[sixties-l] Antiwar News...(# 17) (fwd)

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Date: Sat Oct 27 2001 - 16:46:21 EDT

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    Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 22:26:31 -0700
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: Antiwar News...(# 17)

    [multiple items]
    (Anti-war links/resources at the end.)

    War Hurting Afghani Children the Most


    Published on Thursday, October 17, 2001 by the Inter Press Service
    by Nadeem Iqbal

    ISLAMABAD - Seven-year-old Muhammad Mugheez, who reached a slum in the
    Pakistani capital Islamabad two weeks ago after coming from Afghanistan,
    spends the day begging in the streets with his mother.

    In the night, he and his unskilled father join hundreds of others sitting
    for hours outside a bakery to get free bread.

    For the last two decades, Afghan children, who constitute around half of the
    total Afghan population, have been exposed to the ravages of war inside and
    outside their country.

    They have been suffering from hunger, disease, illiteracy, child labor and
    forced recruitment as soldiers, besides being easy victims of war who will
    live with its effects today and in coming years.

    Mugheez's family is part of 200,000 other Afghans who have found their way
    to Islamabad, a much better place to live in compared to the crowded, filthy
    camps near Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.

    The refugee population living in and around the capital now equals 20
    percent of the 8 million people of Islamabad. Most of the Afghan children
    here -- half of Afghanistan's 21 million people are under 18 years of age --
    are scavengers.

    Pakistan hosts around 3 million Afghan refugees, half of whom are children.
    Some 1,000 people from Afghanistan are pouring into Pakistan daily.

    On Monday, Eric Laroche, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
    representative in Afghanistan, says that the situation was bad enough for
    Afghan children before the Oct. 8 bombings - and look even bleaker now.

    Afghan children are malnourished and lack warm clothing as the winter
    approaches, he said.

    Some 100,000 children are likely to die in Afghanistan in the coming winter
    due to diarrhea, pneumonia and other diseases, according to UNICEF.

    U.N. officials estimate that more than 95 percent of Afghan children do not
    go to school - a situation that depicts the total collapse of the education
    system in the war-ravaged country.

    In fact, an entire generation of Afghan children is growing without
    education. Girls are most affected as they are prevented from going to
    school under the brand of strict Islam by the ruling Taliban.

    To add to their misery, there are reports that in the aftermath of the air
    strikes against Afghanistan, unprecedented levels of child recruitment and
    mobilization into the ranks of the Afghan militia and the opposition
    Northern Alliance has been going on unhindered.

    The Pakistan-based non-government group Society for the Protection of the
    Rights of the Child (SPARC) has appealed to the UN Security Council to
    integrate specific measures to prevent the use of children as soldiers in
    the impending conflict in Afghanistan.

    ''The United Nations must take into account child protection in its
    political actions on Afghanistan, including the incorporation of action to
    stop child recruitment and to task the UN Special Mission on Afghanistan
    with monitoring the recruitment of children and deploy child protection
    advisers with any future UN peacekeeping or humanitarian operations," reads
    the appeal.

    In an interview, Masroor Gillani said the group is demanding this under the
    new Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the
    involvement of children in armed conflict, which was adopted by the UN
    General Assembly in May 2000.

    The protocol ''prohibits governments and armed groups from using children
    under the age of 18 in hostilities; bans all compulsory recruitment of under
    18; and raises the minimum age and requires strict safeguards for voluntary

    Article 4 of the Optional Protocol also provides that ''armed groups that
    are distinct from the armed forces of a State should not, under any
    circumstances, recruit or use in hostilities persons under the age of 18

    Both Pakistan and Afghanistan are not signatories to the Optional Protocol
    to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children
    in armed conflict. Pakistan however is signatory to the Convention on the
    Rights of the Child (CRC).

    According to the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, children have
    been used as soldiers by all warring parties in Afghanistan's during two
    decade-old civil war. Forced and compulsory recruitment by the Taliban and
    Northern Alliance continues to be reported, despite international
    commitments to the contrary.

    In its September 2001 report, the coalition says: ''Reports of child
    recruitment continued to emerge, particularly in connection with
    'madrasah' -- religious schools in Pakistan -- whose young Afghan refugee
    students became a main source of recruits for the Taliban when they first
    became party to the civil war in 1994.''

    ''As the conflict receded in Taliban-held areas, recruitment has
    progressively taken place within Afghanistan. But the Taliban continue to
    draw recruits from networks of 'madrasah' in Pakistan sponsored by various
    Islamist parties and groups,'' the report adds.

    ''Where once these institutions were confined largely to the border regions,
    today they are spread throughout the country (even in urban centers of
    Punjab and Sindh) and draw beyond the Afghan refugee diaspora,'' it

    Pakistani social scientist Kaiser Bengali traces the root cause of the use
    of child soldiers to Afghanistan's decades of war, and its damaged society.

    In the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the U.S. and
    western-sponsored counter-military campaign, thousands of children were
    orphaned, Bengali explains.

    As the United States engaged Islamist clergy in its war against Soviets, it
    found it expedient to employ these children to fight.

    ''Hundreds of thousands of these orphans were collected in scores of
    'madrasah' in Afghan refugee camps in Pakistani cities where they grew up in
    an environment devoid of women. So they do not know any norm of
    civilization," Bengali adds.

    SPARC researcher Saifur Rehman, who just returned after conducting a survey
    of children in Darra Adam Khel, a tribal town at the Pakistan-Afghanistan
    border, said that around 2,500 children, both Afghan and local, are not only
    involved in active war but also in small arms manufacturing and cartridge
    filling, among others.

    Their daily wages range between 5 rupees to 30 rupees (8 to 48 U.S. cents).

    In addition, despite strict checks to monitor the cross-border movement of
    Afghan refugees at the border town of Torkham, many children are involved in
    the smuggling of items across the border. These include petrol, cloth,
    cosmetics, washing powder, toothpaste, soap, cosmetics, processed food
    items, scrap, and auto parts into Pakistan.

    Smuggling of fine quality foreign cloth by roping it with the child
    carriers' bodies, is also fast becoming a practice because it is difficult
    for the security guards to detect.


    Stench of death in a flattened village


    by Zeeshan Haider in Khorum, Afghanistan
    Monday October 15, 2001
    The Guardian

    An old man deferentially removed his turban as he spoke. "We are poor
    people, don't hit us," he said. "We have nothing to do with Osama bin
    Laden. We are innocent people."
    "I lost my four daughters, my son and my wife in this attack," said Toray,
    a distraught farmer, who was out of his house when the bombs struck.
    To underline his point, he held up a piece of shrapnel with the words "fin
    guided bomb" stencilled on it - virtually all he recovered from the debris
    of his flattened home.
    There are not many witnesses to say what happened to Khorum village in
    eastern Afghanistan last Wednesday night; there are not many survivors. One
    thing is clear. The simple collection of mud huts and livestock pens in
    this village, around 38 miles from the east Afghanistan town of Jalalabad,
    was hit by a devastating firestorm.
    Villagers said 20 to 25 bombs or missiles rained on the area in two waves
    of attacks.
    Taliban officials say Khorum was flattened in an air raid by US warplanes
    and as many as 200 people may have been killed. Officials say 160 bodies
    have already been pulled from the rubble, and villagers from neighbouring
    hamlets were scrambling around yesterday looking for more.
    The stench of death enveloped the village. In the rubble of one house, the
    remains of an arm stuck out from beneath a pile of bricks. A leg had been
    uncovered nearby. There was also a bloodstained pillow.
    The carcasses of livestock - by which many Afghan farmers measure their
    family's wealth - lay bloated in the surrounding fields, attracting swarms
    of flies.
    When our group of reporters - the first foreign nationals to be allowed
    into Afghanistan since all foreigners were ordered to leave just days after
    the September 11 suicide plane attacks - arrived in Khorum we saw villagers
    still sifting through the rubble of houses pulverised by the attack from
    the sky.
    We were besieged by more than 100 students from a nearby Islamic school,
    chanting "Down with America," "Long live Islam" and "We are ready for jihad
    (holy war)".
    It was not easy to tell if the protest was spontaneous or orchestrated, but
    it was clear that their feelings were genuine.
    "We have brought you here to see the cruelty of the Americans," Maulvi
    Atiqullah, director of the Jalalabad information department, said before
    our Taliban-organised trip to Khorum began.
    However, some questions remained unanswered last night. Reporters saw only
    a dozen or so freshly dug graves that officials said included the bodies of
    children killed in the raid.
    What happened to the other bodies which officials say they have recovered
    is unclear, but Muslims generally observe Koranic requirements that the
    dead are buried before the next sunset.
    Many training bases operated by Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network were known to
    have previously been situated around Jalalabad, although residents of
    Khorum insisted there were none there now.
    "I ask America not to kill us," said Hussain Khan, who said he lost four
    children in the raid and survived only by racing out of the house when he
    first heard a plane overhead.
    Pentagon officials have said at least one of its bombs had missed its
    target since air raids in pursuit of Osama bin Laden began last week. But
    that was near Kabul. Washington has so far declined to comment on reports
    from Khorum.
    Zeeshan Haider is a Reuters correspondent. His party of journalists was
    accompanied by the Taliban to Khorum


    Uncontrolled Flow of Arms into Afghanistan Will Lead to More Human Misery


    16 October 2001

    The unconditional flow of weapons and other military equipment and
    expertise to the warring parties in Afghanistan will lead to further human
    rights abuses and war crimes, Amnesty International said today in a
    briefing on such transfers.

    "To date, both the Taliban and the Northern Alliance have been heavily
    armed by foreign governments regardless of their appalling human rights
    records," the organization said.

    "While the shifting of arms is inevitable in a conflict situationhome, it
    is crucial that further transfers of arms and expertise are rigorously

    Amnesty International is calling for independent monitors to be put in
    place to verify that commanders who have been responsible for gross human
    rights abuses in the past are removed before any transfers take place. The
    monitors should remain in place to ensure that the arms and expertise are
    not used to commit human rights abuses.

    During the 1980s and 1990s, arms and related supplies were sent from the
    USA and some of its West European allies, as well as the former Soviet
    Union, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran, and were used for perpetuating
    massive human rights abuses by various armed groups in Afghanistan.

    Civilians in Afghanistan are suffering the legacy of these uncontrolled
    transfers, thousands have died from anti-personnel landmines alone.

    Since 1994, the main supplies of arms and related items to the Taliban have
    come from official stocks in Pakistan or from Chinese or other sales
    through private dealers based in Pakistan and with private funding from
    Saudi Arabia.

    Recent supplies to the Northern Alliance have been reportedly sent from
    Iran and the Russian Federation via the Central Asian states, especially
    Tajikistan, as well as from the Slovak Republic, although the Central Asian
    states have denied their involvement.

    Amnesty International is concerned that the Russian government is
    reportedly planning deliveries of up to $45 million worth of arms to the
    Northern Alliance which are not conditioned to any human rights criteria.
    Furthermore a bill has been introduced in the US Congress to provide up to
    $300 million of direct military assistance to "eligible Afghan resistance

    Amnesty International also urges all governments to refrain from the use of
    cluster bombs near civilian areas, from using depeleted uranium weapons
    whose effects are not fully known, and to refrain from providing such
    weapons to any of those involved in the conflict.
    Read the report: Amnesty International's position on arms transfers and
    military aid to Afghanistan:
    PDF format <http://www.amnesty-usa.org/usacrisis/position_on_arms.pdf>


    'I hear the bombs drop and I pray that they will end our suffering'


    Telegraph (UK)

    FROM the blasted heart of Kabul, a brave young woman smuggled a letter out
    to our correspondent Christina Lamb in Quetta through a friend. This is her
    dramatic account of the Taliban's destruction of her nation and of her hopes
    that 'Bush and Blair mean what they say'

    THIS week I listen to the bombs falling on the airport and military command
    just a few miles away and though we are scared by the bangs which shake our
    flat, we believe they will not hurt us and we come out and watch the flashes
    in the sky and we pray this will be an end to our suffering.

    You asked me to write a letter about our life under the Taliban regime and I
    hope this will help you outside to understand the feelings of an educated
    Afghan female who must now live under a burqa.

    Although Marri is not my real name, please use this as what we are doing is
    dangerous. I'm 30 years old and live in a three-roomed flat with my family
    on the outskirts of Kabul. I graduated from high school and speak Dari,
    Pashto and English as my father was a diplomat and my mother an English
    teacher. My mother went to university in India.

    I know from our friend that you have a kind husband and a beautiful son and
    you travel the world reporting and meeting people. I dream of a life like
    that. It's funny we live under the same small sky yet it seems we live 500
    years apart.

    You see us now in our burqas, like strange insects scurrying in the dust,
    our heads down, but it wasn't always this way. I do not remember much before
    the Russian invasion as I was still young but even when the Russians came we
    still went to school.

    Women worked as professors and doctors and in government. We went for
    picnics and parties, wore jeans and short skirts, and I thought I would go
    to university like my mother and work for my living.

    I know in the villages many schools had been destroyed in the war but here
    in Kabul we were lucky. Only when the Taliban came were all the girls'
    schools and university closed.

    Hidden in our house, behind all the burqas and shalwar kamiz, is a red silk
    party dress, my mother's, from the time when the king was in power and my
    father was in the foreign ministry. Sometimes I hold it up against me and
    imagine dancing but it is a lost world.

    Now we must wear clothes that make us invisible and cannot even wear high
    heels. Several of my friends have been beaten because the Taliban could hear
    their shoes clicking on the pavement.

    You might think we women are doing nothing but my friends and I struggle for
    the rights of Afghan women, working secretly here for the Afghan Women's
    League, trying to educate our women and young girls. There is not much we
    can do as we are not allowed out, but some of our members make naan bread
    and distribute it.

    We have small rebellions. Maybe you do not know but we are forbidden to wear
    make-up under the burqas but I have a red lipstick.

    I have two brothers and two sisters, and right now my elder brothers work
    and we women must stay home all day. We study or we try to teach our
    neighbours some English but it is hard as we fear someone might report us
    and we cannot get English books.

    At night there is no light. Life here is very miserable. We have no rights
    at all and we have asked many times other countries of the world for help
    but they have been silent.

    Now it is good that after all this time the world has turned its face
    towards Afghanistan. Right now I want to laugh at the world a lot because in
    other countries of the civilised and progressive world no one knew about our
    problems before those attacks on America and now we are all the time on BBC.

    You cannot imagine how an educated Afghan girl lives or how even when we go
    out for something in the market; the Taliban, in particular Pakistani
    Taliban, tease us a lot. They insult us and say: "You Kabuli girls, still
    coming out in the streets, shame on you," and worse.

    Now think, Afghanistan is my motherland and a Pakistani Talib treats me like
    that. You might wonder why I am not married. It's hard to find love in this
    situation, we are so tired. I look in the mirror and I see a face that does
    not remember a time before war, and I would not want to bring a child into
    this city of fear.

    We do not have schools, the doors of education are closed on all, especially
    us. We cannot paint or listen to music. The Taliban ran their tanks over all
    the televisions.

    We asked the world, are we not human beings? Do we not deserve to live in
    peace? Can we not have our rights as women in other countries?

    Many people have left but my family is staying, praying for change. The
    market is still working - we Kabulis are tough - and there is food in the
    market but we have stocked up in case it runs out. Already there is no oil.

    The Taliban say this is a war on Afghanistan. Some of our friends say we
    must now support the Taliban against the outside, but how can we support
    those who lock us away? We listen secretly to the BBC and hope that Mr Bush
    and Mr Blair mean what they say.

    I hope they do not come and bomb, then forget us again. Maybe when you watch
    the bombs on CNN you will think of me and know we are real feeling people
    here, a girl who likes to wear red lipstick and dreams of dancing, not just
    the men of beards and guns.

    I do not know what you want me to write to you. If I start writing I will
    fill all the paper and my eyes will fill with tears because in these seven
    years of Taliban no one has asked us to write about our lives. In my mind I
    make a picture of you and your family.

    I wonder if you drive a car, if you go out with friends to movies and
    restaurants and dance at parties? Do you play loud music and swim in lakes?
    One day I would like to see and I would also like to show you a beautiful
    place in my country with mountains and streams, but not now while we must be

    Maybe our worlds will always be too far apart.


    Please don't bomb my house...


    FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2001

    PESHAWAR: Seven-year-old Ursal wakes up at night, crying. Her 6-year-old
    sister Nazeen jumps when she hears any loud noise. Their 10-year-old cousin
    Nasim is nervous when he is indoors, afraid the house will collapse around him.
    These refugee children, whose family fled the Afghan capital of Kabul five
    days ago, were already ragged, ill and malnourished before the US-led
    bombing campaign began. Now they have added fear and displacement to the
    long list of hardships already besetting them.
    The extended Gul family four women and 17 children slipped out of Kabul
    before dawn last Thursday, terrified after four nights of thunderous
    bombardment that shook the poor neighborhood where they lived. Sometimes
    the warplanes came back by day as well.
    The family managed to arrange truck transport to a point near the border,
    which is closed by refugees.
    They crossed the frontier in the dark on a steep, rocky mule track, with
    guides who charged what was for them the astronomical sum of $8 per adult.
    Exhausted and nearly penniless, they finally arrived in the frontier city
    of Peshawar over the weekend. Two of the women left behind husbands who
    will try to follow later; two had already been widowed by earlier fighting
    in Afghanistan.
    They were able to carry almost nothing with them. On their cross-border
    journey, each adult was clutching at least one small child, and the older
    children were responsible for shepherding along their younger brothers and
    ''We have what we are wearing that is all,'' said Qandi Gul, 40, the mother
    of six girls and a boy, covered from head to toe in burqa. Only her
    chapped, callused hands showed, palms turned up in a gesture of helplessness.
    On Monday, the mothers and 11 of the children made their way to an Afghan
    aid group, the Welfare and Development Organization. By word of mouth in
    the refugee camps, it has become a crucial way station for new arrivals
    like these.
    Because they are here illegally and fear being picked up and sent home,
    they are afraid to seek help anywhere else.
    Almost all the children were ill with diarrhea or respiratory ailments,
    said Al-Umera, a 28-year-old doctor treating them. As the family waited in
    an anteroom at the aid group's offices, a chorus of racking coughs arose.
    There are limits to what she will be able to do for them, said the doctor,
    whose own family fled Afghanistan when she was 5. None of the children has
    gotten enough to eat in a long time, she says, and malnourishment will
    leave them susceptible to more illness, especially in the cramped, squalid
    conditions in which they will be living.
    Al-Umera, who like many Afghans uses only one name, questioned the children
    gently about the bombardment and the family's flight.
    Most are sleeping badly, their mothers told her. ''This one has bad
    dreams she cries out at night,'' said Qandi Gul, mother of Ursal, a
    luminous-eyed 7-year-old who carried her 18-month-old brother Lamzai on her
    skinny hip.


    U.S. Bombs Hit Red Cross Warehouse in Kabul


    Tuesday October 16, 2001
    By Tabassum Zakaria

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. warplanes dropped 1,000 pound
    bombs on Tuesday that inadvertently hit one or more warehouses
    used by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in
    northern Kabul, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

    A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet jet dropped the bombs at 4:57
    a.m. EDT on a series of warehouses believed to be used by the
    Taliban to store military equipment, the Pentagon statement

    ``Reports from the ICRC indicate that wheat and other
    humanitarian supplies stored in the warehouses were destroyed,
    and an Afghan security guard was injured,'' the Pentagon said.

    ``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,'' the Pentagon said.

    ICRC officials said their warehouses were clearly marked
    with a red cross on the roof. At least 35 percent of the food
    and other equipment stored inside were destroyed, witnesses and
    officials said.

    ``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 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.

    The ICRC complained to the U.S. embassy in Islamabad and
    its Geneva headquarters complained formally to the U.S. mission
    there, he said.

    ``U.S. forces intentionally strike only military and
    terrorist targets, and regret any innocent casualties,'' the
    Pentagon said.

    In another incident, a Taliban official said U.S. strikes
    hit a hospital in the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, killing
    five people, Qatar's al-Jazeera television reported.

    It quoted the Taliban official as saying a U.S. AC-130
    gunship hit the hospital on Tuesday.

    The Pentagon said it had no information of such an incident
    and that it could be several days before it knew whether the
    claims were true or not.

    ``My initial reaction is skepticism until we have proof to
    the contrary,'' Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. Craig Quigley

    U.S. forces launched two AC-130s for operations this week
    but defense officials declined to comment publicly on their
    missions. However, one defense official privately said one of
    the low-flying turbo-prop planes had attacked Kandahar.

    The United States and Britain have bombed Afghanistan since
    Oct. 7, targeting Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden and his
    al Qaeda network, as well as the Taliban for harboring him.

    The United States has accused bin Laden of orchestrating
    the suicide hijacked-plane attacks on the World Trade Center in
    New York and the Pentagon near Washington that killed more than
    5,000 people.


    At Least 60 Killed in 2 Afghan Cities - Officials

    Thursday October 18, 2001

    ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - More than 60 people have been
    killed in a fierce bombardment of the Afghan capital,
    Kabul, and the southern city of Kandahar since
    Wednesday morning, the Afghan Islamic Press said on
    Thursday, quoting Taliban officials.
    In Kandahar, the attacks have killed 42 civilians
    since early on Wednesday, AIP quoted Education
    Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi as saying.
    While the attacks were less intense on Thursday, at
    least five people were killed early in the morning,
    AIP quoted Taliban spokesman Abdul Haye Mutmaen as
    AIP said its reports showed that 10 people had been
    killed in the Qalaye Zaman Khan eastern suburb of
    Kabul. In addition, two died in Kabul's Khair Khana
    district and three near Kabul's airport, which has
    been a constant target of attack in the last few days.


    A Rational Alternative to Thoughtless Bombing


    by Ted Rall, AlterNet
    October 17, 2001

    Beware collateral damage, for today's hey-nothing-personal victims give
    rise to tomorrow's terrorists. As this goes to press, a bestiary of bombs,
    a few 500-pounders here, some "bunker busters" there, is falling into
    Afghan cities. Bombing, despite laughable assertions to the contrary, is
    anything but a precision art. Bombs go off-course. Bombs hit things that
    themselves blow up and kill people who weren't supposed to die. Civilians
    hang out where they shouldn't. And information about bombing targets is
    often plain wrong or out-of-date.
    The bottom line is this: Ordinary Afghan people, men and women and children
    who have never done anything wrong to anyone, are getting mangled and
    killed by American bombs. The innocents have spouses, parents and friends,
    and these spouses, parents and friends quite naturally hate those who
    mangled and killed their loved ones. That hate festers, and some eventually
    come to be persuaded that vengeance will soothe their pain. And one day
    they'll fly planes into office buildings or blow themselves up in shopping
    malls or do something as yet unimaginable.
    Needless to say, getting even doesn't do much good if our vengeance only
    creates more terrorism.
    And yet: the right-wingers are absolutely correct when they assert that
    doing nothing is not a viable option. Whether we had September 11th coming
    or not, giving peace a chance is a supreme act of self-denial: there is no
    peace. Whether the victims cry for vengeance or not is moot: no nation is
    worthy of the name unless it's willing to react to the murder of its
    citizens with force. Bush is, like it or not, doing something. People
    respect that, even if that something later turns out to be counterproductive.
    There is, however, an intelligent middle ground between the
    commonly-considered binary of mindless bombing versus mindless
    pacifism. Neither liberal nor conservative, a thoughtful solution can be
    found by applying what we Americans do best: simple common sense.
                          The Objectives
    The "war on terrorism" is, like previous wars on drugs and poverty, too
    vague and nebulous to win. Our first priority ought to be to bring the
    remaining perpetrators of the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade
    Center to justice; if they end up dead in the attempt, so be it.
    Second, while we'll never eradicate terrorist attacks on American soil we
    can minimize their number and their intensity when they do occur. This
    requires a delicate combination of force and tact: We must be kind as well
    as forceful.
                          What To Do
    Afghanistan's Taliban regime is at best indirectly involved with the
    September 11th hijackings. (The Bush Administration admits that it couldn't
    indict Osama or the Taliban on the evidence it currently possesses.) Follow
    the passports:
    18 out of the 19 hijackers were Egyptian; 1 was Saudi. The smart money
    points to one of the Middle East's most venerable militant Muslim
    organizations, Gama'at al-Islamiyya, or the Islamic Group. Founded by
    Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, currently serving a life sentence for the 1993
    World Trade Center bombing, Gama'at al-Islamiyya is best known for the
    November 1997 massacre of 62 tourists at the Temple of Luxor in Egypt and
    the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1981. Though the
    Islamic Group is composed of numerous splinter cells whose ideology varies,
    they share a common aim: the replacement of the secular government of Hosni
    Mubarek by an Islamic theocracy. The Islamic Group resents the U.S. for
    propping up the Mubarak government as well as Israel.
    Egyptians are, according to most reports, the main suspects for September
    11th. So why are we attacking Afghanistan? American intelligence should
    work with the Egyptian government to track down any members of Gama'at
    al-Islamiyya who had anything to do with the New York and Washington
    attacks and put them on trial for mass murder. Arresting murderers ought to
    take precedence over bombing the places where they trained.
    A targeted approach would demonstrate to all but the most fanatic elements
    in the Arab world that the United States is a nation whose retribution
    takes place in a measured, just manner. It would also serve to destroy the
    one network to have drawn the most American blood, and reduce the odds of a
    repeat performance.
    Though we should continue providing economic and military assistance to
    Israel, that aid ought to be predicated on several conditions. First, all
    Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories ought to be closed.
    Second, Israel should guarantee an end to its more egregious human rights
    abuses, such as the demolition of Arab homes and rocket attacks on civilian
    targets. Finally, internal border blockades of Gaza and the West Bank
    should be permanently halted. This bilateral policy, supporting Israel
    while refusing to tolerate religious apartheid, would show that we stand
    behind our friends but only to the extent that they behave in a civilized
    fashion. Best of all, it would end an absurd state of affairs in which a
    superpower is repeatedly manipulated by a resource-free desert nation the
    size of New Jersey.
    We should drop sanctions and military action against such nations as Iraq
    and Afghanistan in exchange for verifiable assurances that neither nation
    will harbor terrorists who target the United States. Then we should pour in
    humanitarian assistance to show ordinary Muslims that Americans care about
    their plight. Let a co-opted postwar Taliban root out Al Qaeda and other
    groups in their territory; it's a hell of a lot easier to let the locals do
    our dirty work than to send in American ground troops.
    But first, let's stop this stupid bombing.
    Ted Rall, a syndicated cartoonist for Universal Press Syndicate, is the
    author of the new books 2024 and Search and Destroy.


    Three Arguments Against the War

    By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

    Unspeakable acts of violence were committed on September 11. The
    perpetrators of the horrific attack of September 11 must be brought to
    justice, using the instruments of domestic and international law. The
    unconscionable slaughter demands prosecution.

    But bombing a desperately poor country under the yoke of a repressive
    regime is a wrongheaded response. The U.S. bombing of Afghanistan should
    cease immediately.

    It is a policy that will diminish U.S. security, ignores overriding
    humanitarian concerns, and precludes more sensible approaches to achieving
    justice and promoting security in the United States and around the world.

    1. The policy of bombing increases the risk of further terrorism against
    the United States.

    This is an uncontested claim.

    The Bush administration along with virtually every commentator
    acknowledges that the U.S. bombing and military response is likely to
    worsen the possibility of additional terrorism on U.S. soil.

    The recent Congressional leak that so outraged the White House involved a
    Washington Post report that an intelligence official, responding to a
    senator's question, "said there is a '100 percent' chance of an attack
    should the United States strike Afghanistan, according to sources familiar
    with the briefing."

    The horror of September 11 allows for no satisfactory response. But surely
    the United States must not act to increase the risk of terrorism.

    No matter how great one's outrage at September 11, no matter how intense
    one's desire to "do something" -- it doesn't make sense to pursue a course
    of action that intensifies the very problem the Bush administration says
    it is trying to solve.

    And the increased risk of terrorism will not be short-lived. Secretary of
    Defense Donald Rumsfeld says the war against terrorism will take years to
    win. Former CIA chief James Woolsey and others have talked about a two- or
    three-decade war. That's coming from proponents of the U.S. military
    action, people who view terrorism as something that can be defeated,
    rather than as a tactic assumed by weak and disgruntled parties.

    2. The bombing is intensifying a humanitarian nightmare in Afghanistan.

    "The terrorist attacks of 11 September, in terms of security and access
    within Afghanistan, have created the potential for a humanitarian crisis
    of massive proportions," according to the UN's World Food Program (WFP).
    The WFP estimates 7.5 million people are in danger of starvation in

    The U.S. threat of military response to September 11, and now its bombing,
    has made a horrible situation worse. The WFP has predicted nearly two
    million additional people will need food assistance due to the disruptions
    caused by the expectation, and now the reality, of a U.S. military

    "It is now evident that we cannot, in reasonable safety, get food to
    hungry Afghan people," says Oxfam America President Raymond C.
    Offenheiser, "We've reached the point where it is simply unrealistic for
    us to do our job in Afghanistan. We've run out of food, the borders are
    closed, we can't reach our staff and time is running out."

    After September 11, relief agencies pulled their staff out of Afghanistan,
    though the WFP has managed to continue to deliver some food supplies via
    Afghani staff.

    But aid agencies warn that time is running out to deliver food supplies.
    By mid-November, heavy snows block key roads, making it impossible to move
    trucks into many areas of the country.

    "If WFP is to meet its target of delivering 52,000 tons of food aid each
    month to millions of hungry people inside Afghanistan, it urgently needs
    to fill-up its warehouses before the region's harsh winter sets in," said
    Mohamed Zejjari, WFP assistant executive director and director of

    Oxfam has called for a pause in the bombing on humanitarian grounds. "We
    just don't know how many people may die if the bombing is not suspended
    and the aid effort assured," Offenheiser says.

    Here the humanitarian imperative is aligned with the most narrowly defined
    U.S. national interest. No action can better serve to reduce the risk of
    future terrorism than providing sufficient food aid to the suffering

    3. There are better ways to seek justice.

    If law is to have meaning, it must constrain and guide our actions in the
    times of greatest stress and challenge, not just when it is convenient.

    Reviewing the principles of international law, Michael Ratner of the
    Center for Constitutional Rights, urges the United States to:

    * Convene a meeting of the UN Security Council.

    * Request the establishment of an international tribunal with authority to
    seek out, extradite or arrest and try those responsible for the September
    11 attack and those who commit or are conspiring to commit future attacks

    * Establish an international military or police force under the control of
    UN and which can effectuate the arrests of those responsible for the
    September 11 attacks and those who commit or are conspiring to commit
    future attacks. It is crucial that such force should be under control of
    the UN and not a mere fig leaf for the United States as was the case in
    the war against Iraq.

    A fair trial of bin Laden -- one perceived as fair not just in the United
    States but around the world -- is essential to avoid turning him into a
    martyr and worsening the spiral of violence.

    Opponents of the war should not be content to be a dissenting minority.
    While there are many compelling arguments against the war, it is critical
    to emphasize those with the best prospect of moving the U.S. public and

    The widespread U.S. public support for military action against Afghanistan
    is based in part on a desire for a modicum of justice and for action to
    reduce the risk of future terrorist action.

    These are both vital goals, but both -- especially reducing the risk of
    future terrorism -- can be better achieved through peace than war.
    Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime
    Reporter. Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based
    Multinational Monitor. They are co-authors of Corporate Predators: The
    Hunt for MegaProfits and the Attack on Democracy (Monroe, Maine: Common
    Courage Press, 1999; http://www.corporatepredators.org)


    Active Duty 'Conscientious Objectors' On The Rise


    By Michael Betsch
    CNSNews.com Editorial Assistant
    October 17, 2001

    (CNSNews.com) - An increasing number of U.S. military personnel who
    enlisted prior to Operation Enduring Freedom are now seeking conscientious
    objector status, claiming they were misled by their
    local recruiter and military advertising, according to groups that assist
    people in obtaining conscientious objector status.
    Many of the enlisted personnel who are now seeking honorable discharges
    argue they didn't sign up to defend America; they just wanted to learn a
    trade or earn money for college.
    Those seeking discharges based on conscientious objections to the current
    war on terrorism and military action in Afghanistan insist that military
    advertising failed to present the reality of military conflict, focusing
    instead on money for college, job training, leadership and disciplinary
    aspects of the military.
    Bill Galvin, a counseling coordinator at the Center On Conscience and War,
    said his organization has seen "a significant increase" in military
    personnel who claim to be conscientious objectors since the Sept. 11
    attacks on New York and the Pentagon.
    Galvin defines the term conscientious objector as those "who would identify
    moral or ethical qualms about being in the military or being a part of war."
    All conscientious objectors must explain what happened since they joined
    the military that would now cause them to say they can't do this, said
    Galvin, who provided anecdotal information about a rise in the number of
    active duty military personnel now seeking discharges based on conscience.
    He claimed that recruiters paint an attractive portrait of patriotism for
    potential recruits and "play up the training or the money for college. They
    don't play up fighting, because that's not what gets people to join."
    Others who work with conscientious objectors agree that military recruiting
    ads that downplay or ignore the inherent violence in military action have
    an air of deception.
    "There's very little in military advertising that talks about combat, that
    talks about killing, that talks about fear, loneliness and all of that
    stuff. It's not there," said Titus Peachey, a director of peace education
    for the Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
    According to Peachey, potential recruits, many of whom are teenagers, "are
    at a very vulnerable age" when they meet with military recruiters that
    visit high school campuses.
    He added that the teens are lured into military life by the "sharp
    uniforms" worn by recruiters and the "very attractive packages" offered by
    the military.
    Peachey said he's counseled a number of military men and women who've
    called the G.I. Rights Hotline seeking assistance with applying for and
    receiving conscientious objector status.
    They enlisted, Peachey said, only because they felt the military "seemed
    like the way out," of their pre-enlistment lives, and an easy way to get an
    education and a job without considering the reality of war.
    "It seems logical that a high school kid would think about the possibility
    of fighting in a war," during a time of hostilities, he said. But in
    peacetime, war is "the farthest thing from their minds."
    Army spokesman Lt. Col. Ryan Yantis said such arguments are thin. "It's
    made very clear to every recruit when they come in through the recruiting
    and enlistment process that they're joining the Army," said Yantis.
    Those who enlist or receive commissions from the Army "are grown-ups who
    are making adult decisions," said Yantis, who also said he was not aware of
    a particular increase in the number of Army personnel seeing discharges
    because they object to war.
    But sometimes, grown-ups make "mistakes," Galvin commented. "We get lots of
    calls from people who are just in their training status saying, 'what did I
    get myself into?'"
    According to Yantis, recruits claiming to be conscientious objectors fail
    to recognize that their situation is nothing new, and he said medics and
    other conscientious objectors in non-combatant roles have historically been
    a "benefit of the military."
    Yantis also said it would be "disingenuous," for a soldier to say, "'Oh, I
    joined up to be an infantryman. I never knew that that meant I might have
    to go to war.'"
    He bolstered his argument by saying there's little mistaking the words and
    meaning of the oath that military personnel take upon being sworn into the
    armed forces.
    Among other things in the oath, military personnel promise to "support and
    defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign
    and domestic."
    Another Army public affairs spokesperson, who asked to not be identified,
    said, "Anybody who has ever joined the military at least ought to have it
    in the back of the mind that at all times we could go to war, that there's
    never a guaranteed peace."
    Now that the U.S. is actively engaged in military operations, Peachey said
    he thinks potential recruits "might think more than once," about the
    prospect of fighting in a war.
    The reality, he said, is that a "significant number of youth either ignore
    or don't really think that deeply about," the combat aspect of the military.


    Peace rally at lake draws diverse crowd


    by Michal Lando, Staff Writer
    Published Tuesday, October 16, 2001

    In one of several recent anti-war demonstrations across the East Bay,
    protesters gathered at Lake Merrit on Sunday afternoon to speak out against
    the government's "war on terrorism." Many demonstrators - including some
    from the hills area of Oakland - believe non-military options are being
    ignored, and they want to change that.
    Organized by the East Bay Coalition Against the War, a coalition which
    sprang up immediately following the terrorist attacks, the event attracted
    roughly 75 protesters. The crowd was fairly mixed, encompassing young and
    old participant with a wide variety of political views. Speakers included
    David Hilliard, a former Black Panther Party member, who made a surprise
    "We launched an emergency response to say that we mourn the deaths of the
    victims in New York and Washington D.C., but the solution is not to launch
    a war in the Middle East," said Jessie Moldoon, an Oakland resident and
    member of the coalition. "In terms of a solution, every one has a different
    solution. The thing we agree upon is that bombing (Afghanistan) is not a
    Several Montclair residents said they were disappointed that the rally's
    tone was aggressive, even in talking about alternatives to aggression. "We
    were saying we wished we had music and more poetry, "Sterling O'Grady said,
    "something that would uplift the spirits and inspire peace in people's
    hearts instead of more aggression. The way that the (speakers) were talking
    was the way that terrorists think. It wasn't very peaceful for a peace rally."
    The rally gave some attention to American foreign policy in the Middle
    East. A few protesters called for an ending of America's support of Israel,
    which disturbed some other participants.
    "It really bothered me that someone had a sign that said 'Dump Israel',"
    Montclair resident Mike Ratener said. "This is supposed to be helping to
    build a coalition, and there may be legitimate gripes about Israel's
    policies and policies towards Israel. But I think that 99 percent of the
    people that might join this cause would not want to see Israel go out of
    existence or be attacked."
    The East Bay Coalition Against the War is focusing its efforts on three
    main themes: stop the war, end racial scapegoating and defend civil
    liberties. Many protesters explained that they are strongly opposed to the
    military attacks, but not to retaliation. Some said to be against terrorism
    does not necessitate supporting military intervention.
    "I am not against the idea of bringing terrorists to justice, but I am
    against the killing of civilians in any way," said John Previtali, a
    demonstrator who passed out sheets of stickers that denounced the bombings.
    "It is like you are either pro-war or against the war, and if you are pro
    war but against killing civilians, that is almost too complicated of an
    issue to protest."
    Much of the protest focused on the causes of the recent terrorist attacks,
    condemning U.S. foreign policy for sowing the seeds of its own
    destruction. Few protesters, however, offered alternative solutions -
    except for Hilliard. The younger generation, according to Hilliard, has a
    prime opportunity to move an agenda forward so America can "really become
    the bastion of democracy" it claims to be.
    "That agenda must be an agenda for survival, and how do you do that?"
    Hilliard asked. "We can go to our leader Congresswoman Barbara Lee and
    suggest that we send a delegation to the United Nations." Lee was the only
    member of Congress to oppose the use of military force in response to the
    terrorist attacks.
    Like many of the protesters, Hilliard said that the current crises in the
    Middle East has come about as a result of a long-standing tradition of
    aggressive U.S. foreign policy. "We have got to listen to the reactions
    from around the world; they are telling us what the problems are," Hilliard
    said. "It is the arrogance of the American administration - politicians
    denouncing people by bombing them, rather than trying to sit around a table
    and negotiate, addressing peaceful solutions. That is what peace-loving
    people should be about. And that is how we should make sure we are
    represented, because our very lives are at stake."
    Hilliard also said he thought the current crisis went well beyond America's
    support of Israel. "It is about the struggle of the haves and the
    have-nots, and it has always been about that. Now violence has been visited
    upon people here within the confines of this country, but this is violence
    that has been happening around the world. There is nothing new about this."
    Seth Schneider, a member of the coalition, criticized American foreign
    policy for similar reasons and related the recent crises to America's
    energy consumption. "Over the last 50 years, we have really been a bully in
    the Middle East, and I would bring it back to oil and energy and say that
    it is tied to our vast need for and use of energy resources," Schneider
    said. "The U.S. consumes one-fourth of the world's energy, and we need to
    address our own consumption issues. We don't have a sustainable model right
    now, and we need to look at the root cause that gets us so involved in the
    Middle East."
    Susan Ravanti, a demonstrators at Sunday's protest, said the bombing
    Afghanistan is immoral and also plays into bin Laden's plan. "There is a
    sign that says 'Don't let George W. Start World War Three,' and I think it
    should say 'Don't Let Bin Laden Start World War Three,' because that is
    what we are doing. He wanted a holy war, and we are giving it to him."


    Anti-war protestors gather outside Dil


    By Fiona McCann

    Demonstrators outside the Dal protesting against the war in Afghanistan
    Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the Dal this evening to protest
    against the war in Afghanistan.

    Those gathered chanted slogans and carried banners protesting at the
    bombing of civilians in Afghanistan and calling on the Irish Government to
    withdraw its offer of the use of Irish airspace and airport facilities to
    the US military.

    Speaking to protestors, Mr Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party said there
    was no justification for the bombing of Afghanistan. "What is happening now
    in Afghanistan is an obscenity," he said.

    Mr Higgins said that he believed that the war did not have the support of
    the majority of the people of Ireland. "It is to the absolute shame of the
    Irish Government that it is continuing its usual subservience to the US
    government," he said.

    Other speakers included Mr Roger Cole of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance,
    Mr Andi Storey of Action from Ireland (AFRI) and Ms Mary Van Lieshout of
    the newly-formed US Citizens living in Ireland for Alternatives to War.

    The protest was organised by the Irish Anti War Movement, a broad-based
    anti-war group formed before the launch of attacks on Afghanistan last Sunday.

    The group is currently organising further protests, with a national
    demonstration in Dublin scheduled for November 3rd.


    Cats, Dogs and 'Collateral Damage'

    David McGowan
    October 16, 2001

    (The village referred to throughout this article is variously spelled
    Kadam, Karam, and Koram. It is unclear which is the correct spelling.)

    "One week after United States-led forces began bombarding Afghanistan,
    disturbing evidence is emerging of unacceptably high civilian casualties
    and ill-defined military and political objectives. Afghans reaching the
    Pakistani city of Peshawar 60 kilometres from the border said the
    bombing on Friday of Kadam, a small rural community in Surkh Rud
    district near the eastern city of Jalalabad, had killed scores, possibly
    hundreds of civilians." (1)
             So said the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday, October 15. This
    was just one of many reports filed Sunday and Monday concerning the
    destruction of an Afghan village. The first of these reports were based
    on the eyewitness accounts of the survivors of the attack, some
    seriously wounded, who fled into neighboring Pakistan.
             A report in the Guardian began: "Serious blunders by American
    warplanes may have killed at least 100 civilians in Afghanistan,
    according to eye-witness accounts obtained by the Observer. Two U.S.
    jets, they said, had bombed a village in eastern Afghanistan, killing
    more than 100 people." (2) According to one witness cited, the jets
    circled back twice to unload additional ordnance on the village.
             The Guardian also noted that while "Western politicians have
    been quick to dismiss the claims as propaganda ... apparent confirmation
    of serious casualties among non-combatants is beginning to emerge. If
    the evidence is accurate, an attack on Karam village, 18 miles west of
    Jalalabad, last Thursday was the most lethal blunder yet by Allied
    forces." (2)
             An article in the Independent held that Karam was just one of
    several villages to be targeted: "Something went terribly wrong at the
    end of the week. In conversations with refugees, a string of names come
    up again and again: Darunta, Karam, Torghar, Farmada - insignificant
    villages where, according to consistent accounts by eyewitnesses, as
    well as those of the Taliban propaganda machine, hundreds of civilians
    were killed." (3)
             Among the refugees that Independent reporter Richard Parry spoke
    to, he found that "many have seen at first hand the devastating effects
    which the attacks have begun to have on civilians. In hospitals, refugee
    camps and in the homes of friends, they describe how it feels to find
    yourself directly below one of the most technologically sophisticated
    bombing campaigns in history." (3)
             U.S. officials were quick to deny civilian casualties and
    denounce the witness accounts as propaganda. Taliban officials countered
    by allowing Western reporters into the country to view the carnage at
    Karam first-hand. The journalists, skeptical of what they assumed would
    be a staged scene, filed reports that revealed their shock and revulsion
    at what they encountered.
             A reporter for The Times described the scene at a nearby
    hospital: "In a gloomy Jalalabad hospital ward Ahmed Zai clings to his
    one-year-old son as they lie on a dirty sheet. Both have shrapnel wounds
    ... Across the crowded ward three-year-old Rahmed cries for his mother.
    Bandages cover his head, arm and legs. Blood is oozing through ...
    Doctors tell us that both of his parents are dead ... Along with
    twenty-five others in this hospital Ahmed and Rahmed were in the village
    of Koram." (4)
             In the village itself, the reporters were met with harrowing
    scenes of carnage and human suffering. First, however, their Taliban
    escorts had to subdue the wrathful villagers: "As we approached Koram,
    climbing a rocky hillside, the villagers erupted in fury, charging down
    the hill with shovels in hand. We had experienced orchestrated protests
    during our drive from the Pakistan border, but this was altogether
    different." (4)
             An Associated Press writer made a similar observation: "Waving
    shovels and sticks, enraged villagers surged toward foreign journalists
    brought here Sunday by Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia to see what
    officials say was the devastation of a U.S. air attack. 'They are coming
    to kill us! They are coming for information, to tell the planes where to
    bomb!' angry and terrified villagers shouted as they charged the
    reporters." (5)
             These were, mind you, ordinary Afghan villagers who - after just
    one week of terror bombing allegedly aimed at eliminating terrorism and
    keeping the Western world safe for democracy - were so enraged that they
    were prepared to violently attack the first Westerners they laid eyes
    on. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm feeling a whole lot safer
             Ian Williams of The Times graphically described the village:
    "One man said that he was burying his wife bit by bit as he dug her out
    of the rubble. He put a severed leg into a plastic bag and dropped it
    into the hole that he had dug. The stench of rotten bodies was
    overwhelming in places. Dead cows and goats littered the hillside, as
    did chunks of metal, shrapnel from the bombs. Of around 40 stone houses
    more than half have been completely destroyed." (4)
             Kathy Gannon of the Associated Press took in the scene as well:
    "Villagers pointed out other evidence of an attack: a bloodstained
    pillowcase by a house, bomb craters and what appeared to be a rotting
    human limb. Dozens of sheep and goat carcasses were strewn about the
    mud-hut village, and the air was thick with a rancid stench." (5)
             Williams reported seeing "at least thirty fresh graves,
    villagers praying beside them." (4) Gannon watched as an "old man knelt
    by one grave, sobbing. He looked up, furiously, at journalists and their
    cameras and lobbed stones to drive the outsiders away." (5) Witnesses on
    the scene told the reporters that "more bodies were buried up in the
    mountains, taken there by residents as they fled the now mostly deserted
    community." (5)
             One villager showed the visitors a piece of bomb shrapnel with
    English writing on it. His wife and all five of his kids had been killed
    by the bombs. Another villager demanded answers: "They are innocent
    people living here. There is no military base. What is it they are
    looking for in Afghanistan? Where is Osama bin Laden? He is not here.
    Why did they bomb us?" (5)
             Williams ended his report with the following observation: "from
    the evidence we have seen Koram is no terrorist training camp or
    military base. There appears to have been a horrible mistake." (4) Not
    according to the Pentagon and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who put
    forth the preposterous story that it was an ammunition dump near the
    village that had been bombed.
             As the Guardian reported, Rumsfeld claimed that "US bombs had
    hit the opening to two nearby tunnels believed to be possible ammunition
    dumps, causing powerful secondary explosions. People living near the
    site may have been involved in storing and guarding the ammunition
    store." (6) The village itself, according to the Pentagon, was not
    actually bombed at all.
             Despite the fact that reporters had seen and photographed bomb
    craters, and had seen at least one unexploded warhead, the Pentagon
    "denied there were bomb craters in the village." (6) Left completely
    unexplained were the bombed-out dwellings, the livestock carcasses
    strewn about, the abundance of shrapnel, and the scattered body parts.
             Rumsfeld washed his hands of the affair with the following
    shameless lie: "There's no question that people who were in close
    proximity to these isolated ammunition dumps, who very likely were there
    for a good reason because they were a part of that activity, may very
    well have been casualties. They were not cooking cookies inside those
    tunnels." (6)
             No, actually they weren't in any tunnels at all. Some were
    sleeping. Some had just been called to morning prayer by the village
    mullah. All were, by any reasonable interpretation of the evidence,
             After reading these reports on Sunday evening - all from British
    and Australian publications - I decided to catch the 11:00 PM edition of
    ABC News to see what sort of spin the American media would put on these
    well-documented reports of civilian casualties. No mention was made of
             They did though manage to squeeze in an important story about
    some other tragic victims whose plight had previously been shamefully
    ignored by all avenues of the media. The following exchange between the
    talking heads 'teased' the story:
    Leslie Sykes: "Still ahead - the forgotten victims of September 11th."
    Phillip Palmer: "Tonight, a party to raise money for pets who lost their
    owners. That is coming up."
             I didn't wait up to get the details.
    1. Christopher Kremmer "Alarm Grows Over Scale of Civilian Casualties,"
    Sydney Morning Herald, October 15, 2001
    2. Jason Burke "US Admits Lethal Blunders," Guardian Unlimited, October
    14, 2001
    3. Richard Lloyd Parry "It Was If the Rocks Themselves Were on Fire,"
    Independent, October 14, 2001
    4. Ian Williams "He Is Burying His Wife Bit by Bit as He Digs Her Out of
    the Rubble," The Times, October 15, 2001
    5. Kathy Gannon "Taliban Shows Fresh Graves and a Village Ruined by
    War," International Herald Tribune, October 15, 2001
    6. Julian Borger "Rumsfeld Blames Taliban for Civilian Deaths," Guardian
    Unlimited, October 16, 2001


    Taliban: 47 Afghan Civilians Dead.

    AP (with additional material by CNN).
    17 October 2001.

    KABUL -- Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia claimed Wednesday that 47
    Afghans had been killed during heavy U.S. air attacks on the southern
    city of Kandahar since Tuesday morning, including seven civilians hit by
    shrapnel while fleeing.

    Abdul Hanan Himat, a Taliban Information Ministry official in Kabul,
    issued the figures Wednesday afternoon.

    Himat cited the following civilian casualty tolls, attributing them to
    daytime and overnight bombing in and near the southern city of Kandahar,
    the Taliban stronghold:

    At least seven dead while fleeing Kandahar. Himat said their two trucks
    were hit by shrapnel in the outskirts of the city.

    At least 13 dead in Bagh-e-Pul, a western neighborhood of Kandahar,
    where he said several houses were destroyed by the U.S.-led bombing.

    Twelve dead in the city's Chanoi area after bombs hit houses near a
    Taliban military garrison.

    At least 15 others dead in three other western neighborhoods of the
    city. He did not elaborate.

    Himat said at least 70 others were wounded in Kandahar.

    Taliban sources said 18 people died when a bus carrying civilians was
    hit in the airstrikes near the city of Arghandab, outside of Kandahar.
    Taliban officials allowed a CNN crew to go to the site, but the crew
    could not independently confirm the death toll or if the bus was
    carrying civilians.

    The U.S. campaign has been especially heavy in recent days. Multiple
    bombs were still falling on the capital Wednesday afternoon, when two
    more explosions sent black smoke rising north and south of the city.


    Developing the anti-war movement. please forward to interested people

    by Bob Myers.
    Workers Aid

    These ideas are only partially thought through. I am circulating them
    because I think a clearer idea can better emerge from a collective discussion.

    Underpinning a lot of the anti-war protest is a conception of US
    imperialism that is inadequate or wrong. It sees US imperialism as
    nothing different from a previous age when the great powers simply went
    about the world taking control of territories through military power. It
    is with this picture that the anti-war protestors denounce the US/UK attack
    on Afghanistan.

    I am not here going to try to say what is wrong with this 'imperialism'.
    People who think this is an adequate picture needn't read on.

    These anti-war protests do attract a growing number of people and this, of
    course, is very good. But it fails to connect with millions of other
    people, who are agitated by what is going on. And the inability to connect
    with this wider population will ensure that the anti-war movement has no
    effect on the course of events, neither able to impact on the present
    reality nor able to build a lasting movement for the future.

    By attacking an 'imperialism' of an earlier period the anti-war movement
    leaves Bush/Blair et al to occupy the moral high ground in most people's
    thinking - for democracy against the Taliban etc. No amount of detailing
    the Bush/Blair hypocrisy or past atrocities of US policy will overcome
    this ( though this propaganda is both right and needed). All this leaves
    unanswered the question on everyone's mind 'What to do to get a safe
    world?'. Anti-war yes but pro what? Bush/Blair have a plan. We have
    nothing but words about 'a better world' which cut little ice. And so with
    the cold war division of people at an end a new division between people
    opens up. The oppressed masses in huge parts of the world drawn to Islam
    and the rest supporting a war against terrorism.

    Now it is very difficult to answer this question of how to break this
    alliance of people with Bush/ Blair/ Islam exactly because of the past
    failure of the revolutionary/radical/anti-capitalist movement. If the
    middle east oppressed turn to Islam it is above all because of the terrible
    history of the 'communist party'. But the anti-Stalinist left also has
    to share some responsibility. My own ex- 'party' - the WRP - in the past had
      terrible relations with many middle east dictators and dressed this up as
    'anti-imperialism'. This rotten past means that the present war takes
    place with a huge gap between the kind of internationalist movement of
    practical solidarity that the Afghans (and other ) need and that which exists.

    So there is no magic wand that can be waived to make contact with the
    anxious millions. But we must make a start and I think that means a
    radical shift in the anti-war campaign.

    As demonstrations etc against war we must develop a practical initiative
    that allows all the concerned and anxious people to do something
    themselves to reach for the 'safer' world rather than just being spectators
    as things get worse.

    Why do we anti-capitalists leave the 'humanitarian' campaign to the awful
    charities that cannot defend humanity because they are so tied to the
    governments that fund them. Isn't the need of Afghans for food,
    education material, medicine etc etc - isn't this our concern - not
    separated from a political campaign against capital and war but
    inseparably linked up with it.

    I am not saying exactly what such an initiative of practical solidarity
    should be. Maybe it depends on local campaign conditions - maybe we can
    develop an international framework but this is like the great campaign to
    fight fascism in Spain in the 30's - this went from sending fighters right
    through to collecting food and clothes. Clearly here and now we are not
    talking about sending fighters.

    For example people will know about the Revolutionary association women of
    Afghanistan. I am not naming this group because I have a particular
    political brief for it but because its basic work - against Taliban,
    Northern Alliance, US bombing etc means that it is a voice of independence
    crying out for support. And I mean support, not using it to simply bolster
    our existing 'anti-war' propaganda.

    Against Bush/Blair's coalition to fight terrorism we should develop our own
    international coalition that by its combination of political perspectives
    and practical solidarity begins to show people another world - of
    co-operation. Its only in such a practical initiative that we will be able
    to overcome the scepticism of the millions that they can do
    anything. Words and demonstrations alone are not enough.

    So maybe- just as an example - we could start an international campaign to
    collect money, food, medicines, and educational material to be delivered to
    RAWA. How is this different from all the 'humanitarian' efforts under way
    already? Because our initiative would have at its heart the self
    organisation and mobilisation of people to give direct solidarity to a
    political element in Afghan society that sees a way out of the chaos - not
    something to simply feed hungry people so they can starve or be killed
    tomorrow. We are strengthening the international movement for a different

    The greatest impact of this campaign in the first place is not so much in
    Afghanistan itself but here in all our countries. To begin to change the
    outlook and activity of people here. In the midst of such a practical
    campaign we can invite speakers from RAWA etc to come and explain to
    people. Its in this way that people will best be able to hear what they
    say and to learn. Its in this framework of activity that the Pilger type
    propaganda about past crimes of US etc will really make sense and be


    New solutions for an old war


    By William Rivers Pitt

    "If men as individuals surrender to the call of their elementary instincts,
    avoiding pain and seeking satisfaction only for their own selves, the
    result for them all taken together must be a state of insecurity, of fear,
    and of promiscuous misery." ~Albert Einstein

    October 17, 2001-Turn on the television and find a news station, and you
    will be greeted within seconds by a graphic, and by suitably dramatic
    music, that tells us we are engaged in America's New War. You will be
    reminded that we were attacked out of nowhere by entities that hate our
    freedom. You will be counseled to understand that everything has changed.

    In his recent prime time press conference, George W. Bush took the long
    walk, a la Reagan, down the red-carpeted hallway to the East Room of the
    White House and answered about 12 questions. In one response, he professed
    amazement at the hatred our new enemies hold for us. We're so good, he
    claimed. How could they miss that?

    The answer to that question embarrasses all the networks that tell us we
    are involved in a 'new' war, and should not embarrass a president whose
    oft-repeated disdain for reading has left him with little historical
    understanding for our current circumstances.

    For you see, this is not a new war at all, nor is it a new world, nor has
    everything changed.

    This is a very old war that has been raging for decades. There are nations,
    some of whom are apparently complicit in the Sept. 11 attacks, who believe
    that they have been at war with the United States for 20 years. The
    destruction of the Trade Towers and a section of the Pentagon was not a
    lightning strike from a blameless sky. It was a bold tactical stroke by an
    enemy that has, for the first time, managed to strike back.

    This is not a new world, and nothing has changed. America has been rudely
    and horrifyingly awakened to the circumstances of the world around them.
    The cushion provided by two oceans, 2,000 nuclear missiles, and a media
    establishment that quails from reporting what is actually happening
    elsewhere because of our policies, has been ripped from under us.

    Welcome to the world, America. This is what life is like for many, many

    Now that we are here, at last aware of the war that we have been waging for
    a generation, we must analyze our reaction and decide if the course we have
    set is just, proper, worthy of the lives of our service men and women, and
    above all, winnable.

    As it stands today, I am against this war.

    I am against this war because it is being fought in exactly the wrong way.
    Pursued as it is, we will soon find ourselves facing a united Muslim world
    that has a long laundry list of grievances against us to begin with. A
    united Pan-Islamic Front is precisely what bin Laden wants, and by strafing
    the rubble in Afghanistan, we are skipping gaily into his arms.

    The more civilians we kill, the stronger and more sympathetic we make bin
    Laden to a poor and enraged Muslim world. Continue to support this bombing
    campaign and you are feeding the fires that will burn us all out of house
    and home.

    I am against this war because the millions of Afghan civilians who escape
    the bombs can look forward to unknown amounts of time eating grass and
    drinking poisoned water in deathtrap refugee camps. We dropped 37,000 meals
    on Afghanistan when the bombing started, which leaves, by my math,
    6,963,000 people who need food.

    There is dying, and there is dying. Among those who flee will undoubtedly
    be thousands who listen to clerical rhetoric against America and decide, in
    their despair, that strapping Semtex to their chests and boarding a plane
    is preferable to a squalid death far from home at the hands of an unseen
    bomb-dropping enemy.

    Better to die on you feet than live on your knees, right? I would bet the
    farm that many of those now fleeing our bombs will come to decide the same
    thing. Again, we put the barrel of the gun to our own heads.

    The head of the largest Islamic group in Pakistan has called for the
    overthrow of that government. If Pakistan falls, as it may well do, the
    fundamentalists will have nuclear weapons. On that road lies total
    annihilation. India, China and Russia will immediately go 'red-alert' if
    Pakistan falls. If just one bomb goes off over there, all of our Cold War
    night sweats will become a reality.

    Besides, who says those Pakistan-based fundamentalists can't cart one of
    those bombs over here, should they get their hands on them?

    I am against this war because Afghanistan is a convenient target whose
    ultimate destruction will do little to win "The War On Terrorism." Bin
    Laden will survive and flee, and the thousands of Al Qaeda terrorists in
    places like Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Germany, Ireland, Boston, Chicago,
    Cleveland and Los Angeles will be totally unharmed.

    Afghanistan is a straw man. Yes, they are repressive. Yes, they treat women
    unspeakably. They did so on September 10 and I heard no one advocate the
    limitless bombing of that country on that day or any day before it.

    I have heard in several forums the comparison of bin Laden and the Taliban
    to Hitler and the Nazis. That is a joke. Bin laden has no mechanized army
    to roll on Poland or France, nor does he have a Navy to close sea lanes,
    nor does he have an air force, nor even a nation. The Taliban are not a
    government. They are a gang.

    This is a war between two rich power brokers -- Bush and bin Laden -- who
    are gambling with all of our lives. Bin Laden is no Hitler. He is a lunatic
    who kills us with weapons and training we provided him.

    In that, he is like Saddam Hussein, another lunatic who kills people with
    weapons and training we provided him. Also like bin Laden, Hussein was
    compared to Hitler by Bush Sr. The comparison did not, and does not, hold
    water. It did, however, manage to get us all whipped up as we are now.

    Waving the bloody shirt of Hitler is exactly what Bush wants you to do,
    because it obscures clear and critical thinking. Being afraid right now is
    understandable, but lashing out with that fear and destabilizing the planet
    is stupid and suicidal.

    If we continue to lash out, if we continue to bomb the nothing that is
    Afghanistan, bin Laden can fulfill his Pan-Islamic dreams. He will unite
    the Muslim world against us, and will then have the capability to become
    Hitler. He's not there yet, but is helped on his way with such inflammatory
    and inaccurate comparisons.

    Defense Secretary Rumsfeld has described this conflict as a 'new Cold War.'
    That war lasted from Truman to Bush Sr., and the circumstances we are
    currently enduring are a direct result. I refuse to even consider
    supporting something that will create a new 45-year war.

    The old Cold War gave us nuclear weapons in all corners of the globe, plus
    Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Iraq, the Gulf War, the Red
    Scare, the Black Lists, McCarthy, Hoover, anthrax weapons, smallpox
    weapons, Star Wars, massive ecological destruction, and yes, Osama bin
    Laden and the Taliban.

    The ultimate fallacy behind the idea that this is a new war lies in the
    fact that we are fighting it in a very old-fashioned way. Bombing a
    defenseless nation will not stop terrorism. It will not allay the fears of
    our populace, who are bombarded daily with reports of anthrax infections.

    All the bombing of Afghanistan will do is create new jihad warriors who are
    ready to die so as to see you die. In their rage and despair, they will
    sign up willingly. Our so-called endless war will become a reality, as we
    manufacture droves of the very people we seek to destroy. It will never end.

    Let us speak of new solutions for this old war:

    1. Immediately recognize a Palestinian state, and pull out all the stops to
    broker a peace deal. Beat Arafat and Sharon about the head and shoulders
    until they come to an agreement that will stop the unspeakable suffering of
    the Palestinian people while ensuring the safety and security of Israel.
    Make Jerusalem a UN Protectorate guarded by Swiss troops, or some equally
    uninvolved nation. This is no longer an eternally nagging problem. It is
    the lynchpin upon which peace or total destruction will turn.

    2. Take the billions of dollars we are currently spending to destroy rubble
    and mud in Afghanistan and turn it into food, medicine, radios, clothing,
    seeds. If we can read Mullah Abdul bin Tallal bin Alla bin Mustafa's watch
    as he rides his camel through the Kybher Pass with our satellites, we can
    feed and clothe these people, because we are clever. Who says a Marshall
    Plan has to come after a war? With a concentrated effort, all the Taliban
    warriors in Afghanistan won't be able to stop it. They will fall.

    3. Continue what had been shaping up to be an excellent diplomatic course.
    Cut off terrorist funding. Organize the coalition to marshal every iota of
    intelligence ability to tracking, arresting and convicting terrorists in
    every corner of the globe. Before we started bombing, we had massive
    cooperation. That may evaporate in a cloud of outrage soon, and the
    aforementioned safe terrorists will not have the combined might of the
    international community looking for them anymore.

    4. Stop bombing Afghanistan. Hundreds of civilians have been killed already
    by errant munitions. We have already created more terrorists. Stop the
    bombing and stop this genesis. We've got Special Forces in Afghanistan
    right now lazing "targets," i.e. mud piles and rubble. Reconstitute their
    mission to search-and-destroy mode. Shoot these Al Qaeda fighters between
    the eyes from 1,000 yards out . . . you know we can do it.

    These actions will strip bin Laden and the Taliban of their most potent
    weapon -- the ability to generate outrage in the Muslim world. If we are
    not bombing cities, if we are actively seeking peace between Palestine and
    Israel, if we are lobbing tons of food and supplies at Afghan civilians,
    nothing bin Laden can say or do will be able to deflect the obvious fact
    that America is not being belligerent to yet another Muslim country. His
    ranting will make him and his friends more and more isolated, and a
    well-fed Afghan populace with the Northern Alliance hot on their heels will
    make some good changes.

    There are problems which require cures on the home front, as well:

    1. Restore congressional oversight to its full constitutional stature. Bush
    has sworn to limit the flow of data to Congress. This must not stand. Harry
    Truman investigated America's conduct of World War II and a senator and
    Congress investigated several facets of the Vietnam War. Both actions
    helped America in its actions. We cannot lose this essential aspect of our
    government in the rush to battle.

    2. The Republican Party must immediately cease its attempts to pass
    partisan legislation under the guise of military necessity. The war will
    not be helped by tax cuts, nor will it be helped by drilling for oil in the
    Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, nor will it be helped by a ceaseless
    barrage of denunciations aimed at President Clinton. If this does not
    cease, our much ballyhooed unity will fall to dust, and rightly so.

    3. Immediately begin congressional investigations into the spectacular
    failures by the FBI, CIA, NSA and the security sections of the national
    airlines that allowed this travesty to take place with nary a word of warning.

    4. A complete analysis of our international policies over the last 50 years
    must be immediately undertaken. We must determine where our own actions
    have helped bring this old war to our shores. From our toppling of the
    Iranian government, to Palestine, to Lebanon, to the sanctions on Iraq, our
    policies have left many large and damaging footprints. Before we can get to
    how we will win, we must first undertake to fully understand why it all
    happened. Simply being amazed at the hatred of our enemies is not enough
    and does scant justice to the American lives that have been lost.

    There is one last truth we all have to face when considering this war:

    Absolutely, positively nothing we can say or do will completely end the
    threat of terrorism in this country.


    It's here, friends. For 225 years we were protected by those two oceans and
    then we added 2,000 nuclear missiles. Those days are gone. We were
    protected and isolated from our policies, our wars, our mistakes and our
    evils. Not anymore.

    We did not deserve the attack we have absorbed, but neither did those whom
    we have attacked, or helped others to attack. Nobody deserves it, but it
    has done by us and in our name for generations. The Bible says that he who
    troubles his own house shall inherit the wind. We have troubled this house
    for a long time, and that wind has begun to blow hard and strong.

    Sept. 11 was merely an upping of an ante that has been bid upon for years.
    Super-terrorism did not come from nowhere. It is a step on the ladder to
    hell, a ladder we did much to place.

    Finally, the time has come to ask the really hard question:

    If we cannot stop terror without becoming a barricaded, isolated,
    totalitarian state -- a dark choice that is the only sure cure -- then what
    is left?

    More bombs far away? More civilian death? More feeding of the cycle that
    will surely bring more of the same to our shores and theirs?

    Or a long, slow, tortured path towards some kind of redemption?

    There is no way to win this old war if we fight it the way we have been for
    the past several days. The only way to guarantee victory is to transform
    the conflict into a genuine New War, one that looks inward as well as outward.

    If we can come up with solutions that do not involve the bombing of
    civilians and the creation of new terrorists, we will win. If we can bring
    the criminals who attacked us to justice without such tactics, we will win.
    If we can foster genuine peace in that tortured region, we will win. If we
    can come to understand the desperation and rage that is aimed at us and
    change that reality, we will win. If we can maintain democracy in our own
    country, we will win.

    I'd like to think we can win this new war. To do so, we must discard the
    old one, and the old ways in which we fight it.


    War against terrorism will fail, says former MI5 head


    By Tahira Yaqoob
    16 October 2001

    President Bush's war against global terrorism is destined for failure, the
    former head of MI5, Stella Rimington, warned yesterday.

    Dame Stella, who was speaking about the military action in Afghanistan,
    said that terrorism could never be wiped out altogether. And she warned
    that there could be a repeat of the attack on New York because the
    intelligence network was not advanced enough.

    The former director general, a diplomat's wife who rose to the highest
    position within the intelligence service before retiring five years ago,
    was speaking at the Cheltenham Literary Festival in Gloucestershire to
    promote her autobiography, Open Secret.

    She said: "I do not feel incredibly confident about this war against
    terrorism. I think it is encouraging to see that there is better, closer
    collaboration between the world's intelligence agencies. That is quite
    positive, but rooting out terrorism strikes me as an extremely difficult
    thing to do.

    "Terrorism is with us. New groups will come who regard terrorism as useful
    in drawing attention to their causes. I don't think rooting it out for all
    time is a very practical objective."

    Dame Stella, who worked for MI5 for 27 years, said the spy network was not
    advanced enough to predict exactly when and where terrorists would strike.
    "There is no such thing as 100 per cent intelligence," she said. "There
    will always be a risk that terrorist incidents may take place because there
    is not sufficiently advanced intelligence."

    Since 11 September, some of Dame Stella's critics within MI5 have blamed
    her for the failure of British intelligence to keep track of Islamic
    terrorists. They say she diverted resources towards in Northern Ireland and
    organised crime, particularly drugs.

    In 1994 Dame Stella disbanded the special unit known as G7, a "joint
    section" set up with MI6 to monitor Islamic terrorism. As a result, when
    the threat from Osama bin Laden began to become apparent in 1998, vital
    experience and continuity had been lost, her critics said.

    Anti-war resources:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/studentsnowar/files (members only)

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