Tuesday, Jun 15th, 2010
News that the U.S. has suddenly discovered $1 trillion-worth of mineral deposits in Afghanistan, and descriptions of the bounty as a “game changer” by the corporate media, represent nothing more than crude war propaganda designed to reinvigorate public support for a failing and ever more pointless occupation.
The “liberal” New York Times, which previously brought us fantastical stories of WMD in Iraq and yellowcake from Niger, is at it once again, describing huge deposits of minerals in Afghanistan as “previously unknown”.
In a story the Times ran on Sunday, the newspaper pointed to an “internal Pentagon memo” as its source, noting that U.S. officials now believe Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium”.
The article claims that “a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists” has also recently discovered huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt and gold, that could transform Afghanistan into one of the most important mining centers in the world.
The idea that this information is new, however, is manifestly ludicrous.
In an interview with Politico, a retired senior U.S. official notes that anyone with a memory span longer than a goldfish will realise the supposedly “new discovery” is anything but that:
“When I was living in Kabul in the early 1970’s the [U.S. government], the Russians, the World Bank, the UN and others were all highly focused on the wide range of Afghan mineral deposits. Cheap ways of moving the ore to ocean ports has always been the limiting factor,” the official said.
Furthermore, in the mid 1980s, the chief engineer of the Afghan Geological Survey Department published a report pointing to vast reserves of mineral riches. The Afghan government was readying to work with the Soviets on extraction, before Russia pulled out of the country altogether as it’s empire began to crumble in 1989.
A man intrinsically tied to countering the Soviet operation in Afghanistan, by radicalizing muslim resistance in the country, was über elitist Zbigniew Brzezinski. In his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, Brzezinski refers directly to the strategic and economic prizes to be gained via control of what he describes as the Eurasian Balkans:
“…the Eurasian Balkans are infinitely more important as a potential economic prize: an enormous concentration of natural gas and oil reserves is located in the region, in addition to important minerals, including gold (page 124),” and “America’s global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Euraisian continent is sustained…A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions…most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil (page 30-31).”
In his now familiar warm hearted way, Brzezinski also outlines that in order to control the region, a dominating global power must “prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together (page 40).”
Brzezinski also noted that the American people would have to be stoked and rallied into supporting what essentially amounts to a modern day crusade:
“The attitude of the American public toward the external projection of American power has been much more ambivalent. The public supported America’s engagement in World War II largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (page 24-25).”
Following 9/11, the world witnessed unfolding exactly what Brzezinski had proposed.
If you still choose to believe that the U.S. government did not previously have knowledge of vast mineral riches in Afghanistan, despite the fact that former Senior U.S. officials, Afghans, Soviets and Zbigniew Brzezinski all did, then take a gander at this 2007 US Geological Survey.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The report reveals that the U.S. was aware of “significant amounts of undiscovered non-fuel mineral resources” in Afghanistan, noting that the country “has significant amounts of undiscovered non fuel mineral resources,” including “large quantities of accessible iron and copper [and] abundant deposits of colored stones and gemstones, including emerald, ruby [and] sapphire.”
Even foreign mainstream news sources like Reuters have questioned the Times’ article, outlining the need for “a reality check”.
So why is the “liberal” NY Times passing this story off as a game changing “discovery” when it is one of the primary reasons the U.S. is engaged in the occupation of the region in the first place?
Simply because the American public are sick of seeing their country spiral into a black hole of debt while continuing to pay for a war that has now surpassed the Vietnam conflict as the longest in U.S. military history.
Jeremy White of the Huffington Post notes that “This story is similar to ones that preceded the Iraq War when the Bush administration claimed that Iraq’s oil wealth would pay for all the costs of reconstruction.”
Newshoggers blogger Steve Hynd describes the Times piece as “a conveniently timed zombie story… resurrected yet again for political purposes.”
Remember that Obama made Afghanistan his war by pouring thousands and thousands more troops into the country and demanding record war budgets from Congress. If Obama’s Afghanistan adventure fails, his presidency fails. Both the brass at the Times and the White House can’t be having that.
The seemingly dwindling enthusiasm for U.S. involvement on behalf of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and his threats to “join the Taliban” in the face of a dysfunctional U.S. mission, may also be a factor.
As Gareth Porter of IPS reports, the Obama administration is staring at “the spectre of a collapse of U.S. political support for the war in Afghanistan in coming months comparable to the one that occurred in the Iraq War in late 2006.”
The mineral riches story may also be designed to shore up the involvement of British forces in the face of mass public discontent, a new government, elements of which have expressed opposition to the ongoing conflict, and the tension brought about between the U.S. and Britain over the BP oil spill.
The conclusion remains clear. The idea that Afghanistan’s mineral riches were not part of the invasion and occupation agenda, drawn up before 9/11, and have suddenly been discovered, is provably false. The New York Times is once again engaged in the dissemination of propaganda in an attempt to sell the empire building of the new world order.