by Paul Thompson
The key to abbreviations and other explanations can be found on the main timeline page.
Some other events may be added to provide a chronological context.

This story is so complicated and long, I've tried to break it into threads of different colors to make it easier to digest, as well as the main
page, the page for the day of September 11, and the abridged timeline.
Central Asian oil, Enron and the Afghanistan pipelines. For a separate page of these entries only, click here.
Information that should have shown what kind of attack al-Qaeda would make. For a separate page of these entries only, click here.
US preparing for a war with Afghanistan before 9/11, increasing control of Asia before and since. For a separate page of these entries
click here.
Incompetence, bad luck, and/or obstruction of justice. For a separate page of these entries only, click here.
Suggestions of advanced knowledge that an attack would take place on or around 9/11. For a separate page of these entries only, click
Cover-up, lies, and/or contradictions. For a separate page of these entries only, click here.
Israeli "art student" spy ring, Israeli foreknowledge evidence. For a separate page of these entries only, click here.
Anthrax attacks and microbiologist deaths. For a separate page of these entries only, click here.
Pakistani ISI and/or opium drug connections. For a separate page of these entries only, click here.
Bin Laden family, Saudi Arabia corruption and support of terrorists, connections to Bush. For a separate page of these entries only, click
1991: Future National Security Advisor Rice joins Chevron's board of directors, and works with Chevron until being
picked as Bush's National Security Advisor in 2001. Chevron even names an oil tanker after her. Rice is hired for her
expertise in Central Asia, and much of her job is spent arranging oil deals in the Central Asian region. Chevron also has
massive investments there, which grow through the 1990's. [
Salon, 11/19/01]
1991 (B): Bin Laden, having returned from Afghanistan to Saudi Arabia and the family business in 1989, moves to Sudan. With a
personal fortune of around $250 million (estimates range from $50 to $800 million [
Miami Herald, 9/24/01]), he begins plotting terrorist
attacks against the US. [
New Yorker, 1/24/00]
1991-1997: The Soviet Union collapses in 1991, creating many new nations in Central Asia. Major US oil companies, including
ExxonMobil, Texaco, Unocal, BP Amoco, Shell and Enron, directly invest billions in these Central Asian nations, bribing heads of state to
secure equity rights in the huge oil reserves in these regions. The oil companies commit to future direct investments in Kazakhstan of
$35 billion. These companies face the problem however of having to pay exorbitant prices to Russia to use Russian pipelines to get the
oil out. These oil fields have an estimated $6 trillion potential value. US companies own approximately 75% of the rights. [
New Yorker,
7/9/01, Asia Times, 1/26/02] FTW
November 1993: The Indian government gives approval for Enron's Dabhol power plant, located near Bombay on the west coast of
India. Enron has invested $3 billion, the largest single foreign investment in India's history.  Enron owns 65% of Dabhol. This liquefied
natural gas powered plant is supposed to provide one-fifth of India's energy needs by 1997. [
Asia Times, 1/81/01, Indian Express,
October 21, 1995: The oil company Unocal signs a contract with Turkmenistan to export $8 billion worth of natural gas through a $3
billion pipeline which would go from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan. Political considerations and pressures allow
Unocal to edge out a more experienced Argentinean company for the contract. Henry Kissinger, a Unocal consultant, calls it "the triumph
of hope over experience." [
Washington Post, 10/5/98]
June 24, 1996: The Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan signs a deal with Enron "that could lead to joint development of the central Asian
nation's potentially rich natural gas fields." [
Houston Chronicle, 6/25/96] The $1.3 billion venture teams Enron with the state companies
of Russian and Uzbekistan. [
Houston Chronicle, 6/30/96]
July 8, 1996: The US government agrees to give $400 million to help Enron and a Uzbeki state company develop natural gas fields in
the Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan. [
Oil and Gas Journal, 7/8/96]
August 13, 1996: Unocal and Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia come to agreement with state companies in Turkmenistan and Russia to to build
a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan, the agreement is finalized the next year (see
October 27, 1997).
[Unocal website, 8/13/96]
The Boston Herald later reports that, "The prime force behind Delta Oil appears to be Mohammed Hussein
al-Amoudi" (see
November 22, 2002 (B)) and that his business interests are "enmeshed" with those of Khalid bin Mahfouz (see for
1988 (B) and April 1999). Together and separately, al-Amoudi and bin Mahfouz have become "partners with US firms in a
series of ambitious oil development and pipeline projects in central and south Asia." [
Boston Herald, 12/10/01] The two are later
included in a secret United Nations list of financiers funding al-Qaeda (see
November 26, 2002).
September 27, 1996: The Taliban conquer Kabul [AP, 8/19/02], establishing control over much of Afghanistan. A surge in the Taliban's
military successes at this time is later attributed to an increase in direct military assistance from Pakistan's ISI. [
New York Times,
12/8/01] The oil company Unocal is hopeful that the Taliban will stabilize Afghanistan, and allow its pipeline plans to go forward. In fact,
"preliminary agreement [on the pipeline] was reached between the [Taliban and Unocal] long before the fall of Kabul. ... Oil industry
insiders say the dream of securing a pipeline across Afghanistan is the main reason why Pakistan, a close political ally of America's,
has been so supportive of the Taliban, and why America has quietly acquiesced in its conquest of Afghanistan." [
Telegraph, 10/11/96]
October 11, 1996: The Telegraph publishes an interesting article about pipeline politics in Afghanistan. Some quotes: "Behind the tribal
clashes that have scarred Afghanistan lies one of the great prizes of the 21st century, the fabulous energy reserves of Central Asia."
"'The deposits are huge,' said a diplomat from the region. ‘Kazakhstan alone may have more oil than Saudi Arabia. Turkmenistan is
already known to have the fifth largest gas reserves in the world.'" [
Telegraph, 10/11/96]
1997: Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski publishes a book in which he portrays the Eurasian landmass as the key to
world power, and Central Asia with its vast oil reserves as the key to domination of Eurasia.
He states that for the US to maintain its
global primacy, it must prevent any possible adversary from controlling that region. He notes that, "The attitude of the American public
toward the external projection of American power has been much more ambivalent. The public supported America’s engagement in
World War II largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor." Furthermore, because of popular resistance to
US military expansionism, his ambitious Central Asian strategy could not be implemented "except in the circumstance of a truly massive
and widely perceived direct external threat." [
The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives, 1997 (the link
is to excerpts of the book from a From the Wilderness article)]
August 1997: The CIA creates a secret task force to monitor Central Asia's politics and gauge its wealth. Covert CIA officers, some
well-trained petroleum engineers, travel through southern Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to sniff out potential oil
reserves. [
Time, 5/4/98]
October 27, 1997: Halliburton, a company with future Vice President Cheney as CEO, announces a new agreement to provide technical
services and drilling for Turkmenistan, a country in Central Asia. The press release also mentions that "Halliburton has been providing a
variety of services in Turkmenistan for the past five years." On the same day, a consortium to build a pipeline through Afghanistan is
formed. It's called CentGas, and the two main partners are Unocal and Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia. [Halliburton press release, 10/27/97,
CentGas press release, 10/27/97]
November 26, 1997: An industry newsletter reports that Saudi Arabia has abandoned plans to have open bids on a $2 billion power
plant near Mecca, deciding that the government will build it instead. What's interesting is that one of the bids was made by a consortium
of Enron,
the Saudi Binladen Group (run by Osama's family), and Italy's Ansaldo Energia. [Alexander's Gas and Oil Connections, 1/22/98]
December 4, 1997: Representatives of the Taliban are invited guests to the Texas headquarters of Unocal to negotiate their support for
the pipeline. Future President Bush Jr. is Governor of Texas at the time. The Taliban appear to agree to a $2 billion pipeline deal, but will
do the deal only if the US officially recognizes the Taliban regime. The Taliban meet with US officials, and the Telegraph reports that "the
US government, which in the past has branded the Taliban's policies against women and children 'despicable,' appears anxious to
please the fundamentalists to clinch the lucrative pipeline contract." A BBC regional correspondent says "the proposal to build a pipeline
across Afghanistan is part of an international scramble to profit from developing the rich energy resources of the Caspian Sea." [
12/4/97, Telegraph, 12/14/97] FTW
December 14, 1997: It is reported that Unocal has hired the University of Nebraska to train 400 Afghani teachers, electricians,
carpenters and pipefitters in anticipation of using them for their pipeline in Afghanistan. 150 students are already attending classes.
Telegraph, 12/14/97]
February 12, 1998: Unocal Vice President John J. Maresca - later to become a Special Ambassador to Afghanistan - testifies before the
House of Representatives that until a single, unified, friendly government is in place in Afghanistan the trans-Afghani pipeline will not be
built. He suggests that with a pipeline through Afghanistan, the Caspian basin could produce 20 percent of all the non-OPEC oil in the
world by 2010. [
House International Relations Committee testimony, 2/12/98] FTW
Early 1998: Bill Richardson, the US Ambassador to the UN, meets Taliban officials in Kabul (all such meetings are technically illegal,
because the US still officially recognizes the government the Taliban ousted as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan). US officials at the
time call the pipeline project a "fabulous opportunity" and are especially motivated by the "prospect of circumventing Iran, which offered
another route for the pipeline." [
Boston Globe, 9/20/01]
June 1998 (B): Enron's agreement to develop natural gas with the government of Uzbekistan is not renewed. Enron closes its office
there. The reason for the "failure of Enron's flagship project" is an inability to get the natural gas out of the region. Uzbekistan's
production is "well below capacity" and only 10% of its production is being exported, all to other countries in the region. The hope was to
use a pipeline through Afghanistan, but "Uzbekistan is extremely concerned at the growing strength of the Taliban and its potential
impact on stability in Uzbekistan, making any future cooperation on a pipeline project which benefits the Taliban unlikely." A $12 billion
pipeline through China is being considered as one solution, but that wouldn't be completed until the end of the next decade at the
earliest. [
Alexander's Gas and Oil Connections, 10/12/98]
June 23, 1998: Future Vice President Cheney, working for the Halliburton energy company, states: "I can't think of a time when we've had
a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian. It's almost as if the opportunities have arisen
overnight." The Caspian Sea is in Central Asia. [
Cato Institute Library, Chicago Tribune, 8/10/00]
August 7, 1998: Terrorists bomb the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The bomb in Nairobi, Kenya kills 213 people, including 12
US nationals, and injures more than 4,500. The bomb in Dar es Salaam kills 11 and injures 85. The attack is blamed on al-Qaeda. [
Frontline, 2001]
August 9, 1998: The Northern Alliance capital of Afghanistan, Mazar-i-Sharif, is conquered by the Taliban. Military support of Pakistan's
ISI plays a large role; there is even an intercept of an ISI officer stating, "My boys and I are riding into Mazar-i-Sharif." [
New York Times,
12/8/01] This victory gives the Taliban control of 90% of Afghanistan, including the entire pipeline route. CentGas, the consortium behind
the gas pipeline that would run through Afghanistan, is now "ready to proceed. Its main partners are the American oil firm Unocal and
Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia, plus Hyundai of South Korea, two Japanese companies, a Pakistani conglomerate and the Turkmen
government." However, the pipeline cannot be financed unless the government is officially recognized. "Diplomatic sources said the
Taliban's offensive was well prepared and deliberately scheduled two months ahead of the next UN meeting" to decide if the Taliban
should be recognized. [
Telegraph, 8/13/98]
December 5, 1998: In the wake of the al-Qaeda US embassy attacks (see August 7, 1998), the US gives up on putting a pipeline
through Afghanistan. Unocal announces its withdrawing from the CentGas pipeline consortium, and closing three of its four offices in
Central Asia. A concern that Clinton will lose support among women voters for upholding the Taliban also plays a role in the
cancellation. [New York Times, 12/5/98]
Late 1998 (B): During the investigation of the 1998 embassy bombings, FBI counter-terrorism expert John O'Neill finds a memo by
al-Qaeda leader Mohammed Atef on a computer. The memo shows that bin Laden's group has a keen interest in and detailed
knowledge of negotiations between the Taliban and the US over an oil and gas pipeline through Afghanistan. Atef's analysis suggests
that the Taliban are not sincere in wanting a pipeline, but are dragging out negotiations to keep Western powers at bay. [
Salon, 6/5/02]
June 1999:  Enron announces an agreement to build a $140 million power plant in the Gaza Strip. One of the major financers for the
project comes from the Saudi Binladin Group, a company owned by Osama's family. This is the second attempted project between
these two companies.
90% complete, the construction is halted because of Palestinian - Israeli violence and then Enron's bankruptcy.
Washington Post, 3/2/02]
July 4, 1999: With the chances of a pipeline deal with the Taliban looking increasingly unlikely, the US government finally issues an
executive order prohibiting commercial transactions with the Taliban. [
Executive Order, 7/4/99]
December 20, 1999: The BBC explains one reason why the Northern Alliance has been able to hold out for so long in its civil war
against the Taliban in Afghanistan: "Iran has stirred up the fighting in order to make sure an international oil pipeline [goes] through its
territory and not through Afghanistan." [
BBC, 12/20/99]
September 2000: The neo-conservative think-tank Project for the New American Century writes a "blueprint" for the "creation of a 'global
Pax Americana.'" The document, entitled Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century, was
written for the Bush team even before the 2000 Presidential election. It was commissioned by future Vice President Cheney, future
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, future Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Florida Governor and President Bush's brother Jeb Bush,
and future Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis Libby. The report calls itself a "blueprint for maintaining global US preeminence,
precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests."
plan shows Bush intended to take military control of Persian Gulf oil whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power and should retain
control of the region even if there is no threat.
It says: "The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf
regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force
presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein." The report calls for the control of space through a new
"US Space Forces," the political control of the internet, the subversion of any growth in political power of even close allies, and advocates
"regime change" in China, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Iran and other countries. It also mentions that "advanced forms of biological warfare
that can 'target' specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool." A British Member
of Parliament says of the report, "This is a blueprint for US world domination -- a new world order of their making. These are the thought
processes of fantasist Americans who want to control the world" (see also
Spring 2001 and April 2001 (D)). [Sunday Herald, 9/7/02,
click here to download the think tank report] However, the report complains that these changes are likely to take a long time, "absent
some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor." [
PNAC Report, 8/00] In an NBC interview at about the same time, Vice
Presidential candidate Cheney defends Bush Jr.'s position of maintaining Clinton's policy not to attack Iraq because the US should not
act as though "we were an imperialist power, willy-nilly moving into capitals in that part of the world, taking down governments."
Washington Post, 1/12/02]
October 12, 2000: The USS Cole is bombed in the Aden, Yemen harbor by al-Qaeda terrorists. 17 US soldiers are killed. [ABC News,
January 21, 2001: George Bush Jr. is inaugurated as the 43rd US President, replacing Clinton. The only major figure to permanently
remain in office is CIA Director Tenet, appointed in 1997 and reputedly a long time friend of Bush Sr. FBI Director Louis Freeh stays on
until June 2001.
Numerous figures in Bush's administration have been directly employed in the oil industry, including Bush, Vice
President Cheney and National Security Advisor Rice. Enron's ties also reach deep into the administration. [
Washington Post, 1/18/02]
February 9, 2001: Vice President Cheney is briefed that it has been conclusively proven bin Laden was behind the October 2000 attack
on the USS Cole (see
October 12, 2000). Bush has been in office a matter of days, when secret pipeline negotiations with the Taliban
have begun. The new administration has already twice threatened the Taliban that the US would hold the Taliban responsible for any
al-Qaeda attack. But, fearful of ending those negotiations, the US does not retaliate against either the Taliban or known bin Laden bases
in Afghanistan in the manner Clinton did in 1998. [
Washington Post, 1/20/02]
Spring 2001: The Sydney Morning Herald later reports, "The months preceding September 11 [see] a shifting of the US military's focus ...
Over several months beginning in April [2001] a series of military and governmental policy documents [are] released that [seek] to
legitimize the use of US military force
in the pursuit of oil and gas." Michael Klare, an international security expert and author of Resource
Wars, says the military has increasingly come to "define resource security as their primary mission."
An article in the Army War College's
journal by Jeffrey Record, a former staff member of the Senate armed services committee, argues for the legitimacy of "shooting in the
Persian Gulf on behalf of lower gas prices."
He also "advocate[s] the acceptability of presidential subterfuge in the promotion of a
conflict" and "explicitly urge[s] painting over the US's actual reasons for warfare with a nobly high-minded veneer, seeing such as a
necessity for mobilizing public support for a conflict.
" In April, Tommy Franks, the commander of US forces in the Persian Gulf/South Asia
area, testifies to Congress in April that his command's key mission is "access to [the region's] energy resources."
The next month US
Central Command begins planning for war with Afghanistan, plans that are later used in the real war (see
May 2001 (F)). [Sydney
Morning Herald, 12/26/02] Other little noticed but influential documents reflect similar thinking (see September 2000 and April 2001 (D)).
April 2001 (D): A report commissioned by former US Secretary of State James Baker and the Council on Foreign Relations entitled
"Strategic Energy Policy Challenges For The 21st Century" is submitted to Vice President Cheney this month. "The report is linked to a
veritable who's who of US hawks, oilmen and corporate bigwigs." The report says the "central dilemma" for the US administration is that
"the American people continue to demand plentiful and cheap energy without sacrifice or inconvenience." It warns that the US is running
out of oil, with a painful end to cheap fuel already in sight.
It argues that "the United States remains a prisoner of its energy dilemma,"
and that one of the "consequences" of this is a "need for military intervention" to secure its oil supply. It argues that Iraq needs to be
overthrown so the US can control its oil. [
Sunday Herald, 10/5/02, Sydney Morning Herald, 12/26/02] In what may be a reference to a
pipeline through Afghanistan, the report suggests the US should "Investigate whether any changes to US policy would quickly facilitate
higher exports of oil from the Caspian Basin region... the exports from some oil discoveries in the Caspian Basin could be hastened if a
secure, economical export route could be identified swiftly" (see also
September 2000 and Spring 2001). [Strategic Energy Policy
Challenges For The 21st Century, 4/01] Could the Bush administration have let 9/11 happen to get access to Central Asian oil, and gain
support for a war with Iraq, amongst other reasons?
May 2001 (G): Vice President Cheney's national energy plan is publicly released. There are several interesting points, little noticed at the
time. It suggests that the US cannot depend exclusively on traditional sources of supply to provide the growing amount of oil that it
needs. It will also have to obtain substantial supplies from new sources, such as the Caspian states, Russia, and Africa. It also notes
that the US cannot rely on market forces alone to gain access to these added supplies, but will also require a significant effort on the
part of government officials to overcome foreign resistance to the outward reach of American energy companies. [
Japan Today, 4/30/02]
May 23, 2001: Zalmay Khalilzad is appointed to a position on the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and
Senior Director for Gulf, Southwest Asia and Other Regional Issues. Khalilzad is a former official in the Reagan and Bush Sr.
administrations. During the Clinton years, he worked for Unocal. He is later appointed special envoy to Afghanistan (see
January 1,
2002). [Independent, 1/10/02, State Department profile, 2001]
Mid-July 2001 (B):  John O'Neill, FBI counter-terrorism expert, privately discusses White House obstruction in his bin Laden
investigation. O'Neill says:"The main obstacles to investigate Islamic terrorism were
US oil corporate interests and the role played by
Saudi Arabia in it."  He adds:"All the answers, everything needed to dismantle Osama bin Laden's organization, can be found in Saudi
O'Neill also believes the White House is obstructing his investigation of bin Laden because they are still keeping the idea of a
pipeline deal with the Taliban open. [
CNN, 1/8/02, CNN, 1/9/02, Irish Times, 11/19/01, Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth, released
11/11/01 (the link is an excerpt containing Chapter 1)]
July 21, 2001: Three American officials, Tom Simons (former US Ambassador to Pakistan), Karl Inderfurth (former Assistant Secretary of
State for South Asian Affairs) and Lee Coldren (former State Department expert on South Asia) meet with Pakistani and Russian
intelligence officers in a Berlin hotel. [
Salon, 8/16/02] It is the third of a series of back-channel conferences called "brainstorming on
Afghanistan." Taliban representatives sat in on previous meetings, but boycotted this one due to worsening tensions. However, the
Pakistani ISI relays information from the meeting to the Taliban. [
Guardian, 9/22/01] At the meeting, former US State Department official
Lee Coldren passes on a message from Bush officials. He later says, "I think there was some discussion of the fact that the United
States was so disgusted with the Taliban that they might be considering some military action." [
Guardian, 9/26/01] Accounts vary, but
former Pakistani Foreign Secretary Niaz Naik later says he is told by senior American officials at the meeting that military action to
overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan is planned to "take place before the snows started falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October
at the latest." The goal is to kill or capture both bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar, topple the Taliban regime and install a
transitional government of moderate Afghans in its place. Uzbekistan and Russia would also participate (see also
December 19, 2000,
March 15, 2001 and June 26, 2001). Naik also says "it was doubtful that Washington would drop its plan even if bin Laden were to be
surrendered immediately by the Taliban." [
BBC, 9/18/01] One specific threat made at this meeting is that the Taliban can choose
between "carpets of bombs" - an invasion -
or "carpets of gold" - the pipeline. [Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth, Guillaume Dasquié and
Jean-Charles Brisard, released 11/11/01 (the link is an excerpt containing Chapter 1)] Niaz Naik says Tom Simons made the "carpets"
statement. Simons claims: "It's possible that a mischievous American participant, after several drinks, may have thought it smart to
evoke gold carpets and carpet bombs. Even Americans can't resist the temptation to be mischievous." Naik and the American
participants deny that the pipeline was an issue at the meeting. [
Salon, 8/16/02] So then what was the "carpets of gold" phrase referring
August 2, 2001: Christina Rocca, the Director of Asian Affairs at the State Department, secretly meets the Taliban ambassador in
Islamabad, apparently in a last ditch attempt to secure a pipeline deal. Rocca was previously in charge of contacts with Islamic guerrilla
groups at the CIA, and oversaw the delivery of Stinger missiles to Afghan mujaheddin in the 1980's. [
Irish Times, 11/19/01, Salon,
2/8/02, Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth, Guillaume Dasquié and Jean-Charles Brisard, released 11/11/01 (the link is an excerpt
containing Chapter 1)]
September 11, 2001 (G): The 9/11 attack: four planes are hijacked, two crash into the WTC, one into the Pentagon, and one crashes into
the Pennsylvania countryside. At least 3,000 people are killed. A more detailed timeline focusing on the hours of this attack appears on a
separate page.
September 13-19, 2001: Members of bin Laden's family and important Saudis are "driven or flown under FBI supervision to a secret
assembly point in Texas and then to Washington from where they left the country on a private charter plane when airports reopened
three days after the attacks." The flights to Texas and Washington occur before the national air ban is lifted. [
New York Times, 9/30/01]
The Tampa Tribune reports that on September 13, Lear jet takes off from Tampa, Florida, carrying a Saudi Arabian prince, the son of the
Saudi defense minister Prince Sultan (see
August 2001 (G), August 31, 2001, August 15, 2002), as well as the son of a Saudi army
commander, and flies to Lexington, Kentucky, where the Saudis own racehorses. They then fly a private 747 out of the country. Multiple
747s with Arabic lettering on their sides are already there, suggesting another secret assembly point. The Tampa flight left from a private
Raytheon hangar [
Tampa Tribune, 10/5/01] (Raytheon's name keeps coming up in relation to 9/11 (for instance, see September 25,
2001)). Prince Bandar, Saudi ambassador to the US, helps move the bin Laden family out of the US. [London Times, 11/25/02] Ron
Motley, the lead lawyer in a 9/11 lawsuit against many Saudi, points to the flights during the air ban as evidence that Saudi are "protected
by the Bush administration" because of "oil." [
Minneapolis Star Tribune, 8/16/02] There have been conflicting reports as to whether the
FBI interviewed these people before they left the country.
Osama bin Laden's half brother, Abdullah bin Laden, stated that even a month
after 9/11 his only contact with the FBI was a brief phone call. [
Boston Globe, 9/21/01, New Yorker, 11/5/01] An earlier FBI attempt to
investigate Abdullah was obstructed by higher-ups (see
1996). The existence of these flights during the air travel ban is now usually
referred to as an urban legend. [
Snopes, 3/19/02]
October 5, 2001: Contrary to popular belief, Afghanistan "has significant oil and gas deposits. During the Soviets' decade-long
occupation of Afghanistan, Moscow estimated Afghanistan's proven and probable natural gas reserves at around five trillion cubic feet
and production reached 275 million cubic feet per day in the mid-1970's." Nonstop war since has prevent further exploitation, but that
soon changes. [
Asia Times, 10/5/01] A later article suggests the country may also have as much copper as Chile, the world's largest
producer, and significant deposits of coal, emeralds, tungsten, lead, zinc, uranium ore and more. Estimates of Afghanistan 's natural
wealth may even be understated, because surveys were conducted decades ago, using less-advanced methods and covering limited
territory. [
Houston Chronicle, 12/23/01
October 9, 2001 (B): US Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin meets with the Pakistani oil minister. She is briefed on the gas pipeline
project from Turkmenistan, across Afghanistan, to Pakistan, which appears to be revived "in view of recent geopolitical developments."
[Frontier Post, 10/10/01] FTW
October 15, 2001 (C): According to the Moscow Times, the Russian government sees the upcoming US conquest of Afghanistan as an
attempt by the US to replace Russia as the dominant political force in Central Asia,
with the control of oil as a prominent motive: "While
the bombardment of Afghanistan outwardly appears to hinge on issues of fundamentalism and American retribution, below the surface,
lurks the prize of the energy-rich Caspian basin into which oil majors have invested billions of dollars. Ultimately, this war will set the
boundaries of US and Russian influence in Central Asia - and determine the future of oil and gas resources of the Caspian Sea."
Moscow Times, 10/15/01]
December 2, 2001: Enron files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy - the biggest bankruptcy ever (that is, until WorldCom some months later).
BBC, 1/10/02]
December 8, 2001: During a visit to Kazakhstan in Central Asia, Secretary of State Powell states that US oil companies are likely to
invest $200 billion in Kazakhstan alone in the next five to 10 years. [
New York Times, 12/15/01]
December 22, 2001: Afghani Prime Minister Hamid Karzai and his transitional government takes power in Afghanistan. It was revealed a
few weeks before that he had been a paid consultant for Unocal, as well as Deputy Foreign Minister for the Taliban. [
Le Monde,
12/13/01, CNN, 12/22/01] FTW
January 1, 2002: Zalamy Khalilzad, already a Special Assistant to the President (see May 23, 2001), is appointed by Bush as a special
envoy to Afghanistan. [
BBC, 1/1/02]  Khalilzad, a former employee of Unocal, took part in negotiations with the Taliban to build a pipeline
through Afghanistan. He also wrote op-eds in the Washington Post in 1997 supporting the Taliban regime, back when Unocal was
hoping to work with the Taliban. [
Independent, 1/10/02] FTW Now the US envoy is a former Unocal employee consulting with a prime
minister who is a former Unocal employee (see
December 22, 2001) in a country where Unocal might build gas and oil pipelines (see
May 13, 2002).
February 9, 2002: Pakistani President Musharraf and Afghan leader Hamid Karzai announce their agreement to "cooperate in all
spheres of activity" including the proposed Central Asian pipeline, which they call "in the interest of both countries." [
Irish Times, 2/9/02]
February 14, 2002:  The Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv astutely notes: "If one looks at the map of the big American bases created [in the
Afghan war], one is struck by the fact that they are completely identical to the route of the projected oil pipeline to the Indian Ocean."
Ma'ariv also states, "Osama bin Laden did not comprehend that his actions serve American interests... If I were a believer in conspiracy
theory, I would think that bin Laden is an American agent. Not being one I can only wonder at the coincidence." [
Chicago Tribune,
3/18/02] FTW
May 13, 2002: The BBC reports that Afghanistan is about to close a deal for construction of the $2 billion gas pipeline to run from
Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India. "Work on the project will start after an agreement is expected to be struck" at a summit scheduled
for the end of the month. Afghan leader Hamid Karzai (who formerly worked for Unocal) calls Unocal the "lead company" in building the
pipeline. [
BBC, 5/13/02] FTW The Los Angeles Times comments, "To some here, it looked like the fix was in for Unocal when President
Bush named a former Unocal consultant, Zalmay Khalilzad, as his special envoy to Afghanistan late last year." [
Los Angeles Times,
May 30, 2002 (B): Afghanistan's interim leader, Hamid Karzai, Turkmenistan's President Niyazov, and Pakistani President Musharraf
meet in Islamabad and sign a memorandum of understanding on the trans-Afghanistan gas pipeline project. [Alexander's Gas and Oil
Connections, 6/8/02, Dawn, 5/31/02] FTW The agreement is finalized by the end of the year (see
December 27, 2002).
July 10, 2002: A briefing given to a top Pentagon advisory group states, "The Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from
planners to financiers, from cadre to foot-soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader ... Saudi Arabia supports our enemies and attacks our
allies." They are called "the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent." This position still runs counter to official US
policy, but the Washington Post says it "represents a point of view that has growing currency within the Bush administration." The
briefing suggests that the Saudis be given an ultimatum to stop backing terrorism
or face seizure of its oil fields and its financial assets
invested in the United States.
The group, the Defense Policy Board, is headed by Richard Perle. [Washington Post, 8/6/02] A
international controversy follows the public reports of the briefing in August 2002 (for instance, [
Scotsman, 8/12/02]). In an abrupt
change, the media starts calling the Saudis enemies, not allies of the US. Slate reports details of the briefing the Post failed to mention.
The briefing states, "There is an 'Arabia,' but it needs not be 'Saudi'".
The conclusion of the briefing: "Grand strategy for the Middle East:
Iraq is the tactical pivot. Saudi Arabia the strategic pivot. Egypt the prize." [
Slate, 8/7/02] Note that a similar meeting of the Defense Policy
Board appears to have preceded and affected the US's decision to take a warlike stance against Iraq (see
September 17, 2001 (B) and
August 6, 2001 (B)).
August 15, 2002: More than 600 relatives (later rising to over 2,500 out of 10,000 eligible [Newsweek, 9/13/02]) of the September 11
attacks file a 15-count, $1 trillion lawsuit against various parties they accuse of financing Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda terror network
and Afghanistan's former Taliban regime. The defendants include the Binladin Group (the company run by Osama bin Laden's family),
seven international banks, eight Islamic foundations and charities, individual terrorist financiers, three Saudi princes, and the
government of Sudan. [
CNN, 8/15/02] Individuals named include Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan (see June 1998 (D), August
2001 (G), and August 31, 2001), former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al Faisal (see July 1998, August 31, 2001, and October 18,
2002) and Khalid bin Mahfouz (see 1988 (B), August 13, 1996, April 1999, December 4, 2001 (B) and Early December 2001 (B)). [AP,
8/15/02] "The attorneys and investigators were able to obtain, through French intelligence, the translation of a secretly recorded meeting
between representatives of bin Laden and three Saudi princes in which they sought to pay him hush money to keep him from attacking
their enterprises in Saudi Arabia." [
CNN, 8/15/02] The plaintiffs also accused the US Government of failing to pursue such institutions
thoroughly enough because of lucrative oil interests. [
BBC, 8/15/02] Ron Motley, the lead lawyer in the suit, says the case is being aided
by intelligence services from France and four other foreign governments, but no help has come from the Justice Department.
Minneapolis Star Tribune, 8/16/02] The plaintiffs acknowledge the chance of ever winning any money is slim, but hope the lawsuit will
help bring to light the role of Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 attacks. [
BBC, 8/15/02] A number of rich Saudis respond by threatening to withdraw
hundreds of billions of dollars in US investments if the lawsuit goes forward. [
Telegraph, 8/20/02] Saudi business withdraw more than
$100 billion from the US in response to the suit (see
August 20, 2002), and the US government later threatens to block or limit the suit
November 1, 2002).
October 17, 2002: Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club again win a ruling against Vice President Cheney (see July 12, 2002), and a
judge demands that Cheney turn over documents relating to his Energy Task Force.
These documents could shed light on the
government's connections to Enron, the Dabhol power plant in India, and pipeline interests across Afghanistan.
But Cheney is expected
to appeal, further delaying the release of these documents (see also
July 12, 2002). [Reuters, 10/17/02]
October 18, 2002 (B): "The massive mothballed Dabhol power project that bankrupt US energy company Enron Corp. built in western
India could be running within a year, with a long-standing dispute over power charges close to being renegotiated, a government official
said." Dabhol is the largest foreign investment project in India's history. Despite reorganizing from a bankruptcy, Enron still holds a
controlling 65 percent stake in the Dabhol Power Co., while General Electric Co. and Bechtel Corp. hold 10 percent each. The
Maharashtra State Electricity Board holds the remaining 15 percent. [
AP, 10/18/02]
December 13, 2002: Henry Kissinger resigns as head of the new 9/11 investigation (see November 27, 2002). [AP, 12/13/02, ABC,
12/13/02, copy of resignation letter] Two days earlier, the Bush Administration argued that Kissinger was not required to disclose his
private business clients. [
New York Times, 12/12/02] However, the Congressional Research Service insists that he does, and Kissinger
resigns rather than reveal his clients. [
MSNBC, 12/13/02, Seattle Times, 12/14/02] It is reported that Kissinger is (or has been) a
consultant for Unocal, the oil corporation, and was involved in plans to build pipelines through Afghanistan (see
October 21, 1995, and
August 9, 1998). [Washington Post, 10/5/98, Salon, 12/3/02] Kissinger claimed he did no current work for any oil companies or Mideast
clients, but several corporations with heavy investments in Saudi Arabia, such as ABB Group, a Swiss-Swedish engineering firm, and
Boeing Corp., pay him consulting fees of at least $250,000 a year. A Boeing spokesman said its "long-standing" relationship with
Kissinger involved advice on deals in East Asia, not Saudi Arabia. Boeing sold $7.2 billion worth of aircraft to Saudi Arabia in 1995.
Newsweek, 12/15/02] In a surprising break from usual procedures regarding high-profile presidential appointments, White House
lawyers never vetted Kissinger for conflicts of interest. [
Newsweek, 12/15/02] The Washington Post says that after the resignations of
Kissinger and Mitchell, the commission "has lost time" and "is in disarray, which is no small trick given that it has yet to meet."
Washington Post, 12/14/02]
December 16, 2002: President Bush names former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean as the Chairman of the National Commission
on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, after his original choice, Henry Kissinger, resigned (see
November 27, 2002 and
December 13, 2002). [Washington Post, 12/17/02] In an appearance on NBC, Kean promises an aggressive investigation. "It's really a
remarkably broad mandate, so I don't think we'll have any problem looking under every rock. I've got no problems in going as far as we
have to in finding out the facts." [
AP, 12/17/02] However, Kean plans to remain President of Drew University and devote only one day a
week to the commission. He also claims he would have no conflicts of interest, stating: "I have no clients except the university."
Washington Post, 12/17/02] However, he has a history of such conflict. Multinational Monitor has previously stated: "Perhaps no
individual more clearly illustrates the dangers of university presidents maintaining corporate ties than Thomas Kean," citing the fact that
he is on the Board of Directors of Aramark (which received a large contract with his university after he became president), Bell Atlantic,
United Health Care, Beneficial Corporation, Fiduciary Trust Company International, and others. [
Multinational Monitor, 11/97] Most
disturbing is his Board of Director and Executive Committee positions at Amerada Hess, an oil company with extensive investments in
Central Asia. [
Amerada Hess, 2002] In 1998, Amerada Hess created an alliance with the Saudi oil company Delta Oil, calling it Delta
Hess. [
Azerbaijan International, 2002] Delta Hess is invested in a number of oil field and pipeline projects in Central Asia (see for
instance [
Azerbaijan International, 1998]). Delta Oil has been one of the main financial partners in a controversial oil pipeline designed
to go through Afghanistan. The company has been financially controlled by Khalid bin Mahfouz, and is connected to Mohammed
Hussain Al-Amoudi (see
August 13, 1996). Both men are on a secret United Nations list of al-Qaeda financers (see November 26,
2002), and bin Mahfouz is bin Laden's brother in law (see 1988 (B)). George Mitchell resigned from the commission a few days earlier in
part because of ties with al-Amoudi (see
December 11, 2002), yet the mainstream media has barely mentioned Kean's conflict of
interest with Amerada Hess and ties with al-Amoudi and bin Mahfouz. [
AP, 1/20/03]
December 27, 2002: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan sign an agreement for the building of the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, a
US$3.2 billion project that has been delayed for many years. [
BBC, 12/27/02, CNN, 12/26/02] A study by the Asian Development Bank
stated that the pipeline would move natural gas from Turkmenistan's huge Dauletabad-Donmez fields to the Pakistani port city of
Gwadar. The pipeline was originally launched in 1996 (see
August 13, 1996), but was abandoned when a consortium led by Unocal
withdrew over fears of being seen as supporting the Taliban and because the US launched missile attacks on Afghanistan in 1998 (see
December 5, 1998). The Afghan, Pakistani and Turkmen leaders relaunched the project in May 2002 (see May 30, 2002 (B)). Unocal
has denied it is interested in returning to Afghanistan. Skeptics say the project would require an indefinite foreign military presence in
Afghanistan. [
CNN, 12/26/02, BBC, 5/30/02]