalienable Right to Self Defense: Balancing the Power,” Dissident Voice, 27 February 2006.))

Palast writes,

Here’s the problem with Baker’s weird combo of embedding our boys with Iraq’s scary army while sucking up to the Iranians: it won’t work. The mayhem will continue, with Americans in the middle, because the Baker brigade dares not mention two words: “Saudi” and “Arabia.” [italics added]

The descriptive language of Palast’s piece, upon comparing occupation fighters with Iraqi fighters, is most telling. Occupation fighters are: “US forces,” “our boys,” “our troops,” and “our soldiers.” Iraqi fighters are: “Shia death squads,” “Shia cut-throats,” “Iraq’s scary army,” “murderous Shia militias,” “Sunni ‘insurgents,’” “Sunni berserkers,” and “Shia killers.”

Palast does, briefly, manage to rip into the architects of the genocidal plunder of Iraq calling them “neo-con nuts.” Ouch! Of course, Palast dares not mention “Zio nuts.”

Palast asserts, “But the Shias only shifted into mass killing mode in response to the murder spree by Sunni ‘insurgents.’” Is Palast shifting culpability for the genocide in Iraq to the victims? Palast’s omissions speak loudly. The “murder spree” is a US-UK murder spree encouraged by Zionists. ((Jeffrey Blankfort, “A War for IsraelLeft Curve, January 2004.)) The Shia death squads were set up by the Americans. What does that make such Shia squads? It makes them collaborators of the occupiers. Collaborators are a legitimate target for the Iraqi resistance forces.

Palast points to “Saudis” as financing Sunni “mayhem.” Who does Palast cite as an authority? The same organization that has been dissed by the Bush administration for providing faulty information on the danger that the Iraqi regime posed to the US (a risible proposition): US intelligence. Even though post-invasion the “seething memo[s]” were lambasted for being wrong, now Palast would seek to convince the reader based on the evidence of one “seething memo”? Nice.

Palast writes, “Yet we close our eyes to the Saudis acting as a piggy bank for the other side, the Sunni berserkers. (The House of Saud follows Wahabi Islam, a harsh, fundamentalist sect of Sunnism.)” Palast is remarkably blind when it comes to the Americans acting as a piggy bank for the their side: the Zionist “berserkers.” Moreover, the House of Saud does not follow Wahhabi Islam. ((Craig Unger, House of Bush, House of Saud (Gibson Square Books, 2004). Unger describes the gambling, drinking, and carousing of the Sauds that deviates from tenets of Wahhabism.)) It rules through an accommodation with the Wahhabists.

Why is Palast so coy with the Zionists?

Palast has a new twist on the Mearsheimer-Walt thesis on the strength of the “Israel” Lobby. The genuine power is elsewhere. According to Palast, the neoconservatives are at the beck and call of the Sauds! How odd, then, that the Sauds cannot stop the US from sending high tech armaments and billions of dollars to Israel to ethnically cleanse and kill their Arab kin in Palestine. Palast’s Zionist reasoning is that it is okay for US troops to kill Sunnis, but if the US delegates the killing of Sunnis to Shia death squads — assuming that they are, indeed, responsible for the daily mayhem — then that is unacceptable.

Palast sees the “fratricidal fracas in Iraq” (so just what is it: a “fratricidal fracas” or “uncivil war”?) as “a remote control proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia to control Iraq’s place in OPEC, the oil cartel.”

So, according to Palast, the US-UK invasion-occupation of Iraq has turned out to be a battle for control of Iraq’s oil not by the US but by Iran and Saudi Arabia?

Question: Whose hand is on the remote control?

While he might have been against the invasion of Iraq, the Palast agenda, when read closely, is “sucking up” to imperialism and Zionism. Therein lies the danger of theoretician Palast. Progressives must read with a sufficiently skeptical and questioning mind the liberal-sounding colloquial prose of a man who uses progressives as a base for self-promotion.

Kim Petersen is an independent writer. He can be emailed at: kimohp at gmail.com. Read other articles by Kim.