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em·pire

ˈemˌpī(ə)r/

Noun

an extensive operation or sphere of activity controlled by one person or group

The largest empire today has amassed more foreign military bases than any other in world history, spends more seeking hegemonic domination than the rest of the world combined, and has overthrown or attempted to overthrow some 60 governments, most of which were elected by their populations.

Support research, reporting, and analysis. Contribute $10 or more and receive an essay on the historical roots of the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

em·pire

ˈemˌpī(ə)r/

noun

an extensive operation or sphere of activity controlled by one person or group

The largest empire today has amassed more foreign military bases than any other in world history, spends more seeking hegemonic domination than the rest of the world combined, and has overthrown or attempted to overthrow some 60 governments, most of which were elected by their populations. - See more at: http://www.empireslayer.org/2016/01/second-most-biased-source-possible.html#sthash.Jn1BsTr6.dpuf

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

US, Afghanistan, and Continuity of Policy

In 1979, the US synthesized and supported a non-state army to overthrow the Soviet-backed Afghan government, which was stable and protecting rights for women. 

Before US Terrorism
Afghanistan Under Russian-Backed Afghan Gov't


After a little over a decade and about two million deaths, the US-backed non-state armies, dominated by Islamic fundamentalists, emerged victorious and formed al Qaeda and the Taliban, which, with open US support and backing, seized control over most of Afghanistan.  (Note: The US may have been funding the Mujaheddin for years before 1979.)

Particularly in conjunction with the California energy company Unocal (which in 2005 merged with Chevron; more below), the US government spent years trying to work out a gas pipeline deal with the Taliban.  Negotiations included flying Taliban members to Dallas and Washington as well as providing the Taliban with various kinds of support, including medical aid, technology, training camps, and at least part of up to 20 million dollars Unocal allocated to these efforts.  During this time, ignoring the loud protests of women's rights groups in the US and elsewhere (see sources above and notes below), the US was also encouraging the Taliban to continue to expand its government to cover all of Afghanistan. 


After US Terrorism
Afghanistan Under US-Backed Afghan Gov't

In October 1998, Julie Sirrs, a military analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), traveled to Afghanistan to investigate why the US was not cutting ties with the Taliban after associates of bin Laden, who was involved with the Taliban, attacked US embassies in August 1998, the eighth anniversary of US military presence in Saudi Arabia.  The had US tried, but failed, to kill bin Laden by bombing him in Afghanistan later that same month, but maintained its ties with the Taliban.

Sirrs reported back that:

"With even a little aid to the Afghan resistance, we [the USA] could have pushed the Taliban out of power. But there was great reluctance by the State Department and the CIA to undertake that.” She partly blames the interest of the US government and the oil company Unocal to see the Taliban achieve political stability to enable a trans-Afghanistan pipeline (see May 1996 and September 27, 1996). She claims, “Massoud [a leader of the Taliban resistance] told me he had proof that Unocal had provided money that helped the Taliban take Kabul.” She also states, “The State Department didn’t want to have anything to do with Afghan resistance, or even, politically, to reveal that there was any viable option to the Taliban.”  
When Sirrs returned to the US and reported her findings, she was ignored and stripped of her security clearance.  She quit the DIA in frustration in 1999.

In July and August 1999, Taliban and al Qaeda linked militia members again visited the US, their expenses paid with US tax money and by the University of Nebraska:

Thomas Gouttierre, an academic heading an Afghanistan program at the University of Nebraska, hosts their visit. Gouttierre is working as a consultant to Unocal at the time, and some Taliban visits to the US are paid for by Unocal, such as a visit two years earlier (see December 4, 1997). However, it is unknown if Unocal plays a role in this particular trip. Gouttierre had previously been paid by the CIA to create Afghan textbooks promoting violence and jihad (see 1984-1994). It is unknown if any of these visitors meet with US officials during their trip. (here)  
Despite US lobbying, the Taliban would not accept all US demands for the pipeline.  Thus, (prior to 9/11/01,) the US threatened (and prepared) to attack the Taliban militarily if it continued to try to set its own terms for the deal.  

Then the 9/11/01 attack was carried out.  Some have suggested 9/11 can be viewed as a "pre-emptive" strike, since the US had threatened the Afghan government to try to force compliance on the pipeline.  Without presenting evidence and admitting it did not know who carried out the attack, the US demanded the extradition of Osama bin Laden from Afghanistan, again threatening to bomb the country if it did not comply with the illegal orders.  

Former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, Niaz Naik, who had been part of the US/Taliban pipeline negotiations, predicted to the BBC (see here) on September 18, 2001, that the US would invade Afghanistan regardless of whether the Taliban agreed to extradite bin Laden.

BBC 9/18/01:
He [Naik] said that he was in no doubt that after the World Trade Center bombings this pre-existing US plan [to invade Afghanistan] had been built upon and would be implemented within two or three weeks. 

And he said it was doubtful that Washington would drop its plan even if Bin Laden were to be surrendered immediately by the Taleban.
Naik was correct.

"On 7 October 2001, the U.S. government launched military operations in Afghanistan.  The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) did not authorize the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom)". 

On 16 October, [2001,] Muttawakil, the Taliban foreign minister, dropped the condition to see evidence [of bin Laden's role in 9/11] and offered to send bin Laden to a third country...
US officials rejected the offer [and continued their attack].
As the Taliban's Mullah Omar said would happen, the Taliban retreated into the mountains as the US began the process of killing tens of thousands of people.

While pushing out the Taliban, the US installed the Karzai government and immediately restarted work on the gas pipeline deal, now with the support of the second Afghan government brought to power by the US.  "One of [US-installed] Karzai’s first acts as President of Afghanistan, in fact, was the signing of a new agreement with Turkmenistan and Pakistan on the building of a pipeline in 2002." (ibid.)

The US-installed Afghan government was now not an obstacle, but the pipeline was to carry gas from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan, to Pakistan's coast.  

The president of Turkmenistan wanted signed proof of US government commitment to the project.  That came from Hillary Clinton. 
"...both Chevron and Exxon-Mobil expressed interest in TAPI [Trans-Afghan Pipeline]. Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow received a letter backing Chevron's project from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton." - Wall Street Journal
After Clinton, Obama sent his own personal letter to the president of Turkmenistan "expressing [his] support for TAPI and his desire for a major U.S. firm to construct it." (WSJ)

...


As of 7/2014, the US was still pushing forward with the Afghan pipeline project:
“The US is pushing the four countries [Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan] to grant the lucrative pipeline contract to its energy giants. Two US firms – Chevron and ExxonMobil – are in the race to become consortium leaders, win the project and finance the laying of the pipeline,” a senior government official said while talking to The Express Tribune.
 However, a couple of months later:
Top US energy companies – Chevron and ExxonMobil – have dropped out of the race to become a consortium leader in financing the Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) gas pipeline following dismissal of their demand for an equity stake ... in the [gas] field[s of] Turkmenistan...
Thus, unable to dictate their terms exactly, and despite the deaths of several million peasants and the shattering of women's rights while trying to set up this project, Chevron(/Unocal) and Exxon dropped out of leading the endeavor - barring some opportunity to play the game again in Turkmenistan.

...

Notes:

It would of course be a mistake to treat resource control and profits therefrom as the only motivating factors behind the genocidal US interventions in Afghanistan.  However, they are at the top of the list along with interrelated factors, such as general power-system expansionism, competition with other imperial forces (ie former Soviet Union and Russia), US corporate profit from government contracts for imperial activities, the desire to terrorize and beat into submission weaker countries and groups exercising independence, and revenge. 

...
"For example, [the USA] made no comment when the Taliban captured Herat in 1995, and expelled thousands of girls from schools; the Taliban [also] began killing unarmed civilians, targeting ethnic groups (primarily Hazaras), and restricting the rights of women." (see here and here)

And the Daily Telegraph, in 1997, reported that “the US government, which in the past has branded the Taliban’s policies against women and children ‘despicable,’ appears anxious to please the fundamentalists to clinch the lucrative pipeline contract.” (here)


And here is William Blum quoting a New York Times article from 1979, the major year the USA used the Moujahedeen to set the "Afghan trap" by destabilizing the country, torturing the Afghan population, forcing them to call for Soviet help, and causing the Soviets to invade Afghanistan, which they did after repeated requests from Afghanistan:
...a “favorite tactic” of the Moujahedeen was “to torture victims by first cutting off their nose, ears, and genitals, then removing one slice of skin after another”, producing “a slow, very painful death”. 
- See more at: http://www.empireslayer.org/2014/01/us-imperialism-afghanistan-and-hillary.html#sthash.L1wMGuR7.dpuf

The US "made no comment when the Taliban captured Herat in 1995, and expelled thousands of girls from schools; the Taliban [also] began killing unarmed civilians, targeting ethnic groups (primarily Hazaras), and restricting the rights of women." (see here and here)

The Daily Telegraph, in 1997, reported that “the US government, which in the past has branded the Taliban’s policies against women and children ‘despicable,’ appears anxious to please the fundamentalists to clinch the lucrative pipeline contract.” (here)

Here is William Blum quoting a New York Times article from 1979, the major year the US used the Mujaheddin to set the "Afghan trap" by destabilizing the country, torturing the Afghan population, forcing them to call for Soviet help, and causing the Soviets to invade Afghanistan, which they did after repeated requests from Afghanistan:

...a “favorite tactic” of the Moujahedeen was “to torture victims by first cutting off their nose, ears, and genitals, then removing one slice of skin after another”, producing “a slow, very painful death”. 
...

Yasushi Akashi, U.N. Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, was critical of "outside interference in Afghanistan" in 1997, which, he said, "is now all related to the battle for oil and gas pipelines. The fear is that these companies and regional powers are just renting the Taliban for their own purposes." (Here)


...

"...neither the [Taliban] ‘militant’ nor his ‘ideology’ was being fought. Rather, he was courted and his ideology utilized for US strategic and economic interests, particularly as both converged in a slick of oil by 1995.  Furthermore, considering that it was only when absolute control of that oil was challenged that the Taliban regime was openly discredited, it must be said that although this ‘militant’ and his ‘ideology’ were publicly ‘being fought’ from 1998 to 2001, other ‘militants’ with similar ‘ideologies’ continued to find support, and even that could have been dropped in favour of the Taliban at any point if it had compromised on the issue of oil. 


Confirmation of this hypothesis, in fact, comes with the inauguration of President Bush (Jr.), one of whose first acts in January and February, 2001, was to open negotiations between the US and the Taliban regime, conducted in Washington, Berlin and Islamabad, in which Laila Helms (niece of former CIA Director Richard Helms) was hired by the Taliban to act as go-between; negotiations that ended around May, 2001, according to various sources including a former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, with the ultimatum that the Unocal pipeline would go ahead or bombs would rain on Afghanistan. 

From 1998 to 2001, therefore, the Taliban ‘militant’ was fought in the name of his ‘ideology,’ but in the interests of oil.  ...  ‘Exactly what…is being fought’ today, Roy astutely asks. The short answer is that today, as has been the case since 1979, neither a specific ‘militant’ nor ‘ideology’ is ‘being fought.’ Rather, the target of operations, for which more troops are now being sought, is anyone who challenges the interests of an oil-drenched ‘New World Order." - M. Reza Pirbhai, Assistant Professor of South Asian History at Louisiana State University, here

...

Also see: Our Terrorists, by Dr. Nafeez Ahmed

"Throughout the 1990s, the selective US intelligence sponsorship of Islamist extremist networks was linked not simply to destabilizing potential Russian and Chinese influence, but further to securing US-led Western control over strategic energy reserves." 

...
Throughout the 1990s, the selective US intelligence sponsorship of Islamist extremist networks was linked not simply to destabilizing potential Russian and Chinese influence, but further to securing US-led Western control over strategic energy reserves. - See more at: http://newint.org/features/2009/10/01/blowback-extended-version/#sthash.Iss9cTUE.dpuf


Other sources herehere, here