Saturday, December 07, 2002

Wellstone Suspicions

If so many people feel this way why can't we do anything about it?

Anyone familiar with my work knows that I'm certainly not a conspiracy theorist. But to be honest, I know I wasn't alone in my initial reaction at this week's horrible and tragic news: that being my surprise that Wellstone had lived this long. Perhaps it's just my anger and frustration at losing one of the few reputable politicians in Washington, but I also felt shame. Shame for not writing in my column, months ago, that I felt that Paul Wellstone's life, more so than any other politician in Washington, was in danger. I felt that such speculation was unprofessional and would ultimately undermine my credibility. In the end, my own self-interest triumphed, and I never put my concerns into print. Neither did any other mainstream journalist, though I know of many who shared my concern.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

New links I've been checking out. Plus more scary stuff on Kissinger courtesy of Smoking Joe.

In 1995, Kissinger showed up for the signing ceremony in New York that sealed Unocal's agreement to build a $2 billion, 1,000-mile pipeline from the gas fields of Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan. The torturous negotiations leading to that aborted deal -- including Kissinger's cameo -- are fully described in Chapter 12 of "Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil & Fundamentalism in Central Asia," by Ahmed Rashid, an authoritative journalist who now works for the Wall Street Journal. Unocal eventually withdrew from Turkmenistan, amid charges of bribery and influence-peddling. (Working for the rival bidder at the time was Saudi prince Turki al-Faisal, director of the kingdom's intelligence agency.)

What makes that old story interesting again is the role of Unocal's partner, described in the Los Angeles Times in May 1998 as "a small and mysterious Saudi company called Delta Oil Co. Ltd." At the time, Unocal and Delta were cultivating the friendly leaders of the Taliban to win approval for their pipeline.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Anyone who read Corn's excellent piece on Jerry Falwell will understand my own disgust at the debate here. Barney Frank should never be put on par with a nutcase like Falwell.