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Pipelines to 9/11

This article is about backgrounds of the US war against Afghanistan. It is about oil, gas and pipelines around the Caspian Sea. To transport oil and gas from the east side of the Caspian Sea, pipelines had been planned through Afghanistan. Because a US company, UNOCAL, failed to control the Afghan route, the war was prepared. When the military was ready to strike, the terrorists of 9/11 gave Bush the pretext to start this war and obtain support from Congress, the U.S. population and the rest of the world...


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Pipelines to 9/11

Rudo de Ruijter, POAC

Pipelines to 9/11

By Rudo de Ruijter,
Independent Researcher
Updated August 24, 2006

Short content

This article is about backgrounds of the US war against Afghanistan. It is about oil, gas and pipelines around the Caspian Sea. To transport oil and gas from the east side of the Caspian Sea, pipelines had been planned through Afghanistan. Because a US company, UNOCAL, failed to control  the Afghan route, the war was prepared. When the military was ready to strike, the terrorists of 9/11 gave Bush the pretext to start this war and obtain support from Congress, the U.S. population and the rest of the world.



bulletTimeline 1989 2000
bulletNeo-conservative ideas
bulletWealthy actors and influences
bulletPreparations for 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan




Our politicians have shaped the idea many people have about our world. They have divided our world into good and bad. Of course, they are always the good guys and the ones they accuse are the bad guys. Simple, isn't it?

However, if we stick to the facts, and throw out all the information that comes from unverifiable sources, our world looks very different. This research is not meant to offend anyone. If you are pleased with the "official" version of our history, dont read any further.

Bush said the attacks of 9/11 were the reason to invade Afghanistan. [1]
This article shows that the war was the logical result of an unsuccessful struggle, by he U.S., to build and control pipelines through Afganistan, and that preparations for this war took place before 9/11.

In 2000 the neoconservatives said they needed some catastrophic and catalysing event.

This article shows how this event may have taken place on September 11, 2001.

The 1993 attack

The attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 eclipse an earlier attack on the World Trade Centre in 1993. On January 20 1993, William (Bill) Clinton had become president. A month later, on February 26, an "immense blast happened at 12:18 local time in the Secret Service's section of the car park underneath and between what are New York's tallest buildings." [2]

BBC published the words of an eyewitness: "It felt like an airplane hit the building." Apparently the explosion was intended to bring both WTC towers down. The New York Times found out that the FBI was involved in the attacks. The FBI would have infiltrated a group of terrorists, would have known about their intentions and for some unknown reason let it happen. [3] Six people died and a hundred were injured. [2]


bulletTimeline 1989 - 2000


In this chapter I will present a timeline of Afghan events. I will also mention events related to terrorism, which will become U.S. final pretext for war.

Immediately after the attacks on September 11, 2001, U.S. officials accused Osama bin Laden. Since the man would reside in Afghanistan, it provided a pretext for George W. Bush to attack and invade Afghanistan.

Let's have a closer look at the situation prior to 9/11. As promised by Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, the USSR had withdrawn its last soldiers from Afghanistan on February 15, 1989. It was the end of ten years of war. It was also the last war of the Soviet Union.

A few months later, on November 9, 1989, the Berlin wall fell. The Iron Curtain broke down. The people living on the other side of the curtain, of whom our leaders had always pretended they were dangerous and ferocious, turned out to be as friendly as us.

With the concept of the Cold War our leaders had divided our world and maintained fear in our minds for over forty years. This terror, fabricated by our own governments, was finally over.

Pipeline projects through Afghanistan

On December 25, 1991, the Soviet flag was lowered from the Kremlin for the last time. [4] The former Soviet republics become independent. Among them were the countries around the Caspian Sea, all rich in oil and gas. [MAP: http://worldatlas.com/webimage /countrys/as.htm ]

Before, the oil and gas went through pipelines to their soviet neighbours, or were exported via Russia to Europe. Now each country could sell its own oil and gas and explore new markets. Buyers showed up from everywhere.

In the beginning, the new leaders still had no experience with the world oil business. One of the first deals of Turkmenistan was to auction an oil well for as little as $100,000. [5] US companies showed up, too.

The biggest challenge was to get the Caspian oil and gas to the world markets. The problem? The region is land-locked. If you trust neither Russia on the North side of the Caspian Sea, nor Iran on the South side, you need to build new pipelines. [MAP: http://www.treemedia.com /cfrlibrary/library/policy /bremmermap.html ]

Today, from the West side of the Caspian Sea, oil is pumped through several pipelines towards the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea from where it can be shipped.

Big business on the East side of the Caspian Sea is still limited. To unlock oil and gas from this side, pipelines have to be built through Afghanistan. Here, since the early nineties, two pipelines - one for gas and one for oil - have been in project. [MAP: http://www.treemedia.com /cfrlibrary/library/energy /greatgamemaps.html#map2 ]

The oil pipe should go South to the Indian Ocean, ending at the port of Gwadar in Pakistan. The gas pipe would turn East to Multan in the middle of Pakistan. From Pakistan an extension is planned to Bombay (Mumbai, India), where a U.S. company with close ties with father and son Bush, Enron, has built a power plant. [6]

Contracts for pipelines are not just multi-billion dollar projects to build them. The main contractor generally also buys and sells the oil or gas going through them. With contracts he disposes of it, determines how much the supplier gets in return, and what fee is paid to crossed countries. He determines who gets it, how much, when, to what price and in which currency it has to be paid.

In fact, he determines a lot in the economical developments of both the selling and the buying countries. With Turkmenistan eager to sell its gas, Pakistan eager to buy it and Enron in India hoping to see it arrive as soon as possible, the pipelines through Afghanistan are of high interest.

However, in 2001, the work in Afghanistan had not yet started. Since the withdrawal of the Soviets in 1989, unrest was still in the country.

The Taliban: From ally to terrorist

The unrest in Afghanistan that blocked the business is worth mentioning. In 1992, the pro-Russian president Mohammad Najibullah was ousted. In 1993, Burhanuddin Rabbani became president, supported by the Tajik minority of the population.

In 1994, the Pashtun, forming half of the population, challenged Rabbani. Because the pipelines have to cross mainly Pashtun territory, their movement, the Taliban, had support from the US and Pakistan.

In March 1995, two companies, BRIDAS from Argentina and UNOCAL from the US, both claimed to have obtained the contracts from the seller of the gas (Turkmenistan) and the buyer (Pakistan). At that moment no deal had yet been signed with the Afghan authorities.

In October 1995, President Niyazov of Turkmenistan signed an official agreement with UNOCAL, but in February 1996, president Rabbani of Afghanistan signed an agreement with BRIDAS for the main section of 875 miles through Afghanistan. [7]

UNOCAL's chances seemed compromised. Fortunately for UNOCAL, the Taliban wanted to oust president Rabbani. In September 1996, they took Jalabad, Kandahar, and then Kabul. President Rabbani fled to join the Northern Alliance.

UNOCAL sighed with relief. It expressed support for the Taliban takeover, saying it makes the pipeline project easier. (Unocal later said it was misquoted.)

Would BRIDAS now have lost the game? No. In November 1996, BRIDAS signed an agreement with the Taliban and Gen. Dostum to build the pipeline. Unfortunately, except from Pakistan and Saudi-Arabia, the Taliban government didn't obtain international recognition.

In April 1997, because work on the pipeline still had not started, the Taliban announced it would award the contract to whomever starts first. However, UNOCAL claimed there must be peace first.

In July 1997, Turkmenistan and Pakistan accepted a new delay and signed a new contract with UNOCAL, saying they had to start the work within a year and a half.

In December 1997, UNOCAL tried to become good friends with the Taliban and invited a delegation to their head office in Sugarland, Texas, where they received a VIP treatment while staying in the best hotels. [8]

In Afghanistan, civil war went on. With no internationally recognized legal representative of Afghanistan, the pipeline project seemed to be deadlocked. [9]

US-bombs on Afghanistan after US embassies are attacked in Africa

On February 4, 1998 and May 30, 1998, very heavy earthquakes shook the North East of Afghanistan. They attracted a lot of international attention and many groups of relief workers came into the North-East of Afghanistan to help. According to US accusations, this was the moment that somewhere in this same region of Afghanistan a certain Osama bin Laden would have been planning the bombings of two US embassies in Africa, one in Nairobi (Kenya), and one in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania).

The bombings had a high impact in the press. 258 people were killed and some 5,000 injured. The bombings occurred on August 7, 1998, apparently for no specific reason. [10]

Apparently only president Clinton benefited from it. In the US, the Monica Lewinsky affair had come to a height. The press and the public were excited and angry. Clinton had stated under oath, that he had had no sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. Proof had come out he had. Clinton was close to the point of being convicted of perjury.

The bombings of the embassies drew people's attention to the drama in Africa. Finally, on August 17, Clinton came away with the perjury charge by arguing that oral sex was not a sexual relation. [11]

A few days later, August 21, 1998, the US military threw bombs on Kandahar and other targets in Afghanistan. Only afterwards Clinton explained to the journalists that this was because of Osama bin Laden, who was supposed to be behind the bombings of the US' embassies in Africa. [12]

Unlike George W. Bush in 2001, Clinton did not invade Afghanistan. An invasion would have given hope to UNOCAL to see the Afghan deadlock broken, but with the Lewinsky affair still being argued, Clinton did not have enough credit for such a war.

On August 28, 1998, UNSC resolution 1193 blamed the Taliban for the problems in Afghanistan. [13]

On November 5, 1998, a US Grand Jury indicted Osama Bin Laden. (Not for the bombings of the embassies in Africa, but essentially for considering the US as his enemy.) [14] & [15]

UNOCAL withdraws

In December 1998 UNOCAL withdrew from the pipeline consortium and, at least for the outside world, the pipeline project seemed halted. [8]

However, in January, 1999, Turkmenistan's foreign minister visited Pakistan, saying the pipeline project was still alive. In February, BRIDAS had talks with leaders in Turkmenistan, Pakistan and Russia.

In March, Turkmenistan's Foreign Minister Sheikh Muradov met with Taliban leader Mullah Omar in Kandahar to discuss the pipeline. In April, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and the Taliban signed an agreement to revive the pipeline project. In May, a Taliban delegation signed an agreement with Turkmenistan to buy gas and electricity. [8]

Terror warning

On June 25, 1999, the US State Department announced: "As some of our embassies in Africa have been under surveillance by suspicious individuals, we are taking the precaution of temporarily closing our embassies in Gambia, Togo, Madagascar, Liberia, Namibia and Senegal from June 24 through the 27th of June - that is Sunday." [16]

The speaker seemed to have no idea where these countries are, considering the strange order of announcing them. Besides, the only African countries, where incidents like attacks and hostage taking have been reported that year, are Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Burundi and Ethiopia. None of these countries is on the list. [17]

On July 4, 1999, President Clinton issued an executive order prohibiting commercial transactions with the Taliban. [18]

Back to Cold War budgets

On September 23, 1999, presidential candidate George W. Bush exposed his views on the US military. He complained that since the end of the Cold War the Defence budget had fallen 40 percent and that the army had never been in such a bad shape since Pearl Harbor.

"As president, I will order an immediate review of our overseas deployments - in dozens of countries. ... My second goal is to build America's defences on the troubled frontiers of technology and terror."

Among his views of arms: "In the air, we must be able to strike from across the world with pinpoint accuracy - with long-range aircraft and perhaps with unmanned systems." [19]

On October 15, 1999, things were getting more serious for the Taliban. UN resolution 1267 against the Taliban threatened an aircraft ban and fund freezing, if Osama Bin Laden was not handed over before November 14, 1999. [20] & [2]

On November 11, 1999, during a press conference, the Taliban minister of Foreign Affairs said Osama bin Laden and the Taliban were unable to organize attacks like those on the embassies in Africa and condemned these actions.

In 2000 the US had presidential elections. It was time to postpone delicate decisions.

On April 2, 2000, Richard Clarke, who had been appointed counter-terrorist coordinator a few months before the attacks against the embassies in Africa (on May 22), predicted: "They will come after our weakness, our Achilles heel, which is largely here in the United States." [21]

Curious No-Fly list


On April 21, 2000, something remarkable happened. As an antiterrorist measure, the US Congress announced a single unified terrorist watch list, the TID (or Terrorist Identities Database), into which all international terrorist related data available to the US government - mainly the TIPOFF no-fly list - would be stored in a single repository. In airports, this list is used to prevent suspected people from going on board and from entering the US. [22]

However, the same day that Congress announces the unified TID list, the FAA created a new and separate domestic no-fly list and put only six names on it. Two weeks before 9/11, the list was expanded with six other names, making it a total list of 12 names.

Thanks to this separate list the hijackers of 9/11, using domestic flights, and not listed among the 12 names, could board the planes without difficulties. On August 23, 2001, two names, later published as being two of the hijackers, had been added to the official TID-list, which counted 60,000 suspects, but was discarded for domestic flights. [23]

       Neo-conservative ideas


This second chapter starts with September 2000, when the neo-conservatives present their views. Their ideas will spread through the White House Administration with the election of  George W. Bush. Even before he enters the White House, two imperialistic  wars are on the agenda: Iraq and Afghanistan. Afghanistan gets the priority.


In September, 2000, the neoconservative think tank Project for a New American Century (PNAC) published their imperialistic views for the US. [24] In the document, they warned that the process of transforming the US into "tomorrow's dominant force" would likely be a long one in the absence of "some catastrophic and catalysing event - like a new Pearl Harbor".  [25]

After 9/11, to those who would not yet have understood the benefits of the events at Pearl Harbor in 1941, Bush would explain: "The four years that followed transformed the American way of war" and "even more importantly, an American President and his successors shaped a world beyond a war." And, to make sure that people understood that 9/11 was just like Pearl Harbor, he would add "September 11th, 2001 - three months and a long time ago - set another dividing line in our lives and in the life of our nation."  [27]

Many PNAC members would become members of the Bush administration. Those members include Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and Richard Perle. [26]

On October 12, 2000, three weeks before the presidential elections, the US population was shortly reminded of the terrorist threat in the world. The US Navy destroyer USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden was rammed with an inflatable raft with explosives and was damaged. Published detail: it looked as if the raft was coming to help the warship to moor to a buoy. [28] Message: you can trust nobody.

On November 7, 2000 the elections took place. George W. Bush or Al Gore would become President. The counting gave an extremely close result. The results in the State of Florida became decisive, but the counting was and remains far from clear.

The opponents fought in many different courts until December 13. It turned out that in Florida, 180,000 votes had been thrown out of the counting. This way Bush led by less than 600 votes. Partial recounts resulted in much lower estimates. Finally, all recounts could not be executed within the time limit set by the intervening Supreme Court. This is how Bush won the elections. [29]


A few days later, on December 18, speaking at the Capitol, Bush joked about his new relationship with some congressional leaders: "If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier....just so long as I'm the dictator."  [30]

Just a slip of the tongue? Not really. In July 1998, about governing Texas, he said already: "A dictatorship would be a lot easier." [31] And on July 26, 2001, speaking once again about his struggles with Congress he repeated: "a dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier." [32]

Well, for the ambitious plans of the neoconservatives, the US Congress was a major hurdle to clear. The budget of the military had shrunk by 40 percent after the Cold War and with the wars they had in mind they would need a lot more money.

How would they get the budget they wanted? If the US would be attacked, there would be no problem. They would receive all the budget, political support and public sympathy they needed. But, as written in their document, without a new Pearl Harbor things would go slowly. [25]

When Bush started his presidency, many neoconservatives considered Iraq as the first target to hit. In their document of September 2000 they had named Iraq as a "potential rival" of the US. [24]

First Target Iraq?

Iraq has the world's second largest oil reserves. The country was exhausted. It had tried to conquer Iran from 1980 to 1988, had invaded Kuwait in 1990,  had been defeated by Operation Desert Storm in 1991, and a subsequent UN embargo had brought the Iraqi economy to a standstill and the population to the edge of starvation.

Since 1996, the Oil For Food program of the UN had brought some relief for the Iraqi people. The country had been disarmed. Extensive weapon inspections had concluded the country formed no threat anymore. Well, at least, not military. In 2000, Saddam had still found a trick to hit the main pillar of US hegemony, the dollar. He started to sell his oil in euros, instead of dollars. [ http://www.raisethehammer.org /index.asp?id=252 , see: Dollar Hegemony]

Afghanistan back on the agenda

However, not even a week after George W. Bush had been declared winner of the elections, Afghanistan was back on the international agenda. UN SC resolution 1333 of December 19, 2000, imposed the sanctions the UN had promised more than a year before, if the Taliban would not hand over Osama bin Laden before November 14, 1999 (aircraft ban and funds freezing). [33]

Afghanistan in the Caspian context

Geopolitically, Afghanistan had become a more urgent target. Since 1996, the US had experienced severe setbacks in their ambition to control gas and oil on the East side of the Caspian Sea and was loosing influence. The lack of control over Afghanistan was leading to severe complications.

As mentioned earlier, the problems had started in February 1996, when Afghan president Rabbani signed a contract with UNOCAL's competitor BRIDAS for the construction of the gas pipeline through Afghanistan, between Turkmenistan and Pakistan. [8] In March 1996, the US tried to block this deal, putting pressure on Pakistan and telling them they should grant exclusive rights to UNOCAL. This resulted in a diplomatic clash with the Pakistani government. [8]

Still, in the same month, Pakistan officially agreed to allow a proposed Iranian pipeline to run over Pakistani territory on its way to India, thus enabling Iranian gas sale to India. The gas would come from Iran's giant South Pars Field in the Persian Gulf and cross the South of Iran
from West to East through a pipeline still to be constructed. [34]

Meanwhile, in February 1996, Turkmenistan had showed it did not want to depend exclusively on the delayed Afghan pipeline project and had signed a contract with Turkey to supply Turkmen gas via a pipeline to be constructed along the North coast of Iran. If necessary, Turkey would be able to absorb all the Turkmen gas. [34]

Iranian-Libyan Sanctions act

With these two aforementioned Iranian pipelines, the Afghan pipelines would become more or less useless. To prevent the construction of the Iranian pipelines the US Congress passed the Iranian-Libyan Sanctions act, [35] threatening anyone who would help Iran to construct them, and forbid transactions with Iran of  $ 4 million or higher. That was on June 18, 1996.


Nevertheless on August 30, 1996 Turkey signed a 20-year deal to buy gas from Iran. [34] & [36] The Turkish president would be punished for his Islamic solidarity by a military coup forcing him to resign. That was on June 18, 1997. [37]

With the Iranian-Libyan Sanctions act in place, another US company, Enron, expanded its activities in the region. In Uzbekistan, Enron had obtained a contract for 11 gas fields. In April 1997, George W. Bush himself had intervened to help Enron obtain Uzbeki contracts. [38] Enron counted on a US controlled pipeline through Afghanistan to export a part of the Uzbek gas to its power plant in India. [39]

The US threatened sanctions and blocked the completion of the Turkish pipeline connection to Iran, therefor the gas deliveries from Iran to Turkey were delayed several years. In August 2000, Iran and Turkey agreed the gas deliveries would start on July 30, 2001, which would be a few days before the expiration date of the Iranian-Libyan Sanctions act. [40]

Despite the Iranian-Libyan Sanctions act, the construction of the northern pipeline had started on the East side of Iran. With Iranian funding, Iran and Turkmenistan opened an international pipeline connection of 200 km by the end of 1997. [36]

Subsea shortcut avoiding Iran

To frustrate further development of the Iranian pipeline to Turkey, the US came up with an idea for an alternative route from Turkmenistan, crossing the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan and from there to Turkey. Enron did the study for this project. [39]

By that time it appeared as if the Afghan pipeline project would be abandoned. In June 1998, Enron withdrew from its Uzbek gas projects [41] and in December UNOCAL withdrew from its consortium for the Afghan pipeline. [8]

The US threats did not prevent big companies like Shell and Total from signing deals with Iran for exploration of oil and gas. [42] Nevertheless, Shell withdrew from its pipeline project in Northern Iran. [43]

The undersea pipeline crossing the Caspian Sea now existed on the drawing table, but in the waters the five surrounding countries (Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Iran) had not yet come to an agreement about each other's borders, and thus about the ownership of oil fields. As long as this would last, according to an existing agreement of 1940, Russia and Iran would have to agree with the pipeline project first. And they did not. [44]

In 2000, the Turkmen president had blamed the US for the delay in the trans-Caspian pipeline and had resumed gas deliveries to Russia. [45] That May, president Putin had even come to Turkmenistan to offer extended deals for several years. [9] Meanwhile, in Kazakhstan, the oil from the Tengiz field (world's sixth largest oil field) was going to be pumped via Russia to the Black Sea. [46]