Note: Both Jamil Hanifi and myself agreed that we should reproduce this speech, as published in Cuba’s Granma Internacional, under the heading of “Reflections of Fidel Castro.” It was originally published on 03 August 2010. This is the equivalent of Fidel blogging, and the article ranges back and forth across a wide variety of topics. We post it here for discussion, and not necessarily with the belief that everything said here is factually correct. Especially worthy of note is Fidel’s expression of urgency and alarm surrounding U.S. and EU escalation of punitive measures to be taken against Iran.
A few days ago, an article was published that really contained many facts related to the oil spill that occurred 105 days ago.
President Obama had authorized the drilling of that well, trusting in the capacity of modern technology to produce oil, which he wished to make abundantly available, thus freeing the United States from its dependence on foreign supplies of that product vital to current civilization. Its excessive consumption of oil had already given rise to energetic protests from environmentalists.
Not even George W. Bush had dared to take that step given the bitter experiences suffered in Alaska with a tanker that was transporting extracted oil there.
The accident was caused in the search for that product so desperately needed by the consumer society, which the newer generations inherited from preceding ones, the difference being the unimagined speed at which everything moves these days.
Scientists and environmentalists have presented theories related to disasters that occurred hundreds of millions of years ago with the so-called methane mega-bubbles responsible for colossal tsunamis that swept across a large part of the planet, with winds that reached twice the speed of sound and waves that rose to 1,500 meters in height, wiping out 96% of living species.
They have expressed the fear that, in the Gulf of Mexico – which for some cosmic reason is the region of the planet where carsic rock separates us from the vast layer of methane – that layer could be perforated in the desperate search for oil with the cutting-edge technical equipment available today.
With respect to the BP oil spill, news agencies are reporting:
“…The EPA (Environment Protection Agency) has officially stated is on record that Rig No.1 is releasing methane, benzene, hydrogen sulfide and other toxic gases. Workers there now wear advanced protection including state-of-the-art, military-issued gas masks.”
Events of enormous significance are occurring with unusual frequency.
The first and most immediate is the risk of a nuclear war in the wake of the sinking of the sophisticated flagship Cheonan which, according to the government of South Korea, was the result of a torpedo fired from a submarine of Soviet make – both manufactured more than 50 years ago – while other sources inform the only possible and non-detectable cause: a mine placed by the intelligence services of the United States on the Cheonan’s hull. The government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was immediately blamed.
Added to this strange event, some days later came Resolution 1929 of the United Nations Security Council, ordering the inspection of Iranian merchant ships within a time limit of no more than 90 days.
The second, which in part is already producing its devastating effects, is the progressive advance of climate change, the effects of which are even worse, giving rise to the condemnation contained in the documentary Home, directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand with the participation of the world’s most eminent ecologists; and now the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a few miles from our homeland, which is generating all kinds of concerns.
On July 20, a cable from the EFE news agency referred to a statement by the now well-known Admiral Thad Allen, coordinator of and responsible for the battle against the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, who “stated that he had authorized BP, owner of the well and responsible for the spill, to continue for another 24 hours with the tests that it is conducting to determine the solidity of the ‘Macondo’ structure after the installation 10 days ago of a new containment dome.”
“According to official data, there are close to 27,000 abandoned wells on the Gulf seabed…”
“Ninety-two days after the accident on the BP platform, the U.S. government’s principal concern is that the underground structure of the well is damaged and that crude is leaking via the rock and will end up flowing out at multiple points of the seabed.”
It is the first time that an official statement has mentioned the fear of oil beginning to flow from wells that are no longer productive.
Readers interested in the issue are setting about sifting the sensationalist aspects from the scientific data. For me, there are events that do not have a satisfactory explanation. Why did Admiral Allen state that “the government’s principal concern is that the underground structure of the well is damaged and that crude is leaking through the rock and will end up flowing out at multiple points of the seabed?” Why did BP state that it cannot be blamed for the crude that appeared 15 kilometers from the damaged well?
We would have to wait for another 15 days that it would take to perforate the auxiliary well, which has an almost parallel trajectory to the one that originated the spill, at a distance of less than five meters from the other one, according to the Cuban group that is analyzing the problem. Meanwhile we must wait like well-behaved children.
If they are so confident about the parallel well, why didn’t they implement that measure earlier?
What will we do afterward if that measure fails like all the rest have?
In a recent interchange that I had with a person who is extremely well informed about the details of the accident, due to his country’s interests, I learned that, given the characteristics and the situation around the well, in that case there is no risk there of a methane emission.
July 23: no news whatsoever appeared on the problem.
The 24th: the DPA agency affirmed that, “a prominent U.S. scientist has accused the British BP oil corporation of bribing experts investigating the black tide in the Gulf of Mexico to delay the publication of data, according to the BBC television network,” but did not relate that immorality to any damage to the structure of the seabed and emissions of oil and unusual methane levels.
July 26: the principal London press media – the BBC, Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph and others – reported that “a BP board meeting would make a final decision today on whether its CEO, Tony Hayward, is to go, for his mismanagement of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.”
For their part, Notimex and El Universal, of Mexico, published that BP “had not made any decision on changes among its directors, and adds that a directors’ meeting is planned for this afternoon.”
The 27th: news agencies informed that the executive president of BP had been dismissed.
July 28: Twelve cables and 14 countries, including the United States and a number of its most important allies, drew up embarrassing statements given the divulgation, by the Wikileaks organization, of secret documents on the war in Afghanistan. Although “Barack Obama admitted that he was ‘concerned’ about the leak… he noted that the information is old and does not contain anything new.”
That was a cynical statement.
“The founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, said that the documents are evidence of war crimes committed by the U.S. forces.”
They so accurately evidenced them that they have shaken U.S. secretiveness to the foundations. They talk of “civilian deaths that were never made public.” It has created conflicts among the parties involved in those atrocities.
On the risks of methane gas emanating from wells that are not in production, total silence.
July 29: an AFP cable informs on the unimaginable: Osama Bin Laden was an agent of the U.S. intelligence services: “… Osama Bin Laden appears in secret reports published by Wikileaks as an active agent, present and adulated by his men in the Afghan-Pakistani area.”
It was known that, during the Afghans’ fight against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Osama cooperated with the United States, but the world supposed that, in his fight against foreign invasion, he accepted the support of the United States and NATO as a necessity and that, once the country was liberated, he rejected foreign interference by creating the Al Qaeda organization to combat the United States. Many countries, Cuba among them, condemn his terrorist methods that do not exclude the death of countless innocent victims.
What a surprise for world public opinion now to discover that Al Qaeda was a creation of the government of that country.
That was the justification for the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and one of the motives, among others, for the subsequent invasion and occupation of Iraq by the military forces of the United States. Two countries in which thousands of young Americans have died and a large number of them have been mutilated. Between the two, more than 150,000 U.S. soldiers are committed for an indefinite period and together with them, members of units of the militaristic NATO organization, and other allies like Australia and South Korea.
On July 29, a photo was published of a 22-year-old U.S. citizen, Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst, who leaked 240,000 classified documents to the Wikileaks website. There has been no statement as to his guilt or innocence. However, nobody can touch one hair of his head. The members of Wikileaks have sworn to make the truth known to the world.
The Brazilian theologian Frei Betto published an article datelined July 30, titled “Cry of the earth, clamor of the peoples.”
Two paragraphs express the essence of its content. “The ancient Greeks had already noted: Gaya Earth, is a living organism. And we are the fruit of her, engendered in 13.7 billion years of evolution. However, in the last 200 years we have not known how to take care of her, but have transformed her into merchandise, from which it is hoped to obtain the maximum profit.”
“Today all forms of life on the planet are threatened, including the human race (two-thirds of the world population is surviving below the poverty line) and Earth herself. Avoiding the anticipation of the Apocalypse demands questioning the myths of modernity – as market, development, uninational state – all of them based on instrumental reason.”
For its part, that same day AFP published: “The People’s Republic of China ‘does not approve of the unilateral sanctions’ adopted by the European Union against Iran, Jiang Yu, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, stated today.”
Likewise Russia delivered an energetic protest condemning the sanction of that region, closely allied to the United States.
July 30: an AFP cable notes that the Israeli defense minister stated: “The sanctions imposed on Iran by the UN… will not make it suspend its uranium enrichment activities in search of the atomic bomb.”
August 1: an AFP cable notes “High-ranking military chief of the Guardians of the Revolution warned the U.S. today against a possible attack on Iran.”
“Israel did not discount military action against Iran in order to halt its nuclear program.”
“The international community, headed by Washington, recently intensified its pressure on Iran, accused of seeking to equip itself with nuclear weapons via a covert civil nuclear program.”
“Javani’s affirmations preceded a statement from the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Michael Mullen, who assured this Sunday that a U.S. plan of attack on Iran is in place to stop Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”
August 2: an AFP news report similar in content to those of other news agencies informed:
“’I have to travel to New York in September to take part in the UN General Assembly. I am prepared to sit down with Obama, face to face, man to man, before the media in order to find the best solution,’ Ahmadinejad affirmed during a speech broadcast by state television.”
“But President Ahmadinejad warned that the dialogue will have to be based on mutual respect.
“’If they believe that they can wave a wand and tell us that we have to accept everything that they say, that will not happen,’ he added. The Western powers ‘do not understand that things have changed in the world,’ he added.”
“’You are backing a country that has hundreds of nuclear weapons but you are saying that you want to stop Iran, which could possibly have them some day…’”
The Iranians have stated that they will fire 100 rockets against every one of the U.S. and Israeli ships that are blockading Iran, as soon as they inspect any Iranian merchant ship.
In that way, when Obama gives the order to comply with the Security Council resolution, he will be decreeing the sinking of all the U.S. warships in that area.
Never before has such a dramatic decision fallen upon a president of the United States. He should have foreseen that.
On this occasion, for the first time in my life, I am addressing United States President Barack Obama:
You must know that it is in your hands to offer humanity the only real possibility of peace. Only on one occasion can you make use of your prerogatives by giving the order to fire.
It is possible that later, on the basis of this traumatic experience, solutions might be found that will not lead us once again to this apocalyptical situation. Everybody in your country, including your worst adversaries of the left or the right, will doubtless be grateful to you, and also the people of the United States, who are not in any way guilty of the situation created.
I ask you to deign to hear this appeal that I am conveying to you in the name of the Cuban people.
I understand that a rapid response cannot be expected, nor would you ever give one. Think it through well, consult your specialists, ask your most powerful allies and international adversaries for their opinion on the matter.
I am not interested in honors or glories. Do it!
The world really can be liberated from nuclear weapons and also conventional ones.
The worst of all the variants will be nuclear war, which is already virtually inevitable. PREVENT IT!
Fidel Castro Ruz
August 3, 2010
Translated by Granma International