Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
HAVE YOUR DONATION DOUBLED!

If you are able to donate $100 or more for our Annual Fund Drive, your donation will be matched by another generous CounterPuncher! These are tough times. Regardless of the political rhetoric bantered about the airwaves, the recession hasn’t ended for most of us. We know that money is tight for many of you. But we also know that tens of thousands of daily readers of CounterPunch depend on us to slice through the smokescreen and tell it like is. Please, donate if you can!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bush, Enron, UNOCAL and the Taliban

by Tom Turnipseed

The Bush Administration’s entanglement with ENRON is beginning to unravel as it finally admits that Enron executives entered the White House six times last year to secretly plan the Administration’s energy policy with Vice-President Cheney before the collapse of the Texas-based energy giant. Meanwhile, even more trouble for our former-Texas-oil-man-turned-President is brewing with reports that unveil UNOCAL, another big energy company, for being in bed with the Taliban, along with the U.S. government in a major, continuing effort to construct pipelines through Afghanistan from the petroleum-rich Caspian Basin in Central Asia. Beneath their burkas, UNOCAL is being exposed for giving the five star treatment to Taliban Mullahs in the Lone Star State in 1997. The “evil-ones” were also invited to meet with U.S. government officials in Washington, D.C.

According to a December 17, 1997 article in the British paper, The Telegraph, headlined, “Oil barons court Taliban in Texas,” the Taliban was about to sign a “?2 billion contract with an American oil company to build a pipeline across the war-torn country. … The Islamic warriors appear to have been persuaded to close the deal, not through delicate negotiation but by old-fashioned Texan hospitality. … Dressed in traditional salwar khameez,Afghan waistcoats and loose, black turbans, the high-ranking delegation was given VIP treatment during the four-day stay.”

At the same time, U.S. government documents reveal that the Taliban were harboring Osama bin Laden as their “guest” since June 1996. By then, bin Laden had: been expelled by Sudan in early 1996 in response to US insistence and the threat of UN sanctions; publicly declared war against the U.S. on or about August 23, 1996; pronounced the bombings in Riyadh and at Khobar in Saudi Arabia killing 19 US servicemen as ‘praiseworthy terrorism’, promising that other attacks would follow in November 1996 and further admitted carrying out attacks on U.S. military personnel in Somalia in 1993 and Yemen in 1992, declaring that “we used to hunt them down in Mogadishu”; stated in an interview broadcast in February 1997 that “if someone can kill an American soldier, it is better than wasting time on other matters.” Evidence was also developing which linked bin Laden to: the 1995 bombing of a U.S. military barracks in Riyadh which killed five; Ramzi Yuosef, who led the 1993 World Trade Center attacks; and a 1994 assassination plot against President Clinton in the Philippines.

Back in Houston, the Taliban was learning how the “other half lives,” and according to The Telegraph, “stayed in a five-star hotel and were chauffeured in a company minibus.” The Taliban representatives “…were amazed by the luxurious homes of Texan oil barons. Invited to dinner at the palatial home of Martin Miller, a vice-president of Unocal, they marveled at his swimming pool, views of the golf course and six bathrooms.” Mr. Miller, said he hoped that UNOCAL had clinched the deal.

Dick Cheney was then CEO of Haliburton Corporation, a pipeline services vendor based in Texas. Gushed Cheney in 1998, “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. The good Lord didn’t see fit to put oil and gas only where there are democratically elected regimes friendly to the United States. Occasionally we have to operate in places where, all things considered, one would not normally choose to go. But we go where the business is.” Would Cheney bargain with the harborers of U.S. troop killers if that’s where the business was?

The Telegraph reported that Unocal had promised to start building the pipeline and paying the Taliban immediately, with the added inducements and a donation of ?500,000 to the University of Nebraska for courses in Afghanistan to train 400 teachers, electricians, carpenters and pipefitters.

The Telegraph also reported, “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.” In a paper prepared by Neamatollah Nojumi, at the Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Nojumi wrote in August 1997 that Madeline Albright sat in a “full-dress CIA briefing” on the Caspian region. CIA agents then accompanied “some well-trained petroleum engineers” to the region. Albright concluded that shaping the region’s policies was “one of the most exciting things that we can do.”

It’s also exciting to the Bush Administration. According to the authors of Bin Laden, the Hidden Truth, one of the FBI’s leading counter terrorism agents, John O’Neill, resigned last year in protest over the Bush Administration’s alleged obstruction of his investigation into bin Laden. (A similar complaint has been filed on behalf of another unidentified FBI Agent by the conservative Judicial Watch public interest group.) Supposedly the Bush Administration had been meeting since January 2001 with the Taliban, and was also reluctant to offend Saudi Arabians who O’Neill had linked to bin Laden. Mr. O’Neill, after leaving the FBI, assumed the position of security director at the World Trade Center, where he was killed in the 911 attacks.

As America’s New War now begins focusing on other “rogue nations,” UNOCAL’s stars have magically aligned. About two months after the Houston parties, UNOCAL executive John Maresca addressed the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific and urged support for establishment of an investor-friendly climate in Afghanistan, “… we have made it clear that construction of our proposed pipeline cannot begin until a recognized government is in place that has the confidence of governments, lenders and our company.” Meaning that UNOCAL’s ability to construct the Afghan pipeline was a cause worthy of U.S. taxpayer dollars.

Maresca’s prayers have been answered with the Taliban’s replacement. As reported in Le Monde, the new Afghan government’s head, Hamid Karzai, formerly served as a UNOCAL consultant. Only nine days after Karzai’s ascension, President Bush nominated another UNOCAL consultant and former Taliban defender, Zalmay Khalilzad, as his special envoy to Afghanistan.

When UNOCAL makes big bucks from the pipeline they should donate 50% of all pretax profits to the 911 Fund. And they should also cut a very special check to the widow of FBI Agent O’Neill.

Tom Turnipseed is a civil rights lawyer in South Carolina. Visit Tom’s website at www.turnipseed.net

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
October 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Clinton, Assange and the War on Truth
Michael Hudson
Socialism, Land and Banking: 2017 compared to 1917
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in the Life of CounterPunch
Paul Street
The Not-So-Radical “Socialist” From Vermont
Jason Hirthler
Censorship in the Digital Age
Jonathan Cook
Harvey Weinstein and the Politics of Hollywood
Andrew Levine
Diagnosing the Donald
Michelle Renee Matisons
Relocated Puerto Rican Families are Florida’s Latest Class War Targets
Richard Moser
Goldman Sachs vs. Goldman Sachs?
David Rosen
Male Sexual Violence: As American as Cherry Pie
Mike Whitney
John Brennan’s Police State USA
Robert Hunziker
Mr. Toxicity Zaps America
Peter Gelderloos
Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Democracy
Robert Fantina
Fatah, Hamas, Israel and the United States
Edward Curtin
Organized Chaos and Confusion as Political Control
Patrick Cockburn
The Transformation of Iraq: Kurds Have Lost 40% of Their Territory
CJ Hopkins
Tomorrow Belongs to the Corporatocracy
Bill Quigley
The Blueprint for the Most Radical City on the Planet
Brian Cloughley
Chinese Dreams and American Deaths in Africa
John Hultgren
Immigration and the American Political Imagination
Thomas Klikauer
Torturing the Poor, German-Style
Gerry Brown
China’s Elderly Statesmen
Pepe Escobar
Kirkuk Redux Was a Bloodless Offensive, Here’s Why
Jill Richardson
The Mundaneness of Sexual Violence
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Choreography of Human Dignity: Blade Runner 2049 and World War Z
Missy Comley Beattie
Bitch, Get Out!!
Andre Vltchek
The Greatest Indonesian Painter and “Praying to the Pig”
Ralph Nader
Why is Nobelist Economist Richard Thaler so Jovial?
Ricardo Vaz
Venezuela Regional Elections: Chavismo in Triumph, Opposition in Disarray and Media in Denial
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
NAFTA Talks Falter, Time To Increase Pressure
GD Dess
Why We Shouldn’t Let Hillary Haunt Us … And Why Having a Vision Matters
Ron Jacobs
Stop the Idiocy! Stop the Mattis-ness!
Russell Mokhiber
Talley Sergent Aaron Scheinberg Coca Cola Single Payer and the Failure of Democrats in West Virginia
Michael Barker
The Fiction of Kurt Andersen’s “Fantasyland”
Murray Dobbin
Yes, We Need to Tax the Rich
Dave Lindorff
Two Soviet Spies Who Deserve a Posthumous Nobel Peace Prize
Rafael Bernabe – Manuel Rodríguez Banchs
Open Letter to the People of the United States From Puerto Rico, a Month After Hurricane María
Oliver Tickell
#FreeJackLetts
Victor Grossman
From Jamaica to Knees
Michael Welton
Faith and the World: the Baha’i Vision
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Kirkuk the Consolation Prize?
Graham Peebles
Beyond Neo-Liberal Consumerism
Louis Proyect
On Gowans on Syria
Charles R. Larson
Review: Candida R. Moss and Joel S. Baden’s “Bible Nation: the United States of Hobby Lobby”
David Yearsley
Katy Perry’s Gastro-Pop, Gastro-Porn Orgy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail