Skip to comments.Catastrophic intelligence Failure - Clinton's Bin Laden GATE
Posted on 09/29/2001 1:10:15 PM PDT by majordivit
In 1995, the CIA and the FBI learned that Osama bin Laden was planning to hijack U.S. airliners and use them as bombs to attack important targets in the U.S. This scheme was called Project Bojinka. It was discovered in the Philippines, where authorities arrested two of bin Laden's agents, Ramzi Yousef and Abdul Hakim Murad. They were involved in planting a bomb on a Philippine airliner. Project Bojinka, which Philip-pine authorities found outlined on Abdul Murad's laptop, called for planting bombs on eleven U.S. airliners and hijacking others and crashing them into targets like the CIA building.
The hijacking part of the plan got less attention than the planting of bombs. It required aviators like Japan's kamikaze pilots who were willing to commit suicide. Bin Laden had no such pilots in 1995, but he set out to train young fanatics willing to die for him to fly airliners. Abdul Murad, whose laptop had revealed the plan, admitted that he was being trained for a suicide mission. Bin Laden began training pilots in Afghanistan with the help of an Afghan pilot and a Pakistani general.
Project Bojinka was known to the CIA and the FBI. It was described in court documents in the trial in New York of Ramzi Yousef and Abdul Murad for their participation in the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. Since the CIA had been mentioned as one of the targets in Project Bojinka, it should have had an especially strong interest in any evidence that bin Laden was preparing to carry it out. The most obvious indicator, and one that should have been watched most carefully, was the recruitment of young, dedicated followers to learn to fly American airliners. That would require keeping a close watch on flight schools where that training is given.
Foreigners, including many from the Middle East, flock to flight schools in the U.S. Visas are given almost automatically to those who apply to these schools. It is especially easy for those with Saudi Arabian passports. At Huffman Aviation International in Venice, Florida, about 70 percent of the students are foreigners. That is one of the schools where Mohammed Atta, 33, who steered American Airlines flight 11 into the north WTC tower, and Marwan Yousef Alshehhi, who flew United Airlines flight 175 into the south tower were trained. Both had back-grounds that would have sounded an alarm had the CIA checked them.
A Huffman Aviation employee says that if the FBI had informed them that bin Laden had a plan to hijack our airliners and crash them into important buildings and had asked them to report any suspicious students, they would have cooperated. It was news to him that the FBI and CIA knew about this plan. It has been reported that a student who was training on a flight simulator at a Minnesota school wasn't interested in learning how to land a plane. If true, that would surely have been reported if the school had been contacted by the FBI.
Osama bin Laden apparently knew better than the FBI how lax our government was about checking out students who come here for flight training. He took full advantage of it. Now that we have paid a horrendous price for this intelligence failure, the FBI and the CIA are scurrying to learn more about young men from countries where bin Laden's Al Qaeda has support who have taken flight training in recent years. The Washington Post reports that at least 44 of those the FBI wants to question are pilots. As of Sept. 20, we had seen no reports in the papers that had identified more than three of the 19 dead hijackers as pilots. That means that bin Laden still has an ample supply of manpower to continue Project Bojinka. Louis Freeh bears a lot of the blame for this, but he has already resigned. George Tenet, who heads the CIA, should resign or be fired.
BIN LADEN GATE By Cliff Kincaid
Several Clinton administration top officials appeared on television to express their surprise and anger over the terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon by agents of Osama bin Laden. But just two years ago, they were accepting help from bin Laden in NATO's war on Yugoslavia. They were assisting the Kosovo Liberation Army which bin Laden was assisting with fighters trained in his camps in Afghanistan.
A story by Jerry Seper in the Washington Times on May 4, 1999, reported, "Some members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, which has financed its war effort through the sale of heroin, were trained in terrorist camps run by international fugitive Osama bin Ladenwho is wanted in the 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 224 persons, including 12 Americans." Seper said that newly obtained intelligence reports showed that the KLA had enlisted Islamic terrorists in its conflict with Serbia and that bin Laden's organization, known as al-Qaeda, had both trained and financially supported the KLA, which had been labeled a terrorist group by a Clinton State Department official.
Despite that, General Wesley Clark, who was NATO's supreme commander during the war in Kosovo, said in a September 14th column in the Washington Post that the U.S. must use decisive force against international terrorism. He had worked closely with the KLA during the war, implementing a Clinton policy that ignored more serious human rights problems in other parts of the world. The Clinton administration, for example, remained largely indifferent to the persecution of Christians in Sudan, where an Islamic regime has killed almost 2 million people and was, for a time, Osama bin Laden's home.
The CIA Connection
Bin Laden, a Saudi by birth, was supported by the CIA when he was battling the Soviet occupiers of Afghanistan during the 1980s. A former U.S. Army sergeant, Egyptian-born Ali Mohamed, told a New York court that after he had left the army in 1989, he had helped train members of bin Laden's terrorist organization, al Qaeda. Last year, he admitted his involvement in the bombing of the embassies in Africa ordered by bin Laden.
Dollars for Terror, a book by Swiss television journalist Richard Labeviere, claims that Mohamed trained Islamic militants in several camps in the New York area and suggests that he was an active U.S. agent. Labeviere, who conducted a four-year investigation and has written extensively on Arab and African affairs, has concluded that the international Islamic networks linked to bin Laden have been nurtured and encouraged by elements of the U.S. intelligence community, especially during the Clinton years. He says the international Islamic network was protected because it was designed to serve U.S. foreign policy and military interests.
Labeviere claims that the CIA blocked the FBI from cracking down on these terrorist networks. "Bin-Ladengate is unfolding, and there is no escape," he says. "If it blows up one day, this scandal will reveal exactly how the various American intelligence agencies were involved in the process that led to the Nairobi [Kenya] and Dar es Salaam [Tanzania] bombings." Labeviere claims that Clinton and his top aides did not anticipate that this radical Islamic network would turn against the United States. But even when it did, they figured the U.S. would gain more from it in the long run.
Labeviere argues that the Clinton administration viewed the bin Laden network and the radical Taliban regime in Afghan-istan as a bulwark against Russian, Iranian and even Chinese influence in Asia. He quotes a former CIA analyst as saying, "The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan against the Red Army. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia." It was believed that Sunni Islam could be used to undermine Russia in Chechnya and China in southern Xingjiang.
It was also present in all the Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union. Labeviere says, "with the active support of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other oil monarchies and with the benevolence of the American [intelligence] services engaged in these areas, we can expect a Talibanization' of Central Asia, particularly in Chechnya." Labeviere says that between 1994 and 1997, "Bill Clinton was happy to allow Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to support the Taliban, seeing them as a useful counterbalance to Iran's influence " [Iran's Muslims are Shiites].
On January 13, 2000, a Los Angeles Times article headlined, "Some See U.S. as Terrorists' Next Big Target," quoted Labeviere as saying, "For America, the bill is now coming due." The bill for "Bin Ladengate" was paid in blood on September 11, 2001. Labeviere's book has received favorable reviews in Europe. But it has been ignored by the U.S. press except for the Los Angeles Times.
The Labeviere analysis, as shocking as it appears, could also explain why the perpetrators of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon operated freely in the U.S., without interference from law enforcement or intelligence agencies. Three weeks before the attacks, the CIA and FBI reportedly knew that two of the hijackers, including one with a link to the bombing of the U.S. destroyer Cole last October, were in the U.S. But they were not apprehended.
This shocked the Washington Post. It said, "The scattered details that have emerged about the plot put this failure in stark relief: More than 50 people were likely involved, Justice Department officials have said, and the plot required extensive communications and planning to pull off. The group's size not to mention the complexity of its endeavor should have offered many opportunities for intelligence infiltration. Yet the conspirators proceeded unmolested. What is striking is how safe these people apparently felt, how unthreatened by law enforcement. Some of the terrorists were here for long periods. They left and entered the country unimpeded. Some were reportedly on the so-called watch list,' a government catalogue of people who ostensibly are not permitted to enter the country. Yet this apparently caused them no problems."
Friends in High Places
Labeviere claims that Saudi Arabia is bankrolling bin Laden's networks as a way to further its own brand of Sunni Islam. This runs counter to the story that bin Laden, whose family runs the largest construction firm in Saudi Arabia, is a disowned renegade. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates are the only countries that recognize the Taliban regime. On Octo-ber 29, 1999, Jack Kelley reported in USA Today that "prominent businessmen in Saudi Arabia continue to transfer tens of million of dollars to bank accounts linked to Osama Bin Laden." Citing senior U.S. intelligence officials and a Saudi government document, Kelley said the money transfers had begun five years earlier. Kelley said one of the businessmen under investigation, Mohammad Hussein al-Amoudi, runs the largest bank in Saudi Arabia, as well as the Capitol Trust Bank in New York. Vernon Jordan, one of Bill Clinton's close friends, is his lawyer.
In August 1998, the situation seemed to change when bin Laden was blamed for the destruction of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He was placed on the FBI's Most Wanted List and a reward was offered for his capture. But Labeviere says the State Department never exerted any real pressure on the Taliban to apprehend him. The U.S. attacks on Afghanistan and Sudan as retaliation for the embassy bombings diverted attention from the Lewinsky scandal. At first, some senators questioned the timing of the attacks, and there was talk of a "Wag-the-Dog" scenario. By creating the appearance that he was acting presidential and rallying support under the banner "America Strikes Back," Clinton weathered the storm. The A.P. subsequently reported that the Clinton administration had "specific intelligence"about bin Laden's whereabouts but had decided not to try to capture or kill him.
Peter M. Leitner, a senior strategic trade adviser at the Defense Department, said, "The real issue in this tragedy is how were these people able to plan and coordinate such a strike over a period of months without the NSA intercepting their signals?" Leitner, who reviews commercial license applications for exports of sophisticated military-related technology, said, "The technology that would allow these terrorists to mask their communications was given away, hand over fist, by the Clinton administration." In an interview with Paul Sperry of WorldNetDaily, Leitner said the previous administration ap-proved the shipment of high-tech military-related telecommunications equipment to Syria. "They provide infrastructure to bastards like bin Laden," he said. "They provide backup and support and communications abilities to these terrorist cells." Leitner is now having the same problem with the Bush administration.
President Bush has fingered bin Laden as a prime suspect but also says countries which harbor terrorists will be held accountable. The Clinton administration identified seven state sponsors of terrorismIran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Cuba, North Korea, and Sudanbut bin Laden is reported to have thousands of followers and terrorist cells in 50-60 countries, including the U.S. The Washington Post published a long article about bin Laden's worldwide activities, noting his presence in places like NATO- and U.N.-occupied Bosnia and Kosovo, but failed to explain how this occurred under the watchful eye of the Clinton administration.
Bob Woodward of the Post co-authored a September 14 front-page article insisting that the CIA has been authorized since 1998 to use covert means to disrupt bin Laden's operations under a presidential directive signed by Clinton. This article had the earmarks of a damage control operation on the part of the U.S. officials who worked with bin Laden's followers in the Balkans and now realize that their efforts have backfired. CBS News correspondent Lesley Stahl aired a similar report on September 16, adding the tantalizing tidbit that Clinton may have authorized bin Laden's apprehension or assassination. Virtually admitting she had been leaked this information by former Clinton officials, Stahl said "there are people in Washington who want the American people to know they have not been asleep at the wheel in the war on terrorism and, even though there may have been some failures, they have been trying."
The Clinton administration's soft-on-terrorism policy actually began when it blamed the 1993 World Trade Center bombing on individual terrorists, not on any state. Evidence to the contrary has been assembled in the important book, Study of Revenge, by Laurie Mylroie, that the mastermind, Ramzi Yousef, was in fact an Iraqi agent. The book was published by American Enterprise Institute (AEI) Press at a time when Vice President Dick Cheney was vice-chairman of the AEI board of trustees.
James Woolsey, who served as a CIA director under Clinton, has also become an advocate of the view that Iraq was behind the first World Trade Center bombing. Woolsey notes that James Fox, the FBI's chief investigator into the 1993 bombing until his replacement in 1994, believed in the Iraqi connection. "And indeed," Woolsey adds, "ever since Fox's ouster, federal prosecutors and the White House have hewed to the line that most terrorist attacks on the United States are either the products of loose networks' of folks who just somehow come together or are masterminded by the mysterious and unaccountable bin Laden. Explicit state sponsorship, especially by Iraq, has not been on the agenda."
Woolsey says intelligence and law enforcement officials would be well-advised to consider the possibility that the recent attacks, "whether perpetrated by bin Laden and his associates or by otherswere sponsored, supported, and perhaps even ordered by Saddam Hussein." However, on NBC's Meet the Press on September 16, just five days after the new attacks when investigations were still presumably underway, Cheney seemed to arbitrarily rule out an Iraqi role.
Officially, the Clinton administration opposed terrorism and funded reports on the problem. A so-called National Commission on Terrorism, a bipartisan group headed by Paul Bremer of Kissinger Associates, released its report on June 5, 2000. The commission wanted more taxpayer dollars spent on fighting terrorism, and it said that the CIA and the FBI needed more power. Some of the media argued that giving the government more power would provoke the opposition of civil libertarians.
But the real story was why the commission failed to subject the Clinton administration's policy on terrorism to serious scrutiny. The commission was mildly critical of the administration's handling of Iran and Libya, but it failed to explain the adoption of a policy of appeasement of Libya in the 1988 Pan Am 103 bombing that killed 270 people, including 189 Americans. The Bremer report simply suggested that "prosecuting and punishing low- level operatives for an act almost certainly directed by Gadhafi is a hollow victory, particularly if the trial results in his implicit exoneration."
Documents showed that the Clinton administration and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, in preparation for a trial of the two Libyans in the case, made a deal that let Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi off the hook for his role in the mass murder. In the documents outlining the deal, which included handing over the two defendants, Gadhafi received a get-out-of-jail-free card through a promise that the trial would not "undermine" the Libyan regime. This was widely viewed as a guarantee not to charge Gadhafi or his top aides in the terrorist incident. The documents had been kept secret for more than a year because the State Department had classified them. Gadhafi, of course, had them all along. He confirmed the existence of the deal in an interview with British Sky TV. The trial before a Scottish judge resulted in the conviction of a Libyan intelligence official.
The commission didn't explain why the Clinton administration failed to pursue a foreign connection to the Oklahoma City bombing. Convicted bomber Terry Nichols had connections to the Philippines, where Muslim terrorists are very active. Middle East analyst Laurie Mylroie believes the government of Iraq was behind the Oklahoma City bombing, as well as the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. Stephen Jones, lawyer for the other convicted bomber, Timothy McVeigh, also believes Iraq was ultimately behind the plot.
The Attack on the USS Cole
The establishment media helped the Clinton administration put on a good face in the aftermath of the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000. 60 Minutes aired an interview with Clinton's "terrorism czar" Richard Clarke, who was responsible for counter-terrorism at the National Security Council. He told Lesley Stahl that the U.S. was trying to determine who staged that attack, and suggested it may have been committed by Osama bin Laden. He also warned that terrorists have infiltrated the U.S. and that it was just a matter of time before American territory was the site of a nuclear, biological or chemical attack. If this was true, it was because Clinton had allowed such a situation to develop. But that's not the conclusion Stahl came to. Bin Laden took credit for the attack on the Cole but no retribution was ever exacted for that. Mylroie says Iraq probably assisted in this attack.
The Clinton administration's handling of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia became a subject of some controversy in the media. Bin Laden was suspected of bankrolling this terrorist incident, which left 19 American servicemen dead and scores injured, and which was reportedly carried out with Iranian government support. The evidence connecting Iran to the plot was the subject of a report by John McWethy of ABC World News Tonight, who cited overwhelming evidence of Iranian involvement. He said the evidence included U.S. intercepts of Iranian communications and admissions of Iranian involvement by the bombers themselves. McWethy said the bombers were recruited by Iran during a trip to an Islamic meeting in Syria, took religious training in Iran, and terrorist training in Lebanon. Kenneth R. Timmerman has also cited evidence of an Iranian link to the Khobar Towers bombing. However, Saudi Arabia was reluctant to provide evidence on the Iranian role, and the Clinton administration put the blame on Osama bin Laden. Still, no retaliation was ordered. The August 2, 1996 USA Today identified a network of 11 different terrorist-training facilities in Iran, citing classified U.S. intelligence documents. Yet no U.S. action was ever been taken by Clinton against those camps.
The Bush Response
It appears that much of the world wants the U.S. to go after bin Laden in Afghanistan. Iran has even condemned the most recent attacks on America, but that does not mean that the regime has turned over a new leaf. Most commentators fail to point out that Iran has been at war with the extremist Taliban.
NATO, having assisted Clinton and the Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo, says it, too, wants to help us fight terrorism. The United Nations, a host to all of the terrorist regimes in the world except the Taliban, has condemned the terrorist attacks. Russia, concerned about the bin Laden networks in Chechnya, is on our side. China abstained last December when the U.N. voted to condemn the Taliban's support of terrorism and demand the extradition of bin Laden. On Sept. 11, the day of the attacks, it signed an economic deal with the Taliban.
Unless we are prudent, the war President Bush has declared on terrorism, for which Congress has already appropriated $40 billion, could cost more lives and money than the attacks. The Soviet Union, bordering on Afghanistan, could not win a ground war there. That may not be a feasible option for the U.S. If we employ weapons of mass destruction to kill tens of thousands of innocent noncombatants, we risk making enemies of all the Muslims throughout the world and shattering the nearly universal support we now enjoy. The result could be an increase in terrorist acts, playing into Osama bin Laden's hands.
If the Taliban refuse to give him up, we would be justified in using our air power and missiles to deliver a blow sufficiently punishing to weaken them and bin Laden very seriously. We could increase the reward for delivering him into our hands a 100 or even 200 times the $5 million we are now offering. We could mobilize international support for the Northern Alliance, the Taliban's domestic foes, and launch a psychological warfare campaign, saturating Afghanistan with broadcasts designed to turn people against the Taliban.
What You Can Do
Send the enclosed cards or your own cards or letters to David Westin, President of ABC News, Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel and Philip Kent, President of CNN News Group.
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR'S CUFF BY By Reed Irvine
ON SEPT. 13, MY COLUMN ABOUT PROJECT BOJINKA, THE FIRST STORY IN THIS REPORT, was sent out electronically and was picked up by both NewsMax.com and WorldNetDaily.com. We had learned about it from the Sydney Morning Herald. On Sept. 18, CNN.com carried a brief story about it from Manila, but it was not reported on TV, including CNN or in national newspapers, including the Washington Times, which gets my column. On Sunday, Sept. 23, the Washington Post ran a front-page story by four Post reporters in Manila that provided additional details. It quoted an investigator there saying, "We told the Americans everything about Bojinka. Why didn't they pay attention?" On Aug. 17, the FBI arrested Zacarias Moussaoui, an Algerian fanatic, who applied to a flight school for training on a Boeing 747 simulator to learn how to steer. He had no interest in takeoffs and landings. Despite Project Bojinka and information that he was a suspected terrorist, the Post says our intelligence agencies "had no context in which his odd request made sense."
ON SEPTEMBER 11, THE DAY THAT OSAMA BIN LADEN'S SIX-YEAR-OLD PLAN TO HIJACK American airliners and crash them into chosen targets was executed, George Stephanopoulos, the former adviser to President Clinton, who is now an ABC News correspondent, was talking to Peter Jennings on camera on Sept. 11 about President Bush having been flown to Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska and taken to the situation room where he could keep in touch with Washington by teleconferencing. Stephanopoulos said: "There are facilities in the White House, not the normal situation room, which everyone has seen in the past, has seen pictures of. There is a second situation room, behind the primary situation room, which has video conferencing capabilities. The director of the Pentagon, the defense chief, can speak from a national military command center at the Pentagon. The Secretary of State can speak from the State Department, the President from wherever he is, and they'll have this capability for video conferencing throughout this crisis. In my time at the White House it was used in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, in the aftermath of the TWA Flight 800 bombing, and that would be the way they would stay in contact through the afternoon. "
JENNINGS DIDN'T BAT AN EYELASH WHEN HE HEARD THE CRASH OF TWA FLIGHT 800 described by Stephanopoulos as a bombing and that there was a meeting in the inner situation room about it. I called Stephanopoulos twice to find out if he has information that the plane was destroyed by a bomb and to learn more about that meeting. In his book Altered Evidence, James Sanders says that there was a meeting in the White House situation room on the night of the crash, July 17, 1996, but it began before the crash, not after. Sanders says that he was told by a confidential source that high officials gathered there to watch in real time a video transmission of a Navy demonstration of its ability to shoot down a missile off the shore of Long Island. There was a stunned silence when the missile shot down TWA Flight 800. Sanders says the cover-up began that night, with the White House controlling the investigation. Stephanopoulos was showing off that he has special knowledge that justifies the high salary ABC News pays him.
WHAT HE SAID IS INTRIGUING, BUT OTHER JOURNALISTS, AND ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO work for ABC should be asking him for more information. Why did he call it a bombing? When did the meeting take place? If it began before the crash, that would verify the Sanders account. If it took place hours or days later, that would expose his account as false. I called George to ask him those questions. He hasn't returned my calls, and so I discussed the matter with Brian Ross, who heads the investigative unit of ABC News. He thought it was a good story, and he said he would discuss it with Stephanopoulos. Since then I have seen him talking to George on the air, but he hasn't returned my calls to find out what George told him about TWA 800 in private. I also took it up with Major Garrett, a CNN White House correspondent. He liked it, but he appeared to cool off rather quickly. Given CNN's two cancellations of interviews with Jack Cashill about TWA 800, he may have been advised not to touch it. Perhaps with your cards and letters we can persuade ABC's Dave Westin and CNN's Phil Kent to energize their reporters. And we will include one for Roger Ailes of Fox News as well.
LAST DECEMBER, I WROTE IN THESE NOTES, "I ARDENTLY HOPE THAT JOHN ASHCROFT will be confirmed as Attorney General because I believe that he has the courage to clean up the Justice Department and the FBI." I said that as Attorney General he should be able to determine quickly and easily that the FBI was a party to the cover-up of the cause of the crash of TWA Flight 800. I said this would require only an internal Justice Department investigation of the FBI, and I asked AIM members to write to Sen. Ashcroft and urge him to give this high priority. I said, "Otherwise the Bush administration will inherit one of the dark clouds that has hung over the Clinton administration for over four years." How wrong I was about John Ashcroft. On Aug. 15, I sent a four-page letter to the Justice Department pointing out why the letter they had been sending out saying that there was nothing wrong with the TWA 800 investigation was badly mistaken. They obviously are having difficulty in trying to figure out how they can get around the evidence that I submitted. The longer the cover-up goes on, the more it will become their responsibility. But as long as the media share their desire to keep the truth from being known, they won't worry.
CLIFF KINCAID'S EXPOSÉ OF THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION'S RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE Taliban is supported by a powerful speech delivered on the House floor on Sept. 17 by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif. He said he had an appointment to meet with the top National Security Council officials in the White House at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 11. He was going to warn them that the Taliban's assassination of Commander Ahmed Shah Massoud, the charismatic leader of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, meant that something big was about to happen. His reasoning was that the elimination of Massoud would make it more difficult for us or whatever country bin Laden was planning to attack to retaliate. Rohrabacher told how he had labored in vain to get the Clinton administration to help the moderate Afghans who formed the Northern Alliance. He said that despite the fact that a terrorist network targeting America was being created in Afghanistan, he could get no action from the Clinton administration. He believes they had a secret deal with the Saudis and Pakistan to support the Taliban. Rohrabacher said he learned in 1988 what a danger bin Laden posed. The mujahedin showed him bin Laden's camp. They warned him not to speak any English there, because bin Laden was crazy, and he wanted to kill Americans as much as Russians. He told of his efforts to get the CIA, the FBI and the NSA to talk to a source who could pinpoint bin Laden's location for them. They delayed for over a month, contacting the source only after Rep. Porter Goss, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, chewed them out. The speech was not covered by the print media, but it got him some TV interviews and greater entrée to the Bush White House, which until now did not differ from the Clinton White House in its policy toward Afghanistan.
RAYMOND E. JAGER, ONE OF AIM'S VETERAN SUPPORTERS, DIED OF A HEART ATTACK ON August 22 at age 86, after undergoing an 8-hour operation on his back to relieve chronic pain. Ray was one of the most active, outgoing and cheerful senior citizens that I have known, despite the chronic pain that he suffered in recent years. Ray traveled extensively with his wife, Pat, after he retired in 1977 from the Chevy Chase real estate brokerage that he founded. The respect and affection in which he was held was reflected in his memorial service where his many friends and family members gathered to pay tribute to him. Ray graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a major in engineering and from Boston University with a major in economics in the same year. Fulfilling the engineering requirements in three years, he transferred to B.U. because it had a better economics department. There he fulfilled the requirements for a major in economics in one year. He was a generous supporter of conservative organizations and was active in Kiwanis and Rotary. Just last year he put some real estate into a charitable gift annuity shared by AIM and the Leadership Institute. We wish that he had lived longer to benefit from the annuity, but we are grateful to him and Pat, for their generous support of our work.
WE ARE PROCEEDING WITH OUR PLAN TO HOLD AN AIM CONFERENCE IN WASHINGTON on Saturday, October 20, but we have broadened our program and changed the title to "From Complacency to Crisis." Speakers will discuss Terrorism and Afghanistan, The Intelligence Failure, Oklahoma City Coverup, Can We Win the Culture War?, Selling Our Secrets, Bush's Performance, and Our Endangered Whistleblowers. As usual, speakers will be chosen for their knowledge, not for their celebrity. Those we have lined up so far are former Congressman Bob Dornan, Charles Kety, the driving force behind the publication of the Report of the Oklahoma Bombing Investigation Committee, Kenneth Timmerman, author, Charles Wiley, the most popular speaker with the AIM-AEF speakers' bureau, LArry Klayman of Judicial Watch and Cliff Kincaid. The location is the Marriott Metro Center Hotel at 775 12th St., N.W., D.C. Advance registration will be $159 per person, including lunch and banquet, $75 without meals. Call Claudia Mason at 202-364-4401 ext. 110 to register, using Visa, MC, Amex or Disc. cards. The conference rate for rooms at the MArriott is $169. Call 800-228-9290.
Can't think of anybody that would get more satisfaction than you, except, maybe me... LOL!!
You know DL, that's a great idea. I do know one Republican Lawyer that might be able to file suit, and bring all this stuff to the forefront....Hmmmmm. Something interesting to think about...
For more interesting tie-ins, see -Pretty pooly written site ... the site 'harps' on the same old saws and never gains any traction - never goes anywhere ...
Airline Safety Net
Conclusion: Written by rank amatuers NOT knowledgeable professionals ...
The events all have connecting dots.Not-so-clever code words for 'conspiracy' ...
Kincaid and Irvine have done some of the best writing and reporting I've seen in the past year or so. They are really doin' their homework.
..... and the Tonkin Gulf and the Lusitania.
Ausgabe vom 18.4.1998
von NBT-Korrespondent Richard Anderegg, Washington
Ein Uno-Beauftragter, der Algerier Lakhdan Brahimi, ist auch in der Gegend. Er versucht, die steckengebliebenen Friedensgespräche zwischen Kabul und der provisorischen Nordhauptstadt Masar-e-Scharif wieder in Gang zu bringen. Beide haben zunächst ein gemeinsames Ziel, nämlich das Wiederaufflammen des Krieges nach der Schneeschmelze im rauhen Norden zu verhindern. Dazu wollen sie beide mit den Gegnern und besonders mit den Waffenlieferanten reden, die seit Monaten beide Lager so intensiv aufgerüstet haben, dass man Kämpfe grösseren Ausmasses erwartet.
Seiltänze Irans und der USA
Hier gehen aber die Ziele der reisenden Diplomaten wie auch die der Beteiligten recht radikal auseinander. Für die USA geht es darum, den ganzen Mittleren Osten und Südostasien einigermassen im Griff zu behalten, wo Ölinteressen und die asiatische Finanzkrise schwer kontrollierbare Kräfte entfesseln. Und das im Moment, da Washingtons Ruf durch seinen bisher wichtigsten Klienten, Israel, in der islamischen Welt schwer geschädigt wird. Iran hilft den Gegnern der Taliban, weil diese mit amerikanischen Ölfirmen Erdöl- und Gasleitungen aus dem Süden Turkmenistans durch Afghanistan nach Pakistan bauen wollen, mit Verlängerung nach Indien. Die Ölgesellschaft Unocal hat an der Hochschule von Nebraska in Omaha schon ein Ausbildungszentrum für Afghanen der Taliban-Observanz im Gang, das kürzlich von einer Delegation aus Kabul besucht wurde. Das State Department schloss ein Auge und liess mittlere Beamte mit den hohen Talibans, die Washington nicht anerkennt, sprechen. In New York tat die Uno-Vertretung der USA erbost, denn die Uno anerkennt noch die alte, gemeinsam von den USA und Russland abgesegnete Regierung Rabbani, die sich in Masar-e-Scharif eingegraben hat. Zu ihr reist jetzt Uno-Botschafter Richardson. Das missfällt Iran. Teheran will, dass Öl und Gas aus dem neuen Gebiet jenseits seiner Nordgrenze in die bestehenden und leicht ausbaufähigen Pipelines Irans fliessen und so in den Westen gelangen. Darum gibt es sich ja auch all die Mühe, die Beziehungen zu Amerika zu verbessern, was wiederum innenpolitisch Krämpfe verursacht, weil sich die alten Revolutionäre und religiösen Verfassungshüter bedroht fühlen. Gegen sie arbeitet aber nicht nur die städtische Jugend mit dem Präsidenten Khatami, sondern die Wirtschaft. An einer Ölkonferenz in Teheran vor einem Monat warb die NIOC für «über 100 Projekte, an denen ausländische Öl- und Gasfirmen sofort und mit gesicherter finanzieller Beteiligung» mitmachen können. Krieg in Afghanistan ruiniert die Konkurrenz, also fördert man ihn.
Auch Russland will am Ölhahn drehen
Russland seinerseits betrachtet die jetzt unabhängigen kaukasischen und zentralasiatischen Staaten weiterhin als Moskaus geopolitisch natürliche Einflusszone. Das Öl soll zum Schwarzen Meer und durch einen russischen Ölterminal fliessen. Es darf keinen Taliban-Staat geben, besonders, wenn er amerikanischen Einfluss bringt.
Direkte Pipeline Iran Pakistan im Gespräch
Vor einem Monat, an der erwähnten Ölkonferenz in Teheran, sprachen Pakistani und Iraner über eine direkte Pipeline, dort, wo beide Länder südlich Afghanistans aneinander grenzen, so dass Pakistan an das iranische Netz angeschlossen werden könnte. Was beide interessierte: Es wäre keine amerikanische Leitung. Das ist das unterschwelige Problem, dem Richardson auf Schritt und Tritt begegnet: Wenn man mit amerikanischen Ölgesellschaften Geld verdienen kann, ist es gut. Wenn aber mit dem Ölgeld auch die Begehren amerikanischer Politik serviert werden, sucht man lieber Gesellschaften mit asiatischer, europäischer oder eigener Geschäftsleitung. Amerikanische Ölfirmen wollen sich aber beteiligen, wie Afghanistan gerade zeigt. Das Konsortium für die Öl- und Gasleitung durch das Taliban-Gebiet umfasst Indonesia Petroleum und Transasia, zwei Firmen mit japanischem Kapital, dann die koreanische Hyundai Engineering, die Regierung Turkmenistans und eben die amerikanische Unocal, die sich besonders befleissen muss, nützlich zu sein. Womit sie ihrer eigenen Regierung mit ihrem Druck, die Talibans anzuerkennen, keine Freude macht. Denn gleichzeitig macht sie den Iran böse, mit dem sich Aussenministerin Albright solche Mühe gibt, und die anti-iranische Stimmung im Kongress um die Ohren kriegt.
Bekannte Namen unter den Lobbyisten
Die Ölfirmen haben unterdessen alles, was an ex-Ministern im Westen kreucht und fleucht, gekauft und setzen sie als hochbezahlte Experten und Lobbyisten ein. Zu bekannten politischen Söldnern wie James Baker (Aussenminister unter Bush), Zbigniew Brzezinski (Sicherheitsberater Carters), Brent Scowcroft (Sicherheitsberater Bushs), Caspar Weinberger (Verteidigungsminister Reagans) gesellt sich jetzt der ehemalige britische Aussenminister Rifkind, dieser allerdings als Agent für eine australische Firma (Broken Hill Proprietary Co.), die mit Iran die direkte südliche Pipeline nach Pakistan befürwortet.
Die Saudis unterstützen die Taliban massiv
Ihm und der verängstigten Wahhabitendynastie geht es darum, gegen die Moderne einen konservativ islamischen Staat zu fördern. Die unter der CIA vereinigten Nachrichtendienste in Washington warnen, das müsse man dulden, weil sonst die letzten guten Kontakte mit den Saudis rissen, für die Washington schon lange viel zu viel für die Modernisierung tut. Der Abgesandte Washingtons, Uno-Botschafter Richardson, muss versuchen, den Krieg nicht stattfinden zu lassen, erstens, damit Washington weiterhin das Auftauen mit Iran und den Versuch, das aufmüpfige Pakistan zu beruhigen, weiterverfolgen kann, und zweitens, damit die eigenen amerikanischen Ölfirmen nicht einen weiteren Kampfplatz bauen.
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I can't get span to work. But it's a dynamite article.
The main points:
1)Unocal set up a center to educate taliban members at the U of Nebraska.
2)This got lost: Und als eine von vielen Mühen, die am Rande mitspielen: Prinz Turki Feisal, Saudiarabiens Geheimdienstchef, leitet persönlich die umfangreiche Saudihilfe für die Taliban und lässt sich nicht dreinreden weder von den USA, noch von irgendwelche Ölinteressene
Prince Turki, recently ejected, was their patron. He was unwilling to let the US or oil companies tell him or the Taliban what to do.
Has that clinton "legacy" made you feel *safer* yet? ? ?
The operative word these days is *paranoid*!
Appreciate the valuable, most informative links, backhoe.
You've got FReep mail.
Would that be considered implosian?
God Bless America and all you Freepers.
You people will never let up, will you, until Clinton is dead and buried, and probably not even then.
True. He is evil incarnate.
Whatever about his deeds or misdeeds, the whole of US foreign policy for at least the past generation has, tragically, been leading to this, from Reagan and Bush Senior's arming of the terrorists, to the latter's willingness to let Saddam off the hook, a case of better the devil you know...
Whatever the details of the above scandal/paranoid fantasy, they've all been complicit in one way or another. As to the particular details of Clinton's response to terrorism, search deep, friends, think hard. Does anyone really believe that Bush Junior would have done anything significantly different than Clinton in 1998?
Conjecture either way, but we can disagree on it. Bush just may have focused on real terrorists, rather than, say, churches in Waco, Elian Gonzales, etc.
It took an invasion of a sovereign nation to mobilise the US on a large scale in 1991,
And that almost didn't come about, because most of you Dims voted to pass on any action.
As for the most proximate possible cause of the tragedy, one that doesn't need in-depth research/delusional detective work, look no further than the laxity of airport security,
Plain old bullshit. Airport security worked perfectly. Four planeloads of passengers were left defenseless, with the only option being to crash in a Pennsylvania field.
I guess it wasn't all about sex...but geo politics and sacrifices..including the sacrifice of hundreds of heroic NYC firemen...
1. He didn't have a clue about government (although we were told he did) and he didn't really care;
2. His hero, JFK, whom he idolize[d,s], was a real ladies man;
3. Klinton has a dwarf sized penis (verified by all girlfriends) that is crooked;
4. His entire motivation, in every act, was to prove to himself that he had an adequate penis. Consider his life, his marriage, his philandering, his policies, everything. That explains a lot.
So maybe it WAS all about sex, just not in the way they said.
FYI bump for the others.
Not for commercial use. Solely to be used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion.
Unocal is desperately trying to broker an agreement between warring factions to support its $2.5 billion plan to build a pipeline across Afghanistan
The giant US oil and gas company Unocal is desperately trying to broker an agreement between warring factions to support its $2.5 bil plan to build a pipeline across Afghanistan. Unocal has been trying to win the fealty of all sides in Afghanistan by giving unconventional gifts to Afghanistan's warring factions--gifts which are arriving at a crucial time for both Unocal and the war-torn nation. Afghanistan is at the center of a seismic shift in regional politics that could sharply rearrange alliances in Central Asia and establish economic dependence for countries in the region. To the north lies the Daultabad natural gas field, which is estimated to hold 20+ tril cubic feet of gas, the third largest reserve of gas in the world. The country also holds some 47 bil barrels of crude oil, about half that of Kuwait, while yet further to the north, the vast fields of Uzbekistan, Kazakhastan and Azerbaijan are legends in the petroleum industry. With its partner Delta Oil, Unocal plans to pipe natural gas from Turkmenistan nearly 1,000 miles through Afghanistan to Pakistan. The Delta-Unocal consortium also has plans for another pipeline to funnel as much as one million barrels of oil a day to warm-water ports, where petroleum could then be shipped to the oil-hungry West. But the long civil war in Afghanistan has made the future of the project anything but certain. Despite these developments, Unocal and Delta signed an agreement in 7/97 with Turkmenistan and Pakistan that the project would begin in 1998, despite earlier statements that investors would not support the project until peace came to Afghanistan and it had a representative government. Unocal's confidence also is belied by the fact that the Taliban have yet to commit their support for Unocal's project. BOSTON, Aug. 17 (IPS) -- You can't keep a good Yankee trader down. While rockets rain down in towns across Afghanistan, the giant U.S. oil and gas company Unocal is desperately trying to broker an agreement between warring factions to support its $2.5 billion plan to build a pipeline across the Central Asian nation. Latest reports from Afghanistan indicate fighting has intensified north of the Capital Kabul between Taliban militia units and Northern Alliance coalition forces, but Unocal is attempting to soothe financiers' fears that the controversial project is an impossible dream. Unocal has been trying to win the fealty of all sides in Afghanistan with an arsenal of unconventional gifts ranging from medical supplies to fax machines, generators and frisbees. Some gifts, however, have been made exclusively to the Taliban -- an organization that has been the focus of international condemnation for its treatment of women and harsh punishments meted out to non-conformists. Unocal spokesman Terry Convington confirmed that in order to facilitate talks with the Taliban, a delegation from Unocal and its Saudi partner Delta Oil presented Taliban leaders with a fax machine and a generator during a visit to Southern Afghanistan. The company has not provided similar in-kind donations to factions in the northern stronghold. "It's not unusual for our company to provide humanitarian assistance in any country where we work," says Covington. While company officials generally leave "things that people could use," Unocal-emblazoned souvenirs, including frisbees, hats and T-shirts, are also common gifts to children -- "that's the way we do business." The unusual gifts to Afghanistan's warring factions are arriving at a crucial time for both Unocal and the war-torn nation. Afghanistan is squarely at the center of a seismic shift in regional politics that could sharply rearrange alliances in Central Asia and establish economic dependence for countries in the region. Below Turkmenistan to the north lies the Daultabad natural gas field, which is estimated to hold over 20 trillion cubic feet of gas, the third largest reserve of gas in the world. The country also holds some 47 billion barrels of crude oil, about half that of Kuwait, while yet further to the north, the vast fields of Uzbekistan, Kazakhastan and Azerbaijan are legends in the petroleum industry. With its partner Delta Oil, Unocal plans to pipe natural gas from Turkmenistan nearly 1,000 miles through Afghanistan to Pakistan. The Delta-Unocal consortium also has plans for another pipeline to funnel as much as one million barrels of oil a day to warm-water ports, where petroleum could then be shipped to the oil-hungry West.
Unocal has been trying to win the fealty of all sides in Afghanistan by giving unconventional gifts to Afghanistan's warring factions--gifts which are arriving at a crucial time for both Unocal and the war-torn nation. Afghanistan is at the center of a seismic shift in regional politics that could sharply rearrange alliances in Central Asia and establish economic dependence for countries in the region.
To the north lies the Daultabad natural gas field, which is estimated to hold 20+ tril cubic feet of gas, the third largest reserve of gas in the world. The country also holds some 47 bil barrels of crude oil, about half that of Kuwait, while yet further to the north, the vast fields of Uzbekistan, Kazakhastan and Azerbaijan are legends in the petroleum industry.
With its partner Delta Oil, Unocal plans to pipe natural gas from Turkmenistan nearly 1,000 miles through Afghanistan to Pakistan. The Delta-Unocal consortium also has plans for another pipeline to funnel as much as one million barrels of oil a day to warm-water ports, where petroleum could then be shipped to the oil-hungry West.
But the long civil war in Afghanistan has made the future of the project anything but certain.
Despite these developments, Unocal and Delta signed an agreement in 7/97 with Turkmenistan and Pakistan that the project would begin in 1998, despite earlier statements that investors would not support the project until peace came to Afghanistan and it had a representative government.
Unocal's confidence also is belied by the fact that the Taliban have yet to commit their support for Unocal's project. BOSTON, Aug. 17 (IPS) -- You can't keep a good Yankee trader down. While rockets rain down in towns across Afghanistan, the giant U.S. oil and gas company Unocal is desperately trying to broker an agreement between warring factions to support its $2.5 billion plan to build a pipeline across the Central Asian nation.
Latest reports from Afghanistan indicate fighting has intensified north of the Capital Kabul between Taliban militia units and Northern Alliance coalition forces, but Unocal is attempting to soothe financiers' fears that the controversial project is an impossible dream.
Unocal has been trying to win the fealty of all sides in Afghanistan with an arsenal of unconventional gifts ranging from medical supplies to fax machines, generators and frisbees.
Some gifts, however, have been made exclusively to the Taliban -- an organization that has been the focus of international condemnation for its treatment of women and harsh punishments meted out to non-conformists. Unocal spokesman Terry Convington confirmed that in order to facilitate talks with the Taliban, a delegation from Unocal and its Saudi partner Delta Oil presented Taliban leaders with a fax machine and a generator during a visit to Southern Afghanistan. The company has not provided similar in-kind donations to factions in the northern stronghold.
"It's not unusual for our company to provide humanitarian assistance in any country where we work," says Covington. While company officials generally leave "things that people could use," Unocal-emblazoned souvenirs, including frisbees, hats and T-shirts, are also common gifts to children -- "that's the way we do business."
The unusual gifts to Afghanistan's warring factions are arriving at a crucial time for both Unocal and the war-torn nation. Afghanistan is squarely at the center of a seismic shift in regional politics that could sharply rearrange alliances in Central Asia and establish economic dependence for countries in the region.
Below Turkmenistan to the north lies the Daultabad natural gas field, which is estimated to hold over 20 trillion cubic feet of gas, the third largest reserve of gas in the world. The country also holds some 47 billion barrels of crude oil, about half that of Kuwait, while yet further to the north, the vast fields of Uzbekistan, Kazakhastan and Azerbaijan are legends in the petroleum industry.
| But the long civil war in Afghanistan has made the future of the project anything but certain. When the government of President Burhanuddin Rabbani in Kabul fell to Taliban forces last fall, it appeared that a Taliban victory was imminent after a two-and-a-half year campaign which saw the Taliban seize about two-thirds of Afghanistan.
The Taliban -- Sunni Muslims whose followers are largely from the Durrani branch of the Pushtun tribe -- have drawn international condemnation for the groups' harsh treatment of women, other ethnic minorities, and non-conformists to their strict codes of dress and conduct.
Just last month, Amnesty International reported that the Taliban have detained and tortured some 2,000 Tajik and Hazara minorites in the notorious Pul-e Charkhi prison. The Taliban practice a "gender apartheid," according to reports by other Human Rights watchdogs.
Women are banned from schools and other public institutions. For infractions such as wearing nail polish, women are punished with amputations or public beatings. Indiscriminate killings, stonings, beatings and summary executions of men and women alike are commonplace in Taliban-held territories, according to reports.
Fighting between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance -- which has links with Iran and Russia -- erupted again last month when forces lead by Ahmed Shah Masood and General Abdul Malik launched attacks from their Hindu Kush stronghold and seized strategic mountain passes north of Kabul. The Taliban have lost between 2,000 and 3,000 seasoned fighters, and Masood boasts that his forces could take Kabul at any time.
Despite these developments, Unocal and Delta signed an agreement in July with Turkmenistan and Pakistan that the project would begin in 1998, despite earlier statements that investors would not support the project until peace came to Afghanistan and it had a representative government.
Unocal's confidence also is belied by the fact that the Taliban have yet to commit their support for either Unocal's project or that of Argentine competitor Bridas, which plans to build a parallel pipeline.
Unocal says it maintains a position of "strict political neutrality" in the civil war, but Chris Taggart, executive vice president of Unocal Turkmenistan, was the subject of sharp criticism last October when he called Taliban military advances "a step forward."
"Anything that brings stability and the establishment of a government is a great plus for the (pipeline) project," he said at the time.
Officials in the Afghan embassy in Washington believe that Unocal continues to favor the Taliban over other factions, citing as an example the fact that company has opened an office in Kandahar, a southern Taliban stronghold.
"They haven't opened an office in the turf of any of the other factions," said an Afghan embassy official. "Their links with the Taliban have been quite good. They claim to be in contact with all factions, but they've never come into this embassy ever to talk to anybody."
While it is a "routine occurrence" for the company to give humanitarian assistance such as water, food and medical supplies to all fighting forces at the conclusion of talks, the fax machine and the generator to run it remained a sore point with non-Taliban Afghans.
"(Unocal representatives) realized that they would have no way to communicate with the Taliban and left the equipment so that it could be used to continue communicating with the Taliban on an ongoing basis," said Unocal's Covington. "Was there a need to do so with the faction in the North? The answer is no."
Covington stressed "It's not an issue of support for the pipeline. In order to get financing from multilateral lending institutions, you need a recognized government in place...we want to be in a position to start construction when Afghanistan allows these last few links to be concluded."
As evidence of neutrality, the company cites a $900,000 contract with the University of Nebraska at Omaha to open two branches of the Center for Afghanistan Studies, which was formerly funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. One branch of the Center will be in Taliban territory, the other in opposition territory. Both will train Afghans in skills necessary to build the pipeline.
The U.S. government, which could be well served by oil-rich client states in the region, is also taking a wait-and-see attitude. While still recognizing the Rabbanni government, U.S. has not taken sides in the civil war. An official at the U.S. State Department's regional affairs desk, believes that Unocal is doing the same.
"Unocal knows that the way to get the project accomplished is not to set up their own guys to take over the country," the State department official said. "What they need is for the Afghans to work out a government that will be responsive to all Afghans.
Power may grow out of the barrel of a gun, but a gas pipeline cannot continue for decades just supported by force."
Not for commercial use. Solely to be used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion.
NEW DELHI: Ashqabad, capital of Turkmenistan, which professes "neutrality" with regard to any conflict in the region, is the hub of these contacts, well placed diplomatic sources say. The most preferred venue, however, is Pakistan, where diplomats have been interacting with the Taliban. Last month, a senior official accompanying Chinese Foreign Minister Tang met Ambassador Haqqani who represents the Kabul regime. US ambassador to Pakistan, William B. Milaim, had a much-publicised meeting in with Mohammed Naim Khan, head of the Afghan commissionerate in Peshawar. The Frontier Post prominently carried a photograph, but gave no details.
Ashqabad, capital of Turkmenistan, which professes "neutrality" with regard to any conflict in the region, is the hub of these contacts, well placed diplomatic sources say. The most preferred venue, however, is Pakistan, where diplomats have been interacting with the Taliban. Last month, a senior official accompanying Chinese Foreign Minister Tang met Ambassador Haqqani who represents the Kabul regime.
US ambassador to Pakistan, William B. Milaim, had a much-publicised meeting in with Mohammed Naim Khan, head of the Afghan commissionerate in Peshawar. The Frontier Post prominently carried a photograph, but gave no details.
The French initiative is being credited to the interest shown by the country's il multinational corporations in Central Asian oil and gas reserves. Unocal, a US MNC that planned to pay a $ 2.5 billion gas pipeline from Daulatabad in Turkmenistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan, closed its operations last year. But this and many other MNCs are awaiting conducive times to resume work on this and other projects.
September 28, 2001
LETTER TO THE EDITOR - UNOCAL CORP.: THE CENTGAS CONSORTIUM DID NOT SUPPORT ONE FACTION OVER ANOTHER IN AFGHANISTAN
My name is Teresa Covington and I work for Unocal Corporation, handling international corporate communications.
I am contacting you to provide some information and correct a statement made in the September 25th article entitled "Ahad Andican: Taliban, as a remote controlled movement, can be erased by Afghans themselves." The background for our company's previous participation in a consortium of companies that proposed the Central Asia Gas Pipeline Project (CentGas), which would have traversed Afghanistan, can be found on our web site (www.unocal.com). You will see that Unocal withdrew from that consortium in 1998.
This information is relevant in two respects. First, since our withdrawal, Unocal has had no contact with either faction in Afghanistan. Therefore, the statement that Unocal invited the Taliban to California last year is incorrect.
The CentGas consortium did not support one faction over another. Any informational meetings held were held with both factions, separately. Unocal hosted a visit by representatives of what is known as the "Northern Alliance" in Houston in 1996 and by representatives of the Taliban in Houston in 1997. The purpose of the meetings in Houston was to provide information on the pipeline proposal and to clearly indicate what was required for the project to move forward -- the establishment of an internationally recognized government in Afghanistan that represented all the people of Afghanistan.
As you will see from the information on our web site, Unocal subsequently withdrew from the consortium in 1998.
I am not sure of your policy regarding corrections but hope that this information here and on our web site is useful to you either way.
By Mamuka Tsereteli
06-07-01 Caspian energy resources will play an increasingly important role in the world energy supply over the next two decades. The United States, the world's largest energy consumer, Europe, China and India will compete for those resources. This competition could bring Russia closer to the West.
The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects world demand for petroleum to soar by 56 % until 2020, reaching 119.6 mm bpd. At least 10 % of the growth in world oil production is expected to come from the Caspian Basin. Based on the assumption of relatively stable oil prices, the EIA forecasts that Caspian oil production will reach 6 mm bpd by 2020.
Optimistic estimates are even higher. Meanwhile, US oil production is projected to decline at an annual rate of about 1 %, dropping to 5.1 mm bpd by 2020, increasing US dependence on imported oil from the current 57 % to 64 % of consumption, with an increased share of imports coming from the Persian Gulf States. As the US is taking steps to diversify its energy supplies, the recommendations of President Bush's national energy policy task force focus substantial attention on all Caspian projects, including the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Shah-Deniz-Turkey gas pipeline and Kazakhstani oil development.
Asia will also need increased volumes of imported oil. By 2020, China alone will consume 10 % of the oil produced in the world (an increase from the current level of 6 %) with only 3 % of the world oil reserves.
Even conservative forecasts of Caspian oil production show a requirement for additional export capacity of Caspian oil by 2020. The Caspian oil export capacity is projected to reach 1.3 mm bpd by the end of 2001. That includes 600,000 bpd capacity of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) pipeline, as well as other existing pipelines and rail routes through Russia and the Caucasian energy corridor (Baku-Supsa pipeline and Baku-Batumi railroad system). The US in fact managed to accomplish its so-called multiple pipeline strategy by splitting oil flows from the Caspian between Russia and the Caucasian energy corridor. But even with the construction of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, with a projected capacity of 1,000,000 bpd, an additional export capacity of at least 2 mm bpd will eventually be needed to meet production plans in the region.
Although new strategic developments might determine the choice, but the export options for Caspian oil in 2020 remain the same: the old North to Russia, South to Iran, West to South Caucasus and Turkey, East to China, or Southeast to India.
Russia tries its best to keep the Russian system dominant. But limitations of its exporting infrastructure's capacity, including port outlets, cannot guarantee that it will be able to increase the export capacity needs of the Caspian in general, and of Kazakhstan in particular.
Even with the CPC and new Baltic pipelines in place and with the assumption that it will be able to prevent its pipeline infrastructure from deterioration, Russia still cannot match the additional Caspian needs. The Turkish Straits pose additional limits on the Russian option; although bypassing the Bosporus via the Balkans might solve this problem.
The Iranian route was always considered economically the most effective. The general perception is that US policy towards Iran is the major obstacles to this option; the highly congested condition of the Strait of Hormuz is often ignored. The Persian Gulf already exports about 16 mm bpd through this Strait, creating the world's by far largest oil chokepoint.
As a significant share of growth in world oil production will come from the Gulf States, the volumes exported through the Strait of Hormuz will increase even without additional oil from the Caspian. The increased growth of oil production will also increase traffic in the next most congested waterway in the world -- the Malacca Strait, currently with a flow of 9 mm bpd.
The Eastern Transportation Options are probably the most distant and challenging. With India and China becoming active importing countries, the eastward transportation of Caspian oil and gas may become commercially and politically viable. There are two possible routes: East from Kazakhstan to China, and southeast from Turkmenistan to South Asia. An oil pipeline from Kazakhstan to China is a very high priority for China, although there is little commercial support for this project so far. A pipeline system including oil as well as gas Southeast from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan, potentially reaching India, possibly even bypassing Afghanistan through Iran. Those options have even more political as well as technical challenges.
The Caucasian Energy Corridor, supported by Turkey, the US, and other Western countries will become an even more important option. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) link can carry additional Caspian volumes to the deep-water port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean and thus avoid major transportation chokepoints. The development of a bypassing pipeline through the Balkans, as well as completion of the Black Sea connection of the Druzhba pipeline network could substantially increase the potential of the Baku-Supsa link as well.
Competition over export options may bring Russia closer to the West. Russia wants to maintain influence in Central Asia, but major oil flowing directly from the Caspian to China would not be in Russia's strategic interest. The US can capitalize on this notion and strike a deal with Russia about the future transportation of oil from the Caspian. A multiple pipeline strategy could again be the best solution: part of the oil could be shipped through Russia, potentially using bypassing pipelines from the Black Sea to South European ports, and another part through the Caucasian energy corridor. Such an arrangement might induce Russia to pursue a more cooperative policy toward the countries of the South Caucasus, and could ease pressure on Georgia and Azerbaijan.
The development of closer ties with India might be a good incentive for the United States to support one of the south-eastern-oriented options. This will greatly depend, however, on whether a "Sino-Islamic alliance" evolves, and whether the US will manage to curtail its development. With China's substantial influence in Pakistan, Iraq and Syria, solidifying ties with Iran would create an entire and uninterrupted allied land-space from Syria on the Mediterranean to China on the Pacific. If this geopolitical alignment becomes a reality, the US, India, and potentially Russia may work hard to prevent it.
The author Mamuka Tsereteli is the executive director of the US-Georgian Business Council.
I already did an FR search on the title and the author and came up empty, but someone may want to double-check, just in case. I find it hard to believe this one was missed. Here's an excerpt:
Evidence of the plot surfaced when Ramzi Yousefone of three men convicted subsequently for the 1993 WTC bombing and sentenced to 240 years in prisonhastily fled a burning Manila apartment (and the country) just 200 yards from the Vatican Embassy. Cops found Manila street maps and clothing remarkably similar to that of Pope John Paul's entouragethe pontiff was due for a visit a week from the discoverysuggesting a planned attempt on his life. They also discovered bomb materials and a laptop whose disks revealed plans for Project Bojinkawhich means "loud explosion" in Arabic.Great thread, majordivit.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a computer expert who regularly assists the National Bureau of Investigation (the Philippine FBI counterpart) and the Philippine National Police in their investigations of computer-related crimes said he downloaded the files, revealing the terrorists' diabolical project. One plan called for the hijacking of U.S.-bound commercial airliners from various Asian capitals and then, according to him, crashing them into "key structures in the United States: The World Trade Center, the White House, the Pentagon, the Transamerican Tower, and the Sears Tower were among the prominent structures that had been identified in the plans that we had decoded." The expert pointed out that in fact a dry run had been conducted in 1994, on a Tokyo-bound Philippine Airlines flight, when a small bomb under a passenger seat went off, killing a Japanese tourist.
More on Unocal and pipeline schemes in Afghanistan here:Afghanistan, EIA Country Analysis Brief [updated today!]. Afghanistan is also rich in natural gas and coal resources. The main obstacle to exploitation of these resources for the last few years has been the Taliban.
The entire thrust of this article, even the title "intelligence failure," presupposes that the problem is ineptness or goof-ups. Any government agency would prefer to be thought of as inept, rather than criminal, but the facts strongly suggest that this was not a matter of incompetence.
First of all, it was not the case that all of these hijackers simply got visas, were trained at civilian US flight schools and managed to slip through without a CIA background check. We know that at least 5 of the hijackers DID have a CIA background check. Why? Because these 5 were trained as pilots on a US military base. [Alleged Hijackers May Have Trained at U.S. Bases ] No one can even enter a US military base and wander around unsupervised, and certainly no one can possibly get training as a pilot on a military base without a complete background check.
It is also noteworthy to check into the circumstances surrounding those who were convicted of bombing the WTC in 1993. THE CIA AND THE SHEIK [Omar Abdel Rahman]:
"'Why aren't we going after the sheikh [Abdel Rahman]?' demanded the undercover man.
'It's hands-off,' answered the agent.
'Why?' asked the operative.
'It was no accident that the sheikh got a visa and that he's still in the country,' replied the agent, visibly upset. 'He's here under the banner of national security, the State Department, the NSA [National Security Agency], and the CIA.
The agent pointed out that the sheikh had been granted a tourist visa, and later a green card, despite the fact that he was on a State Department terrorist watch-list that should have barred him from the country. He's an untouchable, concluded the agent."
Now the question is: who authorized the Sept. 11 WTC & Pentagon hijackers to train on US military bases and who intervened to stop the ones with criminal records from being denied access to a US military base and deported? These are the questions that we should be asking, not why there was an "intelligence failure."
It is not unusual for foreign nationals to train at U.S. military facilities. A former Navy pilot told NEWSWEEK that during his years on the base, "we always, always, always trained other countries pilots. When I was there two decades ago, it was Iranians. The shah was in power. Whoever the country du jour is, thats whose pilots we train."
In this case that includes foreign terrorists. I guess this is just another example of how we nutured our relationship with the Islamic terror groups. They helped us in Kosovo...and were to help provide a bulwark against Iran, China and Russia.. some policy...7,000 Dead Americans..
I say we are at war with Islam. Nobody will say it because of business reasons. We want to continue to make huge profits in business dealings with the muslim countries. I just hope that our survival isn't compromized because of that.
Islam is the successor to communism.. Russia is fighting them in Chechynia.
When word of the massacre at the Twin Towers in New York City on September 11 got back to the Phillipines...word has it that the authorities said "Project Bojinka"!!
Amd the CIA knew about it too!!
Thanks for calling this to my attention. I definitely want to follow-up on the Prince Turki al-Faysal matter! According to the BBC Monitoring Middle East - Date: 09/04/2001 "Text of report by London-based newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat on 1 September Jedda - Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin-Abd-al- Aziz has issued a royal decree appointing Prince Nawwaf Bin-Abd-al- Aziz as head of the Saudi intelligence service with the rank of minister and relieving Prince Turki al-Faysal of the post at his own request"
Trying to get info on the Royal House of Saud is sometimes like pulling teeth, since, like the royal family of Kuwait, they spend millions of dollars on Washington PR firms to whitewash their image. Various members of the Saudi royal family also own large shares of US high tech & other firms.
No doubt that Prince Turki resigned under pressure, related to his relationship with Bin Laden, which began during the anti-Russian Afghan insurgency of the 1980's. According to Ahmed Rashid: "Among these thousands of foreign recruits was a young Saudi student, Osama Bin Laden, the son of a Yemeni construction magnate, Mohammed Bin Laden, who was a close friend of the late King Faisal and whose company had become fabulously wealthy on the contracts to renovate and expand the Holy Mosques of Mecca and Medina. The ISI had long wanted Prince Turki Bin Faisal, the head of Istakhbarat, the Saudi Intelligence Service, to provide a Royal Prince to lead the Saudi contingent in order to show Muslims the commitment of the Royal Family to the jihad. Only poorer Saudis, students, taxi drivers and Bedouin tribesmen had so far arrived to fight. But no pampered Saudi prince was ready to rough it out in the Afghan mountains. Bin Laden, although not a royal, was close enough to the royals and certainly wealthy enough to lead the Saudi contingent. Bin Laden, Prince Turki and General Gut were to become firm friends and allies in a common cause."
As for letting extremists in: if the man could either have been in Iran or here, there are many advantages to having him here; you can keep an eye on him, know that other troublemakes won't be as close, and perhaps even show him that democracy does work.
This is the rationale offered by supporters of this policy, and one that you often will hear from CIA spokesmen. I would say that if somebody has a history of terrorism, particularly if he has threatened to bomb targets within the United States, the smart thing to do is to try to keep him out of the country, not bring him in. We are talking about those who have been programmed or "brainwashed" to convert, and not be converted. IMHO it is playing with fire to bring them into this country and use them as assets or to do business with them.
In this case that includes foreign terrorists. I guess this is just another example of how we nutured our relationship with the Islamic terror groups. They helped us in Kosovo...and were to help provide a bulwark against Iran, China and Russia.. some policy...7,000 Dead Americans..
I agree. When terrorism hits close to home, then the notion of using terrorists as tools to gain strategic advantages against another country, doesn't seem like such a bright idea.
To quote from your link: "A terrorist plot similar to this week's attack in New York and Washington was first uncovered in Manila in 1995, Philippine police said today.
"The statement came amid a warning by the senate's vice chair for national defence that Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in Tuesday's attacks in the US, could try to slip into the southern Philippines where he maintains contacts with Muslim separatist rebels.
"Chief Superintendent Avelino Razon said a plot called 'Project Bojinka' was uncovered by Philippine police in 1995 after arresting terrorist Abdul Hakim Murad in a Manila apartment where he was plotting to assassinate visiting Pope John Paul II.
"Murad 'is part of a terrorist cell established by Ramzi Yousef under the direction of Osama bin Laden,' Razon said. Both Murad and Yousef were then wanted by US authorities for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
"'In the course of the investigation, we found out through a laptop computer confiscated from Murad that they were also going to implement a terrorist plot called Project Bojinka,' Razon, formerly Manila's police chief, said.
"The plot called for the hijacking of US commercial airliners, bombing them or crashing them into several targets including the Central Intelligence Agency."
I remember reading about this back in 1995, and I was outraged that this story was generally relegated to three inch articles on the back pages of major newspapers, at least this was the case here in California. But when you consider that these terrorists were doing jobs for the CIA, it is not surprising that this did not get a lot of media coverage.
Brainwashed terrorists don't belong here. Disaffected citizens of our satrapies definitely do. Otherwise we risk having our political system totally gum up.
With all due respect this isn't the case. All those involved in this savagery on 9-11 must be put to the sword. But to pretend that Islam is, in and of itself, a savage religion, and that the resentment f the west arises ex nihilo is not intellectually rigorous, and will only cause substantially more problems.