Countries That Support US in Afghanistan Get Preferred Access to Minerals (Updated)

Readers may recall that we highlighted the report last week in the New York Times of an estimated trillion dollars worth of valuable materials, including copper, gold, and lithium. We pointed out that this announcement was awfully convenient, coming on the heels of reports that the efforts to pacify the country weren’t going terribly well. Readers provided further confirmation in comments, observing that the existence of minerals in Afghanistan wasn’t new (the Chinese have been operating a copper mine, or at least trying to) and that the precision of the estimate of the value of the finds was sus.

Tom Ferguson sent us an e-mail with the text of an article from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which Richard Smith graciously translated. Tom’s note:

Below I paste in an amazing interview with Richard Holbrooke.
In it explains the second part of the admin case on revealing Afghanistan’s mineral riches.
In simple English, it says that the countries that support the US intervention there get preferred access.
Says it just like that.
This is so crass….

From the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

Meanwhile Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced that the major donor countries would have preferential access to mineral resources in the Hindu Kush. “Afghanistan should grant access first to countries, who have supported us massively in recent years,” Karzai said, according to agency reports in Tokyo. Japan, as the second largest donor, was a welcome investment partner. Karzai warned that natural resources would have to be developed in an environmentally friendly and responsible manner, in order to prevent corruption. The proceeds would flow to Afghanistan. “There will be rivalry over these natural resources, especially now that the world knows of their significance.” Afghanistan will promote its iron ore mining to investors in London on Friday.

Yves here. Ain’t imperialism grand?

Update 5:30 PM. I neglected to include this tidbit, from a former Pentagon employee on the original New York Times story on the $1 trillion mineral “find”:

The timing of this release of ancient mining news–especially when floated with Petraeus’ name plastered all over it in a tried-and-true government propaganda outlet like the N.Y. Times–smells to me like a last ditch attempt to invent an economic justification for hanging on many more years in the hopeless Afghani morass.

Note that the now sacrosanct 1980s Russian mineral survey was “stumbled on” six years ago in 2004 by an American reconstruction team foraging in the Afghan Geological Survey Library. Then, according to the Times’ (read Petraeus and DoD) spin, nothing happened until two years later when the U.S. Geological Survey launched a 2006 aerial mineral survey followed by another in 2007, supposedly yielding all-new evidence of astonishing mineral wealth (iron, gold, copper, lithium, supposedly a trillion dollar’s worth) just waiting to be tapped. Supposedly, this astonishing new evidence was then ignored by all until a Pentagon business development task force “rediscovered” the ignored USGS mineral data in 2009.

This spin is quite untrue: in 2005, the Afghan government, quite aware of their mineral resources, opened bidding on copper mining leases in Logar Province, bidding that was won by the Chinese in 2007. As for the reliability of the USGS data, note that they report 1.8 billion tons of potential lithium deposits (lithium is very trendy with the greens these days) but only a puny 111 million tons in proven or probable deposits. But none of this purportedly astonishing USGS aerial survey data has raised much dust in the international mining world, despite the fact that the entire current New York Times scoop was thoroughly covered by Reuters and Mining Exploration News a year ago in April of 2009.

So what turned the ho-hum Reuters news of April, 2009 into a hot Times scoop in June of 2010?

Is there any connection with the desperate need of McChrystal, Petraeus and Gates for a life jacket, now that the Afghan surge they floated is sinking so rapidly?

I think so.

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53 comments

  1. Abhishek

    Afghanistan is a totally dysfunctional state with little hope for redemption.These minerals provide a golden opportunity for this country to move into the 21st century but it will take a miracle of good governance to do so.

    1. attempter

      Afghanistan is a totally dysfunctional state with little hope for redemption.

      So it’s just like the US and most if not all other western governments.

      These minerals provide a golden opportunity for this country to move into the 21st century but it will take a miracle of good governance to do so.

      Never heard of the resource curse? The Afghans are doing relatively well as it is. The worst thing they could conceivably do would be to let a stooge kleptocracy buy them into the oil age (which modern minerals extraction is a part of) at the highest peak of the market just as it’s about to collapse. They’ll get the worst of all worlds – the resource curse as well as losing their pre-oil resiliency just as the oil-driven system becomes untenable.

      As for Karzai being the good little stooge helping only US-endorsed rackets get the concessions, how did that work out in Iraq? Not so well. And China already looks to replicate its buy-low success with Iraqi oil concessions. It already got the biggest copper concession in Afghanistan.

  2. psychohistorian

    Yves,

    You can never be taken for a serious economist now that you have spoken the imperialism word. Arrangements like you are revealing are the “natural” results of bringing American democracy to “underdeveloped” nations.

    You just must not be sophisticated enough to appreciate what the elite are doing for the lesser people in our world.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Wellie, since I am not an economist, I never aspired to being mistaken for a serious economist.

  3. Jojo

    Bloomberg Businessweek has two good stories on this in the current issue:
    ========
    Commentary
    June 17, 2010
    How Afghanistan Can Manage Its Mineral Riches
    The nation is sitting atop $1 trillion in natural resources. Unless it handles them wisely, as Botswana has, it may merely lower growth and foster corruption

    By Amity Shlaes

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_26/b4184016388417.htm

    —AND—

    Global Economics
    June 17, 2010
    Afghan Mineral Wealth: No Easy Road for Westerners
    War, chicanery, and corruption will likely keep the estimated $1 trillion trove just out of reach

    ….

    The bottom line: The Pentagon’s projection of $1 trillion in Afghan mineral wealth turned heads, but it may be putting the hype in hypothetical.

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_26/b4184011396010.htm

    1. LeeAnne

      Thank you for the excellent links jojo.

      Its no secret that wars are excuses for looting at the expense of innocents; soldiers, their families and civilian populations, but there has always been at least a thin veneer of reason behind the activity.

      Holbrooke who I’ve respected; he’s a likable personality, is a real disappointment. These people cannot claim to be representing the American people as their abuse and defiance of the will of the American people become more audacious. We were coerced into the Iraq war and looted along with the Iraqiis. Naming the criminals who did this, whether neocons, Republicans, the Israeli Zionist crowd, Islamist terrorism, the atom bomb mushroom cloud threat, hardly matters.

      Those creating policy and supporting it in MSM who aren’t homicidal criminals are sleeze bags going along for the droppings.

      Its all criminal looting and destruction for profit for the few; the US corporatist government a vast criminal enterprise with loyalties neither to their own or anyone else on earth.

      And I defy anyone commenting recently on this blog to claim that the American people are to blame when destructive blow back occurs. Who among you were consulted on this Afghan policy?

      Please, let us know. Now’s your chance to be specific.

      1. Jojo

        LeeAnne said “Those creating policy and supporting it in MSM who aren’t homicidal criminals are sleeze bags going along for the droppings.

        Its all criminal looting and destruction for profit for the few; the US corporatist government a vast criminal enterprise with loyalties neither to their own or anyone else on earth.”
        ————
        Agreed. Congress and the people in power play on everyone’s deepest fears. Doing so is what convinced Congress to allow Bush to invade Iraq. The MSM provides the reinforcement in the name of “news & analysis”.

        But the big picture is that fear is used everywhere in our world, at every level. Salespeople use fear to encourage people to buy whatever they are selling. Many people jumped into the overpriced housing market because of fear of missing out or being left behind, unable to afford a home in the future. Many are jumping into the gold market these days because of fear of the collapse of our monetary system or civilization as we know it. Etc., etc. There is probably a good book in the theme of fear as a motivator in human psychology!

        Given the above, it is unlikely that we will see any changes in how we live, how we are governed or how our societies function in the foreseeable future.

  4. Swedish Lex

    “Pax Americana”, or how the quest for secured (well) access to raw materials makes our civilisation as big a fool as any other in history.

  5. Swedish Lex

    From Der Spiegel:

    ‘We Thoroughly Deceived Ourselves’

    Asked if everything is going well in Afghanistan, Struck bursts out with, “No!” Asked if the German Armed Forces, the Bundeswehr, are where they had hoped to be, he exclaims, “No, of course not!” He can clearly remember the days following Sept. 11, 2001. Struck was chairman of the SPD’s parliamentary group when then-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder declared Germany’s full solidarity with the United States. This statement effectively meant Germany would be going to Afghanistan. “One year, then we’d be back out, that’s what we thought back then,” Struck says, poking at his fish, before adding, “We thoroughly deceived ourselves.”

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,700745,00.html

  6. F. Beard

    My God! What has my country become?! Can’t we at least do as well as modern Japan which with no natural resources to speak of became the 2nd (3rd?) largest economy in the world? Japan learned its lesson in WWII and Germany too. Must American hubris be crushed as well? May it not be.

  7. TooSkeptical

    Ah, the good old days where we lined each others pockets with our ill-begotten gains…

    The revolution was televised and that was one of the problems. Now we have safety, stability, robustness, networks and the price was mere political freedom.

    So, can we start to be cautiously optimistic “’bout the stock-market again!!!”

  8. anonymous

    Iraq All Over Again. This was the crucial error Bush-Cheney made in Iraq. Rather than guarantee all countries and companies would gain access to the Iraq rebuilding project, the US set similar conditions.

    The decision is telling. Desperation has set in as Dems realize that the light at the end of the tunnel is Mullah Omar, OBL, and Karzai all allied against a uniquely American occupation.

    There mineral find might be legit, and if it is Dems are going to have impose some sort of dictatorship on Afghanistan if Dems hope to control access to the minerals.

    How well will that square with Afghanis told that fair elections really matter. Ditto Iraq and Iran. The facade of nation-building disappears as Dems confirm that they really are every bit mercenary and greedy as Republicans, only brazen enough to have the instrument of corporate America show-up weeks into his rule to pick-up a peace prize from a group of willing dupes.

    I’m in favor of limited imperialism in Afghanistan and vehemently opposed to any US attempt to control Afghans natural resources or restructure Afghan society. Nine-eleven justified a very clear limited occupation of parts of Afghanistan, not control of the nation’s resources,

    I’m not the slightest bit surprised Dems have revealed themselves to be every bit as violent, greedy, and imperialistic as Cheney on a bad day.

    The cries of impeach are ringing out across the blogs and the nation. Not.

    The move reeks of desperation. I can see ‘loyal allies’ lining up to demonstrate their commitment to human rights in Afghanistan. Utterly revolting and predictable.

  9. OutsideLookingIn

    Until last week the troops in Afghanistan suffering boredom, the misery of long periods of duty away from home, the privations and discomfort, the fighting and in too many cases the dying, could at least have consoled themselves that they were doing it to protect the Afghanis from the stone-age brutality of the Taliban and to deny the territory to Al-Qada training camps from which terrorists could strike at the US.

    Now they know better.

  10. Vinny

    I propose we hand over these mineral fields to British Petroleum, as a “thank you” for the fine job the British military has been doing in Afghanistan. Under the leadership of Tony Haywire, of course.

    Vinny

  11. aet

    I dunno….it seems to me that neither Australia nor Canada need access to any more minerals – and the US is not too shabby when it comes to unexploited minerals either.
    Are those countries helping the US just so as to set up new competition for themselves?

    It seems to me that China and India may be more interested, long-term: after all, you wouldn’t have to carry the rocks as far to use them.

    And everybody needs to have a stake in peace.
    The more, the merrier.
    It also seems to me that you’ll have to pay the locals up front, before the first ore makes it to any market.

    1. aet

      I suppose with China and India the locals need only to roll the rocks downhill to get them to market, so to speak.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I think you are missing the point. We are looking for get other countries to support/legitimate/help pay for our little Afghanistan foray.

      With Iraq, we were mainly looking for legitimacy (remember, we fantasized it would be an easy conquest, um, liberation). I can’t speak to why Canada went along, but I was in Australia when the commitment was made. The public was utterly opposed (94% against, as big a number as you ever see in opinion polls). But Australia feels a very big debt to the US (remember, they were thought to be targeted for invasion by Japan in WWII) and they have a teeny navy and a very big coastline. John Howard (then PM) was consistently taking every opportunity to curry favor with the US.

      1. Bill Smith

        Australia was invaded by Japan in WWII? I don’t seem to recall that, does anyone else? They were bombed, once at Darwin.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Apologies, the Australians were key defenders of some Indonesian islands, like Ambon, I had read the surrender of Ambon by Australia to mean that Ambon was an Australian territorial holding. Have corrected my comment.

  12. Dwight Baker

    MY TAKE

    For there to be any real value in minerals there would have to be smelters doing the refining there also.

    I smell a rat put out by the warmongers do they really think we are that stupid?

    1. Michael

      Well australians are that stupid, and still seem to think miners are the bees knees. Most of the ore and coal just goes straight os …

    2. Mickey Marzick in Akron, Ohio

      Yes.. they have US convinced that our standard of living is tied to MORE resources even if we don’t want to admit it. Many Americans could care less about democracy and nation-building so long as what they purchase is affordable – the bottom line, if you will.

      Is their any absolute shortage/scarcity of oil, iron, copper, lithium, etc… or is it an artificially-induced “scarcity” created by the invisible hand of the market manipulated by large corporations? Peak oil is nothing more than a euphemism for cheap oil – not that oil itself is scarce or about to run out. Control/ownership over resources is what makes them scarce! And when we want/need what you might own, ownership has never been an issue. Better yet if no one owns a resource. Then it’s there for the taking by US and our allies.

      Shipping raw ore by rail to China where it can then be smelted, refined, and processed is not out of the question. Coal mined in Montana and Wyoming is shipped profitably a thousand miles or more back east as well as to West Coast ports from whence it makes its way to China. Creation of that infrastructure and CONTROL over the territories in which the mines are located – a Congo-like solution – is “all” that is required. US troops and allies would then have a clear cut purpose… protection of the resources and their transport deemed essential to our way of life. Then we could subject the “project” to cost-benefit analysis [deaths per ton of ore… or some such formula to calculate ROI/ROA]. It’s probably already been done!

      Only when we “opt” out of this way of life and develop a postscarcity value system that results in an economic system – the production, distribution, exchange, and consumption of goods/services – that renders the raison d’etre of empire – CONTROL over “scarce” resources, both human and natural – unnecessary will it change.

      What is potentially tranformative is that we don’t need the ruling elites’ permission to do this. We can begin to do the little things in everyday life that become cumulative over time with profound results. More importantly perhaps is that it’s from the bottom-up instead of from the top-down. So ultimately, we are still FREE to CHOOSE…

      1. Doug Terpstra

        Love your stuff. Well informed, highly critical, analytical, and imaginative (like Glenn Stehle), with spiritual depth, but without the despair or cynical defeatism to which I often fall victim. Thanks

        1. Mickey Marzick in Akron, Ohio

          Doug,

          You just happened to catch me on a good day! Been in that “black hole” myself and more than once or twice.

          There’s really some pretty positive stuff going on but the the negativity fostered by the MSM is designed/intended to “burn us out”, convincing US that resistance is futile, that we will be assimilated. It’s probably even better that some of the positive stuff flies below the radar so that it can’t be suppressed, coopted, or assimilated…

          Think longterm but act with purpose one day at a time.

      2. i on the ball patriot

        Your right! We don’t need permission.
        Bottom up is where its at!

        Start, outside the system, by creating and putting a ‘Universal Fact’ label (see my post below) on all products. Labels that would show the disparities, exploitation and oppression — the real cost of all products.

        Go for GDH – Gross Domestic Happiness!
        Dream a little!
        Its empowering dissing and shunning the rich man and kicking him in the balls!

        Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

        1. Mickey Marzick in Akron, Ohio

          I on the Ball…

          I saw the Universal Facts Label earlier this afternoon. It’s a very good idea, exposing the “true costs’ of production! Is there any existing organization that does this – certification? Point me to it…

          Mickey

          1. i on the ball patriot

            Mickey,

            No such organization exists.

            The intent of my comment was to plant the seed and get it started. Its an idea that’s been kicking around in my head for a long while now and this post on divvying up the pie in Afghanistan brought it to the forefront of my thoughts and made me crystallize it a bit. I have always been a nut job about true costs of products when ALL costs are realistically factored in as opposed to price of product.

            There are existing tables available as starter references but most are all government produced, slanted towards business, and not really all population inclusive in the countries that data has been collected. For instance here is one on labor costs.

            http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ichcc.nr0.htm

            When you look at it a bit it is very clear how currency manipulation/exchange rates affect costs and how the data is slanted in terms of audience.

            I envision having a person/group(s) in each country, on board with the political intent of the Universal Fact Label concept, to collect local data and update it as required. Just getting a motivated average citizen assessment, A VERY REAL NO BULL SHIT cost on; labor, food, and shelter, weighted for; unemployment, oppressive government, environmental impacts, outside interference in government, etc., and by industry, would give a good base rating metric to assess fairness and true cost of a product, e.g., once labor and base metals were completed for all nations then any product that used metals would list them on its Universal Fact Label. For instance, if a product contained cobalt from South Africa it could be listed and the TRUE COST of oppression there would be known and it would downgrade the social value and worth of the product.

            Once computerized and shared over the net like minded citizens could investigate and create Universal Fact Labels for any product.

            I would love to see a very complete Universal Fact Label (it would function as an exploitation footprint) for an ipod or a cell phone. Given the power of computers today this is a lot more doable than it sounds. The Universal Fact Labels would have a very strong political punch and would be used to counter the corporate deflective bull shit ‘self rating’ agencies.

            Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  13. coup de grâce

    Isn’t it time to start passing out Anzas to the warlords and put us out of our misery? Maybe Vickers and Avrokotos could come out of retirement to do it.

  14. Siggy

    If the Taliban gain control of Afganistan, will that control make the reported minerals unobtainable? I think not. Why impose our idea of what a government should be on what is in most respects a feudal society. We’ll say it’s in the name of democracy. Farcial, we’re supposed to have a republic but we’ve screwed it up with so much socialism that we are rapidly heading into the toilet.

    In the coming months and years we are going to have to borrow a lot of money to fund our government programs, why not get the hell out of Iraq and Afganistan and a few other places and let the natives have at it. We’d save a lot of lives and money. Might buy us some time to sort out our financial failure.

    I often wonder, is there a path to a new form of hegemony in the form of a sound currency, a government of laws constituted by and for a literate society.

    It’s maddening. We have no need to be in either of Afganistan or Iraq. What the hell is there that we desparately need. What danger to our national security do these countries pose?

    Just where is it written that we must be the world’s policeman? Hell, we can’t even police our own financial markets.

  15. Jim S

    “Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.” — Napoleon Bonaparte

    Incompetence vice imperialism, because at this late stage no one actually expects to be able to or wants to exploit this trillion dollar mineral find. We are simply trying to tell ourselves that there is a chance to win when there’s not (at least not until we make a concrete, realistic policy toward Afghanistan). As anon said above, it’s a desperate move, but ultimately a red herring when it comes to discerning intent. …I can’t leave it there — to label this imperialism implies that we have an actual foreign policy here, which is ridiculous as we haven’t had the least shred of a foreign policy since the USSR packed it in, as everyone knows. Therefore it can’t be imperialism ;)

    In all seriousness, the continued branding of this announcement as imperialism constitutes a type II error. The alternative — incompetence — isn’t much better, but at least leaves room for talking to the offending party. But I suppose I’m just a fool for trying to apply logic to politics…

  16. i on the ball patriot

    “I often wonder, is there a path to a new form of hegemony in the form of a sound currency, a government of laws constituted by and for a literate society.”

    The Human
    Universal Facts Label

    Those who help
    Support the lie,
    That send their troops
    To kill and die,

    Or aid the scam,
    With covert supply,
    Almost always get,
    A better share of the pie,

    But even those,
    Who look away,
    Stand to benefit,
    In a round about way,

    When they consume,
    These ill gotten gains,
    Will they be aware,
    Of the victims pains?

    They will if we,
    Impose a new scheme,
    To mark all products,
    With a fact based theme,

    Like the Nutrition Facts,
    On a can of food,
    We list the ‘Universal Facts’,
    That would always include:

    Willingly transferred?
    Yes or no?
    At the point of a gun?
    Or fairly so?

    And the cost to produce,
    In base caloric human rates,
    That adjusts for the differences,
    In the many nation states,

    In time we will develop,
    A universal unit of exchange,
    To base a global currency,
    On a concept now strange,

    But those who possess,
    Some worldly acumen,
    Will champion the new unit,
    That will be called one ‘Human’,

    Then how many ‘Humans’,
    Will it cost for a car?
    To build a new house?
    Or to buy a guitar?

    The answers of course,
    In the future will be found,
    But with the ‘Universal Facts’ known,
    The decisions will be sound …

    Developing the global ‘Universal Facts’ label for all products produced to be sold would be a far better use of time than developing the system promoted, deflective decoy, carbon cap and trade bullshit that only serves to maintain the power of the wealthy.

    The ‘Universal Facts’ label would be production cost based, far more concrete than carbon trade (read derivative scam nightmare), and most all of the information necessary to get it started is available on the net now; hourly labor costs per country, food costs per country, housing, clothing, etc. Weighting in; state of war per country, and exploitation per country, would require special notice on the ‘Universal Facts’ label of each product sold, e.g., Apple products, in addition to listing the cheap labor and material costs for each individual component of their many products, would also be required to note the many suicides that occurred in the factories that produced some of those component parts. Similarly, the Universal Facts label displayed on gasoline pumps for the cost of a gallon of gas would note the deaths of over a million Iraqis and the costs for funding the state of Israel to maintain influence in the Middle East.

    So lets get cracking on the ‘Universal Facts’ label, focus on the base concrete knowns first. Soon we may all be buying and selling more fairly with the ‘Human’, a currency that truly reflects value and a fair and harmonious social order.

    No balls! No brains! No freedom!

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  17. Tom Hickey

    Well, at least the Obama administration is willing to admit that it’s flat-out imperialism. The Bush administration tried to dress it up as spreading democracy. Gotta give the Dems credit for being honest anyway. The GOP needs its mouth washed out with soap and water.

  18. Valissa

    I see a pattern here… empires will be empires…

    Mining in Roman Britain http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_mining
    Mining was one of the most prosperous activities in Roman Britain. Britain was rich in resources such as copper, gold, iron, lead, salt, silver, and tin, materials in high demand in the Roman Empire. The abundance of mineral resources in the British Isles was likely one of the reasons for the Roman conquest of Britain.

    1. Jojo

      So what you are saying is that we haven’t really advanced any in 2000 odd years? [lol]

    2. emca

      ‘Mining in Britian’ didn’t help the Romans much when the (Visi)Goths in 4decided to do some mining of their own.

      Plunder the best and leave the rest.

  19. Elliot

    So, the US is revealed as Snidely Whiplash, and Afghanistan as Little Nell, tied to the traintracks, to force her inheritance into his hands.

    No surprise, but embarrassing and awful.

  20. MarcoPolo

    After NC picked up on this NYT article I’ve seen references to it at Angry Bear & ZH. Funny how these things get passed around the web.  I think it’s a hoax.  The kind of article Yves calls a plant.  It seems to be based on work by Wandry & Law on a &17M grant from the Bush admin. My guess would be to try to find a way to fund a govt more amenable to western interests than the Taliban.  Don’t know but, I’ve come across Wandry & Law before.    

    At the beginning of the Afghan war OBL released a propaganda video and the military or the admin. one, rounded up some midwestern geology professor (Missouri?) to say that he knew where OBL was because the rocks in the background of the video only occured 2 places in the country.  Did you feel that?  That’s the kind of thing that overloads the BS meters. 

    So, I looked it up.  

    When the Indian sub-continent slammed into Asia 70 million years ago it did a number on what is now Afghanistan. Facinating to a hard rock geologist.  Amazing even. And somebody else had been facinated by it long before I noticed.  It had all been mapped in exquisite detail.  Very, very nice work.  Wandry & Law had compiled the maps.  You can find them at USGS.  

    The kind of mineral wealth that might be mined is always indicated on the surface.  However.  We know the Chinese made a $3B deal for copper and there were rumors of a much larger deal.  I don’t know if that’s gone through. And we’ll have to wait to see what the Chinese know about copper that nobody else knows.  Also Afghanistan is well known for semi-precious stones (especially lapis lazuli).  But that’s more the kind of thing where somebody says “oh lookie” (does google translate to pashtun?) and bends over to pick it up. Then you find it in flea markets.  And just to look at the place in photos it would seem like a place where you might find sulfates and the like. But I’ve never heard of any there and they wouldn’t have been overlooked either.       

    So that leaves hydrocarbons. Oil & gas.  The study reports, I think it was 1.6B bbl in potential petroleum reserves – not so much in global terms – and it seems that it was easier or safer to drill the cores in Tajikastan and estimate what that might mean for Afghanistan. Not very accurate but something maybe. But even at $70/bbl as though it was above ground ready to ship we’re left far short of a trillion. 

    Then there is gas. There probably is a significant amount of gas.  We would infer that again from Tajikistan. But gas isn’t shipped very far. The only way gas would be of significant value would be that there were an industry on top of it that could buy it. There isn’t. But it appears to me as though the only way to get to a $trillion is to value the gas as though it was in Lehmans basement.  Call me a cynic.  

    The geology of Afghanistan has been known for a long time to say nothing of the fact that people have been crossing that wasteland looking for something good since the bronze age and the haven’t found anything yet.  So, finding something new there is.. well, improbable and to think anybody missed a trillion $ is… implosable.       

  21. Ottawan

    Gosh you guys. Isn’t the imprimateur obvious? Clearly, the Pentagon put this out in order to help convince the Mighty Canadian Army to stay in Kandahar past the 2011 pull-out date.

  22. steveo

    Friday was odd, of course it was an Expiry day.

    There was alot of buying on weakness AND selling on strength. I never noticed that before on this good website.

    http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3022-mflppg-moneyflow.html?mod=topnav_2_3002

    And the McClellan (affectionatly known as the McC) was a very small change, 1.2 or so, anything under 8 is “small” in my book.

    http://stockcharts.com/h-sc/ui?s=%24nymo

    And the Euro has been hot, going up. But I have been mentioning this resistance for a while. Funny how it just broke through by not even a tenth of a penny.

    From last week, note the green line in the sand

    http://oahutrading.blogspot.com/2010/06/euro-and-es-perspective.html
    Current condition—after the swat down. Now we shall see—does the swat momentum continue, or is the gap fill good enough to start running back up again. I go with the swat down.

    http://oahutrading.blogspot.com/2010/06/mcc-and-buysell-money.html

  23. emca

    China is closer to Afghanistan than the U.S.
    (they have no pretense of democracy)

    One can only marvel that the Chinese Enigma is engaged in nation building (their own) sans military conquest.

  24. scharfy

    The US is imperialistic?

    By what standard?

    Imperialism means extracting resources from another nation by political/military control. Where exactly are we doing this?

    If anything we are doing the opposite, trying to play referee for the world, so actual trade can occur, and draining our coffers in the process. If we were Imperialists we would have invaded Cuba and Venezuela long ago. Maybe re-nationalized a few of Hugo Chavez’s oil operations stolen from various parts of the world. All Cuba has is an embargo..

    Are the military bases we have scattered across the globe all there to forcibly extract goods from these nations? Or to “help” them get their economies going to “make” shit to “sell” to us. That’s called trade. And yes we influence it, but anyone in our position would be influencing policy. It comes with the territory of being a superpower.

    The military is in Saudi Arabia are there to ensure order, so that the game of creating REAL goods and services(oil mostly) can continue. Like it or not, the Governments of these nations willfully take our protection.

    Did we colonize Europe post WWII when we could have? Korea was about money+minerals? Vietnam was for rubber? Bosnia? Kuwait? Somalia? Why have we not invaded Mexico or Canada for oil when we can? Has Iraq pumped one gallon of oil anywhere but onto the market, and at market prices?

    America certainly has a large global footprint – but the left has gone wacko with its “END AMERICAN IMPERIALISM” meme.. They seem to have forgotten what real Imperialism looks like.

    So go ahead and brush up on Japan, Germany, England, China, France, Dutch, Spanish, Russia (recently) and any number of real Imperialists – where they invade with a big fucking Army – and start killing people and taking shit.

    I might not like the trend of globalization, or America’s pre-eminent economic an military status, or our silly hyper-aggressive foreign policy -but no way are we in the pound for pound in the TOP 10 imperialists rankings.

    Anyone out there think we invaded Afghanistan to strip mine for lithium?

    Really? When we were drawing up Afghanistan we viewed it as a business venture? Why don’t we nationalize the poppy fields then?

    If we are imperialist, we are under-acheiving mightily. Given the size of our military, how Imperialistic have we really been in the last 100 years?

    Imperialist lite might be more accurate.

    1. RalphR

      You really need to educate yourself on this topic. It’s pretty obvious you live in an American media bubble.

      Google “United Fruit” and “Mossadeq” for starters. There’s no need to resort to military occupation if you can install a cooperative thug.

      And Niall Ferguson, a financial historian, deems the US to be an empire, albeit a bit more conflicted about it than the British Empire.

  25. Lucky Mackson

    Dear Friend,

    I got your contact through internet for your interest in buying Gold Dust . We are small scale mining company in the Ashanti and the Western Region of Ghana. We have a capacity to produce between 50-200 kgs of Alluvial Gold dust every month also we have diamond.

    We have now approximately 100kgs ready for sale.

    We submit below our FCO.

    DESCRIPTION

    PRODUCT – ALLUVIAL GOLD DUST
    QUANTITY – 100 KILOGRAMS
    QUALITY – 23. CARATS
    PRICE – US$27,500 PER KG FOB
    ORIGIN – GHANA WEST AFRICA
    PURITY – 98%

    TERMS OF PAYMENT: The payment of the product will be done at the buyer’s destination after refinery, however, 25% of the total cost will be paid by buyer to seller to cover Export Expenses and documentation, and after buyer has been satisfied with the quality of goods and all the procedures., shipment will be effected within 72 hours.
    The balance of 75% will be paid based on the refinery’s report, 7 working days after goods has been delivered to buyer’s refinery, OTHER TERMS AND CONDITIONS: A contract agreement stipulating terms and conditions of this transaction will be signed between seller and buyer, Buyer have to arrive in Ghana to sign all business and legal documents in respect of the transaction and also use the chance to interact with management , and physically ascertain the product.

    Seller’s mandate will accompany buyer and the product to his destination upon receipt of the Export Expenses, .

    We shall consider it a privilege entering into a long a lasting business relationship.

    Thank for your co-operation.
    regards,
    Lucky Mackson
    Marketing Manager.
    Phone: +233273248562
    Skype : william_mensah200

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