Cover image for Forbidden truth : U.S.-Taliban secret oil diplomacy and the failed hunt for Bin Laden
Forbidden truth : U.S.-Taliban secret oil diplomacy and the failed hunt for Bin Laden
Brisard, Jean-Charles.
Personal Author:
[Revised and expanded U.S. edition].
Publication Information:
New York : Thunder's Mouth Press/Nation Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxxv, 249 pages : charts; 20 cm
Corporate Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6432 .B75 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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The result of three years of investigation by a leading French investigative journalist and an intelligence expert, Forbidden Truth is the untold story of the Clinton and Bush administration's attempts to stabilize Afghanistan and make it safe for US energy companies to build a pipeline through it. In particular, it details the secret diplomacy between the Bush administration and the Taliban between February and August 2001, talks that ultimately led the US to make threats that may have helped stoke the horrifying attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

There's been a lot of prepublication buzz about this book, especially on the Web. A best-seller in Europe and banned in Switzerland (because of a bin Laden lawsuit), this first American edition links the events of September 11 to pipeline politics, especially as practiced by the Bush administration. Although these sorts of charges have been made in a general way, the authors have collected a great deal of information, all footnoted. Investigating for three years, Brisard and Dusquie were able to follow the dots along a "parallel diplomacy" in which the private negotiations of oil tycoons, religious extremists, international financiers, and American politicians had little to do with the U.S.' best interests. The book is not particularly easy on the Clinton administration; however, especially incriminating is the authors' claim that FBI counterterror chief John O'Neil quit his job to become security head at the Twin Towers, where he died, because of his frustrations with the Bush administration's willingness to accommodate the Taliban (and bin Laden) for the sake of the pipeline. Considering how complicated the material is, this book is surprisingly easy to follow. It could wind up as the first 9/11 book for conspiracy theorists or as the story behind the story. Maybe both. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

There's a lot that's intriguing in this examination of the economic links between the United States and Middle East oil and the diplomatic side of the war on terrorism-but this expos occasionally suffers from insinuations that outstrip the evidence presented. The authors, both French intelligence experts, attempt to detail how "political channels, financial networks, oil stakes and secret diplomatic deals" helped support Osama bin Laden and his band of fundamentalist terrorists. They do spell out how worldwide Islamic charities helped fund terrorism and the fact that al-Qaeda received substantial funds from Saudi sources. Relying on both primary and secondary sources, the authors also add nuance to our understanding of the situation, noting, for example, that Libya, after an assassination attempt against Khadafy, was the first country to issue a warrant for bin Laden's arrest, in 1998. Among their more surprising charges (though they admit there is no direct evidence of the links) is that scandal-ridden BCCI-of which one of bin Laden's brothers-in-law is a former top executive-"is now at the center of [bin Laden's] financial network," supporting him with an intricate chain of business, banking and family ties. Other points-such as the implication that Bush administration officials have some guilt in the September 11 attacks because they worked for oil companies that had dealings with Saudi oil companies and had an interest in oil pipelines running through Afghanistan-rely also on heavily circumstantial evidence. This was a bestseller in France, but here it may be buried in the flood of September 11 books. (Sept. 20) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Joseph TrentoWayne Madsen
Introductionp. ix
Introductionp. xiii
Preface to the American Editionp. xix
Prologuep. xxvii
Forewordp. xxxi
I. Secret Liaisons: The United States and the Taliban
1. Laili Helms: Lobbyist for the Talibanp. 3
2. The State Department: Sponsor of the Talibanp. 11
3. A Pipeline for the Talibanp. 17
4. Mullah Omar: A Troublesome Allyp. 23
5. Negotiating at All Costsp. 29
6. Chronicle of a Forbidden Negotiationp. 37
7. The Impossible Investigationp. 47
II. Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of Many Dangers
8. Of Oil and Koranp. 63
9. Saudi Fundamentalist Networksp. 79
III. Bin Laden, the Myth of a Renegade
10. Libya 1994: A Terrorist Is Bornp. 97
11. Family Supportp. 103
IV. Khalid Bin Mahfouz: The Lucrative Business of Terrorism
12. The Banker of Terrorp. 115
Afterwordp. 141
I. Chronologyp. 149
II. Interpol Arrest Warrant for bin Ladenp. 155
III. Interpol "Red Notice" on bin Ladenp. 161
IV. State Department Fact Sheet on bin Ladenp. 167
V. CIA Memo on bin Ladenp. 171
VI. FBI File on Omar and Abdullah bin Ladenp. 175
VII. The Economic Network of the bin Laden Family, by Jean-Charles Brisardp. 181
1. Saudi Binladin Groupp. 225
2. Investments of bin Ladenp. 226
3. Bin Laden Familyp. 227
4. Bin Mahfouz Familyp. 228
5. Bin Laden and Mahfouzp. 229
6. BCCIp. 230
Notesp. 231