Daily Archives: November 5, 2009


The Sinister Dissembling of Jerome A Paris

A contributor to The Daily Kos, Jerome a Paris, has dismissed as “Conspiracy Theory” the notion that US policy in Afghanistan is in any way motivated by a desire to access Central Asian gas reserves via a trans-Afghanistan pipeline. He starts by referencing a Daily Kos entry about me, which he then seeks to “Debunk”.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/11/5/800848/-Gahhow-many-times-will-it-be-needed-to-debunk-silly-pipeline-conspiracies

Plainly the infinitely wise Jerome is right, and the whole Trans Afghan Pipeline project is merely a figment of my imagination. Oh, and the imagination of the BBC as well. And the imagination of the Afghan, Pakistani and Turkmen Governments.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/2017044.stm

Plainly also I only imagined, as British Ambassador, being briefed on the proposed pipeline as a vital Western strategic interest. Equally plainly, I simply imagined all that stuff about the involvement of George Bush and Enron, for which there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/bushlay12.html

I am very grateful to the wise Jerome for pointing out that Afghanistan is not the only potential route for transiting Central Asian gas while bypassing Russia. Iran is the most ovbious route, but strangely the US is not keen. The other route is through Georgia and Azerbaijan. But Putin has Azerbaijan locked tight against the pipeline. The father of President Aliev of Azerbaijan was Putin’s old KGB boss, and the two are very close. While the proposed route as it passes through Georgia is now under Russian military occupation. But of course that is just coincidence. To think anything else would be “Conspiracy theory”.

There is a minimum of 15 trillion – yes trillion – dollars of natural gas in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Since 2005, Russian diplomacy has tied up the contracts for Gazprom. Before that the US had more than a foot in the door, and the US knows that what changed once can and will change again. 15 trillion dollars is worth some strategising.

Equally, Jerome’s main argument amounts to only this: as it is not currently economic in practice for anybody to be building the pipeline today, therefore it can’t be a key part of US strategic thinking. It takes only a few seconds real thought to dismiss that for the trite nonsense it is.

Let me say 15 trillion dollars again. Not to mention the fact that I have been officially briefed that it is the US strategic interest in the region. If you think about it, it would be crazy if it were not.

I have almost certainly a great deal more experience than the glib Jerome, of Central Asia, of Afghanistan, of the workings of government, and of gas pipelines. In 1986, when I started my first overseas posting in Lagos, the first file on my desk was marked “West Africa Gas Pipeline”. The WAGP delivered its first gas early this year, 23 years later. A company of which I am Chariman is just commissioning a power station to run off it. The fact little Jerome blogged “Five years ago” that the Trans Afghanistan Pipeline was not a US strategiic interest, and today it is still not built, proves nothing. These are major strategic interests and long term projects.

You can believe that the US is in Afghanistan to search for Osama Bin Laden and to back the “Democratic” Mr Karzai. Or you can believe that this war is about control of resources. The motives of Jerome a Paris are a tiny side issue, but still interesting. Is he just a little fool pre-occupied with his own supposed brilliance? Or is there a sinister reason why he attempts to throw sand in your eyes?

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Public Money Goes AWOL

Hat-tip to MPACUK. UPDATE – Quilliam have filed their accounts since I wrote this. They are now in compliance.

Interesting to note that, contrary to the law, the government “War on Terror” neo-con propaganda vehicle The Quilliam Foundation has failed to file any accounts for the last three years (or indeed ever). This despite receiving a great deal of taxpayers’ money, mostly to remunerate its cossetted directors.

This from the Companies House website

THE QUILLIAM FOUNDATION LTD

PO BOX 60380 35-50 RATHBONE PLACE

LONDON

WC1A 9AZ

Company No. 06432342

Status: Active

Date of Incorporation: 20/11/2007

Country of Origin: United Kingdom

Company Type: PRI/LTD BY GUAR/NSC (Private, limited by guarantee, no share capital)

Nature of Business (SIC(03)):

7484 – Other business activities

Accounting Reference Date: 31/03

Last Accounts Made Up To: (NO ACCOUNTS FILED)

Next Accounts Due: 20/09/2009 OVERDUE

http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/e473a907f36923b62b946aa6bc8ba453/compdetails

How do you feel about grants of public money being given to a private company whose address is a PO Box and which does not have accounts?

(UPDATE: Amended in response to comment from Control below, with thanks to Charles)

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Let’s Render the CIA

Some cheerful news from Italy, where 23 American CIA agents have been convicted of kidnapping over an extraordinary rendition case. There do survive pockets of genuine independent judiciary in Europe.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/04/cia-guilty-rendition-abu-omar

In the UK, you cannot present someone before a court who was brought there illegally. I know this because I was trying to organise the kidnap of Asil Nadir for the FCO, but the idea had to be abandoned because a then recent ruling by the Law Lords had released an accused who had been kidnapped abroad to bring him to trial.

Does anybody know what the situation is in Italy? Would it not be fun to kidnap one of the CIA agents and render them to jail in Italy? I might give it a go.

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We Can Sell Arms To Karimov Again

Virtuallu unnoticed, last week’s EU summit lifted the arms embargo and travel ban on the murderous Karimov regime in Uzbekistan. So now British arms manufacturers can sell arms for Karimov to use against his people again. Indeed, British troops may return to Uzbekistan to teach Karimov’s thugs “Marksmanship”, as they did before the Andijan massacre which killed over 700 peaceful demonstrators in 2005.

There have been no improvements in human rights in Uzbekistan. There remains no freedom of speech, assembly, movement or religion. Thousands of political prisoners slave in the gulags, children are forced into the fields by soldiers to pick the cotton. Thousands still suffer hideous torture every year. But the UK hails “Dialogue” with the Karimov regime on human rights as a reason to end the arms embargo. Germany and Milliband led the internal EU lobbying for Karimov.

In March the Obama administration signed a new agreement with Karimov for transit of supplies to Afghanistan, and negotiations are virtually complete for a new US airbase in Uzbekistan. Germany remains focused entirely on the access to Central Asian gas via Gazprom and the Nordstream project. The British remain keen to maintain “Security cooperation” with the unspeakable Uzbek security services.

The politicians do it because the media and public do not seem to care, so they think they can get away with it. So far, they are right. With Karzai exposed for the gangster he is and a new alliance with Karimov, the sickness of our Central Asian policy is now stark.

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