Sludge Report #114 – The Great Game

Published: Wed 17 Oct 2001 11:38 AM
In This Edition: The Great Game - The LeCarre Version - The Propagandist's Purpose & The Original Script - The Sequel, World Trade Center, 911 - The First Partners: The Taleban - The Double-Cross - But The New Partners, The Russians Become Nervous - The Next Double-Cross - Russia Strikes Back - Trivia
NOTE: Authors of this report will be anonymous and wide ranging, and occasionally finely balanced. Indeed you are invited to contribute: The format is as a reporters notebook. It will be published as and when material is available. C.D. Sludge can be contacted at The Sludge Report is available as a free email service..Click HERE - to subscribe...
Sludge Report #114
The Great Game
If the official story of the World Trade Center attacks reads like a Tom Clancy novel, simple plot, good guys, bad guys and cruise missiles, then this could be the LeCarre version.
Most articles quoted are taken from the mainstream media.
“News is what people don’t want you to know, all the rest is advertising.”
If the events of the past few weeks sound familiar, it’s because you may have heard it all before… Rudyard Kipling gave a name to the fierce rivalry between Britain and Russia for strategic control over the region around Afghanistan, “The Great Game”.
The LeCarre Version
We now know who the hijackers were, but who masterminded the operation remains unclear, to answer this question we first have to ask – Who stands to benefit ?
Estimates range as high as US$4 trillion of oil/gas/gold… in Central Asia. We know the US set up a deal with the Taleban to build pipelines through Afghanistan.
When the “feasibility study” was completed their Taleban partners were dumped and the US allied with Russia to replace the Taleban with a more “pro-US” government, this being publicly announced late last year. In June it was announced that the attack would begin before mid-October.
Perhaps suspecting that once the invasion “feasibility study” was completed they too would be double-crossed by the Americans, Russia held military exercises to defend the region against a US air attack. If this was a warning to the US it came too late.
The US tried to cut a deal with the anti-Taleban Northern Alliance. But the NA leader, Massood, apparently couldn’t be controlled by the CIA, and so would have had to have been replaced. He was assassinated and two days later the World Trade Center was attacked. With Russia cut out of the deal and with support from most of the planet, control of the entire region would now seem to lie in Americas grasp.
The Propagandist's Purpose & The Original Script
“The propagandist's purpose,” wrote Aldous Huxley in 1937, “is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.”
The "psychological attack" on the voter has to be properly put together. The threat is terrorism, the terrorists are ……. and their accomplices. People have to have a clear idea of who their enemy is.
The Original Script:
Calls for bombing your own populace then blaming it on terrorists and using this as the pretext take over a piece of real estate for piping oil/gas from the Caspian sea.
The Plot:
Apartment buildings in Moscow were bombed and Chechen terrorists blamed. Chechnya, home of Russia’s only functioning oil pipeline linked to the Caspian sea was then invaded.
The Story:
Background to the Russian assault on Chechnya: a power struggle over Caspian oil
..the November 15 New York Times noted, “Such suspicions have been fuelled in Russia by American attempts to persuade former Soviet republics in the region to build an oil pipeline that would skirt Russia and Iran.”
This broadly hints at a key issue in the present conflict in Chechnya. What is being played out there is a great power struggle between the US, Russia and Europe over control of the strategically vital Caucasus, which borders on the Caspian Sea, site of the world's largest deposit of untapped oil reserves…
The Screw-up:
An article in Britain's Observer newspaper on Sunday, March 12 claims to have uncovered evidence of Russian secret service involvement in last year's bombing of two Moscow apartment houses. The blasts killed 200 people.
The bomb was uncovered in the basement of the block on September 22 at 9 p.m. after Vladimir Vasiliev, an engineer, reported to police that three strangers were behaving suspiciously nearby. Police arrested the three.
According to the Observer, "They were Russian, not Chechen, and when arrested by local police they flashed identity cards from the FSB—the new styling for the KGB, the secret police Putin headed before he became acting President." Two days after the arrest, the FSB announced that the third bomb had been a "training exercise"
The police later traced the car, which had deposited the sacks (of explosives) to the FSB (formerly the KGB). An FSB spokesman declared later that the sacks had been put there as a training exercise. The Moscow bombings were seen as a precursor to the re-invasion of Chechnya by Russian forces.,2763,446274,00.html
The Propaganda War:
It smacks of a public relations move. Today, Putin warns the people about imminent terrorist acts in Russia and, tomorrow, the frightened people come to Putin as to a savior. The "psychological attack" on the voter has to be properly put together. The threat is terrorism, the terrorists are Chechen bandits and their accomplices. People have to have a clear idea of who their enemy is.
The Sequel, World Trade Center, 911
Afghanistan offers a pipeline route through an area not dominated by Russia and subsequently a base for direct access to this area.
To the north of Afghanistan is one of the world's wealthiest oil fields, on the Eastern Shore of the Caspian Sea in republics formed since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Here, U.S. oil companies are involved in a boom larger than any in the last 40 years in this region. Untold wealth is at stake -- but it depends on getting the oil out of the landlocked region through a warm water port.
Warring Nation Holds Key to Oil Riches of Central Asia. 12-Oct-1996
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.
Largely unexplored and almost completely unexploited, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan , all formerly components of the Soviet Union, but now independent, are known to possess vast oil and gas reserves. As supplies from the Persian Gulf begin to peter out next century, these will become highly significant.
No one knows how much hydrocarbon wealth lies beneath central Asia's deserts, but most of the world's major oil companies are already prospecting there. "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.
But there is an immense problem. The Central Asian republics are all land-locked and there is no way to get the oil and gas out. So a race has begun to find a route. There are three main contenders, 1. Russia… 2. Iran… 3. Georgia…
But to Western, and especially American interests, none of these options look attractive. Hence the attractions of Afghanistan. Another pipeline route exists, and is already at a detailed planning stage. This pipeline, initially for gas, would begin in the Dauletabad field in central Turkmenistan, traverse Afghanistan along Herat-Kandahar corridor, territory controlled by the Taleban, and exit into Pakistan.
The cost would run into billions of pounds, with a figure of $2 billion quoted for a short pipeline to Pakistan. Oil industry insiders say the dream of securing a pipeline across Afghanistan is the main reason why Pakistan, a close political ally of America has quietly acquiesced in its conquest of Afghanistan. Pakistan is keen to have a source of oil that bypasses Iran and Russia.
Turkmenistan joined NATO's Partnership for Peace in May 1994 and is planning to build pipelines through Afghanistan to Pakistan, India, China and Japan.
Afghanistan’s significance from an energy ..
The next middle east...
In an article entitled “The ‘Great Game' continued” in the July-September 2000 issue of World Affairs, Rahul Peter Das commented: “The US, ….., seems to prefer links that do not have to traverse Russia, China or Iran…..But this route to the sea has to traverse the connecting link between Central and South Asia, namely Afghanistan”
So the Americans step in:
In 1997 the US Congress passes a resolution declaring the Caspian and Caucasus region to be a “zone of vital American interests”.
Energy Secretary Bill Richardson told Stephen Kinzer of the New York Times, “We've made a substantial political investment in the Caspian and it's very important to us that both the pipeline map and the politics come out right.”
February 1998, Doug Bereuter, the US House Committee on International Relations chairman, noted…a new Great Game, where the interests of the East India Trading Company have been replaced by those of Unocal (United oil of California)…
The First Partners: The Taleban
Unocal set up a deal with the Taleban to build pipelines through Afghanistan and pay transit fees. After finishing the feasibility study Unocal, which may have had no intention to pay anyone anything, pulled out citing pressure from "feminist" groups.
However Unocal has confirmed that politics played a major part in freezing the project, and according to industry sources in Dubai, the US government had advised Unocal to shelve the project. "The company was told that Washington, which once supported the pipeline project, is no longer in favor under the present conditions in Afghanistan,"
The Double-Cross
Nov 2000, US plans to attack Afghanistan and replace the Taleban.
..there are a number of indications that the US, in concert with Russia, India and some of the Central Asian republics is considering military strikes against Afghanistan. The Far Eastern Economic Review… in mid-November…
India and Pakistan were informed in June of the US intention to invade Afghanistan before the first snowfalls in mid-October of this year. As with the Chechen war, once the snow falls the war ceases until the following spring giving ample time for reinforcements.
Report: Terror Plot in Works 5 years
“hijackers began casing Logan International Airport as much as a year ago”
But The New Partners, The Russians, Become Nervous
The Russians had earlier welcomed U.S. oil companies into Central Asia in the hopes of promoting a U.S.-Russian partnership. But suddenly they began to worry that the U.S. was going for broke to wrest control of the region's abundant fossil fuel resources for itself.
The Next Double-Cross
And so 2 weeks before the WTC attack Russia held its annual military exercises on the northern border of Afghanistan to defend itself from a US air attack emanating from Afghanistan, the press thought this absurd at the time, a US air attack from Afghanistan ???.
Headline - The annual Russian military exercises again tackle mythical threats....
The new-new partners:
The “key element”, the co-operation and support of the 15,000 fighters of the Northern Alliance, currently the Taleban opposition.
Make an offer he can’t refuse.
Massood, the leader of the Northern Alliance, spent 10 years fighting the Russians and was highly regarded by all.
He was invited in April to meet with Western officials, his first overseas trip. Although happy to accept support he was however against foreign interference on Afghanistan soil.
"Give us support but not weapons", says Afghanistan's Massood, "We do not need foreign troops or advisors"
Last year, author and journalist Sebastian Junger spent a month with the rebel forces fighting in Afghanistan.
…Massood was fiercely independent, accepting little, if any, direction from Pakistan, which controlled the flow of American arms to the Mujahedeen. His independence made it impossible for the CIA to trust him…
He refused.
Sept 9, an attempt is made on the life of Massood. We are now told by the US that he worked for them.
The suicide bombing attack on the CIA-backed Massood bears telltale marks of being the work of Mr. bin Laden and his supporters, according to U.S. intelligence sources.
Massood died at 10 a.m in Khodja Bahauddin, northern Takhar province in a suicide attack by two men posing as television journalists. One was from Morocco and one from Tunis, spokesman Abdullah said in a telephone interview. "It was a brutal attack on Massood by terrorists," said Abdullah, accusing Osama bin Laden of orchestrating the assault. Abdullah, like many Afghans, uses only one name. The bombers were identified as Mohammed Karim Tushani of Morocco and Mohammed Qasim of Tunis.
Mohammed who ?
Afghani opposition leader's murderers 'killed during attack'
A ministry of foreign affairs spokesman has named the terrorists as Moroccan-born Kassim Bocouli and Karim Souzani, they were carrying stolen Belgian passports, Gazet van Antwerpen reports.
Massood’s brother gives a different version.
The military chief of forces fighting Afghanistan's governing Taliban was unconscious and in serious condition with head injuries Monday following a suicide bombing attack, his brother Wali said. According to Wali the suicide bombers were traveling on Belgian passports, with a multiple Pakistani visa issued by the Pakistani Embassy in London. "The whole thing was organized by Pakistanis and some Arab circles, that was for sure,".
“I spoke to his doctor one hour ago and he said that his condition is stabilizing," He added that the veteran Afghan commander was flown immediately to Duchanbe, Tajikistan, following the explosion yesterday afternoon.
Bring out the dead….
Afghanistan's opposition commander Ahmed Shah Massood has died, the French foreign minister says. This assassination fills me with very great sadness." "The reports about the death are false," said Dr Abdullah, a spokesman for Massood. "He is in critical condition, but he is not dead."- Sept 14
Massood’s replacement pledged full support of the Northern Alliance and its 15,000 fighters for the US invasion
Sept 11, Two days later:
Edward Girardet: Was the Massood killing a signal to start airliner attacks on America?
“They said they were Moroccans, preparing a television report. But they were not very forthcoming. We chatted in French while we waited for the dust to clear so Masood's helicopter could land. The two men, aged about 25 and 35, were dressed like Westerners, wearing jeans and T-shirts.
One had wire-rimmed spectacles… Three days later, they staged their attack while filming the interview with a booby-trapped camera. That is the puzzling thing. No Afghan would ever carry out a suicide attack. They do not happen in Afghanistan, where they are deemed to be against Islam. I was struck by the similar profile of the Massood bombers to that of the 19 hijackers wanted by America for the terror attacks in New York and Washington.. Like the US attacks, said to have been five years in the making, the Massood assassination must also have taken a long time to prepare..”
“You must look inside. F-16s don’t scramble in time, though they had 18 minutes after the first plane hit the World Trade Center. Radar gets jammed. Transponders are turned off. A flight to Los Angeles turns to Washington and is in the air for 45 minutes, and the world’s most sophisticated air defense doesn’t go into action.” - Pakistan general
"I am not against the American people," Osama bin Laden told me. "Only their government.".. I remembered those words this week.. “And I remembered, too, how in that last meeting he had seized on the Arabic language newspapers I was carrying and scurried to a corner of the tent to read them for 20 minutes, ignoring both his fighters and myself.. Didn't he even have a radio, I asked myself? Was this really the ‘godfather of world terror?’” – Robert Fisk
'We are being asked to support a war whose aims appear to be as misleading as they are secretive' We are told by the Americans that this war will be different to all others. But one of the differences appears to be that we don't know who we are going to fight and how long we are going to fight for.
28 September 2001
USA yet to offer NATO evidence on Attacks
Russia Strikes Back
Oct 3. After a meeting with the Russians the Northern Alliance became a little nervous about their new friends. What were they told ???
— the Northern Alliance has changed its previous stand on the U.S. military presence. The Alliance is now calling on the U.S. to launch powerful air-strikes on the Taliban forces, but they're saying an American ground operation in Afghanistan is no longer welcome. Once the U.S. bombs the soul out of the Taliban, the Alliance troops claim to be ready to finish the job on the ground themselves.,8599,176157,00.html
Hijackers trained by pentagon
Subject: Suicide bomber stats
168 The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka and in India
52 Hizbullah and pro-Syrian groups in Lebanon, Kuwait and Argentina
22 Hamas in Israel
15 The Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) in Turkey
8 The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Israel
2 Al Qaida in East Africa
1 The Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) in Croatia
1 The Islamic Group (IG) in Pakistan
1 Barbar Khalsa International (BKI) in India
1 The Armed Islamic Group (GIA) in Algeria
Source: Jane's Intelligence Review (October 20, 2000)
Anti©opyrights Sludge 2001
C.D. Sludge
Scoop Publisher
Alastair Thompson is the co-founder of Scoop. He is of Scottish and Irish extraction and from Wellington, New Zealand. Alastair has 24 years experience in the media, at the Dominion, National Business Review, North & South magazine, Straight Furrow newspaper and online since 1997. He is the winner of several journalism awards for business and investigative work.
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