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by Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Jun 14, 2010
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today released the following statement after information leaked out that earlier reports of a vast new mineral discovery that had been found in Afghanistan were not actually new discoveries:
“We now know that ‘discovery’ of vast repositories of natural resources in Afghanistan was overstated, likely the result of a new policy rather than new information. The mineral wealth of the nation has been estimated for decades and known for years. The only new information revealed was that these reserves may be worth nearly one trillion dollars. These few facts, however, raise serious questions about the future of Afghanistan and our role there.
“The wealth of any nation belongs to its people. The value of Afghanistan’s mineral reserves must be controlled by the Afghan people. The history of mining in developing countries with weak protective governmental infrastructure is replete with stories of worker exploitation, destruction of water, soil, habitat, the fouling of air, and the increased incidence of diseases in nearby communities. Providing even a modicum of protection for the Afghan people from powerful multinational mining corporations will be nearly impossible for a nation currently led by a government known more for its corruption than its leadership.
“The announcement of the ‘discovery’ also raises serious questions about our role in Afghanistan. If the reserves were known or at the very least estimated for years, why did officials in Afghanistan hold a press conference the same day the New York Times was able to uncover an internal Pentagon memo? If this was not a new discovery, but the efforts of a public relations strategy, what are the goals of that strategy? By July 4, Congress is expected to be asked to allocate another $33 billion dollars for the War in Afghanistan. Is this announcement meant to shore up support for a disastrous war eight and a half long years in the making?
“These questions challenge the fundamental rationale for the American presence in Afghanistan and shed light on the manipulation that has kept our nation at war for nearly a decade,” said Kucinich.
The information considered ‘new’ in some reporting was based on a 2007 report and is publically available on the U.S. Geological Survey’s website. [pdf]