Testimony before the US Congress is circulating on the internet. It pertains to a proposed oil pipeline through Central Asia that is applicable to the current war in Afghanistan.
On February 12, 1998, John J. Maresca, vice president, international relations for UNOCAL oil company, testified before the US House of Representatives, Committee on International Relations. Maresca provided information to Congress on Central Asia oil and gas reserves and how they might shape US foreign policy. UNOCAL’s problem? As Maresca said: “How to get the region’s vast energy resources to the markets.” The oil reserves are in areas north of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia. Routes for a pipeline were proposed that would transport oil on a 42-inch pipe southward thru Afghanistan for 1040 miles to the Pakistan coast. Such a pipeline would cost about $2.5 billion and carry about 1 million barrels of oil per day.
Maresca told Congress then that: “It’s not going to be built until there is a single Afghan government. That’s the simple answer.”
Dana Rohrbacher, California congressman, then identified the Taliban as the ruling controllers among various factions in Afghanistan and characterized them as “opium producers.”
Then Rohrbacher asked Maresca: “There is a Saudi terrorist who is infamous for financing terrorism around the world. Is he in the Taliban area or is he up there with the northern people?”
Maresca answered: “If it is the person I am thinking of, he is there in the Taliban area.” This testimony obviously alluded to Osama bin Laden.
Then Rorhbacher asked: “… in the northern area as compared to the place where the Taliban are in control, would you say that one has a better human rights record toward women than the other?”
Maresca responded by saying: “With respect to women, yes. But I don’t think either faction here has a very clean human rights record, to tell you the truth.”
So women’s rights were introduced into Congressional testimony by Congressman Rohrbacher as the wedge for UNOCAL to build its pipeline through Afghanistan. Three years later CNN would be airing its acclaimed TV documentary “Under The Veil,” which displayed the oppressive conditions that women endure in Afghanistan under the rule of the Taliban (a propaganda film for the oil pipeline?).
Rohrbacher then went on to say that a democratic election should take place in Afghanistan and “if the Taliban are not willing to make that kind of commitment, I would be very hesitant to move foreward on a $2.5 billion investment because without that commitment, I don’t think there is going to be any tranquility in that land.”
Beginning in 1998 UNOCAL was chastized, particularly by women’s rights groups, for discussions with the Taliban, and headed in retreat as a worldwide effort mounted to come to the defense of the Afghani women. This forced UNOCAL to withdraw from its talks with the Taliban and dissolve its multinational partnership in that region. In 1999 Alexander’s Gas & Oil Connections newsletter said: “UNOCAL company officials said late last year (1998) they were abandoning the project because of the need to cut costs in the Caspian region and because of the repeated failure of efforts to resolve the long civil conflict in Afghanistan.” [Volume 4, issue #20 – Monday, November 22, 1999]
Three days following the attack on the World Trade Centers in New York City, UNOCAL issued a statement reconfirming it had withdrawn from its project in Afghanistan, long before recent events. [www.unocal.com September 14, 2001 statement]
UNOCAL was not the only party positioning themselves to tap into oil and gas reserves in central Asia. UNOCAL was primary member of a multinational consortium called CentGas (Central Asia Gas) along with Delta Oil Company Limited (Saudi Arabia), the Government of Turkmenistan, Indonesia Petroleum, LTD. (INPEX) (Japan), ITOCHU Oil Exploration Co., Ltd. (Japan), Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd. (Korea), the Crescent Group (Pakistan) and RAO Gazprom (Russia).
Just because CentGas had dissolved does not mean that the involved parties have totally abandoned their interest in building an oil pipeline out of Central Asia. There is also talk of another pipeline thru Iran. India and Pakistan are bidding to be the pipeline terminal ocean port since they would obtain hundreds of millions of dollars in fees.
So, in 1998 Osama bin Laden was identified as the villain behind the Taliban, Afghanistani women the victims of an oppressive Taliban regime, and the stage was set for a future stabilization effort (i.e. a war). Was all this a cover story for a future oil pipeline?
In November 2000, Bruce Hoffman, director of the Rand Institute office in Washington DC, indicated that the next US President would have to face up to the growing threat is Islamic terrorism. Hoffman: “The next administration must turn its immediate attention to knitting together the full range of US counterterrorist capabilities into a cohesive plan.” [Los Angeles Times, November 12, 2000]
All that was needed was a triggering event.
Is there Oil in Afghanistan?Surprise!
ExxonMobil confirms that it has filed to bid on a group of Afghanistan oilfields containing an estimated 1 billion barrels of oil and gas, an instant validation of one of the riskiest resource plays on the planet. If the company’s application proceeds, it could set up a battle of colossals, since the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. and India’s ONGC have also filed to bid, I have been told.
The tender deadline was yesterday to file an expression of interest. Company spokesman Alan Jeffers told me that the filing is among Exxon’s global search for new hydrocarbon opportunities. The filings are to be made official after a government meeting Wednesday at which applications will be vetted.
The Exxon filing is surprising because until now the Afghan natural resource play, while rich, has been perceived as highly speculative, a place for the most daring wildcatters, in addition to regional state-owned companies such as CNPC, which won the first Afghan oil tender last year. The reason is both security — no one knows whether a 30- 40-year project would endure since Afghanistan has been at almost constant war for more than three decades — and the lack of infrastructure. Namely, how do you get the oil and gas to the market? Majors of the scale of Exxon rarely pursue ventures, preferring for wildcatters to prove them out, then seek to buy in with their deep pockets.
According to Afghan, Iranian, and Turkish government sources, Hamid Karzai, the interim Prime Minister of Afghanistan, was a top adviser to the El Segundo, California-based UNOCAL Corporation which was negotiating with the Taliban to construct a Central Asia Gas (CentGas) pipeline from Turkmenistan through western Afghanistan to Pakistan.
Karzai, the leader of the southern Afghan Pashtun Durrani tribe, was a member of the mujaheddin that fought the Soviets during the 1980s. He was a top contact for the CIA and maintained close relations with CIA Director William Casey, Vice President George Bush, and their Pakistani Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) Service interlocutors. Later, Karzai and a number of his brothers moved to the United States under the auspices of the CIA. Karzai continued to serve the agency’s interests, as well as those of the Bush Family and their oil friends in negotiating the CentGas deal, according to Middle East and South Asian sources.
When one peers beyond all of the rhetoric of the White House and Pentagon concerning the Taliban, a clear pattern emerges showing that construction of the trans-Afghan pipeline was a top priority of the Bush administration from the outset. Although UNOCAL claims it abandoned the pipeline project in December 1998, the series of meetings held between U.S., Pakistani, and Taliban officials after 1998, indicates the project was never off the table.
Quite to the contrary, recent meetings between U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlain and that country’s oil minister Usman Aminuddin indicate the pipeline project is international Project Number One for the Bush administration. Chamberlain, who maintains close ties to the Saudi ambassador to Pakistan (a one-time chief money conduit for the Taliban), has been pushing Pakistan to begin work on its Arabian Sea oil terminus for the pipeline.
Meanwhile, President Bush says that U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan for the long haul. Far from being engaged in Afghan peacekeeping — the Europeans are doing much of that — our troops will effectively be guarding pipeline construction personnel that will soon be flooding into the country.
Karzai’s ties with UNOCAL and the Bush administration are the main reason why the CIA pushed him for Afghan leader over rival Abdul Haq, the assassinated former mujaheddin leader from Jalalabad, and the leadership of the Northern Alliance, seen by Langley as being too close to the Russians and Iranians. Haq had no apparent close ties to the U.S. oil industry and, as both a Pushtun and a northern Afghani, was popular with a wide cross-section of the Afghan people, including the Northern Alliance. Those credentials likely sealed his fate.
When Haq entered Afghanistan from Pakistan last October, his position was immediately known to Taliban forces, which subsequently pinned him and his small party down, captured, and executed them. Former Reagan National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, who worked with Haq, vainly attempted to get the CIA to help rescue Haq. The agency claimed it sent a remotely-piloted armed drone to attack the Taliban but its actions were too little and too late. Some observers in Pakistan claim the CIA tipped off the ISI about Haq’s journey and the Pakistanis, in turn, informed the Taliban. McFarlane, who runs a K Street oil consulting firm, did not comment on further questions about the circumstances leading to the death of Haq.
While Haq was not part of the Bush administration’s GOP (Grand Oil Plan) for South Asia, Karzai was a key player on the Bush Oil team. During the late 1990s, Karzai worked with an Afghani-American, Zalmay Khalilzad, on the CentGas project. Khalilzad is President Bush’s Special National Security Assistant and recently named presidential Special Envoy for Afghanistan. Interestingly, in the White House press release naming Khalilzad special envoy, no mention was made of his past work for UNOCAL. Khalilzad has worked on Afghan issues under National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, a former member of the board of Chevron, itself no innocent bystander in the future CentGas deal. Rice made an impression on her old colleagues at Chevron. The company has named one of their supertankers the SS Condoleezza Rice.
Khalilzad, a fellow Pashtun and the son of a former government official under King Mohammed Zahir Shah, was, in addition to being a consultant to the RAND Corporation, a special liaison between UNOCAL and the Taliban government. Khalilzad also worked on various risk analyses for the project.
Khalilzad’s efforts complemented those of the Enron Corporation, a major political contributor to the Bush campaign. Enron, which recently filed for bankruptcy in the single biggest corporate collapse in the nation’s history, conducted the feasibility study for the CentGas deal. Vice President Cheney held several secret meetings with top Enron officials, including its Chairman Kenneth Lay, earlier in 2001. These meetings were presumably part of Cheney’s non-public Energy Task Force sessions. A number of Enron stockholders, including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, became officials in the Bush administration. In addition, Thomas White, a former Vice Chairman of Enron and a multimillionaire in Enron stock, currently serves as the Secretary of the Army.
A chief benefactor in the CentGas deal would have been Halliburton, the huge oil pipeline construction firm that also had its eye on the Central Asian oil reserves. At the time, Halliburton was headed by Dick Cheney. After Cheney’s selection as Bush’s Vice Presidential candidate, Halliburton also pumped a huge amount of cash into the Bush-Cheney campaign coffers. And like oil cash cow Enron, there were Wall Street rumors in late December that Halliburton, which suffered a forty per cent drop in share value, might follow Enron into bankruptcy court.
Assisting with the CentGas negotiations with the Taliban was Laili Helms, the niece-in-law of former CIA Director Richard Helms. Laili Helms, also a relative of King Zahir Shah, was the Taliban’s unofficial envoy to the United States and arranged for various Taliban officials to visit the United States. Laili Helms’ base of operations was in her home in Jersey City on the Hudson River. Ironically, most of her work on behalf of the Taliban was practically conducted in the shadows of the World Trade Center, just across the river.
Laili Helms’ liaison work for the Taliban paid off for Big Oil. In December 1997, the Taliban visited UNOCAL’s Houston refinery operations. Interestingly, the chief Taliban leader based in Kandahar, Mullah Mohammed Omar, now on America’s international Most Wanted List, was firmly in the UNOCAL camp. His rival Taliban leader in Kabul, Mullah Mohammed Rabbani (not to be confused with the head of the Northern Alliance Burhanuddin Rabbani), favored Bridas, an Argentine oil company, for the pipeline project. But Mullah Omar knew UNOCAL had pumped large sums of money to the Taliban hierarchy in Kandahar and its expatriate Afghan supporters in the United States. Some of those supporters were also close to the Bush campaign and administration. And Kandahar was the city near which the CentGas pipeline was to pass, a lucrative deal for the otherwise desert outpost.
While Clinton’s State Department omitted Afghanistan from the top foreign policy priority list, the Bush administration, beholden to the oil interests that pumped millions of dollars into the 2000 campaign, restored Afghanistan to the top of the list, but for all the wrong reasons. After Bush’s accession to the presidency, various Taliban envoys were received at the State Department, CIA, and National Security Council. The CIA, which appears, more than ever, to be a virtual extended family of the Bush oil interests, facilitated a renewed approach to the Taliban. The CIA agent who helped set up the Afghan mujaheddin, Milt Bearden, continued to defend the interests of the Taliban. He bemoaned the fact that the United States never really bothered to understand the Taliban when he told the Washington Post last October, “We never heard what they were trying to say… We had no common language. Ours was, ‘Give up bin Laden.’ They were saying, ‘Do something to help us give him up.’ “
There were even reports that the CIA met with their old mujaheddin operative bin Laden in the months before September 11 attacks. The French newspaper Le Figaro quoted an Arab specialist named Antoine Sfeir who postulated that the CIA met with bin Laden in July in a failed attempt to bring him back under its fold. Sfeir said the CIA maintained links with bin Laden before the U.S. attacked his terrorist training camps in Afghanistan in 1998 and, more astonishingly, kept them going even after the attacks. Sfeir told the paper, “Until the last minute, CIA agents hoped bin Laden would return to U.S. command, as was the case before 1998.” Bin Laden actually officially broke with the US in 1991 when US troops began arriving in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm. Bin Laden felt this was a violation of the Saudi regime’s responsibility to protect the Islamic Holy Shrines of Mecca and Medina from the infidels. Bin Laden’s anti-American and anti-House of Saud rhetoric soon reached a fever pitch.
The Clinton administration made numerous attempts to kill Bin Laden. In August 1998, Al Qaeda operatives blew up several U.S. embassies in Africa. In response, Bill Clinton ordered cruise missiles to be launched from US ships in the Persian Gulf into Afghanistan, which missed Bin Laden by a few hours. The Clinton administration also devised a plan with Pakistan’s ISI to send a team of assassins into Afghanistan to kill Bin Laden. But Pakistan’s government was overthrown by General Musharraf, who was viewed as particularly close to the Taliban. The CIA cancelled its plans, fearing Musharraf’s ISI would tip off the Taliban and Bin Laden. . The CIA’s connections to the ISI in the months before September 11 and the weeks after are also worthy of a full-blown investigation. The CIA continues to maintain an unhealthy alliance with the ISI, the organization that groomed bin Laden and the Taliban. Last September, the head of the ISI, General Mahmud Ahmed, was fired by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf for his pro-Taliban leanings and reportedly after the U.S. government presented Musharraf with disturbing intelligence linking the general to the terrorist hijackers.
General Ahmed was in Washington, DC on the morning of September 11 meeting with CIA and State Department officials as the hijacked planes slammed into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Later, both the Northern Alliance spokesman in Washington, Haron Amin, and Indian intelligence, in an apparent leak to The Times of India, confirmed that General Ahmed ordered a Pakistani-born British citizen and known terrorist named Ahmed Umar Sheik to wire $100,000 from Pakistan to the U.S. bank account of Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker.
When the FBI traced calls made between General Ahmed and Sheik’s cellular phone – the number having been supplied by Indian intelligence to the FBI – a pattern linking the general with Sheik clearly emerged. According to The Times of India, the revelation that General Ahmed was involved in the Sheik-Atta money transfer was more than enough for a nervous and embarrassed Bush administration. It pressed Musharraf to dump General Ahmed. Musharraf mealy-mouthed the announcement of his general’s dismissal by stating Ahmed “requested” early retirement.
Sheik was well known to the Indian police. He was arrested in New Delhi in 1994 for plotting to kidnap four foreigners, including an American citizen. Sheik was released by the Indians in 1999 in a swap for passengers on board New Delhi-bound Indian Airlines flight 814, hijacked by Islamic militants from Kathmandu, Nepal to Kandahar, Afghanistan. India continues to believe the ISI played a part in the hijacking since the hijackers were affiliated with the pro-bin Laden Kashmiri terrorist group, Harkat-ul-Mujaheddin, a group only recently and quite belatedly placed on the State Department’s terrorist list. The ISI and bin Laden’s Al Qaeda reportedly assists the group in its operations against Indian government targets in Kashmir.
The FBI, which assisted its Indian counterpart in the investigation of the Indian Airlines hijacking, says it wants information leading to the arrest of those involved in the terrorist attacks. Yet, no move has been made to question General Ahmed or those U.S. government officials, including Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who met with him in September. Clearly, General Ahmed was a major player in terrorist activities across South Asia, yet still had very close ties to the U.S. government. General Ahmed’s terrorist-supporting activities – and the U.S. government officials who tolerated those activities – need to be investigated.
The Taliban visits to Washington continued up to a few months prior to the September 11 attacks. The State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research’s South Asian Division maintained constant satellite telephone contact with the Taliban in Kandahar and Kabul. Washington permitted the Taliban to maintain a diplomatic office in Queens, New York headed by Taliban diplomat Abdul Hakim Mojahed. In addition, U.S. officials, including Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Christina Rocca, who is also a former CIA officer, visited Taliban diplomatic officials in Islamabad. In the meantime, the Bush administration took a hostile attitude towards the Islamic State of Afghanistan, otherwise known as the Northern Alliance. Even though the United Nations recognized the alliance as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, the Bush administration, with oil at the forefront of its goals, decided to follow the lead of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and curry favor with the Taliban mullahs of Afghanistan. The visits of Islamist radicals did not end with the Taliban. In July 2001, the head of Pakistan’s pro-bin Laden Jamiaat-i-Islami Party, Qazi Hussein Ahmed, also reportedly was received at the George Bush Center for Intelligence (aka, CIA headquarters) in Langley, Virginia.
According to the Washington Post, the Special Envoy of Mullah Omar, Rahmatullah Hashami, even came to Washington bearing a gift carpet for President Bush from the one-eyed Taliban leader. The Village Voice reported that Hashami, on behalf of the Taliban, offered the Bush administration to hold on to bin Laden long enough for the United States to capture or kill him but, inexplicably, the administration refused. Meanwhile, Spozhmai Maiwandi, the director of the Voice of America’s Pashtun service, jokingly nicknamed “Kandahar Rose” by her colleagues, aired favorable reports on the Taliban, including a controversial interview with Mullah Omar.
The Bush administration’s dalliances with the Taliban may have even continued after the start of the bombing campaign against their country. According to European intelligence sources, a number of European governments were concerned that the CIA and Big Oil were pressuring the Bush administration not to engage in an initial serious ground war on behalf of the Northern Alliance in order to placate Pakistan and its Taliban compatriots. The early-on decision to stick with an incessant air bombardment, they reasoned, was causing too many civilian deaths and increasing the shakiness of the international coalition.
The obvious, and woefully underreported, interfaces between the Bush administration, UNOCAL, the CIA, the Taliban, Enron, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, the groundwork for which was laid when the Bush Oil team was on the sidelines during the Clinton administration, is making the Republicans worried. Vanquished vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman is in the ironic position of being the senator who will chair the Senate Government Affairs Committee hearings on the collapse of Enron. The roads from Enron also lead to Afghanistan and murky Bush oil politics.
UNOCAL was also clearly concerned about its past ties to the Taliban. On September 14, just three days after terrorists of the Afghan-base al Qaeda movement crashed their planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, UNOCAL issued the following statement: “The company is not supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan in any way whatsoever. Nor do we have any project or involvement in Afghanistan. Beginning in late 1997, Unocal was a member of a multinational consortium that was evaluating construction of a Central Asia Gas pipeline between Turkmenistan and Pakistan [via western Afghanistan]. Our company has had no further role in developing or funding that project or any other project that might involve the Taliban.”
The Bush Oil Team, which can now rely on the support of the interim Prime Minister of Afghanistan, may think that war and oil profits mix. But there is simply too much evidence that the War in Afghanistan was primarily about building UNOCAL’s pipeline, not about fighting terrorism. The Democrats, who control the Senate and its investigation agenda, should investigate the secretive deals between Big Oil, Bush, and the Taliban.
Oil and Violence Timeline
July 3, 1979
President Carter signed a secret directive aiding opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul, calculated to induce a Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. (See: Interview with former President Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski)
Mid to Late 1980s
Sept. 1986: In response to apparent successes of the Soviet Hind-D helicopter-gunship in Afghanistan, President Reagan authorized the shipment of Stinger missiles via Pakistan to Afghanistan. Overwhelmingly successful use of the Stinger resulted in neutralization of the Hind-D, and three years later (1989) to full Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The US, wishing to increase its regional influence, worked with the Saudis to import an army of Saudis, Egyptians, and others into Afghanistan. The Saudis chose a member of a wealthy construction family with close royal family ties – Osama bin Laden – to lead the effort. Many of the men bin Laden recruited were connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, a regional fundamentalist group. bin Laden’s newly constructed army (shortly thereafter known as al Qaeda) successfully fought to settle Afghanistan in favor of an Afghan fundamentalist group, the Taliban. [See: Against All Enemies, Inside America’s War on Terror; Richard A. Clark, Free Press (Simon & Schuster), 2004]
Collapse of the Soviet Union, and the birth of Caspian Sea nations of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan (1).
US Oil companies reached for the estimated 200 billion barrels of oil in the Caspian Sea area. (Also: 2 3 4 5 6)
Unocal, seeking to build a pipeline across Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (for delivery to energy hungry Asia via the Pakistani Arabian Sea coast), signed an agreement with Turkmenistan for natural gas purchasing rights for transport through a proposed pipeline (7). (See also 2) Unocal also signed an agreement with Turkmenistan for an oil pipeline (8) along the same route.
Aug. 13, 1996
Unocal and Delta Oil Co. of Saudi Arabia signed a memorandum of understanding (9) with Russia’s Gazprom and Turkmenistan’s Turkmenrusgaz to build a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan.
Unocal and other oil companies formed Central Asia Gas Pipeline, Ltd. (CentGas) (10) in preparation for building the trans-Afghanistan pipeline.
US Congress passed a resolution declaring the Caspian and Caucasus region to be a “zone of vital American interests”.
Unocal invited Taliban representatives to their corporate headquarters in Sugarland, TX. (11) to discuss the pipeline project. They were thereafter invited to Washington for meetings with Clinton Administration officials.
Unocal agreement signed between Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and the Taliban (12) to arrange funding of the gas pipeline project, with Unocal also considering a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Arabian Sea coast oil pipeline.
VP Dick Cheney, then CEO of the giant oil services company, Halliburton, stated: “I cannot think of a time when we have had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian.” (13)
Feb. 28, 1998
Unocal VP International Relations addressed US House of Representatives(14) clearly stating that the Taliban government should be removed and replaced by a government acceptable to his company. He argued that creation of a 42 inch oil pipeline across Afghanistan would yield a Western profit increase of 500% by 2015.
Unocal announced a delay in finalizing the pipeline project (15) due to Afghanistan’s continuing civil war
Aug. 7, 1998
Terrorists said to be linked to Osama bin Laden bombed two US embassies (16) in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Aug. 20, 1998
Clinton ordered a 75-80 cruise missile attacks (17) on Afghanistan and Sudan targets.
Aug. 21, 1998
Unocal temporarily halted development of the pipeline(18) project following the US missile attack above.
Aug. 22, 1998
BBC reported that the US and al-Queda leader Osama bin Laden exchanged warnings (19) of things to come following the cruise missile attacks ordered two days earlier. (You may be required to copy and paste -> newsid_156000/156273.stmNov. 1998
The Trade and Development Agency commissioned Enron to perform a feasibility study (20) re: an east-to-west route, crossing the Caspian Mountains and terminating in Turkey along the Mediterranean. (The route was considered impractical as it would cost an estimated $1 billion more than a route through Afghanistan.)
Unocal issued a statement (21) that it had withdrawn from the pipeline project on 12/4/98, noting “business reasons.”
April 30, 1999
Excluding US interests, Afghanistan, Pakistan, & Turkmenistan reactivated the pipeline project (22 – cached copy via Google) (see also 22a)
July 4, 1999
An executive order (13129) was issued by Clinton, freezing US held Taliban assets (23), & prohibiting trade plus other transactions. (See also: 23a)
Oct. 15, 1999
UN Security Council Resolution 1267 imposed sanctions on the Taliban (24a), demanding that the Taliban “turn over the terrorist Usama Bin Laden without further delay…”
Oct. 12, 2000
The USS Cole was attacked (25) in the Yemeni port of Aden.
Dec. 19, 2000
UN Security Council Resolution 1333 (24b) demanded compliance with Resolution 1267, and imposed further sanctions on the Taliban (24b).
Jan. – Feb. 2001
Upon taking office, the Bush administration immediately engaged in active negotiations with Taliban representatives (27) with meetings in Washington, DC, Berlin, and Islamabad. During this time the Taliban government hired Laila Helms, niece of former CIA director Richard Helms (28), as their go-between in negotiations with the US government.
Bush (oil) administration (29) includes:
Dick Cheney, VP: Until 2000 – President of Halliburton (in position to build the Afghan pipeline).
Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor: 1991-2000 – Manager of Chevron Oil, and Kazakhstan go-between.
Donald Evans, Sec. Commerce: former CEO, Tom Brown, Inc. (a $1.2 billion oil company).
Gale Norton, Sec. Interior: former national chairwoman of the Coalition of Republican Environmental Advocates – funded by, among others, BP Amoco.
Spencer Abraham, Sec. Energy: Up through his failed bid for senatorial reelection in the 2000, he received more oil and gas industry money than all but three other senators (January 1997 through July 2000) (30).
Thomas White, Secretary of the Army: former Vice Chairman of Enron and a large shareholder of that company’s stock.
May 15, 2001
Regarding the placement of the Unocal Pipeline, a US Official delivered this ultimatum to the Taliban (via the Pakistani delegation acting as their interlocutors): “Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.” (Ref: Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie in “Forbidden Truth” (31) (Book’s Preface online-pdf format (32) )
US Ambassador to Yemen, Ms. Barbara Bodine forbade Deputy Director FBI John O’Neill (33) from entering Yemen in that group’s ongoing investigation into al-Qaeda and the USS Cole attack.
Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, was told by senior American officials in mid-July (34a) that military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October. (See also BBC report(34b))
Aug. 2, 2001
Last meeting with the Taliban (5 weeks before the 9/11/01 attack). (35) Christina Rocca, in charge of Central Asian affairs for US government, met with the Taliban Ambassador to Pakistan (Abdul Salam Zaeef) in Islamabad, at which time Taliban representatives were reminded that the US had provided monetary relief assistance. (The above referenced State Department report fails to mention that oil topics were also discussed.) (36).
Aug. 22, 2001
John O’Neill – Deputy director FBI, established national expert on the al-Qaeda network and in charge of that investigation, resigned in protest over the Bush Administration’s obstruction (37) of those investigations. (See also: New Yorker 1/14/02 (37a) )
Aug. 23, 2001
John O’Neill accepted position as chief of security, World Trade Center buildings (38). NOTE: Electronic security for the World Trade Center was provided by Securacom (now Stratesec), a company initially founded with Kuwaiti capital. Marvin P. Bush, President George W. Bush’s youngest brother served as a Securicom/Stratesec board member from 1993 through 2000. (38a)
Sept. 4-11, 2001
July – Sept. 2000 – Pakistani Intelligence Chief (ISI) Lt. General Mahmoud Ahmad reportedly instructed British born Saeed Sheikh (alias: Ahmad Umar Sheikh, Mustafa Muhammad Ahmed, ….) in Pakistan to wire $100,000 (7/00-9/00) to two Florida bank accounts held by hijacker Mohammed Atta. (Washington Post 10-7-01 (39a), (Times of India 10-9-01 (30b), (Dawn News 10-9-01 (39c), (World Net Daily 1-30-02 (30d), (Times of India 08-1-03 (39e)
Sept. 4, 2001 – ISI’s Lt. General Ahmad entered the United States and subsequently met with many top officials within the Bush Administration. (Philadelphia City Paper 12-20-01 (39f), (Counterpunch 10-1-02 (39g)
Sept. 11, 2001 – Lt. General Ahmad concluded a breakfast meeting with Senator Bob Graham (D-FL), Representative Porter Goss (R-FL), and Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ). (Graham and Goss subsequently served as CO-Chairs of the Joint-Intelligence Committee investigating the 9/11 attacks.) (Counterpunch 10-1-02 (39h) (Online Journal 8-7-03 (39i), (S.A.Tribune 4-11-04 (39j)
During Ahmad’s brief stay in the US, he also met with: Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman, and the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE). (Dawn News 9-10-01 (39k), (Reuters 9/13/01 (39l), (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 9-12-01 (39m), Center for Cooperative Research – See: section: Sept. 11-16 (39n)
Sept. 9, 2001
Ahmed Shah Masood was assassinated in Afghanistan (40). His assassination severely weakened the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, which he had led.
Sept. 11, 2001
World Trade Center attacked by al Qaeda; fifteen of the nineteen were from Saudi Arabia [41a, 41b]. John O’Neill, WTC security chief, and former deputy director of the FBI, where he headed investigation of the al-Qaeda network, was killed in those buildings on that day. (41c)
Sept. 28, 2001
UN Security Council Resolution 1373 imposed further sanctions on the Taliban (26).
Oct. 7, 2001
Military operations with aerial bombardment began in Afghanistan (42)
Oct. 31, 2001
The Bush White House drafted an unprecedented executive order (43a) sealing presidential records including those of prior administrations. [See also: US House Committee on Governmental Reform analysis (43b)]
Dec. 22, 2001
The US-backed interim government headed by Hamid Karzai took office in Kabul, Afghanistan (44a). (Hamid Karzai had formerly functioned as a Unocal Corporation consultant (44b) )
Dec. 31, 2001
Bush appointed Zalmay Khalilzad, as his Special Envoy to Afghanistan (45a). Zhalilzad, like Karzai had earlier functioned as a Unocal consultant, participating in 1997 talks between Unocal and Taliban officials. (Regarding Zhalilzad’s “neocon” credentials, See: 45b).
Jan. 29, 2002
CNN reported: “President Bush personally asked Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle Tuesday to limit the congressional investigation into the events of 9/11/01″ (46).
Feb 8, 2002
Afghanistan’s interim ruler Hamid Karzai and the Pakistan president agreed to revive plans (47a) for a trans-Afghanistan pipeline..
Feb 9, 2002
Turkmenistan officially stated that they hoped their trans-Afghanistan route would be soon built.
Proposal to deploy US Special Operations forces to the Caucasus state of Georgia (47b) (would help enforce a Washington pipeline policy – neutralizing Russian influence in Central Asia.)
May 13, 2002
Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai to hold talks with his Pakistani and Turkmenistan counterparts (47c) regarding a pipeline from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan, and through Pakistan to the coast. Mohammad Alim Razim, Afghanistan’s minister for Mines and Industries, stated Unocal was considered “the lead company” to build the pipeline. (See also: 47d.)
May 30, 2002
Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan agreed to construct a gas pipeline to the subcontinent (48a) (See also: 48b.)
The annual US Government estimate for opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan was released Nov. 2004 (49): approximately 206,700 hectares of poppy were grown in 2004, representing a 239% increase in production over 2003 estimates.