WASHINGTON, Sept 29: President Barack Obama and Uzbekistan’s leader Islam Karimov discussed on Thursday expanding US use of the Central Asian country as a supply route for troops in Afghanistan amid growing concern about the viability of Pakistan as a transit route. The White House said Mr Obama called President Karimov on Wednesday to congratulate the former Soviet republic on its 20th anniversary of independence and that the leaders talked about shared interests in a “secure and prosperous” Afghanistan. A senior Obama administration official said the use of Uzbek territory, which already serves as a key supply route for US war supplies, was an “important topic of discussion”. US senators have also made a clear push for improving ties with Uzbekistan so that more supplies can be moved to and from Afghanistan through the ‘Northern Distribution Network’. The Senate Appropriations Committee last week approved a bill that would allow the US to waive restrictions on aid to Uzbekistan if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton certifies this is needed to obtain access to Afghanistan. The restrictions had been placed over Uzbekistan’s human rights record. “We’re going to probably replace 50 per cent of what we ship into Afghanistan from Pakistan, to go through the northern route, Uzbekistan,” Senator Lindsey Graham said this week. — Reuters. REFERENCES: US discusses supply route with Uzbekistan From the Newspaper (14 hours ago) Today http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/30/us-discusses-supply-route-with-uzbekistan.html James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1960) I Want You for the U.S. Army http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trm015.html
Uzbekistan Human Rights - Human Rights Concerns - Uzbekistan's disastrous human rights record worsened further in 2005 after a government massacre of demonstrators in Andijan in May. The government committed major violations of the rights to freedom of religion, expression, association, and assembly, and such abuses only increased after the May massacre. Uzbekistan has no independent judiciary, and torture is widespread in both pre-trial and post-conviction facilities. The government continues its practice of controlling, intimidating, and arbitrarily suspending or interfering with the work of civil society groups, the media, human rights activists, and opposition political parties. In particular, repression against independent journalists, human rights defenders, and opposition members increased this year. Government declarations of human rights reform, such as an announcement that the government will abolish the death penalty and the president's declaration of support for habeas corpus had no practical impact. REFERENCE: Uzbekistan Human Rights Human Rights Concerns http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/countries/europe/uzbekistan?id=1011265 Annual Report: Uzbekistan 2011 http://www.amnestyusa.org/research/reports/annual-report-uzbekistan-2011# Obama cozies up to Central Asian dictator by Justin Elliott Published in: Salon.com September 17, 2011 http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/09/17/obama-cozies-central-asian-dictator http://www.hrw.org/europecentral-asia/uzbekistan
The presidential electoral campaign of Barack Obama in 2008, it was thought, “changed the political debate in a party and a country that desperately needed to take a new direction.” Like most preceding presidential winners dating back at least to John F. Kennedy, what moved voters of all descriptions to back Obama was the hope he offered of significant change. Yet within a year Obama has taken decisive steps, not just to continue America’s engagement in Bush’s Afghan War, but significantly to enlarge it into Pakistan. If this was change of a sort, it was a change that few voters desired. Those of us convinced that a war machine prevails in Washington were not surprised. The situation was similar to the disappointment experienced with Jimmy Carter: Carter was elected in 1976 with a promise to cut the defense budget. Instead, he initiated both an expansion of the defense budget and also an expansion of U.S. influence into the Indian Ocean.
As I wrote in The Road to 9/11, after Carter’s election
It appeared on the surface that with the blessing of David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission, the traditional U.S. search for unilateral domination would be abandoned. But…the 1970s were a period in which a major “intellectual counterrevolution” was mustered, to mobilize conservative opinion with the aid of vast amounts of money…. By the time SALT II was signed in 1979, Carter had consented to significant new weapons programs and arms budget increases (reversing his campaign pledge). The complex strategy for reversing Carter’s promises was revived for a successful new mobilization in the 1990s during the Clinton presidency, in which a commission headed by Donald Rumsfeld was prominent. In this way the stage was set, even under Clinton, for the neocon triumph in the George W. Bush presidency. REFERENCE: Obama and Afghanistan: America’s Drug-Corrupted War by Prof Peter Dale Scott Global Research, January 1, 2010 http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?aid=16713&context=va Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is a poet, writer, and researcher. http://www.peterdalescott.net/
Oil, Drugs & the Future of Afghanistan by Peter Dale Scott - Part 1 of 6
Zalmay Khalilzad Maulavi Younus Khalis & Ronald Reagan - Trans-Afghan pipeline woes - The US is also very much implicated in the resuscitation of the Trans-Afghan gas pipeline, TAP - despite the endless political mess in Afghanistan. Halliburton - after making a killing in Iraq - would be expected to be on board in Afghanistan. The Japanese-dominated Asian Development Bank (ADB) is also very much interested. Unocal still officially maintains that it has lost interest in the Trans-Afghan gas pipeline it abandoned in 1998. But it wouldn't say no to an oil pipeline following the same route. In a predictable move, the Bush administration appointed its pet Afghan, oil man Zalmay Khalilzad, as Washington's ambassador to Kabul. Khalilzad, born in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan but also pure University of Chicago right-wing material, has already worked with grand chess board master Zbigniew Brzezinski, former US national security advisor, and under Pentagon number two Paul Wolfowitz. It was Khalilzad - when he was a huge Taliban fan - who conducted the risk analysis for Unocal (Union Oil Company of California) for the infamous proposed $2 billion, 1,500 kilometer-long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan,TAP, gas pipeline. While Russian President Vladimir Putin has demonstrated keen interest in an Eurasian gas alliance, Turkmenistan's main concern is to free itself from dependence on the Center Trunkline which connects the whole Central Asian gas network to the Russian system. Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai, for his part, needs money from gas transit, and Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf needs to keep strategic ties with Afghanistan. Once again, this is Pipelineistan as power politics. But TAP may reveal itself to be a hugely impractical proposition - basically because Afghanistan remains a country at war. Nobody for the moment wants to invest in TAP. Niyazov, Turkmenistan's unpredictable president, even had to court Russian gas giant Gazprom, which showed no interest. To top it all, nobody trusts Niyazov. Gazprom calculated that importing Turkmen gas is cheaper than developing remote Arctic and Siberian fields. So it looks for the moment that Russia's gas OPEC may be emerging as the winner. REFERENCE: Pipelineistan revisited By Pepe Escobar Central Asia Dec 25, 2003 http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/EL25Ag02.html
Oil, Drugs & the Future of Afghanistan by Peter Dale Scott - Part 2 of 6
Dec. 15, 1997 A Taliban delegation has visited Washington and was received by some State Department officials. The Talib delegation's meeting with U.S. Undersecretary of State for South Asia Karl Inderforth was arranged by the Unocal, which is eager to build a pipeline to pump gas from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghan territory. "We made our position clear, namely that the pipeline could be useful for Afghanistan's rehabilitation, but only if the situation was settled there by political means", a State Department official said on condition of anonymity. He stated that the Taliban representatives were told that they should form "a broadly-based government together with their rivals before the ambitious project to build an oil and gas pipeline is launched". According to Taliban assessments, only one pipeline could yield almost $ 300 mm for rehabilitating the war-ravaged Afghanistan. The Taliban delegation included Acting Minister for Mines and Industry Ahmed Jan, Acting Minister for Culture and Information Amir Muttaqi, Acting Minister for Planning Din Muhammad, and recently appointed Taliban Permanent Delegate on the United Nations Mujahid. A State Department official described the talks as "open and useful". He said that they also touched on the production of opium and open poppy on the Taliban-controlled territory, human rights, treatment of women, and on America's attitude to the projected pipeline. Asked whether there could be problems for the U.S. government if it backed the commercial investments into a country, which is ruled by Islamic fundamentalists, who, according to western standards, are oppressing women, the State Department official said that any real "political settlement" would resolve this problem. In the meantime, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright described the Talib government only a month ago as something quite disgusting due to its policy of oppressing women. FOR FURTHER READING: Taliban visit Washington Volume 3, issue #6 - 25-02-1998 http://www.gasandoil.com/goc/news/ntn80956.htm Read this US Government Declassified Documents. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB97/tal40.pdf UN lifts sanctions on five former Taliban officials Wednesday, 27 Jan, 2010 http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/04-un-sanctions-list-taliban-qs-07 Taliban leaders may join Afghan govt: US By Anwar Iqbal Tuesday, 26 Jan, 2010 http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/13+taliban-leaders-may-join-afghan-govt-us-610-za-08 Mullah Omar open to talks: Colonel Imam Tuesday, 26 Jan, 2010 http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/04-omar-talks-col-imam-qs-05
Oil, Drugs & the Future of Afghanistan by Peter Dale Scott - Part 3 of 6
President George Bush recently boasted: "When I take action, I'm not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It's going to be decisive." President Bush should know that there are no targets in Afghanistan that will give his missiles their money's worth. Perhaps, if only to balance his books, he should develop some cheaper missiles to use on cheaper targets and cheaper lives in the poor countries of the world. But then, that may not make good business sense to the Coalition's weapons manufacturers. It wouldn't make any sense at all, for example, to the Carlyle Group—described by the Industry Standard as 'the world's largest private equity firm', with $12 billion under management. Carlyle invests in the defence sector and makes its money from military conflicts and weapons spending. Carlyle is run by men with impeccable credentials. Former US defence secretary Frank Carlucci is Carlyle's chairman and managing director (he was a college roommate of Donald Rumsfeld's). Carlyle's other partners include former US secretary of state James A. Baker III, George Soros, Fred Malek (George Bush Sr's campaign manager). An American paper—the Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel—says that former President George Bush Sr is reported to be seeking investments for the Carlyle Group from Asian markets. He is reportedly paid not inconsiderable sums of money to make 'presentations' to potential government-clients. Ho Hum. As the tired saying goes, it's all in the family. Then there's that other branch of traditional family business—oil. Remember, President George Bush (Jr) and Vice-President Dick Cheney both made their fortunes working in the US oil industry. Turkmenistan, which borders the northwest of Afghanistan, holds the world's third largest gas reserves and an estimated six billion barrels of oil reserves. Enough, experts say, to meet American energy needs for the next 30 years (or a developing country's energy requirements for a couple of centuries.) America has always viewed oil as a security consideration, and protected it by any means it deems necessary. Few of us doubt that its military presence in the Gulf has little to do with its concern for human rights and almost entirely to do with its strategic interest in oil. Oil and gas from the Caspian region currently moves northward to European markets. Geographically and politically, Iran and Russia are major impediments to American interests. In 1998, Dick Cheney—then CEO of Halliburton, a major player in the oil industry—said: "I can't think of a time when we've had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian. It's almost as if the opportunities have arisen overnight." True enough. For some years now, an American oil giant called Unocal has been negotiating with the Taliban for permission to construct an oil pipeline through Afghanistan to Pakistan and out to the Arabian Sea. From here, Unocal hopes to access the lucrative 'emerging markets' in South and Southeast Asia. In December 1997, a delegation of Taliban mullahs travelled to America and even met US State Department officials and Unocal executives in Houston.At that time the Taliban's taste for public executions and its treatment of Afghan women were not made out to be the crimes against humanity that they are now. Over the next six months, pressure from hundreds of outraged American feminist groups was brought to bear on the Clinton administration. Fortunately, they managed to scuttle the deal. And now comes the US oil industry's big chance. REFERENCE: FRONTLINES War Is Peace The world doesn't have to choose between the Taliban and the US government. All the beauty of the world—literature, music, art—lies between these two fundamentalist poles. Arundhati Roy Magazine | Oct 29, 2001 http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?213547 http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?213547-2
Oil, Drugs & the Future of Afghanistan by Peter Dale Scott - Part 4 of 6
America’s Addiction to Drug-Assisted War: Afghanistan the 1980s - It is hard to demonstrate the CIA, when unilaterally initiating a military conflict in Laos in 1959, foresaw the resulting huge increase in Laotian opium production. But two decades later this experience did not deter Brzezinski, Carter’s national security adviser, from unilaterally initiating contact with drug-trafficking Afghans in 1978 and 1979. It is clear that this time the Carter White House foresaw the drug consequences. In 1980 White House drug advisor David Musto told the White House Strategy Council on Drug Abuse that “we were going into Afghanistan to support the opium growers…. Shouldn’t we try to avoid what we had done in Laos?” Denied access by the CIA to data to which he was legally entitled, Musto took his concerns public in May 1980, noting in a New York Times Op Ed that Golden Crescent heroin was already (and for the first time) causing a medical crisis in New York. And he warned, presciently, that “this crisis is bound to worsen.” The CIA, in conjunction with its creation the Iranian intelligence agency SAVAK, was initially trying to move to the right the regime of Afghan president Mohammed Daoud Khan, whose objectionable policy (like that of Souvanna Phouma before him) was to maintain good relations with both the Soviet Union and the west. In 1978 SAVAK- and CIA-supported Islamist agents soon arrived from Iran “with bulging bankrolls,” trying to mobilize a purge of left-wing officers in the army and a clamp-down on their party the PDPA. The result of this provocative polarization was the same as in Laos: a confrontation in which the left, and not the right, soon prevailed. In a coup that was at least partly defensive, left-wing officers overthrew and killed Daoud; they installed in his place a left-wing regime so extreme and unpopular that by 1980 the USSR (as Brzezinski had predicted) intervened to install a more moderate faction. By May 1979 the CIA was in touch with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the mujahedin warlord with perhaps the smallest following inside Afghanistan, and also the leading mujahedin drug-trafficker. Hekmatyar, famous for throwing acid in the faces of women not wearing burkas, was not the choice of the Afghan resistance, but of the Pakistani intelligence service (ISI), perhaps because he was the only Afghan leader willing to accept the British-drawn Durand Line as the Afghan-Pakistan boundary. As an Afghan leader in 1994 told Tim Weiner of the New York Times:
“We didn't choose these leaders. The United States made Hekmatyar by giving him his weapons. Now we want the United States to shake these leaders and make them stop the killing, to save us from them.”
Robert D. Kaplan reported his personal experience that Hekmatyar was “loathed by all the other party leaders, fundamentalist and moderate alike.” This decision by ISI and CIA belies the usual American rhetoric that the US was assisting an Afghan liberation movement. In the next decade of anti-Soviet resistance, more than half of America’s aid went to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who soon became “one of Afghanistan’s leading drug lords.” Brzezinski was also soon in contact with Pakistan’s emissary Fazle ul-Haq, a man who by 1982 would be listed by Interpol as an international narcotics trafficker. The consequences were swiftly felt in America, where heroin from the Golden Crescent, negligible before 1979, amounted in 1980 to 60 percent of the U.S. market. And by 1986, for the first time, the region supplied 70 percent of the high-grade heroin in the world, and supplied a new army of 650,000 addicts in Pakistan itself. Witnesses confirmed that the drug was shipped out of the area on the same Pakistan Army trucks which shipped in "covert" US military aid. Yet before 1986 the only high-level heroin bust in Pakistan was made at the insistence of a single Norwegian prosecutor; none were instigated by the seventeen narcotics officers in the U.S. Embassy. Eight tons of Afghan-Pakistani morphine base from a single Pakistani source supplied the Sicilian mafia "Pizza Connection" in New York, said by the FBI supervisor on the case to have been responsible for 80% of the heroin reaching the United States between 1978 and 1984. Meanwhile, CIA Director William Casey appears to have promoted a plan suggested to him in 1980 by the former French intelligence chief Alexandre de Marenches, that the CIA supply drugs on the sly to Soviet troops. Although de Marenches subsequently denied that the plan, Operation Mosquito, went forward, there are reports that heroin, hashish, and even cocaine from Latin America soon reached Soviet troops; and that along with the CIA-ISI-linked bank BCCI, "a few American intelligence operatives were deeply enmeshed in the drug trade" before the war was over. Maureen Orth heard from Mathea Falco, head of International Narcotics Control for the State Department under Jimmy Carter, that the CIA and ISI together encouraged the mujahedin to addict the Soviet troops. REFERENCE: Obama and Afghanistan: America’s Drug-Corrupted War by Prof Peter Dale Scott Global Research, January 1, 2010 http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?aid=16713&context=va Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is a poet, writer, and researcher. http://www.peterdalescott.net/Oil, Drugs & the Future of Afghanistan by Peter Dale Scott - Part 5 of 6
Oil, Drugs & the Future of Afghanistan by Peter Dale Scott - Part 6 of 6
America’s Return in 2001, Again With the Support of Drug-Traffickers - The social costs of this drug-assisted war are still with us: there are said, for example, to be now five million heroin addicts in Pakistan alone. And yet America in 2001 decided to do it again: to try, with the assistance of drug traffickers, to impose nation-building on a quasi-state with at least a dozen major ethnic groups speaking unrelated languages. In a close analogy to the use of the Hmong in Laos, America initiated its Afghan campaign in 2001 in concert with a distinct minority, the Tajik-dominated Northern Alliance. In a closer analogy still, the CIA in 2000 (in the last weeks of Clinton’s presidency) chose as its principal ally Ahmad Shah Massoud of the Northern Alliance, despite the objection of other national security advisers that “Massoud was a drug trafficker; if the CIA established a permanent base [with him] in the Panjshir, it risked entanglement with the heroin trade.” There was no ambiguity about the U.S. intention to use drug traffickers to initiate its ground position in Afghanistan. The CIA mounted its coalition against the Taliban in 2001 by recruiting and even importing drug traffickers, usually old assets from the 1980s. An example was Haji Zaman who had retired to Dijon in France, whom “British and American officials…met with and persuaded … to return to Afghanistan.” In Afghanistan in 2001 as in 1980, and as in Laos in 1959, the U.S. intervention has since been a bonanza for the international drug syndicates. With the increase of chaos in the countryside, and number of aircraft flying in and out of the country, opium production more than doubled, from 3276 metric tonnes in 2000 (and 185 in 2001, the year of a Taliban ban on opium) to 8,200 metric tonnes in 2007. Why does the U.S. intervene repeatedly on the same side as the most powerful local drug traffickers? Some years ago I summarized the conventional wisdom on this matter:
Partly this has been from realpolitik - in recognition of the local power realities represented by the drug traffic. Partly it has been from the need to escape domestic political restraints: the traffickers have supplied additional financial resources needed because of US budgetary limitations, and they have also provided assets not bound (as the U.S. is) by the rules of war. … These facts…have led to enduring intelligence networks involving both oil and drugs, or more specifically both petrodollars and narcodollars. These networks, particularly in the Middle East, have become so important that they affect, not just the conduct of US foreign policy, but the health and behavior of the US government, US banks and corporations, and indeed the whole of US society.
Persuaded in part by the analysis of authors like Michel Chossudovsky and James Petras, I would now stress more heavily that American banks, as well as oil majors, benefit significantly from drug trafficking. A Senate staff report has estimated “that $500 billion to $1 trillion in criminal proceeds are laundered through banks worldwide each year, with about half of that amount moved through United States banks.” The London Independent reported in 2004 that drug trafficking constitutes "the third biggest global commodity in cash terms after oil and the arms trade." Petras concludes that the U.S. economy has become a narco-capitalist one, dependent on the hot or dirty money, much of it from the drug traffic. As Senator Levin summarizes the record: "Estimates are that $500 billion to $1 trillion of international criminal proceeds are moved internationally and deposited into bank accounts annually. It is estimated half of that money comes to the United States"….
Washington and the mass media have portrayed the U.S. in the forefront of the struggle against narco trafficking, drug laundering and political corruption: the image is of clean white hands fighting dirty money from the Third world (or the ex-Communist countries). The truth is exactly the opposite. U.S. banks have developed a highly elaborate set of policies for transferring illicit funds to the U.S., investing those funds in legitimate businesses or U.S. government bonds and legitimating them. The U.S. Congress has held numerous hearings, provided detailed exposés of the illicit practices of the banks, passed several laws and called for stiffer enforcement by any number of public regulators and private bankers. Yet the biggest banks continue their practices, the sums of dirty money grows exponentially, because both the State and the banks have neither the will nor the interest to put an end to the practices that provide high profits and buttress an otherwise fragile empire.
In the wake of the 2008 economic crisis, this analysis found support from the claim of Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, that “Drugs money worth billions of dollars kept the financial system afloat at the height of the global crisis.” According to the London Observer, Costa
said he has seen evidence that the proceeds of organised crime were "the only liquid investment capital" available to some banks on the brink of collapse last year. He said that a majority of the $352bn (£216bn) of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result…. Costa said evidence that illegal money was being absorbed into the financial system was first drawn to his attention by intelligence agencies and prosecutors around 18 months ago. "In many instances, the money from drugs was the only liquid investment capital. In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system's main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor," he said.REFERENCE: Obama and Afghanistan: America’s Drug-Corrupted War by Prof Peter Dale Scott Global Research, January 1, 2010 http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?aid=16713&context=va Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is a poet, writer, and researcher. http://www.peterdalescott.net/