PARIS - Under the influence of U.S. oil companies,
the government of George W. Bush initially blocked U.S. secret
service investigations on terrorism, while it bargained with the
Taliban the delivery of Osama bin Laden in exchange for political
recognition and economic aid, two French intelligence analysts
In the book ''Bin Laden, la verite interdite'' (''Bin Laden,
the forbidden truth''), that appeared in Paris on Wednesday, the
authors, Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, reveal that
the Federal Bureau of Investigation's deputy director John O'Neill
resigned in July in protest over the obstruction.
Brisard claim O'Neill told them that ''the main obstacles to
investigate Islamic terrorism were U.S. Oil corporate interests
and the role played by Saudi Arabia in it''.
The two claim the U.S. government's main objective in
Afghanistan was to consolidate the position of the Taliban regime
to obtain access to the oil and gas reserves in Central Asia.
They affirm that until August, the U.S. government saw the
Taliban regime ''as a source of stability in Central Asia that
would enable the construction of an oil pipeline across Central
Asia'', from the rich oilfields in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and
Kazakhstan, through Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the Indian Ocean.
Until now, says the book, ''the oil and gas reserves of Central
Asia have been controlled by Russia. The Bush government wanted to
change all that''.
But, confronted with Taliban's refusal to accept U.S.
conditions, ''this rationale of energy security changed into a
military one'', the authors claim.
''At one moment during the negotiations, the U.S.
representatives told the Taliban, 'either you accept our offer of
a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs',''
Brisard said in an interview in Paris.
According to the book, the government of Bush began to
negotiate with the Taliban immediately after coming into power in
February. U.S. and Taliban diplomatic representatives met several
times in Washington, Berlin and Islamabad.
To polish their image in the United States, the Taliban even
employed a U.S. expert on public relations, Laila Helms. The
authors claim that Helms is also an expert in the works of U.S.
Secret services, for her uncle, Richard Helms, is a former
director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The last meeting between U.S. And Taliban representatives took
place in August, five weeks before the attacks on New York and
Washington, the analysts maintain.
On that occasion, Christina Rocca, in charge of Central Asian
affairs for the U.S. Government, met the Taliban ambassador to
Pakistan in Islamabad.
Brisard and Dasquie have long experience in intelligence
analysis. Brisard was until the late 1990s director of economic
analysis and strategy for Vivendi, a French company. He also
worked for French secret services, and wrote for them in 1997 a
report on the now famous Al Qaeda network, headed by bin Laden.
Dasquie is an investigative journalist and publisher of
Intelligence Online, a respected newsletter on diplomacy, economic
analysis and strategy, available through the Internet.
Brisard and Dasquie draw a portrait of closest aides to
President Bush, linking them to oil business.
Bush's family has a strong oil background. So are some of his
top aides. From the U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, through the
director of the National Security Council Condoleeza Rice, to the
Ministers of Commerce and Energy, Donald Evans and Stanley
Abraham, all have for long worked for U.S. Oil companies.
Cheney was until the end of last year president of Halliburton,
a company that provides services for oil industry; Rice was
between 1991 and 2000 manager for Chevron; Evans and Abraham
worked for Tom Brown, another oil giant.
Besides the secret negotiations held between Washington and
Kabul and the importance of the oil industry, the book takes issue
with the role played by Saudi Arabia in fostering Islamic
fundamentalism, in the personality of bin Laden, and with the
networks that the Saudi dissident built to finance his activities.
Brisard and Dasquie contend the U.S. Government's claim that it
had been prosecuting bin Laden since 1998. ''Actually,'' Dasquie
says, ''the first state to officially prosecute bin Laden was
Libya, on the charges of terrorism.''
''Bin Laden wanted settle in Libya in the early 1990s, but was
hindered by the government of Muammar Qaddafi,'' Dasquie claims.
''Enraged by Libya's refusal, bin Laden organized attacks inside
Libya, including assassination attempts against Qaddafi.''
Dasquie singles out one group, the Islamic Fighting Group
(IFG), reputedly the most powerful Libyan dissident organization,
based in London, and directly linked with bin Laden.
''Qaddafi even demanded Western police institutions, such as
Interpol, to pursue the IFG and bin Laden, but never obtained co-
operation,'' Dasquie says. ''Until today, members of IFG openly
live in London.''
The book confirms earlier reports that the U.S. Government
worked closely with the United Nations during the negotiations
with the Taliban.
''Several meetings took place this year, under the arbitration
of Francesc Vendrell, personal representative of UN secretary
general Kofi Annan, to discuss the situation in Afghanistan,''
says the book.
''Representatives of the U.S. Government and Russia, and the
six countries that border with Afghanistan were present at these
meetings,'' it says. ''Sometimes, representatives of the Taliban
also sat around the table.''
These meetings, also called ''6+2'' because of the number of
states (six neighbors plus U.S. And Russia) involved, have been
confirmed by Naif Naik, former Pakistani Minister for Foreign
In a French television news program two weeks ago, Naik said
during a ''6+2'' meeting in Berlin in July, the discussions turned
around ''the formation of a government of national unity. If the
Taliban had accepted this coalition, they would have immediately
received international economic aid.''
''And the pipe lines from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan would have
come,'' he added.
Naik also claimed that Tom Simons, the U.S. representative at
these meetings, openly threatened the Taliban and Pakistan.
''Simons said, 'either the Taliban behave as they ought to, or
Pakistan convinces them to do so, or we will use another option'.
The words Simons used were 'a military operation','' Naik
Copyright © 2001 IPS-Inter Press Service