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92 of 95 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The ugly world of realpolitik is exposed
Brisard and Dasquie's "Forbidden Truth" is a very solid piece of research that contains more than a few surprises about the realpolitiks of the Middle East, especially as it pertains to the United States and Saudi Arabia. The book turns a number of received wisdoms on their head and should give everyone concerned about the war on terror a few things to think about...
Published on July 24, 2002 by Malvin

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58 of 63 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting, but no smoking gun
I bought this book anticipating a smoking gun connection between the 9/11 attacks and the Bush administration, and was somewhat disappointed when i didnt get one, but the book is fascinating nonetheless. it details a series of negotiations between the Bush administration (and the Clinton administration) with the Taliban in the hopes of stabilizing the government of...
Published on August 2, 2002


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92 of 95 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The ugly world of realpolitik is exposed, July 24, 2002
By 
Malvin (Frederick, MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy, Saudi Arabia and the Failed Search for bin Laden (Paperback)
Brisard and Dasquie's "Forbidden Truth" is a very solid piece of research that contains more than a few surprises about the realpolitiks of the Middle East, especially as it pertains to the United States and Saudi Arabia. The book turns a number of received wisdoms on their head and should give everyone concerned about the war on terror a few things to think about.
Of course, the authors show that fossil fuels drives American policy in the region. The Clinton and Bush administrations both negotiated with the Taliban for the construction of a natural gas pipeline to be built in Afghan territory despite clear-cut evidence of the regime's human rights abuses. However, the book also makes the eye-popping suggestion that U.S. representatives may have recklessly threatened the Taliban prior to the September 11 attack, thereby provoking Al Qaeda into action.
Basically, Brisard and Dasquie explain that Saudi Arabia supports radical Islamic movements (including the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Usama Bin Laden) in order to extend its hegemony over the area. Saudi support of the Taliban, for example, helped keep Afghanistan from falling under Iranian influence. Interestingly, the authors point out that the first arrest warrant ever issued against Usama Bin Laden came not from the U.S. -- which wanted to overlook Usama's behavior in order to keep Saudi oil flowing -- but from Libya.
I must admit that all of this came as quite a surprise to me, since Saudi Arabia has always been portrayed as a staunch ally of the U.S. In fact, Brisard and Dasquie recall how U.S. oil companies helped the country develop, but they also show that the Kingdom remains dependent on religion to maintain control over its people. So the country is practically schizophrenic in its need to simultaneously maintain business ties with the U.S. and defend against the spread of Arab nationalism by covertly preaching the gospel of anti-Americanism.
The authors go into considerable detail illuminating the people, organizations and financial relationships that make the Saudi-supported terror network possible. The indictments reach the highest levels of Saudi society. In this light, it appears that Usama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda simply spun out of their master's control and took the anti-American cause too far.
All this should give us pause to consider why the U.S. allowed the Saudis to play such a dangerous game for so long. Also, one would think that prudence should compel the U.S. to develop an energy policy that does not depend on Middle Eastern oil. But already, Brisard and Dasquie report that talks for the pipeline have resumed since the installation of the Karzai regime in Afghanistan in May 2002.
On a technical note, the book could benefit from additional editorial work to correct a few grammatical errors (presumably due to the translation from French to English?) and several footnote mistakes. Stylistically, the author's research sometimes makes for dry reading, but that is only because the facts have been meticulously documented and presented. So although "Forbidden Truth" is at times far from entertaining, the reader is nevertheless impressed with the professionalism of the research and its air-tight conclusions. (Indeed, sensing the threat that the book poses to its business empire, the Bin Laden family succeeded in getting the book banned in Switzerland.)
"Forbidden Truth" is recommended for anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of the dynamics underlying the war on terror.
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142 of 152 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Forbidden Truth" tells you what really happened, July 11, 2002
By 
John J Emerson (Portland, OR United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy, Saudi Arabia and the Failed Search for bin Laden (Paperback)
First of all, this is the GOOD French book on 9/11. (The OTHER French book on 9/11 you hear people talking about is the same old conspiracy theory stuff. Dasquie and Brisard are well-respected professionals and completely mainstream.
When 9/11 took place the American response was dominated by rage and disbelief: how could anyone ever do something like that to us? Suggestions that we figure out why it happened were automatically slapped down, as if even asking the question would give legitimacy to the attackers.
It's quite normal to have inquiries whenever a disaster takes place, so someone must have had something to hide. This book tells you who they were and what it was.
The United States was negotiating with the Taliban right into September of 2001. What was at issue was an oil pipeline across Afghanistan, and the options we offered them were two: cooperate with us on the pipeline, or war. When negotiations broke down, Osama Bin Laden (a U.S. ally only a decade earlier in the anti-Soviet war, and a major force in Afghanistan)struck first. Once we were at war with the Taliban, they became unspeakably evil; but as long as it seemed that they might be willing to play ball, we had no problem with them.
The role of Saudi Arabia in this story is a second major theme. Most of the hijackers were Saudis and the funding came from Saudi Arabia and the neighboring Gulf States. Furthermore, some of Bin Laden's support, contrary to what we have been told, came from very high levels in Saudi society. Saudi Arabia has long been a major source of funds for Muslim extremists globally, and the see-no-evil complicity in this of the U.S. government and the oil industry cannot be denied. While this book in no way claims that the CIA (much less the Mossad) had a hand in the 9/11 attacks, it makes it clear that excessively indulgent attitudes to the Saudis at very high levels of the US government led to extreme negligence and made the terrorists' job much easier.
Saudi Arabia is not on the list of ten or more terrorist nations which we plan to attack. After reading this book, you will ask why not.
John Emerson
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65 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A seminal piece of research on that tragic day in September, July 26, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy, Saudi Arabia and the Failed Search for bin Laden (Paperback)
Finally translated, this best-selling French book will provide Americans with an in-depth analysis of how our "friends" in Saudi Arabia have been the primary financiers of Islamic terrorism, reveals the last testimony of the FBI's top counter terrorism agent, and exposes the secret negotiations between the U.S. government and the Taliban and the Pakastanis in the months that led up to attacks on 9/11. Forbidden Truth represents three years of research by respected French intelligence experts, and it will fundamentally alter the public's perception of 9/11. I'll be blunt: this book is a political hand grenade that will make you inexplicably angry at the hypocrisy of our government and how the current administration entered into bellicose and dangerous negotiations with a rogue regime despite their continued harboring of an international terrorist.
Forbidden Truth methodically documents the names, dates and places of all the U.S. diplomats and those involved in pursuing high-risk Caspian Sea Pipeline negotiations with representatives of the Taliban regime and Pakistani government. These secret negotiations began on February 5, 2001 and collapsed on August 2, 2001 with the U.S. threatening the Taliban with a "military option." Meanwhile, despite FBI field agents like Rowley, Williams and others who were diligently "connecting the dots" on the 9/11 plot, both of the FBI's special units, the Radical Fundamentalist Unit and the UBL Unit in the FBI's Washington D.C. Head Quarters had become virtual "black holes" for investigations regarding Islamic terrorism. Unlike the preceding years, all FBI FISA warrant requests regarding investigations of terrorist suspects like the case of Moussaoui, the infamous "20th hijacker", were categorically denied by the DOJ during this crucial period. This was neither by accident nor the result of the so-called "intelligence bureaucracy"; it was the result of a tragic intelligence policy at the behest of the Bush administration.
This book opens with an interview of John P. O'Neill, the former FBI deputy Director of counter terrorism who complained bitterly that the FBI had become "even more politically engaged" after George W. Bush's inauguration, and the frustrations that he expressed in late July 2001 helps explain these seemingly disparate events. Based on the collaborating evidence and testimony provided by FBI agents and other intelligence sources it appears that the Bush administration implemented a high-level intelligence blocks with respect to investigations of Islamic terrorism in early 2001. Why did this administration block FBI Agents such as O'Neill and others from pursuing bin Laden? Answer: Saudi Arabia, their Taliban friends, and U.S. corporate oil interests. According to the authors, John O'Neill had become so frustrated under the Bush administration and the State Department's unprecedented blocks of his investigations regarding Osama bin Laden that he resigned from the FBI in August 2001. He became the chief of security of the WTC, and in an ironic and tragic turn of fate he died at the WTC on 9/11. Forbidden Truth is dedicated to this patriot, and serves as his last testimony.
Americans will soon realize that 9/11 was not an intelligence failure per se as claimed by this administration and subsequently reported by the media, but rather represents a foreign policy failure of truly epic proportions. This book exposes why the Bush administration strongly opposes the creation of a National Commission. Nonetheless, this administration will not be able to refute the damning research revealed in this book, nor will they be able withstand the inevitable scrutiny of history. Read this book only if you want to learn about the inability of both the Clinton and current Bush administrations to call Saudi Arabia to task for their continued funding of militant Islamic terrorism, the ugly truth about last year's secret and bellicose negotiations over pipelines, the State Department's flawed foreign policy towards the Taliban, and the fatal intelligence decisions regarding FBI investigations that ultimately facilitated the horrific tragedy that occurred on September 11, 2001.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Horrifying! But Sadly Not Surprising..., October 8, 2002
By 
Anthony Ian "anthony_ian" (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy, Saudi Arabia and the Failed Search for bin Laden (Paperback)
In a nutshell, this book outlines how we've looked the other way regarding Islamic terror for decades because it inconvenienced oil deals. No big surprise, although you may still be shocked at the calculated cynicism and the cold-blooded capitalism.
We may have bombed Afghanistan after 9/11, but you'll be shocked to learn that prior to 9/11 we actually tacitly supported the Taliban--because we wanted a stable regime there to allow for the construction of a lucrative pipeline through the country. We'd eventually sour on the Taliban as their abuses became world news, but we gave them plenty of money year after year.
Other sad tales involve our continuing "friendship" with Saudi Arabia--again, based on oil money--which seems absurd considering their status as the #1 exporter of Islamic terrorism, including the majority of the 9/11 hijackers.
Also interesting is how deeply the White House is staffed with big oil veterans--everybody knows about Bush and Cheney's oil gigs, but who knew Condoleeza Rice was a decade-long employee of the oil industry?
This book presents a pretty sobering reality about what our priorties have been over the years--most of them have taken a back seat to big oil profits, even post 9/11. Many conservative (meaning: Bush supporters) readers will probably dismiss this book because of its stark, unflattering portrayal of our government and its principals--those of us who are a little more questioning will still be appalled at how callous our policies have become... in the name of oil profits.
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58 of 63 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting, but no smoking gun, August 2, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy, Saudi Arabia and the Failed Search for bin Laden (Paperback)
I bought this book anticipating a smoking gun connection between the 9/11 attacks and the Bush administration, and was somewhat disappointed when i didnt get one, but the book is fascinating nonetheless. it details a series of negotiations between the Bush administration (and the Clinton administration) with the Taliban in the hopes of stabilizing the government of Afghanistan enough to allow the construction of oil and gas pipelines from the Caspian Sea across Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. fascinating that the American media has utterly neglected to make this connection in all of the post-9/11 reporting, and even today refers to this book only in a patronizing, "conspiracy theory" manner.
the book also addresses another matter that the U.S. media has touched on, but not explored in the detail it deserves: the role of the Saudi Arabian government in its widespread funding of international Islamic organizations with dubious intent. "forbidden truth" raises legitimate questions about what is really going on in Saudi Arabia and the U.S. government's dealings with that nation.
i would recommend this book for anyone interested in the recent history of the Middle East and the "war" on terrorism. it presents a very-well reported historical account of the role of oil in U.S. foreign policy, which is especially enlightening considering the pending U.S. invasion of Iraq.
two complaints about the book: numerous typos and careless editing suggest this book was rushed to press; and it includes about 80 pages of appendices, including many supporting documents
that are difficult to discern.
nonetheless, read "forbidden truth" for another perspective on the "war" on terrorism.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can see why the Bush people tried to ban this book, September 21, 2003
This review is from: Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy, Saudi Arabia and the Failed Search for bin Laden (Paperback)
Some people would try to say this book shouldn't be trusted because it is written by the French, but I look at it this way, if, John O'Neill, the former head of the FBI's antiterrorism division, trusted Brisard enough to confide with him about his fears of Al Queda and the answers to them being found in Saudi Arabia and of our government, especially the current administration, of trying to block him from further investigation in that direction, then I feel I can also trust the author (besides which, much of the information in the book is being validated elsewhere). The administration tried to make France sound terrible because they voted against going to war against Iraq without more reliable information, that was a right that they had as we have in the United States. Remember, if it hadn't been for the help of the French, we wouldn't be the United States now.

Anyway, back to the book. I am going to quote a part of the forward that gives a little summary of the book, "Forbidden Truth" is the first comprehensive revelation of how the foreign policy of the President's father and the cozy relationship with the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia exploited and created an extremist army that eventually turned on its creators."
"our government knew Saudi government was financing bin Laden's Al Queda through Islamic charities years before the attacks."
Oil, and the power and money that it can give to certain individuals can be addictive and lead to abuses. Because of how much our country depends on oil, a lot things have been overlooked by our government and certain people who profit from it in a huge way (the lives of our citizens take the back seat for many of these people).
There was a pipeline for oil dream that developed that concerned Afghanistan, but in order for our companies to be able to go through it, the country had to be stable, which different people tried to show the U.S. (some our own people) that it was, when in fact it was just the opposite. They were succeeding until the Taliban treatment of their women and their vile actions were found out. Unicol a division of Chevron, of which Condoleeza Rice was a director of for years, was the company wanting to build the pipeline. A representative from our country, who had been trying to negotiate with the Taliban to give us Osama Bin Laden and let us run a pipeline through Afghanistan reportedly told them that they could be blanketed with a carpet of money or with bombs if they didn't comply.
The book details Osama bin Laden's path and describes Saudis and the events that led up to 9/11. It also shows how the same people who were involved in the previous Bush administration are still involved in this one and it shows many connections of these people to the Oil and the defense building, like the Carlyle Group. These are the people making a lot of money because of the war and stand to make a lot more, using our tax dollars and our young men and women to pay for it. I think everyone should read this book and you will get a better idea of how Al Queda developed and why it became what it is today. People from other countries know more about what is going on than we do and that seems to be the way our government wants it but we can no longer trust that we are receiving the whole truth, we need to dig deeper. You owe it to your country.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Saudi Terror Business Explained, November 26, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy, Saudi Arabia and the Failed Search for bin Laden (Paperback)
The war on terrorism has been overshadowed, perhaps purposely, by the push for a second Gulf War, but the issues this book looks at make it highly likely that though forgotten, al Qaeda is not gone. But will the US, especially the Bush administration, have the courage, wisdom or nerve to betray their long-time business partners, employers and sponsors in Saudi Arabia to get at the roots of the US's *real* public enemy number 1?
The American edition of this book is rather shoddily proof read--names are spelled inconsistently from paragraph to paragraph, for instance--and that makes you wonder how much trust to put in certain hard facts, like dates, that you find there. But the research the book is based upon is clearly impeccable, and more than any American source I've seen, focuses intently on where al Qaeda came from and whose money is supporting it. The book includeds charts among the appendices to present a visual picture of the tangled financial network that links terror and business in Saudi Arabia.
...The journalism is high quality. The publication standards don't match it.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Innuendo., July 26, 2003
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This review is from: Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy, Saudi Arabia and the Failed Search for bin Laden (Paperback)
Brilliant, scathing journalism. Well researched, documented, sourced, and most of the information in the book is attributed to verifiable sources. Much of the 28 blacked-out pages in the recently released 911 investigation is probably already covered here, detailing Saudi involvement in terrorism, specifically financing. Read it & find out what the US mainstream media doesn't seem to have the guts to cover.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of useful information, October 10, 2002
By 
J. Skinner "olentzero" (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy, Saudi Arabia and the Failed Search for bin Laden (Paperback)
This is obviously a work of dedicated investigative journalists. The information is presented more or less as a dry list of facts with very little analysis, but anyone who wishes to read this probably has already begun to question Bush's war program in the Middle East. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a clearer picture of the all-too-hidden relations between the US government, governments of the Middle East, and the organizations they now call "terrorist".
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not as good as it might have been, December 11, 2002
By 
Lanlady (Woodbridge, VA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy, Saudi Arabia and the Failed Search for bin Laden (Paperback)
I wanted very much to like this book and be able to recommend it to others, out of my conviction that the Bush family (and other powerful US financial/political dynasties) have sold out America's true national security interests to the Saudis. There is much about 9/11 we may never know because it would be too embarrassing to Dubya and his oil cronies.
Unfortunately, Forbidden Truth falls short of expectations: it was obviously written in a hurry, to capitalize on 9/11. Plus, I disagree with those reviewers who say it is well researched; looking at the footnotes, one is struck by how heavily the authors rely on a small handful of sources, primarily what appear to be Swiss banking publications (Brisard and Dasquie don't bother to explain the provenance of their sources). The evidence for some of their more damning "revelations" is exceedingly thin, and in a few cases wouldn't pass muster in a high school journalism class. The authors cite no Saudi sources whatsoever and neither appears ever to have set foot in the Middle East.
Moreover, the title of the US edition of the book is very misleading: Forbidden Truth has precious little to say about the Taliban and the ongoing search for Osama bin Laden. Instead, the book quite oddly shifts emphasis to Muammar Qaddafi. Why the Libyan leader should merit an entire chapter and an Appendix in this short book is beyond me; it seems the authors got hold of an old Interpol document and felt compelled to publish it somewhere.
Despite these misgivings, I gave Forbidden Truth 3 stars because it does raise a few critical points and open worthwhile avenues of investigation and research. It's not that I disbelieve Brisard and Dasquie; in fact, the Truth is probably much worse than they present it. It's the shoddiness of their presentation that I take issue with.
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