Viewpoint: What is truth about the Afghanistan war?

Viewpoint: What is truth about the Afghanistan war?

By Joe Baker

What is truth about the Afghanistan war?

By Joe Baker

Senior Editor

“Only those powerful men who know the truth will profit, and every American will have paid for it with their souls, some with their blood.”—H. Michael Sweeney, author

The charade continues. Americans still are being spoonfed the official line by the networks that Osama bin Laden is the boogeyman and we have to smash terrorism. As in much propaganda, there is a kernel of truth in the claim, but is this fight really about terror and is bin Laden really the bad guy?

In February 1998, John J. Maresca testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Asia (www. Maresca was vice-president for international relations for Unocal Corp., a major energy resource and project development company. Here, in part, is what he said:

“I would like to focus today on three issues. First, the need for multiple pipeline routes for Central Asian oil and gas resources. Second, the need for U.S. support for international and regional efforts to achieve balanced and lasting political settlements to the conflicts in the region, including Afghanistan. Third, the need for structured assistance to encourage economic reforms and the development of appropriate investment climates in the region.

“Mr. Chairman, the Caspian region contains tremendous untapped hydrocarbon reserves. Just to give an idea of the scale, proven natural gas reserves equal more than 236 trillion cubic feet. The region’s total oil reserves may well reach more than 60 billion barrels of oil. Some estimates are as high as 200 billion barrels.

“In 1995, the region was producing only 870,000 barrels per day. By 2010, Western companies could increase production to about 4.5 million barrels a day, an increase of more than 500 percent in only 15 years. If this occurs, the region would represent about five percent of the world’s total oil production.”

Christopher Bollyn, writing for American Free, commented: “The focus on religion-based terrorism serves to conceal important aspects of the Central Asian conflict. President Bush’s noble rhetoric about

fighting for justice and democracy is

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masking a less than noble struggle for control of an estimated $5 trillion in oil and gas reserves from the Caspian basin.

“Afghanistan lies squarely between Turkmenistan, home to the world’s third-largest natural gas reserves, and the lucrative markets of the Indian subcontinent, China and Japan.

“A memorandum of understanding has been signed to build a 900-mile natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan, but the ongoing civil war (until recently) and absence of a stable government in Afghanistan have prevented the project from going forward.”

Negotiations with the newly free republics of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, which border the Caspian Sea, have been in progress. Bollyn identifies the dealmakers here as Dick Cheney, James Baker, former U.S. Secretary of State Brent Scowcroft, and John Sununu.

This group represents Enron, Amoco, British Petroleum, Chevron, Exxon, Mobil and Unocal. All of them are former cabinet members in the administration of George Herbert Walker Bush. Needless to say, their access to Bush, Jr. stands as relevant.

Energy expert James Dorian said in the Oil & Gas Journal of Sept. 10: “Those that control the oil routes out of Central Asia will impact all future direction and quantities of flow and the distribution of revenues from new production.”

According to Maresca, two pipeline projects had been proposed, one by the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, the other by the Azerbaijan International Operating Company, which was composed of 11 foreign oil companies, which included four American companies, of which Unocal was one. Unocal pulled out of that deal by 1999 because of the turmoil in Afghanistan.

Another player is Enron, the largest contributor to the Bush campaign of 2000. It conducted the feasibility study for a $2.5 billion Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, which is to be built under a joint venture agreement signed in 1999 by Turkmenistan and two U.S. companies, Bechtel and General Electric Capital Services, according to Bollyn.

Maresca outlined a second Unocal plan. This one would begin a pipeline at Chardzhou in Turkmenistan and run it to Russia’s Siberian pipelines and then to Pakistan’s Arabian coast. This pipeline could carry one million barrels of oil a day. It would parallel the natural gas line through Afghanistan and then branch off to the Pakistani port of Ras Malan on the Indian Ocean.

But how to get the job done? Maresca told the congressmen: “From the outset, we have made it clear that construction of the pipeline we have proposed across Afghanistan could not begin until a recognized government is in place that has the confidence of governments, lenders and our company (emphasis added).” Not one word about terrorism.

On that topic, Bollyn observed: “Before the sun had set on the apocalyptic day that New York’s gleaming twin towers collapsed, the U.S. government had already determined to affix the blame for the kamikaze attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Osama bin Laden, the Saudi-born guerilla leader, and the Taliban government of Afghanistan which harbored him.”

A plan to take out the radical Islamic government of the Taliban has been a topic of diplomatic discussions for months. India reportedly raised the subject last July during the Group of Eight summit at Genoa, Italy.

In June, the Indian press reported: “India and Iran will facilitate U.S. and Russian plans for limited military action against the Taliban if the contemplated tough new economic sanctions don’t bend Afghanistan’s fundamentalist regime.”

At the end of September, the Wall Street Journal reported that George Herbert Walker Bush, father of President George W. Bush, is a paid consultant for the bin Laden family through the Carlyle Group, an international consulting firm. The article said the senior Bush had met with the family at least twice.

Other top administration officials and ex-officials, such as James Baker, also are associated with the Carlyle Group.

Judicial Watch, a public interest law firm in Washington that investigates and prosecutes government corruption and abuse, was appalled at the report. It called for George H. Bush to resign from the consulting firm. The law firm said: “This conflict of interest has now turned into a scandal. The idea of the President’s father, an ex-president himself, doing business with a company under investigation by the FBI in the terror attacks of Sept. 11 is horrible.” (

Osama bin Laden’s brother, Salem bin Laden, died mysteriously in 1988 after his plane crashed in Texas following a meeting with George Bush regarding an “oil deal.”

Do you still think this crowd is a bunch of patriots in action? More to come next week.

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