Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

With a new administration in Washington it will be a challenge to get the 'liberals' to hold Biden-Harris to the few 'progressive promises' they made during their campaign. Biden is bringing back many of Bush & Obama's neo-cons to head his foreign policy. I'll be on this case without hesitation.

Thursday, July 09, 2009


So while we fight the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan the US has also put "Taliban light" into power in the Afghanistan government. The peace movement must begin to understand more about the layers of deception now underway in US policy in this part of the world.

I remain convinced that the war in Afghanistan has virtually nothing to do with the Taliban or democracy. It should be remembered that the Taliban where brought to Texas to meet with UnoCal oil executives a couple years before 9-11 happened. They were basically told: Let us build pipelines through Afghanistan and we will provide you with a carpet of gold, if you don't allow us to do this you will get instead a carpet of bombs. They turned the deal down and 9-11 happens and we begin bombing Afghanistan and eight years later Obama expands the war. After Afghanistan was invaded, a new leader was put up: Hamid Karzai. He was former adviser to UnoCal.

Some years ago I went to the Congressional Record web site and found testimony of oil executives pleading with Congress to help put a more compliant government into Afghanistan that would work with the oil corporations. "A commercial corridor, a 'new' Silk Road, can link the Central Asia supply with the demand -- once again making Central Asia the crossroads between Europe and Asia," UnoCal told Congress.

Acclaimed British journalist George Monbiot wrote in 2001 about Afghanistan:

Afghanistan has some oil and gas of its own, but not enough to qualify as a major strategic concern. Its northern neighbours, by contrast, contain reserves which could be critical to future global supply. In 1998, Dick Cheney, now US vice-president but then chief executive of a major oil services company, remarked, “I cannot think of a time when we have had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian.” But the oil and gas there is worthless until it is moved. The only route which makes both political and economic sense is through Afghanistan.

Transporting all the Caspian basin’s fossil fuel through Russia or Azerbaijan would greatly enhance Russia’s political and economic control over the Central Asian Republics, which is precisely what the West has spent ten years trying to prevent. Piping it through Iran would enrich a regime which the US has been seeking to isolate. Sending it the long way round through China, quite aside from the strategic considerations, would be prohibitively expensive. But pipelines through Afghanistan would allow the US both to pursue its aim of “diversifying energy supply” and to penetrate the world’s most lucrative markets. Growth in European oil consumption is slow and competition is intense. In South Asia, by contrast, demand is booming and competitors are scarce. Pumping oil south and selling it in Pakistan and India, in other words, is far more profitable than pumping it west and selling it in Europe.

As the author Ahmed Rashid has documented, the US oil company Unocal has been seeking since 1995 to build oil and gas pipelines from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan and into Pakistani ports on the Arabian Sea. The company’s scheme required a single administration in Afghanistan, which would guarantee safe passage for its goods.


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