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Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001 16:23:17 -0700
From: radtimes <email@example.com>
Subject: Antiwar News...(# 16)
(Anti-war links/resources at the end.)
The US Planes Came At 9 . At 2am I Buried My Son
The Telegraph - London
Fazal Mohammed, a 42-year-old cart-driver from Kandahar, is one of
the innocent civilians the American bombardment of Afghanistan is
supposed to miss. That is not how it turned out.
"The planes came at nine," he said, sitting in a hospital bed, his
left eye bandaged. "At two in the morning I buried my son. Then we
What happened to the Mohammed family is a esh-and-blood
illustration of the meaning of "collateral damage". It was their
misfortune to live in the Luwala district, next door to a Taliban
"They warned us what was going to happen but we had no money to
leave," said Fazal, who earns a pound a day when he can nd work.
The depot was one of the rst targets to be hit in the war on
terrorism. As it went up, it took half of the family's two-room
mud house with it. "My son, Taj, was hit worst." He gestured with
his hands. "His stomach was blown open. He was ve years old."
After he had dragged himself from the rubble and the mayhem had
subsided, Fazal buried Taj. He then paid a driver 15, every penny
he had, to drive himself, his wife Bakhet and his surviving son
and daughter to the Pakistani border.
In another hospital across town, another victim of another attack
lay stretched out, groaning with pain and shock and swaddled in
bandages from head to foot.
Faez Mohammed, 30, an Afghan refugee, left Quetta a month ago to
do some labouring work in the Helmund region, about 120 miles
across the border. He needed the 80p a day wage to support his
wife and nine children.
Last Thursday he was building a wall with three workmates when
they heard aircraft. He does not remember what happened next but
his injuries tell the story eloquently enough.
The medical notes report a damaged left eye, deep bruising all
over the body and two crushed legs. His arms were heavily pocked
with puncture marks, the sort caused by ying dirt and grit in a
The two men were able to come to Quetta, 60 miles across the
border, because they had Pakistani papers. Most Afghans are not so
Their testimonies suggest that the perception fostered by the
Allies that this war can be fought with minimum civilian
casualties is illusory.
The pattern of dealing with bad news is already established. As in
the Kosovo war, stories of deadly blunders are initially treated
by American spokesmen as possible enemy propaganda.
Later, as denial becomes untenable, there is a grudging admission
of error - as happened at the weekend when Washington, blaming
pilot error, accepted that a stray missile killed four UN
afliated mine clearing workers in Kabul.
The longer the air war goes on the greater the inevitability of
more - and grislier stories - such as those told by the two
They and their families are the wretched of the Earth. All their
energies are engaged in the daily struggle to put on the table the
bread, potatoes and soup that is all they can usually afford to
"I've no sympathy with the Taliban or anybody else," said Fazal.
"They say bin Laden came to our town but I know nothing about it.
"We are poor people. We have no interest in such things."
He has never seen the images of the events of September 11, the
indirect cause of his tragedy, as the Taliban have banned
It is stories like these that are likely to stoke anger in the
Muslim world against the US and its allies. From the victims,
though, there was no word of bitterness.
"We have no enmity with anyone," said Fazal. "All we want is peace
and that this problem is solved by peaceful means."
Penniless, wounded, a refugee for the forseeable future, it is to
Islam that he turns as he contemplates his loss.
"He was very small," he said. "It was too early to think about
what he wanted to do with his life - that would have waited until
he was 15 or 16. All I hoped was that he follow the path of the
Prophet, may peace be upon him."
Anti-War Rallies in Italy and India Attract Hundreds of Thousands of
by Frances Kennedy in Rome and James Palmer
Published on Monday, October 15, 2001 in the Independent/UK
A growing anti-war movement found its feet across the world yesterday when
thousands of peace protesters in Italy and India called for an end to the
bombing of Afghanistan.
More than 200,000 demonstrators braved an unseasonably hot autumn day for
the annual peace march from the central Italian town of Perugia to Assisi.
Carrying colored banners and singing songs, historic pacifist groups, boy
scouts, trade unions, the Tute Bianche (White Overalls), and left-wing and
Catholic-inspired political parties buried their differences in their call
The protesters shouted "We want peace not war", "Stop the terrorism against
Afghanistan" and chanted slogans attacking George Bush, the United States
There were similar scenes in India where about 70,000 people in Calcutta
staged the biggest antiwar
protest the country has seen. The demonstration in the West Bengal capital,
organized by the state's ruling Left Front coalition government, drew
intellectuals and students and members of leftist groups and unions.
The protesters marched more than 7.5 miles through the city, entertained by
performers who sang antiwar folk songs.
In Italy, on the eve of the march, there had been concern of tensions or
violence marring the event. For
members of the anti-globalization movement, whose emphasis has turned
towards antiwar, it was the first
appearance in the piazza since the bloody repression of the protests at the
G8 summit in Genoa in July. The anti- globalization groups carried huge
polystyrene hands to give a virtual "slap" to politicians who backed the war.
Organizers say at least 200,000 people took part. Members of the Greens
carried Stars and Stripes and
Islamic flags on the same standards with the slogan "Peace Immediately".
Helicopters buzzed overhead as
the colorful procession wound its way through the Umbrian countryside. The
leader of the opposition Olive
Tree coalition, Francesco Rutelli, was in the front line despite being
challenged by the more radical groups.
"We are all committed to see that the conflict finishes as soon as possible
but the military intervention was
right and indispensable to combat terrorism," he said.
The march was initiated 40 years ago by an Italian advocate of
non-violence, Aldo Capitini, and has grown
steadily since. In recent years, during the Gulf War and the Kosovo
conflict, the event has become politically charged and this year many of
the historic Christian pacifist groups were angry at the radical and
political tone of the march.
Racial Justice -- Behind Today's Campus Anti-War Activism
by Russell Morse, Pacific News Service
October 16, 2001
Dominique, a 22-year-old student at the University of California at
Berkeley, stands in a blue work
jumpsuit with a purple bandanna on her head, what she calls her "Rosie the
Riveter outfit." She's
holding an American flag with rainbow-colored stripes at an anti-war rally,
trying to get passers-by to
sign a petition to "protect our civil liberties."
"I was never politically active before this. A couple weeks ago, though, I
was walking out of class and
I heard somebody tell this guy, 'Stop looking at me, you barbaric Arab.' I
was shocked. Then I came
out here and heard these people cheering 'Stop the violence, stop the
hate.' From there I started marching and going to their meetings."
There's a new anti-war movement brewing on the Berkeley campus, but it's
not your parents' protest.
Young people do not chant "Hell no, we won't go." They're crying out for
racial justice, civil liberties,
and other issues important to today's youths.
It's a movement that has brought the diverse campus together to some
extent. But different groups
with different agendas have gotten involved, causing confusion and turning
some away from the
After two weeks of involvement in the organizing effort, Dominique has
noticed a somewhat muddled
"There is a laundry list of issues. We have people with all different
reasons why they don't want war
or why they want their civil liberties protected, so it's kind of hard,"
Dominique got involved because she wanted to stop racial profiling at her
"The main issue is racism in general. The thing is, when you go against
people who look Middle Eastern, that can be anybody. Somebody said to me
'Bring all your friends, we're going to bomb your ass.' I said, 'I'm from
Puerto Ricoyou've been bombing Vieques for the last 25 years.'
"We can't support terrorism, but how are we going to fight terrorism with
Berkeley's student anti-war movement has garnered a student response. Eric
is an 18-year-old freshman at Cal and a member of United Students of
America (USA). The group formed to show support for America in the face of
the attacks, and as a response to the campus protestors.
"We are kind of disgusted, in a way, by these protests, so we decided to
rise up and show the world that there are people in Berkeley who do support
America," Eric said.
Eric stands with a large American flag over his shoulder, the only flag at
the rally that is not in some way defaced, altered or displayed
upside-down. A group of students surrounds him, and he calmly addresses all
of their questions and accusations.
USA and its members have, expectedly, encountered a lot of opposition on
campus. Eric tells the story
of an anti-war organizer who followed a USA co-founder to his dorm, yelling
at him and shaking his
"He was saying how peace was the way and 'You're completely wrong,' and I
honestly didn't catch
much of it because of all the yelling and screaming," Eric said.
Eric and his fellow organizers at USA don't want to silence the protestors,
though. He supports their
right to air their views, but wonders why so many different issues come up
in the context of an anti-war dialogue.
"I differ on their viewpoints but I believe in free speech. I think that
some of the rhetoric they're using
isn't good, though. They're tying in a lot of different cards, the race
factor, the sex factor, and I don't
think that necessarily applies to the situation.
"This is a war on terrorism. This isn't a war on a specific ethnicity or
religion or group or people."
Of course there is some disagreement even within the group of American
loyalists. "We have some very war-hawkish people in our organization who
support ground troops," Eric says. "They support going in there with a lot
of military force, but there are some people in our group that don't feel
that way... What brings us all together, though, is that we're pro-American."
When the rally ended, people broke off into groups curiously divided along
color lines, most notably, black and white.
Troy, a 19-year-old black student and Oakland native, was taking a test
during the rally. "I care about the anti-war movement to an extent, but I
don't see how that's gonna stop crazy George Bush from going to war. He
wouldn't even help us out with the energy crisis, so why would he give a
damn about a few sons and daughters of hippies and Black Panthers protesting?"
Troy thinks the days of successful social protest are over.
"The thing about the 1960s is that was the first time in a long time people
really started taking a stand.
But now people look at Berkeley like, 'OK, they're gonna be protesting
about something, so who
Matt Smauss is a student and principal organizer for the Stop the War
Coalition. He was excited that
the quickly organized rally had been successful, though he had hoped for
more than "100 or 200
He spoke about a group of people on campus who were not happy with the
direction the movements
"The student Jewish organizations have interpreted some of our message as
anti-Semitic, but it's not
meant that way. It's criticism of Israel's policy, not of Israel."
Smauss said his organization was in the process of building a bridge with
another group: the United
Students of America.
"It's a coming together between the two opposing groups of the rally under
the second two points of
unity: End Racism and Defend Civil Liberties. So what we do is agree to
disagree on the first one
(Stop the War) and come together on the second and third to try and get our
Whether that message can become focused and powerful remains to be seen.
UN Mineclearing Programme In Jeopardy
Jane's Defence Weekly
October 17, 2001
By Thalif Deen, JDW UN Correspondent, UN HQ, New York
The UN Mine Action Programme in Afghanistan (MAPA) - described as one of
the world's most heavily mined countries - is in jeopardy, with the
prospect of sustained US-led military action against Taliban and terrorist
targets throughout the country.
Several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) - including the Danish
Demining Group, the Mine Detection Dog Centre and HALO Trust - have been
working under a UN umbrella to help clear the millions of anti-personnel
landmines in Afghanistan.
However, the programme, which began in 1989, is expected to be affected by
the continuing crisis in that country, according to Mark Hiznay of Human
Rights Watch (HRW). During the 1979-1989 Soviet occupation, an estimated 10
million landmines were scattered throughout Afghanistan.
There have been rumours that the Taliban regime forces are continuing to
use landmines but HRW has not been able to confirm this, he added. Both the
Taliban and the opposition Northern Alliance have long accused each other
of laying new landmines.
All UN personnel, including international staff involved in providing
humanitarian and relief supplies, withdrew from Afghanistan before the
beginning of coalition strikes on 7 October. MAPA has cleared more than 1.6
million explosives from former battlefields, agricultural lands, roads and
residential areas. According to the UN, the Afghanistan programme has been
remarkably successful, and "illustrates what can be accomplished under
trying conditions with a small pool of trained personnel". According to
Hiznay, most of the clearance was being done by Afghan nationals under UN
The programme suffered a setback when four Afghan civilian employees of the
Afghan Technical Consultants (ATC), the largest mine action NGO in
Afghanistan, were killed and another four injured when a US munition struck
the ATC building in Kabul on 9 October.
Should US-led coalition forces deploy on the ground they would face the
additional danger of the presence of millions of landmines.
According to MAPA, landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) cover about 724
million m2 of land in Afghanistan. Of this, some 344 million m2 is
classified as high-priority land for clearance.
The latest annual 'Landmine Monitor Report 2001', published by the
International Campaign to Ban Landmines (INBL), says that mined areas are
being discovered at the rate of 12-14 million m2 per year.
If current funding levels and clearance rates are sustained, it will take
seven to 10 years to clear the 344 million m2 of high-priority land,
according to a June 2001 socio-economic survey of Afghanistan sponsored by
the World Bank and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
In 1993, the daily casualty rate in Afghanistan was estimated at about
20-24 landmine victims each day or about 600 per month. Last year, the
average declined to about 150-300 per month.
Red Cross Condemns U.S. Strike on Kabul Warehouse
Reuters. 16 October 2001
KABUL -- Two U.S. bombs hit a warehouse of operated by the International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the center of the Afghan capital
Tuesday, prompting a furious reaction from officials who said it was
clearly a civilian facility.
Rescue workers and Afghan ICRC employees raced to try to put out the
blaze with fire extinguishers, but at least 35 percent of the food and
other equipment stored at the facility were destroyed, witnesses and
An ICRC worker was slightly wounded by flying glass in the raid,
"It is definitely a civilian target. In addition to that, it is a
clearly marked ICRC warehouse," said Robert Moni, head of the ICRC
delegation in Kabul and now evacuated to Pakistan.
"It is marked on the top with a red cross. People should take all
necessary measures to avoid such things," he said.
All aid agencies withdrew their international staff after the ruling
Taliban said they could no longer guarantee their security in the face
of attacks by U.S. warplanes.
The ICRC had already complained to U.S. embassy in Islamabad and the
Geneva headquarters had complained formally to the U.S. mission there,
"We have to evaluate the damage and how it will affect our work," said
Macarena Aguilar, an ICRC spokeswoman in Geneva.
"Of course we regret what has happened. This was not a legitimate
Another ICRC's representative told Reuters that two bombs landed on the
"We have a warehouse compound with five buildings," said Pascal Duport,
deputy head of the ICRC mission in Kabul until the organization pulled
out all its foreign staff.
"One was hit by two bombs. A fire started and apparently the fire
brigade got control of the fire but I can't tell you if it was stopped.
"Another building was touched by the fire but it was saved. It (the
building hit) contained humanitarian assistance -- wheat, oil, blankets
and so on. We think it is only partially affected."
Bomb hits Afghan Red Cross building
Times of London
TUESDAY OCTOBER 16 2001
A warehouse run by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was
destroyed on Tuesday in an American air raid on the Afghan capital Kabul,
seriously injuring an Afghan staff member, an ICRC official said.
"I can confirm that a warehouse was hit at 1.30pm (1000 BST) this afternoon
and one person has been injured, one of the local staff," said Robert Monin,
the Head of the ICRC delegation for Afghanistan.
Mr Monin said the warehouse, in a northern part of Kabul, was full of relief
goods such as blankets, shelter materials and possibly food, but he could
not give details on the quantities.
"It was on fire but from our information it is under control now," he said.
An official complaint had been lodged with the US embassy in Pakistan and
through the ICRC headquarters in Geneva, he said.
"They are taking note," Mr Monin said, referring to the response from the
ICRC spokeswoman Macarena Aguilar Rodriguez said in Geneva that the
warehouse was marked with the ICRCs Red Cross emblem. "It was not a
legitimate target, thats clear," she said.
The ICRC warehouse is the second aid facility to be destroyed since the
bombings began on October 11. A de-mining agency linked to the United
Nations was destroyed by a US cruise missile last week, killing four Afghan
'100,000 Afghan children could die this winter'
MONDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2001
ISLAMABAD: ( AFP )
As many as 100,000 Afghan children could die this winter unless food
reaches them in sufficient quantities over the next six weeks, the United
Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, warned on Monday.
UNICEF spokesman Eric Laroche said the organisation needed 36 million
dollars to carry out its "bare emergency work" inside the country but so
far had only received half that amount.
"As many as 100,000 more children will die in Afghanistan this
winter unless food reaches them in sufficient quantities in the next six
weeks," Laroche told a press conference here.
Laroche and other aid workers said that with the onset of winter, heavy
snowfalls would cut off many people in remote mountain areas.
Laroche said the combination of drought, years of civil unrest and the
recent US bombing of the country had made the crisis facing children in
Afghanistan one of the worst scenarios possible.
"A number of you asked the United Nations over the past week what our worst
case scenario would be in this crisis," he told reporters.
If you have turned on the television over these past few days, you have
seen injured bodies of young children, I ask you all: What could be worse?
"Yet this is only the most public face of the suffering of Afghan children.
"If you are a child born in Afghanistan today, you are 25 times
more likely to die before the age of five than an American or a French or a
Saudi Arabian child."
Laroche said more than half the children in Afghanistan were already
malnourished and 300,000 children died each year from preventable causes
inside the country.
United Nations spokeswoman Stephanie Bunker also Monday described the
humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan as "the most serious, complex emergency
in the world ever."
She said six million Afghans had been identified as needing food aid and
there were a further 1.5 internally displaced people.
Bunker said there was a "six week race against winter" to get humanitarian
aid into the country.
However all aid agencies have been forced to suspend or severely curtail
their operations because of the hostility of the ruling Taliban regime and
the danger posed by US air strikes.
Bunker said the strikes, which started on October 7 against the Taliban for
its refusal to hand over accused terrorist Osama bin Laden, had contributed
to the crisis.
"The missile strikes make our jobs harder to do," she said.
Another factor severely hampering the UN's ability to operate,
Bunker said, was increasing lawlessness inside the country, which had seen
the offices and property of many non governmental offices ransacked over
the past week.
U.S. Inadvertently Strikes ICRC Warehouses
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 20:00:12 -0400
Subject: U.S. Inadvertently Strikes ICRC Warehouses
NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
October 16, 2001
U.S. INADVERTENTLY STRIKES ICRC WAREHOUSES
At approximately 4:57 a.m. EDT today, Tuesday, Oct. 16, GBU-16
1,000-pound bombs from a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet inadvertently
struck one or more warehouses used by the International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in northern Kabul,
Afghanistan. Reports from the ICRC indicate that wheat and other
humanitarian supplies stored in the warehouses were destroyed,
and an Afghan security guard was injured.
Although details are still being investigated, the ICRC
warehouses were among a series of warehouses targeted by U.S.
forces because the Taliban used them for storage of military
equipment. Military vehicles had been seen in the vicinity of
these warehouses. U.S. forces did not know that ICRC was using
one or more of the warehouses.
U.S. forces intentionally strike only military and terrorist
targets, and regret any innocent casualties. The U.S. is the
largest donor of food and other humanitarian aid in Afghanistan,
and U.S. forces are aggressive supporters of the worldwide
effort to help the Afghan people.
Hospital hit in Afghanistan
A hospital has been hit in Afghanistan as the country is pounded by US heavy
Intensive bombing of major cities including Kabul and Kandahar has sent
residents running for cover.
Reports are coming from the Taliban that at least five people have been
killed after the hospital was hit.
The US has brought heavy gunships into action for the first time.
The deployment of the AC-130 follows the fiercest daylight raids of the
offensive and marks a stepping-up of attacks on Taliban bases and
US Secretary of State Colin Powell, in neighbouring Pakistan to shore up
support for the US-led campaign, says Afghanistan`s Islamic regime is "under
enormous pressure" but is refusing to say whether he thinks it is near
The latest waves of air strikes were aimed at various Taliban targets. These
included military bases and airports outside the capital of Kabul, Taliban
leaders` southern base city of Kandahar and the key northern city of
Taliban Information Ministry official Abdul Himat claimed 13 civilians died
in the assault at Kandahar. The claim is impossible to verify independently.
The Taliban are believed to still hold an unknown number of shoulder-fired
Stinger missiles capable of bringing down aircraft.
High-firepower AC-130s are typically used to support ground forces trained
for small-unit operations. There has been no word on whether the gunship`s
deployment means special forces have entered the battle on the ground.
Anti-war movement grows at Greensboro colleges
By ALLISON FOREMAN, Staff Writer
News & Record
GREENSBORO -- Acceptable collateral damage. Elizabeth Ito wore these words
around her neck Thursday, along with a picture of an Afghan mother and son,
as she stood in front of more than 50 students, faculty and community
members at UNCG.
"I want to know that she is the one being bombed in our name," Ito shouted
through a bullhorn. "The killing is being done in our name. Silence is
Although the vast majority of the nation supports a military response to
the Sept. 11 attacks, an anti-war movement is gaining momentum at two area
colleges, UNCG and Guilford College.
Even before the U.S. began bombing, students at both schools organized
teach-ins, protests and petitions. Some are pacifists and Quakers urging
nonviolent responses. Others want those responsible brought to justice in
an international court of law. And others are proclaimed socialists,
calling for the United States to reexamine its foreign and domestic policies.
That these protests are taking place on college campuses is almost to be
expected. The university environment encourages intellectual inquiry, which
can lead to political dissent. Historically, campuses have also been sites
of protests for everything from labor issues to the treatment of animals.
This time around, the movement began Sept. 11, only a few hours after the
attacks. More than 200 Guilford College students assembled in an auditorium
to remember those involved.
After the gathering, many students said they were concerned for friends and
loved ones. But they also said they opposed any military response to the
day's tragic events. Guilford College was founded by Quakers, who urge
nonviolence in all situations.
Nine days later, about 125 Guilford College students and faculty members
lined Friendly Ave. on the edge of campus to oppose any military response.
Many sat silently with signs that read, "We honor the sanctity of all
humanity" and "Let us not become the horror we deplore."
After a Lebanese student at UNCG was attacked Sept. 16, students and
faculty members there gathered at a teach-in to discuss why they believed
Islam is not the enemy. They reviewed everything from hate crimes to the
history of the political relationship between Afghanistan and the United
States. Two days later, the newly-formed Piedmont Triad Anti-War Committee
held its first meeting on UNCG's campus.
More than 60 people crammed into the Graham Hall classroom. Amnesty
International, UNCG's Muslim Student Association and the Wake Forest
University chapter of the International Socialist Organization sponsored
Noise levels ranged from whispers to shouts as participants explained their
reasons for opposing a war on terrorists.
"Who on earth is a bigger terrorist than Uncle Sam?" asked Carlton Maynard
Jr., a Greensboro resident.
"We're going into war to fight who? You don't know. Where? You don't know.
How? You don't know," he said as audience members clapped and cheered.
"It's insane. Clean up home first. Straighten out America."
Since then, there have been several more protests and meetings. Guilford
College held an all-day learn-in, part of which examined alternatives to war.
College students and Greensboro residents have routinely gathered at the
federal courthouse in downtown Greensboro to display signs in favor of
peace. Participants in the anti-war committee meeting circulated petitions
that asked President Bush not to perpetuate the cycle of war and violence.
Yet the protesters have been the targets of protesters themselves.
Fliers advertising Thursday's anti-war rally at UNCG were torn
down. Passers-by shouted derogatory comments through their open car
windows at protesting Guilford College students. Other students have called
the protesters unpatriotic. And fliers for the UNCG teach-in that read
"Islam is not the enemy" were marked to remove the "not."
Locally and nationwide, the protesters are in the minority.
CollegeClub.com, a Web site for college students, found that 65 percent of
college students said the U.S. should declare war on those responsible for
the attacks. About 90 percent of adults in a recent Gallup poll supported
last Sunday's air strikes. And no other Triad colleges have experienced
But that doesn't mean the national mood won't change, said Richard Sears, a
political science professor at Wake Forest University. Opposition to the
Vietnam War was minimal in the war's early stages, but grew as the war
If the U.S. response is short-lived, Sears said opposition probably will
die down. But it could grow if combat continues for a long time or spreads
to other countries.
"There's still this tendency to raise questions whenever the United States
threatens or uses force, particularly in the in the non-Western world,"
So why here? Jim Lancaster, UNCG's associate vice chancellor of student
affairs, said Greensboro's Quaker tradition has helped make the city a
place where many people embrace peaceful solutions to conflict.
The city also has five colleges, and professors strive to teach students to
ask good questions, Lancaster said. A situation like Sept. 11 presents
another way for students to do what they're taught, he added.
"When that huge question comes along," Lancaster said, "it's almost
impossible for them not to."
At Thursday's rally at UNCG, people stepped around anti-war signs to the
front of UNCG's dining hall to take a turn with the bullhorn.
Several students on their way to class stopped to listen to the anti-war
messages. Some lingered for a few moments and continued on their way.
Others stood on the edge of the crowd, then sat on brick steps to hear more.
Nagesh Rao, an assistant professor of English at Wake Forest University,
encouraged listeners to become more involved in the effort.
"There's a movement that's emerging, and we're at the heart of it," he
said. "Listen to what people have to say and then try to convince them
there's no such thing as a just war."
Movements don't start off in the thousands, Rao said, but they can grow to
that size if people stand up for what they believe.
"We're building on historical soil here," he said. "If we can get enough
people out, we can end this war."
Contact Allison Foreman at 373-7064 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bombing Afghanistan is not the answer
[A statement of the National Executive Committee of the
Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.
Oct. 15, 2001]
It is just one month since the terror attacks on
The thousands who died there were the innocent victims
of attacks directed against the peace and security of
all nations -- a crime against humanity. These acts
call for a searching debate about how to defeat
terrorism and to mount an effective international
response to apprehend the criminals and bring them to
Yet, with practically no examination of the
consequences or the alternatives, the bombing of
Afghanistan has begun. The US military is raining an
unimaginable tonnage of deep penetration and cluster
bombs on one of the poorest countries in the world.
In our view, this policy is morally unjustifiable and
counterproductive. It is watering the soil from which
terrorism springs. And it is foreclosing the building
of an effective international coalition in defense of
peace and security, acting with strengthened and
impartial legal authority, which is necessary for the
world community to answer this grave threat.
What has this assault wrought?
* It has killed hundreds of civilians, including four
UN mine-clearing workers. It has destroyed
nonmilitary property despite claims of pinpoint
targeting. Eyewitnesses have reported the deaths of
dozens of women and children. But combatants who may
once have occupied the training camps are certainly
* It has provoked the enmity of millions in the
Islamic world and has turned millions from mourning and
sympathy for the loss of life on September 11 to rage
against the US.
* It has created a staggering humanitarian crisis,
with over 7 million hungry and homeless refugees
engulfed in disastrous circumstances. The dropping of
37,000 ration packets in the face of this massive
crisis is little more than a cynical attempt to make
the bombing palatable and to promote the contention
that "we are not at war with the Afghan people" while
their impoverished, backward land is being bombed to
* It has elevated, not diminished, the status of
Osama bin Laden among many in South Asia and the Middle
* It has done nothing to bring the perpetrators of
the crimes of September 11 to justice. It has not
allowed for a thorough, internationally coordinated
investigation of who planned the attacks. Nor has it
dismantled Al Qaeda, which reportedly maintains cells
dozens of countries and whose communication and
financial networks apparently extend from Pakistan, not
* It has raised the specter of a destabilized Pakistan,
a nuclear state.
* It has set the stage for the present deployment of
US military forces in Pakistan and Uzbekistan, as well
as special forces operating inside Afghanistan. This
upends the precarious status quo among regional nuclear
powers China, Russia, India, and Pakistan and threatens
to inflame the half-century of tension between India
and Pakistan. It also fuels the well-grounded suspicion
that Washington is seeking to use military force to
consolidate its already substantial hold on the oil of
the Caspian Sea and the Gulf region. And now, the Bush
Administration is threatening an imminent ground war in
* It has intensified the drive to shred civil
liberties and revive a repressive national security
state at home. It has fed the bigotry and violence
against Arab Americans, Muslims, and immigrants in this
* It has undermined the possibility of creating a
politically, geographically and ethnically inclusive
coalition to fight terrorism.
Many in our country who are understandably fearful of
terrorism and enraged at the September 11 atrocity have
gone along with the bombing of Afghanistan because they
have not perceived an alternative which can effectively
curb a scourge that is nihilistic and reactionary at
its core. Others are wary of reliance upon
international juridical agencies which have
traditionally acceded to US demands and have often
rejected or ignored the interests of people in the
There is an alternative.
* Genuine international cooperation, based upon
equal participation of all nations regardless of
ideology, social systems and level of development, can
assure the most comprehensive pooling of intelligence,
the most effective security, the highest degree of
teamwork by law enforcement agencies, the best means to
dry up the flow of money to terrorists, and the most
constructive and peaceful resolution of the present
crisis through the delivery of the perpetrators to
* In order to work, that collaboration would require
an end to Washington's imperial unilateralism; it would
oblige the US to endorse the international criminal
court and the UN antiterrorism treaty, thus developing
the strength and impartiality of relevant agencies in
the process of bringing the terrorists to justice.
* Effective action against terrorism which is spawned in
the despairing swamp of poverty and oppression must
involve genuine, massive humanitarian aid to the
victims of bombing and displacement. It must involve
measured, committed efforts to redress the global gap
between rich and poor. It must seize the present
opportunity to end the illegal Israeli occupation of
Palestinian territories and bring the Palestinian right
of self- determination to realization. It must end
bombing and sanctions against Iraq and end all acts of
state-sponsored terror throughout the world.
A new and determined peace movement quickly came to life
as the Bush administration began what it calls a "new
war." Our call to stop the bombing and other military
action is complemented by a call to end the racial
bigotry and violence that has escalated throughout the
country since Sept. 11, and to defend civil liberties.
Building a mighty majority to stop the killing and put
humanity on the path to peace will not be an easy task,
but it is one we must take up. With clarity and principle
we have to address the hard questions people are asking:
what can be done to stop terrorism? why do so many people
around the world hate the United States? how can peace be
The urgency of the situation demands our immediate
action. The complexity of the moment requires that we
create new ways of talking with people, new forms of
organizing and new structures to ensure a broad and
inclusive movement. It will not be easy, but we can stop
this war and we can build a lasting, global peace based
on economic and social justice.
U.S. Bombs Hit Red Cross Warehouses
Tuesday, October 16, 2001
By KATHY GANNON
KABUL, Afghanistan -- U.S. strikes set Red Cross warehouses afire near
Afghanistan's capital Tuesday, sending workers scrambling to salvage
desperately needed relief goods during a bombardment that could be heard 30
To the south, two U.S. special forces gunships entered the air war for the
first time, raking the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar with cannon and heavy
machine gun fire in a pre-dawn raid.
Heavy, round-the-clock attacks and the first use of the lumbering,
low-flying AC-130 gunships signaled U.S. confidence that 10 days of attacks
by cruise missiles and high-flying jets have crippled the air defenses of
the Taliban, the Muslim militia that rules most of Afghanistan.
U.S.-led forces have used more than 2,000 bombs and missiles since opening
the attacks Oct. 7, Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, director of operations for
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon news conference. The past two
days' attacks have been especially intense, putting more than 100 warplanes
and five cruise missiles into the air, he said.
Tuesday's strikes were mostly against military installations and airports
around Kabul, Kandahar and the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, on which
the Afghan opposition claims its forces are closing in.
Afternoon raids in the Kabul area were so strong that the detonations could
be heard 30 miles north of the city, where Taliban forces are battling
Afghan fighters for the opposition northern alliance.
During the afternoon raids, at least one bomb exploded in the compound of
the International Committee of the Red Cross at Khair Khana near Kabul,
injuring one security guard and setting two of the seven buildings on fire.
Afghan staffers ran through thick smoke and flames to try to salvage
blankets, tents and plastic tarps meant to help Afghans through the winter.
The other warehouse, which was also damaged by fire, contained wheat, Red
Cross workers said.
"There are huge needs for the civilian population, and definitely it will
hamper our operations," Robert Monin, head of the International Red Cross'
Afghanistan delegation, said in Islamabad, Pakistan.
In Washington, Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said U.S. officials
were looking into reports an errant U.S. strike had hit the Red Cross compound.
"I have no confirmation at this time. As we get some more information,
we'll let you know," Clarke told reporters.
Earlier, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer raised the possibility that
anti-aircraft fire from the ground could have been responsible.
The Taliban, however, are not known to have fired surface-to-air missiles
in Kabul since the first nights of the air campaign, which began Oct. 7.
The damaged Red Cross complex had been clearly marked with two red crosses,
Monin said. Likely targets for airstrikes surrounded it, however: four
Taliban military bases and transport and fuel depots are in the area.
In other developments:
- Secretary of State Colin Powell visited India and key
ally Pakistan. Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said his country will
cooperate with U.S.-led military efforts for as long as the operation
lasts. Musharraf and Powell agreed a new Afghan government could include
some moderate members of the Taliban.
- Russia's first aid shipment arrived in Afghanistan's
opposition-controlled north and the U.N. World Food Program said it expects
the Uzbek government to open a vital supply route for aid into Afghanistan.
- Four American C-17 cargo planes dropped 70,000 packets
of food over Afghanistan overnight, bringing the total number or packets
containing barley stew, rice, shortbread cookies and peanut butter
delivered to 350,000.
The damage to the Red Cross buildings was the second incident in which
U.S. jets apparently struck offices of an international agency. Last week,
four Afghans were killed when a missile went astray and hit the offices of
a U.N.-funded mine clearing company.
Taliban officials said 13 people were killed in attacks Tuesday in Kandahar
and two others in Mazar-e-Sharif. In Kabul, residents of the area around
the ICRC compound said Taliban soldiers were no longer sleeping in their
barracks but had moved into mosques to avoid attacks.
A U.S. Defense Department official confirmed the overnight attack on
Kandahar was led by two AC-130s, a propeller-driven transport plane
outfitted with cannon and heavy machine guns. It marked the first
acknowledged use of special forces aircraft during the air campaign.
One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the gunships
targeted Taliban military barracks and headquarters compounds, and
indicated more AC-130 attacks were likely.
President Bush ordered airstrikes on Afghanistan after Taliban leaders
repeatedly refused to surrender Osama bin Laden - chief suspect in the
Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United States.
In Islamabad, Powell and Musharraf renewed calls for a broad-based,
multiethnic government to succeed the Taliban regime, which is dominated by
The Taliban are battling a coalition of opposition forces in northern
Afghanistan made up mostly of ethnic Tajiks and Uzbeks. Pakistan, which had
been the Taliban's closest ally, opposes allowing the northern alliance to
take power in Kabul because it would not be accepted by Pashtuns.
During a press conference with Powell, Musharraf warned of a "political
vacuum" if Kabul falls before a multiethnic administration is ready to take
Aid officials in Islamabad reported some looting at relief operations in
Afghanistan, including cars and computers stolen from offices in Kandahar
"The law and order situation in Kandahar appears to be breaking down,"
U.N. spokesman Stephanie Bunker said.
Bomb Hits Kabul Red Cross Center
Tuesday October 16, 2001
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - The compound of the International Committee of
the Red Cross was struck Tuesday by a U.S. bomb which destroyed wheat and
other humanitarian supplies, committee officials and witnesses said. One
Afghan security guard was injured.
"Two depots of the Red Cross were destroyed," ICRC security chief Mullah
Rohani said as he stood before the smoking compound in northern Kabul. "We
are very sad because these things belong to the people."
Afghan staff of the ICRC tried to salvage some of the goods stored in one
warehouse. They covered their faces with cloth and rushed into the cloud of
billowing black smoke, emerging later with blankets, medicines and tents.
A second warehouse that housed wheat was burning from the same attack.
In Islamabad, Pakistan, ICRC spokesman Mario Musa confirmed that the
compound was hit Tuesday afternoon and that one security guard outside the
second warehouse was injured.
He said the roof of the building was marked with the Red Cross symbol.
Also Tuesday, three farmers in the Badam Bagh area of Kabul were injured
when bombs fell nearby, according to a neighborhood shopkeeper, who did not
give his name.
Protests in Italy as PM meets Bush
Tuesday, October 16, 2001
By Vaiju Naravane
PARIS, OCT 15. In what has been described as the
biggest demonstration of its kind in Italy for over a
decade, an estimated 200,00 to 300,000 persons staged
a peace walk from the cities of Perugia to Assisi.
Bearing placards and banners saying Stop War!, the
marchers, all along the 24-km stretch, shouted slogans
and chanted anti-war songs to express their hostility
to the current U.S. and British strikes against
The road they travelled is the same taken by Saint
Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan order.
The peace march was created in 1961 by the Italian
left during the height of the cold war. But not since
the Cold War years have so many people joined it. The
marchers were supported by the Roman Catholic Church.
The marchers included many prominent Italians
including Mr. Francesco Rutelli, who led the left-wing
alliance in legislative elections earlier this year
and former left wing Prime Minister, Mr. Massimo
D'Alema. Not even during the Gulf War or the one in
Kosovo did the peace march attract so many people.
The march is an embarrassment to the Government of the
conservative anti-communist Prime Minister, Mr. Silvio
Berlusconi, who is in Washington today for talks with
the U.S. President, Mr. George Bush.
Mr. Berlusconi has been bending over backwards in his
attempts to be useful to Washington. So far, most
major European leaders have met Mr. Bush in
Washington. Not so Mr. Berlusconi. Washington has now
bowed to the intense pressure exerted by Rome and
wearily agreed to a meeting. ``I want to tell
President Bush that Italy is ready to do whatever its
allies ask,'' Mr. Berlusconi told a Cabinet meeting
prior to his departure.
But Washington had so far turned a deaf ear to Italy's
assertions of loyalty, especially after the Italian
Premier committed the monumental gaffe of stating that
Western civilisation was superior to that of the
``Why are the Americans doing this? We feel sorry for
those who perished in the attacks against the World
Trade Center and the perpetrators of these crimes must
be punished. But what has the poor man in Afghanistan
whose five year old boy has been killed to deserve the
wrath of America? The U.S. must be made to understand
that it cannot behave like a cowboy any more. It is
U.S. policies of support to the Taliban and Pakistan
and corrupt regimes like Saudi Arabia that has given
us the likes of Osama bin Laden in the first place.
Why does the U.S. not do its mea culpa about that ?''
asked a retired schoolteacher from Como who made the
trip to Perugia.
As the bombing of Afghanistan continues, there is
growing resistance across Europe. The Greens and their
allies demonstrated in Paris. Over 25,000 persons
demonstrated in Germany and there were demonstrations
in London as well.
The French Health Minister, Mr. Bernard Kouchner, who
was one of the founders of Medecins Sans Frontiers -
the world's most respected medical NGO - and who was
U.N. Administrator in Kosovo said in an interview:
``Is it good to bomb Afghanistan like this? Perhaps.
But the campaign should now quickly move into phase
two.'' A coalition government should be put into place
in Kabul under the aegis of the United Nations, he
'US contributed to destruction of Afghanistan'
Monday, October 15, 2001
By WANI MUTHIAH
PETALING JAYA: The founding director of an American non-profit organisation
which raises funds for the Revolutionary Association of the Women of
Afghanistan (RAWA) says the United States has contributed a lot towards the
destruction of Afghanistan and the plight of its women.
Sonali Kolhatkar, vice-president and secretary of the Afghan Women's Mission
(AWM), said Afghan women had been leading normal lives prior to the United
States' nurturing of the mujahideen to help battle the Russians.
"Its unbelievable what the Afghan women have been reduced to by the Taliban
in recent years and the mujahideen prior to that,'' said Sonali who was
speaking from Pasadena, California.
This realisation, added Sonali, had prompted her as well as friends Steve
Penners and Dr James Ingalls to set up the mission in June last year to do
what little they could to elevate the suffering and anguish faced by Afghan
"As Americans, we feel very responsible that the lives of these women and
their children had been wrecked by our government which had funded arms for
fundamentalist terrorist groups like the Taliban and the mujahideen,'' she
Currently, AWM, which is run by volunteers made up of mostly professionals
and academics, is RAWA's main fund-raising conduit for all the latter's
According to Sonali, they decided to raise funds for RAWA after research
indicated that it was the only political party in Afghanistan which had been
continuously battling fundamentalism since its inception more then two
"We found that RAWA took the non-violence path in its quest for democracy
and was the most credible organisation representing the voice of the Afghan
masses at the moment.
"That is why we decided to take on the responsibility of sourcing for funds
to pay for all its humanitarian projects,'' said Sonali.
AWM's principal undertaking at the moment, she added, was to rebuild and
re-establish Malalai Hospital in Quetta, Pakistan, to look into the medical
needs of the Afghan refugees in the country.
Besides establishing free hospitals, AWM aimed to set up schools to educate
and empower the refugees so that they would be able to build sustainable
livelihoods once peace and sovereignty returned to Afghanistan, said Sonali.
Apart from fund raising, AWM had also embarked on a public awareness blitz
to educate Americans as well as people from other parts of the world on the
gross human rights violation netted on the Afghan women and children by the
"We try to bring RAWA members into the States to talk about their
organisation, the plight of the Afghans as well as the support they required
to carry out humanitarian activities,'' said Sonali.
However, this was not an easy task as RAWA members faced a lot of security
problems and were exposed to death threats all the time. Due to this, they
were forced to constantly relocate as well as keep their identities
Rawa's founder Meena was assassinated in Pakistan, in 1987.
13 Questions for Bush about America's Anti-terrorism Crusade
by Martin A. Lee, AlterNet
Mainstream journalists in the United States often function more like
a fourth branch of government than a feisty fourth estate. If
anything, the patterns of media bias that characterize sycophantic
reporting in "peacetime" are amplified during a war or a national
Since the tragic events of September 11, the separation between press
and state has dwindled nearly to the vanishing point. If we had an
aggressive, independent press corps, our national conversation about
the terrorist attacks that demolished the World Trade Center towers
in New York and damaged the Pentagon would be far more probing and
informative. Here are some examples of questions that reporters ought
to be asking President Bush:
Before the attacks in New York and Washington, your administration
quietly tolerated Saudi Arabian and Pakistani military and financial
aid for the Taliban regime, even though it harbored terrorist
mastermind Osama bin Laden. But now you say fighting terrorism will
be the main focus of your administration.
By making counter-terrorism the top priority in bilateral relations,
aren't you signaling to abusive governments in Sudan, Indonesia,
Turkey, and elsewhere that they need not worry much about their human
rights performance as long as they join America's anti-terrorist
crusade? Will you barter human rights violations like corporations
trade pollution credits? Will you condone, for example, the
brutalization of Chechnya in exchange for Russian participation in
the "war against terrorism"? Or will you send a message loud and
clear to America's allies that they must not use the fight against
terrorism as a cover for waging repressive campaigns that smother
democratic aspirations in their own countries?
Terrorists finance their operations by laundering money through
offshore banks and other hot money outlets. Yet your administration
has undermined international efforts to crack down on tax havens.
Last May, you withdrew support for a comprehensive initiative
launched by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD), which sought greater transparency in tax and banking
In the wake of the September 11 massacre, will you reassess this
decision and support the OECD proposal, even if it means displeasing
wealthy Americans and campaign contributors who avoid paying taxes by
hiding money in offshore accounts?
Four months ago, U.S. officials announced that Washington was giving
$43 million to the Taliban for its role in reducing the cultivation
of opium poppies, despite the Taliban's heinous human rights record
and its sheltering of Islamic terrorists of many nationalities.
Doesn't this make the U.S. government guilty of supporting a country
that harbors terrorists? Do you think your obsession with the "war on
drugs" has distorted U.S. foreign policy in Southwest Asia and other
According to U.S., German, and Russian intelligence sources, Osama
bin Laden's operatives have been trying to acquire enriched uranium
and other weapons-grade radioactive materials for a nuclear bomb.
There are reports that in 1993 bin Laden's well-financed organization
tried to buy enriched uranium from poorly maintained Russian
facilities that lacked sufficient controls. Why has your
administration proposed cutting funds for a program to help safeguard
nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union?
On September 23rd , you announced plans to make public a detailed
analysis of the evidence gathered by U.S intelligence and police
agencies, which proves that Osama bin Laden and his cohorts are
guilty of the terrorist attacks in New York and the Pentagon. But the
next day your administration backpedaled. "As we look through [the
evidence]," explained Secretary of State Colin Powell, "we can find
areas that are unclassified and it will allow us to share this
information with the public... But most of it is classified."
Please explain this sudden flip-flop. How can we believe what you say
about fighting terrorism if your administration can't make its case
publicly with sufficient evidence? How do you expect to win the
support of governments and people who otherwise might suspect
Washington's motives, particularly some Muslim and Arab nations?
Exactly who is a terrorist, and who is not?
When the CIA was busy doling out an estimated $2 billion to support
the Afghan mujahadeen in the 1980s, Osama bin Laden and his
colleagues were hailed as anti-communist freedom fighters. During the
cold war, U.S. national security strategists, many of whom are riding
top saddle once again in your administration, didn't view bin Laden's
fanatical religious beliefs as diametrically opposed to western
civilization. But now bin Laden and his ilk are unabashed terrorists.
Definitions of what constitutes terror and terrorism seem to change
with the times. Before he became vice president, Dick Cheney and the
U.S. State Department denounced Nelson Mandela, leader of the African
National Congress, as a terrorist. Today Mandela, South Africa's
president emeritus, is considered a great and dignified statesman.
And what about Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, who bears
significant responsibility for the 1982 massacre of 1,800 innocents
at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon. What role will
Sharon play in your crusade against international terrorism?
There's been a lot of talk lately about unshackling the CIA and
lifting the alleged ban on CIA assassinations. Many U.S. officials
attribute the CIA's inability to thwart the terrorist attacks in New
York and Washington to rules that supposedly have prohibited the CIA
from utilizing gangsters, death squad leaders, and other "unsavory"
characters as sources and assets. Why don't you set the record
straight, Mr. President, and acknowledge there were always gaping
loopholes in these rules, which allowed such activity to continue
It's precisely this sort of dubious activity -- enlisting unsavory
characters to advance U.S. foreign policy objectives -- that set the
stage for tragic events on September 11th. It's hardly a secret that
the CIA trained and financed Islamic extremists to topple the Soviet-
backed regime in Afghanistan. Some of the same extremists supported
by the CIA, most notably bin Laden, have since turned their psychotic
wrath against the United States.
Instead of rewarding the CIA with billions of additional dollars to
fight terrorism, shouldn't you hold accountable those shortsighted
and perilously nave U.S. intelligence officials who ran the covert
operation in Afghanistan that got us into this mess?
John Negroponte, the new U.S. ambassador the United Nations, says he
intends to build an international anti-terrorist coalition. During
the mid-1980s, Negroponte was involved in covering up right-wing
death squad activity and other human rights abuses in Honduras when
he served as ambassador to that country. Doesn't Negroponte's role in
aiding and abetting state terrorism in Central America undermine the
moral authority of the United States as it embarks upon a crusade
against international terrorism?
The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon brought home
the frightening extent to which U.S. citizens and installations are
vulnerable to terrorist attacks. If terrorists hit a nuclear power
plant, it could result in an enormous public health disaster. In the
interest of protecting national security, why haven't you ordered the
immediate phase-out of the 103 nuclear power plants that are
currently operating in the United States? Why doesn't your
administration emphasize safe, renewable energy alternatives, such as
solar and wind power, which would not invite terrorism?
After years of successful lobbying against rigorous safety
procedures, the heads of the airline industry will receive a
multibillion-dollar taxpayer bailout for their ailing companies.
Given your support for the airline rescue package, do you now agree
that letting the free market run its course won't resolve all our
economic and social problems? (That's what anti-globalization
activists have been saying all along.) And if airlines deserve a bail-
out, how about a multibillion-dollar rescue package for human needs
like health and education? Why aren't we bailing out our under-funded
public schools, our insolvent hospitals, our national railroads, and
other elements of our dilapidated social infrastructure?
September 11th will be remembered as a day of infamy in the United
States because of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
In Chile, September 11th is also remembered as the day when a U.S.-
back coup toppled the democratically elected government of Salvador
Allende in 1973, initiating a reign of terror by General Augusto
Pinochet. Given your administration's avowed stance against
terrorism, will you cooperate with the various international legal
cases that are honing in on ex-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for
colluding with Pinochet's murderous regime?
If the killing of innocent people in New York and Washington is
indefensible, and surely it is, then why do U.S. officials defend
American air strikes that kill innocent civilians in Iraq, Sudan,
Serbia, and Afghanistan? More than 500,000 Iraqi children under age 5
have died as a result of the 1990 Gulf War, subsequent economic
sanctions, and ongoing U.S. bombing raids against Iraq. Will your
planned actions lead to a similar fate for the children of
What will you accomplish if you bomb Afghanistan? Wouldn't this
galvanize Islamic fundamentalist movements that are already powerful
in Algeria, Egypt, Pakistan, Sudan, the oil-rich Arab monarchies, and
the Balkans? Wouldn't a U.S.-led military onslaught against
Afghanistan be the fastest way to create a new generation of
Adept at manipulating real grievances, terrorist networks breed on
poverty, despair, and social injustice. Do you think you can wipe out
or even reduce this scourge, Mr. President, without seriously and
systematically addressing the root causes of terrorism?
Martin A. Lee (email@example.com) is the author of Acid Dreams
and The Beast Reawakens.
Anti-U.S. Protests Turn Deadly
Thousands trying to attack air base battle cops, army
Monday, October 15, 2001
By JOHN A. OSWALD
Daily News Assistant National Editor
Two protestors were killed and hundreds of Islamic militants arrested
yesterday in bloody battles in southern Pakistan outside an air base where
U.S. forces have been allowed to set up shop.
Thousands of supporters of Afghanistan's Taliban regime fought with cops and
soldiers in Jacobabad in a failed attempt to storm Shabaz Air Base after
militant leaders exhorted them to set it afire "at any cost."
The frenzied crowds called for the overthrow of the military ruler, Gen.
Pervez Musharraf, who okayed the use of Pakistani bases and is cooperating
with the global anti-terror coalition.
Militants are also calling for a nationwide strike today to protest the
arrival of U.S. Secretary of State Powell in Islamabad.
"The nation will not tolerate his unclean feet on our clean land," said a
statement issued by a dozen heads of religious parties opposed to the U.S.
attacks on Taliban military installations and Osama Bin Laden's terror
They said Powell is coming "to add salt to the injuries of Pakistani
Security High for Powell
Extreme security measures are in place for the visit by Powell, who will
meet Musharraf to thank him for his help and discuss the ongoing war on
Powell faces a delicate balancing act on his overseas trip. He also plans to
visit neighboring India, which has fought a 54-year-old conflict with
Pakistan over the disputed mountain territory of Kashmir.
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said part of Powell's mission to
Islamabad and New Delhi is to see if there is a way to "lower the
temperature" over Kashmir.
In the latest indication of the back-and-forth between the fledgling nuclear
powers, a Pakistani government spokesman, Rashid Qureshi, said Indian
leaders are angry that Washington has renewed its once-close cooperation
"They are very, very upset," Qureshi said. "They are very frustrated because
they feel left out of the picture where they feel that Pakistan is gaining
more importance than they had. There is jealousy there, I guess."
Regime Switched Stance
Musharraf and his subordinates have vowed to keep tight control on the
unrest. The once-pro-Taliban regime has taken a decidedly pro-Western
posture since the Sept. 11 terror attack.
That support now includes the use of Pakistani air space and the bases at
Jacobabad and Pasni, on the Arabian Sea. Aware of public opinion, Pakistan
insists the bases not be used for offensive operations.
A wall of armored vehicles in Jacobabad kept the protesters from reaching
the base. Police said 400 were arrested and the city was sealed off.
In a demonstration several miles outside Jacobabad, one demonstrator was
killed and 10 were injured.
The father of Mukhtar Khosio, one of the demonstrators who died, showed the
furor of those who support the Taliban in Pakistan. "I have seven sons and
just one has died," Maulana Shabir Khosio said. "I am ready to sacrifice six
others, too, for the cause of Islam."
Anti-war protesters rally in London
The mood of the march is peaceful
Saturday, 13 October, 2001
Crowds of anti-war protesters are marching through London in a
demonstration against the military airstrikes on Afghanistan.
The CND-led march from Marble Arch to Trafalgar Square reflects growing
concern in some quarters over the US-led bombardment, organisers said.
The demonstration, which set off at about 1300 BST, comes after the sixth
night of US air strikes on Afghanistan.
Simultaneously an estimated 100 demonstrations were due to take place in 19
countries across the world to protest against President George Bush's plans
for a new anti-ballistic missile treaty.
Shortly before the London march started, police said there were just over
5,000 marchers and they expected the event to be peaceful.
Protesters carried placards bearing messages such as "Socialist Worker.
Stop This Bloody War. Fight US/UK imperialism".
Others said: "CND says not in my name" and "CND says peace & justice for all".
The marchers chanted "No war" and "We want peace". They blew whistles and
banged on drums. Though noisy the mood was peaceful.
Nigel Chamberlain, of CND told the BBC that it was vital that people
collectively voiced their opposition to the UK government's support of
"We think very strongly that this bombing action that is being supported is
counter productive and is breaking up the coalition that has been carefully
built in the past.
"And it might well encourage further terrorist acts."
He said there was a substantial minority across the country opposed to this
Mr Chamberlain said it was vital to send out a strong message not just to
the British government but also to the American government and governments
He said the US-led strikes were protracted and indiscriminate, not
proportionate, targeted or limited as promised.
"Civilians do die as a result of bombing raids.
"The refugee crisis is accentuated.
"Tempers are inflamed in the Muslim world against it.
"It is making it much more difficult to pursue the political, diplomatic
and economic coalition that was being built.
"We absolutely agree that the perpetrators must be brought to justice."
The London rally was originally planned as part of the International Day of
Protest to Stop the Militarisation of Space.
However organisers have turned their attention on the strikes against
Green Party principal speaker Margaret Wright said: "With six million
people at risk of starvation, the priority must be aid - and aid on this
scale cannot be delivered in the context of the bombing.
She said: "Justice doesn't have to be swift, only just.
"Whereas aid for Afghanistan must be delivered now, or it will be too late."
The Muslim Parliament of Great Britain is supporting the rally.
Its leader Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui called on community elders and leaders
to "channel the disquiet felt by the youth over the war into a peaceful
Anti-war demonstrations in Europe
16 October 2001
Antiwar demonstrations were held this weekend in several European cities,
with the largest being in London and Berlin.
In Germany, around 20-30,000 took part in a demonstration staged in the
capital Berlin, to protest the US military actions being carried out
In the southern city of Stuttgart, 15,000 gathered to voice their
opposition to the Social Democratic Party-Green Party coalition
government's support for the war.
Organised by a broad alliance of pacifist groups, political organisations
and professional bodies, both demonstrations brought together large numbers
of youth, alarmed at the possibility of the current offensive in
Afghanistan broadening into an all-out war, together with older layers of
the population, many of whom had grown up in the ruins of Germany's cities
following the Second World War. Delegations from immigrant communities in
Berlin and Stuttgart also took part in the marches and rallies.
Banners held by demonstrators in Berlin condemned the unequivocal support
for the war by the German government. One read: "Participation in war has a
tradition within the SPD1914" referring to the vote in favour of the First
World War by the majority of SPD deputies in 1914. A few banners pointed
to the material interests behind the military aggression: "No shedding of
blood for oil and gas".
Prior to the demonstrations in Berlin and Stuttgart some neo-fascist groups
had announced their intention of taking part in the marches. Organisations
such as the extreme-right NPD (German National Party) have already held
their own protest rallies after the September 11 attacks in which leading
members of the party expressed their support for the terrorist acts as
blows against "Jewish and American imperialism". In the event, none of
these groups made an appearance at the weekend, apart from a handful of
right-wingers who scaled a church tower in Berlin and attempted to unveil a
banner. They were roundly booed and jeered by the assembled demonstrators.
However, this has not stopped sections of the world's media from reporting
the demonstrations as an anti-American coalition of the "extreme left and
the far right", as a means of discrediting those opposed to the war.
Speakers at both rallies emphasised their solidarity with the victims of
the US terror attacks, but at the same time deplored the bombing of one of
the world's poorest and most backward countries. There was broad
condemnation of the support afforded by the German government to the
military campaign and fears were expressed regarding the possible
participation of German troops and an escalation of the war. Criticism was
also made of the intensified assault being made on democratic rights,
including attempts to gag the media.
Peter, a manual worker, who travelled from the city of Kassel to attend the
Berlin rally, told the World Socialist Web Site, "I was so alarmed at what
was taking place I felt it was necessary to make a protest. So together
with my wife we made a banner and began collecting signatures against the
war in the centre of Kassel last week. Within two hours we had collected
over 600 signatures and here in the space of an hour we have probably
another 300. It indicates the depth of opposition to what the German
government is doing. Perhaps the most depressing aspect of the whole thing
is the way in which the Green Party is so tamely trotting behind the SPD.
They have obviously tasted the flesh-pots of power and are prepared to go
to any lengths to stay in government."
In an interview with the Tagesspiegel am Sonntag, Chancellor Schrder
declared that he would not waver in his support for the military action
against Afghanistan despite the widespread protests. "I am sure that we
will stick it out even when the [current] broad support begins to thin out
with time." He said he had abandoned the "dearly held position" that one
can neglect the military aspect when it comes to foreign policy.
In London, estimates of the size of the demonstration vary between
20,000-50,000, according to the organisers, the Campaign for Nuclear
Disarmament (CND). The protest included around 5,000 Muslims, with many
veiled women participating, but they were far from being numerically
dominant. The march was divided in two, with the first part made up of
pacifist groups, and the second part containing radical left parties and
anti-globalisation groups. The trade unions were virtually absent, except
for a few individual branch banners and rather more National Union of
Students delegations. Labour Party banners were scarcer than gold dust.
Protesters chanted, "No war, we want peace". There was a heavy police
presence posted outside major US companies, but there were no incidents.
Sujata, a volunteer for Friends of the Earth, told the World Socialist Web
Site, "I don' t think there should be a war. I think America feels it has
to do something in order to say that it rules the world... I think it is
really appalling that Bush can turn around and bomb a country. After
condemning a terrorist attack on a building in America, which obviously is
wrong, but they are turning themselves into terrorists. I think it is
inexcusable they are launching a campaign against Afghanistan before they
even knew it was bin Laden and they had no definite proof.
"That's how America works all over the world. They say they are a country
of freedom, but if anyone shows any signs of socialism or communism they
think it is their right to start a war with them against their beliefs. It
is totally against democracy, which is what America is supposed to stand
for. It is more of a dictatorship than any other country. People are
becoming more and more cut off from the rest of the world. I think it is
damaging to America more than anything else."
James, a student at Bristol University, said, "We need to show our supposed
leaders that what they are doing is not representative of the majority of
people of this country and the world. We are not happy to kill civilians in
the name of justice. I think the whole cause is being appropriated for
political ends both in terms of electioneering and curtailing civil
liberties. It's just people appropriating a tense situation to push through
the legislation they have always wanted to. On my campus, there have been
debates about whether any military intervention can be defended. The same
discussion must have been going on in millions of households around the world."
Asked why he thought the war was being waged, James replied, "I think it's
about the nature of power in a world where there is one superpower and
where everyone just panders to what it wants. It is all for political and
economic gain. Just look at Pakistan and their agreement to get involved in
this action. The same day that Pakistan agreed to get involved, the US
announced billions of dollars worth of aid and cancellation of debts. The
US has the money the power and can make people do as it wants."
Gary, a youth tutor, said, "I wish they had talked more before they started
bombing the country. I can't see any sense in it to be honest. They need
to talk more. They are going to kill more people. I think a lot of it is
about propaganda for their parties. I can't understand what Blair is
thinking of. I kind of expected it from the Americans and I was hoping
Blair was going to tone it down. But joining in with them, I could not
believe it. I think he is a nasty hypocrite. I get annoyed and I won't vote
Satnam and Ishmael from Bradford said, "We don't like this war, we don't
want this war. We want to stop this bloodshed. It's as simple as that.
"We don't think that this will stop, even if they give up bin Laden. We
don't think bin Laden is the question. They are not after bin Laden, they
are after something more, something bigger, maybe oil. Bin Laden has been
framed and they haven't proven that he carried out the attack on the US. We
don't think he was behind the blowing up of the Twin Towers. We think that
he has been framed as a bridge to get to something bigger.
Asked if they had experienced any anti-Muslim sentiments, they responded,
"We are not getting any harassment, we are still getting on well because we
believe in a free world. We are all human beings, regardless of whether we
are Christian or Muslims or whatever. To be honest we are really pleased
with this march. People have come out in their thousands, and regardless of
their faiths they all want to see the end of this war."
In Glasgow, Scotland, a rally of around 1,500 to 2,000 was held.
In Italy, around 30,000 demonstrated on Sunday at an annual peace march,
the 40th annual 24-kilometer march from Perugia to Assisi, which follows
the route used by St Francis of Assisi.
In Switzerland, police said an estimated 5,000 people had protested in Berne.
Paul Krassner in the LA Weekly
In 1968, during the Democratic convention in Chicago, I was a speaker at an
Unbirthday Party for Lyndon Johnson at the Coliseum. I revealed to the
audience the true story of a reporter who had once interviewed LBJ and,
after the formal question-and-answer session, the president, referring to
the Vietnam war, told him, What the Communists are really saying is "'Fuck
you, Lyndon Johnson', and nobody says 'Fuck you, Lyndon Johnson' and gets
away with it." I paused. Well, I continued, when I count three, were
all gonna say it--and were gonna get away with it! Are you ready?
One...two...three... And, from the Yippies and Mobilization-Against-the
War and the Clean-for-Genes, it came at me like an audio tidal
wave--thousands of voices shouting in unison: FUCK YOU, LYNDON
JOHNSON!!!--a mass catharsis reverberating from the rafters.
And so, thirty-three years later, last Thursday--Day 5 of the Retaliation,
symbolized by CNN's change of logo, from Americas New War to America
Strikes Back--I had a strong sense of continuity while emceeing a rally at
Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco, starring Ralph Nader, the Green Party
candidate for president in 2000. This event, a stop along his People Have
the Power grassroots-organizing tour, was originally supposed to be about
corporate domination generally and about the energy crisis specifically, but
it had since become intertwined with the international situation, and Nader
had morphed from a consumer advocate into an antiwar leader.
As a political satirist, my role was to provide comic relief. Steve Allen
once said that comedy is tragedy plus time, but we were all in the midst of
an ongoing tragedy that only kept intensifying instead of dissipating. Jay
Leno had reverted to Clinton jokes, David Letterman was demonizing Osama bin
Laden, Bill Maher chickened out of defending his remark about military
cowardice, and Jerry Seinfeld considered observational humor about airplane
food too controversial. This rally would mark the first time I performed
since the suicide-bomber attacks, and I felt slightly apprehensive about
what tack to take.
However, a couple of hours before going on stage, I watched George W.
Bush's press conference, and now, at the risk of committing comedic treason,
I was inescapably compelled to report my own version: Bush explained that
simultaneously dropping bombs and food on Afghanistan is just an example of
compassionate conservatism...divulged that the ABM treaty had an expiration
date in tiny print...pointed out that the United States gave $43 million to
the Taliban because they're a faith-based organization...
When I introduced former stand-up comic and teacher Tom Ammiano, the openly
gay president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, he began: You all
know me, I'm the president who you can believe when I say, "I didn't sleep
with that woman." Then he launched into a rap about the upcoming election
with propositions on the ballot for public power, solar power, and the
Municipal Utilities District (MUD) Board, concluding, We can pass the MUD
initiative and say, "Fuck PG&E!"
Medea Benjamin, founder of the human rights organization Global Exchange
and Green Party candidate for U.S. senator from California in 2000, provided
a transition to the Mid-East by asking the audience, What one word can sum
up the real reason why were there? And three thousand voices shouted back
in unison: Oil! Indeed, the U.S. government has been negotiating to build
oil pipelines running beneath the Caspian Sea through Afghanistan.
Although Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter and Time magazine contributor
Roger Rosenblatt have both declared the end of the age of irony, Nader
delineated the frightening ways that Bush's campaign slogan, I trust the
people, not the government, utterly reeks with irony. Truth is the first
casualty of a nation in crisis, he said, stressing the importance of
guarding our liberties. Americans must be vigilant about attacks on civil
liberties in the wake of the September 11th terrorism.
Nader insisted that the inhumane and criminal terrorists be brought to
justice, but advocated an end to the bombing. He posed a question to the
audience: How many of you, since September 11th, have wanted to express an
opinion that was something other than the thought-police stampede? To all
those who raised their hands, he advised, If you feel yourself inhibited,
that's the moment to break out and make yourself known. Otherwise, your
silence is allowing suppression of the Constitution.
The prolonged standing ovation Nader received was indicative of the
burgeoning peace movement, with teach-ins at college campuses and, in
effect, on the Internet. I reminded the audience that ABC correspondent
Cokie Roberts was asked if there was any opposition to the war. None that
matters, she replied. Well, I continued, would you all care to join me
in saying ^Fuck you, Cokie Roberts when I count three? Okay,
one...two...three... And it came at me like an audio tidal wave--thousands
of voices shouting in unison: FUCK YOU, COKIE ROBERTS!!! I was
experiencing a moment of deja vu supreme.
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