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Feb-21-2013 22:32printcomments

Waging War Over Natural Gas

Tracing the money trail between the proposed Afghan pipeline and Keystone XL.

Taliban visit to Texas in 1997
Taliban visit to Texas in 1997

(SACRAMENTO, CA) - Many Americans believe the war in Afghanistan was launched in part to tap into the country's illicit drug trade, and they are certainly right that the U.S. takes part in that industry. Every other country that has done business in this historic place over the last two centuries has. But drugs are only part of it. The most profitable illegal trade is weapon running. All of it is used to gain political control for the sake of business. The primary business operations are those that deal in oil, gas and mining.

Enron tried very hard in the 1990's to convince the Taliban in Afghanistan, to allow the construction of a natural gas pipeline through the country. The proposed project was common knowledge at the time, in fact my wife Bonnie and I circulated a petition in the late 1990's asking people to boycott Unocal over their dealings with Taliban, knowing full well even then that their abuse of women and girls was totally off the charts and very real[1].

Throughout the 1990's, major U.S. oil companies attempted to gain the rights to huge reserves of natural gas in Central Asia, mostly located in Kazakhstan. This is the country unnecessarily parodied in more recent years by the movie 'Borat' and even that strikes my curiosity, I must admit, as propaganda delivered cleverly is often totally undetectable, yet it shapes our views and opinions. The film portrays all Kazak people as blithering idiots. They are not.

In order to get the liquid natural gas from Kazakhstan, a pipeline needed to be constructed, and Unocal had the lead role. Enron was also directly involved. They proposed a 1,300 kilometre pipeline that would span from the Caspian Sea, in a southeasterly direction that passed through Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, leading eventually to the Arabian Sea.

Taliban were actually invited to the Unocal headquarters in Texas on 4 December 1997, when George W. Bush was the state's governor.

The BBC wrote at the time:

    A spokesman for the company, Unocal, said the Taleban were expected to spend several days at the company's headquarters in Sugarland, Texas.

    Unocal says it has agreements both with Turkmenistan to sell its gas and with Pakistan to buy it. [2]

Women in Afghanistan crippled for life by Taliban.
1997 Kabul photo by Tim King

According to reports, the Taliban wanted too much money; negotiations failed, and the plan was scrapped. Or was it?

Here is the clincher: on 12 February 1998, the Vice President of Unocal, John Maresca, said, a friendly government in Afghanistan is necessary before the pipeline can be built.

Underscoring the whole idea, is the fact that the Enron Corporation's Dabhol Power Plant in India was operating at too high of a cost, and badly needed liquid natural gas in order to bolster profits.

That 1997 trip to Texas is not the only time Taliban visited the United States. Even though their human rights violations were widely reported, Taliban Minister, Sayed Rahmatullah Hashimi, came to Washington D.C. in 2000, just months before the attacks on the United States. The Bush Administration invited the special Taliban envoy to visit the United States to improve the Taliban's political image, relates Michael Moore in the documentary film Fahrenheit 9/11. In 2000, they toured the U.S. State Department to meet with U.S. officials. This group was reportedly harboring bin Laden at the time, who was wanted for two separate terrorist attacks, at the U.S. embassy in Dar es Salaam, and aboard the U.S.S. Cole[3].

Of course those who are still fixated on the idea that Afghan / Soviet War Mujaheddin warlord Usama bin Laden and a band of Arab terrorists were responsible for the terrorist attacks on the United States September 11th 2001, are not going to relinquish their programming, or even begin to understand. But the fact remains that Usama bin Laden denied involvement in the 9/11 attacks specifically, and only the U.S. government said otherwise[4].

Keystone Tar-Sands Pipeline

Last week Mark Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, stood on a chilly D.C. day and carried out one of the only acts of civil disobedience the group has ever undertaken. This unprecedented show of solidarity was prompted by resistance to the Keystone project.

    I was arrested, along with Sierra Club president Allison Chin and almost 50 other environmental leaders, activists, poets, ministers, farmers and scientists. The one thing we all shared was a conviction: President Obama must act to protect our climate and that means saying "no" to the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline.

As our writer Roger Butow has revealed repeatedly, the Keystone XL pipeline project is the worst idea of its nature ever conceived. But the forces behind it are determined.

    And make no mistake: Both major political parties by their recent votes are assisting, are enablers to petrochemical greed-heads. It’s an insidious witches brew of stupidity, lack of homework and wallet-stuffing lobbyists. The pro-petrochemical, mining lobbyists and big bucks campaign donors (think SUPER PAC) are cramming 5-6 times as much money into our US representatives pockets as the green organizations can muster to fend this horrid monster and others like it off[5 ].

The war in Afghanistan is tied to the creation of Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, EO13223 which limited access to presidential records, and the Aviation and Transportation Security Act. We're just getting started. The pipeline project in Afghanistan is a no-go for the simple reason that there is not enough security. This would greatly raise the level of resolve that Keystone represents. There are so many clean energy options that could and should be receiving funding and planning, LNG is an answer from the last century and the impacts of pulling it from the earth are lasting.

As the U.S. prepares to pull out of its wars in the Middle east which it clearly had no intention or chance of winning, and moving into Africa where unexploited people and land appear as ripe targets, so too did the natural gas planners read the writing on the wall and shift their theatre of operation from Afghanistan, to their own soil.

[1] 9/11 WHAT REALLY HAPPENED by Ed Whitney ISBN 978-0-9823448-8-0

[2] Fahrenheit 911 - The full length movie - YouTube (Taliban visits: 45:30 46:17)

[3] Taleban in Texas for talks on gas pipeline - The BBC

[4] Bin Laden says he wasn't behind attacks - CNN

[5] Keystone XL Pipeline: The Really Really Really Big Lie Roger E. Bütow -

Tim King: Editor and Writer

You can write to Tim at this address:

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With almost 25 years of experience on the west coast and worldwide as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor, Tim King is's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine who follows stories of Marines and Marine Veterans; he's covered British Royal Marines and in Iraq, Tim embedded with the same unit he served with in the 1980's.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from traditional mainstream news agencies like The Associated Press and Electronic Media Association; he also holds awards from the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs; and was presented with a 'Good Neighbor Award' for his reporting, by the The Red Cross.

Tim King reporting from the war in Iraq

Tim's years as a Human Rights reporter have taken on many dimensions; he has rallied for a long list of cultures and populations and continues to every day, with a strong and direct concentration on the 2009 Genocide of Tamil Hindus and Christians in Sri Lanka. As a result of his long list of reports exposing war crimes against Tamil people, Tim was invited to be the keynote speaker at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Baltimore, in July 2012. This is the largest annual gathering of North American Tamils; Tim addressed more than 3000 people and was presented with a traditional Sri Lanka ‘blessed garland’ and a shawl as per the tradition and custom of Tamil Nadu

In a personal capacity, Tim has written 2,026 articles as of March 2012 for since the new format designed by Matt Lintz was launched in December, 2005. Serving readers with news from all over the globe, Tim's life is literally encircled by the endless news flow published by, where more than 100 writers contribute stories from 23+ countries and regions.

Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide; and maintains that the label 'terrorist' is ill placed in many cases; specifically with the LTTE Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, where it was used as an excuse to slaughter people by the tens of thousands; and in Gaza, where a trapped population lives at the mercy of Israel's destructive military war crime grinder. At the center of all of this, Tim pays extremely close attention to the safety and welfare of journalists worldwide.



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Roger E. Bütow February 22, 2013 5:49 pm (Pacific time)

Heraclitus said "Character is fate." In this region, "Geography (or geology) is fate."
The area, especially the more remote and extreme terrain zones, are rife with gems, minerals and metals, many of them precious or semi-precious and as yet not fully explored, or should I say exploited?
Think of South Africa as the analog.
Many believe that northern Africa the Near and Middle East are all about oil when many of the disputes are really about a VERY and INCREASINGLY precious/expensive commodity: Potable WATER.
Since that's also a diminishing resource due to population demands exceeding availability, coupled with a 2 caste system (haves and have-nots), look for future hoarding and rioting to be based not upon Sunni vs. Shiite, Jew vs. Muslim, Muslim vs. Kurd or Christian vs. Muslim but thirsty/hungry vs. their oligarchic lords.

Jay Eichenberger February 22, 2013 2:52 pm (Pacific time)

Frankly I seriously doubt that there even existed a World Trade Center. This was all special effects just to get us into the drug trade in Afghanistan. It was expected that Al Gore was going to be president and he had been promised a percentage. When that fell through, even with trying to steal the election in Florida (Note several recounts by the media showed Bush easily won), Al was told to dial up the "Global Warming" fraud, even though he flys around the world in a private jet, and was the biggest private utility user in Tennesse (the home state he lost in the 2000 election...guess his people knew him well) the MSM would give him a pass. He is now closing in on becoming a billionaire with his now, not global warming, but climate change scenario's. You know, know matter what the weather does, it all supports whatever he says the endgame is. God Bless America, where else could these people go and get rich? Canada? They are the ones building the questionable pipeline, right? How many hundreds of thousands of miles carry various petroleum products underground in America? Gimme a break...

Editor: Names used by this IP on comments: Ty Faison, Elmer, Cheryl Bell Winsome, Jewish Vietnam Vet, Stew Feinberg, Pete Yost, Jay Eichenberger.  Please follow our rules, we do not appreciate people representing themselves under different names.,              

Ray Johns February 22, 2013 3:48 am (Pacific time)

The Turner Network - World Trade Center Bombing 1993 ... to the discovery of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden's network of loosely tied Islamic ... Yousef was convicted of the WTC bombing on November 12, 1997; however, ... explosion had occurred in the basement of the World Trade Center Complex. ... trade center towers in Manhattan, and one of the men lit a fuse (CNN, 1998). "Eight and one half years prior to the devastatingly fatal blows to the World Trade Center in New York, a Ryder truck carrying approximately 1,200 to 1,500 pounds of a homemade fertilizer-based explosive detonates at 12:18 in the afternoon. The blast produced a crater stretching over 150 feet through five floors on the 26th of February 1993. Let it also be noted that this was the second anniversary of the ending of the first Gulf War. Initial reports suggested that the blast was the result of an exploded generator, but evidence gathered shortly thereafter suggested that it was clearly a malicious act that resulted in the injuries of over 1,000 people, and the deaths of six others. The mastermind behind this terrorist attack was Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, a previously sought criminal who was suspected for the formulation of criminal plots against Pope John Paul II, President Bill Clinton, and potentially fatal attacks against numerous flights in 1995. Yousef's capture later that year lead to the discovery of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden's network of loosely tied Islamic militants. Yousef was convicted of the WTC bombing on November 12, 1997; however, a concrete analysis of the 1993 WTC attack must include an in depth examination of this figure, which will be discussed further.

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