Pipeline Politics Taint U.S. War by Salim Muwakkil
Published on Monday, March 18, 2002 in the Chicago Tribune
An ongoing source of frustration and anger for many Americans is the
Outside this country, there is a widespread belief that U.S. military
An article in the Guardian of London headlined, "A pro-western regime
"The invasion of Afghanistan is certainly a campaign against terrorism,"
He wrote that the U.S. oil company Unocal Corp. had been negotiating
Rashid, who has reported on Afghan wars for more than 20 years as a
"The war against terrorism is a fraud," exclaimed John Pilger in an
These harsh assessments are not just those of embittered ideologues.
A popular French book titled "Bin Laden, the Forbidden Truth," which
Written by Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, the book adds
According to the book, the Bush administration began to negotiate with
The terrorist acts of Sept. 11, though tragic, provided the Bush administration
To make things even smoother, the U.S. engineered the rise to power
"Osama bin Laden did not comprehend that his actions serve American
Averny argues that the war on terrorism provides a perfect pretext for
The Asia Times reported in January that the U.S. is developing "a network
For example, the proposed Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, linking Azerbaijan through
In 1997, the now disgraced Enron Corp. conducted the feasibility study
There are many other connections, too numerous to recount here. No wonder
Salim Muwakkil is a senior editor at In These Times E-mail: email@example.com
Copyright © 2002, Chicago Tribune
© Texas Democracy Foundation
The Bush-bin Laden Connection
BY ANDREW WHEAT
n intriguing sideline to the War On Terrorism lies in the murky Texas ties that existed between the Bush and bin Laden clans before September 11th. According to the official story, the rest of the huge bin Laden family has disowned Osama. While this argument creates a moral firewall for anyone dealing with the other bin Ladens, the firewall is undermined by circumstantial evidence to the contrary. The U.S.-led effort to freeze Osama-linked assets reportedly is probing financial transactions of the wider bin Laden clan, which is closely tied to the Saudi royal family. In fact, as Seymour Hersh reports in a recent New Yorker article, it is far from clear that the royal family, which has thousands of princes, has forsaken Muslim extremists. Indeed, some members of the royal family itself are said to bankroll Osama bin Laden. The Saudi monarchy, Hersh reports, has also quietly resisted U.S. efforts to conduct background checks of Saudi suspects in the wake of September 11. While much remains to be learned about these shadowy connections, it is clear that any investigation of the bin Laden’s family’s U.S. investments will lead to some well-placed Texans.
Like George W. Bush, the fortune of Osama bin Laden is rooted in oil and his family’s government connections. Before his death in a 1968 plane crash, Osama’s father, Mohammed bin Laden, made a fortune off construction contracts awarded by the Saudi royal family. The $5 billion per year construction conglomerate, known as the Binladin Group (the company uses another spelling of the name) remains closely tied to the Saudi royal family.
After the death of Mohammed bin Laden, control of the company passed to Salem bin Laden, Osama’s half brother. The roots of the first known Bush-bin Laden convergence date back to the mid-1970s, when the two clans were linked by a Houston businessman named James R. Bath. Bath had befriended George W. Bush in the late 1960s, when they both served in the Texas Air National Guard. By 1976, when Gerald Ford appointed the elder George Bush as CIA director, Bath was acting as a business agent for Salem bin Laden’s interests in Texas. (Texas and Saudi Arabia were well-connected by this point through U.S. oil companies and related industries with operations in both locations.) In 1991 Time magazine and later other publications reported on allegations by Bath’s former business partner that the Bush CIA hired Bath in 1976 to create offshore companies to move CIA funds and aircraft between Texas and Saudi Arabia.
After W. lost a bid for Congress, he decided to launch an oil company in Midland in 1979. For $50,000, Bath bought a 5 percent stake in W.’s Arbusto (Spanish for "Bush") partnerships. At the time, Bath also served as business agent for several prominent Saudis, including Salem bin Laden. In exchange for a percentage of the deals, Bath made U.S. investments for these clients in his own name, according to Time. Although Bath has said that he invested his own money in Arbusto, not Saudi money, the fact that he was Salem’s agent at the time has fueled speculation that Osama bin Laden’s eldest brother was an early investor in W.’s first oil venture. It was around the time of this investment, incidentally, that Osama bin Laden made his first trip to the Khyber Pass, where he would soon join the Mujaheddin and the CIA in the holy war that expelled the Soviets from Afghanistan. (Salem, for his part, owned a house in Marble Falls, and died in a 1988 plane crash near San Antonio.)
The bin Ladens cemented clearer-cut financial ties with the Bush clan in 1995, when they invested $2 million in the Carlyle Group. Carlyle specializes in the buyout of government defense contractors, and many of its principals were heavyweights in the Reagan and Bush administrations. Carlyle’s chair is former Reagan Administration Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci. Former Bush Secretary of State James A. Baker III is a Carlyle partner and the firm’s senior counsel. Ex-President Bush himself is a Carlyle board member and its senior Asian advisor. In recent years, Carlyle has dispatched Carlucci, Baker and Bush to Saudi Arabia to butter up the bin Ladens. Amid controversy over the relationship last month, Carlyle and the bin Ladens severed their ties. The bin Ladens’ departure coincided with Carlyle’s announcement that it expected to raise approximately $300 million by taking its privately held United Defense Industries public. Among other things, this defense contractor pro- duces missile launch systems that are currently aboard U.S. war ships in the Arabian Sea.
Current President Bush has his own connections to Carlyle and the bin Laden family. Carlyle appointed W. in 1990 to the board of its Caterair subsidiary, an airline catering company. W. stepped down from this board in 1994, the year he was elected governor. With W. as governor, Carlyle landed at least two business deals involving Texas government funds. In the same month that Bush was elected president, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas selected Carlyle to invest $100 million of its pension funds. In 1996, the quasi-public University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO) began awarding lucrative contracts to private firms to invest portions of UT’s $14 billion endowment. The Houston Chronicle reported that UTIMCO’s board (which is appointed by the governor’s handpicked UT System Regents) awarded many of these contracts to firms close to W.–including Carlyle. As of May 2001, Carlyle controlled more than $15 million of University of Texas public endowment funds. This includes $10.5 million that is commingled in the same Carlyle Partners II Fund where the bin Ladens parked their money.
It is a daunting task to unravel the ties between Texas and Saudi oil money, as well as the ties between the Saudi royal family, the bin Laden clan and Osama bin Laden. In this regard, the people of Saudi Arabia and the United States may share a common fate. We may never know the half of it.
Andrew Wheat is research director of Austin-based Texans for Public Justice, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that follows money in Texas politics (http://www.texasobserver.org/).
TRIUMPHS, TROUBLES SHAPE GENERATIONS
Published on April 23, 2001. Author(s): Michael Kranish, Globe Staff
Prescott Bush was surely aghast at a sensational article the New York Herald Tribune splashed on its front page in July 1942. "Hitler's Angel Has 3 Million in US Bank," read the headline above a story reporting that Adolf Hitler's financier had stowed the fortune in Union Banking Corp., possibly to be held for "Nazi bigwigs."Bush knew all about the New York bank: He was one of its seven directors. If the Nazi tie became known, it would be a potential. ./ .
This is posted at Democrats.com
Boston Globe Breaks Story Of Bush-Nazi Partnership! (Part 1)
In a two-part series on the rise of the Bush Dynasty, the Boston Globe
mentionsthat Dubya's grandfather Prescott Bush partnered with Nazi industrialists,until
his assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act, whenour
troops were days away from fighting the Nazis in North Africa. Although
thearticle appears to whitewash this sordid history, this still may be
the firsttime that a major national paper has covered it -- since the cover-up
almost 60years ago.
Boston Globe Breaks Story Of Bush-Nazi Partnership! (Part 2)
The article also suggests that the asset seizure caused Prescott to have achange of conscience, so that he became active in the war bond effort, ratherthan that this facade of patriotism was a cynical ploy by an exposed traitor.The article later portrays Prescott as a hero of sorts for maneuvering against Joe McCarthy. But Prescott may have been worried that McCarthy would look into his firm Brown Brothers Harriman's alleged business deals in the Soviet Union.
These allegations seem plausible given BBH's international scope, and
the fact that Averell Harrimanwas at one time our ambassador to the Soviet
Union. Note also how the articlereinforces the familiar Bush family myths
about their belief in "loyalty","family" and "noblesse oblige." For good
measure, there is even a quote by oneof the Bushes implying that Prescott's
traitorous values were steeped in the"Ten Commandments!" (Part Two
begins with a few paragraphs about the assetseizure and cover-up).
Why Should It Matter That Dubya's Grandfather Financed The Nazis?
It matters because all Dubya ran on was his family name and a carefully craftedset of campaign platitudes. Meanwhile the media helped cover up his terribleTexas record, his failed business dealings and his own closeted skeletons(including AWOL) - and then spun the debates grossly in his favor. It mattersbecause Dubya rose to power through his family network that was first established by Prescott.
It matters because had Prescott been exposed as atraitor, it might have
ended his and his family's political aspirations. We might have been spared
their many criminal and traitorous actions through the years – including
the election theft. It matters because the Bushes have continued to 'build
coalitions' with fascists and old Nazis – including thosein the '88 campaign.
It matters because the victims of Nazism are owed the truth about the Nazi
collaborators. It matters because the Bushes should nolonger get away with
their fraudulent patrician image – since without it they are nothing but
The True Cost of Oil
By Jim Hoagland
Sunday, November 25, 2001; Page B07
America's oil habit helped turn U.S. citizens into targets of choice for the butchers that al Qaeda chose for the grisly work of Sept. 11. Remember that the next time you climb into a fuel-inefficient SUV or leave the furnace thermostat set higher than is needed.
The line that connects energy-wasting habits and the gas guzzlers that now clog U.S. highways to the 15 young Saudi Arabians who helped massacre some 4,000 Americans and others 10 weeks ago is both tenuous and clear: There may have been other, more immediate triggering events on the terrorists' minds as they plotted to inflict maximum pain on a nation that had opened its doors to them. There are no pure one-to-one causes and effects in life.
But it is abundantly clear that the need for imported energy has kept the United States more deeply entangled with decadent regimes of the greater Middle East -- and with their deepening contradictions -- than many Americans realize or would want. After a promising start in the 1970s on conservation and developing alternatives to hydrocarbon fuels, Americans have slept through two decades of consumption as usual.
Strategic neglect on energy imports is no longer an option. It is urgent and vital for America's citizens and leaders to think seriously about the interplay of oil, war and global terrorism for these three reasons:
• The campaign against Osama bin Laden and the Taliban has drawn American forces deep into Central Asia, a region that looms increasingly large as a new source for oil and gas. The temptation to repeat the mistakes of our Persian Gulf policies and deployments -- by becoming dependent on dictatorships in the new oil El Dorado -- will be enormous and must be resisted.
• The long-delayed but now tangible emergence of Russia as a major oil exporter is reshaping and unsettling oil markets long dominated by OPEC and particularly by Saudi Arabia.
A desperate OPEC has threatened to wage a price war that could bankrupt Russia if Vladimir Putin does not agree to join in a cartel price-fixing scheme. The gritty Putin has so far resisted this blackmail, and prices continue to drop. But Americans must guard against being lulled once again into false complacency over a commodity too volatile for its own good.
• The extensive participation by Saudi nationals in the Sept. 11 plan puts a spotlight on the failure of the Faustian bargain between Riyadh and Washington. While Saudi Arabia's control on oil prices and supplies has enabled Americans to continue to be energy addicts, America's military presence in the Persian Gulf has given the Saudi royal family a false sense of security.
Each nation has squandered a decade in addressing its own urgent challenges. Worse, each has helped the other to avoid comprehending painful realities that can no longer be postponed.
At the end of Operation Desert Storm, American military power seemed to have opened the way for a newly secure Saudi royal family to exert leadership in Arab politics and embark on a political and economic modernization program at home. The U.S. imprint on victory promised a bright collaboration. It did not happen.
"In 1991 Saudis were naming their sons Bush," Prince Saud al-Faisal recalled shortly after he arrived in Washington on a fence-mending mission of enormous proportions earlier this month. "What happened? How can it be that we were Dr. Jekyll then and Mr. Hyde now?"
He vigorously disputed my suggestion that the regime's slowness to change was part of the problem: "We will not take chances with the cohesion of our country. We must have an indigenous formula for the participation of our people" in politics. "We are not willing to do what happened in many African countries where democracy was imposed on a tribal society and it broke down into civil war."
Why did so many young, affluent Saudis answer bin Laden's call to exterminate Americans, I asked. The prince claimed that U.S. support for Israel was the key factor, and reiterated his nation's regret "that even one Saudi was involved in this." Then he added: "History shows that it is not only the poor that can be deluded."
His words seem to me to reach far beyond Sept. 11. They describe rich regimes in the Gulf that monopolize their countries' wealth and power, as well as affluent American consumers unwilling to sacrifice comfort to save on oil imports. As the man says, you don't have to be poor to be deluded.
© 2001 The Washington Post Company
Published on Sunday, November 18, 2001 in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Recognize the Link Between Oil, War
There is a direct, inescapable connection between our war on terrorism and our nation's dependence on the internal combustion engine. If the United States did not need oil, it's a safe bet we would not be so heavily, and dangerously, engaged in the Middle East. Yet the U.S. Congress seems at great pains to ignore that costly connection.
If ever there were a moment to connect the dots and lay the foundation for a rational long-term energy policy that lessens our dependence on oil, it is now, when bombs are falling in Afghanistan and Americans are bracing for the arrival of body bags from a foreign killing field.
But a timid Congress once again is backing away from this challenge. It has abandoned its effort to enact a promised broad new energy policy this session. That is a dangerous dereliction of duty.
The United States long has equated energy security simply with feeding the rapacious internal combustion engine upon which our economy rests. That is politically, militarily and environmentally untenable for the future.
In the effort to assure access to oil, the United States has entered into unsavory alliances, most notably in the Middle East. Each day, for example, this country imports 700,000 barrels of oil from Iraq's Saddam Hussein. To get oil, we defile holy places in Saudi Arabia by stationing our troops in them, enraging the inhabitants.
This strategy has high financial, political and environmental costs. But they have been hidden from most Americans, who blithely tool along their highways burning gasoline that costs them a quarter of what consumers in other nations pay for it.
On Sept. 11, though, the real costs of our failed energy policy should have become more visible.
Yet Congress continues to seek 19th century solutions to a 21st century energy problem. The Republican leadership insists that opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling is the answer to our energy needs. That's a remarkably silly energy security strategy, given that any oil that would come from there is 10 years from market and would be but a relatively brief source of oil.
The House of Representatives' energy bill, passed in August, gets it exactly backward. It gives generous tax breaks to the oil, electric and nuclear industries but comparatively paltry ones to development of conservation and the renewable energy solutions that can provide genuine energy independence. The Senate has yet to act.
It's not that no one knows what to do. The solutions are multiple and well understood. They should be implemented now so there can be a gradual, orderly reduction of our need to burn oil. Phasing out the internal combustion engine, not finding more conveniently obtainable oil for a technology that's destroying Earth's climate, must be the primary focus of any energy security policy.
In the near term, conservation, with an emphasis on production of energy-efficient machines and vehicles, ought to be the highest priority. Yet Congress, ever the handmaiden of industry, stubbornly refuses to enact such obvious and technologically easy solutions as requiring that Detroit produce more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Meanwhile, alternative energy sources must be aggressively developed so they can be phased in over time. An electric or hydrogen- cell auto solution, for example, cannot be readily available on the day the last drop of oil is squeezed from the Earth unless we invest in such technology now.
The same is true for solar and wind power, which enjoy so little government support that they now cannot compete economically with heavily subsidized forms of oil-based energy. And a top new energy priority must be the bankrupt passenger rail system, which is more energy-efficient than planes.
A typical example of the benighted thinking that has led this country into its present oil-dependent energy morass is the present conflict between the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. The DOE is trying to abort an EPA requirement that home central air conditioners be 30 percent more efficient.
EPA administrator Christine Whitman says EPA will try not to retreat on the new standard, which industry opposes. But she added that EPA officials "obviously have an obligation to also make sure that the industry can continue to function."
Wrong. The government's obligation is to provide for our nation's energy security by reducing energy consumption, not to prop up industries that can't deliver climate friendly energy efficiency. Congress and the Bush administration must invest in the interest of the nation, not those of industry.
Afghanistan is helping to make clear how costly a subsidy we pay for
an oil-dependent economy.
©1999-2001 Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Alliance tanks crush 520 defiant Taleban fighters to death
FROM ROGER BOYES IN BERLIN
HUNDREDS of Taleban soldiers trapped in a school were shot and crushed
by tanks when the strategic northern city of Mazar-i Sharif fell to the
Northern Alliance at the weekend. According to the Alliance 520 Taleban
soldiers were killed when they refused to surrender after the Alliance
swept into the city.The stand-off and gun battle lasted throughout Saturday
and Sunday.Just over 700 men were trapped in the school. Most were Taleban
soldiers from .Pakistan. The Alliance said that it sent elders into the
school to try to persuade the trapped men to give up.
When they .refused to surrender the Alliance forces went in with tanks, demolishing most of the buildings.Three days later Red Cross workers were still in the ruins taking out bodies. We saw many of these being carried out yesterday.There is no doubt that it was the soldiers of the Northern .Alliance who carried out the killings. I met some of the soldiers involved in the attack yesterday. They have been in a building across the street from the school. There were many shell cases — bullet cases — all over the floor.Rather than admitting to a massacre, they said that they were trying to persuade the men to give up.We were also taken to a freight container sitting in the courtyard of the building in which the Northern Alliance is based.
When it was opened, there were 42 captured Taleban soldiers The prisoners were made to come out of the pitch darkness and lined up in front of their captors.Quite what they thought was going to happen to them at that moment one can only imagine. The captives were .paraded in front of us, looking shocked, gaunt, weak — some of them were .obviously injured, some were bandaged. We were not able to speak to them, but they did look in quite a bad condition and as we left they were herded back into the metal container.The Northern Alliance told us that there were in all 200 Taleban soldier prisoners in Mazar-i Sharif. We saw 42 of them in that container. Andrea Catherwood was reporting for ITN.
Alan Bock's infinite wisdom and perspective never ceases
to amaze me, even after 15 years.....
November 7, 2001
You might not think that peace and prosperity would need defending against the pervasive sacrifice and death that characterize war and conflict. To assume that most people, especially public intellectuals, would prefer peace to widespread devastation, however, would be to make a mistake. There are certain sectors of American intellectual life – spread sometimes surprisingly across what passes for an ideological spectrum – that not only find war acceptable but welcome it with something approaching relish.Peacetime, apparently, is boring and filled with trivialities. Frank Rich of the New York Times, on September 15, almost exulted at the change wrought by terrorism: "That fat, daydreaming America is gone now, way gone, as spent as the tax-rebate checks, as forgotten as the 2000 campaign's debate over prescription-drug plans, as bankrupt as our dot-com fantasies of instant millions." Maureen Dowd wrote of the "pampered, narcissistic culture" we have now left behind (perhaps along with the post-ironic politics-as-soap-opera columns at which she excelled, poor thing).War is much more exciting and consequential than mere trying to get ahead in life. The news media love it – almost to death and certainly to excess in the anthrax scare. I haven't had the opportunity to monitor other parts of the country, but the local TV news in Los Angeles doesn't lead with the murder du jour, car chase or celebrity scandal these days, it leads with war. Some of the stations have even sent reporters to Afghanistan, and most of those remaining in Los Angeles clearly relish an opportunity to put their reporting skills (which are sometimes considerable despite some contrary on-camera evidence) to use on what they can view as a real story rather than local fluff.
Perhaps the most interesting bit of recent '90s-bashing came from Weekly Standard senior editor David Brooks, in an article titled "The Age of Conflict," that overall was actually rather interesting and perhaps almost evenhanded. In the wretched 1990s, Brooks avers, "an easy cynicism settled across the land, as more people came to believe that national politics didn't really matter. What mattered instead, it seemed, were local affairs, community, intimate relations, and the construction of private paradises."Now that we have a war to contend with, presumably we can turn our attention to more serious and consequential stuff. Brooks, along with Standard editor Bill Kristol, has been plumping for some project – any project – to restore a conservatism of "national greatness," rather than a petty conservatism of small government, freedom and close attention to private lives, for about a decade now. Osama bin Laden and his henchmen (presumably) have handed the Standard boys a great gift.One might hope that Mr. Brooks's analysis is incorrect, but it might not be. "The next few years will be defined by conflict," he writes. "And it's possible to speculate about what that means. The institutions that fight for us and defend us against disorder – the military, the FBI, the CIA – will seem more important now and more admirable. The fundamental arguments won't be over economic or social issues, they will be over how to wield power – whether to use American power aggressively or circumspectly. We will care a lot more about ends – winning the war – than we will about means. We will debate whether it is necessary to torture prisoners who have information about future biological attacks. We will destroy innocent villages by accident, shrug our shoulders, and continue fighting. In an age of conflict, bourgeois virtues like compassion, tolerance, and industriousness are valued less than the classical virtues of courage, steadfastness, and a ruthless desire for victory."
COLOR ME BOURGEOIS
Of course, Mr. Brooks's delineation of the difference between "bourgeois" and "classical" virtues is a bit arbitrary. I have nothing against courage, of course. But I do wonder if it is most classically expressed in he willingness to kill or be killed at the behest of a political leader who may or may not have your best interests at heart – or even know who you are. Often it takes as much or more real courage to resist violence or to resist those who call others to violence than to participate in violence.On balance, however, if you accept the Brooks bifurcation, I guess I'm a bourgeois. I'll opt for compassion, tolerance and industriousness as building blocks of a decent society over ruthless desire and perhaps even steadfastness (depending on how you define that sometimes elusive concept) any day. These virtues are the path to a society in which innovation, production, and the leisure for contemplation essential to allowing a great culture to take root and grow have a chance to flourish. These are the virtues that make it possible to provide things people really need and want (as expressed by their voluntary choices in the marketplace) in something resembling abundance.These virtues, in short, are the virtues of a civilized society – the virtues of Athens rather than Sparta. To say so doesn't imply that it might not be necessary to defend that society from predators and invaders from time to time. But picking fights and going out in the world to find alleged wrongs to right (whether the alleged victims want to be rescued or not) is not the same as defending society from attack.
WHY DID VIOLENCE COME CALLING?
Brooks seems pleased that the acts of terrorism have shocked Americans out of their selfish torpor. In the Bad Old Nineties Americans expressed a distaste for conflict and violence. "But now violence has come calling," Brooks says. "Now it is no longer possible to live so comfortably in one's own private paradise. Shocked out of the illusion of self-reliance, most of us realize that we, as individuals, simply cannot protect ourselves. Private life requires public protection. Now it is not possible to ignore foreign affairs because foreign affairs have not ignored us. It has become clear that we are living in a world in which hundreds of millions of people hate us, and some small percentage of them want to destroy us."That brief paragraph contains so many conclusions based on assumptions not in evidence that it is difficult to know where to begin. To be sure, violence did come calling on the United States, and we have had to come to grips with the fact that millions of people seem to hate us simply because we are Americans.But is this because the country has practiced an excess of self-reliance and has turned its back (as a government, at least) on the outside world to the point of ignoring it? The record of the 1990s hardly supports such an assertion. The decade began with the Gulf War, a massive display of American military power combined with fairly impressive coalition-building. In the '90s, U.S. troops were committed, with varying degrees of seriousness, to conflicts in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo, none of them exactly central to the core national interest no matter how one defines it. American diplomats were dispatched to conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Middle East and elsewhere to try to impose an American stamp on local conflicts. NATO, a relic of the Cold War, was expanded rather than dismantled, and used for the first time to fight an offensive rather than a defensive war, sending chills into the Russians.That's not exactly ignoring the world until the world comes crashing in on us. One might even argue that all this mostly ineffective meddling had something to do with so many people hating us. It's undoubtedly not the whole reason, but it would be prudent to consider foreign interventionism as a contributing factor.
RELYING ON WHOM?
One wonders whether Brooks is referring to personal or national self-reliance, but it is hardly the case that an excess of self-reliance was the besetting sin of the 1990 in either sense. On the domestic front the welfare state continued to grow apace without any serious move to dismantle it in favor of self-reliance. On the international front the Clinton era was an era of multilateralism, though not consistently so.So was it foolish self-reliance that set the stage for terrorist attacks and made us appreciate the virtues of public protection? You could make a better case that the attacks represented a massive failure of public protection. You could even say that sane Americans should have been shocked out of a complacent reliance on the state to protect our interests and resolved to regain the American tradition of self-reliance that the passengers on the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania utilized (once they had the required information) to save any number of innocent lives.During the initial stages of any foreign conflict, of course, self-reliance and a determination to question our leaders and institutions are hardly likely to be conspicuous. American presidents know the American people will rally around them and want to believe they are doing the right thing during any foreign conflict, even one precipitated by American foolishness. During a conflict precipitated by an outright attack on American soil, the first response will be to support the president and the government, perhaps even to brand those who raise uncomfortable questions as traitors, as some of us have discovered.A lot more Americans have purchased personal firearms since September 11, which I view as an indicator of self-reliance and an acknowledgment that the public forces of order cannot protect us at all times and in all circumstances so we had best be prepared to do at least something for ourselves. That indicator aside, however, it is likely that at least for a time the institutions of centralized governance will be treated with more respect and given more leeway than is generally healthy in a free society. Those of us who deplore such a development may have to bide our time.
ASPECTS OF WAR
To his credit, Brooks notes that wartime does tend to encourage conformity and homogeneity and to discourage dissent and individuality. There are other aspects of wartime culture that sociologist Robert Nisbet has identified – an acceleration of certain kinds of change in society, an increase in sexual promiscuity as military people are removed from their families for extended periods of time, and ambivalent pressures – both pulling-apart and pulling-together on family ties and a sense of place. War tends to uproot people and undermine a sense of rootedness and groundedness, of being an integral part of a certain locale. It tightens some communitarian ties and frays others.One wonders if certain traditional conservatives who are whooping it up for war have fully considered these aspects of wartime culture.To be sure, war for many – especially young males – is the ultimate adventure, and for many people (those who survive) it remains a highlight of their lives, a time of intense effort, commitment and camaraderie beside which civilian life and the 9-to-5 routine pales. (Note how the Greatest Generation never tires of reliving the Good War, and the war envy generated among boomers.) Wartime can also be conducive to focused efforts to complete certain kinds of projects that may represent genuine technological advances, like the development of radar or the atomic bomb, on an accelerated basis.
MAKING A CASE FOR PEACE
It is important for those who yearn for peace to understand and acknowledge
that war has its attractions for many (though I would take certain people
more seriously if the editors of the Weekly Standard, for example, were
volunteering to lead an irregular brigade to go get Osama bin Laden themselves
rather than exulting in the opportunity other mothers' sons will create
to pursue an agenda of National Greatness).It may or may not be true that
war and conflict are built into the human genome and that the dream of
a world without war is at odds with reality and human nature. But there
are decidedly aspects of war that appeal to some aspects of human nature
that most people seem to have in abundance.It is incumbent on us, then,
to remind people continually and persistently that even if war is sometimes
necessary, even if war has its attractions, that peace is also essential
to human well being. Although some great artistic works have been created
in response to war, no great culture, whether artistic, musical or literary,
has ever been built during wartime. Creating a culture – an atmosphere
in which contemplation can lead to innovation, experiment and thinking
seriously about what constitutes beauty (rather than the occasional individual
works of genius) – cannot be done during the chaos of war. The great eras
of cultural ferment and progress have been eras of relative peace, when
goods, tourists and cultural innovators crossed borders rather than armies.It
is possible to create the kind of wealth that has a chance to lift a substantial
number of people out of poverty – the most common lot of most human beings
through most of history – only in times of relative peace and security
(and, I would argue, respect for commerce and those who undertake it).
If we want to improve the lot of those who have not yet achieved a semblance
of economic self-sufficiency we would do well to pray and work for peace
as the minimum requirement. In wars, such people's suffering tends to be
multiplied, or ended by a swift death.And while most human beings display
a certain attraction for war and the martial virtues and vices, human beings
are complex creatures. We may love adventure, but we also value the quiet
times, the safe times, the contemplative times, to spend with our families,
to go fishing, to watch the World Series, to hike, to sit by the side of
a lake, to make music with friends, to read for enrichment or pleasure,
to simply sit and think or let the mind go blank. You can find moments
for such pleasures during wartime, but they are often fleeting and transient.
The side of us that values quiet pleasures must hope and work for peace.This
current war on terrorism is an ideal conflict for political leaders in
that it encourages submission and acquiescence to expanded government power
but has no definable end. I fear, therefore, that it will last a long time.
It behooves us to use that time not only to criticize and question the
war, but to remind our fellows that peace has its virtues and its pleasures
also. We'll have ample time to develop and test our arguments.
Oil still turns the wheels of U.S. foreign policy
Wednesday, November 14, 2001
While we await some definitive indication as to whether we should list those on American Airlines Flight 587 among our war dead or merely among our most tragically unlucky, while we wonder about the capacity of Rudy Guiliani and George Pataki to keep showing up as twin towers of unspeakable grief, perhaps we can glance toward a familiar place not too far in the future.
What will it be like in postwar America? Will its citizens be as familiar with global energy policy as with the favorites for the Oscars? Will its leaders be able to anticipate the lethal international ricochet of a foreign policy misstep? Will they be as attuned to the factors that soothe a world community as they are to the factors that impact their own political shelf life? Will we date our checks 2004, or 2014?
It seems the specter of postwar politics only gets put on the table as something the Afghans must deal with immediately. We are immensely sensitive -- frozen in fear if you prefer -- to the potential political composition of postwar Afghanistan, as though Afghanistan is going to come out the other side like some studio-applauded makeover mom on Oprah.
When, and if, the explosions cease among those joyless hills, Afghanistan will be chaos and desperation, death and hunger, just as it's been. The only issue is: under whose doomed direction?
We are now in a posture where the U.S. airline industry is playing Russian roulette with ruin and where we hope to coax people to the greatest city in the world by stuffing Billy Crystal into a chicken suit because of something that's been going on in Afghanistan. We are in that posture because of something that's been going on in America.
This week, sizzling off the presses of Denoel, the French publishing house, comes a book by security expert Jean-Charles Brisard. Brisard spent years studying Osama Bin Laden's financial resources, but according to Ethan Bronner in Monday's New York Times, the wallop in his pages comes in the words of former FBI anti-terror operative John P. O'Neill, who was killed in the World Trade Center attacks.
O'Neill, who quit the bureau in disgust over its inability to press Saudi Arabia on its connections with bin Laden, says in the book, "all the answers, everything needed to dismantle Osama bin Laden's organization can be found in Saudi Arabia." Before he accepted a job as head of security at the World Trade Center, O'Neill told Brisard the FBI was hindered in international terrorism investigations by the State Department, and for one increasingly obvious reason: oil.
The Sept. 11 attacks were not five hours into history when President Bush told the planet that America would make no distinction between terrorists and the nations that harbor them, but clearly, important distinctions have been made. A nation, like Saudi Arabia, that supplies 10 percent of the annual smack going to the American oil junky and whose bounteous flow helps stabilize prices on much of the balance is apparently in line for some "distinctions." Even if 16 of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudis.
At the same time, U.S. hostility toward the Kyoto accords, in which the world's industrial giants agreed to a formula for reducing the amount of carbon dioxide they produce, continues to put this country in a position of suggesting that global warming is a problem for the rest of the world to deal with, even as America is the prime source of heat-trapping pollutants.
The way to deal with all of this, apparently, or at least the way to deflect attention from it, is to spend $1 billion a month routing religious zealots from caves and mud huts. While Larry King was trying to sort it all out with a video queue of quick thinkers the other night, he broke for a commercial for a company touting "energy solutions."
Now there's an idea. An energy solution.
In postwar America, will General Motors continue to produce hyper-muscular horsepower vehicles getting 11 miles per gallon? Or having been given a few hundred million in tax breaks as part of that economic stimulus plan, might it consider a less destructive long-term strategy?
In postwar America, will we be encouraged to resume our lives as normal,
or will we finally be encouraged to sit down and think about it a little?
Gene Collier's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Ted Rall is an award-winning social commentary
and political cartoonist and columnist for Universal Press Syndicate, Time
Magazine and Fortune Magazine, as well as a freelance graphic illustrator.
Brace yourself for the new McCarthyism
By TED RALL NEW YORK -- According to The Wall
Street Journal I'm "probably the most bitterly anti-American commentator
in America." The National Review calls me "a big fat zero, an ignorant,
talentless hack with a flair for recycling leftist pieties into snarky
cartoons that inspired breakfast-table chuckles among the leftist literati
It's not just conservatives who have taken a bead on me: The New Republic has cited my work in its regular "Idiocy Watch" section. What have I done to merit such bipartisan vitriol, much of it in publications that have always ignored me? Since
Sept. 11, I've written eight columns and drawn 24 editorial cartoons examining various aspects of that fateful morning and its aftermath. Some of my pieces expressed pain and anger at the murder of thousands of innocent people. Others sought, sometimes humorously and sometimes not, to answer the widely asked question "why do they hate us so much?"
I've taken the Bush administration to task for what I consider the cynical manipulation of a national crisis to promote partisan political agenda items such as drilling in the Arctic, fast-track authority on free trade and eliminating the alternative-minimum tax. And I've also pointed out to Americans that the administration's war against the Taliban may have something to do with the potential profitability of a Caspian Sea-Arabian Sea oil pipeline.
Like all New Yorkers, I grieve for the dead and remain shocked by the magnitude of our loss. But I have the same job to do as I did back in August: express my ideas and opinions. And my opinions still include the firmly held belief that President George W. Bush was illegally installed via a judicial coup d'etat. I honestly think that our bombing of Afghanistan is misguided and hypocritical. And I still believe in a freedom-loving America where opposing opinions don't vanish in the glare of a 93 percent popularity rating.
Although some of my fellow political cartoonists
have taken to mocking all things Arab, towing the official Pentagon line,
and cranking out what I consider to be propaganda, I've continued to skewer
the president and his policies. I consider it my patriotic duty to do so.
Insulting American politicians and American policies doesn't make one anti-American.
It makes one an integral part of the American process. War brings out the
best and worst in us, a truism that is just as apt here at home as it is
on the battlefield. I've always received hate mail -- such is the price
one pays for publicly expressing any strong opinion -- but in
People who, prior to Sept. 11, might have advised me to engage in self-coitus now urge me to commit suicide, using the most disturbing language imaginable. Those who once threatened to cancel their newspaper subscription because of something I wrote or drew now promise to contact advertisers in a concerted effort to, as one e-mailer put it, "make sure that you never work again and die homeless in the gutter."
My mother, living in a bellwether county in Ohio
and perhaps more in touch with mainstream America than I, is worried. "I'm
afraid that you'll lose your job," she warns, urging me to be less critical
of Republicans. She's never said anything like that before. Oh, and my
phone is tapped. It began a few weeks ago. Whoever is responsible did a
crummy job; even when
The feds, I assume, are merely following up White
House spokesman Ari Fleischer's
Bill Maher, the conservative host of "Politically Incorrect," has enthusiastically supported the Bush administration's war against Afghanistan. Nonetheless, a politically incorrect remark about the semantics of cowardice nearly caused ABC to cancel his show. We're living in dangerous times, and this neo-McCarthyist trend toward blacklists, the silencing of dissent, and government attacks on personal freedom represents an even greater threat to our country than terrorism.
Nothing, after all, is more fundamentally un-American than keeping your mouth shut. Ted Rall, a cartoonist and columnist, is author of the books "Search and Destroy" and "2024." The Japan Times: Nov. 10, 2001
Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does
not mean to stand by the president or any other public official save exactly
to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic
to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic
not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise
he fails in his duty to stand by the country." -- President Theodore Roosevelt,
It's about oil
New York -- NURSULTAN NAZARBAYEV has a terrible problem. He's the president and former Communist Party boss of Kazakstan, the second-largest republic of the former Soviet Union. A few years ago, the giant country struck oil in the eastern portion of the Caspian Sea. Geologists estimate that sitting beneath the wind-blown steppes of Kazakstan are 50 billion barrels of oil -- by far the biggest untapped reserves in the world. (Saudi Arabia, currently the world's largest oil producer, is believed to have about 30 billion barrels remaining.) Kazakstan's Soviet-subsidized economy collapsed immediately after independence in 1991. When I visited the then-capital, Almaty, in 1997, I was struck by the utter absence of elderly people. One after another, people confided that their parents had died of malnutrition during the brutal winters of 1993 and 1994.
Middle-class residents of a superpower had been reduced to abject poverty virtually overnight; thirtysomething women who appeared sixtysomething hocked their wedding silver in underpasses, next to reps for the Kazak state art museum trying to move enough socialist-realist paintings for a dollar each to keep the lights on. The average Kazak earned $20 a month; those unwilling or unable to steal died of gangrene while sitting on the sidewalk next to long- winded tales of woe written on cardboard.
Autocrats tend to die badly during periods of downward mobility. Nazarbayev,
therefore, has spent most of the past decade trying to get his landlocked oil out to sea. Once the oil starts flowing, it won't take long before Kazakstan replaces Kuwait as the land of Mercedes-Benzs and ugly gold jewelry. But the longer the pipeline, the more expensive and vulnerable it is to sabotage. The shortest route runs through Iran, but Kazakstan is too closely aligned with the United States to offend it by cutting a deal with Tehran. Russia has helpfully offered to build a line connecting Kazak oil rigs with the Black Sea,
but neighboring Turkmenistan has experienced trouble with the Russians -- they tend to divert the oil for their own use without paying for it. There's even a plan to run crude through China, but the proposed 5,300-mile-long pipeline would be far too long to prove profitable.
The logical alternative, then, is Unocal's plan, which is to extend Turkmenistan's existing system west to the Kazak field on the Caspian Sea and southeast to the Pakistani port of Karachi on the Arabian Sea. That project runs through Afghanistan.
As Central Asian expert Ahmed Rashid describes in his book "Taliban," published last year, the United States and Pakistan decided to install a stable regime in place in Afghanistan around 1994 -- a regime that would end the country's civil war and thus ensure the safety of the Unocal pipeline project. Impressed by the ruthlessness and willingness of the then-emerging Taliban to cut a pipeline deal, the State Department and Pakistan's Inter- Services Intelligence agency agreed to funnel arms and funding to the Taliban in their war against the ethnically Tajik Northern Alliance. As recently as 1999, U.S. taxpayers paid the entire annual salary of every single Taliban government official, all in the hopes of returning to the days of dollar-a- gallon gas. Pakistan, naturally, would pick up revenues from a Karachi oil port facility. Harkening back to 19th century power politics between Russia and British India, Rashid dubbed the struggle for control of post-Soviet Central Asia "the new Great Game."
Predictably, the Taliban Frankenstein got out of control. The regime's unholy alliance with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network, their penchant for invading their neighbors and their production of 50 percent of the world's opium made them unlikely partners for the desired oil deal.
Then-President Bill Clinton's August 1998 cruise missile attack on Afghanistan briefly brought the Taliban back into line -- they even eradicated opium poppy cultivation in less than a year -- but they nonetheless continued supporting countless militant Islamic groups. When an Egyptian group whose members had trained in Afghanistan hijacked four airplanes and used them to kill thousands of Americans on September 11, Washington's patience with its former client finally expired.
Finally the Bushies have the perfect excuse to do what the United States has wanted to do all along -- invade and/or install an old-school puppet regime in Kabul.
Realpolitik no more cares about the thousands of dead than it concerns itself with oppressed women in Afghanistan; this ersatz war by a phony president is solely about getting the Unocal deal done without interference from annoying local middlemen.
Central Asian politics, however, is a house of cards: every time you remove one element, the whole thing comes crashing down. Muslim extremists in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, for instance, will support additional terrorist attacks on the United States to avenge the elimination of the Taliban. A U.S.- installed Northern Alliance can't hold Kabul without an army of occupation because Afghan legitimacy hinges on capturing the capital on your own. Even if we do this the right way by funding and training the Northern Alliance so that they can seize power themselves, Pakistan's ethnic Pashtun government will never stand the replacement of their Pashtun brothers in the Taliban by Northern Alliance Tajiks. Without Pakistani cooperation, there's no getting the oil out and there's no chance for stability in Afghanistan.
As Bush would say, "make no mistake": this is about oil. It's always about oil. And to twist a late '90s cliche, it's only boring because it's true.
Ted Rall, a syndicated editorial cartoonist, has traveled extensively throughout Central Asia. In 2000, he went to Turkmenistan as a guest of the State Department. His latest book is "2024: A Graphic Novel" (NBM Books, May 2001).
©2001 San Francisco Chronicle Page A - 25
Along the Color Line
The Failure of U.S. Foreign Policies
By Manning Marable < email@example.com >
The bombing campaign against the people of Afghanistan will be described in history as the "U.S. Against the Third World." The launching of military strikes against peasants does nothing to suppress terrorism, and only erodes American credibility in Muslim nations around the world. The question, "Why Do They Hate Us?," can only be answered from the vantagepoint of the Third World's widespread poverty, hunger and economic exploitation.
The United States government cannot engage in effective multilateral
actions to suppress terrorism, because its behavior illustrates its complete
contempt for international cooperation. The United States owed $582 million
in back dues to the United Nations, and it paid up only when the September
11 attacks jeopardized its national security. Republican conservatives
demand that the United States should be exempt from the jurisdiction of
For three decades, the U.S. refused to ratify the
1965 United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Racism. Is it any
wonder that much of the Third World questions our
The U.S. media and opinion makers repeatedly have
gone out of their way to twist facts and to distort the political realities
of the Middle East, by insisting that the Osama bin Laden group's murderous
assaults had nothing to do with Israel's policies towards the Palestinians.
In late September, during his visit to Jerusalem, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw stated that frustration over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict might create an excuse for terrorism. Straw explained: "there is never any excuse for terrorism. At the same time, there is an obvious need to understand the environment in which terrorism breeds." Millions of moderate and progressive Muslims who sincerely denounce terrorism are nevertheless frustrated by the United States's extensive clientage relationship with Israel, financed by more than $3 billion in annual subsidies. They want to know why the U.S. allowed the Israelis to move over 200,000 Jewish settlers -- one half of them after the signing of the 1993 peace agreement -- to relocate in occupied Palestine. It is no exaggeration in saying that for most of the world's one billion Muslims that Israel is as anathema to them, as the apartheid regime of South Africa was for black people.
How does terrorist Osama bin Laden gain loyal followers
from northern Nigeria to Indonesia? Perhaps it has something to do with
America's massive presence -- in fact,
There is a direct linkage between the terrible events
of September 11 and the politics represented by the United Nations World
Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa, only days prior
to the terrorist attacks. The U.S. government in Durban opposed the definition
of slavery as "a crime against humanity." It refused to acknowledge the
historic and contemporary effects of colonialism, racial segregation and
apartheid on the
It polemically manipulated the charge of anti-Semitism
to evade discussions concerning the right of self-determination for the
Palestinian people. The world's subaltern masses represented at Durban
sought to advance a new global discussion about the political economy of
racism -- and the United States insulted the entire international community.
Should we therefore be surprised that Palestinian children celebrate in
the streets of their occupied territories when they see televised images
of our largest buildings being destroyed? Should we be shocked that hundreds
of protest marches in opposition to the U.S.
The majority of dark humanity is saying to the United States that racism and militarism are not the solutions to the world's major problems. Transnational capitalism and the repressive neoliberal policies of structural adjustment represent a dead end for the developing world. We can only end the threat of terrorism by addressing constructively the routine violence of poverty, hunger and exploitation which characterizes the daily existence of several billion people on this planet. Racism is, in the final analysis only another form of violence.
To stop the violence of terrorism, we must stop the
violence of racism and class inequality. To struggle for peace, to find
new paths toward reconciliation across the
Dr. Manning Marable is Professor of History and Political Science, and
the Director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies
at Columbia University in New York.
Dr. Marable's column is also available on the Internet at
Copyright (c) 2001 Manning Marable. All Rights Reserved.
October 21, 2001
The High, Hidden Cost of Saudi Arabian Oil
By NEELA BANERJEE
URING his presidential campaign, George W. Bush warned that the nation faced an oil crisis. He was right, but not in the way he foresaw. The crisis that came has nothing to do with prices at the gas pump, or environmental obstacles to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
Rather, it has to do with the political and military price the United States must pay for its dependence on oil from the Persian Gulf.
The terms of that dependence have been glaringly obvious since the attacks on New York and Washington. Immediately after Sept. 11, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, led by Saudi Arabia, assured the United States that it would keep oil supplies stable.
In turn, the Bush administration has refrained from criticizing Saudi silence over the American-led counterattacks against Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, nor has it spoken out about evidence that Saudi citizens finance Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network and other radical Islamic organizations.
Moreover, although the Federal Bureau of Investigation identified most of the hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks as Saudis, Saudi Arabia has refused to provide passenger lists of flights to the United States, an act the Bush administration has been unwilling to criticize.
"The stark truth is that we're dependent on this country that directly or indirectly finances people who are a direct threat to you and me as individuals," said Edward L. Morse, former deputy assistant secretary of state for international energy policy under President Ronald Reagan.
"They won't give us information, won't help track people down, and won't let us use our bases that are there to protect them," Mr. Morse added.
A major reason for that reticence is oil. Five percent of the world's population lives in the United States, but it burns about 19 million barrels of oil a day, or 25 percent of the global daily consumption of 76 million barrels. American cars and sport-utility vehicles alone consume 10 percent of that.
The United States has been angling for influence in the Arabian peninsula since oil was discovered there 70 years ago. American oil companies helped create Saudi Aramco, the state oil company. They were kicked out during the 1973 Arab oil embargo, but the United States and Saudi Arabia quickly reconciled. Several groups of Western oil companies, led by ExxonMobil, will soon develop Saudi Arabia's huge natural gas fields.
Saudi Arabia has all along made certain it was the largest supplier of oil to the United States, oil traders, diplomats and economists said. Saudi Arabia could make more money selling oil to east Asia, but has preferred to sell oil to the United States at lower prices in order to retain its coveted role.
Over the decades, the Saudis' pursuit of American money and military protection melded perfectly with America's ever-growing oil appetite to turn the two nations into reflexive allies. Saudi Arabia and the United States worked together for years to shape the balance of power in the Middle East and Central Asia.
From 1980 to 1988, the United States and Saudi Arabia armed Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran. In 1979 , after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, the Saudis were part of an alliance formed by the United States to drive them out.
"We collaborated in the war in Afghanistan: the Saudis, the U.S. and Pakistan," said Gregory Gause, director of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Vermont. "The Saudis had the money, the Pakistanis had the bases and we had the political oomph to get it together."
Because its interests were so densely intertwined with Saudi Arabia, the United States turned a blind eye to its ally's unsavory foreign liaisons and brewing domestic trouble.
THE United States looked the other way, for instance, as the Saudi government and individuals sent money to the Taliban. Starting in 1999 and extending at least into mid-2000, Saudi Arabia exported 150,000 barrels of oil a day, gratis, to Pakistan and Afghanistan as foreign aid, according to Petroleum Intelligence Weekly, a trade publication. Among oil traders, it is widely believed that the shipments exceeded war-ravaged Afghanistan's needs, and that oil may have been resold to arm the Taliban.
Saudi Arabia's aid to the Taliban points up the balancing act the ruling al-Saud family has to perform between its foreign and domestic interests. The Saudis consider themselves allies of the United States. But the glue that holds their kingdom together is a puritanical strain of Islam called Wahhabism. By supporting the Taliban and other Muslim groups, the al-Saud dynasty is able to retain the goodwill of the country's clerics. Already, in response to the tacit Saudi backing of the American antiterrorism campaign, a powerful mainstream mullah in Saudi Arabia has issued a fatwa excommunicating the royal family. Fearful of protests, the Saudis have not tried to arrest him.
In fact, fear of losing power has led the Saudis to pay off just about everyone, which makes oil revenues so crucial. There is the welfare state to coddle the citizenry; the toleration of extremist clerics so that they do not stir up the masses; and the payoffs to other regimes, including a Pakistan with nuclear capability, to keep them friendly.
But that protection money has not stemmed a growing domestic restiveness, as many Saudis have become fed up with a sprawling ruling family they believe is insatiably corrupt.
"For many of the princes," said one former cabinet secretary in Washington, "the advantages of getting money exceed the advantages of keeping internal unrest down."
Many people in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East loathe the United States because they see it as the protector of a degraded regime in Riyadh. This has put pressure on the Bush administration, intent upon preserving the stability of its largest oil supplier and the appearance of Middle Eastern approval for its fight against terrorism, to toughen its stance on Israel. Prior to the assassination of an Israeli cabinet minister, some kind of shift had been expected by many, including the Israelis.
"To a certain extent," said Philip K. Verleger, an independent economist and a senior adviser in the Carter administration, "we let U.S. foreign policy be dictated to us by the house of Saud."
IT is unclear what the United States can do to loosen its ties to the Saudi regime, so long as it remains reliant on its oil. Mr. Bush urged the Senate last week to get to work on a comprehensive energy policy. But the White House and most Republicans want to focus on developing domestic oil supplies. Given the fact that the United States has only 3 percent of the world's known reserves, increased drilling will do little in the long run to decrease dependence on the Middle East.
"Sept. 11 should be an alarm bell that we need a balanced, comprehensive energy policy that addresses things we don't like to do: mandating more fuel-efficient vehicles, more domestic oil and gas drilling, becoming more energy efficient as a nation, " said Bill Richardson, energy secretary under President Bill Clinton.
That, in turn, could give Washington a bit more leeway in its relations with Saudi Arabia, freeing it to press for a reduction in official corruption or for reining in radical Islamic groups.
Some people, like Dan W. Reicher, former assistant secretary of energy under Mr. Clinton, think that changes that reduce American dependence on petroleum are possible without Americans having to sacrifice the kinds of cars they drive or how they live.
The question now, Mr. Reicher said, is whether Washington can find the political will to act before an oil crisis explodes.
"Will patriotism mean more than raising the flag?" he said. "Will it
mean raising fuel economy?"
Author links Bush family to Nazis
The president of the Florida Holocaust Museum said Saturday that George W. Bush's grandfather derived a portion of his personal fortune through his affiliation with a Nazi-controlled bank. John Loftus, a former prosecutor in the Justice Department's Nazi War Crimes Unit, said his research found that Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, was a principal in the Union Banking Corp. in Manhattan in the late 1930s and the 1940s.
Leading Nazi industrialists secretly owned the bank at that time, Loftus said, and were moving money into it through a second bank in Holland even after the United States declared war on Germany. The bank was liquidated in 1951, Loftus said, and Bush's grandfather and great-grandfather received $1.5 million from the bank as part of that dissolution. "That's where the Bush family fortune came from: It came from the Third Reich," Loftus said. Loftus made his remarks during a speech as part of the Sarasota Reading Festival. The author of "Unholy Trinity: The Vatican, The Nazis and the Swiss Banks," Loftus documented the Swiss bank accounts that harbored funds confiscated from Holocaust victims and the participation of Italian priests in smuggling Nazi war criminals to safe haven in Canada, Central and South America and the United States after the war.
Although he said he had a file of paperwork linking the bank and Prescott Bush to Nazi money, Loftus did not provide that documentation Saturday. Loftus pointed out that the Bush family would not be the only American political dynasty to have ties to the "wrong side of World War II." The Rockefellers had financial connections to Nazi Germany, he said. Loftus also reminded his audience that John F. Kennedy's father, an avowed isolationist and former ambassador to Great Britain, profited during the 1930s and '40s from Nazi stocks that he owned.
"No one today blames the Democrats because Jack Kennedy's father bought Nazi stocks," Loftus said. Still, he said, it is important to understand these historical connections for what they tell us about politics today. The World War II experience points out how easy it was then -- and remains today -- to hide money in multinational funds. That money flows into American politics today, he said, from "a series of multinational corporations behaving like pirates.
They don't care about ideology; they care about money." Loftus' speech left many in tears. "I am absolutely shocked," said Nancy Krauss of Punta Gorda. "I wish this would have come out before the election. My husband voted for Bush. I don't think he would have voted for him if he would have known."
Originally, I found a date of October 20, 1942 but an article was printed in the Herald Tribune July, 1942. Why not write to the editor of the Herald Tribune and ask if they will reprint the article which appeared in their newspaper in 1942? Why not? The source of the Bush family fortune is very important to current world events.
TRIUMPHS, TROUBLES SHAPE GENERATIONS
Published on April 23, 2001. Author(s): Michael Kranish, Globe Staff
Prescott Bush was surely aghast at a sensational article the New York
Herald Tribune splashed on its
Note this date, 1989, George Bush Senior's brother, (not George W.'s
grandfather also named Prescott.
BUSH'S BROTHER ISN'T IN CONFLICT, OFFICIALS SAY
Published on December 14, 1989. Author(s): Stephen Kurkjian, Globe Staff
WASHINGTON -- The White House denied any conflict of interest yesterday
in President Bush's brother's consulting contract with a firm that stands
to benefit if the administration allows the sale of a communications satellite
network to China.A White House spokesman said that both Bush and his brother,
Prescott Bush, who heads a New York-based consulting company called Prescott
Bush Resources Limited, said they did not know that a sale of the satellites
would benefit one of the. . .
How a famous American family made its fortune from
by Attorney John Loftus
For the Bush family, it is a lingering nightmare. For their Nazi clients, the Dutch connection was the mother of all money laundering schemes. From 1945 until 1949, one of the lengthiest and, it now appears, most futile interrogations of a Nazi war crimes suspect began in the American Zone of Occupied Germany. Multibillionaire steel magnate Fritz Thyssen-the man whose steel combine was the cold heart of the Nazi war machine-talked and talked and talked to a joint US-UK interrogation team. For four long years, successive teams of inquisitors tried to break Thyssen's simple claim to possess neither foreign bank accounts nor interests in foreign corporations, no assets that might lead to the missing billions in assets of the Third Reich.
The inquisitors failed utterly. Why? Because what the wily Thyssen deposed was, in a sense, true. What the Allied investigators never understood was that they were not asking Thyssen the right question. Thyssen did not need any foreign bank accounts because his family secretly owned an entire chain of banks. He did not have to transfer his Nazi assets at the end of World War II, all he had to do was transfer the ownership documents - stocks, bonds, deeds and trusts-from his bank in Berlin through his bank in Holland to his American friends in New York City: Prescott Bush and Herbert Walker. Thyssen's partners in crime were the father and father-in-law of a future President of the United States.
The allied investigators underestimated Thyssen's reach, his connections, his motives, and his means. The web of financial entities Thyssen helped create in the 1920's remained a mystery for the rest of the twentieth century, an almost perfectly hidden underground sewer pipeline for moving dirty money, money that bankrolled the post-war fortunes not only of the Thyssen industrial empire...but the Bush family as well. It was a secret Fritz Thyssen would take to his grave. It was a secret that would lead former US intelligence agent William Gowen, now pushing 80, to the very doorstep of the Dutch royal family. The Gowens are no strangers to controversy or nobility. His father was one of President Roosevelt's diplomatic emissaries to Pope Pius XII, leading a futile attempt to persuade the Vatican to denounce Hitler's treatment of Jews.
It was his son, William Gowen, who served in Rome after World War II as a Nazi hunter and investigator with the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps. It was Agent Gowen who first discovered the secret Vatican Ratline for smuggling Nazis in 1949. It was also the same William Gowen who began to uncover the secret Dutch pipeline for smuggling Nazi money in 1999. A half-century earlier, Fritz Thyssen was telling the allied investigators that he had no interest in foreign companies, that Hitler had turned on him and seized most of his property. His remaining assets were mostly in the Russian Occupied Zone of Germany (which he knew were a write-off anyway). His distant (and disliked) relatives in neutral nations like Holland were the actual owners of a substantial percentage of the remaining German industrial base.
As innocent victims of the Third Reich, they were lobbying the allied occupation governments in Germany, demanding restitution of the property that had been seized from them by the Nazis. Under the rules of the Allied occupation of Germany, all property owned by citizens of a neutral nation which had been seized by the Nazis had to be returned to the neutral citizens upon proper presentation of documents showing proof of ownership. Suddenly, all sorts of neutral parties, particularly in Holland, were claiming ownership of various pieces of the Thyssen empire. In his cell, Fritz Thyssen just smiled and waited to be released from prison while members of the Dutch royal family and the Dutch intelligence service reassembled his pre-war holdings for him.
The British and American interrogators may have gravely underestimated Thyssen but they nonetheless knew they were being lied to. Their suspicions focused on one Dutch Bank in particular, the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart, in Rotterdam. This bank did a lot of business with the Thyssens over the years. In 1923, as a favor to him, the Rotterdam bank loaned the money to build the very first Nazi party headquarters in Munich. But somehow the allied investigations kept going nowhere, the intelligence leads all seemed to dry up. If the investigators realized that the US intelligence chief in postwar Germany, Allen Dulles, was also the Rotterdam bank's lawyer, they might have asked some very interesting questions. They did not know that Thyssen was Dulles' client as well. Nor did they ever realize that it was Allen Dulles's other client, Baron Kurt Von Schroeder who was the Nazi trustee for the Thyssen companies which now claimed to be owned by the Dutch.
The Rotterdam Bank was at the heart of Dulles' cloaking scheme, and he guarded its secrets jealously. Several decades after the war, investigative reporter Paul Manning, Edward R. Murrow's colleague, stumbled across the Thyssen interrogations in the US National Archives. Manning intended to write a book about Nazi money laundering. Manning's manuscript was a dagger at Allen Dulles' throat: his book specifically mentioned the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart by name, albeit in passing. Dulles volunteered to help the unsuspecting Manning with his manuscript, and sent him on a wild goose chase, searching for Martin Bormann in South America. Without knowing that he had been deliberately sidetracked, Manning wrote a forward to his book personally thanking Allen Dulles for his "assurance that I was "on the right track, and should keep going.'"
Dulles sent Manning and his manuscript off into the swamps of obscurity. The same "search for Martin Bormann" scam was also used to successfully discredit Ladislas Farago, another American journalist probing too far into the laundering of Nazi money. American investigators had to be sent anywhere but Holland. And so the Dutch connection remained unexplored until 1994 when I published the book "The Secret War Against the Jews." As a matter of historical curiosity, I mentioned that Fritz Thyssen (and indirectly, the Nazi Party) had obtained their early financing from Brown Brothers Harriman, and its affiliate, the Union Banking Corporation. Union Bank, in turn, was the Bush family's holding company for a number of other entities, including the "Holland American Trading Company."
It was a matter of public record that the Bush holdings were seized by the US government after the Nazis overran Holland. In 1951, the Bush's reclaimed Union Bank from the US Alien Property Custodian, along with their "neutral" Dutch assets. I did not realize it, but I had stumbled across a very large piece of the missing Dutch connection. Bush's ownership of the Holland-American investment company was the missing link to Manning's earlier research in the Thyssen investigative files. In 1981, Manning had written: "Thyssen's first step in a long dance of tax and currency frauds began [in the late 1930's] when he disposed of his shares in the Dutch Hollandische-Amerikanische Investment Corporation to be redited to the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart, N.V., Rotterdam, the bank founded in 1916 by August Thyssen Senior."
In this one obscure paragraph, in a little known book, Manning had unwittingly documented two intriguing points: 1) The Bush's Union Bank had apparently bought the same corporate stock that the Thyssens were selling as part of their Nazi money laundering, and 2) the Rotterdam Bank, far from being a neutral Dutch institution, was founded by Fritz Thyssen's father. In hindsight, Manning and I had uncovered different ends of the Dutch connection.
After reading the excerpt in my book about the Bush's ownership of the Holland-American trading Company, retired US intelligence agent William Gowen began to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Mr. Gowen knew every corner of Europe from his days as a diplomat's son, an American intelligence agent, and a newspaperman. William Gowen deserves sole credit for uncovering the mystery of how the Nazi industrialists hid their money from the Allies at the end of World War II.
In 1999, Mr. Gowen traveled to Europe, at his own expense, to meet a former member of Dutch intelligence who had detailed inside information about the Rotterdam bank. The scrupulous Gowen took a written statement and then had his source read and correct it for error. Here, in summary form, is how the Nazis hid their money in America. After World War I, August Thyssen had been badly burned by the loss of assets under the harsh terms of the Versailles treaty. He was determined that it would never happen again. One of his sons would join the Nazis; the other would be neutral. No matter who won the next war, the Thyssen family would survive with their industrial empire intact. Fritz Thyssen joined the Nazis in 1923; his younger brother married into Hungarian nobility and changed his name to Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza. The Baron later claimed Hungarian as well as Dutch citizenship. In public, he pretended to detest his Nazi brother, but in private they met at secret board meetings in Germany to coordinate their operations.
If one brother were threatened with loss of property, he would transfer his holdings to the other. To aid his sons in their shell game, August Thyssen had established three different banks during the 1920's-The August Thyssen Bank in Berlin, the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart in Rotterdam, and the Union Banking Corporation in New York City. To protect their corporate holdings, all the brothers had to do was move the corporate paperwork from one bank to the other. This they did with some regularity. When Fritz Thyssen "sold" the Holland-American Trading Company for a tax loss, the Union Banking Corporation in New York bought the stock. Similarly, the Bush family invested the disguised Nazi profits in American steel and manufacturing corporations that became part of the secret Thyssen empire.
When the Nazis invaded Holland in May 1940, they investigated the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart in Rotterdam. Fritz Thyssen was suspected by Hitler's auditors of being a tax fraud and of illegally transferring his wealth outside the Third Reich. The Nazi auditors were right: Thyssen felt that Hitler's economic policies would dilute his wealth through ruinous war inflation. He had been smuggling his war profits out through Holland. But the Rotterdam vaults were empty of clues to where the money had gone. The Nazis did not know that all of the documents evidencing secret Thyssen ownership had been quietly shipped back to the August Thyssen Bank in Berlin, under the friendly supervision of Baron Kurt Von Schroeder. Thyssen spent the rest of the war under VIP house arrest. He had fooled Hitler, hidden his immense profits, and now it was time to fool the Americans with same shell game.
As soon as Berlin fell to the allies, it was time to ship the documents back to Rotterdam so that the "neutral" bank could claim ownership under the friendly supervision of Allen Dulles, who, as the OSS intelligence chief in 1945 Berlin, was well placed to handle any troublesome investigations. Unfortunately, the August Thyssen Bank had been bombed during the war, and the documents were buried in the underground vaults beneath the rubble. Worse, the vaults lay in the Soviet Zone of Berlin.
According to Gowen's source, Prince Bernhard commanded a unit of Dutch intelligence, which dug up the incriminating corporate papers in 1945 and brought them back to the "neutral" bank in Rotterdam. The pretext was that the Nazis had stolen the crown jewels of his wife, Princess Juliana, and the Russians gave the Dutch permission to dig up the vault and retrieve them. Operation Juliana was a Dutch fraud on the Allies who searched high and low for the missing pieces of the Thyssen fortune.
In 1945, the former Dutch manager of the Rotterdam bank resumed control only to discover that he was sitting on a huge pile of hidden Nazi assets. In 1947, the manager threatened to inform Dutch authorities, and was immediately fired by the Thyssens. The somewhat naive bank manager then fled to New York City where he intended to talk to Union Bank director Prescott Bush. As Gowen's Dutch source recalled, the manager intended "to reveal [to Prescott Bush] the truth about Baron Heinrich and the Rotterdam Bank, [in order that] some or all of the Thyssen interests in the Thyssen Group might be >seized and confiscated as German enemy property." The manager's body was found in New York two weeks later.
Similarly, in 1996 a Dutch journalist Eddy Roever went to London to interview the Baron, who was neighbors with Margaret Thatcher. Roever's body was discovered two days later. Perhaps, Gowen remarked dryly, it was only a coincidence that both healthy men had died of heart attacks immediately after trying to uncover the truth about the Thyssens.
Neither Gowen nor his Dutch source knew about the corroborating evidence in the Alien Property Custodian archives or in the OMGUS archives. Together, the two separate sets of US files overlap each other and directly corroborate Gowen's source. The first set of archives confirms absolutely that the Union Banking Corporation in New York was owned by the Rotterdam Bank. The second set (quoted by Manning) confirms that the Rotterdam Bank in turn was owned by the Thyssens.
It is not surprising that these two American agencies never shared their Thyssen files. As the noted historian Burton Hersh documented: "The Alien Property Custodian, Leo Crowley, was on the payroll of the New York J. Henry Schroeder Bank where Foster and Allen Dulles both sat as board members. Foster arranged an appointment for himself as special legal counsel for the Alien Property Custodian while simultaneously representing [German] interests against the custodian." No wonder Allen Dulles had sent Paul Manning on a wild goose chase to South America. He was very close to uncovering the fact that the Bush's bank in New York City was secretly owned by the Nazis, before during and after WWII.
Once Thyssen ownership of the Union Banking Corporation is proven, it makes out a prima facie case of treason against the Dulles and Bush families for giving aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war. PART TWO The first key fact to be proven in any criminal case is that the Thyssen family secretly owned the Bush's Bank. Apart from Gowen's source, and the twin American files, a third set of corroboration comes from the Thyssen family themselves.
In 1979, the present Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza (Fritz Thyssen's nephew) prepared a written family history to be shared with his top management. A copy of this thirty-page tome entitled "The History of the Thyssen Family and Their Activities" was provided by Gowen's source. It contains the following Thyssen admissions: "Thus, at the beginning of World War II the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart had become the holding of my father's companies - a Dutch firm whose only shareholder was a Hungarian citizen. Prior to 1929, it held the shares of the August Thyssen Bank, and also American subsidiaries and the Union Banking Corporation, New York.
The shares of all the affiliates were [in 1945] with the August Thyssen Bank in the East Sector of Berlin, from where I was able to have them transferred into the West at the last moment" "After the war the Dutch government ordered an investigation into the status of the holding company and, pending the result, appointed a Dutch former general manager of my father who turned against our family. In that same year, 1947, I returned to Germany for the first time after the war, disguised as a Dutch driver in military uniform, to establish contact with our German directors."
"The situation of the Group gradually began to be resolved but it was not until 1955 that the German companies were freed from Allied control and subsequently disentangled. Fortunately, the companies in the group suffered little from dismantling. At last we were in a position to concentrate on purely economic problems-the reconstruction and extension of the companies and the expansion of the organization." "The banking department of the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart, which also functioned as the Group's holding company, merged in 1970 with Nederlandse Credietbank N.V. which increased its capital. The Group received 25 percent. The Chase Manhattan Bank holds 31%. The name Thyssen-Bornemisza Group was selected for the new holding company."
Thus the twin US Archives, Gowen's Dutch source, and the Thyssen family history all independently confirm that President Bush's father and grandfather served on the board of a bank that was secretly owned by the leading Nazi industrialists. The Bush connection to these American institutions is a matter of public record. What no one knew, until Gowen's brilliant research opened the door, was that the Thyssens were the secret employers of the Bush family. But what did the Bush family know about their Nazi connection and when did they know it? As senior managers of Brown Brothers Harriman, they had to have known that their American clients, such as the Rockefellers, were investing heavily in German corporations, including Thyssen's giant Vereinigte Stahlwerke.
As noted historian Christopher Simpson repeatedly documents, it is a matter of public record that Brown Brother's investments in Nazi Germany took place under the Bush family stewardship. When war broke out was Prescott Bush stricken with a case of Waldheimers disease, a sudden amnesia about his Nazi past? Or did he really believe that our friendly Dutch allies owned the Union Banking Corporation and its parent bank in Rotterdam? It should be recalled that in January 1937, he hired Allen Dulles to "cloak" his accounts. But cloak from whom? Did he expect that happy little Holland was going to declare war on America? The cloaking operation only makes sense in anticipation of a possible war with Nazi Germany. If Union Bank was not the conduit for laundering the Rockefeller's Nazi investments back to America, then how could the Rockefeller-controlled Chase Manhattan Bank end up owning 31% of the Thyssen group after the war?
It should be noted that the Thyssen group (TBG) is now the largest industrial conglomerate in Germany, and with a net worth of more than $50 billion dollars, one of the wealthiest corporations in the world. TBG is so rich it even bought out the Krupp family, famous arms makers for Hitler, leaving the Thyssens as the undisputed champion survivors of the Third Reich. Where did the Thyssens get the start-up money to rebuild their empire with such speed after World War II? The enormous sums of money deposited into the Union Bank prior to 1942 is the best evidence that Prescott Bush knowingly served as a money launderer for the Nazis. Remember that Union Banks' books and accounts were frozen by the U.S. Alien Property Custodian in 1942 and not released back to the Bush family until 1951. At that time, Union Bank shares representing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of industrial stocks and bonds were unblocked for distribution. Did the Bush family really believe that such enormous sums came from Dutch enterprises? One could sell tulip bulbs and wooden shoes for centuries and not achieve those sums. A fortune this size could only have come from the Thyssen profits made from rearming the Third Reich, and then hidden, first from the Nazi tax auditors, and then from the Allies.
The Bushes knew perfectly well that Brown Brothers was the American money channel into Nazi Germany, and that Union Bank was the secret pipeline to bring the Nazi money back to America from Holland. The Bushes had to have known how the secret money circuit worked because they were on the board of directors in both directions: Brown Brothers out, Union Bank in. Moreover, the size of their compensation is commensurate with their risk as Nazi money launderers. In 1951, Prescott Bush and his father in law each received one share of Union Bank stock, allegedly worth $750,000 each. One and a half million dollars was a lot of money in 1951. But then, from the Thyssen point of view, buying the Bushes was the best bargain of the war. The bottom line is harsh: It is bad enough that the Bush family helped raise the money for Thyssen to give Hitler his start in the 1920's, but giving aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war is treason. The Bush's bank helped the Thyssens make the Nazi steel that killed allied soldiers. As bad as financing the Nazi war machine may seem, aiding and abetting the Holocaust was worse. Thyssen's coal mines used Jewish slaves as if they were disposable chemicals. There are six million skeletons in the Thyssen family closet, and a myriad of criminal and historical questions to be answered about the Bush family's complicity. During the Carter and Reagan administrations, Loftus was a prosecutor with the Justice Department's Nazi War Crimes Unit. There he discovered Top Secret documents revealing that the Nazis he had been assigned to prosecute were working for NATO intelligence. He resigned from the Justice Department and exposed the shocking Nazi scandal on an Emmy Award-winning segment of "60 Minutes."
In 1982, he received CIA clearance to publish his first book, The Belarus
Secret. Loftus has been an international advisor on Nazi prosecution, authored
several books and articles, and received numerous humanitarian awards.
His book, The Secret War Against Jews, exposes the still classified archives
of the Holocaust. The American Bar Association Barrister has named Loftus
one of the "20 Lawyers Who Make A Difference."
Like his father in 1968, Salem died in a 1988 air crash...in Texas. He was flying a BAC 1-11 which had been bought in July 1977 by Prince Mohammed Ben Fahd. The plane's flight plans had long been at the center of a number of investigations. According to one of the plane's American pilots, it had been used in October 1980 during secret Paris meetings between US and Iranian emissaries.
Nothing was ever proven, but Salem bin Laden's accidental death revived
some speculation that he might have been "eliminated" as an embarrassing
witness. In fact, an inquiry was held to determine the exact circumstances
of the accident. The conclusions were never divulged.
Thursday, December 4, 1997 Published at 19:27 GMT
World: West Asia
Taleban in Texas for talks on gas pipeline
The 1,300km pipeline will carry gas across Afghanistan's harsh terrain
A senior delegation from the Taleban movement in Afghanistan is in the United States for talks with an international energy company that wants to construct a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to Pakistan.
A spokesman for the company, Unocal, said the Taleban were expected to spend several days at the company's headquarters in Sugarland, Texas.
Unocal says it has agreements both with Turkmenistan to sell its gas
and with Pakistan to buy it.
But, despite the civil war in Afghanistan, Unocal has been in competition with an Argentinian firm, Bridas, to actually construct the pipeline.
Last month, the Argentinian firm, Bridas, announced that it was close to signing a two-billion dollar deal to build the pipeline, which would carry gas 1,300 kilometres from Turkmenistan to Pakistan, across Afghanistan.
In May, Taleban-controlled radio in Kabul said a visiting delegation
from an Argentinian company had announced that pipeline construction would
The radio has reported several visits to Kabul by Unocal and Bridas
A BBC regional correspondent says the proposal to build a pipeline across
Afghanistan is part of an international scramble to profit from developing
the rich energy resources of the
With the various Afghan factions still at war, the project has looked from the outside distinctly unpromising.
Last month the Taleban Minister of Information and Culture, Amir Khan
Muttaqi, said the Taleban had held talks with both American and Argentine-led
consortia over transit rights but that no final agreement had yet been
reached. He said an official team from Afghanistan,
However, Unocal clearly believes it is still in with a chance - to the extent that it has already begun training potential staff.
It has commissioned the University of Nebraska to teach Afghan men the
technical skills needed for pipeline construction. Nearly 140 people were
enrolled last month in Kandahar and Unocal also plans to hold training
courses for women in administrative skills.
Although the Taleban authorities only allow women to work in the health sector, organisers of the training say they haven't so far raised any objections.
The BBC regional correspondent says the Afghan economy has been devastated by 20 years of civil war. A deal to go ahead with the pipeline project could give it a desperately-needed boost.
But peace must be established first -- and that for the moment still
seems a distant prospect.
Carlyle's Way - Making a mint inside "the iron triangle" of defense,
HEAR DAN LIVE - REAL AUDIO
Like everyone else in the United States, the group stood transfixed
Carlyle's Way - Making a mint inside "the iron triangle" of defense,
Published on Wednesday, January 9, 2002 by Common Dreams
Blood and Oil
by Bill C. Davis
The question of what is driving the American military is haunting. To construct a cohesive scenario from the diverse, contradictory and fragmented information surrounding the present military action is challenging. The word that keeps popping up is - pipeline.
If beneath the carnage there is nothing infinite or enduring – there is simply profit merging with national security - because powerful Christians need to hyphenate their profit motive so they can sleep at night – then the discourse takes a dramatic turn. It can then be said that the land needed for the flow of oil is soaked with blood. People are being killed not to protect us but to clear the runway.
If this is “operation protected pipeline,” terrorism has been given another engine. A new bit of evidence for a well-planned agenda for the pipeline came in the person of the special American envoy to Afghanistan - Zalmay Khalilzad who was an adviser for Unocal. He participated in talks between Unocal and the Taliban in 1997 when Unocal was planning the pipeline. He also headed the Bush/Cheney transition team for the defense department and advised Rumsfeld.
As the ticker tape below the pictures on TV tell us the score, the home team seems to be doing really well, even though rumors of greater American casualties filter their way to us through the internet. In the main, we are told that our guys and gals are killing the people who want to hurt us. We’re not changing their desire to hurt us, because that, we are told, is impossible. Al-Qaeda and Taliban are merging into a sub-specie of humanity and they are permanently damaged goods and need to be destroyed even though Rumsfeld assures us this is not a war of elimination. Even the question that it might be a war of elimination was distasteful to him – as if he bit into something sour when he heard the question. He advised the reporter asking the question that it was not “useful phraseology.” Useful phraseology may be phrases like “drying up the swamp.”
This might mean making sure that there is no one left in Afghanistan who might even consider damaging or interfering with a pipeline from central Asia which is the pot of gold for our present oiligarchy. But the belief that there are a finite number of persons who wish to do the pipeline and American citizens harm, and that they can be killed or contained is a belief that needs investigating. That number can grow as both blood and oil flow. Children there who are now eight or nine may look at their world ten years from now and may believe that violence is their only option. The American military is not telling them anything to the contrary. Could it be that the American military is protecting an investment that wears the cloak of national security, freedom and democracy? Is this tactic protecting us? Are American citizens now safer as a result of our military being used in this way? Or is this particular use of the military an addiction related to our addiction to oil and both addictions expose all of us to serious physical and spiritual health problems?
If September 11th was a heart attack should our response be to increase our addiction to what amounts to an extra pack and a half? And yet there we are. Blood and oil are soaking the landscape of beautiful foreign lands and polluting the air and integrity of our amazing country. The fuel itself and our addiction to it are both explosive. Blood is spilled so oil can flow. If that is the present equation beneath this noble war on terrorism then, as we are told we are winning, we are losing. Ostensibly we are attacking the symptoms and as we do so we are worsening the conditions that caused the symptoms. The mounting numbers of “unfortunate unintended casualties” don’t spell victory – it spells more of the same. It does not, as Rumsfeld tries to tell us, “contribute to peace and stability in the region.” It contributes to something much darker despite how fabulous the war cartel looks on the cover of Vanity Fair.
War and Destiny is the title of this issue. Yes – our airbrushed destiny is war, with these “folks” on the cover and their motives hidden in a scratch and sniff page buried in the glossy subterfuge of glamour. The manifesto for pacifists and environmentalists and patriots should be that we must end our combustible blood-soaked addiction to oil. How long can we run our cars on gas that has the additive of foreign blood? That fuel is painfully flammable. What brought the World Trade Center down was not the strike but the fuel. As committed and devoted citizens of America and the world – we must press for cars that are not run by internal combustion engines – we must build homes that are heated in ways that do not require oil – we must lobby for smart efficient rail systems (When did it happen that only bombs are allowed to be smart?).
We must produce the energy we need from the land on which we live using
the resources that we can renew and harness. It’s that simple. We cannot
use our military to press and oppress for the sake of oil. We cannot spill
blood to insure what has been dubbed our national security. Our national
security is based on our ingenuity and inventiveness not on our addiction.
Let’s move the country with genius not with fire. And once we clear the
air of our addiction to oil we may have a chance to see and perhaps cure
our addiction to violence. Bill C. Davis is a playwright
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