Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Volume 2, Number 2 February 17 - 23, 2002 Quezon City, Philippines
War for Profit: From Afghanistan to Basilan
Behind the start of this week’s U.S. combat operations against the Abu Sayyaf on Basilan island is a global economic enterprise that is using the war on terrorism for profit. The fact that the decision to commit U.S. special forces in Mindanao came from George W. Bush who leads a pack of powerful men holding oil, natural gas and war industry connections bears out suspicions that this new Basilan front – along with Afghanistan and other countries where there are active U.S. military operations – is being primed for securing America’s vital economic interests in the region.
weeks ago, Bulatlat.com reported about
a top director of the United States’ National Security Council (NSC) whose
think tank has called for active U.S. military presence in the Philippines in
the light of insurgency movements and Muslim extremism in Mindanao. The man,
Zalmay Khalilzad, batted for greater American involvement in the country and the
rest of Asia-Pacific where, he said, there are cross-border aggression, civil
wars, internal aggression, armed uprisings and civil disturbances.
Dec. 31, Khalilzad, 51, who is actually an Afghan and now an American citizen,
was appointed by President George W. Bush as U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan.
to Patrick Martin of the International Committee of the Fourth International, in
the 1980s, Khalilzad served as a conduit between the U.S. state department,
where he later became a special adviser, and the Islamic fundamentalist
mujahedin fighting the Soviet-backed regime in Kabul. Through his lobbying, the
U.S. government stepped up military aid to the mujahedin from whose ranks rose
Osama bin Laden, the Taliban and the Philippine Muslims’ Abu Sayyaf.
became undersecretary of defense under President George Bush, Sr., the current
U.S. president’s father, when the Pentagon was headed by Defense Secretary,
now Vice President, Dick Cheney.
also became corporate chair in international security at the Rand Corporation, a
top U.S. military think tank whose policy recommendations carry weight at
Pentagon. He was brought back to government by George W. Bush, Jr. last year as
an NSC director.
the NSC, he reports to Condoleeza Rice, the national security adviser, who has
also served as an oil company consultant on Central Asia.
Martin says, himself used to be a former aide to another American oil company,
Union of California (Unocal), whose Philippine subsidiary is the Philippine
Geothermal, Inc. While at Unocal, he was involved in U.S. efforts to obtain
direct access to the oil and gas resources of Central Asia – “largely
unexploited but believed to be the second largest in the world after the Persian
also prepared a risk analysis of a proposed gas pipeline from the former Soviet
republic of Turkmenistan across Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian Ocean
and, in 1997, took part in talks between Unocal and Taliban officials on how to
carry out a 1995 deal to build the pipeline across western Afghanistan. The
plan, which also included a $2 billion project to market natural gas from the
Dauletabad in southeastern Turkmenistan, one of the world’s largest, was put
on hold when U.S. missiles rained on Afghanistan in 1998. “The oil
interests,” Martin wrote, “began to look toward a post-Taliban Afghanistan,
and so did their representatives in the U.S. national security establishment.”
Dec. 15 last year, the New York Times reported: “The State Department is
exploring the potential for post-Taliban energy projects in the region, which
has more than 6 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves and almost 40
percent of its gas reserves.” During a visit to Kazakhstan during the same
month, U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell estimated that $200 billion could
flow into that country during the next 5-10 years, the newspaper also said.
a visit to Russia the month before, U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham
also pushed U.S. oil investments in Central Asia. Accompanying him was David J.
O’Reilly, chairman of ChevronTexaco.
however, is just a junior player in the Bush administration’s multi-billion
dollar oil and war industry connections. It is well known that 11 of the Bush
cabinet’s 25 members belong to U.S. oil and gas interests. These are the
people who steer the United States’ current aggressive policies in the
Balkans, Middle East, Central Asia and the Caspian region and now, in the
oil connections are with Spectrum, Harken Oil & Gas. He also owns stocks in
General Electric, BP, Duke Energy, ExxonMobil, Newmont Gold Mining Corporation,
Pennzoil and Tom Brown, Inc. – companies that have, incidentally, figured in
environmental or toxic waste damage cases.
on the other hand, is chief executive officer of Dallas-based Halliburton, the
world’s largest oil-reserves company. He also sits on the board of directors
of Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor. Lockheed has been
a major player in U.S. war efforts in the Middle East, the Balkans and
a congressman, Cheney co-sponsored a bill to open the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge to oil drilling and voted against the Clean Water Act that required
industries to release their toxic emission records. The defense secretary is
also a member of a powerful group called COMPASS (Committee to Preserve American
Security and Sovereignty).
he first served as defense secretary of Bush, Sr., Cheney was chief prosecutor
of Operation Desert Storm in 1991. He led the bombing of Iraq, which was
primarily aimed at keeping the Persian Gulf safe for U.S. oil interests. After
Desert Storm, he became instrumental in broadening U.S. military role in the
region to hedge future threats to gulf oil resources.
in the Persian Gulf prompted Cheney and his fellow oilmen to zero in on the
world's other major source of oil - the Caspian Sea, where rich oil and gas
resources are estimated at $4 trillion by U.S.
News and World Report. The Washington-based American Petroleum Institute,
voice of the major U.S. oil companies, called the Caspian region, "the area
of greatest resource potential outside of the Middle East."
can't think of a time,” Cheney told a pack of oil industry executives in 1998,
“when we've had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically
significant as the Caspian."
meanwhile , maintains deep ties to the oil industry and right-wing think tanks
such as the Hoover Institute. She served under Bush Sr. before joining the board
of oil giant Chevron Corporation. Part of her 10-year stint at Chevron was as
chief expert on Kazakhstan, where the company holds the largest oil concession.
Chevron, which along with other U.S. oil giants controls oil production in the Middle East, is a big player in Nigeria where there is increasing U.S. military involvement. An ultra-conservative, she described environmental and human rights organizations as “The Enemy.” Bulatlat.com