If the White House went after knowledge about what happened in 9/11 with as much ferocity as it looks for nukes and biological weapons in Iraq, we might know what really happened by now. The fact that the White House hasn’t done so is creating some wondering. With the White House appointment of the notorious Henry Kissinger as head of the 9/11 inquiry, it seems unlikely that the American public will ever know the truth. Kissinger – wanted in Paris, Chile and Argentina for questioning about the international terrorist network called Operation Condor, which in the 70’s saw the slaughter of thousands of South American leftists, and paved the way for US-friendly dictatorships – was also enmeshed in the complex politics surrounding Middle East oil that led directly to 9/11.
In the midst of White House stonewalling, US Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham is calling for the declassification of 9/11 documents that he calls “the most important information that’s come to the attention of the joint committee.” It’s such omitted pieces of knowledge which provide the real sources of mystery, the secret stories that historians and journalists yearn to discover. The very fact that they are hidden means they contain forbidden, potentially explosive knowledge, or even that they point in a direction of thought that our rulers would rather us not travel, making them all that much more enticing.
A few months ago, I stumbled on some missing pieces of 9/11: press releases from May 1998, once available to the public, that mysteriously disappeared from European Union online archives sometime in the last four years. Luckily, I saved these documents in CC archives four years ago, not realizing their import. Their absence from the EU archives is particularly conspicuous since other press releases, dated within days of the missing ones, are still available.
The missing press releases reveal, essentially, that in 1998 US and European Union (EU) officials signed a deal to aggressively cooperate on oil, drugs and questionable trade sanctions in the Middle East knowing it would provoke widespread terrorism. The deal was called the Transatlantic Economic Partnership (TEP), and was largely a free-trade style agreement, with Middle East oil and drugs thrown into the fine print. Although internet aficionados can still find a brief description of the TEP online at EU and US government sites, many important details that were revealed by the missing press releases are left out.
The missing press release, EU-US Summit reaches deal on sanctions, dated May 18, 1998, quotes EU officials criticizing US trade sanctions in the Middle East. EU officials openly admit that they once called US sanctions in the Middle East, “illegal and counterproductive” making “EU-US cooperation to curb terrorism more rather than less difficult.” The EU was referring to the Iran Libya Sanctions Act. The EU’s criticism of US policy had so far been a stumbling block to the TEP, but the EU was willing to let a little terrorism slip by in exchange for a piece of oil pie.
The problem with the Iran Libya Sanctions Act was that it threatened EU corporations with punishment for trading with Iran or Libya. The US convinced the EU to cooperate by promising protection for EU corporations, including large oil interests, and in exchange the EU agreed to sign the TEP and not to complain about punishments doled out to Middle Eastern countries. Such punishments included, in the case of Afghanistan, drug war decertification, which meant no foreign aid, no international bank loans and trade sanctions. Decertification was a big deal to the Taliban, who had taken – in their opinion – huge measures to curb poppy production in 2000. When Afghanistan wasn’t recertified in March 2001, it was a blow to the Taliban, who had hoped they would finally qualify for an inflow of international dollars.
The second missing release – published on May 19, 1998 and titled EU-US Summit launches new trade initiative – heralds the ratification of the TEP and reveals what many critics of the US war in Afghanistan were pointing to since the beginning ? that the US and other western nations saw “multiple pipeline routes” from what the public would later discover was a massive Caspian Sea oil find as highly important to the West’s “prosperity, energy security and regional stability.” Because of the shapes of Middle Eastern countries and the region’s geography, the best route for pipelines from the Caspian Sea was, and still is, directly through Afghanistan.
Why were the press releases missing? They point our minds toward the truth about a seemingly minor shift in US/EU relations that happened four years ago, and how it led directly to the deaths of thousands of people in New York when the twin trade towers collapsed. The TEP deal held the promise of Western prosperity, energy security and regional stability, and with such a hefty bribe stuffing its pockets, the EU agreed to support the US in the drug war, “illegal” trade sanctions, securing Caspian Sea oil, and in suppressing the terrorist retaliations that its officials knew would inevitably follow.
NOTE: The missing press releases were originally found at the online archive of the European Union website’s press release archive, known as “RAPID” (www.europa.eu.int). To ensure that the documents were indeed erased, and not just lost somewhere in the EU’s massive RAPID archive, which purportedly contains all press-related materials published by the EU, we contacted the site’s webmaster, Nadia Ben Madjoub, but even the webmaster could not find them. They are reproduced below:
[EU Press Releases] ————————————————————————
May 18, 1998 No. 43/98
EU-US SUMMIT REACHES DEAL ON SANCTIONS
United States President Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and European Commission President Jacques Santer announced in a press conference following today’s EU-US summit in London that they had reached a breakthrough on US sanctions legislation that addresses EU concerns about extraterritoriality and secondary boycotts.
The EU has roundly opposed unilateral US sanctions laws such as the Iran Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) and the so-called Helms Burton Act on the grounds that they are illegal and counter-productive. Because of their extraterritorial character and secondary boycott provisions, they have made EU-US cooperation to curb terrorism more rather than less difficult.
Welcoming the breakthrough, European Commission President Jacques Santer:
“Today’s Summit is particularly important because we and the US have struck a deal on US sanctions laws. This agreement, after weeks of intense negotiations with the US Administration, finally brings peace in this long-standing dispute.
The deal today means that European companies and businessmen can conduct their business without the threat of US sanctions hanging over their heads. It’s a deal that is good for European companies who now have protection from US sanctions. It’s a deal that is good for the EU, which has shown that it can act together, united in important foreign policy issues.
It is good for the transatlantic relationship which can now develop further, free of this long-standing dispute. There are obviously still some further steps that need to be taken before the deal can be completely implemented, but I am hopeful that these will be concluded as soon as possible.
By getting rid of the biggest problem in our relationship with the United States, the door is now open to further deepen and enhance our cooperation across the Atlantic. Today, at the Summit, we agreed to a substantial new initiative to deepen the trade relationship – it is called the Transatlantic Economic Partnership. This initiative firstly addresses the further removal of barriers in our bilateral trade. It also says that the US and the EU will work together to achieve a substantial further trade liberalization on a multilateral basis. Today’s agreement will add to the prosperity of both the US and the EU, and more generally the world. It will thus create better prospects for future jobs.
Tomorrow, President Clinton, Prime Minister Blair and I will be in Geneva to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the GATT, an organization which has contributed so much to the stability and prosperity of the post-war world. Our agreement this morning sends a powerful message of transatlantic support to that meeting – and to the further development of multilateral liberalization.”
Press Contacts: Ella Krucoff Maeve O’Beirne Tel: (202) 862-9540 Tel: (202) 862-9549
European Union Delegation of the European Commission to the United States 2300 M Street NW, Washington DC 20037 Telephone: (202) 862-9500 Fax: (202) 429-1766
[EU Press Releases] ————————————————————————
May 19, 1998 No. 45/98
EU-US SUMMIT LAUNCHES NEW TRADE INITIATIVE
A new initiative called the Transatlantic Economic Partnership (TEP) was launched by US President Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and European Commission President Jacques Santer at the May 18 EU-US summit in London yesterday. The summit was the sixth of the twice-yearly meetings of the EU and US leadership since the New Transatlantic Agenda of December 1995.
According to the communique comprising all the statements released after the London summit, the Transatlantic Economic Partnership (TEP) aims at strengthening the multilateral system while working to remove remaining trade barriers across the Atlantic. Under the TEP, both sides will draw up an action plan to reduce or eliminate barriers to trade and investment, and boost multilateral liberalization and the work of the World Trade Organization.
The complete set of statements from the London EU-US summit is available on the European Commission’s Washington website.
Transatlantic Economic Partnership (TEP)
“The time has come to build on the NTA’s highly significant achievements. Accordingly, we agree to reinforce our close relationship through an initiative involving the intensification and extension of multilateral trade and bilateral cooperation and common actions in the field of trade and investment. Our reinforced partnership can be instrumental in setting the agenda for a more open and accessible world trading system and at the same time greatly improve the economic relationship between the EU and US, reduce frictions between us, and promote prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic.”
On the multilateral side, the TEP, among other things, calls for full implementation of WTO commitments and respect for dispute settlement obligations, multilateral negotiations for the continuation of agricultural reform, the development of a comprehensive framework for electronic commerce in the WTO, the further integration of developing countries into the multilateral trading system, and the development of common approaches on investment, competition, public procurement and trade and environment.
On the bilateral side, making as much progress as possible before 2000, the EU and US “will focus on those barriers that really matter to transatlantic trade, and to this end we will aim in particular at the removal of those regulatory barriers that hinder market opportunities, both for goods and services.” The TEP will target in particular technical barriers to trade in goods, improving opportunities for trade in services, strengthening regulatory cooperation in animal, plant and human health, opening public procurement markets, and improving the protection of copyrights.
Transatlantic Partnership on Political Cooperation
The summit also issued a statement on Transatlantic Partnership on Political Cooperation. In it, the EU and the US pledge to intensify consultations for more effective cooperation in response to threats to democracy around the world. On the use of economic sanctions, the EU and US agreed on a new set of principles applying to future sanctions. According to the statement, economic sanctions should only be used as a last resort. “Whenever possible, effective measures taken by the UN Security Council are the optimal approach.”
In a clear departure from past experience with extraterritoriality, the EU and the US agreed that “a partner will not seek or propose and will resist the passage of new economic sanctions legislation based on foreign policy grounds which is designed to make economic operators of the other behave in a manner similar to that required of its own economic operators.”
Understanding on Disciplines in Investment In Expropriated Properties
The summit was also successful in formulating and agreeing measures to end the long-standing transatlantic disputes involving the extraterritorial and secondary boycott provisions of the Iran Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) and the Helms-Burton Act. On Helms Burton, both sides agreed on disciplines to strengthen investment protection and to deter and inhibit future investment in illegally expropriated property in Cuba. These measures will apply once the US Congress modifies Title IV of the Helms-Burton Act so that the President can exercise waiver power, and as long as the waiver for Title III remains in place. On ILSA, the US announced its intention to waive sanctions against EU companies.
An EU Statement on the decisions relating to Helms-Burton and ILSA welcomes the progress made at the summit as offering “the prospect of a lasting resolution of our differences with the US over these Acts.”
Other results of the summit are set out in a series of joint declarations and statements, in particular:
* a Statement of shared EU-US Objectives and Close cooperation on Counter Terrorism. There will be more information sharing, closer coordination, and greater international cooperation.
* an EU-US Declaration on Common Orientation of Non-Proliferation Policy. Here too there will be more information sharing, closer coordination, and enhanced assistance to other countries to help strengthen their export control regimes.
* an EU-US Statement on Caspian Energy Issues. The EU and US have agreed that these will contribute to prosperity, energy security and regional stability, on the importance of multiple pipe-line routes, and that commercial considerations will first and foremost determine decisions on the development of specific projects and export routes.
* a report to the summit by a Senior-Level Group (SLG) of EU and US Officials.
EU-US Civil Society and Democracy Awards
Also at the summit, the EU and the US announced the winners of the Democracy and Civil Society awards which were established last year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Marshall Plan and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, as well as the 40th Anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. Fifty awards worth $20,000 each were presented for outstanding contributions to democracy and civil society to winners from Central and Eastern Europe (including ex-Yugoslavia), the New Independent States and Mongolia.
President Clinton, Prime Minister Blair and President Santer presented the certificates to a selected group of winners, while similar ceremonies were taking place for other winners across Europe. At the ceremony in London, President Santer made the following statement:
“I am especially pleased that a substantial proportion of the winners of the EU-US Democracy and Civil Society Awards have been associated with the EU’s Democracy Program. It proves the value of these programs and underlines the EU’s Commitment to developing stable democracies across Europe.”
The EU’s Democracy Program was launched in 1992 and has an annual budget of between $22-27.5 million. Most of its grants go to non-governmental organizations (NGOs). For more information on the winning projects, please consult the European Commission’s website under the EU’s Human Rights Policy at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/dg1a/index.htm.
Press Contacts: Ella Krucoff Maeve O’Beirne Tel: (202) 862-9540 Tel: (202) 862-9549