Help Solve a Mystery See Text Below

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Raised by 60 people in 9 months
[April 2019Update: Dear Friends:  We're almost there! Please help me get to the finish line. The book is near completion.  And just two short "wrapping up" research trips left. Explained at the end of this text]

We always thought it was sabotage, but we could never prove it.”

That’s what I was told by one of the intelligence officers  who succeeded my father, who died in a plane crash in March 1947 after his secret mission to Saudi Arabia to oversee negotiations on the final route of the Trans-Arabian pipeline.

Before I describe what my father was doing, here's a quick summary about the book I am writing . It begins in 1947 and weaves my narrative quest through the remaining chapters, all of which deal with “pipeline politics” and how pipeline rivalry between big powers has contributed to today's endless wars in the Middle East and Central Asia. 

Opinion-makers all too often present the news of this embattled region out of context. As a result, an uninformed public is kept from understanding what's wrong about today’s endless wars and why their tragic consequences are senseless and immoral: Deaths -- of soldiers and civilians --in the millions, whole cities reduced to rubble, lands devoured by drought, fires and floods, people’s lives destroyed, all bringing us perilously close to another world war, all thanks to the ongoing struggle for fossil fuels. The brave earth warriors in the U.S. have helped raise “pipeline consciousness” for the American people. Now it’s time to see how pipeline politics have played a role in the endless wars sweeping the Middle East and Central Asia.

 I  would not have become a modern-day “pipeline tracker” had it not been for my investigation into my father’s death and my discovery of just how treacherous big power rivalry over oil can be, beginning with the Trans Arabian pipeline (TAPLINE) in the immediate aftermath of World War II. To give you an idea; the Syrian government was overthrown in 1949 because it resisted TAPLINE from passing through Syrian territory. And yes, pipeline politics today have played a role in the efforts to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria.

Who exactly was Daniel Dennett and why does it matter?  

Dennett served with the wartime Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the Central Intelligence Group (CIG) from 1944-1947. These were the immediate predecessors to the CIA. He was posted to Lebanon and Syria as head of counter-intelligence.32113036_1535052111120957_r.jpeg
Dennett (second from left) is pictured with leaders of the Lebanese parliament.  In August, 1946, he convinced them to grant transit rights to the  American-owned Trans-Arabian Pipeline (TAPLINE) Company to run a Saudi pipeline through Lebanon. Only days before, a bomb exploded in the U.S. Legation which destroyed his office.

In March, 1947, Dennett went on a top secret mission to Saudi Arabia to determine the final route of the Trans-Arabian Pipeline.  At issue was whether its terminal point would be in Lebanon or Palestine, and whether Syria would grant transit rights to the Americans.  (See the declassified WWII map below, with the pipeline's projected route marked by an arrow. )This map shows the pipeline ending at the British-owned refinery in Haifa, Palestine.  At the time of Dennett's death, there were still divisions among the Americans over its terminal point.  (When it was finally built in 1950, its terminal point was in Sidon, Lebanon. )
32113036_1535041965591971_r.jpegProjected Tapline route marked by arrow. In this map, its terminal point was to be in Haifa, Palestine. It ended up terminating near Sidon, Lebanon

From Saudi Arabia Dennett was heading to Ethiopia, where Emperor Haile Selassie had just granted an exclusive oil concession  to the U.S. -based Sinclair Oil Company. Dennett never made it. Nor did the 5 other Americans on board, including the Cairo-based U.S. Petroleum Attaché for the Middle East and another intelligence officer in charge of sensitive communications equipment. This equipment, along with an aerial camera, were found at the crash site smashed to pieces. Also found was a book by a U.S. petroleum consultant, Max Ball,  entitled This Fascinating Oil Business.

32113036_1536688482894083_r.jpegPhoto of the crash


I was six weeks old when my father died.

32113036_1534382586844369_r.jpeg     My first passport photo, taken for the sad trip back to the United States with my widowed mother and my two siblings, brother Dan and sister Cynthia.

The  cause of the plane crash has remained a mystery. The chief investigator, U.S. Military Attaché Col. W,K.  McNown, was hard-pressed to come up with a definitive explanation.   McNown concluded  "pilot error,” could have been the cause, though the pilot knew the route well and was highly trusted. Wrote McNown : “it is extremely difficult to believe a pilot of Lt. Smith’s ability and experience could have had an accident of this type.” Weather reports  indicated clear skies upon takeoff, but bad weather was thought to be a contributing factor. In any event, McNown wrote, rainy weather “in this area is very rarely a flying hazard.”

The passengers did not have their seatbelts fastened, nor did the pilots get into parachutes, so,“it is believed the pilot did not think he was in any trouble. "
McNown held out the possibility of sabotage, and vowed to do further investigations.

The CIA , some 72 years later, is still withholding documents, while those documents released to me under the Freedom of Information Act are heavily redacted with black lines in an attempt to prevent us from knowing the full truth. So  I must continue to fight for the declassification of withheld documents relevant to the last three months of my father's life.

32113036_1535050747219221_r.jpeg     "Carat" in his jeep near Beirut's Mediterranean shores shortly before his death.
The New York Times article that appears in the short video above shows me holding up some declassified pages that are almost completely blacked out. Why, at this late date?

While the exact cause of the plane crash has yet to be determined, the perilous circumstances in which the  crash took place are well-documented, including  efforts by the Soviet Union and its top spy, the notorious British double agent Kim Philby, to penetrate the Middle East and send spies into Lebanon and Syria. 

32113036_1535052905408853_r.jpegDennett (pictured on the left in 1931) and the British/Soviet double agent, Kim Philby (pictured on the right with members of the Saudi royal family), were contemporaries and became rivals in counter-intelligence in 1946. Philby is regarded as the most famous and dangerous spy of the 20th century.

America's former wartime allies --Great Britain and France -- were also vying against each other --and against the U.S. -- in order to preserve their colonial  empires in the Middle East and North Africa after World War II. 


Below is a declassified “Analysis of Work” my father  wrote  in 1944 in preparation for taking up his duties as head of the OSS's X-2 counter-intelligence division in Lebanon and Syria.

  “...these oil deposits [are] so great, we must control them at all costs.”  

My father is referring to the oil of Saudi Arabia, which by mid-1947 would be earmarked for fueling the reconstruction of Europe under the Marshall Plan. Behind that was a global strategy to bring into being a new postwar world order. 

The section  "Probable American Post-War Interests," is particularly revealing,  including mention of the importance of securing  American air routes in the Middle East.  By 1947, intense competition for air routes among rival powers would extend to Ethiopia, where the US aimed to set up an Ethiopian airlines which would break up British control over the country's airways.This,  plus U.S. exclusive  oil concessions in Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia, caused considerable angst among the British and the Soviets.


With your help, I will get to the bottom of  my father's death while telling the bigger story that affects us all.

By completing my investigation, I am confident we can get at the heart of the truth behind the endless wars in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and the former Soviet Union. We will understand their origins in World War I and  World War II, and how plans for building a post-war order occurred at the expense of millions of innocents, including those who could have been rescued from the Holocaust. 

It’s a tragic story of oil, pipelines and big power intrigues that have extended well after the fall of communism and the collapse of the Soviet Union.While I have been cautioned not to put too much emphasis on the role of oil, I can say with absolute certainty after decades of research that oil has played a much larger role than most history books reveal, from WWI to 2019. And today, The Great Game for Oil is embroiling Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan, the Caspian Sea, and the giant offshore fields in the eastern Mediterranean (Gaza, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Cyprus).

One reason why: Oil continues to be the  essential fuel of the world's war machines. Germany, for example, lost two world wars largely because its tanks and air force literally ran out of fuel.

But control over oil and gas -- and the pipelines that carry these vital fuels to world markets -- is also essential  to providing collateral for bank loans to  aid regional allies. To this end, competing powers are constantly trying to secure their strategic economic and geo-political dominance in the Middle East  and elsewhere. 

Here is a New York Times article that appeared shortly after 9/11 . Dated October 1, 2001 it provides a frank prediction of what the U.S. invasion of 
.Afghanistan would  really be all about:

Seventeen years after this article was published, the endless wars in the Middle East have resulted in the loss of millions of lives, trillions of dollars in military expenditures, and dramatic climate change that threatens our entire planet.  

Here, a U.S. soldier steels himself to be "strong and courageous" as he embarks on
on a mission to Afghanistan. "I will not be terrified or disillusioned," he vows, not realizing he is risking his life for oil and gas companies and big power rivalries.
32113036_1535126625148853_r.jpeg           U.S. soldiers retrieving a fallen comrade.

President Trump has  continued the  policy started after Vietnam War of not allowing photographs of flagged coffins  rriving at Dover Air Force Base.  Trump has already sent more soldiers to Afghanistan (the numbers have been kept secret) in order to "win" a war in a hostile region that has historically thrown out the British and the Russians and is known as the "Graveyard of Empires."

Meanwhile, the U.S. sponsored war in Yemen continues to take a terrible toll on civilians.

32113036_1534612508537828_r.jpegDevastation from U.S.- Saudi war in  Yemen, called the "world's worst humanitarian  crisis" today.

When will the suffering end? Only when we know the truth.  

The truth will help us avoid what could be the greatest catastrophe to our planet out-of-control climate change: World War III. An engaged and informed public can lead to policy changes. It's happened many times  before (e.g. ending the Vietnam war;  new civil rights legislation; the resignation of Pres. Richard Nixon)

How you can help

I still need to raise at least $2,000  to finish this project.

It used to be that publishers would pay sizable advances on royalties to support their authors while they were writing their books. Today, only big name celebrities get the big advances and the rest of us (who are not independently wealthy) are left to scramble for funds to supplement small publishers' advances.  It's rather humiliating, but it has to be done if we want to reach the public with our writings. That's the situation I am in.  I need a minimum of $2,000 to to wrap up my research and focus on my writing , without worrying about the "wolves at the door."  For research, I need to travel to get access to declassified documents that are not online at the Truman Library in Missouri and the British archives in London. During these trips I will also conduct final sensitive interviews with people in their '80s and '90s. Believe me, this is hard work--not (as some might think) a vacation junket! And it has to be completed within the next three months. In short,  this is a race against time.  Access to archives has changed and will change.  Witnesses still living may soon die.
32113036_1535128153260098_r.jpegBy supporting this book project, you can help  bring this unique story to the entire world. 

Small donations are welcome! They add up, especially if you help me by forwarding this message to social media and your own lists.

Your help and participation in this important project will be gratefully acknowledged in my book. In addition, the first 40 people who donate $100 or more will get an autographed advance copy of the book

Thank you for your consideration. 

Charlotte Dennett
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Hello friends and contributors. I'm writing from the National Archives in College Park Md and tomorrow will be at the Library of Congress. This is an amazing time to be researching events concerning Saudi Arabia 70 years ago and watching the current controversy unfold around the disappearance of Kashoggi from the Saudi embassy in Turkey. Rarely has the spotlight on US-Saudi relations been sharper. Trump's dilemma is not unique, but rather shared by presidents thru the decades, i.e. the importance of Saudi oil "trumps" everything, including protecting human lives and human rights. I'm following this closely!
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Dear Friends: Huge thanks to all of you who have helped so far! As a result, I’m gearing up for my first research trip to Washington D.C.

Today is 17th anniversary of 9/11. Whatever your thoughts about that day of infamy, one thing is patently clear: President Bush’s “war on terror” in response to 911 has brought us endless wars -- in reality, energy wars --in the Middle East, Central Asia and beyond. The suffering has been incalculable, and I fear a major U.S. assault on Syria is coming .(See Wall Street Journal, Sept. 10, “U.S Says Syria to Use Gas…Raising Prospects of New Retaliatory Attack” It is incumbent on journalists and citizens to examine very critically the official explanations on all sides, for as I have learned once again in the course of writing this book, “Truth is the first casualty of war.” Remember the WMDs?
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