Tuesday, June 15, 2010

U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan

Published: June 13, 2010

WASHINGTON — The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said. FULL STORY

1 comment:

Liberty Activists said...

This from Dissenting Justice:

NYT Reporter Who Wrote The Afghanistan Mineral Story Bashes Bloggers; Apologizes

Posted: 15 Jun 2010 08:55 PM PDT
On Monday, New York Times reporter James Risen published an article that made a remarkable claim. According to Risen, US scientists had recently discovered vast mineral deposits in Afghanistan worth at least $1 trillion.

Suspicious bloggers immediately jumped on the report. Many of them (myself included) pointed out that the story of mineral deposits in Afghanistan emerged as early as the 1980s and as recently as 2007. Indeed, a 2007 joint report of the US Geological Survey and the Navy similarly claimed that the nation had rich mineral reserves.

Some bloggers even questioned the timing of the story. The war in Afghanistan has become the subject of increasing criticism. Some commentators suggested that the story was a Pentagon-planted narrative seeking to rally public support for the war.

Risen Strikes Back
During a telephone interview with Yahoo News blogger John Cook, Risen attacked bloggers who questioned his reporting:

"Bloggers should do their own reporting instead of sitting around in their pajamas....

The thing that amazes me is that the blogosphere thinks they can deconstruct other people's stories. . . .Do you even know anything about me? Maybe you were still in school when I broke the NSA story, I don't know. It was back when you were in kindergarten, I think.

Risen shared a Pulitzer for breaking the NSA story in 2006. Despite this fact, his recent defensiveness is offensive and unprofessional. Furthermore, Risen cannot dispute the fact that his recent report about Afghanistan's mineral reserves did not uncover any new data. Nonetheless, Risen asks, "If it wasn't news, then why didn't anybody write about it?" Apparently, Risen did not read the blog articles that questioned his story. They contain numerous citations to articles that covered this issue in the past. Cook also provides links to similar reporting in his blog post.

Perhaps realizing that his angry words would become public, Risen called Cook after the interview and offered an apology to bloggers:

"I was taken aback by some of the criticism, and didn't sleep well last night, and was upset about it. I apologize."

Closing Comment
Clearly, the professional media could benefit from the scrutiny of hardworking and thoughtful bloggers. The general animosity Risen expresses towards bloggers is unwarranted.