In the book ''Bin Laden, la verite interdite'' (''Bin Laden, the forbidden truth''), just published in France, the authors Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie reveal that early in his administration, George W. Bush was pressured by oil companies to stop investigations into terrorism.
Brisard and Dasquie have long experience in intelligence analysis. Until the late 1990s, Brisard was director of economic analysis and strategy for the French company Vivendi. He also worked for French secret services, and in 1997 he wrote a report on the al-Qaeda network. Dasquie is an investigative journalist and publisher of Intelligence Online, a respected internet newsletter on diplomacy, economic analysis and strategy.
According to the authors, deputy FBI director John O?Neill resigned in July in protest over the situation. They claim O?Neill told them that ?'the main obstacles to investigating Islamic terrorism were U.S. oil corporate interests and the role played by Saudi Arabia in it.?
The book states that the U.S. government?s main objective in Afghanistan was to get access to the oil and gas reserves in Central Asia, in exchange for political recognition and economic aid. They say that the Talbian was thought of ?as a source of stability in Central Asia that would enable the construction of an oil pipeline across Central Asia.? The proposed pipeline would stretch from the rich oilfields in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, through Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the Indian Ocean.
Without such a pipeline, according to the book, ?the oil and gas reserves of Central Asia have been controlled by Russia. The Bush government wanted to change all that.? But when the Taliban wouldn?t cooperate, ?this rationale of energy security changed into a military one. At one moment during the negotiations, the U.S. representatives told the Taliban, ?either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs,?? Brisard says.
Before the September 11 attacks, ?Several meetings took place this year, under the arbitration of Francesc Vendrell, personal representative of UN secretary general Kofi Annan, to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.? These meetings have been confirmed by Naif Naik, former Pakistani Minister for Foreign Affairs, who says that discussions focused on ?the formation of a government of national unity. If the Taliban had accepted this coalition, they would have immediately received international economic aid. And the pipe lines from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan would have come.? Naik claims that Tom Simons, the U.S. representative at these meetings, openly threatened the Taliban and Pakistan. ?Simons said, ?either the Taliban behave as they ought to, or Pakistan convinces them to do so, or we will use another option.? The words Simons used were ?a military operation.??
The idea of such a pipeline is, in many ways, an excellent idea. And it?s clear that the pipeline negotiations ended once bin Laden attacked the U.S. But it?s also clear that we were willing to support a repressive, dictatorial regime, which denied basic human rights to women, in exchange for easy access to cheap oil.
This book reminds us that until we free ourselves from our overwhelming dependence on foreign oil, we will never be free to act responsibly on the international scene. We are like addicts begging, conniving and negotiating for another oil ?hit.? Only lessening this addiction will help us to avoid major mistakes in the future.
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