The full, original report, including the plan to capture Caspian Sea reserves, highlighting the motives for taking-over Ukraine:
The US House “Silk Road Strategy Act” of 1999, to provide funding for destabilizing Caucasus nations, and creating an energy hub in Afghanistan – US House – Silk Road Strategy Act
The United States’ “New Silk Road” Strategy: What is it? Where is it Headed?
Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs
As Prepared For Delivery
Thank you, Fred, for that kind introduction.
I also want to thank Sham Bathija and Juan Miranda for joining me in today’s conversation on the “New Silk Road.” I am particularly grateful for Sham’s effort to join this conversation from India. I am delighted that today’s forum is co-hosted by the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute here at SAIS, as well as the Center for Strategic & International Studies. Thank you to both institutions and, in particular, Fred Starr and Andy Kuchins for organizing today’s event.
As I am sure you are all aware, Fred is one of our country’s leading experts on Central Asia, and along with Andy, he has championed for some time the idea of establishing Afghanistan as a regional trade and transit hub. Critically, this idea has also been voiced for years by many Afghans — most notably President Karzai, who has said that Afghanistan should aspire to be the “Asian Roundabout.”
The importance of improving connections between South and Central Asia – especially Afghanistan and Pakistan – is made all the more urgent as we and our allies begin the transition process in Afghanistan, which will ultimately result in the complete handover of security responsibility to the Afghans. Indeed, the transition process announced last November in Lisbon is well underway. Already, seven provinces and municipalities have been transitioned to Afghan security lead. Today nearly 25 percent of the Afghan people live in these areas.
But I want to be very clear: just because we are drawing down our military forces does not mean we are abandoning Afghanistan or the region. As President Obama said in June, our efforts are aimed at “[building] a partnership with the Afghan people that endures…”
This transition must be sustainable — and the political and security effort must be complemented by progress towards increasing economic opportunities for Afghanistan and the broader region. That’s why when Secretary Clinton announced a diplomatic effort aimed at bringing a political end to this decades long conflict, she included as a key component a vision to integrate Afghanistan into the regional economy.
The basis for the “New Silk Road” vision is that if Afghanistan is firmly embedded in the economic life of the region, it will be better able to attract new investment, benefit from its resource potential, and provide increasing economic opportunity and hope for its people. We also believe that the New Silk Road Initiative will be of particular importance to Pakistan, and can be an important way for Pakistan to further develop its economy and provide jobs for its people.
Indeed, we believe the New Silk Road Initiative can provide a critical economic boost for all of Afghanistan’s neighbors. That’s why Secretary Clinton co-chaired a Foreign Ministerial meeting with 30 of her counterparts, including all of Afghanistan’s neighbors, on the “New Silk Road” vision one week ago today in New York
The purpose of the meeting was to gather regional and international support behind the notion that, as she said, “lasting stability and security go hand in hand with economic opportunity.” Of course — as many of you well know — this vision for the region is deeply rooted in history. For millennia, a sprawling trading network crisscrossed Asia– connecting East to West, and North to South. It was a robust network — on land and on sea.
Goods and ideas traversed the region. Silk, teas, and porcelain came out of the East; ivory, textiles, and spices came from the South; and precious metals, wine, and carpets came from the West. Many religions were spread, including Islam and Buddhism. The places in between benefited from these connections in many ways. The once prosperous markets of Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif grew as waypoints in the continental trading network.
Over the years, the trade routes that once prospered went moribund as faster sea routes came into use, and regional divisions and rivalries made many land routes unpredictable. As a result, Afghanistan, and much of Central Asia, were increasingly cut off from the rest of the world. Though it is located right in the middle of a rapidly growing continent, Afghanistan became, in many ways, an economic dead-end from any direction.
Afghanistan’s isolation was deepened by the insurgency-driven economy that emerged after the Soviet invasion. This isolation was also a key factor in the Taliban’s rise. Without jobs or the opportunity to choose a different, more productive path, the Afghan people were left to the mercy of the extremists. The Afghanistan of today is beginning to emerge from its economic isolation. And though the infrastructure gap remains large— the answer is not only about building new roads and rail lines.
The region as a whole must focus on setting the broad context for sustainable growth, because they all have an economic as well as a security incentive in doing so. And the international community must continue to find ways to support and encourage that growth. As the Secretary said in Chennai last July, the “New Silk Road” vision “means upgrading the facilities at border crossings, such as India and Pakistan are now doing at Wagah.
And it means removing the bureaucratic barriers and other impediments to the free flow of goods and people. It means casting aside the outdated trade policies that we all still are living with and adopting new rules for the 21st century.” And I want underline again that the entire region stands to benefit from expanded economic connectivity. That’s why we are supportive of initiatives that harness the collective economic strength of the region.
For instance, just today the Indian and Pakistani Commerce Ministers—for the first time in 35 years — concluded meetings in New Delhi and announced a path to further normalize trade relations. They were joined by hundreds of Indian and Pakistani business leaders who joined the conference. And last year, Afghanistan and Pakistan took the brave step of agreeing to an updated transit trade agreement.
The agreement will adopt international best practices at border crossings and harmonize customs arrangements, reduce smuggling, and increase government revenues from legitimate trade. Both countries have discussed the potential for expanding the agreement to cover Central Asia. Eventually, I hope that the entire region, from Astana to Mumbai, will enjoy expanded trade and transit cooperation.
Other initiatives seek to match energy from Central Asia with Pakistan and India — two markets with significant electricity needs. The TAPI pipeline project would bring on-shore natural gas from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to markets in Pakistan and India. Other efforts would facilitate the transmission of electricity from Central Asia to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.
Construction of new projects would create thousands of jobs across the entire panorama of Central Asia, and unlock private enterprises suppressed by the lack of reliable electricity. Critically, the New Silk Road vision also includes an emphasis on the role of women. The Chinese have a saying that women hold up half of the world. In today’s world you cannot build a modern economy when you exclude half of your human capital.
That’s just one reason among many that we push women’s empowerment in this region– and around the world. We also view it as important to include not just the immediate region, but also the wider Asian and international communities—and this is reflective of the fact that Central Asia has always been a part of the larger Asian economy.
For instance, throughout the region there are increasing linkages of energy, roads, trade, and communication with China—which has also played a historic role in the region. On the other end of Asia, Turkey also has played a historic role in the region, and wants to be supportive of this region now. Indeed, Turkey has a very impressive private sector, and their business association, TOBB, emphasized to me that they want to be more involved throughout Central Asia—as well as in other parts of the world. Of course, all these efforts will not become reality overnight.
But as the businessmen and women of the region find common cause across borders, economic connections can reinforce political efforts to promote regional stability. As Prime Minister Singh put it so beautifully, “I dream of a day, while retaining our respective identities, one can have breakfast in Amritsar, lunch in Lahore, and dinner in Kabul. That is how my forefathers lived. That is how I want our grandchildren to live.”
To get to that point, the Afghans must acknowledge that they have a lot of work to do in clarifying their own future. Some progress has been made in implementing the Afghan National Development Strategy. But progress has been slowed by policy, regulatory and legal challenges. And the private sector has not been sufficiently engaged. Indeed, in all our focus on the security transition, it is important to recognize the need for Afghanistan to undertake another transition– from an aid dependent economy to one based on sustainable private sector-led growth.
So while there is a clear need for international support now, our shared vision of Afghanistan’s economic future is based on the fact that Afghanistan– like its regional neighbors– has a lot to offer across a variety of sectors, and that private enterprises can play a major role in the right regulatory environment.
Agriculture, for instance, accounts for almost 80 percent of employment in Afghanistan, but the sector remains largely driven by subsistence farming. Significant opportunity exists here for private sector led growth. Modern systems and seeds have already been distributed in many places; cold storage networks can be built to support agricultural exports; and customs processing barriers can be reduced by implementing a regional transit trade cooperation framework.
Light manufacturing – especially value-added agriculture products like wool, textiles, and Afghanistan’s famed carpets – can serve as a second source of growth. Local production can be modernized, including at the SME level, by managing the regulatory burden on these firms and working with Afghanistan’s financial sector to make reliable financing available.
Infrastructure—even if it’s not elaborate—can play an important role in expanding trade and commerce and allowing new producers of goods and services, including SMEs, to be integrated into the economy and have a greater stake in the national system. Indeed, the construction of canals, railways, and roads, played a similar role in the development of the American economy. And starting immediately, Afghanistan must take the steps required to develop the extractive industries.
As I know all of you are aware, the U.S. Geological Survey has verified that Afghanistan sits on top of at least $1 trillion in mineral wealth – iron, copper, gold, rare earth elements, and others. Some of these deposits are already under development, and many more will be soon. The Aynak copper and Hajigak iron-ore mines could enter into production as early as 2016, and according to World Bank projections they could each create 90,000 jobs and up to $500 million in annual revenue for the Government when developed.
The Afghans have a lot of hard work to do to fully benefit this potential and I applaud Minister Shahrani’s focus on transparency and the need to establish systems to protect Afghanistan from the “resource curse”. However, corruption must be reduced through initiatives that increase transparency and predictability in business operations. Situations like the one that arose at Kabul Bank cannot be allowed to occur. Land rights need to be defined, and investor protections must be put in place.
And as we pursue this course, all of the plans that are being laid in and around Afghanistan must fit within a realistic assessment of the availability of government resources. With governments all around the world facing economic challenges, we have to focus on ways to make this work with limited government support. So, for the “New Silk Road” vision to realize its potential, it is critical that the Afghan Government and its neighbors take ownership of the effort. To get there, the region must ultimately be responsible for facilitating the web of connections that will create a “New Silk Road.”
It is also essential that the private sector play a leading role. And the region must be proactive in reaching out to the private sector and addressing those barriers that would scare off investors. Many industries can be involved. Opportunities for profit potential are plentiful. Export credit authorities and development finance institutions can help. But of course government resources will need to continue to play some kind of role.
This must start with a solid commitment to the transition plan agreed by Afghanistan and our NATO allies last November at Lisbon whereby Afghanistan will assume lead responsibility for its own security by the end of 2014. The International Conference on Afghanistan in Bonn, Germany this December will not be a donors’ conference. But we hope that the international community will be ready to make a political commitment to reinvest a portion of the savings from a declining security presence – the so-called transition dividend – back into Afghanistan, on top of existing commitments.
For our part, the U.S. is negotiating a Strategic Partnership framework that will signal our long-term commitment to the Afghan people through 2014 and beyond. NATO has already made an Enduring Partnership with Afghanistan that commits it to supporting Afghan security institutions after 2014. Other countries and organizations are considering similar gestures of enduring commitment to Afghanistan.
In closing, I just want to reiterate what is at stake— for America, for Afghanistan, for the region, and for the global community. We must not forget that this effort is about bringing lasting peace to a country that has spent much of the past three decades at war. For countries like America– that have lost many brave young men and women and spent billions and billions of dollars in Afghanistan over the past decade— it is important to know continued investments are putting Afghanistan on the path to sustainable self-sufficiency.
We cannot forget that, as history has shown us, simply abandoning Afghanistan could potentially have terrible consequences for American, regional, and global security. But I also want to remind this audience—and of course, I know that this audience hardly needs this reminder—of all the potential that exists in this region. Over the last several decades, many countries and many regions of the world have been able to build dynamic growth and opportunity for the peoples.
Not just China and India — but also South Korea, and Malaysia, and Brazil, and Turkey and so many more countries have emerged. Hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. And this region can follow in their footsteps. The people of Afghanistan—and of the entire region— have enormous talent. The re-integration of Afghanistan into this region—and into the global economy—can be of tremendous benefit—not just to the Afghanis themselves, and not just to its neighbors, but to the global community.
Over the long-run, it will mean millions and millions of more men and women working n the next great product, or scientific advancement, or medical breakthrough. And it will mean increased hope and security for generations to come. That’s the vision we have been sacrificing for— and that’s a vision to which our commitment endures.
Thank you for your time.
Strategic Energy Policy Challenges for the 21st CenturyChair: Edward L. Morse, Managing Director, Head of Commodity Research, Credit SuisseDirector: Amy Myers Jaffe, Wallace S. Wilson fellow in Energy Studies, The James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice UniversityDownload NowOrder ReportPublisherCouncil on Foreign Relations PressRelease DateApril 2001Price$10.00 paper131 pages ISBN 0876092792 Task Force Report No. 33Share10OverviewCosponsored by James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice UniversityThere could be more Californias in America’s future unless the U.S. government adopts a long-term, comprehensive energy policy now, according to an Independent Task Force report cosponsored by the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice University in Houston and the Council on Foreign Relations.Given the capital-intensive nature of the energy industry, such energy woes could worsen before they get better, the study notes. Americans should therefore brace themselves for more California-style electricity problems and seasonal shortfalls of natural gas and heating fuels, as well as occasional spikes in regional gasoline prices. The experts note, however, that the situation is not a sign that the world is running out of energy resources. Rather, the conditions are caused by chronic under-investment and soaring energy use. The report, signed by fifty-one experts with widely different backgrounds and perspectives on the problem, argues that President G.W. Bush has an opportunity to begin educating the public about this reality and to start building a broad base of popular support for the hard policy choices ahead. It warns that the United States now faces the consequences of not having had an energy policy over the last several decades. The report of the Task Force, chaired by Edward L. Morse, a widely recognized authority on energy at Hess Energy, and assisted by Amy Myers Jaffe of the Baker Institute, concludes that “there are no overnight solutions to the energy supply and infrastructure bottlenecks facing the nation and the world.”The Task Force report warns that what lies ahead are agonizing policy tradeoffs between legitimate and competing interests. Among those tradeoffs, the report states, is whether Americans are willing to compromise their hunger for cheap energy to satisfy their increasing demand for cleaner energy and a cleaner environment.
Here’s what ties the Afghan war with the Soviets, BCCI support for the Taliban and bin laden, the events of 9/11, the Afghan War, UnoCal Oil, President Hamid Karzai, Halliburton, Enron, the Bush’s, the Saudis, Chevron Oil, Victoria Nuland, and current events in Ukraine !!! courtesy of fellow Occupier David DeGraw, and the good people at ConsortiumNews
The Financial Puzzle Behind 9/11
Editor’s Note: The back story of the power struggle for energy supplies in the Near East – from the late 1970s through 9/11 to the present – is one that requires serious investigation, but has often been relegated to the back burner behind 9/11 conspiracy theories.
In this guest essay, based on excerpts from an upcoming book, The Road Though 2012: Revolution or World War III, author David DeGraw pieces together some of the clues to the mystery of this troubling tale of money, betrayal and control:
During the 1980s and early ’90s, the CIA worked in partnership with BCCI in what was, at the time, the agency’s largest covert operation ever, pumping an estimated $10 billion into funding the Afghan mujahedeen. Through this operation, Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network was formed. Bin Laden had accounts in BCCI and ranCIA/BCCI-funded camps.
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[For more on that history of how key BCCI players kept operating after the bank was finally shut down, clickhere.]
In Modern Jihad:Tracing the Dollars Behind the Terror Networks, investigative reporter Loretta Napoleoni described the origins of the al Qaeda network:
“[During the Afghan-Soviet war,] potential Arab warriors traveled to Pakistan where they resided in guesthouses. These hostels did not keep any records and not a single organization listed the names of the fighters, where they had gone to fight and if they had been injured or killed. The lack of vital information caused distress among relatives.
“At that time bin Laden was in charge of several guesthouses and was embarrassed by the hundreds of calls requesting information. Hence, he decided to keep track of whoever stayed at the hostels and that record came to be known as the Record of al-Qaeda. This is how al-Qaeda, which means the base or the scroll, was born.”
Throughout this time period, bin Laden’s mentor was a man named Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. In Afghanistan 1979-1992: America’s Jihad, William Blum reported some background information on Hekmatyar:
“His followers first gained attention by throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil. CIA and State Department officials I have spoken with call him ’scary,’ ‘vicious,’ ‘a fascist,’… ‘definite dictatorship material’….
“His name was Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. He was the head of the Islamic Party and he hated the United States almost as much as he hated the Russians. His followers screamed ‘Death to America’ along with ‘Death to the Soviet Union’… some of them had kidnapped the American ambassador in the capital city of Kabul, leading to his death in the rescue attempt…
“These same people shot down civilian airliners and planted bombs at the airport… anti-American mobs had burned and ransacked the US embassy in Islamabad and American cultural centers in two other Pakistani cities… their brother Islamic fundamentalists in next-door Iran seized the US Embassy in Teheran… and held 55 Americans hostage for over a year.”
Supporting acknowledged terrorists and enemies presented the U.S. government with a huge public relations problem. So the White House and CIA went to work on the propaganda front. The United Sates Information Agency (USIA) launched the “Afghan Media Project.”
The project was run by Joachim Maitre, a man who also worked with Oliver North to make TV ads attacking government officials who were against giving aid to the Contras during the BCCI-financed Iran-Contra Affair.
Reporting in Covert Action: The Afghan Pipeline, Steve Galster revealed the hypocrisy of the U.S. propaganda campaign:
“Widespread corruption also exists among the [Afghan] rebel leaders but has gone practically unnoticed in the United States thanks to CIA propaganda. The same kinds of things that tarnished the Contras’ image, such as killing civilians, drug smuggling and embezzlement are practiced by many Afghan rebels.
“Taking no prisoners, assassinating suspected government collaborators, destroying government-built schools and hospitals, killing ‘unpious’ civilians are just a few of the inhumane acts they have carried out. But the picture we receive of the rebels in the United States is of an uncorrupt, popular group of freedom-loving people who aspire toward a democratic society.”
In Jihad International Inc., Eqbal Ahmad further exposed the propaganda effort:
“They also invested in this Jihad the legitimacy of their enormous power, and the luster of their media-made glory. On one especially memorable occasion when Afghanistan’s hard-line Islamists visited the White House, President Ronald Reagan described them as the Muslim world’s ‘moral equivalent of our founding fathers.’
“Similarly, the American and European media played up the war in Afghanistan as the greatest story of the eighties. Foreign correspondents combed the Hindu Kush for stories of ‘Mooj’ heroism. Competition for Jihad narrative was so great that in one instance a major network, CBS, paid handsomely to film a staged battle between Islam and Communism.
“As the western media carries great importance and authority in the third world, its Afghanistan war coverage made an enormous impact, especially on Muslim youth.”
As bin Laden himself would later say in his 1997 interview with CNN, “I have benefited so greatly from the Jihad in Afghanistan that it would have been impossible for me to gain such benefit from any other chance…”
Thanks to CIA funding and weapons, delivered through BCCI’s “black network” with the help of Pakistan’s intelligence service the ISI, bin Laden and al Qaeda were off and running.
In 1992, just after BCCI had been shut down in a global sweep, the Afghan-Soviet war finally came to an end. The war resulted in the death of 1.3 million Afghans, three million were disabled, and 5.5 million became refugees – in total, about half the population.
When BCCI was shut down, most of its major players were allowed to walk away without being held accountable, due to the fact that BCCI wasdeeply entwined within the upper echelons of U.S. intelligence. Elements of BCCI would then evolve into al Qaeda, as the Washington Post revealed in 2002:
“William F. Wechsler, who monitored bin Laden’s finances at the National Security Council during the last two years of the Clinton administration, told Congress in September that bin Laden initially rose to prominence for building ‘a financial architecture that supported the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan against the Russians.’
“‘It’s this financial architecture that continued with him when he turned to terrorism, and it’s this financial architecture that is at the heart of how al Qaeda today gets its finances,’ he said.
“Much of that architecture, according to French, Pakistani and American investigators, is modeled on the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI)…. In the 1980s it was used to launder drug money, harbor terrorist funds and buy illegal weapons. Its collapse in 1991 was a major global financial scandal.
“The CIA used BCCI to funnel millions of dollars to the fighters battling the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Bin Laden had accounts in the bank, U.S. officials said….
“A 70-page French intelligence report, prepared for Parliament in October and obtained by The Washington Post, outlined some details of this network.
“‘The financial network of bin Laden, as well as his network of investments, is similar to the network put in place in the 1980s by BCCI for its fraudulent operations, often with the same people (former directors and cadres of the bank and its affiliates, arms merchants oil merchants, Saudi investors),’ the report said. ‘The dominant trait of bin Laden’s operations is that of a terrorist network backed up by a vast financial structure.’
“A senior U.S. investigator said U.S. agencies were looking into these ties because ‘they just make so much sense, and so few people from BCCI ever went to jail. BCCI was the mother and father of terrorist financing operations.’
“The report identifies dozens of companies and individuals who were involved with BCCI and were found to be dealing with bin Laden after the bank collapsed. Many went on to work in banks and charities identified by the United States and others as supporting al Qaeda.”
BCCI’s Chief Operations Officer and the man the US Senate Intelligence Committee considered to be “the most powerful banker in the Middle East,” Khalid bin Mahfouz, was let off with a fine and would become a major al Qaeda funder.
As the Washington Post report continued:
“The French report highlighted the role of Saudi banker Khalid bin Mahfouz, a former director of BCCI, whose sister is married to bin Laden. In 1995 bin Mahfouz paid a $225 million fine in a settlement with U.S. prosecutors for his role in the BCCI scandal and went on to serve as director of the National Commercial Bank, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest….
“Saudi officials, at the urging of the United States, audited his bank and found that millions of dollars were being funneled through the bank to charities controlled by bin Laden, U.S. officials and the French document said…. U.S. intelligence officials said Washington pushed for the audit of bin Mahfouz’s bank but was never allowed to question him.
“Saudi officials ‘weren’t willing to let us talk to him,’ said one U.S. source with direct knowledge of events, ‘and we asked at a very senior level.’”
[Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this posting cited a Boston Herald article of Dec. 10, 2001, which was later retracted by the newspaper. Because of concerns about that article’s accuracy, we have deleted references to that article’s allegations and conclusions.]
The New Silk Route
One of the world’s richest oil fields is on the eastern shore of the Caspian sea, just northeast of Afghanistan. The Caspian oil reserves are of top strategic importance in the quest to control the earth’s remaining oil supply.
The U.S. government developed a policy called “The Strategy of the Silk Route.” The strategy was designed to lock out Russia, China, and Iran from the oil in this region. This called for U.S. corporations to construct an oil pipeline running through Afghanistan.
Since the mid 1990s, a consortium of U.S. oil companies led by Unocal, which was later bought by Chevron, have been pursuing this goal. The plan was to build a Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline from Turkmenistan’s natural gas fields to Pakistan.
Unocal partnered with Saudi Delta Oil, which was owned by suspected al Qaeda funder Khalid bin Mahfouz, and they formed Central Asia Gas Pipeline, Ltd. (CentGas).
A feasibility study for the Central Asian pipeline project was performed by Enron. This study concluded that as long as the country was split among fighting warlords the pipeline could not be built. Stability was necessary for the $4.5 billion project, and the U.S. believed that the Taliban would impose the necessary order.
U.S. intelligence and Pakistan’s ISI then continued the close relationship that they established through BCCI and agreed to funnel arms and funding to the Taliban in their war for control of Afghanistan.
Until 1999, U.S. taxpayers paid the entire annual salary of every single Taliban government official. The U.S., Saudi and Pakistani alliance established within BCCI reunited to facilitate the rise of the Taliban.
The American oil interests at the heart of this pipeline deal took control of the White House on Jan. 20, 2001, when George W. Bush became president.
As previously mentioned, Enron was heavily involved in this oil deal. Enron CEO Ken Lay was an old Bush family friend and was Bush Jr.’s biggest campaign contributor.
Donald Rumsfeld, who became Secretary of Defense, was a large stockholder in Enron. Thomas White, former vice-chairman of Enron, became the Secretary of the Army. Condoleezza Rice, a former Chevron board member, became National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State.
A major benefactor of the CentGas deal was going to be Halliburton. Dick Cheney, who became Vice President, was Halliburton’s CEO. Richard Armitage, who worked as a key lobbyist for Unocal, became Under Secretary of State. Hamid Karzai, who would later become Afghanistan’s Prime Minister, was a top Unocal adviser.
Shortly after taking office, the Bush Administration was quickly losing faith in the Taliban’s ability to control Afghanistan and be a reliable partner in the pipeline deal. James Baker, who was also a key BCCI player, having served as Treasury Secretary, Bush Sr.’s Secretary of State and Chief of Staff during BCCI’s reign, was a leading player in developing the “Strategy of the Silk Route.”
In April 2001, Baker and the Council on Foreign Relations demanded immediate action and publicly released a Task Force Report entitled, “Strategic Energy Policy Challenges For The 21st Century,” by the James A. Baker III Institute.
They stressed the urgency of the pipeline project and openly called for the Bush Administration to “quickly facilitate higher exports of oil from the Caspian Basin region.”
They reiterated the basic premise of the “Strategy of the Silk Route,” stating, “the exports from oil discoveries in the Caspian Basin could be hastened if a secure, economical export route could be identified swiftly.” That “export route,” as previously planned, would need to run through Afghanistan and into Pakistan.
The tangled web of conflicts of interests within the Bush Administration, oil industry, Taliban and al Qaeda were concisely summed up by investigative reporter Loretta Napoleoni:
“The CentGas deal never came to fruition. The Taliban’s inability to commit to any agreement, coupled with public recognition of the exploitive nature of their regime, contributed to its failure.
“For years, the Taliban skillfully conducted simultaneous negotiations with two potential oil companies: Argentinean Bridas [later bought by BP] and Unocal/CentGas. Both companies showered the Taliban with gifts and money, flying their delegations to the U.S. to win them over.
“On one occasion, a group of Taliban met high-ranking executives of Unocal in Texas. Parties, dinners and trips to the local shopping malls were organized. At the same time, Zalmay Khalizad, who was working for Unocal, lobbied the Clinton administration to ‘engage’ with the Taliban.
“The press reported some of these ‘informal’ meetings between U.S. officials and rulers of Afghanistan: ‘Senior Taliban leaders attended a conference in Washington in mid-1996 and U.S. diplomats regularly traveled to Taliban headquarters,’ wrote the Guardian….
“‘The United States wants good ties [with the Taliban] but can’t openly seek them while women are oppressed,’ reported CNN. None the less, negotiations carried on more or less openly until 1998, when bin Laden’s associates bombed U.S. embassies in Africa.
“Clinton launched cruise missiles at bin Laden’s supposed whereabouts in Afghanistan, an act that convinced the oil lobby that, for the moment, the pipeline deal could not go ahead….
“Corporate America continued to do business with people who supported Islamist insurgency. The oil industry, in particular, continues to be run by a very small group of American and Saudi families with close financial relations. Among them were the Bush family, the bin Laden family and Osama bin Laden’s Saudi sponsors. The ties among these people go back a long way….
“Naturally, as soon as George W. Bush was elected president, Unocal and BP-Amoco, which had in the meantime bought Bridas, the Argentinean rival, started once again to lobby the administration, among whom were several of their former employees.
“Unocal knew that Bush was ready to back them and resumed the consortium negotiations. In January 2001, it began discussions with the Taliban, backed by members of the Bush administration among whom was Under Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who had previously worked as a lobbyist for Unocal.
“The Taliban, for their part, employed as their PR officer in the U.S. Laila Helms, niece of Richard Helms, former director of the CIA and former US ambassador to Iran [and a BCCI player]. In March 2001, Helms succeeded in bringing Rahmatullah Hashami, Mullah Omar’s adviser, to Washington…. As late as August 2001, meetings were held in Pakistan to discuss the pipeline business….
“While negotiations were underway, the U.S. was secretly making plans to invade Afghanistan. The Bush Administration and its oil sponsors were losing patience with the Taliban; they wanted to get the Central Asian gas pipeline going as soon as possible. The ‘Strategy of the Silk Route’ had been resumed….
“Paradoxically, 11 September provided the Washington with a casus bellito invade Afghanistan and establish a pro American government in the country. When, a few weeks after the attack, the leaders of the two Pakistani Islamist parties negotiated with Mullah Omar and bin Laden for the latter’s extradition to Pakistan to stand trial for the 11 September attacks, the U.S. refused the offer.
“Back in 1996, the Sudanese Minister of Defence, Major General Elfaith Erwa, had also offered to extradite Osama bin Laden, then resident in Sudan, to the U.S.. American officials declined the offer at that time as well. ‘Just don’t let him go to Somalia,’ they added…. When Erwa disclosed that he was going to Afghanistan, the American answer was ‘let him go’….
“In November 2001… Hamid Karzai was elected [Afghanistan’s] prime minister…. Yet very few people remember that during the 1990’s Karzai was involved in negotiations with the Taliban regime for the construction of a Central Asian gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through western Afghanistan to Pakistan.
“At that time he was a top adviser and lobbyist for Unocal… In the early 1990’s, thanks to his [Karzai’s] excellent contacts with the ISI, he moved to the U.S. where he cooperated with the CIA and the ISI in supporting the Taliban’s political adventure.
“President Bush’s special envoy to the newly formed Afghanistan state is a man named Zalmay Khalilzad, another former employee of Unocal. In 1997, he produced a detailed analysis of the risks involved in the construction of the Central Asian gas pipeline.
“Khalilzad also worked as a lobbyist for Unocal and therefore knows Karzai very well. In the 1980s… President Reagan named Khalilzad special adviser to the State Department; it was thanks to his influence that the U.S. accelerated the shipment of military aid to the Mujahedin.”
Yet another interesting conflict of interest: the Chairman of the 9/11 Commission investigation was Thomas Kean, who was also a key player in this pipeline deal as a director of Hess Corp., which was in a joint venture called Delta Oil, with Khalid Bin Mahfouz.
It is also important to mention that James Baker, who had a lead role in developing the “Strategy of the Silk Route” and BCCI operations, was hired by these same BCCI/Saudi/al Qaeda oil interests to defend them against lawsuits brought by families of 9/11 victims.
To make matters even worse, the same person who played a pivotal role in covering-up and derailing investigations into BCCI at the Justice Department, was the person who was put in charge of the FBI on Sept. 4, 2001, Robert Mueller – and he is still running the FBI under President Barack Obama.
In summation, the CentGas oil consortium that connected all of these interests with Bush Jr.’s administration are undeniably suspect, at best. All of these players and interests are so incestuous that the heated debate over whether or not 9/11 was an inside job is almost irrelevant when you understand the history behind it.
Whether it was an attack by al Qaeda or a false flag covert intelligence operation to win public support and trillions of taxpayer dollars for the never-ending “War on Terror” and control of Central Asian oil is essentially a non-issue.
The main point, which cannot be legitimately argued, is that 9/11 would never have happened if it wasn’t for an out-of-control intelligence apparatus, and we now know the people who were operating that intelligence apparatus.
All of the players involved were part of the same banking intelligence network known as BCCI. Al Qaeda and 9/11 were a direct outgrowth and evolution of BCCI intelligence operations. It was the same people, continuing to do what they had been doing all along, except this time their target was on U.S. soil.
And this same out-of-control intelligence apparatus was the biggest beneficiary of 9/11, having had their funding budgets more than doubledsince the attack. Knowing how uncontrollable the intelligence world was leading up to 9/11, let’s look again at this report from the Washington Post:
“The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work….
“After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine…. The U.S. intelligence budget is vast, publicly announced last year as $75 billion, 2 1/2 times the size it was on Sept. 10, 2001. But the figure doesn’t include many military activities or domestic counterterrorism programs.”
Road to World War III
The war for a pipeline to extract oil from the Caspian Sea is far from over. China, a country U.S. oil interests were determined to block out of the region, has been making moves to take control and has clearly established the upper hand.
In a TomDispatch report entitled, “Pipelineistan’s New Silk Road,” Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar reports:
“Future historians may well agree that the twenty-first century Silk Road first opened for business on Dec. 14, 2009. That was the day a crucial stretch of pipeline officially went into operation linking the fabulously energy-rich state of Turkmenistan (via Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan) to Xinjiang Province in China’s far west….
“The bottom line is that, by 2013, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong will be cruising to ever more dizzying economic heights courtesy of natural gas supplied by the 1,833-kilometer-long Central Asia Pipeline, then projected to be operating at full capacity….
“When the Bush administration’s armchair generals launched their Global War on Terror, this was not exactly what they had in mind.
“Meanwhile, in the New Great Game in Eurasia, China had the good sense not to… get bogged down in an infinite quagmire in Afghanistan. Instead, the Chinese simply made a direct commercial deal with Turkmenistan and, profiting from that country’s disagreements with Moscow, built itself a pipeline which will provide much of the natural gas it needs.
“No wonder the Obama administration’s Eurasian energy czar Richard Morningstar was forced to admit at a congressional hearing that the U.S. simply cannot compete with China when it comes to Central Asia’s energy wealth. If only he had delivered the same message to the Pentagon….
“If China has so far proven masterly in the way it has played its cards in its Pipelineistan ‘war’, the U.S. hand — bypass Russia, elbow out China, isolate Iran — may soon be called for what it is: a bluff.”
If you have wondered why so many US/NATO/private military troops have been deployed to the Af-Pak region, just consider that China, which shares a border with Pakistan and Afghanistan, has also begun moving troops into the region (it is also important to note that Iran is surrounded by Afghanistan and Iraq).
As a New York Times report stated: “[Pakistan] is handing over de facto control of the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region in the northwest corner of disputed Kashmir to China.
“The entire Pakistan-occupied western portion of Kashmir stretching from Gilgit in the north to Azad (Free) Kashmir in the south is closed to the world, in contrast to the media access that India permits in the eastern part, where it is combating a Pakistan-backed insurgency.
“But reports from a variety of foreign intelligence sources… reveal two important new developments in Gilgit-Baltistan: a simmering rebellion against Pakistani rule and the influx of an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 soldiers of the [Chinese] People’s Liberation Army.
“China wants a grip on the region to assure unfettered road and rail access to the Gulf through Pakistan. It takes 16 to 25 days for Chinese oil tankers to reach the Gulf. When high-speed rail and road links through Gilgit and Baltistan are completed, China will be able to transport cargo from Eastern China to the new Chinese-built Pakistani naval bases at Gwadar, Pasni and Ormara, just east of the Gulf, within 48 hours.”
As the war in Afghanistan continues to escalate over the border into Pakistan, you can be assured that China, Russia and Iran will become more militarily involved in defense of their region’s resources. Pakistan is already becoming increasingly hostile to an escalation of U.S. drone andNATO strikes within its borders, and have even begun to openly aid the Taliban by cutting off key NATO supply lines.
Pakistan has also recently deployed anti-aircraft missiles on its border with Afghanistan. Current intelligence leads one to conclude that the war will continue to expand further into Pakistan, which will lead to China and Iran becoming more involved in what is essentially a proxy war against US/NATO/private military forces.
The bottom line is that we have entered a period of major wars over declining resources. The Af-Pak operations are only initial moves in an attempt to control the earth’s remaining oil supply.
Any talks of troop withdrawals from the Af-Pak region and Iraq are psychological operations. US/NATO/private military contractors are still in the process of building the world’s largest military bases in this region, they are not going to abandon these newly constructed mega-bases.
These bases are designed to be operational and, as oil continues to become scarcer, they will be used to militarily control the remaining supply throughout this region.
Chris Martenson, a former Vice President at intelligence company SAIC, recently wrote the following in an analysis entitled, “Future Chaos: There Is No ‘Plan B’:”
“The future is likely to be more chaotic than you probably think. This was the primary conclusion that I came to after attending the most recent Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas (ASPO) in Washington, DC in October, 2010….
“The impact of Peak Oil on markets, lifestyles, and even national solvency deserves our very highest attention…. Rear Admiral Lawrence Rice… presented the findings of the 2010 Joint Operating Environment (a forward-looking document examining the trends, contexts, and implications for future joint force commanders in the US military), which spends 76 pages summarizing the key trends and threats of the world….
“Peak Oil dominates the discussion. Among the conclusions (on page 29), we find this: ‘By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 MBD.’”
The Joint Operating Environment report goes on to reveal:
“To meet climbing global requirements, OPEC will have to increase its output from 30 MBD to at least 50 MBD. Significantly, no OPEC nation, except perhaps Saudi Arabia, is investing sufficient sums in new technologies and recovery methods to achieve such growth. Some, like Venezuela and Russia, are actually exhausting their fields to cash in on the bonanza created by rapidly rising oil prices….
“A severe energy crunch is inevitable without a massive expansion of production and refining capacity. While it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds….”
Increasing OPEC output up to 50 MBD from the current level of 30 MBD is simply not possible, in fact it’s absurd to even consider that as a possibility. Once you disregard that, as the report states, “A severe energy crunch is inevitable.”
To make matters even worse, we are much more likely to see a steady decline in output. So war with Pakistan, China, Russia and Iran, along with continued military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, is increasingly probable.
This strategy becomes all the more apparent when you consider the ramp up in military exercises and drills around China, which has included a series of massive 86,000-troop war games throughout the Korean Peninsula.
Add in the recent record-setting $123 billion in weapons sales to Gulf nations, with Saudi Arabia getting $67.8 billion in weapons, which was the largest U.S. arms deal ever. Israel also recently purchased 20 F-35 fighter jets for $2.5 billion, and has recently conducted their largest ever joint military exercises with the U.S. [See Moves Upon the Grand Chessboardfor more information.]
Now that we have a basic understanding of how much effort has gone into controlling Middle East and Caspian oil, and as demand for oil increases as production decreases, we can easily see how this is going to become an increasingly dangerous and hostile situation.
If we stay on this present course, the “Strategy of the Silk Route” leads us straight down the road to World War III.
One of the reactions a person may have after learning this information, is to believe that perhaps these wars to control the earth’s remaining oil supply are beneficial to the U.S. population. It may even eventually be a clever propaganda strategy to paint these wars as preserving the American way of life and our standard of living by obtaining these vital resources.
Coming to this belief would be tremendously naïve.
As recent history has proved, U.S. oil interests and the bankers behind them are global in nature and they don’t have any loyalty to the American people. As their actions have clearly demonstrated, they use the oil, and the obscene profits obtained from it, for their own short-sighted personal gain, at the brutal expense of the overwhelming majority of humanity and at the extraordinary expense of the earth’s ecosystem.
Americans are shielded from the enormous inhumanity of millions of maimed and dead bodies as a result of their addiction to power. If these wars continue to escalate, they will inevitably lead to more attacks on American soil.
The profits from these wars are also a primary driving factor in having them in the first place, and is a major incentive to keep them going. Billions of taxpayer dollars are thrown around in the “fog of war,” in what is called a “free-fraud zone.”
The military companies and the bankers behind them reap huge profits in the process. So fighting these highly profitable wars, for highly profitable resources, is the ultimate win-win situation, and the deliberately chosen business model for the Global Banking Intelligence Complex.
A point that clearly demonstrates the parasitic nature and pure insanity of this: the world’s #1 polluter and consumer of oil is the US/NATO/private military machine. So while they so desperately fight for oil, they are burning up significant amounts of it in the process.
The fact that the average American never gets the information presented in this report via mainstream media proves how tightly controlled the corporate media is. It also clearly demonstrates the blatant fact that theGlobal Banking Cartel doesn’t want American citizens to have even a basic understanding of geo-strategic interests and how power really functions.
Above all, the American public must be kept in its place, as the cartel emphatically believes that they are the kings and we are the serfs, and it is none of our business how they conduct themselves.
If you are not already a multi-millionaire or billionaire, you have now been marked for either servitude or slow death. That is a very harsh truth, but in the new world of declining resources, looted economies and environmental upheaval, this is the unfortunate reality of the situation.
Until the American public can wake up to this new reality, turn off the television and fight back, our living standards will continue to decline at an increasing rate.