Skip to comments.3 articles make a slam dunk on a Micheal Moore's deception with the Afghanistan pipeline.
Posted on 07/06/2004 7:25:28 AM PDT by april15Bendovr
These 3 articles make a slam dunk on a Micheal Moore's deception with the Afghanistan pipeline.
Sent by Chris Donohoe East Hampstead NH
Some of the main points in Fahrenheit 9/11 really arent very fair at all
By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
Updated: 6:26 p.m. ET June 30, 2004
June 30 - In his new movie, Fahrenheit 9/11, film-maker Michael Moore makes the eye-popping claim that Saudi Arabian interests have given $1.4 billion to firms connected to the family and friends of President George W. Bush. This, Moore suggests, helps explain one of the principal themes of the film: that the Bush White House has shown remarkable solicitude to the Saudi royals, even to the point of compromising the war on terror. When you and your associates get money like that, Moore says at one point in the movie, who you gonna like? Whos your Daddy?
But a cursory examination of the claim reveals some flaws in Moores arithmeticnot to mention his logic. Moore derives the $1.4 billion figure from journalist Craig Ungers book, House of Bush, House of Saud. Nearly 90 percent of that amount, $1.18 billion, comes from just one source: contracts in the early to mid-1990s that the Saudi Arabian government awarded to a U.S. defense contractor, BDM, for training the countrys military and National Guard. Whats the significance of BDM? The firm at the time was owned by the Carlyle Group, the powerhouse private-equity firm whose Asian-affiliate advisory board has included the presidents father, George H.W. Bush.
Leave aside the tenuous six-degrees-of-separation nature of this connection. The main problem with this figure, according to Carlyle spokesman Chris Ullman, is that former president Bush didnt join the Carlyle advisory board until April, 1998five months after Carlyle had already sold BDM to another defense firm. True enough, the former president was paid for one speech to Carlyle and then made an overseas trip on the firms behalf the previous fall, right around the time BDM was sold. But Ullman insists any link between the former presidents relations with Carlyle and the Saudi contracts to BDM that were awarded years earlier is entirely bogus. The figure is inaccurate and misleading, said Ullman. The movie clearly implies that the Saudis gave $1.4 billion to the Bushes and their friends. But most of it went to a Carlyle Group company before Bush even joined the firm. Bush had nothing to do with BDM.
In light of the extraordinary box office success of Fahrenheit 9/11, and its potential political impact, a rigorous analysis of the films assertions seems more than warranted. Indeed, Moore himself has invited the scrutiny. He has set up a Web site and war-room to defend the claims in the movieand attack his critics. (The war-rooms overseers are two veteran spin-doctors from the Clinton White House: Chris Lehane and Mark Fabiani.) Moore also this week contended that the media was pounding away at him pretty hard because theyre embarrassed. Theyve been outed as people who did not do their job. Among the media critiques prominently criticized was an article in Newsweek.
In response to inquiries from NEWSWEEK about the Carlyle issue, Lehane shot back this week with a volley of points: There were multiple Bush connections to the Carlyle Group throughout the period of the Saudi contracts to BDM, Lehane noted in an e-mail, including the fact that the firms principals included James Baker (Secretary of State during the first Bush administration) and Richard Darman (the first Bushs OMB chief). Moreover, George W. Bush himself had his own Carlyle Group link: between 1990 and 1994, he served on the board of another Carlyle-owned firm, Caterair, a now defunct airline catering firm.
But unmentioned in Fahrenheit/911, or in the Lehane responses, is a considerable body of evidence that cuts the other way. The idea that the Carlyle Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of some loosely defined Bush Inc. concern seems hard to defend. Like many similar entities, Carlyle boasts a roster of bipartisan Washington power figures. Its founding and still managing partner is David Rubenstein, a former top domestic policy advisor to Jimmy Carter. Among the firms senior advisors is Thomas Mack McLarty, Bill Clintons former White House chief of staff, and Arthur Levitt, Clintons former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. One of its other managing partners is William Kennard, Clintons chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Spokesman Ullman was the Clinton-era spokesman for the SEC.
As for the presidents own Carlyle link, his service on the Caterair board ended when he quit to run for Texas governora few months before the first of the Saudi contracts to the unrelated BDM firm was awarded. Moreover, says Ullman, Bush didnt invest in the [Caterair] deal and he didnt profit from it. (The firm was a big money loser and was even cited by the campaign of Ann Richards, Bushs 1994 gubernatorial opponent, as evidence of what a lousy businessman he was.)
Most importantly, the movie fails to show any evidence that Bush White House actually has intervened in any way to promote the interests of the Carlyle Group. In fact, the one major Bush administration decision that most directly affected the companys interest was the cancellation of a $11 billion program for the Crusader rocket artillery system that had been developed for the U.S. Army (during the Clinton administration)a move that had been foreshadowed by Bushs own statements during the 2000 campaign saying he wanted a lighter and more mobile military. The Crusader was manufactured by United Defense, which had been wholly owned by Carlyle until it spun the company off in a public offering in October, 2001 (and profited to the tune of $237 million). Carlyle still owned 47 percent of the shares in the defense company at the time that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeldin the face of stiff congressional resistancecanceled the Crusader program the following year. These developments, like much else relevant to Carlyle, goes unmentioned in Moores movie.
None of this is to suggest that there arent legitimate questions that deserve to be asked about the influence that secretive firms like Carlyle have in Washingtonnot to mention the Saudis themselves (an issue that has been taken up repeatedly in our weekly Terror Watch columns.) Nor are we trying to say that Fahrenheit 9/11 isnt a powerful and effective movie that raises a host of legitimate issues about President Bushs response to the September 11 attacks, the climate of fear engendered by the war on terror and, most importantly, about the wisdom and horrific human toll of the war in Iraq.
But for all the reasonable points he makes, on more than a few occasions in the movie Moore twists and bends the available facts and makes glaring omissions in ways that end up clouding the serious political debate he wants to provoke.
Consider Moores handling of another conspiratorial claim: the idea that oil-company interest in building a pipeline through Afghanistan influenced early Bush administration policy regarding the Taliban. Moore raises the issue by stringing together two unrelated events. The first is that a delegation of Taliban leaders flew to Houston, Texas, in 1997 (while George W. Bush was governor of Texas, the movie helpfully points out) to meet with executives of Unocal, an oil company that was indeed interested in building a pipeline to carry natural gas from the Caspian Sea through Afghanistan.
The second is that another Taliban emissary visited Washington in March, 2001 and got an audience at the State Department, leaving Moore to speculate that the Bush administration had gone soft on the protectors of Osama bin Laden because it was interested in promoting a pipeline deal. "Why on earth would the Bush administration allow a Taliban leader to visit the United States knowing that the Taliban were harboring the man who bombed the USS Cole and our African embassies?" Moore asks at one point.
This, as conspiracy theories go, is more than a stretch. Unocals interest in building the Afghan pipeline is well documented. Indeed, according to Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to Sept. 10., 2001, the critically acclaimed book by Washington Post managing editor Steve Coll, Unocal executives met repeatedly with Clinton administration officials throughout the late 1990s in an effort to promote the projectin part by getting the U.S. government to take a more conciliatory approach to the Taliban. It was an easy time for an American oil executive to find an audience in the Clinton White House, Coll writes on page 307 of his book. At the White House, [Unocal lobbyist Marty Miller] met regularly with Sheila Heslin, the director of energy issues at the National Security Council, whose suite next to the West Wing coursed with visitors from American oil firms. Miller found Heslin very supportive of Unocals agenda in Afghanistan.
Coll never suggests that the Clintonites interest in the Unocal project was because of the corrupting influence of big oil. Clinton National Security Council advisor Berger, Heslin and their White House colleagues saw themselves engaged in a hardheaded synthesis of American commercial interests and national security goals, he writes. They wanted to use the profit-making motives of American oil companies to thwart one of the countrys most determined enemies, Iran, and to contain the longer-term ambitions of a restless Russia.
Whatever the motive, the Unocal pipeline project was entirely a Clinton-era proposal: By 1998, as the Taliban hardened its positions, the U.S. oil company pulled out of the deal. By the time George W. Bush took office, it was a dead issueand no longer the subject of any lobbying in Washington. (Vice President Dick Cheneys energy task force report in May, 2001, makes no reference to it.) There is no evidence that the Taliban envoy who visited Washington in March, 2001and met with State Department and National Security Council officialsever brought up the pipeline. Nor is there any evidence anybody in the Bush administration raised it with him. The envoy brought a letter to Bush offering negotiations to resolve the issue of what should be done with bin Laden. (A few weeks earlier, Taliban leader Mullah Omar had floated the idea of convening a tribunal of Islamic religious scholars to review the evidence against the Al Qaeda leader.) The Taliban offer was promptly shot down. We have not seen from the Taliban a proposal that would meet the requirements of the U.N. resolution to hand over Osama bin Laden to a country where he can be brought to justice, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said at the time.
The use of innuendo is rife through other critical passages of Fahrenheit 9/11. The movie makes much of the presidents relationship with James R. Bath, a former member of his Texas Air National Guard who, like Bush, was suspended from flying at one point for failure to take a physical. The movie suggests that the White House blacked out a reference to Baths missed physical from his National Guard records not because of legal concerns over the Privacy Act but because it was trying to conceal the Bath connectiona presumed embarrassment because the Houston businessman had once been the U.S. money manager for the bin Laden family. After being hired by the bin Ladens to manager their money in Texas, Bath in turn, the movie says, invested in George W. Bush.
The investment in question is real: In the late 1970s, Bath put up $50,000 into Bushs Arbusto Energy, (one of a string of failed oil ventures by the president), giving Bath a 5 percent interest in the company. The implication seems to be that, years later, because of this link, Bush was somehow not as zealous about his determination to get bin Laden.
Leaving aside the fact that the bin Laden family, which runs one of Saudi Arabias biggest construction firms, has never been linked to terrorism, the moviewhich relied heavily on Ungers bookfails to note the authors conclusion about what to make of the supposed Bin Laden-Bath-Bush nexus: that it may not mean anything. The Bush-Bin Laden relationships were indirecttwo degrees of separation, perhapsand at times have been overstated, Unger writes in his book. While critics have charged that bin Laden money found its way into Arbusto through Bath, Unger notes that no hard evidence has ever been found to back up that charge and Bath himself has adamantly denied it. One hundred percent of those funds (in Arbusto) were mine, says Bath in a footnote on page 101 of Ungers book. It was a purely personal investment.
The innuendo is greatest, of course, in Moores dealings with the matter of the departing Saudis flown out of the United States in the days after the September 11 terror attacks. Much has already been written about these flights, especially the films implication that figures with possible knowledge of the terrorist attacks were allowed to leave the country without adequate FBI screeninga notion that has been essentially rejected by the 9/11 commission. The 9/11 commission found that the FBI screened the Saudi passengers, ran their names through federal databases, interviewed 30 of them and asked many of them detailed questions." Nobody of interest to the FBI with regard to the 9/11 investigation was allowed to leave the country, the commission stated. New information about a flight from Tampa, Florida late on Sept. 13 seems mostly a red herring: The flight didnt take any Saudis out of the United States. It was a domestic flight to Lexington, Kentucky that took place after the Tampa airport had already reopened.(You can read Ungers letter to Newsweek on this point, as well as our reply, by clicking here.)
It is true that there are still some in the FBI who had questions about the flights-and wish more care had been taken to examine the passengers. But the films basic pointthat the flights represented perhaps the supreme example of the Saudi governments influence in the Bush White House-is almost impossible to defend. Why? Because while the film claimscorrectlythat the White House approved the flights, it fails to note who exactly in the White House did so. It wasnt the president, or the vice president or anybody else supposedly corrupted by Saudi oil money. It was Richard Clarke, the counter-terrorism czar who was a holdover from the Clinton administration and who has since turned into a fierce Bush critic. Clarke has publicly testified that he gave the greenlightconditioned on FBI clearance.
I thought the flights were correct, Clarke told ABC News last week. The Saudis had reasonable fear that they might be the subject of vigilante attacks in the United States after 9/11. And there is no evidence even to this date that any of the people who left on those flights were people of interest to the FBI. Like much else relevant to the issues Moore raises, Clarkes reasons for approving the flightsand his thoughts on them todaywont be found in Fahrenheit 9/11, nor in any of the ample material now being churned out by the film-makers war room to defend his provocative, if flawed, movie.
© 2004 Newsweek, Inc.
Analysis: Masood's regional allies
Even as the uncertainty about the fate of the Afghan opposition alliance leader Ahmed Shah Masood continues, Afghanistan's neighbours are planning to meet to review the situation. Officials from Iran, Russia, Tajikistan, India and Uzbekistan are due to hold an emergency meeting in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.
Masood's reputation was based on his military brilliance
If he is dead - or incapacitated - it will have serious implications both for Afghanistan and for its neighbours.
What all of them fear is the spread of the Taleban's brand of Islamic militancy throughout the region. They also see Afghanistan as a source of drugs, terrorism and instability.
It is because of this that they have been backing the assorted groups which make up the anti-Taleban Northern alliance.
Mr Masood kept that alliance together - and there is a widespread fear that without him the alliance would fall apart.
Ahmed Shah Masood's reputation was built, first and foremost, on his brilliance as a military commander during the war against the Soviet occupation.
Tajikistan fears the spread of radical Islam
Besides his formidable reputation as a soldier, his charisma has managed to appeal to the disparate groups that make up the opposition - cutting across ethnic lines.
But Mr Masood, an ethnic Tajik, has also received financial and military assistance from a range of international supporters, including his old enemy Russia.
Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are concerned with the growth of radical Islam within their borders and hold the Taleban responsible.
And Russia accuses the Taleban of supporting and training Chechen rebels.
Shiite Iran, on the other hand, has been a strong backer of the Shia minority in Afghanistan, largely confined to the Hazara ethnic group in the central province of Bamiyan.
For its part, the Taleban receives strong support from Pakistan which, along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, recognises it as the legitimate representative of Afghans.
Officially, the countries opposed to the Taleban have been calling for a broad-based government in Afghanistan that would represent all the various ethnic groups.
US policy is dictated by the Osama bin Laden factor
This is a position backed by India and the United States.
The American policy towards Afghanistan is dictated by the Taleban's protection to Washington's biggest enemy, the Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden.
But the US - and several countries in the region - are also keen to commercially exploit the vast oil and gas reserves in Central Asia, and believe that Afghanistan holds the key.
Several countries are exploring the idea of building a pipeline from Central Asia across Afghanistan to Pakistan and beyond - something that would be impossible without a stable Afghanistan. (Pat)
Ahmed Shah Masood was also virtually alone among Afghan leaders, he was known and respected in the West.
Earlier this year he got a warm reception in France and at the European parliament, where he was seen as the symbol of the Afghan struggle against a backward and repressive regime.
World Press Review Background Documents:
JOHN J. MARESCA
VICE PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
FEBRUARY 12, 1998
Mr. Chairman, I am John Maresca, Vice President, International Relations, of Unocal Corporation. Unocal is one of the world's leading energy resource and project development companies. Our activities are focused on three major regions -- Asia, Latin America and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. In Asia and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, we are a major oil and gas producer. I appreciate your invitation to speak here today. I believe these hearings are important and timely, and I congratulate you for focusing on Central Asia oil and gas reserves and the role they play in shaping U.S. policy.
Today we would like to focus on three issues concerning this region, its resources and U.S. policy:
The need for multiple pipeline routes for Central Asian oil and gas.
The need for U.S. support for international and regional efforts to achieve balanced and lasting political settlements within Russia, other newly independent states and in Afghanistan.
The need for structured assistance to encourage economic reforms and the development of appropriate investment climates in the region. In this regard, we specifically support repeal or removal of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act.
For more than 2,000 years, Central Asia has been a meeting ground between Europe and Asia, the site of ancient east-west trade routes collectively called the Silk Road and, at various points in history, a cradle of scholarship, culture and power. It is also a region of truly enormous natural resources, which are revitalizing cross-border trade, creating positive political interaction and stimulating regional cooperation. These resources have the potential to recharge the economies of neighboring countries and put entire regions on the road to prosperity.
About 100 years ago, the international oil industry was born in the Caspian/Central Asian region with the discovery of oil. In the intervening years, under Soviet rule, the existence
of the region's oil and gas resources was generally known, but only partially or poorly developed.
As we near the end of the 20th century, history brings us full circle. With political barriers falling, Central Asia and the Caspian are once again attracting people from around the globe who are seeking ways to develop and deliver its bountiful energy resources to the markets of the world.
The Caspian region contains tremendous untapped hydrocarbon reserves, much of them located in the Caspian Sea basin itself. Proven natural gas reserves within Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan equal more than 236 trillion cubic feet. The region's total oil reserves may reach more than 60 billion barrels of oil -- enough to service Europe's oil needs for 11 years. Some estimates are as high as 200 billion barrels. In 1995, the region was producing only 870,000 barrels per day (44 million tons per year [Mt/y]).
By 2010, Western companies could increase production to about 4.5 million barrels a day (Mb/d) -- an increase of more than 500 percent in only 15 years. If this occurs, the region would represent about five percent of the world's total oil production, and almost 20 percent of oil produced among non-OPEC countries.
One major problem has yet to be resolved: how to get the region's vast energy resources to the markets where they are needed. There are few, if any, other areas of the world where there can be such a dramatic increase in the supply of oil and gas to the world market. The solution seems simple: build a "new" Silk Road. Implementing this solution, however, is far from simple. The risks are high, but so are the rewards.
Finding and Building Routes to World Markets
One of the main problems is that Central Asia is isolated. The region is bounded on the north by the Arctic Circle, on the east and west by vast land distances, and on the south by a series of natural obstacles -- mountains and seas -- as well as political obstacles, such as conflict zones or sanctioned countries.
This means that the area's natural resources are landlocked, both geographically and politically. Each of the countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia faces difficult political challenges. Some have unsettled wars or latent conflicts. Others have evolving systems where the laws -- and even the courts -- are dynamic and changing. Business commitments can be rescinded without warning, or they can be displaced by new geopolitical realities.
In addition, a chief technical obstacle we face in transporting oil is the region's existing pipeline infrastructure. Because the region's pipelines were constructed during the Moscow-centered Soviet period, they tend to head north and west toward Russia. There are no connections to the south and east.
Depending wholly on this infrastructure to export Central Asia oil is not practical. Russia currently is unlikely to absorb large new quantities of "foreign" oil, is unlikely to be a significant market for energy in the next decade, and lacks the capacity to deliver it to other markets.
Certainly there is no easy way out of Central Asia. If there are to be other routes, in other directions, they must be built.
Two major energy infrastructure projects are seeking to meet this challenge. One, under the aegis of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, or CPC, plans to build a pipeline west from the Northern Caspian to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossisk. From Novorossisk, oil from this line would be transported by tanker through the Bosphorus to the Mediterranean and world markets.
The other project is sponsored by the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC), a consortium of 11 foreign oil companies including four American companies -- Unocal, Amoco, Exxon and Pennzoil. It will follow one or both of two routes west from Baku. One line will angle north and cross the North Caucasus to Novorossisk. The other route would cross Georgia and extend to a shipping terminal on the Black Sea port of Supsa. This second route may be extended west and south across Turkey to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.
But even if both pipelines were built, they would not have enough total capacity to transport all the oil expected to flow from the region in the future; nor would they have the capability to move it to the right markets. Other export pipelines must be built.
Unocal believes that the central factor in planning these pipelines should be the location of the future energy markets that are most likely to need these new supplies. Just as Central Asia was the meeting ground between Europe and Asia in centuries past, it is again in a unique position to potentially service markets in both of these regions -- if export routes to these markets can be built. Let's take a look at some of the potential markets.
Western Europe is a tough market. It is characterized by high prices for oil products, an aging population, and increasing competition from natural gas. Between 1995 and 2010, we estimate that demand for oil will increase from 14.1 Mb/d (705 Mt/y) to 15.0 Mb/d (750 Mt/y), an average growth rate of only 0.5 percent annually. Furthermore, the region is already amply supplied from fields in the Middle East, North Sea, Scandinavia and Russia. Although there is perhaps room for some of Central Asia's oil, the Western European market is unlikely to be able to absorb all of the production from the Caspian region.
Central and Eastern Europe
Central and Eastern Europe markets do not look any better. Although there is increased demand for oil in the region's transport sector, natural gas is gaining strength as a competitor. Between 1995 and 2010, demand for oil is expected to increase by only half a million barrels per day, from 1.3 Mb/d (67 Mt/y) to 1.8 Mb/d (91.5 Mt/y). Like Western Europe, this market is also very competitive. In addition to supplies of oil from the North Sea, Africa and the Middle East, Russia supplies the majority of the oil to this region.
The Domestic NIS Market
The growth in demand for oil also will be weak in the Newly Independent States (NIS). We expect Russian and other NIS markets to increase demand by only 1.2 percent annually between 1997 and 2010.
In stark contrast to the other three markets, the Asia/Pacific region has a rapidly increasing demand for oil and an expected significant increase in population. Prior to the recent turbulence in the various Asian/Pacific economies, we anticipated that this region's demand for oil would almost double by 2010. Although the short-term increase in demand will probably not meet these expectations, Unocal stands behind its long-term estimates.
Energy demand growth will remain strong for one key reason: the region's population is expected to grow by 700 million people by 2010.
It is in everyone's interests that there be adequate supplies for Asia's increasing energy requirements. If Asia's energy needs are not satisfied, they will simply put pressure on all world markets, driving prices upwards everywhere.
The key question is how the energy resources of Central Asia can be made available to satisfy the energy needs of nearby Asian markets. There are two possible solutions -- with several variations.
East to China: Prohibitively Long?
One option is to go east across China. But this would mean constructing a pipeline of more than 3,000 kilometers to central China -- as well as a 2,000-kilometer connection to reach the main population centers along the coast. Even with these formidable challenges, China National Petroleum Corporation is considering building a pipeline east from Kazakhstan to Chinese markets.
Unocal had a team in Beijing just last week for consultations with the Chinese. Given China's long-range outlook and its ability to concentrate resources to meet its own needs, China is almost certain to build such a line. The question is what will the costs of transporting oil through this pipeline be and what netback will the producers receive.
South to the Indian Ocean: A Shorter Distance to Growing Markets
A second option is to build a pipeline south from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean.
One obvious potential route south would be across Iran. However, this option is foreclosed for American companies because of U.S. sanctions legislation. The only other possible route option is across Afghanistan, which has its own unique challenges.
The country has been involved in bitter warfare for almost two decades. The territory across which the pipeline would extend is controlled by the Taliban, an Islamic movement that is not recognized as a government by most other nations. From the outset, we have made it clear that construction of our proposed pipeline cannot begin until a recognized government is in place that has the confidence of governments, lenders and our company.
In spite of this, a route through Afghanistan appears to be the best option with the fewest technical obstacles. It is the shortest route to the sea and has relatively favorable terrain for a pipeline. The route through Afghanistan is the one that would bring Central Asian oil closest to Asian markets and thus would be the cheapest in terms of transporting the oil.
Unocal envisions the creation of a Central Asian Oil Pipeline Consortium. The pipeline would become an integral part of a regional oil pipeline system that will utilize and gather oil from existing pipeline infrastructure in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia.
The 1,040-mile-long oil pipeline would begin near the town of Chardzhou, in northern Turkmenistan, and extend southeasterly through Afghanistan to an export terminal that would be constructed on the Pakistan coast on the Arabian Sea. Only about 440 miles of the pipeline would be in Afghanistan.
This 42-inch-diameter pipeline will have a shipping capacity of one million barrels of oil per day. Estimated cost of the project -- which is similar in scope to the Trans Alaska Pipeline -- is about US$2.5 billion.
There is considerable international and regional political interest in this pipeline. Asian crude oil importers, particularly from Japan, are looking to Central Asia and the Caspian as a new strategic source of supply to satisfy their desire for resource diversity. The pipeline benefits Central Asian countries because it would allow them to sell their oil in expanding and highly prospective hard currency markets. The pipeline would benefit Afghanistan, which would receive revenues from transport tariffs, and would promote stability and encourage trade and economic development. Although Unocal has not negotiated with any one group, and does not favor any group, we have had contacts with and briefings for all of them. We know that the different factions in Afghanistan understand the importance of the pipeline project for their country, and have expressed their support of it.
A recent study for the World Bank states that the proposed pipeline from Central Asia across Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Arabian Sea would provide more favorable netbacks to oil producers through access to higher value markets than those currently being accessed through the traditional Baltic and Black Sea export routes.
This is evidenced by the netback values producers will receive as determined by the World Bank study. For West Siberian crude, the netback value will increase by nearly $2.00 per barrel by going south to Asia. For a producer in western Kazakhstan, the netback value will increase by more than $1 per barrel by going south to Asia as compared to west to the Mediterranean via the Black Sea.
Natural Gas Export
Given the plentiful natural gas supplies of Central Asia, our aim is to link a specific natural resource with the nearest viable market. This is basic for the commercial viability of any gas project. As with all projects being considered in this region, the following projects face geo-political challenges, as well as market issues.
Unocal and the Turkish company, Koc Holding A.S., are interested in bringing competitive gas supplies to the Turkey market. The proposed Eurasia Natural Gas Pipeline would transport gas from Turkmenistan directly across the Caspian Sea through Azerbaijan and Georgia to Turkey. Sixty percent of this proposed gas pipeline would follow the same route as the oil pipeline proposed to run from Baku to Ceyhan. Of course, the demarcation of the Caspian remains an issue.
Last October, the Central Asia Pipeline, Ltd. (CentGas) consortium, in which Unocal holds an interest, was formed to develop a gas pipeline that will link Turkmenistan's vast natural gas reserves in the Dauletabad Field with markets in Pakistan and possibly India. An independent evaluation shows that the field's resources are adequate for the project's needs, assuming production rates rising over time to 2 billion cubic feet of gas per day for 30 years or more.
In production since 1983, the Dauletabad Field's natural gas has been delivered north via Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia to markets in the Caspian and Black Sea areas. The proposed 790-mile pipeline will open up new markets for this gas, travelling from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Multan, Pakistan. A proposed extension would link with the existing Sui pipeline system, moving gas to near New Delhi, where it would connect with the existing HBJ pipeline. By serving these additional volumes, the extension would enhance the economics of the project, leading to overall reductions in delivered natural gas costs for all users and better margins. As currently planned, the CentGas pipeline would cost approximately $2 billion. A 400-mile extension into India could add $600 million to the overall project cost.
As with the proposed Central Asia Oil Pipeline, CentGas cannot begin construction until an internationally recognized Afghanistan government is in place. For the project to advance, it must have international financing, government-to-government agreements and government-to-consortium agreements.
The Central Asia and Caspian region is blessed with abundant oil and gas that can enhance the lives of the region's residents and provide energy for growth for Europe and Asia.
The impact of these resources on U.S. commercial interests and U.S. foreign policy is also significant and intertwined. Without peaceful settlement of conflicts within the region, cross-border oil and gas pipelines are not likely to be built. We urge the Administration and the Congress to give strong support to the United Nations-led peace process in Afghanistan.
U.S. assistance in developing these new economies will be crucial to business' success. We encourage strong technical assistance programs throughout the region. We also urge repeal or removal of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act. This section unfairly restricts U.S. government assistance to the government of Azerbaijan and limits U.S. influence in the region.
Developing cost-effective, profitable and efficient export routes for Central Asia resources is a formidable, but not impossible, task. It has been accomplished before. A commercial corridor, a "new" Silk Road, can link the Central Asia supply with the demand -- once again making Central Asia the crossroads between Europe and Asia.
Using Michael Moore's logic I am the Queen of England
Moore lies. Go figure. At least he seems to enjoy himself while doing it (at least for now). Moore is like the proverbial frog in the pot. The heat will rise so slowly that he won't know it till he's cooked. Bad move calling the media in general a bunch of lazy morons, when they're on your side to begin with.
Has anyone seen the new commercial with a woman pumping gas and all the while the price of gas keeps going up, and of course it is all layed at GWB feet, they are totally dishonest people they will say and do anything to win.
Bookmarked for future usage.
I read that yesterday--long read, but comprehensive and well sourced. I've had a lot of people asking me where they could find critiques of F911, and that's the best I've found to date, so I'm e-mailing the link to all my inquisitive (free-thinking) friends and acquaintances this morning.
Thanks a bunch! I am going to compile some refutation of F911 and put it on a website, so that when my Democrat family members (SOME at least who are amenable to reason) ask me about the movie, I can tell them to go to my website and read about it. Its too tough to keep this all in memory. Besides, when I say it, it doesn't have the air of authority that a "real" article does. They think of me as something of a raving looney sometimes, LOL.
Now could we please see this on the front page? LOL!
I need to condense this info. into 4 or 5 "pithy sentences" for future discussions...anyone already got a list of quick answers to the "usual talking points"?!
bump for later
I need to show this to a liberal.
Some of the main points in Fahrenheit 9/11 really arent very fair at allmy comment -- There's an old saying (coined by one of the early 20th century newspaper publishing giants -- "don't start a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel." Michael Moore has been doing that. Oh, he can badmouth the other political party all he wants; he can appear on 60 Minutes and pooh-pooh the significance and former existence of 3000 people mass-murdered by Moslem mass-murderers while claiming that Americans are obsessed with guns and making violence; he can lead his Hamelin-ratlike followers one way, as the rest of the country goes the other; but when he attacks the press, he's starting a fight he is guaranteed to lose. Even the NYTimes gave what is essentially a negative review, mostly because that partisan flyer publisher worries that he's too over the top.
By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
George W. Bush will be reelected by a margin of at least ten per centposted to: 7.62 x 51mm; 88keys; BunnySlippers; douglas1; kylaka; Lando Lincoln; mc5cents; Paradox; randog; ValerieUSA; woofie
Remind me of this after the election. I'll bet ya $10 he is not reelected by that much. I hope you are right and will gladly relieve my wallet of said $10 bill, but I think its going down to the wire.
Looks like the ten per cent margin is going to go down to the wire. ;')'Scientific' view forecasts a big Bush winPolls may show the presidential race in a dead heat, but for a small band of academics who use scientific formulas to predict elections, President Bush is on his way to a sizable win... Most of these academics are predicting Bush, bolstered by robust economic growth, will win between 53 and 58 percent of the votes cast for him and his Democratic opponent John Kerry... But one glaring error is what the forecasters are perhaps best remembered for: They predicted in 2000 that Democrat Al Gore would win easily, pegging his total at between 53 and 60 percent of the two-party vote... The forecasters chalk up the 2000 error to Gore's campaign, which distanced itself from the Clinton record. All the models assume the candidates will run reasonably competent campaigns, said Thomas Holbrook, a professor at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee... Holbrook uses an economic indicator from the University of Michigan's survey of consumers. One question asks whether respondents are better or worse off financially than they were a year before. In May, 45 percent said they were better off. That is lower than the all-time election year high of 54 percent in 2000, Holbrook said, but higher than the 39 percent in 1996 when Clinton was re-elected.
July 01, 2004
George W. Bush will be reelected by a margin of at least ten per cent
bumperoo to read later
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