Greens warn that renewed plans for the Trans-Afghan oil pipeline may threaten hopes for peace in Afghanistan and the region, and that the U.S. must reduce reliance on oil

Green Party activists and candidates have begun to express alarm that the focus of the War Against Terrorism is entering a new phase, shifting from an effort to ensure international security and bringing those behind the September 11 attacks to justice into military protection for U.S.-based corporations — especially the fossil fuel industry - seeking control over foreign resources and markets.

After Hamid Karzai, the interim Prime Minister of Afghanistan, met with Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf last week, they announced their endorsement of the construction of the trans-Afghanistan pipeline to transport oil from deposits in Turkmenistan with processing centers in Pakistan.

BEN MANSKI, Wisconsin Green, member of the national Steering Committee of the Green Party of the United States: “The Unocal corporation lobbied for years for the pipeline through Afghanistan, but the Taliban’s connection with the bombing of U.S. embassies in Africa made pipeline prospects difficult since 1998.  

Americans need to know that the recent defeat of the Taliban regime revived hopes for the pipeline, as did the selection of Karzai, under heavy U.S. pressure, during the recent Berlin talks on Afghanistan’s future. Hamid Karzai is a former top adviser to Unocal, and helped Unocal negotiate with the Taliban to construct the CentGas [Central Asia Gas] pipeline.”

Greens note furthermore that Karzai worked with Zalmay Khalilzad on the pipeline deal. Khalilzad is now President Bush’s Special National Security Assistant and presidential Special Envoy for Afghanistan. The Bush White House does not mention Karzai’s and Khalilzad’s ties to Unocal and the pipeline. Greens also note that Enron conducted the feasability study for the pipeline, and that Halliburton, at which Vice President Cheney served as CEO, will be a major benefactor from the pipeline deal.

TED GLICK, Green Party of New Jersey candidate for the U.S. Senate: “If the focus of the war changes from justice for September 11 to an opportunity to impose exploitation of Afghan land, resources, and people for the benefit of corporate profits and American oil consumption, then we’re resetting the stage for future hostility against the U.S. Such a project would require continued military occupation and would threaten the promise of Afghan democracy. Greens believe that the people of the west, of Islamic nations, and of the rest of the world want peace and justice. We reject Bush’s dangerous comic book rhetoric about evil empires — a smokescreen to conceal agenda like the pipeline.”

TOM SEVIGNY, Connecticut Green, member of the national Steering Committee: “Bush, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, and apologists for the war in the media have called the conflict everything from a ‘Clash of Civilizations’ to ‘crusades’ to ‘Good vs. Evil.’ What we’re really seeing is a clash between two fundamentalist ideologies: theocratic(manifested at its violent worst in al Qaeda and the Taliban) versus global corporate dominance. It’s the latter which has perpetuated the U.S.’s overconsumption of environmentally harmful fossil fuels.”

“Think of what’s at risk because of our addiction to oil and projects like the pipeline — stability in central Asia, the Alaskan wilderness, the air we breathe, stability of the world’s climate system. The only resolution to this conflict is the Green one: conversion from oil, gas, and nuclear power to clean solar, wind, bio-fuels, and fuel cell energy; helping Afghans achieve economic and political democracy. We must learn how to live in harmony with the one billion Muslims and the many other people who live in the same world we do.”

Greens note that the same dedication to oil interests informs U.S. policy in the Western Hemisphere. President Bush included a request for $98 million in his 2003 budget proposal to Congress for military training and support for Colombian troops to defend an Occidental Petroleum pipeline in northeastern Colombia — suggesting that the purposes behind Plan Colombia and the War on Drugs are more complicated than publicly admitted.

More information:

The Green Party of the United States
Green Party National Office
1314 18th Street, NW, lower level,
Washington, DC 20036
202-296-7755, 866-41GREEN (toll-free)

Ted Glick, Green Party of New Jersey candidate for the U.S. Senate

”Musharraf, Karzai agree major oil pipeline in co-operation pact.” The Irish Times (AFP and Reuters story), Wednesday, February 20, 2002

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