Pipeline to 9/11
Islamic Terrorism Timeline
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 created a temporarily impoverished array of new landlocked Islamic states in the Caucasus Region of Central Asia. Simultaneous with this development, fundamentalist Islamic terrorist organizations in Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan emerged and took control of the region. And that was not good since oil and gas was found under the shores of the Caspian Sea - the second largest reserve in the world.
U.S. oil companies, including Chevron, Unocal, ExxonMobil, Texaco, BP Amoco, Shell, Halliburton, and Enron, rushed in and committed to invest $35 billion in these new Islamic nations, bribing Muslim warlords to secure equity positions. The untapped reserves were estimated to worth $6 trillion, and U.S. companies had acquired 75% of the rights. Only one problem - how were they going to get the oil and gas out?
The Russians, who owned the only existing pipeline in the region, one built by these same American companies, demanded exorbitant fees for the transport of crude over their territory. And the Russian pipeline went to Moscow which was also landlocked.
The Chinese were able to entice these same American oil firms to start building a $15 billion pipeline from the Caspian Sea to its industrial heartland. But that deal was designed to fuel the communist economy, not the West, and even at that, it was being designed to carry Iranian crude.
There was only one way out - a single viable solution. An oil and gas pipeline would have to be built through Turkmenistan, across western Afghanistan, and down Pakistan, out into the Arabian Sea just north of India. These side-by-side 42-inch pipes would be capable of moving a million barrels of oil a day and two billion cubic feet of natural gas - over $50 billion a year. What follows is the story of that pipeline. It is a crude saga filled with villains - corporate and political. And it spills out on America's shores, greasing the skids to 9/11 and the international disasters which would follow.
1993: Recognizing where the terminus of the Caspian Sea pipeline would be, the Indian government approved the construction of Enron's proposed Dabhol power plant, located near Bombay on India's Arabian Sea coast. Enron invested $3 billion in the project, the largest single foreign capital infusion in India's history.
When completed and fueled, Enron would own 65% of the Dabhol liquefied natural gas power plant, intended to provide one-fifth of India's energy needs by 1997. It would be the largest gas-fired power plant in the world. However, the World Bank concluded that the plant was "not economically viable" and refused to invest in it until the Afghan situation was resolved.
1995: Enron's $3 billion Dabhol power plant ran into trouble when the Indian government tabled the agreement. The plant was projected to get relatively cheap and abundant energy from the proposed trans-Afghan pipeline, and that project was in jeopardy.
That meant that Enron was in serious trouble. So its Chairman and founder Ken Lay traveled to India with Commerce Secretary Ron Brown in 1995, to lobby for the project. If it were truly dead, so was Enron.
By the summer of 2001, in a dubious mix of corporate commerce and governmental affairs, America's National Security Council created a "Dabhol Working Group" with officials from various cabinet agencies. They lobbied to get the plant completed. U.S. government pressure on India continued to intensify right up to the time Enron filed for bankruptcy in December 2001. U.S. officials claimed that their lobbying merely supported the $640 million the U.S. government had investment in the plant. But what was the United States doing investing in a commercial project in a foreign country? And while that question needs to be answered, we're getting ahead of our story.
September 1995: Unocal (Union Oil Company of California, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Chevron-Texaco) signed an $8 billion deal with Turkmenistan to construct two pipelines - one for oil and one for gas. Turkmenistan was the wellhead location for the largest of the Caspian Sea oil and gas fields - reserves controlled by Chevron and Texaco. These dual pipelines were headed south as part of the larger plan for side-by-side oil and gas tributaries from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan and out into the Arabian Sea.
Before proceeding, however, on this bold project, Unocal needed to execute agreements with Pakistan and Afghanistan. Without transit rights through their territory, the Turkmenistan project was worthless.
However, that would not be easy. The Pakistani regime and Ahmed Shah Massoud's government in Afghanistan, had already signed a pipeline agreement with an Argentinean company - one associated with the Saud warlords.
So, Unocal brought out America's big political gun. Henry Kissinger, a traitor and all around scoundrel, was hired as speaker for a special dinner in New York to announce Unocal's incursion into the Turkmenistan pipeline project. He said "The Unocal plan represents a triumph of hope over experience." The project was dubbed: "The Silk Road for the 21st Century." Ah, but one scoundrel was not enough. Before Unocal was done, they would employ the Taliban.
Then in the days which followed, Unocal opened an office in Kabul, Afghanistan. And as fate would have it, within weeks the Taliban captured the Afghani capital. And while you might think that this was a setback for Unocal, it was just the opposite. The Argentine agreement was signed with the prior regime and so it was now void. And even better, the Taliban was a Pakistani enterprise, meaning that now only one yes stood between Unocal and trillions of dollars of landlocked oil and gas. So, in late 1996 the Union Oil Company of California began to interact with the Taliban, seeking their support for the massive pipeline project.
Since we a talking business, you should know that Unocal's stake in the Central Asia gas project, named CentGas was 54.1%. Realizing who they would have to partner with, they gave a stake to Pakistan's Crescent Group and to the Islamic government of Turkmenistan. Unocal's lead financial partner would be the Saud warlord owned Delta Oil Company. They would provide sufficient OPEC capital for a 15% stake. And that was interesting because political pressure in favor of the pipeline was solicited on the basis of it diminishing American reliance on OPEC, of which the Sauds dominate.
Since we are talking politics, you should know that while only a handful of nations recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, Unocal's partners, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were among them.
December 1995: The American Petroleum Institute published a report which revealed that the states bordering the Caspian Sea, north of Afghanistan, possessed two-thirds of the world's known oil and gas reserves - 659 billion barrels. That's $45 trillion at today's prices. Such numbers spurred an insatiable lust for an Afghan pipeline. (In April 1997, the API separated the oil estimates from the natural gas reserves and published a projection of 179 billion barrels for crude alone.)
May 1996: Robin Raphel, Deputy Secretary of State for South Asia, spoke to the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister about Afghanistan. She said that the United States government "hoped that peace in the region would facilitate American business interests." She was specifically referring to the proposed Unocal oil and gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan.
June 1996: Uzbekistan signed a deal with Enron "that could lead to joint development of the Central Asian nation's potentially rich natural gas fields." The $1.3 billion venture teamed Enron with the state-owned companies of Russia and Uzbekistan according to the Houston Chronicle. The purpose was to salvage the now tabled Dabhol project.
July 8, 1996: The U.S. government agreed to give $400 million to Enron and the Islamic state of Uzbekistan to help facilitate the development of energy related projects. Enron's political contributions were paying dividends. George Bush wasn't the only politician whose services could be purchased.
August 1996: Unocal and Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia (an Islamic company owned by the word's most prolific manufacturer of terrorists) reached an agreement with the Islamic state-owned oil companies in Turkmenistan and Russia to build a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan. This agreement was finalized and signed by all parties in 1997.
September 1996: Ahmed Rashid, correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and The Daily Telegraph, completed a comprehensive review of Afghanistan following the Taliban conquest of Kabul. He will write in his book, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, that he witnessed a "massive regional polarization between the USA, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the Taliban on one side and Iran, Russia, the Central Asian states and the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance on the other."
What he discovered was true, and that was foreboding because it was this alliance and discord which led to 9/11. Those who planned 9/11 were engaged with the Taliban, the bombers were Saudis, the funding was Pakistani, and the target was America. Further, the alliance of evil not only transferred boatloads of American weapons to the nuclear equipped Pakistanis, it caused Iran and Russia to partner on nuclear armaments in addition to oil.
The journalist went on to say: "While some focused on whether there was a revival of the old CIA-ISI (Pakistan's equivalent to the CIA) connection from the Afghan jihad era (where America funded and equipped al-Qaeda), it became apparent to me that the strategy over pipelines had become the driving force behind Washington's interest in the Taliban, which in turn was prompting a counter-reaction from Russia and Iran." Remember these words because his evidence-based intuition was right on the money.
The Daily Telegraph reporter revealed: "But exploring this was like entering a labyrinth, where nobody spoke the truth or divulged their real motives or interests. It was the job of a detective rather than a journalist because there were few clues. Even gaining access to the real players in the game was difficult, because policy was being driven by the secretive ambitions of oil companies and intelligence services." But sometimes the carpets under which the nastiest secrets are swept, are lifted.
September 1996: The Taliban entered Kabul, completing their conquest of Afghanistan. And while their victory was well known, what was considerably less known was that the Taliban operated under the auspicious of the Pakistani government by way of its ISI - Inter Intelligence Services. The surge in Taliban success at this time was a direct result of increased military assistance from Pakistan's ISI, something even the New York Times came to recognize, but not until December of 2001.
September 1996: Unocal was hopeful that the Taliban would stabilize Afghanistan sufficiently allow its pipeline plans to go forward. According to a Daily Telegraph article in October of 1996: "Preliminary agreements on the pipeline were reached between the Taliban and Unocal even before the fall of Kabul. Oil industry insiders said that the dream of securing a pipeline across Afghanistan was the main reason why Pakistan had been so supportive of the Taliban, and why America had quietly acquiesced in its conquest of Afghanistan." The 9/11 Commission Report concurred, revealing that the State Department was willing to "give the Taliban a chance" because it might be able to bring stability to Afghanistan, which would allow a Unocal oil pipeline to be built through the country. (9/11 Commission, 3/24/04)
October 1996: In a Washington Post op-ed piece, Zalmay Khalilzad, a Unocal consultant on Afghanistan and future Bush-appointed viceroy over the country, called on the U.S. to deal with the Taliban. "It is time for the United States to reengage. The Taliban does not practice the anti-U.S. style of fundamentalism practiced by Iran - it is closer to the Saudi model."
Ponder that advice for a moment, keeping in mind four things: this man worked for Unocal and was paid to promote the trans-Afghan pipeline. He was a close personal friend of George Bush and he became the principle Afghani advisor to the Bush administration. America went to war to oust the Taliban regime because they were held to be complicit in 9/11. Once America had conquered Afghanistan, George Bush made Zalmay Khalilzad the defacto head of state. And Zal's first order of business was constructing a highway along the proposed pipeline route. Next, he brokered the necessary agreements to facilitate its construction.
In his article for the Washington Post, Zalmay Khalilzad called on the U.S. to help the Taliban "put Afghanistan on a path toward peace," noting that continuing violence "had been a source of regional instability and an obstacle to building pipelines to bring Central Asian oil and gas to Pakistan and the world markets." (Washington Post, 10/7/96)
Unable to sufficiently hoodwink the Clinton administration or control the Islamic terrorists, Khalilzad would eventually sour on the Taliban. In a speech in March 2000, he stated: "Afghanistan was and is a possible corridor for the export of oil and gas from the Central Asian states down to Pakistan and to the world. A California company called Unocal was interested in exploring that option, but because of the war in Afghanistan, because of the instability that's there, those options, or that option at least, has not materialized."
October 1996: The Daily Telegraph published an article about pipeline politics in Afghanistan. "Behind the tribal clashes that have scarred Afghanistan lies one of the great prizes of the 21st century, the fabulous energy reserves of Central Asia. The deposits are huge. Kazakhstan alone may have more oil than Saudi Arabia. Turkmenistan is already known to have the fifth largest gas reserves in the world."
October 1996: Halliburton, a company headed by future Vice President Dick Cheney, announced an agreement to provide technical and drilling services for Turkmenistan. The press release mentions, "Halliburton has been providing a variety of services in Turkmenistan for the past five years." On the same day, a consortium to build a pipeline through Afghanistan was formed called CentGas. The two largest shareholders were Unocal and Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia.
Summer 1997: Two groups of Unocal officials from the U.S. visited Afghanistan. They were led by Unocal vice president, Chris Taggart. He said that Khodainoor Mandar Khail, met with them, representing himself as the president of the Afghan National Oil Company.
Khail, who retained his job under Bush appointee, Karzai, said he accompanied both Unocal delegations to the southern city of Kandahar, where the Taliban's reclusive leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, made all the important decisions. Mandar Khail said he didn't know whether Omar granted a rare audience to the Americans, but said that he was available to join in such important negotiations.
According to Madar Khail, Unocal was so confident that it would be granted access by the Taliban, it opened a school in Kandahar to train workers in pipe-fitting, welding and other skills required for the project.
October 1997: Unocal announced that it would lead a seven-member consortium, called Central Asia Gas Pipeline Ltd. The group planned to build a 790-mile pipeline from the Turkmen-Afghan border to Multan, Pakistan. A $600-million extension to supply an even bigger market in India was also under consideration, Unocal said.
Marty Miller, then a Unocal vice president, cautioned at the time that the project faced "significant economic, political and commercial challenges." She added, "It has exceptionally sound economic fundamentals, given the presence of proven gas reserves in Turkmenistan and the market needs of Pakistan and India."
November 1997: Argentina's Saudi-backed Bridas Oil announced that it was close to signing a pipeline contract with the Taliban.
December 1997: Unocal paid the University of Nebraska $900,000 to set up a training facility near bin Laden's Kandahar compound. The educational venture was designed to train 400 Afghan teachers, electricians, carpenters and pipe fitters in anticipation of using them for their pipeline project. One hundred and fifty students begin attending classes.
December 1997: Senior Taliban leaders were invited to the Texas, not California, offices of Unocal to negotiate support for the pipeline. Future President George W. Bush is Governor of Texas at the time. The invitation was extended by George Bush's good friend, campaign contributor, future senior White House staffer, and defacto head of conquered Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad.
Eight fundamentalist Islamic terrorists in turbans and flowing robes were flown at Unocal's expense to Houston, Texas, which served as home for Unocal's Central Asian projects. The Taliban delegation included the one-eyed Islamic cleric Mullah Muhammad Ghaus, who served as the Taliban's Foreign Minister and Ahmed Jan, who was the Taliban's Minister for Mines and Industry.
The Taliban delegates were given VIP tours of NASA's Johnson Space Center, the Houston Zoo. They were helicoptered to Unocal's oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Zal and Unocal even took the Taliban on a shopping spree where the Islamic terrorists stocked up on toiletries at the oil company's expense.
Zalmay Khalilzad and Unocal sent the Taliban off to Omaha, Nebraska, where they spent two days visiting with Thomas Gouttierre, the University of Nebraska's Director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies - an institute of higher learning purchased by Unocal. Zalmay Khalilzad and Gouttierre were close friends. Both were invited to testify to Congress on behalf of Unocal.
Interestingly, the chief Taliban leader based in Kandahar, Mullah Mohammed Omar, now on America's international Most Wanted List, was firmly in the Unocal camp. His rival in Kabul, Mullah Muhammad Rabbani, favored Bridas, an Argentine oil company associated with the Sauds. But Mullah Omar had already been the beneficiary of huge sums of money that Unocal had given to the Taliban hierarchy in Kandahar and its expatriate Afghan supporters in the United States like Hamid Karzai. Further, Kandahar was the largest city through which the CentGas pipeline was to pass, a lucrative deal for the otherwise desert outpost.
During the visit, the Taliban delegation agreed to Unocal's $2 billion pipeline deal, but with one caveat. They wanted the U.S. to officially recognize their government. With that being the only obstacle, Unocal used their political connections to see to it that the Taliban met with U.S. government officials. Even though the Taliban's policies against women and children were despicable, those who benefited from oil company contributions appeared anxious to please the Islamic fundamentalists in hopes of clinching the lucrative pipeline contract. A BBC correspondent said: "The proposal to build a pipeline across Afghanistan was part of an international scramble to profit from developing the rich energy resources of the Caspian Sea."
So the last stop on the Taliban tour was Washington, D.C. where Unocal had arranged a high-level meeting with the Clinton administration in the State Department. During the session with President Clinton's Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, the Taliban requested to be officially recognized. When State officials brought up the imposition of Sharia law that afforded women and religious minorities with a radically inferior status, the Taliban replied: "That is Allah's law. This is the way it's supposed to be." Personally, I can't help but laugh at the hypocrisy of the State Department. Most Islamic states have imposed Sharia Law, including George Bush's Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. So have George Bush's war on terror allies, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia - and the State Department recognizes them.
Late 1997: The United States Congress passed a resolution declaring the Caspian and Caucasus region to be a zone of vital American interests. This paved the way for American CIA, political, and military involvement.
January 1998: At Unocal's, Halliburton's, and Enron's urging, Bill Richardson, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, met Taliban officials in Kabul. Since the United States still officially recognized the government the Taliban ousted as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan this meeting was both inappropriate and illegal. But money trumped morality and the American entourage called the oil and gas pipeline project a "fabulous opportunity." They were especially motivated by the "prospect of circumventing Iran, which offered a competitive route for the pipeline."
February 1998: Unocal Vice President John Maresca - who would later become George Bush's Special Ambassador to Afghanistan - testified before the House of Representatives. He said that until a single, unified, friendly government is in place in Afghanistan, the trans-Afghan pipeline could not be built. He also said that with a pipeline through Afghanistan to the Caspian basin would produce 20% of the oil output of all non-OPEC nations by 2010.
June 1998: Enron's agreement dating to June 1996 to develop natural gas with Uzbekistan was not renewed. Enron closed its office there. The reason for the "failure of Enron's flagship project" was listed as an inability to get the natural gas out of the region. Uzbekistan's production was therefore "well below capacity" with only 10% of its production is being exported. Uzbekistan was extremely concerned at the growing strength of the Taliban and its potential impact on stability in Uzbekistan, making any future cooperation on a pipeline project which benefits the Taliban less likely."
June 23, 1998: Future Vice President Cheney, currently running the Halliburton energy company, stated, "I can't think of a time when we've had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian. It's almost as if the opportunities have arisen overnight." (Defending Liberty in a Global Economy, 6/23/1998; Chicago Tribune, 8/10/00)
August 7, 1998: Two U.S. Embassies in Africa were bombed almost simultaneously. The attack in Nairobi, Kenya, killed 213 people, including 12 Americans More than 4,500 were wounded in the blast. The attack in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killed 11 and injured 85. The attacks were blamed on al-Qaeda. A third attack against the US Embassy in Uganda failed.
August 9, 1998: The Northern Alliance capital of Afghanistan, Mazar-i-Sharif, was conquered by the Taliban with substantial military support from Pakistan's ISI. An intercept of an ISI officer states: "My boys and I are riding into Mazar-i-Sharif." (New York Times, 12/8/01)
This victory gave the Taliban control of 90% of Afghanistan, including the entire proposed pipeline route. CentGas, the consortium behind the pipeline was now "ready to proceed with its main partners, the American oil firm Unocal and Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia, plus a Pakistani conglomerate and the Turkmen government."
However, the pipeline could not be financed using traditional banks or the IMF unless the government of Afghanistan was officially recognized. "Diplomatic sources said the Taliban's offensive was well prepared and deliberately scheduled two months ahead of the next UN meeting where members were to decide whether the Taliban should be recognized."
August 20, 1998: The U.S. fired 66 missiles at six al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and 13 missiles at a pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum, Sudan (bin Laden's previous residence), in retaliation for the U.S. Embassy bombings. The United States insisted the attacks were aimed at terrorists "not supported by any state," despite obvious evidence to the contrary in both locals. The Sudanese factory was hit in the middle of the night when it is unoccupied. Twenty people may have been killed in the Afghanistan attacks, but no important al-Qaeda figures died.
Later it would be disclosed that Clinton Secretary of State Madelyn Albright, called the Pakistani government several hours before the cruise missiles arrived. Pakistan's ISI called their client, the Taliban, who along with al-Qaeda abandoned the camps long before the missiles arrived. If you are of the belief that Osama bin Laden was responsible for 9/11, then Albright's phone call cost America 3,000 lives.
The reason that Pakistan continues to harbor bin Laden, al-Qaeda, Mullah Omar, and the Taliban today is because they are business partners. They represent fundamentalist Salafi Muslims. They are jihadists. They not only fought as a team against the Soviets in the 1980s, they worked as a team to conquer Afghanistan in the 1990s. Moreover, they are still in business together. All of the terrorist training camps in Afghanistan were used to train Pakistani jihadists to wage war on India in Kashmir.
September 1998: After the failure of the cruise missile strike, the Clinton administration devised a plan with Pakistan's ISI to send a team of assassins into Afghanistan to kill Bin Laden. But Pakistan's government was overthrown by General Musharraf, who was too supportive of the Taliban for a joint operation to prevail. In fact, Musharraf's Taliban support was the reason he was empowered. So the CIA cancelled its plans, fearing Musharraf's ISI would tip off the Taliban and Bin Laden.
October 1998: Julie Sirrs, a military analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency went to Afghanistan. Fluent in local languages and knowledgeable about the culture, she had made a previous undercover trip there in October 1997. She was surprised that the CIA was not interested in sending in agents to finish the mission against bin Laden that had failed in August. Traveling undercover, she met with Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud. She also visited a terrorist training center in Taliban-controlled territory.
Sirrs claimed, "The Taliban's brutal regime was being kept in power significantly by bin Laden's money, plus the narcotics trade, while Massoud's resistance was surviving on a shoestring. With even a little aid to the Afghan resistance, we could have pushed the Taliban out of power. But there was great reluctance by the State Department and the CIA to undertake that."
Much of what she said was true but not all of it. Pakistani ISI and Saudi OPEC money was behind the Taliban, not bin Laden's comparatively meager funds. Underestimating an enemy and discounting their alliances is dangerous. The Taliban radically diminished Afghanistan's narcotic's trade and the Northern Alliance profited from it, the inverse of Sirrs's claim. But her most egregious error was the notion that "with a little aid to the Afghan resistance we could have pushed the Taliban out of power." Not only wasn't it true, it is that kind of thinking that gets nations sucked into quagmires like Korea, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, and Iraq. And if it were true, so what? The Northern Alliance was an Islamic terrorist organization funded by Iran. Why was one devil better than another. And lastly, while the Taliban was repressive, as are all Islamic governments, the evidence suggests that terror diminished during their rule and escalated geometrically following their ouster.
Sirrs would blame US government policy on Unocal, Enron, and Halliburton. They wanted to see the Taliban government recognized to enable their trans-Afghanistan pipeline. She said, "Massoud told me he had proof that Unocal had provided money that helped the Taliban take Kabul." She revealed: "The State Department didn't want to have anything to do with Afghan resistance, or even, politically, to reveal that there was any viable option to the Taliban." There were more reasons for this than just a pipeline. State knew that the Taliban was essentially Pakistani, and they were big purchasers of American arms. Further, Pakistan had been a full partner in the formation and funding of al-Qaeda during a time that the mujahideen who composed the Taliban and al-Qaeda had essentially been one.
After two weeks, she returned with maps, photographs, and interviews. Her meetings with captured al-Qaeda operatives revealed that bin Laden enjoyed hunting trips with "rich Saudis and top Taliban officials." But that was not something America wanted to hear. Official policy was to see al-Qaeda as a rogue entity, separate from Saudi's ruling family. And business interests were served when the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance was ignored.
When Sirrs returned from Afghanistan, her material was confiscated and she was accused of being a spy. Says one senior colleague, "She had gotten the proper clearances to go, and she came back with valuable information," but high level officials "were so intent on getting rid of her, the last thing they wanted to pay attention to was any information she had." While she was cleared of wrongdoing, her security clearance is pulled. She quit the DIA in frustration. America was headed down a dark and lonely road to its own demise. The only evidence which would be considered was that which advanced the interests of the rich and powerful. The Clinton and Bush administrations were both bad in this regard. It is why so many Americans have died.
Sirrs would go on to tell ABC News in February, 2002, that "US intelligence on bin Laden and the Taliban relied too heavily on the ISI for its information." It was like relying upon the SS to foil Hitler.
December 5, 1998: In December, the New York Times reported that President Clinton would refuse to extend diplomatic recognition to the Taliban, making business there very difficult. A concern that Clinton would lose support among women voters for upholding the Taliban played a role in his policy decision.
With a huge public relations disaster on its hands, and out of political options, Unocal publicly announced that it was withdrawing from the CentGas pipeline consortium. They officially closed three of their four offices in Central Asia. While the American African Embassy bombings had essentially spoiled a public deal with the Taliban, behind the scenes, Unocal was still very much engaged. The public release was for public relations, nothing more.
Late 1998: During the investigation of the August 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings, FBI counterterrorism expert John O'Neill discovered a memo from al-Qaeda leader Muhammad Atef on a computer. The letter revealed that bin Laden had a keen interest in and detailed knowledge of negotiations between the Taliban and the United States over the oil and gas pipeline through Afghanistan. Muhammad Atef's analysis suggested that the Taliban were not ever interested in the pipeline, but are dragging out negotiations to keep Western powers at bay. That meant that for the pipeline to prevail, the Taliban would have to be removed from power.
Early 1999: A U.S. policy document called the "Strategic Assessment 1999," explicitly confirmed that the U.S. military was being readied to fight a war for oil. The report prepared for the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense, stated: "Energy and resource issues will continue to shape international security," and if an oil "problem" arises, "U.S. forces might be used to ensure adequate supplies." Oil conflicts over production facilities and transport routes, particularly in the Persian Gulf and Caspian regions are specifically envisaged.
May 1999: Enron announced an agreement to build a $140 million power plant in the Gaza Strip, between Israel and Egypt. The financier for the project was the Saudi Bin Laden Group, a company owned by Osama bin Laden's family. This was the second of two projects between these companies. Ninety percent complete, construction was halted because of renewed Palestinian violence against Israelis and then Enron's bankruptcy.
June 1999: Even after the American African Embassy bombings,Unocal lobbied the State Department to allow a return visit by the Taliban. This time the Islamic terrorists where given a five-week grand tour that included Mount Rushmore of all places. Of course, the Taliban returned to the University of Nebraska, which had been given a State Department grant in addition to Unocal money. Five hundred Afghanis were now enrolled in the University of Nebraska's Kandahar branch in educational programs such as pipe-fitting and welding.
During these meetings, Unocal offered the Taliban 15 cents per 1,000 cubic feet for pipeline rights but courting a BP Amoco challenger, Mullah Muhammad Omar wanted more. So Unocal asked Pakistan's ISI to weigh in on the matter, recognizing that they were the substance behind the Taliban. And ISI agent was immediately dispatched to the United States. That officer was met by Robert Bigger Oakley, former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan during the first Bush administration because Unocal had hired him as a consultant too.
Then to help seal the deal, Unocal hired Bush friend and former Taliban leader, Hamid Karzai, adding him to the negotiating team. In fact, the 1999 meetings between the University of Nebraska and the Taliban had been brokered by Hamid Karzai, the future president of Afghanistan. INS records reveal that Karzai, a man with a long history of being an Islamic jihadist, entered America twice on business in 1999, the second time coinciding with the Taliban's visit.
But even with all of this political horsepower, the deal never got done. The Taliban didn't trust Americans. I wonder why.
July 4, 1999: With the chances of a pipeline deal with the Taliban looking increasingly unlikely, a year after the American Embassy bombing in Africa, President Clinton finally issued an executive order prohibiting commercial transactions with the Taliban. The order froze the Taliban's U.S. assets. Clinton blamed the Taliban for harboring bin Laden.
December 20, 1999: The BBC revealed that the reason why the Northern Alliance had been able to hold out for so long in its war against the Pakistani Taliban in Afghanistan was that "Iran had stirred up the fighting in order to make sure the Caspian Sea international oil pipeline went through its territory and not through Afghanistan."
October 12, 2000: The USS Cole was attacked by an Islamic suicide bomber in Aden, Yemen. While the murderers' connections to Yemen and Islam were strong, al-Qaeda was blamed. Seventeen U.S. sailors were killed and a billion dollars damage was done to the American destroyer. Every Muslim associated with the attack would "escape" prison through a neighboring mosque.
Of particular interest in this affair was that FBI counterterrorism expert John O'Neill was purposely thwarted in his investigation by the U.S. State Department. O'Neill would ultimately put the pieces together, but since what he discovered was bad for business. The FBI's Deputy Director for Counter Terrorism would resign in protest over this outrageous and intolerable obstruction.
You don't have to take O'Neill's word on this mater, The Washington Post reported that the U.S, Ambassador to Yemen, Barbara Bodine, actually prevented Director O'Neill from entering Yemen in the FBI's investigation into al-Qaeda and the USS Cole attack that killed 17 American sailors.
In a very odd twist of fate, John O'Neill upon his resignation in protest in August 2001 as Deputy Director of the FBI, accepted a position as chief of security for the World Trade Center. He was in the building when it was bombed, and died on the morning of 9/11.
As a point of interest, electronic security for the WTC was provided by Securacom, now Stratesec, a company founded with Kuwaiti OPEC capital by way of the Carlisle Group of which George Bush served as a Director. The Carlisle Group funds corporate military projects with Saudi, Kuwaiti, and bin Laden money. They are direct beneficiaries of the war on terror. Marvin Bush, the president's brother, served as a Securacom board member from 1993 to 2000. It is most wicked web they have woven.
December 19, 2000: The Washington Post reported: "The United States has quietly begun to align itself with those in the Russian government calling for military action against Afghanistan and has toyed with the idea of a new raid to wipe out Osama bin Laden. Until it backed off under local pressure, it went so far as to explore whether a Central Asian country would permit the use of its territory for such a purpose." Regime change in Afghanistan was good for business.
Russia and the U.S. were discussing: "the kind of government that should replace the Taliban. Thus, while claiming to oppose a military solution to the Afghan problem, the United States was now talking about the overthrow of a regime that controlled the entire country, in the hope it could be replaced with a hypothetical government that did not exist even on paper." The pre-9/11 plans to invade Afghanistan were based upon America attacking the nation from the north in consort with Russia.
January 21, 2001: After losing the popular vote,George W. Bush was inaugurated as the 43rd U.S. President, replacing Bill Clinton. The only Cabinet-level figure to remain in office was CIA Director George Tenet, appointed in 1997 and a long-time friend of George H. W. Bush. FBI Director Louis Freeh stayed on until June 2001.
An alarming number of the Bush administration appointees who were engaged in the decision to invade Afghanistan had oil industry ties, including Bush himself. George W. Bush had not only been a Texas oil executive working in the family business, he had received more donations from those associated with oil and gas companies than any other federal candidate.
Chief among George Bush's oil cronies was Vice President Dick Cheney. Not only was he CEO of Halliburton, he was still being paid $1 million a year in "deferred income." Halliburton, as you may recall, was a prime beneficiary of the Afghani pipeline and Caspian Sea oil and gas project. Highlighting the Taliban, in a speech to the Collateral Damage Conference of the Cato Institute, Cheney said: "The good Lord didn't see fit to put oil and gas only where there are democratically elected regimes friendly to the United States. Occasionally we have to operate in places where, all things considered, one would not normally choose to go. But, we go where the business is."
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, now Secretary of State, had been on Chevron's Board of Directors, now Chevron/Texaco, since 1991. She even had an oil tanker named after her. Rice's specialty was oil interests in the Caucasus and Caspian Sea. How fortuitous. Collectively, the merged Chevron-Texaco were by far the Caspian's largest oil investor and producer. And within five years, Chevron-Texaco would acquire Unocal, making them one.
For those who were paying attention, they noticed something very strange happen as the invasion of Afghanistan commenced. America's National Security Advisor became the president's most prolific media spokesperson, garnering far more airtime than his press secretary. And why was it that the American who failed the nation in the days leading to 9/11 was promoted to Secretary of State?
Zalmay Khalilzad was hired from Unocal as Bush's top Central Advisor. As you may recall, his specialty was Afghanistan and the Taliban. The Unocal man reported directly to the Chevron director. Zal also headed the Bush-Chaney transition team for the Defense Department.
Hamid Karzai had an interesting past. He was a CIA-ISI sponsored mujahideen and thus an Islamic Jihadist. In fact, Karzai was the Foreign Minister for the Taliban. Brought to the United States by the Bush family, Karzai became a Unocal consultant. He like his friend Zalmay Khalilzad, was hired to promote the trans-Afghanistan pipeline project.
Donald Evans, Secretary of Commerce, was CEO of Tom Brown, Inc., a $1.2 billion oil company. Gale Norton, Secretary of the Interior, was national chairwoman of the Coalition of Republican Environmental Advocates - funded by BP Amoco. Spencer Abraham, Secretary of Energy, had in his failed bid for senatorial reelection received more oil and gas industry money than all but three other senators.
Thomas White, Secretary of the Army, was a former Vice Chairman of Enron. Beyond that, Enron's executive contributions of over $600,000 to the Bush-Chaney campaign greased the wheels of their otherwise unpopular election.
Juma Mohammadi was a World Bank official engaged in Caspian Sea financing issues which were all oil related. So George Bush appointed Juma Mohammadi as Afghanistan's Minister of Mines and Industry. Juma, Hamid, and Zalmay made pipeline construction their first order of business, signing deals with Turkmenistan and Pakistan. Juma Mohammadi completed a World Bank study on the proposed Unocal Corporation pipeline through the Caucasus region. It revealed: "The trans-Afghanistan pipeline would provide the most favorable netback values to Caspian oil producers than any other route."
Richard Armitage, Bush's Deputy Secretary of State, and War Cabinet leader owned Armitage Associates, L.L.C., which made a living lobbying for Caspian Sea oil interests. Armitage became a direct report to Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was an old pal. Richard worked with Zal on Department of Defense staffing. Armitage had been George H.W. Bush's first choice for Secretary of the Army but his ties to the Iran-Contra scandal scuttled his nomination. So daddy Bush appointed Armitage U.S. Ambassador to emerging Islamic nations in the Caspian Sea and Caucasus region.
Wendy Chamberlin was H.W. Bush's Ambassador to Pakistan. She was the one who barred FBI director John O'Neil from investigating the connection between Pakistan and al-Qaeda and how that led to the USS Cole bombing. Wendy earned her opportunity by representing Bush oil interests in the Middle East.
Christina Rocca was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, including Afghanistan and Pakistan. A CIA intelligence officer, she was the senior policy advisor to Senator Sam (I-Have-Been-Bought-By-Oil) Brownback, the Republican from Kansas. Senator Brownback chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and he was the cofounder and co-chair of the Silk Road Caucus, set up after 9/11 to develop legislative policy conducive to oil extraction from the Caucasus and Caspian Sea regions. He was also a Trustee of the U.S.-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce. Is it any wonder the Senate supported the debacle in Afghanistan?
George H. W. Bush, while not an administration appointee, served as a director of the Carlisle Group, a Washington investment house that specialized in financial transactions dealing with the U.S. military. Their largest investors were OPEC warlords like the Sauds and Kuwaiti Emirs - even the Bin Laden Company.
John Maresca was a former Bush administration diplomat specializing in the former Soviet republics, now Islamic states sitting atop the world's second largest gas and oil reserves. He was now a Unocal Vice President and very connected Caspian Sea Congressional lobbyist. He was also a good friend with Richard Armitage. It turns out that John, Richard and George were all Yale alumnus. He became U.S. Ambassador to Iraq.
In his meeting with Congress in August 1998, John Maresca testified: "Construction of our proposed pipeline cannot begin until a recognized government is in place in Afghanistan that has the confidence of governments, lenders, and our company." What's interesting too, is that at Maresca's urging, the Bush administration quietly repealed Clinton's ban on aid to Azerbaijan, citing the terrorist nation's help in fighting the war on terrorism. It was like paying the Pakistanis to fight the terror they had paid to create, but on a smaller scale.
Joining John Maresca on Capitol Hill was Bush campaign contributor and Unocal consultant, Zalmay Khalilzad. They even brought their Taliban associate, Hamid Karzai along to testify. In Unocal's interests, they called for "the U.S. to engage, rather than isolate the Taliban and to offer support for economic reconstruction projects" - like pipelines for example. Team Unocal was quoted in the Washington Post saying: "America should be willing to offer recognition and humanitarian assistance and to promote international economic reconstruction. America should use as a positive incentive the benefits that would accrue to Afghanistan form the construction of oil and gas pipelines across its territory."
In the Journal of International Affairs they argued: "The Taliban seem to be in the strongest position of all factions in Afghanistan to establish a single authoritative government that could be recognized by the U.S."
Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, National Security Adviser to George H.W. Bush, became Condi Rice's mentor. His specialty was Russian affairs which is why Rice is mistakenly seen as an expert in that arena. As President of the Scowcroft Group, a Washington D.C. lobbying firm with Caspian Sea oil clients, Scowcroft serves as the Chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.
Of course, Enron's ties reached deep into the administration. Money buys influence. And speaking of money, the Bush administration quickly committed $80 million American taxpayer dollars to build the 790-mile Herat to Kandahar Highway which, not so coincidently, follows the proposed CentGas pipeline route - exactly.
February 2001: With the oil friendly Bush administration empowered, Unocal reengaged with the Taliban. Discussions were held between the White House and the Islamic dictators. But these were stalled over compliance with UN resolutions to improve human rights and the need to part company with unsavory terrorists.
At this time, the Taliban hired Laila Helms, the niece of former CIA Director Richard Helms as their representative to negotiate with the new U.S. administration. Laila Helms was also a relative of King Zahir Shah. As the Taliban's envoy to America, Helms arranged for various Taliban officials to visit the U.S. at the outset of the Bush presidency. Ironically, most of her work on behalf of the Taliban was conducted in the shadows of the World Trade Center.
After Bush's accession to the presidency, various Taliban envoys were received at the State Department, CIA, and National Security Council. The CIA was particularly complicit, serving as an extension of Bush family interests, oil, and World Bank interests. They aided and abetted the Taliban and al-Qaeda at every turn. The CIA agent who helped set up the Afghan Islamic mujahideen, Milt Bearden, continued to defend the interests of the Taliban. He bemoaned the fact that the United States never really bothered to understand these Islamic jihadists. Right after 9/11 he told the Washington Post: "We never heard what they were trying to say... We had no common language. Ours was, 'Give up bin Laden.' They were saying, 'Do something to help us give him up.'"
Late February 2001: Enron used its influence with Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force to help resurrect its troubled Dabhol power plant. Vice President Cheney was holding a series of secret energy task force meetings to determine the Bush administration's future energy policy. Enron founder Ken Lay and other Enron officials took part in a least half a dozen of these secret meetings. After one such discussion, Cheney's energy task force changed a draft energy proposal to include a provision boosting oil and natural gas production in India. The amendment was targeted to help Enron's Dabhol plant.
March 1, 2001: The Taliban began blowing up the giant stone Buddhas of Bamiyan. These were ancient statues carved into an Afghan mountainside, were considered priceless treasures. They faced a great international condemnation in response. It was clear that they were no longer courting international approval or recognition. For the pipeline to be built, the Taliban would have to go.
May 16, 2001: Vice President Cheney's national energy plan was released to the public. It called for expanded oil and gas drilling on public land and easing regulatory barriers to building nuclear power plants. But there were several interesting points, little noticed at the time. It said that the U.S. could not depend exclusively on traditional sources of supply to provide the growing amount of oil that was needed. It said that the U.S. would have to obtain substantial supplies from new sources such as the Caspian states. It also noted that the U.S. could not rely on market forces alone to gain access to these additional supplies, suggesting that it would require a significant effort on the part of government officials to overcome foreign resistance to the outward reach of American energy companies.
What Cheney was saying in political speak was that the Bush administration would assist Unocal, Chevron, Halliburton, and Enron in overcoming the Taliban's resistance to the Caspian Sea trans-Afghan pipeline. Access to the Caspian oil would require regime change, and that was the burden of government, not enterprise.
May 23, 2001: George Bush appointedZalmay Khalilzad as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Gulf, Southwest Asia and Other Regional Issues on the National Security Council. Khalilzad had worked from Unocal and George H. W. Bush. After 9/11, he was appointed as Special Envoy to Afghanistan, becoming what many would call Afghani King George's Viceroy.
Zal had also worked under Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz who is not the Bush appointed head of the World Bank. Khalilzad helped Wolfowitz write a controversial 1992 plan which smacks of world domination. He was a member of the neoconservative think tank Project for the New American Century.
The Asia Times noted in late 2003: "It was Khalilzad - when he was a huge Taliban fan - who conducted the risk analysis for Unocal (Union Oil Company of California) for the infamous proposed $2.5 billion, 1,500 kilometer-long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline."
If you will recall, just ten days after the Taliban seized power in Kabul in 1996 and began its vicious fundamentalist Islamic crackdown, Khalilzad argued in a Washington Post opinion piece that the U.S. should try to work with the mullahs. That same day, one of the paper's front-page headlines declared, "Kabul Women Under House Arrest." On the opinion page, Khalilzad argued: "The Taliban does not practice the anti-U.S. style of fundamentalism practiced by Iran - it is closer to the Saudi model. We should use as a positive incentive the benefits that will accrue to Afghanistan from the construction of oil and gas pipelines across its territory," he added. "These projects will only go forward if Afghanistan has a single authoritative government."
Late May, 2001: With Zalmay Khalilzad in control of Afghan policy, the former Taliban advocate upped the ante, played games of intimidation, and used deception, causing the Taliban negotiators became distrustful of the entire process - and antagonistic toward Americans.
June 2001: Enron's power plant in Dabhol, India, was shut down. The failure of the $3 billion plant, Enron's largest investment, contributed to their bankruptcy in December. Earlier in the year, India stopped paying its bill for the energy from the plant, because the plant charged India three times the agreed tariff and above prevailing market rates. Enron had hoped to feed the plant with cheap Central Asian gas, but this hope was dashed when a gas pipeline through Afghanistan was not completed. The plant was 90% complete when construction was stopped.
Enron executives met with Commerce Secretary Donald Evans about its troubled Dabhol power plant, and Vice President Cheney lobbied the leader of India's main opposition party regarding the plant throughout the summer.
A series of e-mail memos obtained by the Washington Post and NY Daily News in January 2002 revealed that the National Security Council led a "Dabhol Working Group" composed of officials from various Cabinet departments during the summer of 2001. The Working Group prepared "talking points" for both Cheney and Bush and recommended the need to "broaden the advocacy" of settling the Enron debt. The Post commented that the NSC went so far that it "acted as a sort of concierge service for Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay and India's national security adviser, Brajesh Mishra" in trying to arrange a dinner meeting between the Indian official and Lay. But the house of cards collapsed dramatically on November 8, when Enron disclosed that it had overstated earnings dating back to 1997. Simultaneously, the administration discontinued its support for Enron in its discussions with the Indian government.
June 27, 2001: The Wall Street Journal reported that Pakistan and India were discussing jointly building a gas pipeline from Central Asian gas fields through Iran to circumvent the difficulties of building the pipeline through Afghanistan. Iran had been secretly supporting the Northern Alliance to keep Afghanistan divided so no pipelines could be put through it.
July 2001: FBI counterterrorism expert John O'Neill became increasingly frustrated with the Bush White House as they continued to obstruct his investigation into al-Qaeda and bin Laden - especially their Saudi and corporate connections. O'Neill said, "The main obstacles to investigate Islamic terrorism were U.S. oil corporate interests and the role played by Saudi Arabia in it." He added, "All the answers, everything needed to dismantle Osama bin Laden's organization, can be found in Saudi Arabia." O'Neill said that the White House was obstructing his investigation of bin Laden because they were still keeping the idea of a pipeline deal with the Taliban open - and that deal relied upon Saudi financing.
John O'Neil was right on both accounts. If America were to separate Islamic fundamentalism from its funding mechanism, OPEC crude, there would be no terrorism. And the place to start dismantling terrorism's funding was Saudi Arabia. Further, American policy regarding Afghanistan was and is driven by oil, not American security.
July 21, 2001: The head of Pakistan's fundamentalist Islamic political party, Jamiaat-i-Islami Party, and active Osama bin Laden, supporter, Qazi Hussein Ahmed, was received at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. That's like asking Satan to give a sermon in your church.
July 21, 2001: Three American officials, Tom Simons (former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan), Karl Inderfurth (former Deputy Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs), and Lee Coldren (former State Department expert on South Asia) met with Pakistani and Russian intelligence officers in a Berlin hotel. It was the third of a series of back-channel conferences to "brainstorm on Afghanistan." Taliban representatives sat in on the two previous meetings, but boycotted this one knowing what was going to happen in six weeks.
According to a Guardian, September 2001 article, the Pakistani ISI negotiated on behalf of the Taliban and relayed information discussed in the meeting to them. During this session, Lee Coldren passed on a message from Bush administration officials. He later said, "I think there was some discussion of the fact that the United States was so disgusted with the Taliban that they might be considering some military action."
Accounts vary, but Pakistani Foreign Secretary Niaz Naik said that he was told by the senior American officials at the meeting that military action to overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan was scheduled to "take place before the snows started falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest." It is precisely what occurred.
The BBC would report that the goal of the American administration was toppling the Taliban regime and installing a transitional government of moderate, pro-pipeline Afghans in its place. Uzbekistan and Russia were both supportive.
Niaz Naik was recorded by the BBC in September 2001, saying: "It was doubtful that Washington would drop its plan even if bin Laden were to be surrendered immediately by the Taliban." America's mission was never to kill or capture bin Laden or Taliban leader Mullah Omar. I say that unequivocally because there is no way for a man to survive a focused $500 billion manhunt perpetrated by the most powerful military in human history if his head had been the prize. Bin Laden has survived five years after 9/11 because the goal was building a pipeline and that required regime change.
According to the most comprehensive review of this meeting, the book written by Brisard and Dasquie, Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth: "A specific threat was made at this meeting. The Taliban could choose between carpets of bombs or carpets of gold." It was the pipeline or an invasion. And should you distrust the French source, most of what these researchers found is cohobated by conservative American journalist Paul Sperry in his Crude Politics - also about the Afghanistan pipeline affair.
Both books confirmed that Bush himself directly ordered the FBI and CIA to back off on terrorist investigations while the oil pipeline negotiations were underway. It was a decision that would soon cost 3,000 American's their lives. The immoral American president would do the same thing regarding the Saudi involvement in 9/11 after the attack so this should come as no surprise.
The Pakistani Foreign Minister attributed the "carpet" ultimatum to Tom Simons. Exposed, the former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan unleashed the following retort: "It's possible that a mischievous American participant, after several drinks, may have thought it smart to evoke gold carpets and carpet bombs. Even Americans can't resist the temptation to be mischievous." American political "mischievousness" in pursuit of a carpet of gold has cost 3,000 American civilians and 3,000 American soldiers their lives. And the carpet of bombs has cost American taxpayers half a trillion dollars. I don't see the humor in it.
July 28, 2001: Christina Rocca, Director of Asian Affairs at the State Department, secretly met with Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban Ambassador to Pakistan in Islamabad, apparently in a last ditch attempt to secure a pipeline deal. The Taliban representatives were reminded that the U.S. was prepared to provide vast sums of monetary support for their assistance in the business matter.
Rocca was previously in charge of contacts with Islamic mujahideen groups at the CIA, and oversaw the delivery of Stinger missiles to al-Qaeda and Taliban jihadists in the 1980s. This meeting was documented by the Irish Times on 11/19/2001, the Salon on 2/8/2002, and by Brisard and Dasquie in their comprehensive book on the subject.
The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research's South Asian Division maintained constant satellite telephone contact with the Taliban in Kandahar and Kabul. Washington permitted the Taliban to maintain a diplomatic office in Queens, New York headed by Taliban diplomat Abdul Hakim Mojahed.
In the meantime, the Bush administration took a hostile attitude towards the Islamic State of Afghanistan, otherwise known as the Northern Alliance. Even though the United Nations recognized the alliance as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, the Bush administration, with oil at the forefront of its goals, decided to follow the lead of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and curry favour with the Taliban mullahs.
During this time, several meetings took place under the arbitration of Francesc Vendrell, personal representative of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. Representatives of the U.S. government and Russia, and the six countries that border with Afghanistan, were present at these meetings. Sometimes, representatives of the Taliban joined the roundtable. These meetings have been confirmed by Naif Naik, the Pakistani Minister for Foreign Affairs. In a French television interview, Naik said during a 6+2 meeting (Six neighbours of Afghanistan plus the U.S. and Russia) in Berlin in July 200i, the discussions focused on the formation of a government of national unity.
Naif Naik revealed: "If the Taliban had accepted this coalition, they would have immediately received international economic aid. And the pipelines from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan would have been built." Naik also reconfirmed during this interview that Tom Simons, the U.S. representative at these meetings, openly threatened the Taliban and Pakistan. "Simons said, 'Either the Taliban will behave as they ought to, Pakistan will convince them to do so, or we will use another option.'" Naik said that the "other option" was clearly a "military operation."
Ultimatums are the tools of the morally and mentally bankrupt. They seldom prevail and they often lead to horrible consequences. This ultimatum was no exception.
Early August, 2001: According to the Washington Post, the Special Envoy of Mullah Omar, Rahmatullah Hashami, even came to Washington bearing a gift carpet, an Islamic prayer blanket, for President Bush from the one-eyed Taliban leader.
The Village Voice reported that Hashami, on behalf of the Taliban, offered the Bush administration to hold on to bin Laden long enough for the United States to capture or kill him but, inexplicably, the administration refused. Meanwhile, Spozhmai Maiwandi, the director of the Voice of America's Pashtun service, jokingly nicknamed "Kandahar Rose" by her colleagues, aired favourable reports on the Taliban, including a controversial interview with Mullah Omar.
Mid August, 2001: Knowing what was planned, Pakistani Intelligence Chief, the principal financier of the Taliban, Lt. General Mahmoud Ahmad instructed a Pakistani-born British Muslim, Saeed Sheich, alias Ahmad Umar Sheikh and Mustafa Muhammad Ahmed, to wire $100,000 to two Florida bank accounts held in the name of 9/11 mastermind and hijacker Muhammad Atta. That wire transfer has been traced through the United Arab Emirates and linked with Pakistani ISI chief, General Ahmed. According to the United Arab Emirates, Ahmad Sheikh made the final wire transfers three days before the attack. When they were completed, he returned to Pakistan on September 11th.
After the attack, the Northern Alliance spokesman in Washington, Haron Amin, and Indian intelligence, confirmed by The Times of India, revealed irrefutable documentation that General Ahmed had instructed the Pakistani-born British citizen and known terrorist, Ahmed Umar Sheikh to wire $100,000 from Pakistan to the U.S. bank account of Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker.
When the FBI and NSA traced calls made between General Ahmed and Sheik's cellular phone - the number having been supplied by Indian intelligence to the FBI - the connection between the ISI general and fundamentalist Islamic terrorist Muslim Sheikh clearly emerged. According to The Times of India, the revelation that General Ahmed was involved in the Sheikh-Atta money transfer was more than enough for a nervous and embarrassed Bush administration. It pressed Musharraf to dump General Ahmed after it was too late - a year after the attack. Musharraf said: "Ahmed requested early retirement." Ahmed's overt pro-Taliban endorsements and direct Muhammad Atta payments were never acknowledged by the CIA, ISI, or Musharraf.
Ahmad Umar Sheikh was well known to the Indian police. He was arrested in New Delhi in 1994 for plotting to kidnap four foreigners, including an American citizen. Sheikh was released by the Indians in 1999 in a swap for passengers on board New Delhi-bound Indian Airlines flight 814, hijacked by Islamic militants from Kathmandu, Nepal to Kandahar, Afghanistan. India continues to believe the ISI played a part in the hijacking since the hijackers were affiliated with the Pakistani Kashmiri terrorist group, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. The ISI and bin Laden's al Qaeda assists the Army of Holy Warriors in its terrorist operations in Kashmir.
The FBI, which assisted its Indian counterpart in the investigation of the Indian Airlines hijacking, said it wanted information leading to the arrest of those involved in the terrorist attacks. Yet, no move has been made to question General Ahmed or those U.S. government officials, including Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who met with him in September. Clearly, General Ahmed was a major player in terrorist activities across South Asia, yet still had very close ties to the U.S. government - including the co-chairs of the 9/11 Committee.
September 4-11, 2001: The Bush Administration met with Lt. General Mahmoud Ahmad of the Pakistani ISI in the White House. Considering what's known about him, that's hard to explain.
The financier of 9/11, the ISI's Mahmoud Ahmad, meet with Senator Bob Graham (D-FL), Representative Porter Goss (R-FL), and Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ). Graham and Goss subsequently served as Co-Chairs of the Joint-Intelligence Committee investigating the 9/11 attacks. That is especially troubling.
In the days prior to the 9/11 attack, Mahmoud Ahmad would also visit with the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE). So bad behavior was not a matter of politics. Republicans and Democrats were equally guilty of malfeasance.
The Pakistani ISI Chief, Taliban director, and 9/11 financier General Ahmad, met with Secretary of State Colin Powell and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. ISI General Mahmoud Ahmad would meet with U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman.
General Ahmad is known to have to have funded and directed the Taliban, to have supplied jihadists to and deployed jihadists from al-Qaeda terrorist training camps. The ISI chief saved bin Laden's life during the Clinton administration cruise missile attack. And General Ahmad's wire transfer financed Muhammad Atta and his plot to kill 3,000 Americans. What on earth were these American leaders discussing with this horrible terrorist?
September 9, 2001: The Taliban's only viable rival, Ahmed Shah Masood, was assassinated in Afghanistan. Without his leadership, and connections to Iranian financing, the Northern Alliance crumbled.
September 11, 2001: Four American planes were hijacked by Muslims financed by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Two crashed into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and the other into the Pennsylvania countryside, with Islam killing 3,000 Americans. John O'Neill, the most knowledgeable critic of the Bush-Taliban oil alliance, was killed in the WTC.
Six weeks after the Bush administration issued its carpet of bombs ultimatum to the Taliban terrorists, the terrorists bombed New York City and Washington, D.C. How ironic.
September 12, 2001: George Bush stood upon the pile of rubble that had been the World Trade Center and he told America and the world what he had already told the Taliban. Before the first snow would fall in Afghanistan there would be a carpet of bombs.
October 7, 2001: The Bush Administration begins carpet bombing Afghanistan.
What is surprising, however, is that Bush administration's alliances with the Taliban continued after the start of the bombing campaign against their country. According to European intelligence sources, a number of European governments were concerned that the CIA and American oil interests were pressuring the U.S. military not to engage in an initial ground war on behalf of the Northern Alliance in order to placate Pakistan and its Taliban compatriots. But the initial air bombardment were causing too many civilian deaths for the already shaky international coalition, so a token number of troops were engaged.
October 9, 2001: U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Wendy Chamberlin, met with Pakistan's Oil Minister. They discussed the gas pipeline project from Turkmenistan, across Afghanistan, through Pakistan, and out to the Arabian Sea. The conclusion: "In view of recent geopolitical developments" - in other words, the 9/11 attacks and the impending invasion of Afghanistan - "the pipeline has been revived."
October 10, 2001: The pipeline revival was too late forEnron. The giant, politically connected, energy company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In 2002, however, what was left of Enron reorganized as a pipeline company and continued working on the controversial Dabhol plant. The Indian government clearly understood that the trans-Afghan pipeline would be built.
The chief benefactor of the CentGas deal was Halliburton, the huge oil pipeline construction firm that had lobbied Congress to facilitated access to Central Asian oil reserves. At the time, Halliburton was headed by Dick Cheney. After Cheney's selection as Bush's Vice Presidential candidate, Halliburton pumped cash into the Bush-Cheney campaign coffers. And like Enron whose survival was linked to the trans-Afghanistan pipeline, there were Wall Street rumours in late December that Halliburton, which suffered a forty percent drop in share value, might follow Enron into bankruptcy. But that was avoided with the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions because Halliburton became the biggest beneficiary of those wars.
October 30, 2001: The Bush White House drafted an unprecedented executive order sealing presidential records. Their hope was that no one would discover the truth about them.
November 25, 2001: As U.S. troops approached the Kandahar Taliban stronghold, Hamid Karzai, made a deal with his former organization. He offered Taliban leaders and jihadists general amnesty in return for the surrender of the city. The Taliban leader, Mullah Omar was allowed to "escape with dignity" as part of the deal. Omar moved into Pakistan, harboured by his Pakistani ISI sponsors, and the Taliban faded into the network of Islamic warlords across Afghanistan where they would continue to control the country.
December 7, 2001: During a visit to Kazakhstan in Central Asia, Secretary of State Colin Powell stated that U.S. oil companies would be investing $200 billion in Kazakhstan alone over the next five to ten years. Since nothing more would be invested without a means to transport the oil and gas out of the landlocked region, Powell knew that the trans-Afghan pipeline was a certainty.
December 8, 2001: George Bush appointsHamid Karzai as Prime Minister or Afghanistan. He had been a Taliban jihadist, their Deputy Foreign Minister, and more importantly, he had been a paid consultant for Unocal. It's hard to imagine a more inappropriate choice.
Karzai was a jihadist, a member of the Islamic mujahideen which fought the Soviets during the 1980s. He was a top CIA contact as Taliban leader and maintained relations with CIA Director William Casey, Vice President George Bush, and Pakistani Inter Service Intelligence (ISI). Of the billions the United States sent to the Islamic jihadists, Hamid Karzai was as much a recipient for the Taliban as was Osama bin Laden for al-Qaeda.
The Bush family, as a result of their oil interests, asked the CIA to bring Karzai to the United States where the American taxpayers funded the Islamic jihadist's lavish lifestyle. He was immediately introduced to George Bush's oil associates and became involved in negotiating CentGas deals in the Middle East.
Hamid Karzai's ties with Unocal, the CIA, and the Bush family were why he was chosen as the Afghan leader over rival Abdul Haq from Jalalabad. Haq's leadership in the Northern Alliance would have given him more credibility. While Haq had no ties to the U.S. oil industry or to Bush, he was a Pushtun and a leader in the Northern Alliance rather than a leader of the Taliban, as was Karzai, so he would have been far more popular with a wide cross-section of the Afghan people. This combination likely sealed his fate.
When Haq entered Afghanistan from Pakistan in October 2001, his position was immediately known to Taliban forces (benefited as they were from the CIA and ISI), which subsequently pinned him and his small party down, captured, and executed them. Former Reagan National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane (one of the few good men in government and my friend), who worked with Haq, vainly attempted to get the CIA to help rescue him. They refused because they had aided and abetted his capture.
Abdul Haq was not part of the Bush administration's Grand Oil Plan for South Asia so he was eliminated. Karzai, the former Taliban leader, was onboard with the crude plan so he was empowered.
December 31, 2001: George Bush appointed Taliban supporter and Unocal lobbyist Zalmay Khalilzad as his Special Envoy to Afghanistan. Zalmay Khalilzad is even oilier than Hamid Karzai. These appointments are so brazen it is obvious that the president has no regard for the intellect of his constituency.
Zalmay Khalilzad, was already a Special Assistant to the President. He was the architect of the Afghani invasion and of the trans-Afghan pipeline. In his former role as Unocal adviser, Khalilzad participated in negotiations with the Taliban to build a pipeline through Afghanistan. He also wrote op-eds in the Washington Post in 1997 supporting the Taliban regime, back when Unocal was hoping to work with them.
Zhalilzad became so powerful in the conquered Afghanistan that by April 2005 the BBC dubbed him "the viceroy - the real president of Afghanistan." He was accused of "frequently overshadowing President Hamid Karzai. No major decisions by the Afghan government were made without his involvement."
A London Times October 2004 article was entitled "US Envoy Accused of Being the Power Pulling Karzai's Strings." A New York Times story on Bush's Special Envoy in April 2004 was titled: "In Afghanistan, US Envoy Sits In Seat of Power." Zalmay Khalilzad would keep this position in Afghanistan until April 2005, when it was announced that he would become US Ambassador to Iraq.
During the late 1990s, Zalmay Khalilzad worked with Hamid Karzai on the Union Oil CentGas project. And while that was germane, it was telling that in the White House press release naming Khalilzad Special Envoy, no mention was made of his past work for Unocal or advocacy of the Taliban and the Afghani pipeline. Khalilzad had also worked on Afghan issues under National Security Advisor
Early January 2002: Meetings between U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlain and Pakistan's Oil Minister Usman Aminuddin indicate the pipeline project is atop the international agenda for the Bush administration. Chamberlain, who maintains close ties to the Saudi ambassador to Pakistan, a chief money conduit for the Taliban, had been pushing Pakistan to begin work on its Arabian Sea oil terminus for the pipeline.
Late January 2002: After sealing presidential records, after appointing the Taliban's mujahideen jihadist Hamid Karzai as prime minister of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and after anointing Unocal's Zalmay Khalilzad as the defacto American ruler of the newly acquired protectorate, George Bush asked Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to limit the Congressional investigation into the events which led to the 9/11 attacks. Daschle told reporters that Bush and Chaney said that "such an investigation would divert resources away from the war on terrorism."
Although the president and vice president told Daschle they were worried a wide-reaching inquiry could distract from the government's war on terrorism, privately he and other Democrats questioned why the White House feared a broader investigation to determine possible culpability. Ya think?
February 9, 2002: Pakistani President/Dictator Musharraf and Afghan appointee Hamid Karzai announced their agreement to cooperate in all spheres of activity including the proposed Central Asian pipeline, which they said was "in the interest of both countries." As a Taliban leader, Hamid Karzai had been under Pakistan's employ. As an Islamic Jihadist, he and the General were in lock step.
February 14, 2002: The Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv reported: "If one looks at the map of the American bases created in the Afghan war, one is struck by the fact that they are completely identical to the route of the projected oil pipeline to the Indian Ocean." Ma'ariv also stated, "Osama bin Laden did not comprehend that his actions would serve American corporate interests."
Late February, 2002: The Bush administration deploys U.S. Special Operations forces in the Caucasus state of Georgia, hoping to neutralize Russian influence in the region. There were also U.S. Special Forces deployed in the surrounding Islamic countries. We know this because they were named among the early fatalities attributed to the Afghanistan conflict.
May 30, 2002: Afghanistan's appointed leader, Hamid Karzai, Turkmenistan's President Niyazov, and Pakistani Dictator Musharraf met in Islamabad and signed a memorandum of understanding on the trans-Afghanistan gas pipeline project.
The BBC, covering the story reports: Hamid Karzai, who formerly worked for Unocal, called Unocal the lead company in building the pipeline. The Los Angeles Times editorialized on May 30, 2002: "To some here, it looked like the fix was in for Unocal when President Bush named a former Unocal consultant, Zalmay Khalilzad, as his special envoy to Afghanistan late last year."
Once again, Unocal lied to the public and claimed that it had no interest in any Afghanistan pipeline, at least "not for the foreseeable future," spokeswoman Teresa Covington said from Sugar Land, Texas. "Anything beyond that is speculation, and I don't think it would serve me to say 'forever,'" Covington added.
However, Afghan officials continued to confirm that Unocal would indeed be the lead company in funding the pipeline. The Afghan Deputy Minister of Mines, Muhammad Alim Razim, even commented on Unocal posturing disinterest: "Business has its secrets and mysteries. Maybe they don't want this news to be disclosed in the media." (Toronto Star, 3/2/2003)
A U.N. development official, who also speculated about Unocal's actual intentions, said that although Afghan leaders are saying little in public about the pipeline, it's at the root of political maneuvering in the run-up to next month's loya jirga, or traditional grand assembly. The new government will be asked to honor any agreement Karzai makes with the oil industry and with Afghanistan's neighbors.
Muhammad Alim Razim, Afghanistan's Minister for Mines and Industries, was an intriguing choice in a country that has little of either. A former general under ethnic Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, Razm has spent most of his adult life as a jihadist. His appointment to what would become a key post in Afghanistan's government appeared to have more to do with pipeline politics than professional qualifications.
Dostum, a ruthless warlord with a reputation for abandoning allies and offering his services to the top bidder, was in Bridas's corner in the competition to build the pipeline and even signed a deal with the Argentine firm in 1996. After the Taliban's collapse, Dostum opposed the interim government until Karzai paid him a visit in his northern stronghold of Mazar-i-Sharif. Karzai, an ethnic Pushtun, not only persuaded the Uzbek commander to change his mind, but appointed him deputy defense minister and Kabul's chief representative in the north. I wonder how much that cost America?
Now Razim, as one of Dostum's most loyal commanders, is responsible for what is clearly the country's most important development projects. Like his deputy, Adel, Razim also said that Unocal was the best company for the job.
December 27, 2002: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan reached an agreement in principle to build the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, a $3.2 billion project that had been delayed for many years. Critics said that the project would require an indefinite foreign military presence in Afghanistan because pipelines are vulnerable to Islamic terrorism.
January 18, 2005: The U.S. Ambassador to Turkmenistan said that U.S. oil companies were planning on proceeding with the trans-Afghan natural gas pipeline project. Then the Turkmenistan government confirmed that a feasibility study for the $3.5 billion pipeline was complete (by the British firm Penspen) and that construction would begin in 2006. The project's main financial sponsor would be the Asian Development Bank, "a multilateral development finance institution dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific." The ADB is akin to the World Bank. It is owned by 63 member nations - two of which are the U.S. and U.K.
The involvement of the ADB is troubling because it is a front for the Bank for International Settlements, known as BIS - the world's oldest multi-national financial institution. Its board of directors includes the governors of the largest commercial banks of the richest developed countries. The BIS is the most powerful and prestigious banking group in the world. In its own words: its "predominant tasks...are to promote the co-operation of central banks and to provide additional facilities for international financial operations and ensure cooperation." The Asian Development Bank being one of those cooperative ventures.
It is also intriguing to note that the 'British' company, Penspen Ltd., is a subsidiary of Dar Al Handasah Nazih Taleb & Partners, a Beirut-based Lebanese Engineering firm. It operates in many Islamic countries such as: Saudi Arabia, Syria, Kuwait, Iraq, Algeria, Jordan, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. It designed and supervised the execution of projects financed by the World Bank Kuwait Fund, Arab Fund, Saudi Fund, OPEC Fund, Islamic Bank, the European Economic Community, and, of course, the Asian Development Bank on behalf of the Bank for International Settlements. It is militarized global capitalism under the guidance of America and the United Kingdom disguised as a global peace and prosperity intitiative.
The Associated Press reported that the 1680-kilometer pipeline would run from Turkmenistan through Herat and Kandahar in Afghanistan, through the Pakistani cities of Quetta and Multan, and on to the Indian border town of Fazilka. And with India being the largest potential buyer for the pipeline's energy, the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, said Delhi was welcome to join the project. Money transcends religion and politics. It is what makes the world go round. It is what leads people to war.
February, 2005: The United States Trade Development Agency (USTDA) stated in their 2005 report that they had approved "funding of $200,000 for the first phase of an oil and gas resource assessment in Afghanistan. The U.S. Geological Survey will be conducting the assessment."
USTDA had played an important role in this region since the fall of the Soviet Union, providing "funding for U.S. companies to conduct feasibility studies on major projects in developing Caucasus region countries" - which it has done on a vast scale throughout Eurasia in particular. In their own words: "USTDA promotes economic development, while helping the U.S. private sector get involved in projects that offer significant U.S. export opportunities." Actually, they were all import opportunity but let's not quibble over accounting.
The American military occupation of Afghanistan served to ensure the advancement of corporate interests at government expense. And if further confirmation of this corporate and political merger were needed, then the recent August 2005 takeover of Unocal by Chevron-Texaco should suffice. Chevron is, and has been for some time, the largest investor in the gas and oilfields in the Caspian region. Unocal has led the consortium to bring that oil and gas out of the landlocked region. Chevron Director, now Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, is superbly positioned to see her latest venture to fruition. She even has her Unocal partners, Zalmay Khalilzad and Hamid Karzai properly deployed in Afghanistan. Not only have the corporate interests surrounding the Caspian Sea oil and gas fields merged, they have coalesced with government.
May 24, 2005: President Bush and Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai signed a "strategic partnership" allowing the U.S. to have a long-term military presence in Afghanistan. The United States was allowed to have continued access to existing military bases and to new bases as well.
Both the U.S. and Afghanistan government tried to avoid talk of a "permanent" American military presence in Afghanistan, because the idea was highly unpopular with the Afghan population. But if the pipeline was to be built, the workers would need protection - a level of security well beyond the capacity of the private sector.
At the time there are about 18,000 foreign troops in the country, half of them American. There was also a NATO-led force of 8,500 peacekeepers stationed in the capital of Kabul. The Asia Times reported that the U.S. was constructing new military bases in the country, and in fact began work in February 2005. They said: The bases "could be used in due time as a springboard to assert a presence far beyond Afghanistan." The largest U.S. air base in Afghanistan was located 50 miles from the border with Iran, "a location that makes it controversial."
Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones's recent statement underscores the U.S. position that economics is equally important as the war on terrorism. She noted that "a range of U.S.-supported programs designed to promote economic development in Central Asia are every bit as important as our security assistance in dealing with the long-term root causes of terrorism."
August 2005: Security concerns were causing delays. A constant onslaught of terrorism along the pipeline route perpetrated on those building the access highway suggests that construction costs could double as security expenses might mirror those being experienced in Iraq. A NATO representative said: "People here are able to see what the Iraqi insurgency can do despite the presence of 150,000 foreign troops. They will do the same in Afghanistan." In other words, the American invasion of Iraq had increased terrorism, making it impossible to reconstruct the broken nation. A similar fate awaited construction crews in Afghanistan - especially along a long exposed route far from Kabul.
Three thousand American lives and half a trillion dollars had been squandered on a pipedream.