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This article is still available free on the web from Asia Times. I've included a sizeable excerpt to give a sense of its scope.

By Pepe Escobar

"In this geostrategic grand design, the Taliban were the proverbial fly in the ointment. The Afghan War was decided long before September 11. September 11 merely precipitated events. Plans to destroy the Taliban had been the subject of international diplomatic and not-so-diplomatic discussions for months before September 11. There was a crucial meeting in Geneva in May 2001 between US State Department, Iranian, German and Italian officials, where the main topic was a strategy to topple the Taliban and replace the theocracy with a "broad-based government". The topic was raised again in full force at the Group of Eight (G-8) summit in Genoa, Italy, in July 2001 when India - an observer at the summit - also contributed its own plans.

"Nor concidentally, Pipelineistan was the central topic in secret negotiations in a Berlin hotel a few days after the G-8 summit, between American, Russian, German and Pakistani officials. And Pakistani high officials, on condition of anonymity, have extensively described a plan set up by the end of July 2001 by American advisers, consisting of military strikes against the Taliban from bases in Tajikistan, to be launched before mid-October.

"More recently, while most of the planet that has access to news was distracted by New Year's Eve celebrations, and only nine days after Hamid Karzai's interim government took power in Kabul, Bush II appointed his special envoy to Afghanistan. It comes as no surprise he is Afghan-American Zalmay Khalilzad - a former aide to the Californian energy giant UNOCAL. Khalilzad wasted no time in boarding the first flight to Central Asia. The Bush II team now does not even try to disguise that the whole game is about oil. The so-called brand-new American "Afghan policy" is being conducted by people intimately connected to oil industry interests in Central Asia.


"Khalilzad is a very interesting character indeed. He was always a huge Taliban supporter. Four years ago, he wrote in the Washington Post that "the Taliban does not practice the anti-US style of fundamentalism practiced by Iran". Khalilzad only abandoned the Taliban after Bill Clinton fired 58 cruise missiles into Afghanistan in August 1998, in retaliation for the alleged involvement of Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda in the bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Only one day after the attack, UNOCAL put Centgas on hold - and two months later abandoned plans for the trans-Afghan pipeline.

"A little more than a year ago, Khalilzad was reincarnated in print in The Washington Quarterly, now stressing his four mains reason to ged rid of the Taliban regime as soon as possible: Osama bin Laden, opium trafficking, oppression of the Afghan people and, last but not least, oil.

"Afghan diaspora sources in Paris acidly comment that Khalilzad will be regarded as nothing less than a traitor by fiercely proud and independent Afghans. Born in Mazar-i-Sharif in 1951, he is part of the Afghan ruling elite. His father was an aide to King Zahir Shah. Khalilzad was studying at the notoriously conservative University of Chicago when Afghanistan was invaded by the Red Army in December 1979. Later he became an American citizen and a special adviser to the State Department during the Reagan years. He was a strident lobbyist for more US military aid to the mujahedeen during the anti-USSR jihad - campaigning for widespread distribution of Stinger missiles.

"Khalilzad was undersecretary of defense for Bush I, during the war against Iraq. After a stint at the Rand Corp think tank, he headed the Bush-Cheney transition team for the Defense Department and advised Donald Rumsfeld. But he was not rewarded with any promotions. The required Senate confirmation would raise extremely uncomfortable questions about his role as UNOCAL adviser and staunch Taliban defender. He was assigned instead to the National Security Council - no Senate confirmation required - where he reports to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

Rice herself is a former oil-company consultant. During Bush I, from 1989-92, she was on the board of directors of Chevron, and was its main expert on Kazakhstan. Chevron has invested more than $20 billion in Kazakhstan alone...."

Comment Posted By Paul in LA On 16.02.2006 @ 19:40

The US has EIGHTEEN TONS of Hussein's government papers in the National Archive. Not a peep out of anyone yet on why those papers aren't the basis of Hussein's trial, considering that they contain shoot-to-kill orders, lists of depopulated villages, and such.

Loftus may be a nut, but there are oil and NG pipelines going in across Afghanistan (with new, secret airbases to protect them) and Pakistan (with wink and nod harboring of Al Qaeda, Bin Laden, and the Pak scientist responsible for giving Libya, Iran, and N. Korea nuclear secrets and materiel). And there is the famous "carpet of gold or carpet of bombs" statement made in front of the Pak ambassador in July 01, along with the report that the Taliban was warned that they would be invaded in October if they didn't comply.

Given that the geopolitics of Pipelinestan currently accords with aspects of the Loftus' theory in W. Asia, his statements have to be accorded something more than 'he is a nut.' And I find it odd that hack Brian York had time to research Prescott's warmongering. Opposition research?

Would it be too much to ask for SOMEONE to confirm that Harry Truman was the one who busted Prescott? Considering that Prescott was apparently involved in steel and shipping transfers to the Nazis during WWII (post 1941), he got off light.

Comment Posted By Paul in LA On 16.02.2006 @ 19:23



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