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Afghanistan: Global NATO’s first ground war in its tenth year

Rick Rozoff | 11.10.2010 18:42 | Afghanistan | Analysis | Anti-militarism | Globalisation | World

A war in its tenth year in which NATO’s casualties mount by the day is not sufficient for an increasingly ambitious and expansionist, indeed global, NATO. While attacks on its forces increase steadily and its troop strength reaches record levels – and with at least 170 of its oil tankers destroyed in Pakistan since the killing of Pakistani troops on September 30 – the military bloc is planning new wars on the scale of the one in Afghanistan.

NATO forces deployed in Afghanistan (February 2010)
NATO forces deployed in Afghanistan (February 2010)

The military alliance that 61 years ago identified its core mission as to “promote stability and well-being in the North Atlantic area” is now embroiled in the tenth year of a war in Afghanistan launched by its dominant member, the United States.

South Asia is as far removed from the North Atlantic Ocean as possible while remaining in the Northern Hemisphere.

After “promoting stability and well-being” in the Balkans in the last decade by conducting a three-week bombing campaign against the Bosnian Serb Republic (Republika Srpska) in 1995 and a 78-day air war against Yugoslavia four years later, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization intervened in Macedonia in 2001 and shortly thereafter invoked its founding treaty’s Article 5 – “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and…each of them…will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith…such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force” – on September 12, 2001.

In doing so NATO signed on for participation in Washington’s so-called Global War on Terror, last year renamed Overseas Contingency Operations and perhaps to be called something else tomorrow as pretexts change.

As a consequence and demand alike of doing so, the North Atlantic Alliance deployed military forces to the first major military base the Pentagon has secured in Africa, Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, and on October 4, 2001 launched Operation Active Endeavour to patrol the entire Mediterranean Sea from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Suez Canal and the Dardanelles Strait, ostensibly to – in NATO’s own words – “help detect, deter and protect against terrorist activity” and especially to “combat…the proliferation and smuggling of weapons of mass destruction.” The terrorism-weapons of mass destruction link was an obedient reflection of Washington’s rhetoric at the time, though the second half of the combination has been shifted away from Iraq toward Iran as the 2003 invasion of the first failed to locate any weapons of mass destruction as well as connections to al-Qaeda.

No vessel enters or leaves the Mediterranean except under NATO surveillance. The Alliance’s ships have hailed over 100,000 commercial vessels and boarded an admitted 155 or more. “Since April 2003, NATO has been systematically boarding suspect ships….[M]erchant ships passing through the Eastern Mediterranean are hailed by patrolling NATO naval units and asked to identify themselves and their activity. This information is then reported to both NATO’s Allied Maritime Component Commander in Naples, Italy, and the NATO Shipping Centre in Northwood, England.” [1]

Without a mandate from the United Nations or attempt to obtain one and no justification under international law, the U.S.-dominated military bloc arrogates to itself the right to stop, board (peaceably or otherwise) and search any ship in the Mediterranean and in theory to seize its cargo and detain its crew, even to impound the ship itself. What is tantamount to a blockade of the entire sea if not what if perpetrated by a non-state actor would be condemned as piracy on the high seas.

NATO’s Active Endeavour is now in its tenth year and there is no indication that it will ever end, even though not a single terrorist has been apprehended or a weapon of mass destruction confiscated. When an Israeli German-made Dolphin submarine, assumed to carry missiles with nuclear warheads – the ultimate weapon of mass destruction – crossed from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea in June of 2009, NATO made no attempt to interdict it.

The Mediterranean Sea has become NATO’s mare nostrum.

A similar situation exists in the Horn of Africa where NATO nations have deployed troops to Djibouti since the beginning of the century to join 2,000 American and 3,000 French troops based in the small nation. Germany, Britain, Spain and the Netherlands are or have been among the troop contributors. By no later than the beginning of 2002 Germany had more than 1,200 soldiers, several warships and spy planes based there, with the second component at the time representing “Germany’s biggest naval deployment since World War Two.” [2] It also based surveillance aircraft in Kenya in early 2002, where NATO warships have docked since.

In March of 2009 NATO began rotating the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) and Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) off the Horn of Africa, first with Operation Allied Provider until August of 2009 and since with Operation Ocean Shield, which has been extended for over three years more. As with Operation Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean, NATO warships in the Gulf of Aden will never leave voluntarily.

This March NATO began airlifting Ugandan troops into war-torn Somalia where they are belligerents in the armed conflict and not peacekeepers. 1,700 were flown in and 850 out.

But it is in Afghanistan, and of late Pakistan, that NATO has emerged as a global combat force. With the recent transfer of tens of thousands of U.S. troops from Operation Enduring Freedom to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the Alliance now has the most troops under its command in a foreign mission in its history: 120,000 in Afghanistan compared to 60,000 in Bosnia in 1995, 50,000 in Kosovo in 1999, several thousand in Djibouti since 2001 and a smaller force in Macedonia starting in the same year.

Afghanistan is also the theater furthest from its European territory NATO has even deployed troops to and the war there is the bloc’s first military conflict in Asia and its first ground war.

The Afghan war is also the battleground on which NATO has lost its first soldiers in combat operations.

As of October 10, the U.S. and its NATO allies have lost 2,144 troops, almost 1,100 since last year. So far this year 574 foreign troops have been killed, 27 percent of the total in the over nine-year-long war, compared to 55 in Iraq, a more than ten-to-one ratio. And whereas all those killed in Iraq this year were American servicemen, almost 35 per cent of all occupation forces slain in Afghanistan were non-American. 4,475 of 4,743 foreign troops killed in Iraq since 2003 – 94.3 percent – were from the U.S. while 820 of the 2,144 killed in Afghanistan since 2001 – 38.3 percent – were not.

Nations that have not been engaged in a war since World War Two and in some instances longer or never at all are now providing NATO troops for Afghanistan: Germany, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, the Czech Republic/Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia, Austria and Mongolia. (Many of the above, especially new NATO members, also supplied troops for deployment to Iraq after 2003, which have since been withdrawn and redeployed to Afghanistan.)

Even Switzerland, a NATO Partnership for Peace member, assigned a nominal contingent from 2004-2008, withdrawing it because “The peacekeeping support mission in South Afghanistan has gradually turned into an operation to combat insurgents,” according to a Swiss source. [3]

Other nations have troops in Afghanistan that had not sent military forces to a foreign combat zone since the Korean War – Belgium, Canada, Greece and Turkey – and the Vietnam War: Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. [4]

In the last week of September NATO helicopter gunships launched four deadly raids into Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas and on September 30 an attack by two NATO helicopters killed three Pakistani soldiers in the Kurram Agency there.

This month the Czech Republic announced that it was increasing its NATO contingent by 30 percent, from 530 to 730 troops, and was redeploying its special forces to Afghanistan. Many of the troops are being transferred from NATO’s Kosovo Force to its International Security Assistance Force, as with those of other NATO members and much as occurred from December of 2008 onward when all Eastern European nations’ troops were reassigned from Iraq to Afghanistan.

Meeting with Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg in Washington on October 6, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “said she had been happy at the Czech step.” [5]

The day before, Clinton met with Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov and the two “discussed the situation in Afghanistan,” [6] where Bulgaria announced this summer it was deploying a “700-strong combat unit to boost its troops…as of 2013 at the latest,” [7] notwithstanding talks of a drawdown of foreign troops next July.

At a joint press conference with Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri in Washington before the second meeting of the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission within the framework of the U.S.-Georgia Charter on Strategic Cooperation on October 6, Clinton applauded the South Caucasus nation for increasing its troop strength in Afghanistan to almost 1,000, condoled it on the recent loss of four soldiers there, supported its NATO aspirations and in effect demanded Russia remove its troops from Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The governments of the latter two nations reacted to Clinton’s characterization of them as “occupied Georgian territories,” and Abkhazia “challenged Mrs Clinton to label countries like Iraq and Afghanistan American-occupied territories.” [8]

A U.S. armed forces publication recently disclosed that U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) is training joint terminal attack controllers (JTACs) from fellow NATO nations at an American Air Force school in Germany to order bombing runs in Afghanistan. “[T]he Air Force has ramped up efforts to train more [controllers] from allied nations, many of whom could deploy to Afghanistan to call in NATO airstrikes….USAFE Commander Gen. Roger Brady has directed the Europe-based school to double its training capacity, from 72 to 144 graduates a year….At least 50 percent of those students are expected to come from countries other than the United States.” [9] In a five-week initial qualification class this month, U.S. Air Force personnel were joined by counterparts from Belgium, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Romania and Slovenia, all but two of whom are new NATO members inducted since 1999.

Canada, which has more than once announced plans to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan without doing so, reactivated the 1st Canadian Division Headquarters in Kingston, Ontario on October 8 under the command of Major-General David Fraser, who commanded NATO troops in Kandahar in southern Afghanistan in 2006. Fraser said “putting the organization back in place means that the Forces will be more nimble and can respond to future missions – be it combat such as Afghanistan or humanitarian assistance in Haiti – faster and smoother.” He added that the multi-service (army, air force and navy) rapid deployment headquarters “incorporates a lot of what we learned in Afghanistan.” [10]

On October 6 an Afghan soldier fired a rocket-propelled grenade at an outpost manned by French troops in the northeastern province of Kapisa.

Three NATO soldiers were killed in attacks in southern and eastern Afghanistan and NATO lost a drone in Paktika province near the Pakistani border on October 7. The next day three more ISAF soldiers were killed in the south of the country while NATO forces killed what were described as six pro-government militiamen in the southeastern province of Khost. “Local villagers took the bodies to the governor’s office in the provincial capital, also called Khost, to protest the killing,” an Afghan police official reported. [11]

Also on October 8, a German soldier was killed and six others wounded – two seriously, one critically – in northern Afghanistan in a suicide bomb attack, bringing Germany’s death toll to 44. A German news agency reported that “The Germans came under mortar and rifle fire after the detonation and the skirmish apparently lasted for several hours.” [12] The same source stated that there are 5,350 German soldiers now stationed in the north, up from the 4,500 maximum allowed for by the Bundestag until this February. The number is substantially higher than any previous amount of German troops stationed abroad – and moreover for war – since World War Two.

The following day four Italian soldiers were killed and another injured in an attack in western Afghanistan, bringing Italy’s death count to 34. “The victims were killed when a bomb exploded near their armoured car, part of a column of 70 Italian military vehicles.” [13]

On the same day a member of Australia’s Special Operations Task Group was wounded in a roadside bomb attack. Australia is the largest NATO partnership nation (one of four Contact Countries along with Japan, New Zealand and South Korea) contributor to the war, with 1,550 troops in theater. According to the country’s Ministry of Defence, 21 Australian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan and 150 wounded, 50 of the latter this year.

With the war in Afghanistan and its expansion into Pakistan, NATO is not only waging an armed conflict in Asia, it is also consolidating military partnerships with nations in the Asia-Pacific area and creating the nucleus of an Asian NATO. [14]

On October 8 Britain’s Chief of Joint Operations, Air Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, signed a Memorandum of Understanding at his nation’s Permanent Joint Headquarters with the minuscule Pacific island nation of Tonga (which has a population of 104,000) to supply over 200 troops for NATO’s ISAF in Afghanistan. The deployment is to occur over the next two years, beginning with a contingent of 55 soldiers to be trained by the British Royal Air Force next month for stationing in Helmand province. Although a news report attributes the move to Tonga’s alleged desire to “show its support to the alliance,” it also revealed that “the Tongan service members will receive an operational allowance in British pounds in addition to their standard salary for the duration of their deployment.” [15]

Tonga has now become the 48th Troop Contributing Nation for NATO’s war effort, with reports that Bangladesh, with a population far larger than the island state (160,000,000), is being recruited to be the next by U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke. [16]

If the latter materializes, the latest five nations offering troops for NATO in Afghanistan will all be from the Asia-Pacific region: Mongolia, South Korea, Malaysia, Tonga and Bangladesh. Australia, New Zealand and Singapore also have troops serving under NATO as do – assuming the broader definition of Asia – Jordan and the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East and Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in the South Caucasus. Thirteen Asia-Pacific nations in all would be contributing forces for NATO’s first Asian war. [17]

The recruitment of new national contingents and the expansion of ones already in place give the lie to Washington’s claim that a transition to Afghan government control of security operations in the nation will begin next July.

Not only is NATO intensifying its involvement in Afghanistan as well as extending its combat operations into Pakistan, but it is preparing more missions of the nature and scope of that in South Asia as part of its 21st Strategic Concept to be adopted next month at its summit in Portugal.

On October 7 Reuters reported in a story called “NATO says must stay capable of Afghan-size missions,” that NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has emphasized “the need for NATO to retain the ability to mount major missions around the world.”

In a recent speech on the Strategic Concept, he said:

“No other organization can marshal, deploy and sustain NATO’s military power. I am totally unconvinced by the media suggestions that after Afghanistan, NATO might never take on another big mission.

“First and foremost, because I have no doubt that we will succeed in Afghanistan. And second, because there will be other missions in future for which only NATO can fit the bill. We will have to be ready.” [18]

A war in its tenth year in which NATO’s casualties mount by the day is not sufficient for an increasingly ambitious and expansionist, indeed global, NATO. While attacks on its forces increase steadily and its troop strength reaches record levels – and with at least 170 of its oil tankers destroyed in Pakistan since the killing of Pakistani troops on September 30 – the military bloc is planning new wars on the scale of the one in Afghanistan.

As to where those future operations will be conducted, Rasmussen recently stated in a video post on his blog: “We should reach out to new and important partners, including China and India. We should encourage consultations between interested allies and partners on security issues of common concern, with NATO as a hub for those discussions.” Not with the United Nations, not with regional organizations on an equal footing, but with NATO as the initiator of and chief force conducting operations in Asia.

While reasserting that “the ‘pillars’ upon which NATO was founded in 1949 – including the principle of collective defence, a powerful military capability and strong transatlantic relations – were ‘still fundamental,’” the NATO chief advocated that “the alliance also needed to look beyond its borders, as it had done in Afghanistan, where its military mission is supported by 19 non-NATO countries, in addition to the alliance’s 28 members.”

In Rasmussen’s own words: “Defence of our territory and our citizens no longer begin[s] at our borders. Threats can originate from Kandahar or from cyberspace….As a consequence, NATO must build more partnerships and engage more with the wider world.” [19]

The American-led military alliance is no longer a strictly North Atlantic one. It is rather only residually based in and controlled from that region of the world. It is no longer confined to the alleged defense of its member states, even the twelve new ones far to the east of NATO’s original area of operations.

It is instead the world’s first international military formation, one which even aspires to render nations like the BRIC states (Brazil, Russia, India and China) junior partners in an international military-security structure. [20]

The war in Afghanistan has provided NATO the opportunity to initiate new and candidate members into its 21st century network under combat conditions and to recruit and integrate the armed forces of nations in six continents for the same purpose.

When leaders from NATO’s 28 member states and from scores of partnership allies gather in Lisbon next month as the Afghan-Pakistani war continues to escalate to even more dangerous dimensions, the formal institutionalization of NATO as a Western-initiated, U.S.-directed global organization will be unveiled to the world.

1) North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Operation Active Enveavor

2) BBC News, March 13, 2002
3) Current Concerns, No 3/4, 2008
4) NATO In Afghanistan: World War In One Country
Stop NATO, May 13, 2010

End Of The Year: U.S. Recruits Worldwide For Afghan War
Stop NATO, December 23, 2009

Afghan War: NATO Builds History’s First Global Army
Stop NATO, August 9, 2009

5) Czech News Agency, October 6, 2010
6) Standart News, October 6, 2010
7) Sofia News Agency, July 30, 2010
8) Voice of Russia, October 8, 2010
9) Stars and Stripes, October 4, 2010
10) Canadian Press, October 7, 2010
11) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, October 8, 2010
12) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, October 7, 2010
13) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, October 9, 2010
14) U.S. Expands Asian NATO To Contain And Confront China
Stop NATO, August 7, 2010

Australian Military Buildup And The Rise Of Asian NATO
Stop NATO, May 6, 2009

15) BNO News, October 8, 2010
16) Bangladesh: U.S. And NATO Forge New Military Partnership In South Asia
Stop NATO, September 29, 2010

17) Afghan War: Petraeus Expands U.S. Military Presence Throughout Eurasia
Stop NATO, July 4, 2010

U.S. Consolidates Military Network In Asia-Pacific Region
Stop NATO, April 28, 2010

18) Reuters, October 7, 2010
19) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, October 7, 2010
20) Global NATO Raises Alarms From Arctic To Brazil
Stop NATO, September 17, 2010

India: U.S. Completes Global Military Structure
Stop NATO, September 10, 2010

Part II: U.S.-China Crisis: Beyond Words To Confrontation
Stop NATO, August 17, 2010

U.S.-China Conflict: From War Of Words To Talk Of War, Part I
Stop NATO, August 15, 2010

U.S. And NATO Strengthen Positions Along Russia’s Southern Flank
Stop NATO, September 16, 2010

U.S., NATO Intensify War Games Around Russia’s Perimeter
Stop NATO, March 6, 2010

Rick Rozoff
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"The war is worth waging":Afghanistan's vast reserves of minerals and naturalgas

11.10.2010 19:13

Afghanistan's mining minister holds a press conference in Kabul, 17 June 2010
Afghanistan's mining minister holds a press conference in Kabul, 17 June 2010

from the archives:

"The war is worth waging": Afghanistan's vast reserves of minerals and natural gas
The war on Afghanistan is a profit driven "resource war"

by Michel Chossudovsky, 17 June 2010

The 2001 bombing and invasion of Afghanistan has been presented to World public opinion as a "Just War", a war directed against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, a war to eliminate "Islamic terrorism" and instate Western style democracy. The economic dimensions of the "Global War on Terrorism" are rarely mentioned.

While Afghanistan is acknowledged as a strategic hub in Central Asia, bordering on the former Soviet Union, China and Iran, at the crossroads of pipeline routes and major oil and gas reserves, its huge mineral wealth as well as its untapped natural gas reserves have remained, until June 2010, totally unknown to the American public.

According to a joint report by the Pentagon, the US Geological Service and USAID quoted in the New York Times, Afghanistan is now said to possess "previously unknown" and untapped mineral reserves, estimated authoritatively to be of the order of one trillion dollars (New York Times, U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan -, June 14, 2010, See also BBC, 14 June 2010).

"The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said.

While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment even before mines are profitable, providing the possibility of jobs that could distract from generations of war.

“There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said... “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”

The value of the newly discovered mineral deposits dwarfs the size of Afghanistan’s existing war-bedraggled economy, which is based largely on opium production and narcotics trafficking as well as aid from the United States and other industrialized countries. Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is only about $12 billion.

“This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy,” said Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan minister of mines. (New York Times, op. cit.)

Afghanistan could become, according to the New York Times "the Saudi Arabia of lithium". "Lithium is an increasingly vital resource, used in batteries for everything from mobile phones to laptops and key to the future of the electric car." At present Chile, Australia, China and Argentina are the main suppliers of lithium to the world market. Bolivia and Chile are the countries with the largest known reserves of lithium. The Pentagon has been conducting ground surveys in western Afghanistan. "Pentagon officials said that their initial analysis at one location in Ghazni province showed the potential for lithium deposits as large as those of Bolivia" (U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan -, June 14, 2010, see also Lithium - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

"Previously Unknown Deposits" of Minerals in Afghanistan

The near one trillion dollar estimate of previously "unknown deposits" announced by the Pentagon is a useful smokescreen. The US Geological Survey report, quoted by the Pentagon study and the New York Times, had confirmed Afghanistan's mineral wealth three years at a 2007 Conference organized by the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce. The matter was not considered news worthy.

The Pentagon's acknowledgment that the first took cognizance of Afghanistan's vast mineral wealth in 2007 is an obvious red herring. Afghanistan's mineral wealth and energy resources (including natural gas) have been known to America's business elites and the US government for more than thirty years.

Geological surveys conducted by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and early 1980s confirmed the existence of vast reserves of copper (among the largest in Eurasia), iron, high grade chrome ore, uranium, beryl, barite, lead, zinc, fluorspar, bauxite, lithium, tantalum, emeralds, gold and silver.(Afghanistan, Mining Annual Review, The Mining Journal, June, 1984). These surveys suggest that the actual value of these reserves is substantially larger than the one trillion dollars "estimate" intimated by the Pentagon-USCG- USAID study.

More recently, in a 2002 report, the Kremlin confirmed what was already known: "It's no secret that Afghanistan possesses rich reserves, in particular of copper at the Aynak deposit, iron ore in Khojagek, uranium, polymetalic ore, oil and gas," (RIA Novosti, January 6, 2002):

"Afghanistan has never been anyone's colony - no foreigner had ever "dug" here before the 1950s. The Hindu Kush mountains, stretching, together with their foothills, over a vast area in Afghanistan, are where the minerals lie. Over the past 40 years, several dozen deposits have been discovered in Afghanistan, and most of these discoveries were sensational. They were kept secret, however, but even so certain facts have recently become known.

It turns out that Afghanistan possesses reserves of nonferrous and ferrous metals and precious stones, and, if exploited, they would possibly be able to cover even the earnings from the drug industry. The copper deposit in Aynak in the southern Afghan Helmand Province is said to be the largest in the Eurasian continent, and its location (40 km from Kabul) makes it cheap to develop. The iron ore deposit at Hajigak in the central Bamian Province yields ore of an extraordinarily high quality, the reserves of which are estimated to be 500m tonnes. A coal deposit has also been discovered not far from there.

Afghanistan is spoken of as a transit country for oil and gas. However, only a very few people know that Soviet specialists discovered huge gas reserves there in the 1960s and built the first gas pipeline in the country to supply gas to Uzbekistan. At that time, the Soviet Union used to receive 2.5 bn cubic metres of Afghan gas annually. During the same period, large deposits of gold, fluorite, barytes and marble onyxes that have a very rare pattern were found.

However, the pegmatite fields discovered to the east of Kabul are a real sensation. Rubies, beryllium, emeralds and kunzites and hiddenites that cannot be found anywhere else - the deposits of these precious stones stretch for hundreds of kilometres. Also, the rocks containing the rare metals beryllium, thorium, lithium and tantalum are of strategic importance (they are used in air and spacecraft construction).

The war is worth waging. ... (Olga Borisova, "Afghanistan - the Emerald Country", Karavan, Almaty, original Russian, translated by BBC News Services, Apr 26, 2002. p. 10, emphasis added.)

While public opinion has been fed images of poor war torn resourceless developing country, the results of these geological surveys are known. The issue of "previously unknown deposits" sustains a falsehood, it excludes Afghanstan's vast mineral wealth as a justifiable casus belli, by acknowledging that the Pentagon only became aware three years ago that Afghanistan was in fact among the World's most wealthy mineral economies, comparable to The Democratic Republic of the Congo or former Zaire of the Mobutu era. The Soviet geopolitical reports were known. The fact of the matter is that during the Cold War, all this information was known in minute detail:

... Extensive Soviet exploration produced superb geological maps and reports that listed more than 1,400 mineral outcroppings, along with about 70 commercially viable deposits ... The Soviet Union subsequently committed more than $650 million for resource exploration and development in Afghanistan, with proposed projects including an oil refinery capable of producing a half-million tons per annum, as well as a smelting complex for the Ainak deposit that was to have produced 1.5 million tons of copper per year. In the wake of the Soviet withdrawal a subsequent World Bank analysis projected that the Ainak copper production alone could eventually capture as much as 2 percent of the annual world market. The country is also blessed with massive coal deposits, one of which, the Hajigak iron deposit, in the Hindu Kush mountain range west of Kabul, is assessed as one of the largest high-grade deposits in the world. (John C. K. Daly, Analysis: Afghanistan's untapped energy, UPI Energy, October 24, 2008, emphasis added)

Afghanistan's Natural Gas

Afghanistan is a land bridge. The 2001 U.S. led invasion and occupation of Afghanistan has been analysed by critics of US foreign policy as a means to securing control over the strategic trans-Afghan transport corridor which links the Caspian sea basin to the Arabian sea.

Several trans-Afghan oil and gas pipeline projects have been contemplated including the planned $8.0 billion TAPI pipeline project (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India) of 1900 km., which would transport Turkmen natural gas across Afghanistan in what is described as a "crucial transit corridor". (See Gary Olson, Afghanistan has never been the 'good and necessary' war; it's about control of oil, The Morning Call, October 1, 2009). Military escalation under the extended Af-Pak war bears a relationship to TAPI. Turkmenistan possesses third largest natural gas reserves after Russia and Iran. Strategic control over the transport routes out of Turkmenistan have been part of Washington's agenda since the collapse of the Soviet union in 1991.

What was rarely contemplated in pipeline geopolitics, however, is that Afghanistan is not only adjacent to countries which are rich in oil and natural gas (e.g Turkmenistan), it also possesses within its territory sizeable untapped reserves of natural gas, coal and oil. Soviet estimates of the 1970s placed "Afghanistan's 'explored' (proved plus probable) gas reserves at about 5 trillion cubic feet. The Hodja-Gugerdag's initial reserves were placed at slightly more than 2 tcf." (See, The Soviet Union to retain influence in Afghanistan, Oil & Gas Journal, May 2, 1988).

The US.Energy Information Administration (EIA) acknowledged in 2008 that Afghanistan's natural gas reserves are "substantial":

"As northern Afghanistan is a 'southward extension of Central Asia's highly prolific, natural gas-prone Amu Darya Basin,' Afghanistan 'has proven, probable and possible natural gas reserves of about 5 trillion cubic feet.' (UPI, John C.K. Daly, Analysis: Afghanistan's untapped energy, October 24, 2008)

From the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979, Washington's objective has been to sustain a geopolitical foothold in Central Asia.

The Golden Crescent Drug Trade

America's covert war, namely its support to the Mujahideen "Freedom fighters" (aka Al Qaeda) was also geared towards the development of the Golden Crescent trade in opiates, which was used by US intelligence to fund the insurgency directed against the Soviets.1

Instated at the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war and protected by the CIA, the drug trade developed over the years into a highly lucrative multibillion undertaking. It was the cornerstone of America's covert war in the 1980s. Today, under US-NATO military occupation, the drug trade generates cash earnings in Western markets in excess of $200 billion dollars a year. (See Michel Chossudovsky, America's War on Terrorism, Global Research, Montreal, 2005, see also Michel Chossudovsky, Heroin is "Good for Your Health": Occupation Forces support Afghan Narcotics Trade, Global Research, April 29, 2007)

Towards an Economy of Plunder

The US media, in chorus, has upheld the "recent discovery" of Afghanistan's mineral wealth as "a solution" to the development of the country's war torn economy as well as a means to eliminating poverty. The 2001 US-NATO invasion and occupation has set the stage for their appropriation by Western mining and energy conglomerates.

The war on Afghanistan is a profit driven "resource war".

Under US and allied occupation, this mineral wealth is slated to be plundered, once the country has been pacified, by a handful of multinational mining conglomerates. According to Olga Borisova, writing in the months following the October 2001 invasion, the US-led "war on terrorism [will be transformed] into a colonial policy of influencing a fabulously wealthy country." (Borisova, op cit).

Part of the US-NATO agenda is also to eventually take possession of Afghanistan's reserves of natural gas, as well as prevent the development of competing Russian, Iranian and Chinese energy interests in Afghanistan.



1. The Golden Crescent trade in opiates constitutes, at present, the centerpiece of Afghanistan's export economy. The heroin trade, instated at the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979 and protected by the CIA, generates cash earnings in Western markets in excess of $200 billion dollars a year. Since the 2001 invasion, narcotics production in Afghanistan has increased more than 35 times. In 2009, opium production stood at 6900 tons, compared to less than 200 tons in 2001. In this regard, the multibillion dollar earnings resulting from the Afghan opium production largely occur outside Afghanistan. According to United Nations data, the revenues of the drug trade accruing to the local economy are of the order of 2-3 billion annually. In contrast with the Worldwide sales of heroin resultring from the trade in Afghan opiates, in excess of $200 billion. (See Michel Chossudovsky, America's War on Terrorism", Global Research, Montreal, 2005)

Michel Chossudovsky
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Polish Holocaust, Afghan Holocaust and Western holocaust denial

11.10.2010 19:23

from the archives:

Polish Holocaust, Afghan Holocaust And Western Holocaust Denial

by Gideon Polya, 17 April 2010

Most people in the English-speaking world have never heard of the World War 2 Polish Holocaust (6 million Poles killed by the Nazis) or the 21st century Afghan Holocaust (4.5 million post-invasion excess deaths in the Afghan Genocide part of the global US Alliance War on Women and Children). The reason for this ignorance is extraordinary holocaust ignoring by Western academics, politicians and media. And one must state at the outset that holocaust ignoring is vastly worse than holocaust denial, because holocaust denial at least admits the possibility of debate whereas holocaust ignoring by the Anglo Mainstream simply “disappears” the Awful Truth.

For anti-racist Jews and indeed all anti-racist humanitarians the core moral messages from the Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million dead, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation) and from the more general WW2 European Holocaust (30 million Slav, Jewish and Gypsy dead) are “zero tolerance for racism”, “never again to anyone”, “zero tolerance for lying” and “bear witness”. “Bear witness” is crucially important because History ignored yields history repeated.

However these sacred injunctions are grossly violated by the anti-Arab anti-Semitic racist Zionists running Apartheid Israel and their Western backers variously involved in the ongoing Palestinian Genocide, Iraqi Genocide and Afghan Genocide (post-invasion violent and non-violent excess deaths 0.3 million, 2.5 million and 4.5 million, respectively; post-invasion under-5 infant deaths 0.2 million, 0.8 million and 2.4 million, respectively; refugees totalling 7 million, 5-6 million and 3-4 million, respectively, plus a further 2.5 million NW Pakistan Pashtun refugees – genocide as defined by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention: ) .

All decent, anti-racist, humanitarians must vigorously oppose and sideline those supporting racist Zionism, Apartheid Israel and racist Western wars and occupations and who are currently complicit in 0.7 million non-violent excess deaths annually in the overseas American Empire stretching from Occupied Somalia to NW Pakistan; continuing, racist perversion of human rights, humanitarian values and rational discourse in the Western democracies; ignoring of worsening climate genocide (that may kill 10 billion non-Europeans this century through unaddressed man-made climate change); and egregious anti-Jewish anti-Semitism through falsely identifying decent, anti-racist Jews with these appalling crimes.

One of the more obscene of the racist Zionist lies is perpetuation of the falsity that there has been only one WW2 holocaust and indeed only one holocaust ever. The reality is that the first WW2 holocaust to be described as a holocaust per se was the Bengali Holocaust in which the British deliberately starved 6-7 million Indians to death in the 1943-1945 Bengal Famine (for the transcript of a recent BBC broadcast about the Bengal Famine and involving myself, Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen and other scholars see: ; see also my book “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History”: ) . Indian writer N.G. Jog described the Bengal Famine as a :holocaust:' in his 1944 book entitled “Churchill's Blind Spot: India ” (New Book Company, Bombay ).

The WW2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million dead, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation) was part of the more general WW2 European Holocaust (30 million Slav, Jewish and Gypsy dead). Another part of the WW2 European Holocaust was the Polish Holocaust in which 6 million Poles perished under the Nazis. The racist Zionists who have been variously ignoring or minimizing the Polish Holocaust (6 million dead) or the WW2 European Holocaust (30 million Slav, Jewish and Gypsy dead) are world's most repugnant holocaust deniers in addition to being the world's worst anti-Semites according to Jewish American scholar Professor Bertell Ollman (see: ): “ Furthermore, if Zionism is indeed a particularly virulent form of nationalism and, increasingly, of racism and if Israel is acting toward its captive minority in ways that resemble more and more how the Nazis treated their Jews, then we must also say so. For obvious reasons, the Zionists are very sensitive about being compared to the Nazis (not so sensitive that it has restrained them in their actions but enough to bellow "unfair" and to charge "anti-Semitism" when it happens). Yet, the facts on the ground, when not obscured by one or another Zionist rationalization, show that the Zionists are the worst anti-Semites in the world today, oppressing a Semitic people as no nation has done since the Nazis. ”

History ignored yields history repeated. The Polish Holocaust (1939-1945; 6 million dead) has ben assiduously wiped from history by the racist Zionists (RZs) and their associates and now in the 21st century the same whitewashing is being applied by the racist Zionists and US Alliance warmongers to the ongoing Afghan Holocaust (the post-invasion carnage involving, so far, 3.4 million non-violent excess deaths, an estimated 1.1 million violent deaths, 2.4 million under-5 infant deaths, and 3-4 million refugees, with a further 2.5 million Pashtun refugees generated under Obama war policies in NW Pakistan; see “Afghan Holocaust, Afghan Genocide”: ).

Let us attempt to redress this awful holocaust denial by the racist Zionists (RZs) and the Western Mainstream academics, politicians and media in relation to the Polish Holocaust (1939-1945) and the ongoing Afghan Holocaust (2001-).

On 1 September 1939 Nazi Germany invaded Poland and on 3 September 1939 the UK declared war on Germany . The Soviet Union (USSR) occupied the eastern third of Poland . In 1941 Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union .

Nazi Germany was finally crushed by the Red Army in 1945 after the loss of some 20 million Soviet Union lives.

Deaths from violence and deprivation in the racist, genocidal German "lebensraum" program of Germanizing Poland in the 68 month (5.7 year) period from September 1939 to May 1945 totalled about 6 million out of a population of about 28 million. The average population of Poland in this period would accordingly have been about 25 million (see "Occupation of Poland (1939-1945): ).
1A. Accordingly, the "annual death rate" of Poles in WW2 expressed as a percentage = 6 million people killed x 100/(5.7 years x 25 million people) = 4.2%.
1B. Another way of expressing this carnage is as "deaths per million of population per year" = 6,000,000 killed / (5.7 years x 25 million people) = 42,105 deaths per million per year.

Decent folk believe that "all men are created equal and have an unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". Accordingly it is important to compare the Polish Holocaust with other atrocities associated with World War 2.

According to Professor Sir Martin Gilbert, 5.65 million Jews were killed in WW2 out of an initial population of 8.18 million in Nazi-occupied Europe . The average Jewish population in Nazi-occupied Europe in WW2 was 5.35 million (see Gilbert, M. (1969), Jewish History Atlas (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London ); Gilbert, M. (1982), Atlas of the Holocaust (Michael Joseph, London )) .
2A. Accordingly, the "annual death rate" of Jews killed by the Nazis in WW2 expressed as a percentage = 5.65 million people killed x 100/(5.7 years x 5.35 million people) = 18.5%.
2B. Alternatively, this can be expressed as "killings per million of population per year" = 5,650,000 people killed /5.7 years x 5.35 million people = 185, 276 deaths per million of population per year.

Related data from Professor Gilbert is 65,000 French Jews killed out of a population of 300,000 (average WW2 population 268,000) in Nazi-occupied France and accordingly death rate estimates can be made.
3A. "Annual death rate" of French Jews killed in WW2 expressed as a percentage = 65,000 people killed x 100/(5 years x 268,000 people) = 4.9%.
3B. "Killings per million of population per year" for French Jews under the Nazis = 65,000 people killed /(5 years x 0.268 million) = 48,507

A further shocking instance of mass murder in WW2 was that of Australian prisoners of war (POWs) of the Japanese after the fall of Singapore in February 1942. Of 22,000 Australians taken prisoner by the Japanese (mostly in Malaysia and Singapore ) , 8,000 perished in the period February 1942 to August 1945 (3.5 years). The average number of Australian POWs was accordingly (22,000 + 14,000)/2 = 18,000 (see Tim Bowden, "Prisoners of War: Australians under Nippon ", Australian ABC Radio National: ": ).

4A. Accordingly, the "annual death rate" of Australian POWs of the Japanese in WW2 expressed as a percentage was 8,000 killed x 100/(3.5 years x 18,000 people) = 12.7%
4B. Alternatively, this can be expressed as "killings per million of population per year" = 8,000 people killed /3.5 years x 0.018 million people = 126,984 deaths per million of population per year.

According to the UNICEF data (see: ), 338,000 under-5 year old infants died in 2007 in US Alliance-occupied Afghanistan, 90% avoidably and due to war criminal US Alliance Occupier non-supply of life-sustaining food and medical requisites demanded unequivocally of Occupiers by Articles 55 and 56 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (see: ) . According to the UN Population Division the under-5 year old population in Occupied Afghanistan in 2007 was 4.86 million.
5A. Accordingly, the "annual death rate" of Occupied Afghanistan infants expressed as a percentage is 0.338 million x 100/4.86 million = 7.0% (as compared to 0.1% in Occupier country Apartheid Australia )..
5B. Alternatively, this can be expressed as "deaths per million of population per year" = 338,000/4.86 million = 69,547.

The bottom line in any comparative analysis of violent wrongdoing is consequential death. The current "annual death rate" for Occupied Afghan under-5 year old infants under the US Alliance is 7% - as compared to that of 4% (for Poles under the Nazis in WW2), 5% (French Jews under the Nazis and the Nazi-collaborator Vichy régime in WW2), 13% (Australian POWs of the Japanese in WW2) and 19% (Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe).

The "annual death rate" in "deaths per million per year" is currently about 70,000 for Occupied Afghan under-5 year old infants – as compared to that of 42,000 (for Poles under the Nazis in WW2), 49,000 (French Jews under the Nazis and the Nazi-collaborator Vichy régime in WW2), 127,000 (Australian POWs of the Japanese in WW2) and 185,000 (Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe).

Axis leaders and generals responsible for the carnage of WW2, including the specific atrocities summarized above, were tried and variously punished. The German people adopted a post-war protocol that can be summarized by the acronym CAAAA (C4A) – Cessation of the killing, Acknowledgment of the crimes, Apology for the crimes, Amends and Assertion "never again to anyone".

However the remorseless active and passive killing of the ongoing Afghan Holocaust continues uninterrupted. The Afghan Holocaust has been associated so far with post-invasion non-violent excess deaths totalling 3.4 million; post-invasion violent deaths of 1.1 million (if the ratio of post-invasion violent/non-violent excess deaths is one quarter of the 1.3 for Occupied Iraq); post-invasion under-5 year old infant deaths total 2.4 million; and refugees total 3-4 million with a further 2.5 million Pashtun refugees generated in NW Pakistan under Obama's war policies – an Afghan Holocaust and also an Afghan Genocide as defined by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention (see: ) .

In relation to the Afghan Holocaust there is no CAAAA (C4A), no Cessation of the killing, no Acknowledgment of the crimes, no Apology for the crimes, no Amends and no Assertion "never again to anyone". Indeed the French and Germans in particular are violating "never again to anyone" by their obscene participation in the Afghan Holocaust and Afghan Genocide. George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Barack Hussein Obama (BHO), Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Stephen Harper, Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel and their war criminal associates and underlings should be arraigned before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes, including the mass murder of children (mass infanticide, mass pedocide, mass paedocide).

Thou shalt not kill children but the #1 in the World for saying this is not the Holy Father the Pope nor the Archbishop of Canterbury , but an agnostic, humanist scientist from Melbourne, namely the present author (see “Thous shalt not kill children”: and ).

In his 2005 Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, Jewish British playwright Harold Pinter stated in relation to the Iraqi Genocide: "We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it 'bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East'. How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice." (see: ).

In relation to the ongoing atrocity of the Afghan Holocaust one is compelled to paraphrase the late Harold Pinter thus: "How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? 4.5 million? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush, Blair, Obama , Brown and their cronies be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice."

Peace is the only way but silence kills and silence is complicity. Like the Good Samaritan we cannot ignore our responsibility to our fellow human beings – we cannot walk by on the other side. Please inform everyone you can – because, as we see with the ongoing Afghan holocaust, today history ignored is yielding history repeated even as history is happening. Arundhati Roy in “The Chequebook and the Cruise Missile” has commented thus on this simultaneous First World holocaust commission and holocaust denial: “the ultimate privilege of the élite is not just their deluxe lifestyles, but deluxe lifestyles with a clear conscience.”

Don't allow the racist Zionist and US Alliance mass murderers the privilege of a “clear conscience” – tell everyone you can about the Palestinian Holocaust and Palestinian Genocide (see: ), the Afghan Holocaust and Afghan Genocide (see: ), the Iraqi Holocaust and Iraqi Genocide: ), the Muslim Holocaust and Muslim Genocide (see: ) and the worsening Climate Holocaust and Climate Genocide that is predicted to kill 10 billion non-Europeans this century due to unaddressed man-made global warming (see: ) . History ignored yields history repeated indeed.


* Dr Gideon Polya currently teaches science students at a major Australian university. He published some 130 works in a 5 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London , 2003). He has recently published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: ); see also his contribution “Australian complicity in Iraq mass mortality” in “Lies, Deep Fries & Statistics” (edited by Robyn Williams, ABC Books, Sydney, 2007): ). He has just published a revised and updated 2008 version of his 1998 book “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History” (see: ) as biofuel-, globalization- and climate-driven global food price increases threaten a greater famine catastrophe than the man-made famine in British-ruled India that killed 6-7 million Indians in the “forgotten” World War 2 Bengal Famine (see recent BBC broadcast involving Dr Polya, Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen and others: bengalfamine_programme.html ). When words fail one can say it in pictures - for images of Gideon Polya's huge paintings for the Planet, Peace, Mother and Child see: and .

Gideon Polya
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Should nuclear carpet bomb the lawless regions and be done with it

11.10.2010 21:21

cheap, effective and would sort out a lot of the trouble.
10 years its time to stop pussy footing around.

As Ripley said in Alien II, nuke the fuckers from orbit.



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