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Once again the Afghan pipeline comes up in a recommended diary.

Once again, I can only say: this pipeline will not happen, it cannot happen, it did NOT justify the war back in 2001 and it does not justify it today. [update: Not added - was a typo, sorry!]

I debunked the conspiracies back in 2005 and I update that diary below.

Why it will not be built can be explained by having a detailed look at how pipelines are financed and paid for, and looking at how this applies to this project.


Just to be clear, the TAP (Trans-Afghan-Pipeline or Turmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan) is a proposed natural gas pipeline which would go from the gas fields of Turkmenistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan. All that follows below applies to both oil and gas pipelines, but I'll focus on the gas case as it is what concerns us here.


A pipeline is very literally like a chain - all links must be in place for the whole chain to have any value at all. In the case of a pipeline, the links include a gas field to provide the throughput, the construction of the pipeline, the continued operation of the pipe, and a purchase of the gas on the other side.


What is essential to note is that to get any revenue from a pipeline, you need the whole chain to be in place - you cannot have two thirds of a pipeline, and you need both the gas production and the gas consumption. That means that all the investments must come upfront and all the revenues will come only after all the spending has been made. As the tag price for a pipeline usually runs in billions of dollars (the typical price can be around 1-3 millions dollars per kilometer, depending on its size and the ground it covers), and that the flow of gas going through it to justify its construction will be worth several tens of billions or dollars this means that financing such an investment is a fundamental question:


if you cannot say who is able AND willing to guarantee several tens of billion dollars of gas or cash on the table TODAY, IRREVOCABLY, then your project will not fly.


Let me explain how this is usually done.


A pipeline is usually built by a gas producer who wants to gain access to the market or to a specific customer, by a customer needing access to gas reserves (think big customers like a power plant, a chemical factory or an aluminium producer), by a third party (usually, a specialised pipleine operator acting on behalf of the producer or the customer), or by any combination of the 3.


A gas producer wants to bring its gas to a market at the lowest cost possible. It has a good idea of how much gas he can produce and thus ship, and can determine a cost per unit of gas, which it can compare to the price it expects to sell the gas and its own cost of production. If the producer is reasonably confident to be able to sell its gas over the requisite duration (typically 15-20 years or more), it will invest in the pipeline, on a cost basis (i.e. the pipeline will effectively part of the cost of production of the gas from its perspective).


A gas purchaser is in a symetrical situation. It needs to connect to the site where gas is available (whether an individual gas field or a place where the gas grid already exists); it know how much gas it needs over the life of its industrial asset (again, 20-30 year periods are fairly standard) and the cost that this adds to the purchase price of gas over the long term.


A third party will build a pipeline if it can profit from it, as it is not involved in either gas production or consumption and cannot make a profit from the rest of the chain. It is possible to build "merchant" projects, i.e. "build it and they will come" - you build the infrastructure and charge for its use. This is possible only in places where there is a lot of suply and a lot of demand and not enough transport capacity, which does not happen very often. In most cases, the third party is a pipeline operator acting on behalf of the gas producer or consumer, and the ownership is shared between them in various combinations (everything is possible); the only important thing in that configuration is that the pipeline is an independent entity which must make a profit.


In that situation, there are several ways to remunerate the pipeline company:

  • a simple tariff, proportional to the volume of gas shipped
  • a "capacity" charge: i.e. the user pays for the right to use a given fraction of the pipeline capacity, whether it actually uses this capacity or not
  • or any combination of the two.

A typical situation is a capacity charge which is high enough to guarantee a minimum level of revenues (ideally, enough to pay off the initial investment on its own), and a low tariff which reflects operational costs for the use of the pipeline and provide potential profit for the pipeline operator (a minimum level of use will provide a small profit, a full utilisation will yield a nicer, but never extravagant, profit).


Another way to materialise such arrangements are "ship-or-pay" contracts, whereby there is only a tariff proportional to the volume, but with an obligation to pay it anyway, up to a certain value, even if the corresponding volume is not shipped (the shipper then getting "make up" rights - i.e. it can ship more without paying for it again if it exceeds the requisite volumes in future periods.


The essence of all these arrangements is that someone has to commit to provide a minimum level of revenues to the pipeline operations in order to pay off the initial capital investment. Such commitment is what makes a project economic and usually makes it financeable as well.


For someone to commit to paying such tariff - and remember, a pipeline usually requires 15 years of operations for the tariff to make economic sense - it has to have a pretty good certainty that (i) it will need the capacity for such a period, ((ii) it will have use for it and (iii) it will be able to afford it. Such a commitment to pay can be a major financial drain if the corresponding revenues (from selling the gas or from using it) are not there.


So we're back to our initial questions, but with more details:

  • are there enough gas reserves to fill up the pipeline capacity for the requisite 15-20 years?
  • is the gas producer able to produce the requisite volume for 15 years? (has he invested enough to produce the gas?; is the production profile compatible with the transport infrastructure? are all the permits, authorisations, etc... necessary to exploit the gas fields available, and can they be expected to remain in place? do the production costs - including all taxes - make sense in view of the whole chain?)
  • is the gas producer committed to delivering these volumes through ths pipeline?
  • are the proposed construction costs for the pipeline realistic, and will the construction schedule be met?
  • is the pipeline operator experienced and able to keep it functioning for the required duration at the required capacity?
  • has the pipeline obtained all the necessary permits, licences, authorisations from all relevant authorities?
  • will there be a market or a buyer to take all the gas for the requisite 15-20 years?
  • are the purchasers able to pay for the gas for the period?

which can also be identified as follows:

  • reserve and production risk
  • producer commitment risk
  • construction and operation risk

  • market and price risk
  • political risk
  • buyers' counterparty risk

ALL these risks must be acceptable for the project to make sense. Any major issue in any of these categories is sufficient to kill the project. Banks and investors look at it the same way, with the simple difference that, as banks' revenues are imited at most to the interrst income, they  also want to limit their risk. As a result, they usually get a first dip in the revenue, after operating costs but before investor revenues.


So, what about our Afghani project? Let's look at all the above points in turn:

- gas reserves and production

That's clearly the strong point of such a project: Turkmenistan has massive gas reserves (the fourth in the world) and it already has significant production capacity (including inutilised capacity since the break up of the Soviet Union). So the requisite gas is most likely there and could be produced and shipped in the required volumes.

- gas delivery commitment

Unfortunately, this is the biggest hurdle for the project: you need to trust the Turkmens to deliver their gas to the pipeline for the next 15 years. The risk is especially important as Turkmenistan is the only possible source of gas for the pipeline and their continued participation in the scheme is therefore essential. The risk is two-fold:

  • the political risk is extremely high, with Turkmenistan an authoritarian regime with no prospects for peaceful transition of power, and with deep ties to Russia's Gazprom.
  • the second item, and more important one, is that Turkmenistan already has an available route to export its gas via the pipelines going North to Russia. These pipelines have been built a while ago (during Soviet times) and do not have to be paid for anymore. They are thus available immediately, and at a very low cost (operating costs, which are usually low for pipelines). That means that it is quite easy for the buyer of gas at the end of these pipelines (currently, the Russian monopoly Gazprom) to offer at any time a higher net price for Turkmen gas than they can get on the other side.

The fact that the Afghan pipeline would not be competitive is thus a major obstacle to its economic rationality, as it threatens the availability of the Turkmen gas volumes.

- construction and operations

This is not an dealkiller, as pipelines have been built in many difficult or harsh places, but it is clearly a challenge. Building a pipeline requires bringing massive quantities of steel (count a few hundred tons per kilometer) - and the workers to put them in place to locations out of reach of roads and other transportation modes. Afghanistan has few roads, a harsh climate, and it would thus be a complex logistical exercise. The risks are thus both high as regards the cost of construction and its time schedule. and any delay has major economic implications as interest costs run on the full amount of the initial investment and are compounded as delays mount.

- market and price risk

The proposed market for the gas to be shipped is the Pakistani market, and possibly (but after additional investments are made), the Indian market (requiring an additional pipeline between the two countries, subject ot the same hurdles as the first one) or the international market (requiring the construction of a liquefaction plant on the Pakistani coast). The Pakistani market is likely to grow over the coming years, but it is a hard market to assess. In any case, the pipeline company would not want to distribute the gas itself and would thus rely on a local counterparty, in all lielihood the national gas company (Pakistan Petroleum Ltd, PPL). The project thus requires this company to commit to take the requisite volumes for the requisite period, and to pay for it over the duration - in hard currency. This is a risk that the banking market will NOT bear and that international oil & gas companies are unlikely to take themselves except if they have a natural hedge through local production, which is incompatible with a pipeline import project. Multilateral institutions like the Asian Development Bank or the World Bank might be able to do it, as well as export credit agencies (government agencies from the rich countries which subsidise exports from their countries by guaranteeing payment risk), but they usually require commercial banks to share a part of the risk in such big projects.


The recent experiences of Dabhol  (a big power plant in India) and Argentina further show that if the demand is there and the price (in dollar terms) is guaranteed by a public body, the commitment to pay these amounts in situations when there is a currency devaluation but no significant increase of domestic prices for gas or electricity is very weak, and investors end up being paid in worthless local currency - starkly insufficient to repay dollar debt.

- political risk

This is also a major obstacle. This is a 3-country project, and these are extremely rare. As far as I know, the BTC pipeline from Azerbaijan to Turkey via Georgia is the only recent example, and it's taken the combined might of BP and a dozen other oil majors with 5 billion barrels of oil on their hands and no other way to bring them to the market, the full support of the US government (fighting against Russia and Iran), the presence of the World Bank, the EBRD and 6 Western government export credit agencies to pull it through - and it's taken 10 years.

In this case, you can argue that you probably have the worst combination imaginable - an unpredictable dictator, a country with warring local warlords and almost no centralised government, a full-scale insurgency against foreign occupiers and a highly unstable country - and you need each of them to be happy at all times for a full 15 years, not renege on ANY of their commitments, and not try at any time to get a better deal (with each being absolutely indispensable to the project). Hard to imagine, even with 100,000 US soldiers on the ground...

- counterparty risk

as all counterparties in the 3 countries are public entities, this is fairly similar here to political risk with the price risk added in Pakistan. There are no majors involved in gas production in Turkmenistan, and none in gas consumption in pakistan, so you rely in each case on the local actors. The pipeline would likely be built by a consortium including an oil major, and you could expect that part to be at least manageable, but that's not enough.


So, you're going to tell me, if this project is as impossible as I claim, why do we keep hearing about it? And why do we find these suspicious connections between senior political figures in Afghanistan and oil companies?


Fair questions, but with relatively simple to answer in fact.


The 3 countries would like this project to exist. Turkmenistan would like to have an alternative to Russia to sell its gas to, Afghanistan would like the transit revenues it would bring, and Pakistan does need gas and this is one of the options. A lot of people are going to tell the authorities of these countries the things they want to hear, i;e. that this project can be built in a painless way. Some institutions may have other interests (the ADB would like to show that it can do a major oil&gas project, some of the oil producers have operations in Pakistan that they may want to protect or expand, and various countries in and out of the region have various interests involved and want to support their allies and their pet projects). The question, as stated above is - who will guarantee 25 billion dollars upfront in this project? Putting a few million to conduct feasibility studies, naming a roving ambassador that makes speeches, etc... costs nothing to an oil major or a big country, and brings various diplomatic or relationship advantages, but it does not finance or build a project.


So, please, please, do not use the Afghan pipeline as an example of nasty oilmen conspiracies. There are enough of these going on not to focus on those that have no serious basis in reality. It just makes you lose credibility with those that know anything about the sector.


Remember, oil is a mutli-hundred-billion dollar business. Spending a few million here or there to make or keep friends and make them believe you are their friend is a small investment in the larger scheme of things. Making big announcements is a way of life for politicians and it costs oil companies little [ed: word added for clarity] to flatter them by letting them having their ways and the positive PR even if there is nothing behind the announcements.


It's not because Halliburton does evil stuff (mostly scamming the US government by the way) that everything that any oil company does is evil or suspicious...


please bring up your questions or suspicious quotes and I will try to answer them as best as I can.

Originally posted to Jerome a Paris on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 07:42 AM PST.

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  •  Did you really mean to write: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RunawayRose, Seneca Doane, TomP

    it did justify the war back in 2001

    "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

    by MRA NY on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 07:45:47 AM PST

  •  Well said, Jerome. (6+ / 0-)

    Besides, if there was a big gas/oil opportunity in Afghanistan, asshole bush would have had the mililtary build the pipeline himself...and that would have distracted him from the distraction that became Iraq.

    I always take life with a grain of salt...plus a slice of lemon...and a shot of tequila.

    by darthstar on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 07:55:12 AM PST

  •  I'm hotlisting this one, (10+ / 0-)

    so I can read it at leisure.  I'm going to need time to savor it.

  •  Jerome, if our 8-year long occupation is not (23+ / 0-)

    about natural gas, and you argue very convincingly that it isn't, what do you think it is about?

    "The truth shall set you free - but first it'll piss you off." Gloria Steinem

    Save the Internet!

    by One Pissed Off Liberal on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:07:59 AM PST

    •  It's about 9/11 and the deliberate incompentence (12+ / 0-)

      of the Bush administration.

      •  Hmm... (5+ / 0-)

        deliberate incompetence.  Not sure.  If by that you mean that the Bush administration did not care whether true success was achieved as long as it appeared that success was being achieved or had been achieved then yes.  But if you meant that they purposefully set about to screw it up - I don't think so.  

        "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

        by newfie on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:28:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It depends on whose definition (5+ / 0-)

          of "screw it up" you're using.

          Contractors made lots of money. Billions were "disappeared." And the heroin trade was restored within weeks.

          Whether that's a screw up or "mission accomplished" depends on who benefits, I suppose.

          If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

          by rhetoricus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:39:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Right. (3+ / 0-)
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            rhetoricus, ColoTim, Calamity Jean

            I think that what you and I would consider important issues - such as quality workmanship, financial accountability, providing valuable services, protecting people etc do not coincide with what Bush and Cheney saw as important.

            They might say - what do you mean?  Our financial backers made lots of money and were very happy with the outcome.

            "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

            by newfie on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:46:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  The Taliban only suppressed the heroin trade (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ColoTim, kimoconnor

            because there was a glut of heroin in 2000-early 2001. If it meant a gullible US government coughed up $50 million, all the better.

            In the late 1990s, the Taliban tolerated/encouraged the heroin trade. It was likely one of the few sources of dollars/euros they had.

            •  Control of the heroin trade (0+ / 0-)

              is control of a royal shitload of money, is all I'm sayin'. Why don't Republicans ever invade countries with no resources to commandeer or steal?

              If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

              by rhetoricus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:01:03 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm guessing by American standards (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Calamity Jean

                the heroin trade isn't that much. But if someone needs a couple billion extra off-the-books dollars, I guess it'd be useful.

                Or, the powers that be see a resurgent heroin trade as less of a risk than a resurgent al-Qa'eda given free rein to plot and plan and train and whatever else medieval terrorists do in their time.

                the pipeline is one of those pipe dreams, like the PNAC theory that if Iraq was turned into a Jeffersonian democracy, then the rest of the region would fall into place.

                •  A couple billion (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  STPickrell

                  "off-the-books" dollars is a lot of money where I come from. Of course, the Pentagon "lost" 2.3 trillion under Rumsfeld, so, you know, why grow and sell the source of income when you can just steal it?

                  If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

                  by rhetoricus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:08:28 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  The Bushies were against the idea of government (0+ / 0-)

            at all, and in order to get rid of it made it as inefficient as possible. Witness Katrina.

            •  No, they love government (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bewert

              ..as their corporate ATM, as a means to legitimize vile, destructive policies, and as a vehicle by which to spy, kidnap, torture, and generally control.

              They're just against the idea of government being in any way helpful to the people paying for it, or to the people it's supposed to represent.

              If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

              by rhetoricus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 12:45:44 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Do you really want to know? (39+ / 0-)

      It was about kicking some Ay-rab ass after 9/11.

      :: ::

      A case can be made that it was initially about catching Ben Laden, and getting rid of the regime that supported him. After that, it was just neglected for years as the Iraq invasion and occupation happened, and now it's mostly about not admitting having lost a second war in a decade.

      •  I think it also goes back to Vietnam, too. (10+ / 0-)

        For Cheney and Rumsfeld, in any event, the Afghanistan situation must seem unnervingly familiar.

        ---

      •  Thanks for your reply. (15+ / 0-)

        I think it's very sad if that's the only reason...not that I believe there could be a very good reason. At any rate, I believe what Matthew Hoh recently said as he resigned in protest:

        The US Has Lost Track of Why It Is in Afghanistan

        "The truth shall set you free - but first it'll piss you off." Gloria Steinem

        Save the Internet!

        by One Pissed Off Liberal on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:37:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Except that the Afghani's are not ay-rabs (10+ / 0-)

        (if Bush did not know this, certainly someone who could read a map and knew a bit about the people that lived there was in the administration). I think it is about more than this ... I agree that it was not about a gas pipeline, they were already working on that in Khazakstan and other new republics from the former soviet union.

        The US was responsible for the situation in Afghanistan largely. In many ways, Afghanistan is another major military causality of the cold war.  It was the US that sponsored and financed Bin Laden and other internal opponents, the Chinese (who wanted to give USSR a nice kick in the backside) sponsored other opponents to challenge and bring down the regime sponsored by the USSR.

        Wahabism is an import ... and was brought into the country. It is a very different version of Islam than what was native to the region.

        Additionally, the fact that they were responsible for the creation of this rogue state where open enemies of the US who were sponsoring and calling for attacks against western democracies. We have the additional complication of the sponsorship of the Taliban by the Pakistani government which was losing control over the situation (this became apparent a couple of years later).

        The current war in Afghanistan was seen by some (who obviously knew nothing about the history of the region) as a cheap bit of reprisal for September 11th and a way of cleaning up the blow-back caused by US foreign policy in the late 70s-early 80s.

        No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

        by NY brit expat on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:57:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's a CT, Jerome. (9+ / 0-)

        Is there any more evidence for your favorite theory than the pipeline theory you've spent so much time debunking?

        •  First off, there's this maxim (4+ / 0-)

          "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."   Look at how easily Ahmed Chalabi rolled the PNAC crowd, who then rolled Bush.

          Then there's Bush's famous "Fuck Saddam, we're taking him out" line from March of 2002.  As shown by the cites here, they wanted him gone well before 9/11 gave them the pretext.  Even as part of the Pentagon was still smoking, Rumsfeld was sending out messages to his subordinates telling them to "go massive" on the search for a Saddam connection to 9/11.

          Then there's the famed Ledeen Doctrine (or Baghdad Delenda Est), as expressed by Jonah Goldberg back in April of 2002:

          Well, I've long been an admirer of, if not a full-fledged subscriber to, what I call the "Ledeen Doctrine." I'm not sure my friend Michael Ledeen will thank me for ascribing authorship to him and he may have only been semi-serious when he crafted it, but here is the bedrock tenet of the Ledeen Doctrine in more or less his own words: "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business." That's at least how I remember Michael phrasing it at a speech at the American Enterprise Institute about a decade ago (Ledeen is one of the most entertaining public speakers I've ever heard, by the way).

          So, yes, the neocons were looking to kick some Ay-rab ass.  Saddam's was the ass of choice, but they were willing to settle for other ass.

          Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

          by Phoenix Woman on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:47:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well first of all, (0+ / 0-)

            I don't agree with that maxim "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." Go with the simplest, most likely explanation. Sometimes that really is malice; sometimes the stupidity really is used as a cover story. Besides, there's little evidence for stupidity as such. They outsmarted a lot of clever Democrats in getting an 8 year run without any checks and balances, didn't they? The evidence we have tells me we still don't understand all the motivations. Attributing it all to simple stupidity seems... well, stupid.

            Secondly, why do you think Chalibi rolled PNAC and the Repubs? An alternative explanation is that they worked in concert to roll us. That would be consistant with the pipeline theory discussed in this diary. What evidence do you have for one vs the other?

            Furthermore, if Cheney&Co had hidden motives in play like a pipeline to build, how is that inconsistant with them wanting to kick Ay-rab ass? Isn't that a logical consequence of their alleged plans either way? I see your evidence as supporting both theories, so it doesn't speak to the question.

            There's the facts known to the public, the facts still secret, and then there's the conjecture. We're theorizing as to the motivations (or lack of). Calling one theory "CT" to discredit it while standing behind another equally "CT" theory does not make a case for anything.

      •  Afghans (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        catnip, TheMomCat, jj24, alstradamus

        are not Arabs.  They're as Caucasian as Dick Cheney.  Got another guess?  

        "I was telling them, 'That's a pretty big hit, eh, for a guy on one foot. Imagine what I can do on two feet,' " Clutterbuck said, grinning.

        by Nada Lemming on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:24:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  In... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jj24

        It was about kicking some Ay-rab ass after 9/11.

        Afghanistan?

        The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

        by Bobjack23 on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:46:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  you want me to believe this was an emotional (3+ / 0-)

        reaction?

        that kind of kicks the 1998, neoconservative PNAC plan, which was followed to the letter, in the ass.  you know - the one where the majority of signatories were put into power under GWB, who carried this out?

        sure.  emotions.  dick cheney, bill kristol, wolfowitz, etc. wanted to kick afghanistan's (oops) hussein's (oops) (who again's) ass.

        don't take us for idiots, please.  in the larger, established view of american global empire, this simpleton explanation doesn't wash.

        I can break Sean Hannity by giving him a middle seat in coach. -Wanda Sykes

        by jj24 on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:02:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The PNAC plan was to invade Iraq.... (0+ / 0-)

          ...not AFghanistan.

          so that seems to say to me your explanation doesn't wash.

          Help me help kids in Afghanistan: www.afghans4tomorrow.com

          by kimoconnor on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 11:24:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  ugh. the PNAC (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            alstradamus

            "Rebuilding America's Defenses" plan was about the role of American military in the New American Century as a function of guarding our access to resources on a global scale.

            Iraq was a key underpinning of the plan to reach that objective, but Iraq wasn't the end goal by any means.

            I can break Sean Hannity by giving him a middle seat in coach. -Wanda Sykes

            by jj24 on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 11:29:08 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Have you read the PNAC charter and if so, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fixed Point Theorem

        why is it not credible to you?

      •  Oh Bullshit, if it was about kicking ass for 9/11 (0+ / 0-)

        I think BushCo would have invaded Pakistan which has always been the true hotbed of Jihadist activity and even knowing this, knowing that the Pakistani ISI was (an still is) actively supporting the Taliban and Al Qada, where the ones who ensured Mullah Omara and BinLaden escaped, Bush still have millions to Pakistan.  

        I'm no expert but it seems as if your whole very well written diary only applies to the "real" world while BushCo and its Merry band of NeCon Madmen were under the impression that they alone could control every facet of industry through military and economic intimidation on any entity that stood in their way. The billions spent in buying the support of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan was not simply for the ability to launch attacks against the Taliban.  

        Energy was always the basis of any of their strategic initiatives therefore all the questions you present and the risk you outlined would have been managed either through direct political subversion to generate positive political will and also remove any potential risk by shielding private developers.

        It seems to me by your very detailed explanation of capital needed in these markets that you believe that this country would have not gone to war to bypass your concerns and what they considered mere barriers that couldn't be removed with a simple threat of military force by alleging the targeted country that they were supporting terrorists.

        In addition to not being about Al Aqada, it was also about containment of an emerging Russia and keeping them from allowing their former sphere of influence becoming US client states. Its all intertwined including the inter-ballistic missile shield and stopping their plan to destabilize Ukraine.  

        Since when is it controversial to call a kettle black?

        by HGM MA on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:44:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It was using 9/11 as an excuse to kick ass (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kimoconnor

          That's what Jerome meant, and he has plenty of justification for that statement.  See here.

          Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

          by Phoenix Woman on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:49:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thats what I'm saying.. it was an excuse to (0+ / 0-)

            go to war, never its true justification. The US did no attack Afghanistan simply to remove Al Qada or the taliban as some kind of revenge. The whole world new that the taliban were being propped up by the ISI and Bush chose to ignore that fact.

            Since when is it controversial to call a kettle black?

            by HGM MA on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:56:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Pakistan made a deal right away (0+ / 0-)

          that kept them out of the direct line of fire (sort of).

          As misguided as the neocons are, they are not stupid enough to think that a pipeline could be built in short order in Afghanistan and decided to invade just so Enron or other similar companies could make some money, maybe, someday.

          This diary is LOGICAL and based on FACTS.

          Help me help kids in Afghanistan: www.afghans4tomorrow.com

          by kimoconnor on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 11:27:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The confusion with the pipeline comes is (0+ / 0-)

            that of course there is no pipeline project as we speak in Afghanistan not was there one for the last 7 years. However, the question is was energy exploitation a primary motivator in the invasion of Afghanistan? I would say an unequivocal yes! It was not about al qada, it was as not about liberation from the taliban because each of those contention can be absolute refuted by FACTS i.e. ISI involvement, US material support to the Taliban in 2001 for drug eradication etc.

            Since when is it controversial to call a kettle black?

            by HGM MA on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 11:41:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, there are many who disagree with you (0+ / 0-)

              If you understand Jerome's diary, and you consider that Afghanistan is likely to be unstable for some years to come, logic tells you that there was no chance to build a pipeline there. So why invade to do something that is not possible?

              Even if some company was foolish enough to put up the cash to build the pipeline, it would require hundreds of thousands of troops to keep it from being blown up.

              The gas would not even be for us, and yet you think that we did all we did just for this project that was impossible from the start?

              Help me help kids in Afghanistan: www.afghans4tomorrow.com

              by kimoconnor on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 11:47:05 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Then people are looking at this from the wrong (0+ / 0-)

                angle because it never made any strategic sense to invade Afghanistan solely to route out Al Qada when there are literally dozens of other countries with better infrastructure more than happy to give them refuge. Furthermore, not to sound like a broken record but why commit billions in resources and American lives when the Taliban would have collapsed without support from the Pakistani Army?  The Pakistanis made a deal that they never followed because it is a fact that they rescued the Taliban leadership out of Afghanistan and put them in hiding in Pakistan.  

                So I'm not saying that I know that there were solid plans to build a pipeline or anything else, I do know that killing terrorist and liberating people we just a bill of goods sold to the American public.

                Then this leads to where we are now, there is absolutely no point for us to be in Afghanistan and the best course we can take is a full and complete withdrawal

                Since when is it controversial to call a kettle black?

                by HGM MA on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 11:57:19 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You expected Bush & Co to be logical? (0+ / 0-)

                  These are right wing neocons, bin Laden was in Afghanistan, there is no way in hell Bush was not going to do anything in retaliation. It is not part of the nature of the right wing to be logical, but VIOLENT force sure as hell is. Bush may have wised bin Laden was in Iraq, but he had to attack Afghanistan in order to show who is the boss!

                  Also, how do you know the Taliban would have fallen without support from Pakistan? And why on earth do you think Pakistan would stop supporting them? Of course Pakistan lied to us and played both sides. They have done this forever.

                  I can also tell you first hand, the Afghans do not want us to leave, they just prefer we help them rebuild than bomb their wedding parties.

                  I think we owe Afghanistan for what we did to them back in the 80's and 90's. We used their nation and then walked away. I am there helping to put it back together, little by little.

                  Help me help kids in Afghanistan: www.afghans4tomorrow.com

                  by kimoconnor on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 12:04:46 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Though Afghans are not ARAB (0+ / 0-)

        But I get your point anyway!

        Help me help kids in Afghanistan: www.afghans4tomorrow.com

        by kimoconnor on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 11:21:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  hmmm (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jerome a Paris

        It was sold as kicking Ay-rab ass, but for the people who made the decision, all we have to do is cherchez l'argent (forgive me if I butchered the French).

        We had to invade Afghanistan in order to set the stage for invading Iraq.  After 9/11, we got the public fired up for war by going after the country where bin Laden was, so they were ready to then go into Iraq.

        And going into Iraq was all about money.  Money for defense contractors and companies like Halliburton.  The President, the VP and the SecDef all benefited personally blind trusts or not and so did their campaign contributors.  And beyond that, they believed they were consolidating the sine qua non of generating money - power.

        At this point, I'm not sure anyone really knows what the war is about.  I guess it's about not admitting having lost like you say.  But it's also about the political impossibility of admitting we never should have gone in in the first place.  And once you don't admit that, it's hard to justify leaving since we obviously haven't accomplished any actual goals beyond making a lot of money for a lot of people who already had a lot.  Well, we killed and wounded hundreds of thousands of people in the two countries as well.

        Want a progressive global warming novel, not a right wing rant? Go to www.edwardgtalbot.com for a free audio thriller.

        by eparrot on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 12:10:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think you are both right (0+ / 0-)

          It was about kicking some ass in retaliation for 9/11 AND they knew they could not go into Iraq first, as I think Rumsfeld and friends wanted.

          Help me help kids in Afghanistan: www.afghans4tomorrow.com

          by kimoconnor on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 02:41:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  It's about heroin ;) (3+ / 0-)

      A huge, untraceable money source.

      The heroin trade was up and running within weeks of our invasion.

      If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

      by rhetoricus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:37:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's All About (0+ / 0-)

      Preserving the Hippie Trail thru the Khyber Pass. Many have already given their all.

      <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

      by superscalar on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:45:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  But, Jerome, it takes too long to read diaries (31+ / 0-)

    full of facts.  The other kind are much easier to manage over breakfast.

    They only call it Class War when we fight back.

    by lineatus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:08:04 AM PST

  •  It's all in one of your last sentences... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    environmentalist, BoxNDox

    Making big announcements is a way of life for politicians and it costs oil companies to flatter them by letting them having their ways and the positive PR even if there is nothing behind the announcements.

    Ain't it the truth!

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:19:36 AM PST

  •  nice ponzi scheme of truth. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Naranjadia
  •  Jerome, (11+ / 0-)

    Can men really kill goats by staring at them?

    "By God, the drugs must be in her underpants." - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

    by stunzeed on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:23:42 AM PST

  •  I think it's the first time (5+ / 0-)

    I've read such a lengthy diary that didn't have pootie pics in it!

    Very well written, thanks.

    Conservatives don't believe in Evolution because it's passed them by...

    by wry twinger on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:24:41 AM PST

  •  Afghanistan War Tied to Iraq (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sherri in TX, Jagger, Geekesque, ColoTim, dzog

    As I understand it, after 9/11 Bush wanted to attack Iraq, but was persuaded that he had to go after Afghanistan first, as that is where bin Laden was hiding out. Bush lost interest in Afghanistan almost immediately, for example contracting out the Tora Bora assault to the locals - who promptly allowed bin Laden to slip away - and pulling specialist forces out of Afghanistan just as they were making headway there because he wanted them in Iraq.

    To the extent that the war has been about oil, it has been about Iraqi oil. Iraq has huge reserves, the infrastructure (well, it did), and the prospect of creating a compliant government that would let American oil companies drain the place. Bush and Cheney almost pulled it off, too.

    On top of all that, your analysis is spot on. I would just add that, geographically as well as politically, a pipeline going west from Turkmenistan would be a lot easier to build and maintain that one going south through the Afghan terrain.

    Republicans can't accept that they've lost. Democrats can't accept that they've won.

    by DanK Is Back on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:25:14 AM PST

    •  A few points: (7+ / 0-)

      As I understand it, after 9/11 Bush wanted to attack Iraq

      Correction: before 9/11 Bush wanted to attack Iraq.

      Iraq has huge reserves, the infrastructure (well, it did), and the prospect of creating a compliant government that would let American oil companies drain the place.

      It's not just about using the oil; it's also about controlling it. Those that control these resources can affect world commodity prices and control global energy markets. They can also deny such control to competing interests like Russia and China.

      ---

      •  Both points are valid (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dzog

        As for the first, I should have phrased it as Bush wanting to attack Iraq immediately because of 9/11, and he was talked into going for Afghanistan first.

        Republicans can't accept that they've lost. Democrats can't accept that they've won.

        by DanK Is Back on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 11:18:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Bushies also thought (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dzog

        that their buddy Chalabi would be in power two months after the invasion and doing their friends at Halliburton, etc. a lot of favors.  They (i.e. Karl Rove) thought the risk was small and the reward large (Bush was too stupid to make a rational risk/reward evaluation.)

  •  Thank you for this diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JohnInOregon

    and I will read it more throughly along with the scare articles I've collected! ;-)

  •  Uh-oh! They'll turn on you like they did Bonddad! (14+ / 0-)

    How dare you attack a pet conspiracy theory here?!  
    ;-)

    Naughty Jerome!  No crêpe with Nutella for you!

    Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

    by Phoenix Woman on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:26:48 AM PST

  •  if the war was supposed to be about a pipeline (9+ / 0-)

    why hasnt it been built yet?

    Laughter is a force for democracy - John Cleese

    by GlowNZ on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:27:57 AM PST

  •  If it's so difficult, how'd Palin get hers built? (7+ / 0-)

    /snark
    tipped and rec'd for debunking reclist CT. Salut!

    I ♥ President Barack Obama

    by ericlewis0 on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:29:55 AM PST

  •  Comments by Daniel Elsberg (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CTPatriot, gatorcog, Nada Lemming

    on Obama and Afghanistan War. There is a link in the article that takes you to the interview. He mentions the pipeline.

    http://www.truthout.org/...

    •  The Ellsburg guy has no creidibility (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      catnip

      He once saw a psychiatrist, you know.  It's All CT with him, all the time.  

      "I was telling them, 'That's a pretty big hit, eh, for a guy on one foot. Imagine what I can do on two feet,' " Clutterbuck said, grinning.

      by Nada Lemming on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:28:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Being right on one thing (0+ / 0-)

        Doesn't guarantee being right on other things.  (Otherwise, we'd all be perfect.)

        Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

        by Phoenix Woman on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:52:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But (0+ / 0-)

          he's an expert on this subject, no?

          "I was telling them, 'That's a pretty big hit, eh, for a guy on one foot. Imagine what I can do on two feet,' " Clutterbuck said, grinning.

          by Nada Lemming on Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 07:38:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And (0+ / 0-)

            not to over reply on this, but does being wrong on one thing guarantee being right on another thing?  I'm thinking of the media, who all got the run up to the war wrong, yet they act as if they have any credibility whatsoever on this occupation.  The reason we went in, what we're ther for, and what "victory" will look like.  

            I'll take Ellsberg any day over Bill Kristol, Wolf Blitzer or Brian Williams.  

            "I was telling them, 'That's a pretty big hit, eh, for a guy on one foot. Imagine what I can do on two feet,' " Clutterbuck said, grinning.

            by Nada Lemming on Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 07:47:34 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  It's a little easier and less risky to build when (3+ / 0-)

    it is paid by the American taxpayer.  If the project fails so what - the oil companies aren't out a penny.  I still believe we were trying to force a pipeline in as per the PNAC.

    •  LOL and you think the US taxpayers will agree.... (0+ / 0-)

      ....to spend billions to build a pipeline that would then take hundreds of thousands of troops to guard and where the gas will end up in Pakistan and/or India?

      And the PNAC was primarily about Iraq, not Afghanistan.

      The only thing I found from PNAC members about Afghanistan prior to 9/11 was one article suggesting Bush give money to Massoud to help him topple the Taliban. No mention of invasion or pipelines. What evidence do you have?

      Help me help kids in Afghanistan: www.afghans4tomorrow.com

      by kimoconnor on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 11:40:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  One point for the CT'rs though. Jerome a Paris (9+ / 0-)

    obviously put more thought into this Diary then GWB43 put into the initial attack and handling of Afghanistan.

    Republicans: They hate us for our Freedom.

    by mikeconwell on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:35:56 AM PST

  •  Thank you!!!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kimoconnor

    Great to see this bit o'sanity re: Afghanistan.

  •  At one point CW said "Watergate" was a (6+ / 0-)

    Wild conspiracy theory on the part of( who were then) relatively Junior reporters.

    When it comes to Shrub et al there are always possibilities.

    Afghanistan:Graveyard to empires-It's not just a bumpersticker

    by JML9999 on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:37:31 AM PST

  •  Thank you for fighting teh stupid. (12+ / 0-)

    My usual response is:

    What f@cking pipeline?

    We invaded in 2001.  It's 2009, and not one inch of pipe has been laid.  

    Moreover, if they really wanted to get a pipeline built, they would have actually tried to stabilize the place instead of diverting resources to Iraq.

    And, of course, it ignores the more logical explanation.

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:37:50 AM PST

    •  I wouldn't be so sure no pipeline has been (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nada Lemming, Dr Marcos

      laid, actually.  Halliburton has been running the show over there for quite some time.  Seems like if they can rape employees with impunity, they would have no trouble starting to secretly lay the infrastructure for pipeline.  And if they haven't yet - the best laid schemes, etc.  Sheer incompetence.  SNAFU.

      •  There is no evidence of any pipeline being built. (6+ / 0-)

        Zero.

        The pipeline theory is a fantasy, and is less based in evidence and logic than 911 Trutherism or Birtherism.

        "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

        by Geekesque on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:43:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What if the pipeline is made out of plexiglass? (5+ / 0-)

          And remember that natural gas is transparent.

          So it could be flowing all this time secretly.

          Perhaps it's a special plexiglass developed especially for this very purpose, so even an Afghan standing 3 feet away wouldn't see it and might bonk his head like they did in that Star Trek "Save the Whales" movie where people kept bonking into the cloaked Klingon warship.

          I think people should go onto Google Maps or Bing Maps and scrutinize every square foot of the terrain, looking for suspicious light reflections that would reveal the presence of the high-tech plexiglass pipeline.

        •  you're wrong (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lysias

          The Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline is not some "fantasy" or "theory". It was in the works and it's been stalled because of conditions on the ground.

          The original project started in March 1995 when an inaugural memorandum of understanding between the governments of Turkmenistan and Pakistan for a pipeline project was signed. In August 1996, the Central Asia Gas Pipeline, Ltd. (CentGas) consortium for construction of a pipeline, led by Unocal was formed. On 27 October 1997, CentGas was incorporated in formal signing ceremonies in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan by several international oil companies along with the Government of Turkmenistan. In January 1998, the Taliban, selecting CentGas over Argentinian competitor Bridas Corporation, signed an agreement that allowed the proposed project to proceed. In June 1998, Russian Gazprom relinquished its 10% stake in the project. Unocal withdrew from the consortium on 8 December 1998.

          The new deal on the pipeline was signed on 27 December 2002 by the leaders of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.[1] In 2005, the Asian Development Bank submitted the final version of a feasibility study designed by British company Penspen. Since the United States military overthrew the Taliban government, the project has essentially stalled; construction of the Turkmen part was supposed to start in 2006, but the overall feasibility is questionable since the southern part of the Afghan section runs through territory which continues to be under de facto Taliban control.

          On 24 April 2008, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan signed a framework agreement to buy natural gas from Turkmenistan.[2]

          "I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats." - Eckhart Tolle

          by catnip on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:03:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It is exactly that (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Phoenix Woman, kimoconnor

            a fantasy and a theory: a possibly nice idea in theory, but one that is impossible to put in practice because it makes no sense to even try.

            •  according to who? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              o the umanity

              You?

              Sorry but that's not good enough.

              The countries in the region didn't think it was impossible. Neither did major corporations or financiers.

              If Afghanistan wasn't such a clusterfuck of corruption and military instability, that pipeline would be well on its way to completion.

              Calling it "impossible" dooms it for eternity. Are you willing to bet that it won't happen in the future just based on your opinion?

              "I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats." - Eckhart Tolle

              by catnip on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:30:19 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  But who wants that pipeline? (0+ / 0-)

                And who's dooming it?

                I want world peace and Nutella; doesn't mean I'm getting it.  (Well, maybe the Nutella.)

                Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

                by Phoenix Woman on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:56:31 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  If Afghanistan was at peace..... (0+ / 0-)

                ....I would hope that they could cut a great deal and get the pipeline built.

                It would mean JOBS and REVENUE for the nation.

                But despite all the companies who WANT peace and security to build this, do you really think it will happen any time soon? Anyone who knows about this place would say no. Thus no one is investing in it today.

                And would YOU invest billions on a bet there will be peace there soon? Oh, and yeah, there also needs to be peace between Pakistan and India and Turkmenistan etc. etc.

                Fat chance

                Help me help kids in Afghanistan: www.afghans4tomorrow.com

                by kimoconnor on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 11:50:35 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  but (0+ / 0-)

                  Do you agree with Jerome who called it "impossible"? That's what I was responding to.

                  "I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats." - Eckhart Tolle

                  by catnip on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 12:18:15 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  For the foreseeable future, yes I agree with him (0+ / 0-)

                    Do you think the US would send hundreds of thousands of troops to guard this IF any company was willing to finance building of such a pipeline?

                    I mean, what evidence is there that this is going to happen or that this was the reason we went to Afghanistan in the first place?

                    Help me help kids in Afghanistan: www.afghans4tomorrow.com

                    by kimoconnor on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 12:32:43 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  round and round (0+ / 0-)

                      Do you think the US would send hundreds of thousands of troops to guard this IF any company was willing to finance building of such a pipeline?

                      See: War, Iraq

                      I mean, what evidence is there that this is going to happen or that this was the reason we went to Afghanistan in the first place?

                      What evidence (not conjecture - not opinion) is there that this wasn't the reason or that it isn't going to (ever) happen?

                      "I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats." - Eckhart Tolle

                      by catnip on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 01:05:11 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  My response (0+ / 0-)
                        1. we do not have hundreds of thousands of troops in Iraq, and never did. It would take that many to guard a pipeline, and I simply do not see us sending that number there to protect something we do not even need.
                        1. The argument here from some is that we went to war to secure a pipeline in Afghanistan. In another diary the guy went over the deep end suggesting we are currently torturing people to get fake intel so we can stay in Afghanistan and that we are positioning troops to guard this yet to be built pipeline. Jerome replied to that nonsense with this diary full of facts about what is needed to build such a pipeline.

                        Now, who is using conjecture here? It is certainly not Jerome or myself.

                        Help me help kids in Afghanistan: www.afghans4tomorrow.com

                        by kimoconnor on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 01:20:15 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  here's the bottom line (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          o the umanity

                          Jerome does not have conclusive proof that this war was not about oil. All he has is conjecture.

                          "I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats." - Eckhart Tolle

                          by catnip on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 05:41:06 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Thank you n/t (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            catnip

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 06:31:04 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Where is the oil? (0+ / 0-)

                            Are you talking about Iraq or Afghanistan?

                            Help me help kids in Afghanistan: www.afghans4tomorrow.com

                            by kimoconnor on Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 06:32:40 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  doesn't matter (0+ / 0-)

                            especially in such a dead diary.

                            The overall point being made--and most people got this--was that at the end of the day, there's no more than opinion and conjecture in these "debunking" diaries. Certainly not more than there was in the original piece that supposedly required "debunking" in the first place.

                            The speed and vehemence in which some of these "debunkings" appear and are propped up with iron fists to the top of the Rec List is always good food for thought, if not a cynical chuckle or two, though....

                            Calling it "impossible" dooms it for eternity. Are you willing to bet that it won't happen in the future just based on (your) opinion?

                            Necessity is the mother of revolution...

                            by o the umanity on Sat Nov 07, 2009 at 08:07:34 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

              •  Err (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                IM, kimoconnor

                Neither did major corporations or financiers.

                This is actually my job you know - financing pipelines. I'm one of these "financiers" you're writing about. Did you even read the diary?

          •  No, he's correct. (0+ / 0-)

            No part of the pipeline was ever built.  They never even started construction.  The April 2008 deal killed the project at last as they plan to put the Turkmen gas in a different pipeline.

        •  blah (0+ / 0-)

          blah blah, word-association, birfer, troofer, birfer, buzzword, blah blah, blah, insult.
          Because I said so...

          Necessity is the mother of revolution...

          by o the umanity on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 06:28:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Are you kidding me? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IM

        And people are recommending this?

        Yeah, Halliburton is secretly laying pipelines without any contracts or assurance of ever making a dime.

        That is sure logical. /sarcasm

        Help me help kids in Afghanistan: www.afghans4tomorrow.com

        by kimoconnor on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 11:42:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  This is a problem with the diary (7+ / 0-)

      What f@cking pipeline?

      Asserted as if you have some particular knowledge of what's happening in Afghanistan. I hardly ever see pictures or film from the region. Being a war zone, information is tightly controlled both in and out. How do you know there isn't a pipeline?

      Was the BBC taken in by a fraud here?

      Jerome cites a number, "$25 billion" or so, and asks "who would pay this money?" Oh, I don't know. Major energy contract producers don't float projects across my desks for an "OK" before they get started. Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, some consortium. Unocal was named in the linked article, and the price tag is given at $2 billion.

      To baldly, blindly assert that nobody is interested and no steps have been taken is to profess a level of knowledge that is highly questionable.

      Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

      by The Raven on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:17:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  How do you know Obama wasn't (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Phoenix Woman, missLotus, IM, gzodik

        born in Kenya and then smuggled into Hawaii?

        "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

        by Geekesque on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:18:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Just follow the links (5+ / 0-)

          And give me a break. No need to be snotty about it.

          There's enough discussion in the oil industry press to support the idea that TAPI is an actual initiative. "Crazy CT" doesn't fly here.

          Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying there is or isn't anything. I'm saying "how the f@ck do YOU know?" Somebody handing you satellite photos that you check every morning?

          Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

          by The Raven on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:22:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And I'm asking you how you (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Phoenix Woman

            know Obama wasn't smuggled into Kenya.

            It would be 10,000 times easier to do that than it would to disguise a MASSIVE construction project in an area ruled by anarchy.

            "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

            by Geekesque on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:27:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Snotty (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            o the umanity, alstradamus

            Follow the trail. "G" is pretty good at it.

            And give me a break. No need to be snotty about it.

            -8.00, -8.26 "Fascism is capitalism plus murder." - Upton Sinclair

            by djMikulec on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:18:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's OK (0+ / 0-)

              The "G" and I joined DKos at about the same time, so we're homies.

              Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

              by The Raven on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:40:47 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Let's pull up Google Earth pics of the region (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                The Raven

                And see if we can see the pipeline being built.

                Google Earth civilian-use satellite imagery is often detailed enough to show you the difference between cars and SUVs parked on a street.  Even less-detailed Google Earth images should suffice to pick out the evidence for something over a thousand miles long.  (The Great Wall of China, which is nearly four times as long as, and about as wide as, the proposed pipeline, shows up very nicely in Google Earth.)

                Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

                by Phoenix Woman on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 11:09:47 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Remember a couple of things (0+ / 0-)

                  First, the second article linked above mentions that 6 substations would need to be built. In fact, a lot of infrastructure would be necessary. Right now, it could be nothing more than road building, laying foundations, something related or prerequisite - from everything I'm reading, there is no pipeline, but there is a consortium of governments eager to build one.

                  Second, Google Earth is scrubbed of any sensitive information. Even areas of the US devastated by Katrina were replaced with older images. If you visit downtown Baghdad you won't find a Green Zone.

                  Of course chances are best that all that exists are some aspirational plans on paper and occasional reinforcing discussions among participants. What is not credible are suggestions that the idea of TAPI is a hoax or CT.

                  Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

                  by The Raven on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 11:17:35 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  the way I read the diary (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jerome a Paris

            it is in a lot of people's interests to announce the pipeline and even to spend some money on planning.  To portray it as an economic boon.

            I don't see anything in the links you provided that contradicts the diary.  It says all these groups are interested and "will" do the pipeline.  It doesn't say they have done the pipeline.  The BBC cited a "memorandum of understanding."  hell, that's even less than the Israelis and the Palestinians have towards achieving peace.

            Now, where I may differ from Jerome is that I do think it's possible that the neocons envisioned siphoning a billion dollars out of various sources and thus having it cost their supporters very little.  As we've seen in the past year, redirecting a billion dollars is almost a rounding error nowadays.

            But even that picture in the BBC article strikes me as probably being the existing stuff in Turkmenistan.  There's no evidence that really concrete steps have been taken.  Just words.  I'll admit that there COULD be a pipeline, but I'm not trying to be snarky when I say that there COULD be a lot of things.  I don't see any reason to believe otherwise on this one.

            Want a progressive global warming novel, not a right wing rant? Go to www.edwardgtalbot.com for a free audio thriller.

            by eparrot on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 12:30:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  the Asia Development Bank (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ms in la

        "I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats." - Eckhart Tolle

        by catnip on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:05:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Both diaries read & recommended. (3+ / 0-)

    I still believe it may be about control of the route in case anyone ever does decide to put up the $25B to actually build the thing.

  •  Possible answer to this question (4+ / 0-)

    who will guarantee 25 billion dollars upfront in this project?

    Well how about the U.S. government, directly or indirectly?

    It wouldn't be the first time our government was used to the advantage of oil companies and investors.

    •  They could have sold it as a ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joanneleon, ColoTim

      ... "stimulus" program for the Afghan economy.

      GWB: "This'll put Afghans back to work with jobs that can't be outsourced - unlike those risky poppy cultivation jobs the Afghan people have been depending on since we invaded."

      ---

      •  you're not far off (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lysias, joanneleon

        From a 2002 BBC article:

        Central Asia pipeline deal signed

        ...

        Afghanistan would profit by receiving millions of dollars in transit fees and construction of the pipeline would provide thousands of desperately needed jobs.

        It is also hoped such a project would boost regional economic ties and pave the way for further foreign investment.

        "I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats." - Eckhart Tolle

        by catnip on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:23:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Natural Gas Glut (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nada Lemming

    Article from Technology Review.

    Give me a public option, or give me Death!

    by tlemon on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:41:30 AM PST

  •  It's back-door Trutherism. (6+ / 0-)

    The unspoken part of the pipeline CT is that 9/11 was part of a plan--otherwise the pipeline-invasion connection doesn't make even nominal sense.

    Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

    by Rich in PA on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:42:12 AM PST

  •  I agree with everything in this diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geekesque, Iranaqamuk, Azazello

    A pipeline is unlikely, even crazy for all the reasons you cite.

    But I submit that unless we are successful in energy reform, there are still "people" who want a pipeline bad enough, as crazy as that is, that we will have a military presence in Afganistan as a place holder.

    These are ruthless, ruthless people.  When the fossil fuel shit hits the fan, they won't be too worried about money or people's feelings or sovereignty, they'll just kill whoever gets in their way and they'll use Central Command to do it.

    This machine kills fascists!

    by Zotz on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:42:13 AM PST

  •  Where is the check: Iraqi Oil for the Iraq War (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nada Lemming

    We could really use it.

    US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D): If you don't have anything to hide, you don't often spend a great deal of time trying to hide it.

    by SharksBreath on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:44:02 AM PST

  •  "Who will guarantee 25 billion"? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mike Taylor

    I don't know enough about the pipeline thing to argue for its place in US/Afghan policy.

    I do know that the US "lost" billions in the war, and that that the Department of Defense literally "could not account" for 25% of its budget. Over 2 trillion dollars "disappeared." And the heroin trade, that source of untraceable revenue, was up and running bigtime within weeks of our invasion.

    25 billion ain't much in that equation.

    If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

    by rhetoricus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:47:12 AM PST

  •  The diary you reference is a clear example of why (6+ / 0-)

    the so-called 'rec list' can NOT be trusted as the most likely ones to be reccommended are the ones likely to create the most sstrum und drang, and the accuracy, validity or reality of the contents is immaterial. They serve as bait for the little fishes to nibble at.

    Anyway, folks, rec up this diary, although it is already here, keep it here. It's an uphill battle and don't know why its even worth it, but trying to get people to actually THINK for themselves instead of absorbing this crap might be part of the change we long for.

  •  Belief (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerome a Paris, priceman, citicenx
    Between believing a thing and thinking you know is only a small step and quickly taken.

    - Mark Twain, 30,000 Years Among the Microbes

  •  As soon as the USSR collapsed, there we were! (8+ / 0-)

    Had all these great, new, shiny weapons......
    What's a victorious empire supposed to do?
    It was a long overdue recognition of Ronnie's legacy. So we're f**g broke now. Who cares. Let's blame homebuyers and the poor. Let's see, each stealth bomber is about the cost of a hospital.

  •  Jerome - thank you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, IL JimP

    Yet again, a thoughtful diary about the real economics of an issue, this time gas pipelines. We are lucky that there are a writers like you to educate us and to provide an important balance to the conspiracy theorists.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:53:09 AM PST

  •  This will never be effectively debunked (4+ / 0-)

    because just like any good urban legend, it has the ring of truth to it - with just enough credibility based on the well known characteristics of the major players to totally resonate in the national psyche.

    •  It won't be debunked (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Phoenix Woman

      as long as there are 2 fingers and a tongue left  to plug up the ears and go "Blah, blah blah...I can't hear you...I can't hear you"

      "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

      by newfie on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:01:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  and Thank God because it shouldn't be debunked (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gatorcog, Dr Marcos
      •  It may well be debunked (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gatorcog

        but this diary doesn't do the job.

        If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

        by rhetoricus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:15:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Only if the pipeline fantasy is an article of (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Phoenix Woman

          faith.

          "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

          by Geekesque on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:25:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's faith either way (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lysias, gatorcog

            without evidence. What this diary seems to be arguing is that an "incompetent" administration that was famous for "losing" and wasting trillions, coupled with incompetent energy associations (e.g., Enron, etc) famous for embarking on ludicrous energy adventures,  would have been too competent and money-savvy to embark upon this particular crazy energy scheme. (Assuming it's crazy, which I'm not so sure it is.)

            Maybe they didn't do this (I tend to think Afghanistan is about the heroin), but "competence" as proof? Either they were incompetent or they weren't. If it's a little of both, it's tough to say which was where.

            If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

            by rhetoricus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:53:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No it's not. When the evidence and logic (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Phoenix Woman, IL JimP

              all point in one direction, it's not blind faith to accept that as the best explanation.

              "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

              by Geekesque on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:57:35 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And that evidence and logic is.. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lysias, gatorcog

                that the Bush administration was too competent and money-careful to risk our money on a weird energy scheme?

                Tryin' too keep up with the changing competence meme, here.

                If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

                by rhetoricus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:04:27 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, the logic is that there is (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Phoenix Woman, missLotus, cappy, IL JimP

                  overwhelming evidence as to why the US invaded.  

                  There is zero evidence that Bush made an even halfhearted attempt to get a pipeline built.

                  "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                  by Geekesque on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:13:42 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  this is circular (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    lysias

                    We know the given reason why the US invaded--to get bin Laden. And then we let him escape in Tora Bora, then "dead or alive" went to "I don't know where he is.. I don't spend much time on him."

                    And this is evidence of.. incompetence, again?

                    We don't invade countries on the ground when there isn't something in it for us. Clinton would have just escalated the air war. My personal bet is on the heroin, because we stayed just long enough for that trade to get up and running again. Didn't put any real lasting dent in al Qaeda.

                    My point is, none of this proves anything about the pipeline, which may or may not have been a secondary purpose.

                    If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

                    by rhetoricus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:25:17 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  If Bush & Condi were dumb enough to ignore a PDB (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      rhetoricus

                      They and the rest of the neocons were stupid enough to just make a half-hearted effort at nabbing OBL even as they focused most of their attention on Iraq (where they'd wanted Saddam gone well before 9/11).

                      Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

                      by Phoenix Woman on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 11:15:21 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Do some looking at the Rockies Express Pipeline (0+ / 0-)

                  http://www.kindermorgan.com/...

                  To get some idea of what it actually takes to build a large pipeline in even a friendly climate.

                  Any advantages of not having to deal with environmental concerns are more than offset by having hundreds of miles of unprotected pipeline (refer to Jerome's point about chains working only when every link is in place), far more hostile terrain, and so on.

                  I'm trying to follow what you're saying and I can't quite understand:

                  1. Are you saying that Cheney and Bush would have liked to create a pipeline for their energy buddies (but never did, because it wasn't feasible)?  Note: they would also have liked the Iraq War to have lasted a few weeks so they could shift troops to invade Iran, but that never happened of course, despite the almost monthly diaries warning us that the war was nigh.
                  1. Or that the pipeline already exists in secret?
                  1. Or that the pipeline is aready being built in secret, such than even the Taliban don't know about it?
                  1. Or that someone, somewhere, is secretly planning to build the pipeline sometime, but we just can't prove it?
                  •  I'm not arguing any of that (0+ / 0-)

                    I'm just saying that financial "competence" is a poor argument when trying to disprove a Bush/Enron shenanigan. Beyond that, I'm not arguing anything. Unlike some folks here, I'm pretty comfortable saying "I'd need more information to draw a conclusion on that."

                    If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

                    by rhetoricus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:27:50 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Administration incompetence, finance or other (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Jerome a Paris, IM, Freakinout daily

                      Doesn't mean profit-oriented businesses can ignore reality.

                      The reality is clearly made by Jerome.

                      A project of this size and cost could not be undertaken in secret, from a perspective of all the players involved (companies, government now under Obama, and countries with various factions) as well as the people and materials needed, or the actual funds required.

                      And simply to get something like this off the ground requires years of planning that again would be well known.

                      That isn't saying that large companies haven't ever done a feasibility study, which is simply a hypothetical look that "if conditions were idael, would this be profitable, and what are conditions in reality as well as how they look to continue to be?"

                      •  They can ignore profitability when (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        lysias

                        it's not their money they're gambling with.

                        Would you say Iraq has been a profitable venture, all told? The answer is, it's been potentially profitable to oil corporations and very profitable to contractors. It hasn't been profitable for the US taxpayer.

                        But the US taxpayer never was Cheney et al's concern.

                        If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

                        by rhetoricus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:38:32 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Are you saying Obama is paying for a pipeline? (0+ / 0-)

                          Or that the energy companies are?

                          If the former, how is that fact being hidden from everyone?

                          If the latter, refer back to what I said before.

                          Yes, Iraq allowed a transfer from U.S. taxpayers to Halliburton as the biggest recipient, with other leeches hanging on for smaller amounts (and even more money funneled to waste).

                          But recall that Halliburton was visible in Iraq from the getgo and widely known to be profiting.  No secret there.

                          For this Afghan pipeline to be doing the same thing, it means they kept it secret despite even more players and a change in administration.

                          Or that it doesn't exist.

                          •  No. (0+ / 0-)

                            I think if any of those bastards wanted a pipeline, the US taxpayer would fund it, by way of part of the 2.3 trillion "lost" (read: stolen) by Rumsfeld's Pentagon. Or money freed up by the heroin trade would fund it. Or another of a countless number of scams and shenanigans.

                            If such a thing had been in the works, I have no idea what its status would be now that Obama is in the picture. He'll try to make lemonade one way or another out of a lot of smashed lemons.

                            I've never seen the Wrecking Crew bother to hide much of anything. Not that they'd need to. We just ignore stuff we don't want to see.

                            If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

                            by rhetoricus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 03:39:29 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  You can't gamble other people's $$ on a pipeline (0+ / 0-)

                          That's my point - you need to make a credible commitment to pay, every single year for at least 15 years, massive amounts to pay the gas. Even if you control the US government today, do you really think such a long term commitment (made via an unstable third country) can be credible? Would you bet YOUR money on it?

                          •  Bush cronies never risked their own money (0+ / 0-)

                            it was always our money.

                            I've never seen the 25 billion dollar figure before. Where'd you get it? Estimates I've seen have been a third of that or less.

                            Given that 2.3 trillion dollars was "lost" (i.e., "we stole it, you stupid muhthahfuckahs") by Rumsfeld's Pentagon, 7 or 10 or 15 billion is chump change.

                            All that said, the pipeline argument isn't ultimately all that important to me. Afghanistan is valuable strategically regardless, and there's always that primary pipeline--heroin--the trade of which was up and running within weeks of the invasion.

                            If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

                            by rhetoricus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 03:31:19 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  Per the Rockies Express discussion (0+ / 0-)

                    ..would this also be why the GOP is so down on an Alaskan pipeline?

                    If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

                    by rhetoricus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:28:38 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Palin's stance was PR-related to drillbabydrill (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Jerome a Paris

                      The reality is that the oil majors aren't interested because it isn't deemed profitable yet:

                      http://www.nytimes.com/...

                      This is because natural gas prices are in the $5 range now after dropping into the $2's recently.  There is also record storage in the ground in the lower 48, such that some are planing to build storage to make money off storage costs.  Gas locked in the Rockies will begin flowing east and northeast as Kinder's REX pipeline comes about.

                      In fact, LNG shipments from foreign suppliers that were originally intended for the U.S. market were rerouted to other markets.  The lower 48 is currently over-supplied.

                      That can change based on especially cold winters in the midwest and northeast (April through October is primarily the gas "injection" season when excess produced gas is transferred to storage -  underground salt domes) and November through March is withdrawal season when demand exceeds supply, and some of the stored gas is withdrawn for use.  There is always a certain amount of "pad" gas that stays in storage, but there hasn't been a time yet when storage was drawn down that far.  

                      Otherwise, a hurricane in the Gulf can interrupt production especially, or disrupt pipeline transfers during the late Summer and Fall months, which would probably draw down storage due to reduced injection and thus bolster prices somewhat.

                      Overall natural gas prices have faced two periods of universal price volatility upward - Winter 2000 and during the Crude Oil price runup (because there is a certain relationship between Crude and Natural Gas prices, although not a strong one).

                      •  But isn't there basically a thimbleful (0+ / 0-)

                        of oil in the Arctic? Like, a few years' worth on the outside?

                        If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

                        by rhetoricus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:48:40 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  The pipeline was about natural gas, not oil (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Jerome a Paris

                          There are massive natural gas reserves in the North Shore.  They are economically unprofitable, because while they could be extracted, there is insufficient local market or even anywhere close.

                          That's why many Canadian pipelines also flow south into the U.S.

                          Natural Gas is produced in Texas Permian Basin, Gulf Coast, Rockies, and Canada as the biggest areas.  It is consumed heavily in Northeast, Midwest, and California.

                          •  Thanks. (0+ / 0-)

                            "Drill baby drill" did get me confused.

                            If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

                            by rhetoricus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:55:49 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  the Alaska state funding for the pipeline (0+ / 0-)

                            is using state money to try to get the producers to ship and sell the natural gas.

                            We've known there was lots of gas there (at least since the oil discovery in 1968).

                            Out mavericky Republicans here in Alaska like to try to tell Big Oil want to do....

                            "You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them." [Ray Bradbury]

                            by RosyFinch on Sat Nov 07, 2009 at 01:32:56 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

            •  Enron failed primarily due to non-energy ventures (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jerome a Paris, IM, IL JimP

              Specifically, Raptors 1-IV which comprised losses related to the broadband strategy.  And more specifically, those losses heavily consisted of investments in the IPOs of specific companies such as Avici and RhythmsNet.  An accounting hedge (as opposed to an economic hedge) was utilized to offset the risk by using Enron stock, even though there was no definable correlation between Enron's stock and that of the technology companies in which it invested.  

              When Raptor finally failed in October 2001 due to hitting the last price trigger related to Enron's own stock (2 of the Raptors had already gone underwater almost a year earlier, and were bolstered by a credit wrap of the remaining two Raptors), a writedown was required and the transaction was disclosed.

              Otherwise, Enron's ventures fell into these categories:

              * Energy trading - highly profitable in the U.S. market (Gas and Power only), some profitability in the UK for Power, with the other 35 or so much smaller trading desks being subsidized by North American trading. * Enron Energy Services (EES) - Retail operation in California that lost around $1 Billion while Wholesale raked in a greater amount. * Broadband - losses were mainly related to infrastructure costs, with the failing investments shoved to Raptor. * Physical Assets such as the high profile Dobhal plant, or the less know Cuiaba one. * Pipelines - profitable, and eventually some ceded to Dynegy and from there to Warren Buffett.

  •  So why were the Taliban negotiating with Unocal (14+ / 0-)

    over the pipeline in 1997?

    Al-Qaida monitored U.S. negotiations with Taliban over oil pipeline: A memo by military chief Mohammed Atef raises new questions about whether failed U.S. efforts to reform Afghanistan's radical regime -- and build the pipeline -- set the stage for Sept. 11:

    Jun 5, 2002 | A 1998 memo written by al-Qaida military chief Mohammed Atef reveals that Osama bin Laden's group had detailed knowledge of negotiations that were taking place between Afghanistan's ruling Taliban and American government and business leaders over plans for a U.S. oil and gas pipeline across that Central Asian country.

    The e-mail memo was found in 1998 on a computer seized by the FBI during its investigation into the 1998 African embassy bombings, which were sponsored by al-Qaida. Atef's memo was discovered by FBI counter-terrorism expert John O'Neill, who left the bureau in 2001, complaining that U.S. oil interests were hindering his investigation into al-Qaida. O'Neill, who became security chief at the World Trade Center, died in the Sept. 11 attack.

    Atef's memo shines new light on what al-Qaida knew about U.S. efforts to normalize relations with the Taliban in exchange for the fundamentalist government's supporting the construction of an oil and gas pipeline across Afghanistan. As documented in the book I coauthored with Guillaume Dasquie, "Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth," the Clinton and Bush administrations negotiated with the Taliban, both to get the repressive regime to widen its government as well as look favorably on U.S. companies' attempts to construct an oil pipeline. The Bush White House stepped up negotiations with the Taliban in 2001. When those talks stalled in July, a Bush administration representative threatened the Taliban with military reprisals if the government did not go along with American demands.

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:58:06 AM PST

    •  There is more than one source that confirms this (0+ / 0-)

      memo.  Dasquié (the author of the piece above) and his coauthor learned about it from an interview they did of John O'Neill.  But former federal prosecutor John Loftus confirms this:

      However, in January 2001, Vice President Cheney allegedly reinstated the intelligence block and expanded it to effectively preclude any investigations whatsoever of Saudi-Taliban-Afghan oil connections. Former FBI counter-terrorism chief John O’Neill resigned from the FBI in disgust, stating that he was ordered not to investigate Saudi-Al Qaida connections because of the Enron pipeline deal. Loftus has confirmed that it was O’Neill who originally discovered the AL Qaida pipeline memo after the Embassy bombings in Africa.

      O’Neill gave an overview of the Enron block to two French authors who will soon be publishing in the United States. The FBI is currently investigating Loftus’ links to John O’Neill, and is also refusing FBI agent Robert Wright permission to publish his own findings about the Enron block.

      The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

      by lysias on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 11:37:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  negotiations don't mean much (0+ / 0-)

      they could talk all they wanted, it would not be built. Talk is cheap.

  •  OT, but the NYT had an article (0+ / 0-)

    about a new process for extracting natural gas, suggesting it would have a significant effect on Europe.

    A new technique that tapped previously inaccessible supplies of natural gas in the United States is spreading to the rest of the world, raising hopes of a huge expansion in global reserves of the cleanest fossil fuel....

    snip..

    The global drilling rush is still in its early stages. But energy analysts are already predicting that shale could reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas. They said they believed that gas reserves in many countries could increase over the next two decades, comparable with the 40 percent increase in the United States in recent years.

    It was a fascinating article...

    The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

    by fladem on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:59:09 AM PST

  •  but but but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    newlymintedjerseygirl

    I thought but

    Damn.

    Oh no, the dead have risen and they're voting Republican. - Lisa Simpson

    by LaFeminista on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:59:27 AM PST

  •  Just because we're paranoid (0+ / 0-)

    doesn't mean they're not plotting against us.

    Just had to get that in . . .

    Thanks for all the hard work!

    And as for why are we there if not for oil, try this: The Taliban and the Pakistani ISI (essentially the same thing) would like to take over Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Muslim 'stans. They'd have a huge continguous Muslim area under one religious leadership. With the Pakistani nukes, they could then turn on India. The Afghan war is really about India's existence.

    Corruption is what keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why we win. -Syriana

    by CarbonFiberBoy on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:00:28 AM PST

    •  India has a presence in Afghanistan (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Freakinout daily

      Sure, the small-percent muslims want their caliphate, just as our small-percent xtians want theirs.  But India has many of its citizens and corporations doing business in Afghanistan.  Hell, their travel rags even promote tourism there.  So I think (hope) the the relations India is making in Afghanistan would preclude muslims turning on them, though not impossible.
      Hindis are a sleeping giant collectively and will fuck with you if pushed.  If you ever travel to India, you'll see what I mean.

      Well, I guess I don't know what you mean by "equal justice under the law." - Bushy McSpokesperson

      by gatorcog on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:09:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That may be from India's point of view (0+ / 0-)

      but what is it, really, from ours?  I find it interesting that the Taliban were sane enough to negotiate with oil execs in Sugarland while Osama was under their protection....but they've been declared nuts ever since

      let's see...what was it

      A)  Septermber 11th

      or

      B)  Breakdown of talks with Unocal?

      If it was really about Al-Qaeda and Osama....they would not have escaped so easily.  It does not take a great, conspiratorial, leap of faith to wonder, then, what the fuck was the objective?

    •  Yep, and that's why India trains and arms the (0+ / 0-)

      Northern Alliance (here, here, and here among many).

      "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

      by KateCrashes on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 12:55:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am all for reality (7+ / 0-)

    and appreciate your extensive knowledge and insight.

    However, the fact that crazier things that what was in that diary have turned out to be true makes it really hard for most people to completely reject the idea that at least some of that stuff has something to do with where we are now in Afghanistan.

    I still think that Karzai is a crook and his connections with oil/gas and BushCo have more than a little bit to do with what's going on over there.

    Maybe it's not exactly what was in that diary, maybe not even close, but something is rotten. We may not know for years exactly what all the details are.

    I must be dreaming...

    by murphy on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:05:31 AM PST

    •  No doubt that energy demand plays a role (0+ / 0-)

      in the events over there.

      There is a lot of corruption.

      But, just as genuine questions about 911 screwups get obscured by the nutjob Truthers, so is the risk by people claiming that we invaded a country for a pipeline we never made much of an effort to get built.

      "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

      by Geekesque on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:08:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Like Karzai's brother working for the CIA (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jerome a Paris

      who knows what happens in the back rooms...

      There was a plan, Jerome says it was impossible to execute.  Fair enough.

      Not an issue to have on the rec list in either case...

      "Republicans drove the country into a ditch and now they are complaining about the cost of the tow truck"-Jim Cornette

      by justmy2 on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:34:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't disagree (0+ / 0-)

        just wish we could, for once, know the truth about why in the bloody hell our friends and relatives are supposed to go die over there.

        I am sick of the lies and the b.s.

        Or is that redundant?

        I must be dreaming...

        by murphy on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 12:12:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  While there may or may not be value (12+ / 0-)

    in contructing a pipeline today, there is HUGE value in controlling the rights to that pipeline, which the US does through its henchman Karzai.

    "The 3 countries would like this project to exist. Turkmenistan would like to have an alternative to Russia to sell its gas to, Afghanistan would like the transit revenues it would bring, and Pakistan does need gas and this is one of the options."

    Add a fourth, the US on behalf of its giant energy corporations.

    I know quite a bit about the sector.  I know, for example, natural gas is an increasingly global commodity due to LNG.  I know the cost of producing NG from the Rockies and various shale projects around the US is high and would be unprofitable (margins are already being squeezed due to oversupply) were the world maket to be flooded with more cheaply extracted & shipped NG from Turkmenistan via an Afghan pipeline.

    The value of the Afghan pipeline is not in its immediate construction and operation, it is in controlling the rights to the road to market from the Turkmenistan gas fields to people who want to buy gas.  NG is increasingly, and will continue to be, the fuel of choice.  Controlling access to the world's fourth largest supply of NG is valuable and pays dividends today to those who are in the business of supplying NG whether or not the pipeline is built now or 50 years from now.

    Your post provides an otherwise well informed illustration of pipeline economics, but there is more going on here than actually building a Trans-Afghanistan pipeline.  Specifically, significant control over a major road to market and thus the world's supply of a commodity for which there is an increasing world-wide demand.  The value to US energy giants may very well be in insuring that the pipeline does not get built until conditions suit them to have it built.

    •  Sigh (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Phoenix Woman, IM

      were the world maket to be flooded with more cheaply extracted & shipped NG from Turkmenistan via an Afghan pipeline.

      Do you have ANY idea of what it would take to send Turkmen gas on the world markets, let alone what it would cost?? Not only you'd need a pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan (all lovely places to entrust your dollars with), you'd need liquefaction facilities in Pakistan.

      The fact is, Gazprom fully controls Turkmenistan's gas supply, and there's very little we can do about it - and everybody knows it.

      •  Yawn (0+ / 0-)

        and denying Gazprom one road to market benefits who?

        It is about controlling supply not building a pipeline, denying a competitor the ability to build the pipeline, controlling the extent to which a competitor can influence the supply side of supply and demand.  The ability to restrict supply and increasing the value of the supply you bring to market during times of low prices, the ability to increase supply when prices rise, the ability to actually influence whether prices are low or high.

        Sigh all you want.  That is what this is about.  Before the invasion US companies did not have rights now they do.  Same in Iraq.

        Moreover, the costs of building pipelines and liquification plants in countries that have little if any environmental regulations or remediation requirements is considerably less than building one here in the US.  But again, the point is these facilities NOT be built, at least not until those who now control the rights to build believe it in their interest to do so.

      •  LNG is in the money at $6 or 7 per MCF (0+ / 0-)
  •  Are you sure the energyneocons understand this? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, gatorcog, protectspice

    I have my doubts. Unrealisic schemes = real deaths.

    The well-known phenomena of psychological projection and confirmation bias account for 198% of conservative so-called 'ideas'

    by power2truth on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:09:26 AM PST

  •  Why do I have the feeling... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CTPatriot, newpioneer, Nada Lemming

    that this diary won't stand the test of time...

    www.deconstructingneworleans.com

    by scorpiorising on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:11:39 AM PST

  •  And as Enron showed us, (6+ / 0-)

    Cheney's energy buddies never embark upon stupid "energy" ventures.

    If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

    by rhetoricus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:12:00 AM PST

    •  Enron was "asset light", playing with other (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      milkbone

      people's money. This pipeline would be a hard money investment; not the same at all. Enron was more like the banks that collapsed last year due to structured investment vehicles.

      •  Are you serious? (0+ / 0-)

        You really think our venture in Afghanistan hasn't been all about playing with other peoples' (or, I should say, taxpayer) money? Hasn't our whole escapade in the Middle East been about using US public resources to finance and further corporate fiefdoms over there?

        If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

        by rhetoricus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:54:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  PS (0+ / 0-)

        I'm pretty sure any corporation Bush/Cheney was connected to was ALWAYS gambling with other peoples' money, not their own.

        If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

        by rhetoricus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:56:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary, well done. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geekesque, BoxNDox

    I oppose the war in afghanistan but all this talk about a secret oil pipeline through possibly the most unstable region in the world is just absurd.

  •  Oman also has dreams of a pipeline to India (0+ / 0-)
    Oman, for many years, has planned and studied an underwater pipeline from Oman to India, through Pakistan.

    It would also be intended to supply large power plants.

    Financial risks are always the downfall of most pipelines.

    Sarah Palin's pipeline is no different. It will most likely not be built in the next 20-30 years because of the financial risks.

  •  Well Jerome I don't know about where and if... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, gatorcog, Azazello

    ...Bush's desire for a natural gas pipeline across Afghanistan ranks among real and fancied conspiracies but the fact remains he wanted one even before he became President. He negotiated with the Taliban government for one in Texas meetings and when it fell through he promised the Taliban a "carpet of bombs"

    I don't think that idiot Bush and the assortment of criminals that made up his personal entourage including the Kenney boy set Enron thieves (who were his biggest political campaign funders for years including his political activity in Texas) had the slightest idea of the feasibility building the pipeline. Enron was desperate for to save its crown jewel the Huge Dabhol Power Plantnear Bombay

    It is my belief those stumble bums whose object was to help ENRON imploded before that Indian power plant project could be saved making the pipeline no longer necessary at which time Bush lost interest in Afghanistan. Now there were a second set of more intelligent scallywags in Bush Inc, The Neo-Cons, who had long wanted and lobbied for a series of wars against Iraq, Syria and Iran. I think they took what they knew of Bushes harebrained scheme to start a war in Afghanistan and blackmailed Bush into the wars they had been planning for years and switched the focus to Iraq.

    I don’t know what you would call this but it can’t have been a conspiracy because as we all know conspiracies never happen in America and they cannot be examined here on Daily Kos even if they did exist.  Ergo what got us into the Wars in the Middle East were not conspiracies But what did occur involved illegality in both domestic and international law and create what people all over the world are calling war crimes.

    In short Bush didn’t have any idea of the problems of a trans Afghanistan pipeline but he damned sure want one until ENRON exploded and took away his reason for creating a war in Afghanistan to get one.

    The moral of this Afghanistan pipeline story is sometime the bad guys are not as intelligent as they are powerful and as a result do incredibly stupid things that open themselves up to blackmail and in this case their country to economic and social disaster at the hands of foreign and domestic special intrests. That’s the short version of what I think happened.

    The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

    by Bobjack23 on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:28:21 AM PST

    •  PS (0+ / 0-)

      Very short version...there is a book out there and already written and documented by numerious good sources,  just waiting to be compiled.

      The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

      by Bobjack23 on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:56:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you Jerome. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IM, gzodik

    As always, you are an irreplaceable member of this community.

    "This health care thing is make or break for your leadership, but for us, it's life and death. No more Mr. Nice Guy, Mr. President. We need a fighter."

    by surfbird007 on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:28:37 AM PST

  •  Disappointed in you Jerome (18+ / 0-)

    As a fellow European always rec you're diaries and think you should be a FP'er but this diary is really misguided.

    I'm two years out of DCU and studied Globalisation and International Relations. We had a lot of talks about pipeline politics amoung ourselves and lecturers and even had speakers from the EU talking about energy concerns and pipeline politics.

    Of course as a European the most talked about cases revolve around the Russian pipeline network through Eastern Europe and it's cutting of supplies with Ukraine (I think another cut will come in Jan '10 btw)

    But to say that the TAP pipeline is not a source of great discussion and negotiation is ridiculous. BTW from what I know on it I also don't think it will come to pass as it's rival pipeline the IPI (Iran Pakistan India) pipeline is competing against it and has the backing of the SCO, which would be a major loss for Western powers and would crack Iran even further into the Pakistan/India energy market.

    I could go on but instead will suggest you read Zbigniew Brzezinski's book The Grand Chessboard which talks about it in detail. The idea that this is a silly pipeline conspiracy is ignorant of events, reality and facts.

    Recommended reading:

    Asia Times (Pakistan Iran sign pipeline deal)

    Pepe Escobar (Piplinestan goes Af-Pak)

    Energy Tribune (China keen to participate in IPI pipeline)

    The Economist (Pipeline Politics)

    Global Policy.org (Pipeline Politics taints US war)

    On a further note: This is not to say that the strategic area of Afghanistan with regard to pipelines was the sole reason for the occupation of Afghanistan or even the main one. International Relations is best viewed not through the concept of one reason but through the concept of hundreds of large small and medium competing vested interests.

    Was there an powerful interests of US-EU policy that stood to benefit from the Afghan occupation with regard energy transit routes? Yes.

    But that is just part of a larger interest in containing Russia/China in Asia.

    Other vested interests who stood to gain are the Military production companies like Lockheed/Blackwater/Boeing et al and also more than likely CIA affliliated shell companies through the transit of opium.

    And of course at the end of the day Bush knew that President's starting wars is always smart poltics in the short/near term.

    All these factors drove the push into Afghanistan. That is before anyone gets to 9-11.  

     

    Non Violence is fine... so long as it works. - Malcolm X

    by Dr Marcos on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:30:49 AM PST

  •  Just because an Afghan pipeline is an irrational (11+ / 0-)

    business plan doesn't mean the NeoCons weren't stupid enough to try it. They were quite happy to spend billions of taxpayer dollars to alter the risk profile, they always have been.

    The Taliban came to Houston to talk pipelines with Unocal in 1997. That ended when Clinton launched missile attacks on Afghanistan in 1998. The Taliban met with the Bush Administration in March 2001 to discuss diplomatic recognition - if they handed Bin Laden over.

    It's quite obvious that the Afghan Pipeline is a non-starter now, but eight years ago, with Houston Oilmen running the White House, it they probably still thought they make it work... if they could just solve that pesky Al-Qaeda problem. Remember, oil companies are accustomed to very long term projects.

    I think we can all agree that an actual pipeline is not a factor in President Obama's calculations... but what is?

    I'm afraid we're going to keep a military presence in  Afghanistan just for diplomatic leverage over the Russians in their gas dealings with Western Europe. Why else would NATO troops be involved? Just maintaining the potential of a southern pipeline route is a good bluff, and keeping air bases operating in the region doesn't hurt either.

    It's despicable. We need to ask the American public if this is worth the live of a single American Soldier.

    BushCheney Inc. - They lied to me, they lied to you, they lied to our troops.

    by jjohnjj on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:33:39 AM PST

  •  Bombing Afghanistan to liberate women is CT. (10+ / 0-)

    They have lied to us about why we are there.  Clearly there is oil in Iraq and Iran.  Clearly Afghanistan is geographically located to be of interest to the energy corporations and the special interests.  They clearly would like to have control over the region.

    We can split hairs about the pipeline feasibility, but that does not mean we are not there for the corporations and special interests' hegemony, not the phony baloney reasons they feed us on the teevee.

    We would also have to be terribly naive to believe that freedom and justice for women was one of the incentives to be there.

    We have been lied to.  Many corporations have made a lot of money out of these wars.  It's not one reason, but many.  There were many companies and special interests in on the action.

    I appreciate you shedding light on the technical difficulties of building a pipeline in Afghanistan, but let's not pretend that the official reasons fed us by the MSM are true.

    Information is the currency of democracy. ~ T.J.

    by CIndyCasella on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:33:53 AM PST

    •  Agree. Some people are trying so hard to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ms in la, CIndyCasella

      believe we're there honorably they can't see the forest thru the trees.

    •  No, it's the Ledeen Doctrine (0+ / 0-)

      They did it because they could:

      Well, I've long been an admirer of, if not a full-fledged subscriber to, what I call the "Ledeen Doctrine." I'm not sure my friend Michael Ledeen will thank me for ascribing authorship to him and he may have only been semi-serious when he crafted it, but here is the bedrock tenet of the Ledeen Doctrine in more or less his own words: "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business."

      Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

      by Phoenix Woman on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 11:18:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think the continous conflict.. (6+ / 0-)

    through the ages in the Middle-east is all about geography and resources. From MacKinder's Heartland theory in 1917..
    "Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland commands the World Island; Who rules the World Island commands the World." ..till today. Every President since the Carter Doctrine has expanded on the United States policy of oil in the Middle-east being a National Security Issue..and the use of force to protect our interests. There is a reason why  the United States has what is estimated to be 1,000 strategically placed bases on foreign soil..and it isn't  about Al Quaeda.

    Photobucket

    Photobucket

    http://www.cdi.org/...
    http://www.cnn.com/...

    Afghanistan Facilities

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/...

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/...

  •  here's a question, Jerome (0+ / 0-)

    Has speculation in oil effectively broken whatever real relationship ever existed between the price of gas and supply/demand of petroleum?  Given the impact of oil prices on the global economy, should speculation in the commodity even be allowed?

    Say what you will about the Ten Commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them. H. L. Mencken

    by Keith930 on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:39:28 AM PST

  •  Oman and India (0+ / 0-)

    seem to be discussing a plan, first mooted in the early 90s but shelved due to engineering problems, to build an undersea natural gas pipeline between the two countries.  At least that is what I heard on Oman FM yesterday on the way to work.  However, for whatever reason, the announcement doesn't seem to have made it into the print media here nor elsewhere, either, from what I've been able to determine on-line. That said, this government is generally pretty close-mouthed about major projects until they have actually been signed, sealed, and delivered, so this may explain it.  Still, it was a minister who was being quoted, and they are always loathe to go out on a limb with the press.

  •  You mention the "unpredictable dictator" (0+ / 0-)

    under "political risk". Given that this was initially written in 2005, is this a reference to "Turkmenbashi" Niyazov (now deceased)?- and if so, has his death changed anything in your analysis?

  •  This is all well and true; however (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, Klick2con10ue

    it does not mean that the negotiations talked about in the subject diary did not take place.  Delusion didn't stop Enron from collapsing, and delusion certainly didn't keep the Bush war-profiteers from doing their damage.  If you can show me real-world analysis, as opposed to the get-rich-quick kind, that the previous administration did on any enterprise it undertook, I'd like to see it.
    Initially, the evidence and greed incentive to attack Afghanistan for the pipeline was there.  It may not have been the whole nut, but the real financial circumstances you describe may have come to light only after the horse left the barn.  You have to keep in mind that these were not smart people.

    Well, I guess I don't know what you mean by "equal justice under the law." - Bushy McSpokesperson

    by gatorcog on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:54:12 AM PST

  •  I know why we're in Afghanistan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    The pipeline.

  •  Thank you, Jerome. I was surprised to see that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IM, KateCrashes

    diary appear on the rec list and my immediate reaction was, oh no, not again!

    In defense of those who believe our actions in Afghanistan were due to building and/or taking over an energy pipeline, we did in fact invade Iraq to enrich a certain, Halliburton led energy industry so a tendency to believe the worst of the Bush cabal is not unreasonable.

    I wish elections had consequences.

    by Susan Grigsby on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:57:28 AM PST

  •  And as if on cue (4+ / 0-)

    current headline...

    Exxon-Shell consortium wins West Qurna 1 deal
    A consortium grouping U.S. and European oil giants Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC on Thursday signed a $50 billion deal to develop one of Iraq's most prized oil fields, as the OPEC nation looks to revamp its battered energy sector.

    The deal to develop the 8.6 billion West Qurna Stage 1 field is the third such agreement in less than a week between a foreign oil consortium and Iraq, which sorely needs foreign company expertise and funding to revive an oil sector hammered by years of neglect, sanctions and, most recently sabotage.

    "Republicans drove the country into a ditch and now they are complaining about the cost of the tow truck"-Jim Cornette

    by justmy2 on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 09:59:40 AM PST

  •  This is pretty much Michael Moore's fault. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    The Raptor of Spain: A Webserial
    From Muslim Prince to Christian King: A Tale of Alternate History

    by MNPundit on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:05:32 AM PST

  •  If one assumes that the purpose of the pipeline (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moon in the house of moe, lysias

    is to actually ship gas, then Jerome's debunking makes a lot of sense.

    But consider how many billions of dollars can be made by simply trying to build the pipeline, and not just directly from construction, but all of the supporting needs, including the U.S. military.

    Enron made billions by reducing production of electricity, not supplying it. These folks have found ways to make huge profits by thinking outside the box, even when the box looks unbelievable.

    •  Also, with shipping of LNG, one must need (0+ / 0-)

      look beyond Pakistan and India as the only consumers of this gas.

    •  Enron broke slightly better than even in power (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Spud1

      The California energy market deregulation included a requirement that producers purchase on the spot market, which is the most volatile, rather than enter into long-term contracts where the two sides each pay a premium or discount each month over the actual price versus the negotiated price.

      Enron Energy Services entered into provider contracts with retail customers as deregulation came into being.

      Enron Wholesale Energy Trading manipulated scheduling rules that caused congestion, as well as the reliance of producers on the spot market, as well as the dearth of domestic electricity production within California (much flows into California from border states, since California's regulation made construction of new plants too expensive).

      EES lost around $1 Billion during the height of the energy crisis.

      Wholesale made around $1 Billion or a little more at the same time.

      EES was rather angry at Wholesale, because they were working at odds with one another (EES had expected stable prices, and was getting screwed by Wholesale to the point that EES had to abandon or renege on many contracts).

      Wholesale hid many of its profits from Summer 2000 in what were known internally as Schedule C Reserves.  Gas Trading similarly slipped several hundred million into the reserves after benefitting from an advantageous trading position during the August 2000 El Paso Pipeline explosion.

      On December 12-14, 2000, Power prices in the West and Gas prices in the Northeast collapsed against long positions held by Enron trading, resulting in a 3-day loss of around $1 Billion, which was almost entirely offset by the reserves previously socked away.

      Enron did poorly in foreign markets, with Continental Europe trading of Gas and Power not doing well (other than a little made around Norwegian hydro trading), and South America was a bust as well.  In physical infrastructure, such assest were at best long-term incremental paybacks (after a massive upfront cost) or money-losers (Dabhol, Cuiaba).

  •  that's all well and good, but … (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, djMikulec, gzodik, alstradamus

    First off, the notion that this is a conspiracy is ridiculous. This sort of thing goes on all the time, as you obviously know. So maybe some people are waving their hands and shouting about "oilmen conspiracies." Big deal. It's really no different than, say, Nigeria.

    That you point out that the substance in question is natural gas—not oil—is commendable. However, the fact remains that some people—back before the US invaded—wanted to build a pipeline. Whether anyone seriously considers it these days is another matter entirely.

    "They're telling us something we don't understand"
    General Charles de Gaulle, Mai '68

    by subtropolis on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:14:21 AM PST

  •  Maybe the "pipeline" folks... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IM

    ...have been watching too many James Bond movies (wasn't one of those partly about a woman whose parents were killed, and she was building a pipeline?).

    Thanks for the info. I honestly didn't know the pipeline stuff was bull until I read this. Ya done good. :-)

    Maxie Baucus took an axe, gave Single Payer 40 whacks. And when he saw what he had done, gave Public Option 41. (NO, Max! Bad Senator!)

    by SciMathGuy on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:15:59 AM PST

  •  The main thrust of your diary is this: (0+ / 0-)

    who will guarantee 25 billion dollars upfront in this project?

    My answer would be the government of the United States.

    Heck, the government know how risky the bets that the investment co's were making and bailed them out when it all went south.

    My guess is GWB & Cheney would have been willing to bail out the oil companies if things went badly.

    An honest man in the White House is a threat to crooks and liars

    by AppleP on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:22:46 AM PST

  •  Question for Jerome: BBC pipeline deal story. (4+ / 0-)

    BBC News: Friday, 27 December, 2002, Central Asia pipeline deal signed

    An agreement has been signed in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, paving the way for construction of a gas pipeline from the Central Asian republic through Afghanistan to Pakistan.

    The trans-Afghanistan pipeline would export Turkmen gas via Afghanistan to Pakistani ports, from where it could reach world markets.

    India is the largest potential buyer and the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, said Delhi was welcome to join the project.

    Question: Even though the proposed pipeline has since been found to be unfeasible, according to your remarkable pipeline expertise, is it fair to discount the pipeline plan retroactively to 2002, when clearly, unless the BBC is a conspiracy theory source, there was a plan to build such a pipeline through Afghanistan, and Kharzai was on board?

    Is it fair or logical to say that the pipeline was never an incentive to invade Afghanistan, when

    With improved regional security after the fall of the Taleban about a year ago, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Pakistan have decided to push ahead with plans for the ambitious 1,500-kilometre-long gas pipeline.

    simply because it has since been rejected as unfeasible?

    Information is the currency of democracy. ~ T.J.

    by CIndyCasella on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:23:06 AM PST

  •  Why is there such a need to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ms in la, alstradamus

    debunk these theories?
    Who stands to gain if these theories are debunked?
    Who stands to lose if these theories are not debunked?

  •  Excellent post. (4+ / 0-)

    I didn't mean to stir up a hornets nest. I didn't think I would make the rec list. I saw what to me seemed to be an intriguing story that I hadn't seen discussed on KOS so I figured I would post it and find out more.

    That said. I would point out that my diary reported quotes from a former British ambassador, which is a source. Your diary, while excellently reasoned and even perhaps true, is based on conjecture, well thought out and informed conjecture, but still conjecture. You argue convincingly why the pipeline would be difficult to build but the question remains, is it being built?  Is there still intent to build it?

    I hope you will come back with another great diary with further information or at least point me toward some sources. Don't take this the wrong way, I realized when I started seeing the comments coming in that I should have researched more before posting. Thanks for an excellent response.

  •  Some similarities between the Chad/Cameroon (3+ / 0-)

    pipeline and this proposed project.  In the mid 1990s I worked on the Esso (Exxon) Chad Pipeline project, as an accountant for the managing contractor for the project (not Halliburton or KBR.)  At that time, Exxon had been developing the project for at least five years, before they awarded us the contract.  

    There are oil fields in the African country of Chad, but there was nowhere to take the oil once it was extracted.  Chad is an extremely poor, landlocked country, and one of the astonishing statistics I remember reading in one of the feasibility studies was that at that time, there were only 17 miles of paved roads in the entire country.  I think they also had 1 telephone per 1000 people.  In other words, before pipeline construction could begin, the entire country's infrastructure had to be built from the ground up.  The pipeline went from the Chadian oil fields through the country of Cameroon, to the port.  Cameroon was somewhat more developed, but not greatly.

    Say what you want about Exxon, but it is not a reckless company.  They did the math, and concluded that it was worth the risk to build this thing, in spite of the massive cost.  They did have partners, although some of them later dropped out.  The political risk wasn't as great as in Afghanistan, but the Chadian government was very corrupt.  There were also major environmental concerns, and the pipeline route had to be detoured around a pygmy settlement at one point. (!)

    There was also the problem recruiting workers.  Although Exxon had committed to hire some locals, most of them were unskilled and illiterate, so a lot of TCNs had to be brought in, and then housing needed to be created for those workers.  Then there was the problem of how to pay workers in a country with essentially no banking system.  This presents the "large sacks of cash" control problem.

    A case study of this pipeline can be read here.  The pipeline was finally started up late in 2003, at least 15 years after Exxon began the project.

    I'm not an expert in this stuff, but I do have some experience.  I'd say that an Afghan pipeline may well happen some day, but I can't see that any major oil company would even consider initiating a project like this until the country is considerably more settled (if indeed that ever happens.)  The Chadian government may have been corrupt, but at least they had a government, and there was not a war going on.  If there are signs of interest, and press releases being issued, it's probably oil companies doing some very early pre-positioning.  I seriously doubt there are any concrete plans to do anything in the short, or even mid, term.

  •  +1, Informative (0+ / 0-)

    As they say on Slashdot.
    Well done, Jerome.  I can always count on you for solid energy projects facts.

    --
    Make sure everyone's vote counts: Verified Voting

    by sacrelicious on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:50:57 AM PST

  •  The Necon (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias

    shitbirds thought they could do anything, anywhere, any time.  Logic and foresight were not among their strong suits as long as CIA and centcom were behind them.  Their hubris was imune to reason.  Just like dumbass Russians, they thought it would be a cake walk and all the spoils would be theirs.  We'll just massacre a few thousand civilians and they will see the light.

  •  It’s all about the Strait of Hormuz. (0+ / 0-)

      A terrorist attack or a military effort to close the Strait of Hormuz would send energy prices skyrocketing, threatening the global economy. Hence the need for big oil to get an alternative route, like a pipeline through non-oil producing territory (Afghanistan).

    •  Sorry (0+ / 0-)

      this has been the case for ever and a day - long before my Naval service in the 80's.  Nothing has changed in the Straits of Hormuz.  IF we didn't take the opportunity in the 80's when there was some serious sh!t flying around in the Gulf there is no reason to do so now.

      "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

      by newfie on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 12:25:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's a lot more 'shit flying around' (0+ / 0-)

        in the region now, than there ever was in the 80's

        •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

          How many tankers have been attacked?

          "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

          by newfie on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 12:40:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  A silly question. (0+ / 0-)

            It's an implied threat.
            Since 75% of the world's oil comes through the Strait of Hormuz, serious consequences are implied within a scenario of Iran blocking off the Strait of Hormuz. $4 gas would look like a children's bedtime story compared to the global economic catastrophe that would occur from such actions by Iran.
            Why do you think the international community stands idly by while the Iranian government massacres it's own citizens in the streets? The international community is afraid to intervene militarily because of the implied threat of Iran blocking the Strait of Hormuz.
            Big oil isn't going to allow Iran to control it's destiny. It's silly to think that an alternative route for oil, such as a pipeline through Afghanistan hasn't been seriously considered.

            •  Oh right. (0+ / 0-)

              Implied threat to the Strait of Hormuz trumps real threat to Strait of Hormuz.  Pretend attacks on oil tankers trumps real attacks on oil tankers.  

              Sorry - my bad.

              "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

              by newfie on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 05:26:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Let's debunk one thing: the pipeline is not a CT (7+ / 0-)

    I wrote a diary simply covering the TAPI and IPI pipeline plans from a no-nonsense, factual viewpoint last week. There have been plans for a pipeline for years - but no reason to think that's why we invaded.

    Now Jerome seems dead certain that despite whatever events have transpired recently, neither TAPI or IPI will ever be built, because they are not economically viable. He may well be right. But that's like saying you are certain a global warming treaty won't be ratified - it doesn't make the existence of the thing to begin with, a CT.

    •  biggest flaw in jerome's (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lysias, ukit, CIndyCasella

      argument is that the pipeline won't be built because it's not economical, too expensive at 25 billion. Trillion dollars plus for these two wars now, it doesn't matter if taxpayer money is used. If you're using other people's money it doesn't matter if it's economical or not. Also he ignores all of the evidence that a pipeline is planned such as your links. Obviously they're not going to start building until violence dies down.

    •  No the CT comes in (0+ / 0-)

      when one purports that we invaded Afghanistan to control the geography for the pipeline.  And of course, in order to set the table to do that you'd have to "arrange" for or "allow" an event that would lead to justifying the invasion.  And that is truther land.

      "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

      by newfie on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 12:27:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love CT, (0+ / 0-)

    your debunking of this one is very logical.  It's a shame bush doesn't think logically.  I don't think he has the facilities for it.  There, I debunked your debunk with one simple observation.

    Ask yourself "How many time has the government acted rationally in your lifetime?"

    •  Jerome didn't prove CT/made unfeasibility case (0+ / 0-)

      Jerome listed reasons why he believes that the pipeline isn't economically feasible, that is all.

      Please read this BBC article: Central Asia pipeline deal signed.  You can see that back in 2001, there was an incentive to quell the Taliban to get the pipeline in the pipeline, if you will, and Kharzai was in the thick of things.

      The building of the trans-Afghanistan pipeline has been under discussion for some years but plans have been held up by Afghanistan's unstable political situation.

      With improved regional security after the fall of the Taleban about a year ago, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Pakistan have decided to push ahead with plans for the ambitious 1,500-kilometre-long gas pipeline.

      The trans-Afghanistan pipeline would export Turkmen gas via Afghanistan to Pakistani ports, from where it could reach world markets.

      India is the largest potential buyer and the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, said Delhi was welcome to join the project.

      Turkmenistan has some of the world's greatest reserves of natural gas, but still relies on tightly controlled Russian pipelines to export it.

      Jerome has not answered my question about this article yet.

      I see the usual group of CT screamers agreeing with him to shut down the diary about the UK ambassador revealing how the CIA shipped victims to Uzbekhistan to be tortured into making false confessions of being involved with Al Qaeda to bolster the proven neocon CT lies as to why we bomb, bomb, bombed Iraq and Afghanistan, but I, who have a very good command of logic, do not see any definitive proof that claiming the pipeline plan was one of the real reasons the US invaded and occupied Afghanistan is false.

      Clearly, they have yet to nab bin Laden, nor have they brought peace, stability, or justice to the Afghan people.  They've bomb, bomb, bombed innocent wedding parties, though, creating their own brand of terror in that region.

      Information is the currency of democracy. ~ T.J.

      by CIndyCasella on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 12:33:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Right.It's all about Truth, Justice, and the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rhetoricus, CIndyCasella

    American WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

    Pfffft!

  •  Sorry, but it was a definite motive - Unocal (4+ / 0-)

    had it in play and had firm commitments.  Unocal even testified before Congress about the matter and about how they had to abandon their prosepective gold mine due to the Taliban's rise to power.  One of Karzai's first acts was to reauthorize and restart the project, though, of course, it cannot go anywhere now because there is too much instability.

    BTW, non-producers can make big money running pipelines.  That was the entire Dynergy strategy and that of several others too.  Something here needs to be there.  Hey, how about I take it there and charge for the transport.  Look into something called the CPTC, for example.

    "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

    by enhydra lutris on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 11:30:30 AM PST

    •  Prove these assertions please (0+ / 0-)

      I would really like to see the sources you use for these assertions. The Unocal deal failed with the Taliban because they chose another company instead, (Bridas). This deal fell through before we ever went in to Afghanistan in 2001, in fact it feel though in 1997 if I am not mistaken.

      In the late 90's I was calling the Clinton white house demanding they stop the efforts by Unocal to work with the Taliban because of their human rights issues...and anyway, we did not ever acknowledge that the Taliban were the legit govt. there. Only Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE did.

      When you look at all the reasons why, today as well as back in 2001, that a pipeline was HIGHLY unlikely to ever be built, what makes you think this was Bush's reason to go there?

      Help me help kids in Afghanistan: www.afghans4tomorrow.com

      by kimoconnor on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 12:48:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  One of his reasons, not his sole reason. Heck, (0+ / 0-)

        one of his reasons was simply tohave a war, any war, soon.

        unocal 1 http://whatreallyhappened.com/...

        unocal 2  must type in manually -

        http://www.ringnebula.com/Oil/Maresca_testimony_USHouse_1998.h
        tm

        wikipedia 1  http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        wikipedia 2   http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        Rockwell   http://www.lewrockwell.com/...

        bbc   http://news.bbc.co.uk/...

        opednews   http://www.opednews.com/...

        ring nebula afghanistan timeline   http://www.ringnebula.com/...

        "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

        by enhydra lutris on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 01:47:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I must say, if anyone was stupid enough.... (0+ / 0-)

          ....to think we could create peace in Afghanistan by invading and bombing it, and thus enable a US company to build a pipeline is this peaceful Afghanistan, Bush was.

          But your links, many that are outrageous conspiracy theory sites are not proof that Bush went into Afghanistan to benefit Unocal, which is what you asserted and I disagreed with, using facts, not sites like Rense and 'what really happened'.

          Help me help kids in Afghanistan: www.afghans4tomorrow.com

          by kimoconnor on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 02:06:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, I did not assert that, sorry. (0+ / 0-)

            I stated that it was a motive.  Go learn to read.

            "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

            by enhydra lutris on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 03:25:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You most certainly did (0+ / 0-)

              Sorry, but it was a definite motive - Unocal (3+ / 0-)

              had it in play and had firm commitments.  Unocal even testified before Congress about the matter and about how they had to abandon their prosepective gold mine due to the Taliban's rise to power.  One of Karzai's first acts was to reauthorize and restart the project, though, of course, it cannot go anywhere now because there is too much instability.

              I did not assert that you said this was the only reason.

              Unocal was out of the deal in 1997. Unocal worked WITH THE TALIBAN but lost out to another company, who never built the pipeline either due to obvious reasons that Jerome so simply points out.

              Help me help kids in Afghanistan: www.afghans4tomorrow.com

              by kimoconnor on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 03:47:48 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Read the congressional testimony and try (0+ / 0-)

                to think just a tiny bit.  Congress isn't really a CT site, assuming, arguendo, that such things exist.  Read both versions.

                "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

                by enhydra lutris on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 04:54:32 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  The facts are the facts, how, or if, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            djMikulec

            you connect the dots is up to you.  Unocal had a deal.  Unocal said it couldn't go through without stable secure governemnt and elimination of Taliban control of various areas.  We invaded and drove them out of Kabul and installed Karzai. Karzai rapidly put it back into play upon becoming puppet president.  Clearly not a factor or consideration of anybody's at any time.

            We invaded on thin pretext after demands that were unconscionable and impossible to meet.  

            I think GWB had multiple motives, all illegitimate for his invasion.  I think the pipeline was among them, as was having a war, as was looking decisive, as was helping the MIC, etc., etc..  Later he went into Iraq, also for multiple illegitimate motives.

            "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

            by enhydra lutris on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 03:38:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Cheney's Secret Energy Task Force Meeting (0+ / 0-)

              There's a reason why they're keeping it under lock and key. The behavior by the Bush administration over the matter was quite revealing. Some might call it criminal.

              What. Are. They. Hiding.

              Oh, what I wouldn't give to find out what was going on behind those closed doors. I think a lot of questions would be answered in this regard.

              -8.00, -8.26 "Fascism is capitalism plus murder." - Upton Sinclair

              by djMikulec on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 10:06:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  We are not in Afganistan for the good of the (4+ / 0-)

    Afghan people.

    Very few even mention the welfare of the Afghan people in the debate.

    Bring them home.

    We shall overcome, someday. Yes we can.

    by Sam Wise Gingy on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 11:35:33 AM PST

    •  How about asking the AFghans what they want? (0+ / 0-)

      I have, and they do not want us to walk away, they do however want us to stop dropping bombs that kill many civilians in an effort to kill a couple of Taliban.

      Help me help kids in Afghanistan: www.afghans4tomorrow.com

      by kimoconnor on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 12:49:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We're focusing on the wrong pipeline (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rhetoricus, CIndyCasella

    It's the drug pipeline which is what greases the local palms for US geopolitical purposes in the area. Poppies make the Afghan economy and buys friendly "democracy." It's that simple, sad to say. And Afghanistan has been deemed a necessary strategic presence, obviously. Forget 911 eight years on now.

    Let's not be naive about this. We've had our Iran-Contra, et al - same old story, different region. Establishing hegemony is what we do.

    I don't like it. So I'll be watching with interest what Pres. Obama does here.

    A good writer is another government.

    by newlymintedjerseygirl on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 11:38:04 AM PST

  •  Not Impressed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KateCrashes, Amber6541

    Jerome,

    I admire and respect your work, but I am not impressed with this line of thinking. Demonstrating that the TAPI pipeline is not economically feasible at the current time most certainly does not eliminate energy as a motive for the invasion and ongoing occupation of Afghanistan. They are thinking strategically while you are thinking tactically.

    Regards.

  •  The other reason why pipelines for petroleum (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IM, kimoconnor, Amber6541

    products through "unstable" areas are not very good ideas is that any dude with a little skill and a spare US-made 155mm artillery shell can "break the chain" very completely and expensively. Any idea what it takes to provide security for a 600 or 900 mile pipeline, pumping stations, tank farms, refineries and terminal facilities, against the Jihadicide fella with a pickup truck? Or a few skilled night fignters crawling across the rocks and sand? Read any of the tales of fuel-hungry, dirt-poor Nigerians tapping pipelines for some petrol, with devastatingly explosive results? And those incidents are not even examplies of bad intent.

    "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

    by jm214 on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 12:25:16 PM PST

  •  What about the PNAC (0+ / 0-)

    They seem to have drawn up these ideas for pipelines and even new countries and borders, and is probably where a lot of this speculation derives from.

    I know a lot of foreign CT rests on PNAC materials

    Tweetivism -- Tweet all members of the Senate on twitter at once, with one easy form. Push HCR, thats the current topic!

    by no puma on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 12:30:39 PM PST

  •  The point of Afghanistan is Iran (0+ / 0-)

    The natural gas would come from Iran. It has the fourth largest reserves in the world, last I checked. That, I believe, is the reason we're in Afghanistan. Shipping from Iran to India would be lucrative. But that means cooperation from Afghanistan.

  •  Questions, comments, no conclusions- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jen

    The TAPI pipeline hasn't been called the "TAP" for years now - I'm wondering why it's referred to as TAP in today's, diary making it seem kind of... out of date? India first signaled they would participate in 2006 and then formally signed on in April 2008. It's the Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan India Pipeline. Not just a quibble with acronyms but the involvement of India, concurrent with the Asian Development Bank's offer of financial backing, were critical to the project's viability or lack of.

    And on that subject of the financing, (of which most accounts attribute 25% to come from ADB) - I've read dozens and dozens of articles on this pipeline over the years and for the past 2 yrs the budget is always quoted at being in the $ 7.5 - $ 7.6 billion range.  The original estimate of the pipeline project in 2004 was $3.3 billion, which was later revised to $7.6 billion in 2008.  The only time I've ever seen a $25 billion dollar estimate is here. alone. At Kos. in this debunking diary. But I can't find the diary link for that figure - so I would love to see the budgetary link to that amount, if possible?

    The articles I've been reading are from various publications, not only the Asian Times (which appears to be wholly discredited here as a source of anything?)
    This is a small sampling of some interesting TAPI articles from a broad range of international sources:

    Radio Free Europe
    http://www.rferl.org/...

    Pakistan Daily Times
    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/...

    Forbes
    http://www.forbes.com/...

    EuroAsia Net

    http://www.eurasianet.org/...

    Afghanistan News
    http://www.afghanistannewscenter.com...


    Indian press:

    http://www.india-server.com/...

    Turkish Weekly
    (by Editor of the USAK Energy Review)
    http://www.turkishweekly.net/...

    ---------------------------
    The last article from Turkish Weekly May 2008 has some informative snips. Especially taking note it was written during the heat or our American primaries - right before we had our Democratic nominee - well before we had a plan to send more troops to Afghanistan, for perspective.

    The pipeline would be laid on one of the most volatile parts of the world. After the military operation conducted by the coalition led by the United States in Afghanistan against the Taliban, the current leadership of the country has still not been able to extend own authority throughout Afghanistan.

    Comparative order in the country managed to retain only by the presence of coalition forces. Despite the fact that President Karzai announced that soon order in the country would be secured, it is still hardly believed.

    Without the presence of coalition forces, Afghanistan will not be able to maintain stability inside the country on its own for a long time.

    From another article written a few months later in July 08 - before knowing who the US President might be, let alone the new US policy for AfPak... Karzai seems to be operating out of a crystal ball policy assurance bubble:

    "Construction should start in 2010, with gas being supplied by 2015. The project is backed by the Manila-based Asian Development Bank. The government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, which cannot even provide security for a few streets in central Kabul, has engaged in Hollywood-style suspension of disbelief by assuring unsuspecting customers it will not only get rid of millions of land mines blocking TAPI's route, it will get rid of the Taliban themselves

    .

    However, he never elaborated to the public or the press how he intended to do that (secure the pipeline route), only that he could promise there would be be stability by the projected breaking of the ground date, in 2010. His inexplicable confidence was later mocked.

    -------
    http://www.heritage.org/...

    The green line is the TAPI pipeline in the map above ^. Check out the cities it is scheduled to traverse. Kandahar, Quetta, Multan, etc.

    My last question is why the competing IPI pipeline (red line on map) isn't mentioned or included in the analysis of TAPI, in that it seems geopoliticaly so relevant to the bigger gas pipeline picture of the region? And you generally find in the reporting on them, that the feasibility of either one rests with the current status of the other. Russia vs China vs US - who's cheering on which team: IPI or TAPI. I'd be very interested in knowing Jerome's take on IPI and if he believes that too is a conspiracy theory? I have no conclusions, I'm just an interested observer in the energy markets "over there" for many years.

    I will admit 2 things: I did not read the other "CT" diary yet! And I admit to being sometimes skeptical and disturbed by overtly ardent or aggressive debunking efforts in general - regardless of what "theory" is being debunked. Because after all, a patently ridiculous 'conspiracy' should by definition stand as such all on its own - without the need of hordes of angry debunker squads to poke 100 holes in it to prove its lack of credibility.  For those here who are surprised they can't see any evidence of the pipeline on Google Earth satellite imagery - the first construction has long been projected to be in 2010 with first gas pumping by 2014. You would not see it in 2009... unless you had Hamid Karzai's magic crystal ball.  

    I think I'll remain patiently agnostic on the TAPI pipeline construction and just keep watching and listening.

    •  read the other diary, it is over the top (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ms in la

      To me this is logic. You know, it really makes no difference if the actual cost of such a pipeline would be $7 billion or $25 billion.

      Any pipeline built there (assuming all the factors Jerome mentioned came together to get to that point) would likely face constant attacks and require a level of troops to secure it that is not possible to allocate.

      I am one who wishes Afghanistan was peaceful enough that businesses would be willing to invest there, the Afghans need the jobs and (legal) revenue!

      Help me help kids in Afghanistan: www.afghans4tomorrow.com

      by kimoconnor on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 02:25:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll check it out (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jen

        The cost factor was one of the diary's main debunking tools - so that's why I think the difference between 7 & 25 billion USD is significant. 18 Billion more dollars significant anyways! No small change when weighing economic viability.

        Indeed they would face constant attacks - that's why everyone laughed at Karzai in April 2008 when he blithely assured the press he could guarantee security in the area - way before we'd announced sending any more troops there. He didn't condition it upon anything, he just acted as if he knew help was 'on the way'.

        In any case, I think somebody had better give Hamid Karzai and a few foreign Oil Ministers the heads up on TAPI, because they keep behaving as if the pipeline were.... um, a reality. :) Granted, this may be for different and undisclosed political reasons, having no bearing whatsoever on actual LNG deliveries...

        Meanwhile, Turkmenistan has been playing cat and mouse by not producing the long-awaited certificate designating the quantity of the actual reserves. The last time they were scheduled to formally produce it and did not was at the 11th TAPI Steering Committee meeting in India, which was at the same time as the Mumbai terror attacks (late Nov 2008) All in all, something worthy of our attention is and has been going down between the parties involved in this pipe-dream pipeline project.

        Good on you for your efforts for Afghan kids btw. I'm with you 100% on the desire for a stabilized and peaceful region there.

        •  It is politically beneficial for Karzai to be.... (0+ / 0-)

          ....ridiculously optimistic. It must be, or he is not as sane as I had believed him to be.

          Thanks for your support!

          Help me help kids in Afghanistan: www.afghans4tomorrow.com

          by kimoconnor on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 03:43:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I guess we'll all learn soon enough-- (0+ / 0-)

            whether he was either 'ridiculously optimistic' - or uncannily prescient - once we hear the numbers of new enforcements to be sent over and we see the specific areas in which they'll be concentrated. He may have the last laugh at that point.

            And you're welcome! We need all lightworkers on deck in these times.

  •  Classic (0+ / 0-)

    "I debunked the conspiracies back in 2005 and I update that diary below."

    Yeah guys!  He debunked it.  Case closed.  He is, after all, the guy who predicted Countdown to Oil $200.00.  He is, after all, our resident expert on all things oil related.

    •  And ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kimoconnor

      If the economy hadn't collapsed we'd be beyond $200 oil now. Give Jerome a break. He's an energy analyst, not a credit default swap analyst. Yet even there he gave us prescient warnings about the US and British economies having unhealthy enlargements in their financial sectors.

      Also, if you're going to take issue with the case he makes, address any of the specific arguments. Don't just say, "He's not a perfect prophet of all things, so I won't even listen to him on a subject close to his core expertise."

  •  Wasn't outsourcing torture the point of the story (0+ / 0-)

    --the fact that we've been renditioning people to countries that boil people to death and rape people with broken bottles, then we use that "intelligence" to make determinations and announcements about al Qaeda?

    Granted, this lovely Uzbeki characteristic isn't new, but the fact that we've been using "intelligence" gleaned from this kind of treatment is the real outrage.

    Seems like that's the real story here, not about what motivation for the invasion W was secretly trying to justify.

    Guess the impulse to flog the "ct" dolphin still trumps all.

    If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

    by rhetoricus on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 02:24:36 PM PST

  •  I wish somebody... (0+ / 0-)

    (like Obama) could come up with a coherent reason for our reasons to invade (Osama got away!) and stay in Afghanistan.  I haven't heard one yet.

    Corporate PACS, its not just bribery, its a lifestyle!

    by rubine on Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 02:42:05 PM PST

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