The Sinister Dissembling of Jerome A Paris 44

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”.

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.

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.

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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44 thoughts on “The Sinister Dissembling of Jerome A Paris

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  • Clark

    “Either accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we will bury you under a carpet of bombs”

    Was that ever actually said to the Taliban? If it wasn’t, then it may as well have been.

  • Ruth

    Of course he’s just trying to throw sand in our eyes. What a complete idiot to think anybody would believe him.

  • MJ

    “Was that ever actually said to the Taliban?”

    According to the interpreter present at the meeting, it certainly was. The interpreter in question by the way just happened to be the daughter of arch zionist neocon fruitcake Richard Perle.

  • nobody

    Hullo Craig,

    You don’t take daily kos seriously do you? No one else does – they’re famous gatekeepers mate.

    Otherwise, everything is a twofer minimum. Without disputing your point at all, there’s no way it’s JUST about gas. If it was a straightforward matter of $15T they could have comfortably given the Taleban everything they asked for in the run-up negotiations and still made out like bandits. No?

  • writerman

    Thing is; the tag “conspiracy theory” is really, in many cases, just a form of smear tactic, a useful label that puts the stamp of unreliabilty on certain types of information. Surely the biggest and most brazen “conspiracy theory” around is the one that posits that the west is under attack, in serious danger of being destroyed, by a mere handful of terrorists hiding in mountain caves in Afghanistan, yet with the ability to reach out across the globe and threaten our way of life to the core.

    Another positive conspiracy theory is the one that western governments prioritize spreading democracy and human rights, higher than their economic and stragegic interests,which are mostly one and the same thing.

    People should examine maps more closely. As a rule of thumb, every conflict we are involved in, has something to do with energy resources and our unfettered access to them, and just as importantly, our control of who doesen’t have unfettered access to them.

    For example, it appears that the United States is envolved in a longterm, strategic encirclement of both Russia and China. If the United States succeeds in controlling China’s oil and gas supplies this will provide it with an emmensely important “lever” in relation to China, something the Chinese are accutely aware of and take very seriously indeed.

    Strip away the rhetoric, propaganda and spin, which are an elaborate cover-story, and it really is, more or less, all about energy – stupid!

  • Owen Lee Hugh-Mann

    Bringing democracy to the poor benighted natives is the modern imperialist excuse, where before the pretext was imposing the supposedly civilising influence of Christianity. The flawed judgement of this Paris is either the product of staggering naivety, or else obscurantist propaganda on behalf of one of the interested parties. So which is it Mr Paris, idiot or liar? There’s no other possibility.

  • Clark

    MJ: Thanks.

    Nobody: But the Taliban wouldn’t accept the “carpet of gold”, that’s the point.

    George Dutton: This is the eventuality for which no adequate preparations seem to be being made. It’ll all end up like “Mad Max”, pointless battles over diminishing returns.

  • anon

    Craig, what a fireworks display barrage of blogging yesterday. Great, keep going.

    In case you think that I might agree with JA Paris in denying the economic and geo-strategic benefits to the West of Pakistan/ Afghanistan, please may I clarify my position.

    Of course I am naive, as naive as the observation that the last World War, the Iraq war and certainly the Falklands war, could have been avoided by diplomacy and negotiation. But when I visited Pakistan in 2000 I found many people longing for and dreaming about the values of the British Raj and the new superpower the USA. I told them that the US could smell their dreams and would be coming soon! Similar dreams could have been found prior to the Iraq war in Arab countries.

    Just because you want to put a pipeline through a country, doesn’t mean you have to carpet-bomb it, surge it, and criminalise it with informers and death squads. There was no need for and no call for the Crusades, the African slave-trade, the Chinese opium wars etc. The mind-set of those who developed those criminal strategies was not just economic, but rather it was focussed on raw power.

    My claim is that without Zionism in the US, they would adopt a different strategy to serve their economic needs.

    But that they have been convinced of a confluence of interests between neo-colonialism and criminal anti-Islam.

    If ruthless power is the only way to serve national interests, and diplomacy and co-operation has died, it follows that the countries who are the target of criminal attack have the absolute right to defend themselves with matching military power in self-defence.

    If diplomacy has not died, you will find people of peace in every nation of earth who will bring matters to a mutually beneficial conclusion. They can’t have it both ways. What is appalling is that there is so little intellectual debate about these fundamental moral questions here in this country. Intellectual power has moved to the Middle-East, as Economic power has moved to the Far-East. US/UK/IS thuggery is beginning to be seen for what it is, and it marks the decline and fall of our world position and our world power.

    You have often observed that it appears that US policy appears to deliberately alienate the people about whom it states it wishes to win over their hearts and minds. My claim is simply that it is the input of Zionism that informs the violence against the Muslims when US interests would be much better served by peaceful means.

    Garbage in, garbage out. Talking of which how come some of our neighbours re-cycle 99% of their waste? It just goes to show that the policies which we adopt in this country are not the only ones available. So long as our banking system is under Zionist control, our foreign ploicy will remain under Zionist control. Both of these factors are hugely destructive to our reputation, our finances and our political power, in my opinion.

  • anon

    Listened to the President of Equador on the World Service’s The Interview. It seems that South America has got its intellectual act together against the US. Anyone who gets his/her intellectual act together from Islam in the UK is currently jailed, hobbled by satellite and humiliated with vouchers, extradited illegally or labelled as a dangerous threat without being given a trial.

  • Chris Dooley

    I should have added, maybe Gordon should apply the same criteria to all governments we deal with e.g. Uzbekistan

  • Dez

    this is to do with the the Quilliam foundation blog but I didn’t know if you would find my comment back there now and I think you may find this interesting.

    you say failure to file accounts is illegal. this site is companies house made easy. When you check The Quilliam Foundation you get two company numbers: No: 06432342 and No: UC6258807. Only the first appears on companies house, they do not show UC prefix numbers or even businesses that only have a UC number. UC either means unincorporated or under charter, I’m not sure which but UC companies do not need to file accounts. Councils, courts and police stations are all registered companies in this way and I have been looking into this for a while because it all sounds very shifty.More info on

  • Abe Rene

    There has been a shift in Jerome Guillet’s tune from 2005. In 2005 he wrote(

    “if you cannot say who is able AND willing to put 2 billion dollars on the table UPFRONT, and explain how they will get paid back, then your project will not fly.”


    “The question, as stated above is – who will put 2 billion dollars upfront in this project? Putting a few million to conduct feasibility studies, naming a roving ambassador that makes speeches, etc… costs nothing to an oil major or a big country..”

    In 2009 these have respectively changed to (Craig’s link above):

    “if you cannot say who is able AND willing to guarantee several tens of billion dollars of gas or cash on the table TODAY, IRREVOCABLY, then your project will not fly.”


    “The question, as stated above is – who will guarantee 25 billion dollars upfront in this project? Putting a few million to conduct feasibility studies, naming a roving ambassador that makes speeches, etc… costs nothing to an oil major or a big country..”

    The figure of 2 billion was apparently available when the deal reported by the BBC (linked by Craig above) was made. The larger figure of 25 was needed to maintain the idea of the idea of a pipeline through Afghanistan being impossible.

    But why should it matter to Guillet one way or the other? The question is, whose interests are served by promoting the idea that the Afghan pipeline is impossible?

  • Abe Rene

    To speculate a little, and be fair to Guillet (though not necessarily for the reasons he has in mind): let us suppose that in the short-term, it suits the military-industrial complex of the West to maintain the idea of the ‘War on Terrorism’ and corresponding denial of the motive of access to Central Asian hydrocarbons. Attacking the feasibility of a pipeline through Afghanistan could be part of this.

    But in the long term, Japan and China might pull the plug on American loans, and so cause her to undergo her own ‘Suez crisis’ comparable to that suffered by the UK in 1956 when the Americans refused to bankroll an invasion of Egypt which Britan and France had been cheeky enough to initiate without clearing it with them.

    If that happened, Guilllet’s thesis about financial infeasibility might be proved right after all, and America would decline from being a superpower. Don’t smile too fast – just think, we might be deprived of McDonald’s hamburgers, just like Iceland.

  • edwin

    **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?**

    To some extent that question is answerable. Jerome a Paris runs a site – European Tribune. That site can be examined.

    When I read Jerome, I see a description of why private business would never build the pipeline. Sounds good to me. As a mid level banker, he probably has a fairly good handle on that.

    On the other hand, it is my understanding that nuclear power would never have been built if the governments had relied on private business.

    What the US is willing to do, or try to do – feasible or not – is very different than what a private company would do on its own. This is where I feel that his analysis falls apart. That also goes for other countries. The race for energy and the race for political power are obviously inextricably intertwined. The US wants it all – power, control, energy… and this looks like a win, win, win if the US can get it’s hands on it.

    **who will guarantee 25 billion dollars upfront in this project?** The answer to Jerome’s question is obvious. The US spends 1 T or more on “defence” alone a year. Tack on the energy portfolio as well. 25 billion is not that much money. It is, I think, roughly the amount of money the US has paid to Halliburton.

    On a side note, I feel that the outing of Jerome is unnecessarily violent and would request that the posts be deleted.

  • Strategist

    That Haake piece is very telling – thanks for that.

    Good corroboration for Craig because he is coming from such a different place, as evidenced by his bonkers last paragraph: “An unforeseen and serendipitous consequence of [invading Afghanistan] has been the acquisition of a base of operations from which the U.S. can ensure a decisive role in any regional contingency while continuing to make friends and ensure peace and stability in a critical region.”

    The Jerome Paris piece is very very poor indeed – he has more than a touch of the Oliver Kamm in his pomposity and his a-little-knowledge-is-a-dangerous-thing failed attempts to dazzle us with a demonstration of his technical knowledge.

  • Strategist

    “When I read Jerome, I see…a mid level banker”

    Ha! Spot on. (Especially in cockney rhyming slang)

    He gets the last laugh on us I suppose – I wonder what his bonus is going to be this year……

  • George Dutton

    “On the other hand, it is my understanding that nuclear power would never have been built if the governments had relied on private business.”


    You should read up on the UK nuclear program. Far from “nuclear power would never have been built if the governments had relied on private business” it was private business that got the government to go “nuclear”. Lies and corruption was the order of the day (it was in the newspapers at the time).

    Nothing has changed as to “private business” “Government” “Lies and corruption”…NOTHING.

    Governments have always been owned by “private business”. Since 1979 government has become VERY big private business and we the people are just tools to be used by them.

    As Craig said…

  • Neil Craig

    The pipeline, or rather plans on paper for a pipeline someday, does not have to be a figment for it not to be a determining factor in going to war. In fact I think even when the aggressors give economic justifications for war they tend to be ex post justifications for what they intended to do anyway. This even applies to Iraq which should be the ultimate oil war but which has cost orders of magnitude more than it will ever bring in in oil. How much moreso for Afghanistan.

    The purpose of such wars is a mixture of Mencken’s dictum that the purpose of practical politics is to raise up “hobgoblins” to keep the people afraid together with the wish to provide the glorious leader with miltiary glory & the TV news with a larger scale modern equivalent of gladiatorial games. Yugoslavia is perhaps the ultimate example despite attempts to say that NATO wanted a pipeline outlet in Tirana.

    In virtually all these cases the level of money, let alone life, poured out would have built enough nuclear plants & indeed enough solar power satellites to provide energy independence & indeed wealth to us all. For the cost of Iraq we could have been mining the asteroids of thousands of tons of gold by now. If profit or indeed dominion over foreigners was the objective it would have been done. The objective is dominion over us.

  • Strategist

    Neil Craig: “This even applies to Iraq which should be the ultimate oil war but which has cost orders of magnitude more than it will ever bring in in oil.”

    Are you so sure? There’s a hell of a lot of very profitable oil in Iraq.

    But even then your point isn’t proven. Rumsfeld’s plan for the war was for it to be quick & cheap – overruling the Generals and Colin Powell on this.

    There is no question that Iraq was 90% about oil.

  • Strategist

    By the way, I also disagree with the main premise of your comment as well as the detail.

    “even when the aggressors give economic justifications for war they tend to be ex post justifications for what they intended to do anyway”

    This is wrong: the aggressors never give economic justifications, they always conceal them, or use euphemisms such “strategic interests”. Oil is central to entire way of life – now that’s real economics.

    “If profit or indeed dominion over foreigners was the objective it would have been done.”

    That’s also wrong. The West is powerful, but it isn’t omnipotent. Shit happens. People fight back with a bravery and disregard for their personal comfort we soft Westerners can barely understand.

  • Former Uzbek Official

    March 2001. Former Minister of foreign affairs of Uzbekistan Sadik Safaev called an urgent meeting and asked as to elaborate a draft of a legal document based upon which we (Uzbekistan) could provide favourable conditions for smooth and speedy transit of military cargo and contingents of foreign countries through our territory. The draft was presented to the Parliament in May that year and became a law. That year, in September the 9/11 happened and in October americans occupied Afganistan via transitting their “cargo and military contingents” through the territory of Uzbekistan. This is FACT to some morons who deny the conspiracy in Afganistan.

  • technicolour

    This is such an interesting piece. Made me dimly remember a conversation with my Muslim neighbour eight years ago, just after “Operation Enduring Freedom” began. He was, unsurprisingly, passionately upset about what he saw as a war being waged on Muslims.

    It wasn’t his fault. The press was, then as now, full of anti-Muslim propaganda. And fortunately, we eventually concluded that Afghanistan would have been invaded if it had been populated by Buddhists. It was, obviously, all about the oil. Oil companies were running the policy.

    But look on the net now, and you find a slew of Daily Kos style articles refuting the facts of the time. So thank you for refreshing them (another reason for blogging, when so many people use the internet for information)

    And thanks to comments for the reminder that this is fundamentally about a mindset of fear and aggression. I can see why the US government might be terrified of a)running out of energy b)Russia c)China, mind you. They should watch Dr Strangelove.

    Brilliant bit from the film Pleasantville (1998) David is a geeky US teenager.

    (Montage of teachers talking to David’s classes]

    College Counselor: For those of you going on to college next year, the chance of finding a good job will actually decrease by the time you graduate. The available number of entry-level jobs will drop 31 percent over the next four years. Median income for those jobs will go down as well. Obviously, my friends, it’s a competitive world, and good grades are your only ticket through. In fact, by the year 2000…

    Health Teacher: The chance of contracting HIV from a non-monogamous lifestyle will climb to 1 in 150. The odds of dying in an auto accident are only 1 in twenty-five hundred. Now, this marks a drastic increase…

    Science Teacher: …from fourteen years ago, when ozone depletion was just at 10 percent of its current level. By the time you are thirty years old, average global temperature will have risen two and a half degrees, causing such catastrophic consequences as typhoons, floods, widespread drought, and famine.

    [Cut to David absorbing all this grim information and looking really depressed]

    Science Teacher: [With a bright smile:] Okay! Who can tell me what “famine” is?

  • George Dutton

    “Or you can believe that this war is about control of resources”

    November 6, 1909

    “100 years ago: Germany’s US ambassador says war “improbable”

    “sufficient world trade for all the major powers”

    “”The trade of the world is now only a fraction of what it will be in years to come,” von Bernstorff says. “[T]here is room enough in the world”…

  • George Dutton

    “Howells claims that “these are my views, not those of any part of the British government or of any parliamentary committee.” Such disclaimers carry no weight. He speaks as someone who is very close to the highest levels of the British intelligence and security services in MI5 and MI6. He is the chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), a highly secretive body that is supposed to oversee Britain’s intelligence and security agencies, and a member of the Privy Council.”…

  • technicolour

    so, let us see, the admission, by a man who is formulating and instigating policy, that his views are not those of the British government or “any part of the parliamentary committee”?

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