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Dear Emperor's Clothes,
Why do so many progressive folks present oil vs. strategic imperial interests as either/or propositions? The latter is always there and preeminent, but that leaves plenty of geopolitical space for sub-interests that vary in significance. It's a waste of energy to continue this dispute in the form: oil yes/ geopolitical strategy no! versus geopolitics yes/oil no!
Dear John W.,
First, just to clarify, we are *not* saying the US/Euro Empire has some "strategic imperial interests" that are of necessity "always there" in Central Asia.
We are saying something down-to-earth. The evidence shows that this Empire has spent a dozen years building an iron ring of political/military bases around Russia. Central Asia is one of the final links. Based on studying their previous actions (especially the last dozen years) we conclude that the Empire plans to use this immense military force. They will do this perhaps more harshly precisely to the extent that Russia submits to being dismembered, which would in itself be a world-disaster because it would render the rest of the world even more exposed to this Empire.
So this is not a debate about theory. We are talking about hard facts. The other side of this debate amazingly ignores these facts.
Second, the other argument, that 'it's-about-oil', has been broadcast for 10 months by most writers criticizing the US government concerning 9-11 and Afghanistan. Our side has been raised sharply for only a few weeks.
The 'it's-about-oil' argument is presented as the strategic explanation for US actions.
The thesis is that because the Bush Republicans are (supposedly) more tied to big oil than the Democrats, and because big oil needed to crush the Taliban to build a pipeline, therefore Bush attacked Afghanistan.
This has important political implications. For one thing, it means that while perhaps the push into Central Asia is violent and immoral, other than that it is no big deal.
Second, it encourages a pro-Democratic Party stance, and that is how it is being used.
I am disputing this explanation because it is factually wrong. Let me repeat that: factually wrong. Factually wrong is very serious. How can we fight for change by mobilizing people to oppose something that is not happening? Especially when something much worse *is* happening.
We need accuracy, accuracy and more accuracy. And that's especially true because we are fighting an Empire that specializes in smoke and mirrors. So we need to pose the truth as an alternative for those who care, and from that we can build a mighty force. Because most people *need* to resist this Empire and because people hate liars worse than murderers.
Those leading the fight for the "it's-about-oil" argument have relied on falsehood and sophistry.
They present speculation as fact. They accept statements such as those made by the French authors, Brisard and Dasquié, as true, even though with a little research one can see that Brisard and Dasquié are con men, or worse.
The 'it's-for-oil' spokespeople prove their case by repetition, presenting gobbledygook as credible argument. This has disastrous effects, especially on those most precious human beings, young people.
Thirty years ago I saw the very good and very large US student movement of the late 1960s destroyed by the willingness of trusted leaders, including myself, to argue for positions we knew to be false. Shall I do it again? If I know the guys providing the 'evidence' for the 'it's-about-oil' argument are repeating lies - and I do know they are repeating lies - and I remain silent, aren't I a liar? I refuse to make the same stupid mistake twice. (Afterwards, I could always say, "I didn't oppose the 'it's-about-oil' argument because I didn't know.")
'It's-about-oil' isn't the only nonsense argument currently being promoted on 'our side' (i.e., for the consumption of those opposed to the US/Euro Empire regarding Afghanistan and 9-11). There are other arguments supported by demagoguery and dubious documentation. They also produce harmful effects. But one thing at a time.
Let me give some examples, sticking for now with Brisard and Dasquié's book, "FORBIDDEN TRUTH"
It isn't Emperor's Clothes that made the credibility of Dasquié and Brisard an issue. Various Websites and newspaper articles which, for whatever reason, are pushing the 'it's-about-oil' argument made their credibility an issue.
The book includes some accurate information - for example, that Saudi Arabia funds Islamic Fundamentalist schools all around the world; and that the CIA has long-standing ties to Osama bin Laden. Even so, right from the start it is framed from a false perspective. Joseph Trento writes in the book's first introduction:
For the most part, Trenton is saying what the US media says: that the Afghan Arabs et al were organized with US help to fight the Soviets, and then they turned against their masters by killing all those people on 9-11.
We have argued that this is untrue. That the US/Euro Empire *never* stopped - has still not stopped! - sponsoring Islamic Fundamentalist/terrorist forces.
The Afghan 'government' it has created is what it has tried to create for several years: a united Islamic terrorist state under NATO control to alter the balance of power in Central Asia. We have hard evidence (not speculation, evidence) that 9-11 was organized (not 'known about' but organized) to allow the US/Euro Empire to invade Central Asia under the guise of the wounded party fighting terrorism, thus neutralizing widespread opposition within the former Soviet Union because "the USA is getting attacked too!" and mobilizing support for future wars among U.S. citizens.
Even when the book, FORBIDDEN TRUTH, does offer some accurate stuff it is entwined with misleading or even falsely documented claims, especially about Oil.
On a humorous note the book has no less than five (5) introductions: two forwards, a preface, a prologue and then another forward. Two of the introductions were written by people whom the book describes as intelligence experts.
Could it be that somebody is trying to make sure we are properly oriented for a correct reading experience?
Anyway, apparently unlike the French edition of FORBIDDEN, the English edition includes the famous 'Carpet of gold/carpet of bombs' threat. The book claims it was made at an 'early July' meeting which took place in:
According to the book, the Taliban was absent:
Ok. A few problems.
First, if the Taliban weren't present, why would US operatives use the word, "You"? Why not the word "They'?
Wayne Madsen who, according to the biographical notes, "worked for the National Security Agency as a communications security analyst," wrote, in one of the book's five introductions:
This doesn't help. First, it just doesn't sound right. Who were the Taliban? A poverty stricken group of fanatics put in power by the Pakistani secret police (ISI). And the Pakistani ISI answers to...the CIA and to Saudi Arabia, whose Royal Family is part of the elite of the US/Euro Empire. So these Taliban were way down, down at the bottom of the pecking order. But the Americans at this meeting were way up, high-placed operatives at the pinnacle of the US/Euro Empire.
If you've ever worked in a big company you know that when top management wants the guys in the mailroom to get their act together they do not make flowery speeches. They say, "Do it." Power does not need to waste words.
And of course, nobody uses the word "you" when delivering a message through an intermediary.
Second, if the Taliban were not present, why, in his apparent interview with Julio Gudoy, is Jean-Charles Brisard quoted as follows:
Note that according to Gudoy, Brisard did not use the phrase, "told somebody to tell the Taliban," but the phrase, "told the Taliban."
How could Brisard and Dasquié know *for sure* in November 2001 what was said to the Taliban but only find out sometime in 2001 that the Taliban was not present? And why isn't this bizarre change even mentioned in the book?
Third, American intelligence expert Wayne Madsen's introduction introduces another problem. He claims the 'carpet of bombs' quote was made during a "May 15 Berlin meeting."
But, you will recall, our two French intelligence experts refer to a July meeting held in
(Here's a quick side-point: liars tend to talk too much, embellishing with lots of flowery baloney in the hope of creating an atmosphere of believability...But really, who cares about the delightful surroundings? Give me some facts! Maybe the tendency to embellish explains why Brisard and Dasquié overdid it when they made up the 'carpets of bombs' nonsense.)
So far we've got some hard-to-believe wording and some disappearing Taliban and a meeting that took place at two different times in two different places.
It gets worse.
The third problem is with the 'documentation' for the 'carpet of bombs' claim. This would be footnote #19. I was picky and looked it up in the back of the book. Chapter 6, Footnote #19. Here's the text, in full:
Note that although this is a long footnote, Brisard and Dasquié do not quote anything from their 'sources.' Hmmm.
Note that (I am told) there is no mention of a 'carpet of bombs' in the earlier, French edition. Therefore, one assumes, there is also no reference to a program on French Television, Channel 3, a program which French readers might have seen. But in the American edition there *is* a reference to such a TV program, which of course Americans could be expected *not* to have seen...
(We will be posting an English translation of the relevant part of the French broadcast within a few days.)
Let us consider the two Guardian articles. Both support the basic thesis of the book. For example, Mr. Leigh's Sept. 26th op-ed piece begins:
This is based on the assertion, made but not proven in the earlier (September 22nd) Guardian article, that the US broadcast its intention to attack the Taliban before launching the attack. And more basically, it assumes that the terrible events of 9-11 were really planned by bin Laden without the involvement of high US officials and others. I believe we have proven this second point to be false.
However, the only thing we are interested in now is: do these Guardian articles include the claim that the US threatened the Taliban, 'Accept a pipeline or be bombed?' Do these articles mention the famous supposed threat, 'Accept our carpet of gold or be buried under a carpet of bombs'?
Keep in mind that if the 'carpet of bombs' threat *does* appear in either article, it would not prove the threat was made. It would only mean that Niaz Naik, a Pakistani official who might have an axe to grind and therefore could well be lying about anything he said, apparently reported this to the Guardian. I say 'apparently' because the Guardian could have inaccurately reported his words.
But if the threat does *not* appear, it means Brisard and Dasquié are liars.
So we are checking the most basic level of credibility. We are determining if Brisard and Dasquié are con men.
NO CARPETS, NEW MEETING
First, here is the relevant quote from the Guardian news report of September 22, 2001:
Next here is the text from the September 26th Guardian op-ed piece:
Note, that the first Guardian article refers to a supposed meeting in Berlin in mid-July and the second refers to a supposed meeting in Berlin "a couple of weeks" after July 8th.
So, according to intelligence expert Madsen, the 'carpet of bombs' threat was made in Berlin on May 15, 2001.
And according to intelligence experts Brisard and Dasquié (in the same book), it was made in Shropshire in July 2001.
And according to the two guardian articles, which supposedly support these claims, the meeting was held in Berlin in July.
Lots of variety! All different!
*And the key point is: neither article mentions carpets of gold vs. carpets of bombs.*
[Click here if you wish to read the Guardian articles in full, or see footnote E at the end]
They lied about what is in their own documentation!
This tendency to make statements and use documentation in a manner befitting the Theater of the Absurd is rife among those who have led the way in proselytizing for the 'it's-about-oil' argument.
Consider this from one such writer, Larry Chin:
Mr. Chin is very sure of himself; an admirable trait. And note - the threat was made in August 2001.
The city isn't mentioned but it would probably be Islamabad. So - another city. Actually, another continent, yes?
And what do you know, Mr. Chin also gives us a new cast of characters: Assistant Secretary of State Rocca and her coterie plus the Taliban. (Since the US guys used the pronoun, 'You,' when the Taliban *were not* present, shouldn't Chin have them using the pronoun, 'They,' now that the Taliban *are* present?)
So many cities and so little time to deliver the lines: "Accept our Carpet of Gold! Or we shall bury you under a Carpet of Bombs!" Better hurry! Got a performance in Berlin at eight! The show must go on!
CHRISTINA ROCCA GETS TO PLAY TOO
Speaking of Assistant Secretary of State Rocca, in "A Reader Asks: 'What About Bush's Carpet-Of-Bombs Threat?'" which can be read at http://emperors-clothes.com/letters/carpet.htm
- we quoted Brisard's comments about what happened at the Rocca-Taliban meeting in Islamabad. (It appears there was such a meeting. Just no theatrical threats that we know of. Possibly some non-theatrical threats. Or possibly a whole lot of other stuff that nobody is talking about. The defeat of the Taliban was after all accompanied by massive internal treachery on their side...) According to the salon.com transcript, Brisard said:
So bin Laden was not the focus? Oil was the focus?
But in the English version of the book, which, I presume, one of the many intelligence experts who claim to have been involved in its production, on both sides of the Atlantic pond, at least showed Mr. Brisard prior to publication, it is written:
So. Now Ms. Rocca "demanded the extradition of bin Laden." And the authors ask, "Was this the ultimate bravado?"
I don't know, was it?
What happened to, "Unfortunately the Osama bin Laden case was just a technical part of the negotiations," as Brisard told Salon in February?
Quite a change, eh?
Did Rocca's August 2001 message to the Taliban miraculously change after February 2002?
Or, perhaps, did somebody decide that Brisard misspoke in the Salon interview? That he should have said Rocca strongly demanded bin Laden's extradition? That it was important that the book affirm that Rocca *did strongly demand* bin Laden be extradited, in keeping with Mr. Trento's introductory lines, depicting bin Laden as a real enemy of the US (that is, not still a CIA asset)?
Did Brisard and Dasquie, or somebody else, rewrite the script? So that Rocca's message to the Taliban morphed into a fierce demand for bin Laden?
Is that what happened?
Is "ultimate bravado" a self-description? Do these 'intelligence experts' think they can say anything, change anything, dish out any baloney and nobody will notice?
Maybe they do.
Consider that the documentation for FORBIDDEN TRUTH's account of the Rocca meeting as quoted above is supposed to be found in footnote #27.
I checked in the back, chapter 6, footnote #27. Surprise: Footnote #27 does not exist. The footnotes for chapter six end at #26.
Apparently they were in such a rush to rewrite Rocca's words that they forget to stick in some phony documentation.
Samuel Beckett anyone?
-- Jared Israel
* On Samuel Beckett, a leading playwright of the Theater of the Absurd, see http://www.imagi-nation.com/moonstruck/clsc7.htm
* Also check 'Further
Reading' at the end of 'THE EMPIRE ISN'T IN AFGHANISTAN FOR THE OIL!,' by Jared Israel at
Here are some articles helpful for understanding what's been done to Afghanistan:
A) 'Washington's Backing of Afghan Terrorists: Deliberate Policy' Article from "Washington Post' with introductory note from 'Emperor's Clothes'. Can be read at http://emperors-clothes.com/docs/anatomy.htm
B) 'Bush & the Media Cover up the Jihad
C) 'Taliban Camps U.S. bombed in Afghanistan Were
Built by NATO'
D) 'Osama bin Laden: Made In USA'
E) The September 22
Guardian news article cited in footnote #19 of FORBIDDEN
TRUTH can be read at http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4262511,00.html
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