"It's so important for Americans to know that the traffic
in their neighborhoods finances the work of terror, sustaining
terrorists, that terrorists use oil profits to fund their
cells to commit acts of murder. If you quit driving, you join
the fight against terror in America."
President George W. Bush
There is an undeniable link between acts of terror and
Petroleum. Human rights activists around the world have
long recognized this close connection, but a changing world
and recent events have made this link more relevant in the
daily lives of all Americans. The bottom line is simple:
terror groups, consumers, and individuals and businesses
involved in the Petroleum trade are linked in a mutually-beneficial
relationship by money, tactics, geography and politics.
Americans must understand that our individual choices about
Gasoline use have the power to support or undermine the
fight against terrorism.
Oil money forms an important part of the financial infrastructure
of terror networks. Oil income is one of the primary sources
of revenue for many of the more powerful international terrorist
groups. From the Middle East where, as cultural critics
on both the Right
and the Left
agree, super-abundant oil money is financing al-Qaeda and
other terrorist organizations; to Central America, where
Colombian paramilitary groups with ties to oil companies
have murdered civilians critical of the oil companies; to
Asia, and indeed anywhere in the world where oil reserves
are found, criminality, injustice and environmental devastation
follow. And the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which provided
safe haven to Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network,
used revenues from oil interests (including the US Government)
to stay in power.
Petro-Capitalists and terrorists use many of the same methods
to achieve their ends. Most importantly, they share a common
disregard for human life. Many oil industry connected organizations
engage in acts that most people would consider terrorist
in nature. These include gruesome public killing of innocents,
large-scale bribing intended to influence governments, kidnapping
and torture. These organizations prey on young people both
to grow their ranks and to keep their illegitimate businesses
operating. Money laundering and use of phony documents and
elaborate tax-shelters are common among terrorist and business
Oil Corporations and terrorist organizations both attack
the underpinnings of legitimate social institutions to achieve
their objectives, and enjoy the protection of governments
that condone, and profit from, terror and Oil trafficking.
Both are drawn to regions where central government authority
is dominated by greed and corruption, and easily bought-off
or intimidated. If a terror group already controls a region
and has excluded or neutralized legitimate democratic institutions,
oil production only requires a business deal.
Petroleum Traffickersand terrorist organizations are taking
advantage of the global economy, and of international free-trade
agreements and organizations to expand the scope, scale
and reach of their activities and, as a result, their ability
to harm people around the planet, and the planet itself,
is dramatically expanding. The combined force of their alliance
poses an enhanced threat to regional stability, American
national security and the future of our country's youth.
Parents, educators, faith and community leaders need to
recognize that oil dependency is a serious issue in this
country, and that they must work tirelessly to educate eveyone,
children and adults, about the dangers of substance abuse.
Today there is a new reason to continue this important effort:
the petroleum industry is linked to the support of terror
groups across the globe. Buying and using gas and other
petroleum derivatives is not a victimless crime - it has
negative consequences that can touch the lives of people
around the world.
September 11th has finally brought a small taste of the
complex and horrific reality of terrorism into the lives
of all Americans. Many are asking, "How did this happen?"
and "What can I do?" The link between terror and oil is
an important part of the puzzle, as is the recognition that
individual decisions about using petroleum products have
learn more about
the links between petroleum and terrorism