---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 06 Nov 2001 11:15:04 -0800
From: radtimes <email@example.com>
Subject: Antiwar News...(# 25)
Antiwar News...(# 25)
--UN slams use of cluster bombs as 8 die
--Good news -- many deplore bombing Afghanistan
--HOW TO LOSE A WAR
--'Anti-Americanism' has roots in US foreign policy
--Ground Forces Face Silent Threats In Afghanistan
--Taliban: US using chemical weapons
--Taliban say hospital hit
--No evidence hospital hit: US
--CURSOR Launches the Internet's Most Complete Al-JAZEERA Resource
--No stranger to torture
--US bomb Red Cross again, kill children
--An Unspeakable Response to September 11th: Truth, Justice, and Equality
--America's incoherent, insulting and dangerous foreign policy
--NOBEL LAUREATE SAYS US STRIKES ON AFGHANISTAN "AS DESPICABLE" AS SEPT 11
--Kandahar bus bombed by US chopper says AIP
--War descends like a scythe on innocent Afghan village
--WAR NEEDS GOOD PUBLIC RELATIONS
--U.S. Jets Strike Kandahar, Hit Bus
--UNDERSTANDING THE AFGHAN AID CRISIS
--Why I hate America
Also of interest (links only):
*Two revealing comments on the war against Afghanistan
(Anti-war links/resources at the end.)
UN slams use of cluster bombs as 8 die
The News (Pakistan)
Friday October 26, 2001
WASHINGTON: The United Nations has sounded an alarm
over the use of cluster bombs by American aircraft
attacking Afghanistan, saying eight people died in a
Herat village by dozens of unexploded orange-coloured "bomblets"
littering roads and fields.
Official said the cluster bomb dropped on the Herat
village had left a village strewn with deadly
unexploded "bomblets." The official said eight people
from the village had been killed in the American
attack which leaves people trapped in their homes. UN
staff has sought information from the US military
about munitions dropped at the village of Shaker Qala,
and other locations, said a UN spokesperson. "Vehicles
and pushcarts took an unconfirmed number of casualties
... to the main hospital in Heart," she said. Cluster
bombs are dropped in a casing which splits open in
mid-air, scattering up to 200 bomblets the size of
soft drink cans. They are used to destroy vehicles, to
start fires and as an anti-personnel weapon.
Sometimes they descend with mini-parachutes designed
to prevent explosion on impact, so that they deny the
enemy the use of an area such as an airfield. Shaker
Qala lies near a military camp. "The villagers have a
lot to be afraid of, because these bomblets, if they
did not explode, are very dangerous," Dan Kelly,
manager of a UN mine removal program for Afghanistan,
was quoted as saying by local media. "They can explode
if the villagers so much as touch them."
The United Nations report of the cluster bomb - a
weapon used by American forces in every war since
Vietnam that has frequently caused civilian deaths -
was the latest of a growing number of accounts of
American bombs going astray and causing civilian
casualties. At the United Nations briefing where the
incident involving the cluster bomb was disclosed,
spokesmen said the Taliban had moved six tanks into
another village outside Herat after an American
bombing raid during the weekend. Afghans reaching
Quetta said two villagers had died when five of the
six tanks were struck in a subsequent American attack.
A UN official Dan Kelly was quoted as saying that
Afghan employees of the programme in Herat had gone to
Shaker Qala, the village where the cluster bomb hit,
to place sandbags around the bomblets and to clear
paths that would allow villagers to leave their homes.
Kelly said the description of the bomblets given over
the radio from Herat suggested that the bomb appeared
to have been of a type designed to scatter bomblets
over an area of 20 football fields.
He said that the bomblets, carried to the ground on
small parachutes, contained a "shaped charge" capable
of penetrating armoured steel up to five inches thick.
These bomblets, he said, are usually used for attacks
on armoured vehicles, troop concentrations, bunkers
and other dispersed targets.
But they are deadly even if they fall to the ground
unexploded, because their small size and bright colour
make them intriguing to passers-by, especially
children. In more than 20 years of war, thousands of
Afghan children have been killed or maimed by bomblets
left over from Soviet bombing of guerrilla groups in
Kelly appealed to the Pentagon to provide the United
Nations with details of the payload, height and speed
of the aircraft that dropped the cluster bomb. That
would enable the mine-removal team to determine the
"footprint" of the bomb and the area to search for the bomblets. With
nearly 300 square miles of Afghanistan already taken up by uncleared
minefields from the 22 years of Soviet military occupation and civil
war, he said, "the last thing Afghanistan needs right now is more
unexploded mines and bombs."
Since the American raids began 18 days ago, bombing
mistakes have been reported almost daily. In one early
case, a targeting error caused a bomb to strike a
United Nations mine-removal office in Kabul, killing
four Afghan employees. No confirmation of the two
Herat strikes, the one involving the cluster bomb and
the one near the mosque, was immediately available
from the Pentagon, which has acknowledged several
accidental strikes on civilian targets.
Cluster bombs dropped by US warplanes on a village in
western Afghanistan killed nine civilians and forced
the survivors to abandon their homes, the United
Nations said Thursday here in Islamabad.
UN spokeswoman Stephanie Bunker told a press
conference in Islamabad that eight people were killed
straight away in Monday night's attack on the village
near the city of Herat and a ninth was killed after
picking up one of the bombs. Another 14 people were
injured, she said, and 20 of the 45 houses in the
village were partially or completely destroyed. Bunker
said local staff from the UN demining programme had
visited the village -- which she identified as Shaker
Qala -- after the attack.
"They reported that eight civilians were killed
directly in the attack and that one civilian was
killed -- as happens in these cases -- when he went to
look at the object, touched it and it blew up," she
said. "They have determined there were 45 homes in
that village, 20 of the homes were partially or
completely destroyed in the attack. "The rest of the
population decided to voluntarily evacuate and have
gone into Herat."
Bunker said the survivors were only able to leave the
village after the deminers made a path with sandbags
for boundaries so the people fleeing did not touch any
of the remaining bombs. The Diana, Princess of Wales
Memorial Fund said as well as the immediate deadly
impact of the bombs, many of them did not explode on
impact and could kill innocent civilians years later.
"There's already a framework of international
humanitarian law that is very clearly defined,"
Hossain told reporters in Islamabad. "Whoever is
conducting those operations are under a legal
obligation to comply." Hossain said international law
stated maximum care must be taken to avoid civilian
casualties and damage to non-combatants.
He said the UN would monitor the US-led forces to
ensure their actions complied with international law.
But he would not be drawn on whether the dropping of
cluster bombs on Shaker Qala or other US air strike
blunders that have killed civilians during the 19-day
military campaign had breached international law.
According to earlier UN reports, a hospital and mosque
in a military compound within one kilometre (mile) of
Shaker Qala were also hit in the same series of raids.
Bunker said Thursday the UN still stood by its
reports, despite the United States refusing to
acknowledge that the village, hospital or mosque had
been hit. She said there were "casualties" from the
attacks on the hospital and mosque, but was unable to
give any more details.
Good news -- many deplore bombing Afghanistan
Wednesday, October 24, 2001
AS A RULE, I do not write a column about the response to a previous column.
You start down that road and you end up covering only four or five
But these are extraordinary times. And no column I've written for The
Chronicle has garnered the volume or tenor of response that the Oct.
17 column did on why I think bombing Afghanistan is
"shortsighted, counterproductive and immoral."
Given that every major poll says Americans back this military strategy
tune of 90 to 94 percent, I hunkered down for what I was sure would be a
tsunami of you-traitor, love-it-or-leave-it response.
I'm elated to report I was wrong. While the missives still roll in (more
1,500 e-mails alone), they are running about 6 to 1 in support.
Part of this is due to the alleged liberal inclination of the Bay Area --
although previous columns have shown me that this region hardly lacks for
conservatives, hawks and George W. Bush fans who love giving lefties like
me a haircut.
More telling is that the Internet makes every newspaper columnist a
voice. Readers from St. Cloud, Minn., and Woodville, Miss., have weighed
in on my Afghanistan column. So have people from Cornwall, U.K.,
and Strasbourg, France. One Peninsula woman, who abandoned newspapers
long ago for National Public Radio, was alerted by her son in Germany.
According to these supportive readers, the column has been photocopied,
attached to e-mails and linked on Web sites, mentioned on the Canadian
Broadcasting Co. and tacked onto convent bulletin boards. The primary,
recurring sentiment in these messages: gratitude.
Because of the polls and the opinions of most of my fellow pundits, lots of
people believed they were alone in their outrage and sadness over the
of Afghanistan. As New Englander Jane Livingston put it:
"Thanks for restoring my faith in the capacity of the 'mainstream media' to
serve public good, and for lighting a lamp of hope in the darkness."
A Chicago man, Paul Fowler, echoed another common theme: "Your courage
me strength to speak my truth and stand by it, despite the prevailing
winds of our troubled time."
Much as I'd like to think that column was courageous, it was more like
my ability to stifle a scream. As I've told many people, I pay attention to
what I hear about Jesus and what I read in history books; that combination
renders me incapable of silence about the death and suffering we are
the Afghans, or the truly rotten karma we are sowing all over the
Lest I mislead, plenty of folks did indeed label me everything from "an
unmitigated idiot" to a "traitorous bitch." I was told not only to leave my
homeland, but to "go join bin Laden in his cave since you obviously
much of him." I particularly enjoyed all the patronizing lectures about the
Taliban's inhumane treatment of women. Like most of the left, I didn't
suddenly discover this obscenity after Sept. 11.
Never mind that I said Osama bin Laden is evil and a mass murderer. If
against bombing Afghanistan, you love bin Laden and condone terrorism.
think the most effective way to defeat him and his suicidal followers is to
work with the rest of the peace-loving world to dismantle his malignant
network from within, not destroy what's left of a pathetic underdeveloped
country? Then you are an "empty-headed pacifist" or "a despicable worm."
But you know what? None of that matters anymore. I let out a scream and
it was answered by legions of Americans in like-minded pain. We may be
a minority, but we are not alone.
HOW TO LOSE A WAR
By Walden Bello*
After over two weeks of Anglo-American bombardment of
Afghanistan, once one gets beyond the sound and fury of American
bombs and the smokescreen of CNN propaganda, it appears that in
the war between the United States and Osama bin Laden, the latter is
coming out ahead.
"MAKING THE RUBBLE BOUNCE"
It is doubtful if Washington has achieved anything of tactical or
strategic value except to make the "rubble bounce," as the
consequences of multiple nuclear explosions in one area were
cynically described during Cold War. Indeed, the bombing, which
has taken the lives of many civilians, has worsened the US's strategic
position in Southwest and South Asia by eroding the stability of the
pro-US regimes in the Muslim world. A radical fundamentalist
regime is now a real possibility in Islamabad, while Washington faces
the unpleasant prospect of having to serve ultimately as a police force
between an increasingly isolated Saudi elite and a restive youthful
population that regards bin Laden as a hero.
Meanwhile in the rest of the developing world, the shock over the
September 11 assault is giving way to disapproval of the US bombing
and, even more worrisome to Washington, to bin Laden's emergence
in the public consciousness as a feisty underdog skillfully running
circles around a big bully who only knows one response: massive
retaliation. A telling sign of the times in Bangkok and many other
cities in Southeast Asia is the way young people are snapping up bin
Laden T-shirts, and not only for reasons of novelty.
CNN images of US President George Bush, Prime Minister Tony
Blair, and US Secretary of State Colin Powell ticking off the latest
statement of support for the US mask the reality that Washington and
London are losing the propaganda war. Their effort to paint the
military campaign as a conflict between civilization and terrorists has
instead come across as a crusade of the Anglo-Saxon brotherhood
against the Islamic world. So jarring has British Prime Minister Tony
Blair's public relations drive to make Britain an equal partner in the
war effort that the foreign minister of Belgium, which currently holds
the presidency of the European Union, has felt compelled to criticize
Blair for compromising the interests of the EU.
In the aftermath of the September 11 assault, a number of writers
wrote about the possibility that that move could have been a bait to
get the US bogged down in a war of intervention in the Middle East
that would inflame the Muslim world against it. Whether or not that
was indeed bin Laden's strategic objective, the US bombing of
Afghanistan has created precisely such a situation. Moderate leaders
of Thailand's normally sedate Muslim community now openly express
support for bin Laden. In Indonesia, once regarded as a model of
tolerant Islam, a recent survey revealed that half of the respondents
regard bin Laden as a fighter for justice and less than 35 per cent
regard him as a terrorist.
The global support that US President George Bush has flaunted is
deceptive. Of course, a lot of governments would express their
support for the UN Security Council's call for a global campaign
against terrorism. Far fewer countries, however, are actually actively
cooperating in intelligence and police surveillance activities. Even
fewer have endorsed the military campaign and opened up their
territory to transit by US planes on the way to Southwest Asia. And
when one gets down to the decisive test of offering troops and
weapons to fight alongside the British and the Americans in the harsh
plains and icy mountains of Afghanistan, one is down to the hardcore
of the Western Cold War alliance.
TRANSLATING GUERRILLA WAR TO A GLOBAL SETTING
Bin Laden's terrorist methods are despicable, but one must grant the
devil his due. Whether through study or practice, he has absorbed the
lessons of guerrilla warfare in a national, Afghan setting and translated
it to a global setting. Serving as the international correlate of the
national popular base is the youth of the global Muslim community,
among whom feelings of resentment against Western domination were
a volatile mix that was simply waiting to be ignited.
The September 11 attacks were horrific and heinous, but from one
angle, what were they except a variant of Che Guevara's "foco"
theory? According to Guevara, the aim of a bold guerrilla action is
twofold: to demoralize the enemy and to empower your popular base
by getting them to participate in an action that shows that the all-
powerful government is indeed vulnerable. The enemy is then
provoked into a military response that further saps his credibility in
what is basically a political and ideological battle. For bin Laden,
terrorism is not the end but a means to an end. And that end is
something that none of Bush's rhetoric about defending civilization
through revenge bombing can compete with: a vision of Muslim Asia
rid of American economic and military power, Israel, and corrupt
surrogate elites, and returned to justice and Islamic sanctity.
Yet Washington was not exactly without weapons in this ideological
war. In the aftermath of September 11, it could have responded in a
way that could have blunted bin Laden's political and ideological
appeal and opened up a new era in US-Arab relations.
First, it could have foresworn unilateral military action and announced
to the world that it would go the legal route in pursuing justice, no
matter how long this took. It could have announced its pursuit of a
process combining patient multinational investigation, diplomacy, and
the employment of accepted international mechanisms like the
International Court of Justice.
These methods may take time but they work, and they ensure that
justice and fairness are served. For instance, patient diplomacy
secured the extradition from Libya of suspects in the 1988 bombing of
a Pan Am jumbo jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, and their successful
prosecution under an especially constituted court in the Hague.
Likewise, the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia,
set up under the auspices of the ICJ, has successfully prosecuted
some wartime Croat and Serbian terrorists and is currently
prosecuting former Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, though of
course much remains to be done.
The second prong of a progressive US response could have been
Washington's announcing a fundamental change in its policies in the
Middle East, the main points of which would be the withdrawal of
troops from Saudi Arabia, the ending of sanctions and military action
against Iraq, decisive support for the immediate establishment of a
Palestinian state, and ordering Israel to immediately refrain from
attacks on Palestinian communities.
Foreign policy realists will say that this strategy is impossible to sell to
the American people, but they have been wrong before. Had the US
taken this route, instead of taking the law--as usual--in its own hands,
it could have emerged as an example of a great power showing
restraint and paved the way to a new era of relations among people
and nations. The instincts of a unilateral, imperial past, however, have
prevailed, and they have now run rampage to such an extent that,
even on the home front, the rights of dissent and democratic diversity
that have been one of the powerful ideological attractions of US
society are fundamentally threatened by the draconian legislation being
pushed by law-and-order types like Secretary of Justice John
Ashcroft that are taking advantage of the current crisis to push through
their pre-September 11 authoritarian agendas.
NO WIN SITUATION
As things now stand, Washington has painted itself into a no-win
If it kills bin Laden, he becomes a martyr, a source of never-ending
inspiration, especially to young Muslims.
If it captures him alive, freeing him will become a massive focus of
resistance that will prevent the imposition of capital punishment
without triggering massive revolts throughout the Islamic world.
If it fails to kill or capture him, he will secure an aura of invincibility,
somebody favored by God, and whose cause is therefore just.
As Tom Spencer, a policy analyst of Britain's Conservative Party, has
observed, bin Laden has been turned into a "Robin Hood."
September 11 was an unspeakable crime against humanity, but the
US response has converted the equation in many people's minds into
a war between vision and power, righteousness and might, and,
perverse as this may sound, spirit versus matter. You won't get this
from CNN and the New York Times, but Washington has stumbled
into bin Laden's preferred terrain of battle.
*Professor of sociology and public administration at the University of
the Philippines and executive director of Focus on the Global South, a
program of research, analysis, and advocacy of the Chulalongkorn
University Social Research Institute in Bangkok, Thailand
'Anti-Americanism' has roots in US foreign policy
Commentary by Mushahid Hussain
ISLAMABAD - Addressing the American people on October 11, US President
George W Bush seemed as perplexed as millions of Americans about the
"vitriolic hatred for America in some Islamic countries". He added: "Like
most Americans, I just cannot believe it because I know how good we are."
The day after Bush's remarks, Pakistan, Nigeria, Indonesia, Egypt and
Palestine witnessed more violent anti-American protests. What accounts for
this dichotomy between the American self-image and how others, particularly
Muslims, view them?
For any foreign visitor to America, the goodness of the average American,
and the fact that immigrants rightly perceive America as providing
opportunities and freedoms denied at home is certainly an important
ingredient that makes the US the world's most popular destination. Their
deeply ingrained empathy, candor, humor and hard work endear Americans to
all those who interact with them.
How is this "good guy" transformed into the "bad guy" abroad? The problem is
that American goodness is hardly ever exported, remaining confined to its
shores. This gap between what American says at home - liberties, rule of law
and democracy - is rarely practiced in American foreign policy.
After all, what was common among a diverse group of leaders such as Mao
Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Fidel Castro or Sukarno? They were
all great admirers of America and the American Revolution prior to assuming
office. They all looked up to the United States of America, whose 20th
Century role and ideology had been defined by Woodrow Wilson as supporting
the "right of self-determination" of subjugated peoples and colonies.
An enterprising American journalist, Edgar Snow, whose sympathetic account
of the Chinese Communist Party's struggle, Red Star over China, remains a
classic, launched Mao on the international stage.
When Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam's independence from France on September 2,
1945, he borrowed the opening words from the American Declaration of
Independence regarding the "inalienable right of people to life, liberty and
the pursuit of happiness", so inspired was he by American ideals.
Before the July 1952 overthrow of the Egyptian monarchy which he and 12
other members of the Free Officers Movement initiated, Nasser was very close
to the Americans, including the Middle East chief of the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA) of that period, Kermit Roosevelt, who was covertly
communicating with Nasser through Anwar Sadat.
Indonesian leader Sukarno idolized Thomas Jefferson and his speeches were
laced with Jeffersonian quotes. And when Castro launched the Cuban
revolution, he was confident of receiving American support.
But then, what happened? After coming to power, they became implacable
American foes after a rude shock that the America they admired and idolized
and the one they had read about in history books was different in real life.
Then there were two events which were to prove a forerunner of the emerging
patterns of American policy: the first successful CIA coup against a
popular, democratic government because it was perceived to be acting
contrary to US economic interests, led by Dr Mossadeq in Iran in 1953.
A decade later, the CIA engineered the ouster and assassination of South
Vietnam's president Ngo Dinh Diem, a friend and ally of the United States,
simply because he had outlived his utility to American interests.
>From ousting an elected nationalist to killing a friend, the US persona was
now being defined as an amoral, ruthless power whose foreign policy
instruments were capable of anything, irrespective of friend or foe. It was
perhaps in this context that Henry Kissinger once remarked, "to be an enemy
of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal".
Negativism about America has largely been derived and shaped by predominant
popular perceptions in three areas: dignity, double standards and democracy.
The leading London-based Saudi-owned Arabic newspaper, Al Hayat, recently
carried a poet's lament on the plight of the Arabs that includes lines such
as "Children are dying, but no one makes a move. Houses are demolished, but
no one makes a move. Holy places are desecrated, but no one makes a move. I
am fed up with life in the world of mortals."
The author of these lines is not some raving radical in a Palestinian
refugee camp, but Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Britain, and the sentiments
he has expressed represent what is by now almost a universally-held belief
among Arabs, the poor and the elite alike.
For Muslims, the double standards they see reinforced this hostility. For
instance, when United Nations resolutions apply to Iraq, they exempt Israel.
And nuclear weapons are even given religious labels, such as Pakistan's
"Islamic" bomb. Or terrorism is treated as a virtual Muslim monopoly,
forgetting that Timothy McVeigh, Baruch Goldstein (the Jewish settler who
gunned down 29 worshippers in a Palestinian mosque in 1994) and the Tamil
Tigers, who blew up Rajiv Gandhi, were not Muslim.
Democracy, or its absence in countries that are American allies, is another
key ingredient of anti-Americanism, more so when the United States has
conspired or connived to undermine the democratic process.
Patrice Lumumba was ousted in 1960 in the Congo and replaced by General
Mobuto. In 1965, Sukarno's replacement by General Suharto was followed by a
massacre of almost 500,000 Indonesians, some of whose names were in lists
proved by the American Embassy to Suharto's men. And in 1973, the elected
leftist President of Chile, Salvador Allende, was ousted and killed in a
CIA-backed military coup.
It is no surprise that those peoples in these countries traced their plight
at home - the injustice, the police state repression, the poverty, and the
corruption - to American actions.
However, not many Americans were aware of the adverse impact of American
foreign policy on billions of lives overseas. All that changed on September
11, 2001. Nineteen suicide bombers have done more damage to America's
self-confidence than World War II, Vietnam or the Cold War combined. On
October 7, after returning from bombing Afghanistan that Sunday night,
Commander Biff, head of an F-14 Tomcat squadron, told the media: "Tonight
was about restoring America's confidence."
However, restoring America's confidence must not be at the expense of
renewing America's relationship with the Muslim world, which is facing
severe strains. Hence, the crisis needs to be handled with patience,
maturity and wisdom.
Of all the hordes of Western journalists who have been in Pakistan after
September 11, not one has reported any hostility or harassment from the
people they encounter in the streets, even those in anti-American
There is no personal animosity toward any American or Westerner from people
they have met, only a strident political critique and resentment of American
foreign policy, which is where the roots of anti-Americanism lie.
Ground Forces Face Silent Threats In Afghanistan
October 22, 2001
By Ann Roosevelt
U.S. foot soldiers going into action against Osama Bin Laden and his
Taleban supporters in Afghanistan potentially face millions of landmines
left over from more than two decades of fighting, analysts and military
"The landmine problem in Afghanistan is pervasive," said Mark Hiznay, a
senior researcher at Human Rights Watch an independent international
organization. He said land-mine casualties are frequent among Afghani
civilians "and given the amount of contamination inside Afghanistan
there'll be a significant threat to U.S. forces."
"There are unexploded weapons ... in much of the country and it's going to
be an issue," Washington-based defense consultant David Isby said.
The Army trains and equips soldiers to deal with mines and unexploded
ordnance using equipment ranging from night vision goggles to metal
detectors to robotic vehicles. New equipment could be fielded quickly if
decisions are made to accelerate programs and money is made available, said
an Army official.
The International Campaign to Ban Landmines estimates there were as many as
10 million mines in the country in 1999, though that figure has dropped
somewhat through intense demining. The organization has identified more
than 50 types of landmines from eleven countries, and it is considered one
of the most heavily mined countries on the planet
"In 2000, the known contaminated area was estimated to total approximately
724 million square meters (724 sq. km)," the campaign's 2001 Landmine
Monitor said. All mine-related activities stopped Sept. 12, the campaign
said. Land mines are a popular weapon with militaries around the world
because they are a cheap and easy way to slow down an enemy or deny access
to large areas.
"Parts of the central Kabul in the city are mined," Hiznay said. "Grazing
land, irrigation systems, roads. ... We know 27 of the 29 provinces in
Afghanistan are affected by landmines and unexploded ordnance."
Isby said landmines and unexploded ordnance date back to the Soviet
occupation that began in 1979. Mines were also used in the civil war
between Aghan factions that began after the Soviet pullout in 1989 and
continues now in the struggle between the Northern Alliance and the Taliban
Almost every unit in the U.S. Army owns mine detection and destruction
equipment, while other equipment is ready to go if needed, said Larry Nee,
chief of the countermine division in the Army office that deals with mines,
countermines and demolitions at Ft. Belvoir, Va. The basic unit is the
hand-held mine detector. The Army has about 16,000 AN/PSS-12 detectors that
locate metallic mines and can detect the metal content of plastic mines,
The Launched Grapnel Hook is another tool in the inventory. Historically,
Nee said, soldiers would throw a grapnel hook and line as far as they could
over a mine field. When they pulled the line back, it would snag trip wires
and set off mines. The modern launched unit does the same thing using a
steel tube which fits over a rifle muzzle. When a round is fired it propels
the grapnel over the minefield. The Anti-Personnel Obstacle Breaching
System, or APOBS, is a two-man portable, rocket propelled, explosive line
charge system that can clear a path through obstacles including mines and
trip wires. The system is already in production, and Nee's office is
considering options to buy more. Tanks, which have not been called up in
the war against terrorism, can also clear mines using plows or rollers, Nee
Also available to Army forces is the Mine Clearing Line Charge that has
been fielded for at least a decade, Nee said. The trailer-mounted charge
can create a breach through a mine field. There's also an integrated system
of mine detection vehicles, detonation trailers and support packages known
as Interim Vehicle Mounted Mine Detection, Nee said.
Ready to move
The countermine office is prepared to fast-forward mine detection
development programs if urgent fielding is required.
"We've gone back and contacted virtually all the individual vendors of the
different types of equipment and collected information on ... everything
from price tags to quantities available to points of contact to national
stock numbers," Nee said.
For instance, the AN/PSS 12 mine detector could be augmented by the
Handheld Standoff Mine Detection, or HSTAMIDS, which uses both metal
detection and ground penetrating radar.
"We're looking at options to accelerate that [HSTAMIDS] if the need
arises," Nee said. "We believe we could do something with [more] money. The
devices we've built and tested in the last iteration showed the kind of
performance we think is suitable for the system and now it would simply be
a matter of applying enough money to spool up for a small production run."
HSTAMIDS has the advantage of allowing a soldier to tell the difference
between a mine and metal fragment.
"In a lot of places where you have land mines you also have a lot of
metallic clutter in the battlefield environment," Nee said, noting that if
a fragmentation mine explodes, it would contaminate a large area with metal
fragments, which would all be detected as mines by older equipment.
Options are also being considered to accelerate a robotic mine detection
unit and blast-protected control vehicle that uses several sensors called
the Ground Standoff Mine Detection System, or GSTAMIDS, Nee said. The
system uses a metal detector, ground penetrating radar and infra-red
sensors to ferret out mines. The detection equipment is put on a robotic
vehicle, which is electonrically linked to a control vehicle to keep humans
out of harm's way.
These detectors concentrate on narrow swathes of earth, but Nee's office is
also looking at technological solutions that will allow wide areas of
ground to be swept for mines-which would make detection faster and safer.
"There's been a tremendous amount of tech-base work looking at airborne
sensors," Nee said. "We are examining options to see what we can accelerate
out of the tech-base to meet the immediate need. No decisions have been
U.S. air strikes have hit Afghanistan's capital Kabul, as well as Kandahar,
another Taliban strong point in the past two weeks, all areas where mines
are known to exist.
"There are still places in Kabul that were mined due to the fighting there
a few years ago before the Taliban took it over," Isby said. Soviet-vintage
mines could be found in Kandahar as well.
"We do know that some of the most highly contaminated areas are in the
border regions along Pakistan and the Iranian border, around cities like
Herat and Kandahar, which are locations of many air strikes," Hiznay said.
But, Isby pointed out, U.S. ground forces may simply avoid those areas, as
well as areas along the front lines of the Afghan civil war. Local guides
can help avoid mined areas, he added.
Taliban: US using chemical weapons
Reuters; Ananova. 22 October 2001. Taliban say U.S.-led forces using
chemical weapons; Bush assassination order is terrorism say Taliban.
KABUL -- U.S.-led forces, now in their third week of attacks against
Afghanistan, have been using chemical and biological weapons, a
spokesman for the hardline ruling Taliban said on Monday.
"Today in my contact with doctors in Herat and Kandahar, they told me
that they have found signs that Americans are using biological and
chemical weapons in their attacks," Taliban information ministry
spokesman Abdul Hanan Himat told Reuters.
"The affects are transparent on the wounded; a state of poisonousness is
one of them," he said. The accusation could not be independently
Himat added that overnight attacks on Tarin Kot, capital of Uruzgan
province, located north of Kandahar, killed 18 civilians and wounded a
further 25 to 35.
Also: the Taliban are describing George W Bush's reported instructions
to the CIA to eliminate Osama bin Laden as an act of terrorism.
They say the US has repeatedly refused to provide evidence against Bin
Laden to the Taliban courts.
"It is an act of terrorism on the part of President Bush to issue death
orders for a person against whom he has failed to produce even a shred
of evidence," Suhail Shaheen, Taliban deputy ambassador to Pakistan told
Urdu language newspaper Inquilab.
"The US president is himself indulging in another terrorist act. What we
are seeing now is an attempt to trample international laws of justice.
Only Allah has the power over life and death."
The envoy also claimed 1,000 civilians had been killed in the bombing so
far and alleged US planes were pounding civilian targets with bunker
He said: "The Americans are desperate and bomb populated areas and
cities with an aim to force the people to migrate to other countries and
give the impression to the world that people are not happy with Taliban.
"Both Osama bin laden and Mullah Mohammed Omar are safe despite the
Taliban say hospital hit
AFGHANISTAN'S ruling Taliban said up to 100 people were killed when US and
British war planes bombed a hospital in the western city of Herat, and
accused the United States of genocidal attacks.
In Washington, the US Defence Department said it could not immediately
confirm or deny the charges.
"We have heard nothing on that. I can't confirm or deny it yet," Pentagon
spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said.
In London, Britain denied its planes took part in any raid against Herat.
Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, also told a
news conference that the US forces were using weapons never used before in
warfare. He did not give any details.
"A 100-bed hospital in Herat was bombed by American and British planes. More
than 100 people are reported to have been martyred (killed). They are
patients, doctors, nurses and other staffers who were present there," Zaeef
Britain's Ministry of Defence dismissed the Taliban's claim that British
fighters were involved in the alleged attack on the hospital.
A defence spokesman said no British strike aircraft were involved in the
operation in Afghanistan.
"The UK has aircraft that are assisting the Americans by refuelling and
engaged in reconnaissance, but we don't have any strike aircraft involved in
this mission," said the spokesman.
Earlier, an Afghani Information Ministry official said in Kabul that 50 to
70 people had been killed when bombs dropped in a US air raid struck the
Zaeef said 1,000 Afghans had died since the United States started its
military strikes more than two weeks ago to punish the Taliban for refusing
to hand over Osama bin Laden, prime suspect in the September 11 attacks on
the United States.
"So far 1,000 Afghan innocent civilians have been killed by American air
raids. They include men, women and children," he said.
There was no independent way to verify the figures. "It is now clear that
American planes are targeting the Afghan people, the goal is to punish the
Afghan nation for having chosen an Islamic system," Zaeef said.
He said the United States was using sophisticated weapons not used in war
"A village in (eastern) Nangarhar province was effaced completely after
bombing by American planes. They are civilian sites located far from
military places," he said.
US President George W Bush and top Pentagon officials have said repeatedly
that Afghan civilians are not a target.
"We are telling the Bush administration and all those who are siding with
them in the genocide that killing innocent civilians in Afghanistan is a
terrorist act as that of New York," Zaeef said.
More than 5,000 people were killed when hijacked planes slammed into
buildings in New York and Washington last month, acts that the United States
has accused bin Laden of masterminding.
"The Bush administration is annoying the souls of those killed in New York
by killing innocent men, women and children in Afghanistan and attacking our
country on mere suspicions," he said.
"America has resorted to genocide of the Afghans. This should be condemned
in the strongest terms," Zaeef said.
No evidence hospital hit: US
THE Pentagon says it has no information to substantiate claims by Taliban
officials that a hospital in the western city of Herat has been hit in US
air strikes, but it is investigating.
"The last thing we want to do is cause any civilian casualties, so we're
still looking," said Air Force General Richard Myers, the chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"We don't have the evidence yet. We'll spend some time to figure out what
(the) truth is, if we can do that."
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said previous claims by the Taliban had
been false and told reporters "we have absolutely no evidence at all that
would suggest that that allegation that you cited is correct. I'm sure it's
"But I don't have the kind of information that I do on the other
situations," he said.
Taliban officials said the 100-bed hospital, Herat's second largest, was
full of staff and patients when it was struck by a US bomb during an
overnight raid on the city.
Taliban ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Salam Zaeef said in Islamabad that more
than 100 people, including doctors, nurses and patients, were "reported to
have been martyred".
CURSOR Launches the Internet's Most Complete Al-JAZEERA Resource
On October 5th, as the U.S. launched airstrikes on Afghanistan, tiny
Qatar's Al-Jazeera satellite news channel burst onto the American
consciousness, offering the only live feeds of the war's beginning, along
with Osama bin Laden's videotaped response to the U.S.
Since then, Al-Jazeera has played a central and controversial role in the
conflict, as the only media outlet regularly reporting and transmitting
footage from inside Afghanistan.
Now, Cursor covers Al-Jazeera, with regularly updated links to the latest
reporting and commentary on this war's most important media outlet,
including a link to the station's own Web site, translated into English.
"Cursor's Al-Jazeera Link" includes the following special sections,
featuring comprehensive coverage of Al-Jazeera from newspapers, magazines
and Web sites in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East:
No stranger to torture
It may have been unofficial, but police, FBI and CIA have used such force
by Alexander Cockburn
"FBI and Justice Department investigators are increasingly frustrated by the
silence of jailed suspected associates of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda
network, and some are beginning to say that traditional civil liberties may
have to be cast aside if they are to extract information about the Sept. 11
attacks and terrorist plans."
Thus began a piece by Walter Pincus on page 6 of the Washington Post on
Sunday, Oct. 21 -- and if you suspect that this is the overture to an
argument for torture, you're right. The FBI interrogators have been getting
nowhere with four key suspects in the Sept. 11 terror attacks, now held in
New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center. None of these men have talked,
and Pincus quotes an FBI man involved in the interrogation as saying, "it
could get to that spot where we could go to pressure ... where we won't have
a choice, and we are probably getting there."
Some FBI interrogators are thinking longingly of drugs like the so-called
"truth serum," sodium pentothal; others, the "pressure tactics," i.e.,
straightforward tortures, used by Shin Bet in Israel, banned after fierce
public debate a few years ago, which included sensory deprivation (an old
favorite of British interrogators in Northern Ireland), plus physical
torments, many involving being tied up for long periods of time in agonizing
Another idea is to send the suspects to other countries for torture by
seasoned experts. Israel is not mentioned, nor the British. Extradition of
Habib Zacarias Moussaoui to France or Morocco are apparently possibilities.
I was astounded to find David Cole, noted liberal professor at Georgetown
University Law Center being quoted as saying, "the use of force to extract
information could happen" in cases where investigators believe suspects have
information on an upcoming attack. "If there is a ticking bomb, it is not an
easy issue, it's tough," he said.
As Cole surely knows, the "ticking bomb" rationale was used by Israel's
torture lobby for years, long after it had become clear that it had simply
become a routine way of dealing with hundreds upon hundreds of suspects.
Eventually, the Israeli courts said torture was simply unacceptable, and
Shin Bet has been complaining ever since.
Right now the disposition of the FBI (on one account intent on interrogating
every Arab American male between the ages of 21 and 40 in this country) is
doubtless to assume that the interviewee might have knowledge of a ticking
bomb. Are they all to be tortured? Once you accept that torture might
produce results (as, expertly performed, it undoubtedly would), where are
you going to stop? Perhaps the one out of 200,000 you didn't apply the boot,
electrodes or "truth drugs" to might have held the secret of the ticking
The FBI claims it is hampered by present codes of gentility. The irony is
that the U.S. has earned international reproof in recent years precisely
because of charges that torture is practiced by many police departments and
in many prisons, with Abner Louima the best known recent example. There's
plenty of testimony about beatings. The threat of putting a suspect where he
might be raped by other inmates is also a familiar story. Because of the
rape facilities, more conventionally known as the U.S. prison system, there
are estimates that twice as many men as women are raped in the U.S. each
The most infamous disclosure of consistent torture by a police department in
recent years concerned cops in Chicago in the mid-'70s through early '80s
who used electroshock, oxygen deprivation, hanging on hooks, the bastinado
and beatings of the testicles. The torturers were white and their victims
black or brown. A prisoner in Pelican Bay State Prison in northern
California was thrown into boiling water. Others get 50,000 volt shocks from
stun guns. Many states have so-called "secure housing units" where prisoners
are kept in solitary in tiny concrete cells for years on end, any of them
going mad in the process.
Last year the UN delivered a severe public rebuke to the United States for
its record on preventing torture and degrading punishment. Amnesty
International has denounced U.S. police forces for "a pattern of unchecked
excessive force amounting to torture."
Since its inception, the CIA has taken a keen interest in torture, avidly
studying Nazi techniques, and protecting and employing their exponents, such
as Klaus Barbie. The FBI could ship the four Arabs to plenty of countries
taught torture by CIA technicians, including El Salvador. Robert Fisk
reported in the London Independent in 1998 that after the 1979 revolution,
Iranians found a CIA film made for the SAVAK on how to torture women. The
CIA's official line is that torture is wrong and ineffective. It is indeed
wrong. On countless occasions it has been appallingly effective.
There was a time in the 1960s when the FBI was under severe pressure to find
the killers of three civil rights workers in the South. A couple of years
ago, a detailed account in the New Yorker convincingly suggested that in its
hour of need the Bureau turned to a notoriously brutal Mafia enforcer who
kidnapped one suspect and tortured him at a military base until he disclosed
where three bodies had been dumped. But that was unofficial. It is hard to
imagine that the FBI is seriously contemplating an officially sanctioned use
of torture, but in that case, why was the unnamed official speculating along
those lines to the Washington Post?
US bomb Red Cross again, kill children
AP. 26 October 2001.
Jets Strike Kabul on Day of Prayer.
KABUL -- U.S. jets struck the Afghan capital Friday on the Muslim day of
prayer, rocking the city with huge explosions and reportedly blasting a
Red Cross compound for a second time this month.
Three children were killed in overnight attacks on the city, hospital
After another night of sometimes intense bombing, three huge detonations
shook Kabul at midday, raising clouds of smoke from the direction of the
airport and the Khair Khana district to the north. It was unclear where
the third explosion occurred.
One of the blasts struck a compound of the International Committee of
the Red Cross, according to security guard Abdul Shakour.
He said warehouses used to store humanitarian supplies were damaged and
stocks of rice, beans, blankets and oil were on fire. The compound was
hit during an attack Oct. 16.
During late night bombing Thursday, three children were killed -- two
from one family living in the northwest area of the city and a third
from the east part of town, officials at the Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital
During a sermon at a Kabul mosque Friday, an Islamic cleric said the
"infidel hit our nation, even on Friday. They are very unkind to our
people." He urged the faithful to be patient because "we will win."
An Unspeakable Response to September 11th: Truth, Justice, and Equality
On October 1st, Canadian professor Sunera Thobani received a standing
ovation for her feminist critique of the US war on Afghanistan; before the
outspoken professor had made it out the door the corporate media and other
reactionaries had already begun their own war of defamation against her.
"My speech was made to rally the women's movement in Canada to oppose the
war," Thobani said in a written response to her critics. "While a few
journalists and columnists have attempted balanced coverage of my speech,
too many sectors of the media have resorted to vicious personal attacks.
Like others, I must express a concern that this passes for intelligent
commentary in the mainstream media." The full text of her response is being
made available in a special issue of the Independent Media Center's print
The vilification of Dr. Thobani went so far that a citizen even filed suit
against her for "inciting hatred", and an influential American business
owner has called for an alumni boycott of donations to the University of
British Columbia, her employer.
Dr. Thobani herself has received so much hate mail and so many personal
threats that she has a security guard keep watch at the door to the classes
she teaches at UBC.
What follows is a response and analysis by the Canadian advocacy group
"Justice for Girls".
An Unspeakable Response to September 11th: Truth, Justice, and Equality
As two who rose amongst 500 women in Ottawa this week - advocates,
anti-violence workers, and academics - and cheered in response to Dr. Sunera
Thobani's courageous speech we felt a sense of relief: finally a perspective
that encouraged compassion, justice and equality in response to the
September 11th attacks. We applauded her for breaking a deafening silence
about the tragic legacy of US foreign policy in the Third World and Middle
East. After all, how are we as a Canadian public to make an informed
decision about our response to September 11th when vital historical facts
Dr. Thobani's address was indeed consistent with the theme of the
conference: resistance to violence against women and girls. Every woman, who
rose in support of Dr. Thobani's words, understood and feared that women and
girls in Afghanistan will not escape the extreme violence of US military
action. As feminists we collectively recognize that women and girls of Color
in both the Third World and the Middle East have suffered a long and
devastating history of US economic sanctions and military action. We think
of the girls who have starved in abject poverty because of crushing US
economic sanctions on Iraq. We think of the girls who suffer the hideous
long term health effects (cancers, birth defects, internal bleeding) of
depleted uranium used in US weaponry in the Gulf. We wonder how many women
and girls were raped during the US invasion of Iraq. We know rape is and
will always be a weapon of war.
Just as the US did not liberate women and girls in Afghanistan when they
supported the rise of the Taliban to fight Soviet Forces in the 1980's, they
will not liberate women and girls by bombing them now. Let's face it, the US
has little interest in the liberation of women and girls in Afghanistan but
instead seeks to maintain control of the Middle East in order to protect
their access to oil. Premier Gordon Campbell's claim that Dr. Thobani's
speech was motivated by hate was an astonishing (and perhaps strategic)
inversion of reality. It is plain to any fool that her speech, and indeed
all of her work to date, is about opposing hatred and violence fostered by
systems of inequality including global economic and military domination by
the Western world. Dr. Thobani's speech encouraged us to learn from history
and called for a more just world order that does not rely on greed,
domination, vengeance and war. Sadly, these ideas have become increasingly
radical in a suffocating climate of US militarism and war mongering.
It is no coincidence that various media and politicians have saved their
most vicious attacks for Dr. Thobani, a woman of Color. Several have
suggested, sometimes blatantly and other times more subtly, that Dr. Thobani
is an "outsider" in Canada. For instance, references to her country of
origin and suggestions that she should go back, are common racist tactics
designed to discredit and silence her. No one acknowledged her substantial
credentials to speak on these issues or her outstanding contribution to
Canadian society as a leading feminist in this country. Instead her words
were described as "cheap sloganeering", "manipulative", "ranting", and so
on. Women and girls who speak out are very familiar with these sorts of
insults when we name unpopular or difficult truths.
Dr. Thobani's speech was a gift to us all. She named the shameful truth of
US foreign policy and challenged us to strive for peace, justice, and
equality around the world. For the sake of women and girls world wide, we
can only hope that one day soon these notions will not be viewed as extreme.
Joanne Butowski & Annabel Webb Justice for Girls Vancouver BC
America's incoherent, insulting and dangerous foreign policy
By John Chuckman
October 26, 2001-Recent applications of human rights to American foreign
policy have been confusing, perverse, and even destructive. These results
come from our not recognizing the hard nature of sound foreign policy, its
incompatibility with ideological zeal, and great unsettled issues in our
These observations are made all the more poignant by current discussions
about rebuilding Afghanistan, complete with references to expanded human
rights and democracy, albeit while that country is bombed in an attempt to
destroy its existing government.
Foreign policy is the tough-minded business of negotiating our way among
other nations, optimizing our influence, gaining acceptance for important
goals while neutralizing unfriendly influences. Its focus is success in
economic, political, and military rivalries. It is intellectually
demanding, pragmatic and best reflects enlightened self-interest.
Fantasy, sentimentality, and missionary regard for others as benighted are
as inappropriate and ineffectual as they would be on Wall Street. Most of
history's foreign-policy disasters -- as Philip II of Spain's long and
costly efforts to reestablish Catholicism in Northern Europe -- reflect
ideology blind to new realities.
Of all nations ever to achieve great power before the United States, only
Great Britain during her decline had pretensions to democracy. The United
States as both world power and a nation of democratic ideals faces special
dilemmas in foreign policy. How do you balance realpolitik, always ignored
at one's peril, with ideals of human rights? Imperial ambitions with democracy?
Ideology in foreign policy is not new. It has served both to mask other
motives in the disastrous pursuit of dreams. The French, during the most
extreme part of their Revolution, attacked neighboring states, grabbing
real estate and booty in the name of liberty and fraternity. The Germans
committing the bloodiest act in human history, the invasion of Russia,
claimed to defend Western values.
President Jefferson, who had a great distaste for war, tried using a trade
embargo to avoid one with Great Britain. He succeeded in crippling New
England's economy, encouraging widespread lawbreaking (since compliance was
economic suicide for many) and inspiring a secession movement. A stubborn
Jefferson became ruthless at enforcement, violating most of the
high-sounding principles for which he is known. And the war he sought to
avoid fell to his successor.
America's great moment in world affairs was the immediate aftermath of
World War ll. The Marshall Plan and reconstruction of defeated enemies
earned the United States a world reputation for greatness of spirit, even
though these actions also served our self-interest. Today, we talk more
than ever about human rights and democracy, but, if you follow media
outside the United States, you will sense much concern, doubt, and fear
about our intentions.
The image of a Jimmy Stewart character, eyes tearing with sincerity and
Adam's apple bobbing, opposing the amoral forces of traditional foreign
policy -- exemplified by such masters as Richelieu, Talleyrand, Metternich,
and Bismarck -- is an appealing one. But it is no less fantasy than the
political events in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."
Gary Cooper as sheriff in "High Noon" is probably closer to the role many
Americans believe we now play. The trouble with this image is that Gary
Cooper only killed bad guys (and not by ambushing them). He sure didn't
burn down the whole town to get what he wanted. Running around the world
warning selected leaders to "straighten up an' fly right, or else we're a
goin' ta bomb ya," is not foreign policy. The results can be utterly
chaotic as they are in Kosovo and almost certainly will prove in Afghanistan.
It's not particularly moral either. When you kill others with little or no
risk to yourself, it corrupts judgment and diminishes an appropriate sense
of sacrifice and responsibility for what you are doing. Since ancient
times, the kind of warrior that killed without exposing himself has been
held in contempt.
Evangelism, too, is a poor model for foreign policy. Our public
pronouncements concerning China in recent years chiefly proclaim her sins.
Considering how far China has come since the nightmare of the Cultural
Revolution, this seems downright quirky. One suspects a certain amount of
cynicism and hypocrisy at work here. We hear very little about dissidents
in the world's many nasty places that we regard as loyal friends or vital
to our interests. And the level of our concern about China seems to grow
with the size of her trade surplus. Should human rights concerns be used as
sticks to beat out trade concessions? Does that enhance our prestige and
When we preach about democracy, we ignore the fact that modern, stable
democracy is related to the economic growth of a strong middle class. It is
the gradual emergence of a large group of people with a stake in society
that makes decisions by the privileged less and less acceptable in any
society. Democracy grows out of real economic change.
Our history shows this. Despite revolutionary rhetoric of "no taxation
without representation," there was poor representation in pre-revolutionary
assemblies although Britain had granted considerable autonomy in local
affairs. And this did not improve quickly after the Revolution. Virginia,
for example, was run as a planter aristocracy with perhaps as little as one
percent of the population able to vote. It is a legitimate question whether
China's Communist Party is any less representative than the Virginia
planters who jealously guarded their power against smallholders and
Today, despite much progress, money undermines our elections,
gerrymandering makes fixtures of incumbents, two parties are granted almost
a monopoly, our powerful Senate retains many undemocratic aspects, and
voters refuse to vote. If this is where we are after four centuries of
development, how reasonable is it to expect China to leap into democracy?
Yes, democracy exists in a few poor countries, and authoritarian government
has existed in more advanced ones, but these generally are not stable
environments in the long term.
China is still very poor and cannot become a modern nation soon. But it is
growing rapidly, the Communist Party has stopped micro-managing economics
and politics, and there are promising democratic institutions at the local
level. These developments should be praised, assisted and encouraged,
rather than our publicly blaming China for what she has not yet achieved.
In no underdeveloped place do human rights mean the same thing as in the
advanced world. Our Old Testament and Greek myths tell us of human
sacrifice and other grisly deeds. In many parts of the world, life hasn't
changed much in the 3,000 years since those passages were written.
The growth of human-rights concepts parallels economic and social
development. Our nation, despite the fine words of founding documents,
accepted for much of its history that you could treat some human beings
virtually as livestock. Even with growth and change, pockets of
backwardness persisted where lynching was common and accepted.
The most powerful influence we can exert for human rights is through
example. In foreign affairs, just as in ordinary life, talk is cheap. We
wag our fingers about Tiananmen Square without seeming to grasp that others
see the brutal police work at Waco being just as deplorable. Amnesty
International, a much respected organization and winner of the Nobel Prize
for Peace, recently cited the United States for serious and extensive
human-rights abuses by police.
One can only imagine the utterly unproductive indignation and insult
generated when leaders of ancient societies are given sermons by Americans
who often do not know their own history. Such moments are simply not what
foreign policy is about.
NOBEL LAUREATE SAYS US STRIKES ON AFGHANISTAN "AS DESPICABLE" AS SEPT 11
Friday, October 26, 2001
CAIRO, Oct 25 (AFP) -
Egypt's Nobel Prize-winning author Naguib Mahfouz has called the war on
terrorism being waged in Afghanistan "just as despicable a crime" as the
September 11 attacks in the United States.
"Of course we grieved for the thousands of innocent civilians whose lives
were destroyed on 11 September. But the so-called war on terrorism is
just as despicable a crime," Mahfouz said in an interview published
Thursday by the English-language Al-Ahram weekly.
"A million innocent Afghans will die if the bombardment does not stop,"
said the author and winner of the 1998 Nobel for literature.
"While the group that carried out the September 11 attack showed utter
disregard for any law or standard or decency, now we find a major world
power doing the same," he said.
Mahfouz said that America had "every means to make a sensible decision
and, while folly is understandable in the case of extremists whose
punishment nobody opposes, it is hardly acceptable coming from the
superpower par excellence."
"America must study the problem carefully to discern the nature of and
reasons for terrorism," he continued.
"What we witnesses in New York and Washington is a symptom of the illness
referred to as terrorism; and as is current in medical wisdom, it is
impossible to eradicate the symptoms before curing the illness.
"Bombing innocent civilians ... is simply an exercise of military power
and America has this in abundance, allowing it to contribute to the
factors causing terrorism rather than attacking its roots.
"Its actions now even give terrorism additional justification," he
Kandahar bus bombed by US chopper says AIP
Thursday, October 25, 2001
ISLAMABAD -- A U.S. military helicopter dropped a bomb on a packed
bus in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Thursday morning,
killing all passengers aboard, Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) reported.
The Pakistan-based AIP, quoting Amir Khan Muttaqui, spokesman of
Afghanistan's ruling Taliban, said the death toll is not immediately
The bombing followed U.S. air raids on the Taliban stronghold of
Kandahar on Wednesday night that killed one person and injured eight
others, according to the report.
Muttaqui also said U.S. warplanes dropped bombs on the village of
Ishaq Sulaiman in Herat Province in the country's west overnight,
killing 20 people and injuring eight others as they emerged from a
mosque after prayers.
Meanwhile, Muttaqui said the Taliban government has called on the
56-member Organization of Islamic Conference to send a team of
observers to Afghanistan to survey "indiscriminate bombings" by U.S.
forces on his country, according to the AIP report.
Such attacks have caused damage to residential areas, mosques and
hospitals, the spokesman said.
In its earlier report, AIP said the United States on Wednesday night
twice targeted Takht Alaman, another village in Herat Province,
killing 16 civilians and injuring 25 others.
Many houses were destroyed, the report said.
The U.S. also raided the Taliban's front lines in Balkh and Samangan
provinces and the capital Kabul on Wednesday night, although the
Taliban suggested the attacks had little impact, AIP said.
"Although our front lines were bombarded last night, there is no
change in our positions," Muttaqui was quoted as saying.
The Taliban spokesman also brushed aside U.S. allegations that
Taliban forces are taking refuge in civilian residential areas. "Our
front lines are far away from civilian areas and we cannot take
refuge in such places," he said.
The U.S.-led military operations started Oct. 7 to punish the Taliban
for its refusal to hand over Islamic militant Osama bin Laden, who
Washington says is the principal suspect behind the Sept. 11 terror
attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon
War descends like a scythe on innocent Afghan village
THE TIMES (London)
THURSDAY OCTOBER 25 2001
FROM CATHERINE PHILP IN QUETTA, PAKISTAN
IT WAS not long after 7pm on Sunday when the bombs
began to fall over the outskirts of Torai village.
Mauroof knew that because he had just sat down to eat
an evening meal of naan bread and dhal with his
family, as they did every night on their farm in this
quiet corner of Oruzgan province.
Rushing outside, Mauroof saw a massive fireball rising
from the ground and realised, in horror, that the
bombs had fallen over the little cluster of houses a
mile away where his sister and his other relatives
I wanted to rush straight there and see if they were
all right but my wife and daughters begged me not to
go, Mauroof said.They said: We are alone here and
the bombs are still falling, please stay with us.
Morning brought an end to the bombing and the news
that Mauroof had been dreading. At 5am, after he had
finished his morning prayers, a neighbour arrived to
tell him that some 20 villagers had been killed in the
blasts, among them ten of his relatives.
As he arrived at the bomb site, distraught villagers
were digging desperately through the rubble of two
destroyed houses in search of their missing relatives.
I saw the body of one of my brothers-in-law being
pulled from the debris, Mauroof said. The lower part
of his body had been blown away. Some of the other
bodies were unrecognisable. There were heads missing
and arms blown off.
As the rescuers worked, he counted 12 bodies being
dragged from the house. The roll call of the dead read
like an invitation list to a family wedding: his
mother-in-law, two sisters-in-law, three
brothers-in-law, and four of his sisters five young
children, two girls and two boys, all under the age of
In a dark room in his neighbours house he found the
survivors. His younger sister, Rhidi Gul, 25, and her
one-year-old baby son, Hamid Ullah, had been pulled
from the rubble of their home, alive but badly injured
by shrapnel and falling masonry.
A little later, rescuers carried out Rhidis two young
sisters-in-law, Zarajan, 15, and Khamno, ten, both
bleeding heavily from wounds where the flying shrapnel
had scythed into their flesh.
One of Mauroofs neighbours lent him an old farm truck
to take his injured relatives to the nearest hospital
in Kandahar, seven hours journey to the south along a
bumpy desert track. The journey was terrible. They
were crying out with pain and begging to stop and I
thought we would never make it, he said.
In nearly deserted Kandahar, things were little
better. In the hospital there were plenty of beds for
the wounded but little medicine and no nursing staff
to care for them.
Mauroof offered to look after them himself but the
attendants refused, saying men were forbidden from
entering the womens ward.
Later that day Zarajan died in the operating theatre
as doctors tried to remove the shrapnel embedded in
Mauroof decided the others only chance of survival
was to head towards the border with Pakistan. An
ambulance stationed there then rushed them to the
Al-Khidmat Al-Hajen Hospital in Quetta, a clinic set
up 20 years ago for the treatment of Afghan refugees.
Yesterday, Mauroof sat anxiously by his sisters
bedside as she lay barely conscious, tears collecting
in her eyes as she winced in pain from the shrapnel
wounds crisscrossing down her body. In the adjacent
bed lay baby Hamid, his face a patchwork of scabs and
scars where the force of the blast had caught him.
Close by, Khamno sat listlessly playing with a small,
yellow teddy bear, unable to speak because of the
string of eight stitches connecting her severed cheek
to her mouth.
Mauroof ushered us into the corridor to tell us their
story. He apologised, explaining he had not yet been
able to tell his sister that she had lost four of her
In another ward across the corridor lay Faisal Rehim,
20, his shattered leg held up by a stirrup. He had
raced to the place where the bombs had dropped on
Sunday night in search of his older brother and his
As he helped other rescuers dig through the rubble, he
heard the roar of warplanes overhead and then a sudden
whistling sound. Suddenly there was an explosion and
the wall of the house collapsed on me, trapping my
leg, he said.
He was carried away just before rescuers uncovered the
bodies of his 25-year-old brother, Abdul, and his
five-year-old nephew, Amin.
All are mystified as to why their village should have
been the target of what they firmly believe was a
bombing raid by American-led forces.
Mr Rehim said he suspected the target was a group of
Taleban administration offices a mile-and-a-half away.
But there are no military bases near us, he said.
Many people living near other bases have fled their
homes but no-one moved from our village because there
was calm. We have always felt safe there. We never
thought that we would have to flee from the bombs.
Doctors were gloomy about his prospects of recovering
the use of his leg but he was determined it would
heal. I have never been a fighter before but after
this, I want to go back and fight the Americans. They
have killed innocent people and that is wrong, he
The accounts of the bombing of Torai stand out from
almost every other statement given by alleged civilian
casualties arriving here from other parts of
So far, the majority of casualties have been lone
young men brought in by friends or relatives, often
with injuries more consistent with landmine or grenade
explosions than with large bombs or missiles dropped
from the air.
Few of their accounts have been corroborated and few
have been able to provide more than the sketchiest
details of how they were injured. Nonetheless, the
doctors at Quettas Civil Hospital, where the majority
are treated, seem eager to publicise their war
wounded, sticking cards above each bed detailing in
English how the patient came to be there for the
benefit of visiting journalists: one, Yaruna, cruise
missile, fractured femur, another, Faiz Mohammed,
bomb blast, soft tissue injury, both calves.
Doctors at the Al-Khidmat Al-Hajen Hospital, by
contrast, agreed only with great reluctance to let us
see the Torai casualties. The hospital was a place for
the injured, they said, not for the media. They
confirmed, however, that the injuries appeared to
confirm accounts of the bombings. These are serious
shrapnel wounds, Dr Atta-ur-Rehman said. They could
only have been caused by a large blast.
WAR NEEDS GOOD PUBLIC RELATIONS
By Norman Solomon
For some people, war is terror, disaster and death. For others,
it's a PR problem.
At the Rendon Group, a public-relations firm with offices in
Boston and Washington, pleasant news arrived the other day with a $397,000
contract to help the Pentagon look good while bombing Afghanistan. The
four-month deal includes an option to renew through most of 2002.
This is a job for savvy PR pros who know how to sound humanistic.
"At the Rendon Group, we believe in people," says the company's mission
statement, which expresses "our admiration and respect for cultural
diversity" and proclaims a commitment to "helping people win in the global
A media officer at the Pentagon explained why Rendon got the
contract. "We needed a firm that could provide strategic counsel
immediately," Lt. Col. Kenneth McClellan said. "We were interested in
someone that we knew could come in quickly and help us orient to the
challenge of communicating to a wide range of groups around the world."
As a PR outfit, Rendon has moved in some powerful economic
circles, with clients including official trade agencies of the United
States, Bulgaria, Russia and Uzbekistan. In Washington, the firm helped
organize a series of conferences on "post-privatization management in the
global telecommunications, electric power, oil and gas, banking and
finance, and transportation sectors." Some of the clientele has been more
liberal or touchy-feely: Handgun Control Inc. and the American Massage
Rendon proudly notes that it provided "community and media
relations counsel to the Monsanto Chemical Company in its effort to clean
up several contaminated sites." Overseas, Rendon helped the Kuwait
Petroleum Corporation to cope with labor strife and bad press when closing
a refinery in Naples, Italy.
Some clients have been more shadowy. Rendon worked for the
government of Kuwait in the early 1990s. And the firm made a lot of money
by contracting with the CIA to do media work for the Iraqi National
Congress, an organization seeking the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
Now, the Rendon Group is facing what is perhaps its most
challenging project yet -- spinning for a war in Afghanistan. With its
sights set on media content in 79 countries, Rendon will use standard tools
of the PR trade, such as focus groups, websites and rigorous analysis of
A few days ago, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that "we
need to do a better job to make sure that people are not confused as to
what this is about." It's typical of warmakers to claim that the biggest
problems lie with others' faulty perceptions rather than their own deadly
orders. But no amount of PR wizardry can change the cold facts: when a bomb
hits a home for the elderly or a hospital or a residential neighborhood, or
when a bombing campaign sets in motion a cataclysm of mass starvation.
If some people are "confused" about this war, it may be because
they remember the rationale for it: Killing thousands of civilians is
Though you wouldn't know much about it from watching TV news or
skimming the front pages, large numbers of Afghans -- many of them children
and elderly -- are facing the likelihood of starvation because the bombing
has forced recurrent halts to the movement of food-aid trucks from Pakistan
into Afghanistan. Concern is growing among humanitarian aid workers that
about 100,000 people are now in imminent peril. By winter, the number could
be in the millions.
Meanwhile, on television, we see footage of air-dropped meals that
amount to no more than 1 percent of what's needed to prevent people from
starving. That's called good PR.
At this point, the playbook for the Pentagon's media game is a
familiar one. Consider the words of Eugene Secunda, a professor of
marketing and former senior vice president of the J. Walter Thompson firm.
"Operation Desert Storm allowed only one view of the battle: the one
authorized by the military," he observed in 1991. "Like travelers led from
their buses by tour guides, the TV crews were given an opportunity to
videotape the 'panoramic vista' before them, and then were whisked to the
next officially authorized destination."
Writing a decade ago, Secunda foreshadowed the kind of coverage
we're now seeing. "In the aftermath of the war with Iraq, strategic
planners, preparing for future wars, are unquestionably examining the
lessons gleaned from this triumphant experience. One of the most important
lessons learned is the necessity of mobilizing strong public support,
through the projection of a powerful and tightly controlled PR program,
with particular effort directed toward the realization of positive news
As bombs routinely fall on Afghanistan, that's the kind of
coverage that dominates television screens in the United States. For now,
anyway, the Pentagon is winning its PR war at home.
Note to readers: You can access free audio and video of Norman Solomon's
recent appearance on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" at
www.c-span.org/terrorism/journal.asp -- listed under Monday, Oct. 15. The
one-hour program focuses on media coverage of terrorism and the bombing of
U.S. Jets Strike Kandahar, Hit Bus
By Steven Gutkin
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, Oct. 25, 2001
KORAK DANA, Afghanistan U.S. attacks on the
Taliban's southern headquarters of Kandahar hit a bus
at the city gates Thursday, killing at least 10
civilians in a fiery explosion, the Taliban and
Previous night-and-day bombardments have almost
emptied Kandahar of its half-million civilians.
Bombing at Kandahar persisted into the day, while
overnight attacks elsewhere struck targets around the
strategic northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif ? where
opposition forces are trying to close in from the
south ? and in the western city of Herat.
In Washington, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
acknowledged the United States might not be able to
catch Osama bin Laden, but he predicted that the
Taliban, Afghanistan's ruling regime, would be
Rumsfeld told USA Today it would be "very difficult"
to capture or kill the terror suspect.
"It's a big world," he said. "There are lots of
countries. He's got a lot of money, he's got a lot of
people who support him and I just don't know whether
we'll be successful."
In any event, Rumsfeld said, he thought bin Laden's
terrorist network would carry on without him.
"If he were gone tomorrow, the same problem would
exist," he told the paper.
With U.S. military action against the Taliban
intensifying, diplomats stepped up efforts Thursday to
have a viable post-Taliban government ready if the
Islamic regime falls.
Saudi Arabia dispatched its foreign minister, Saud
al-Faisal, for talks with Pakistani President Gen.
Pervez Musharraf on post-Taliban Afghanistan. Afghan
tribal representatives, meanwhile, were ending a
two-day meeting in Peshawar aimed at paving the way
for a new government.
In other developments:
?Thousands turned out in the southern Pakistan city of
Karachi on Thursday for the funeral of an Islamic
militant leader killed with 21 comrades when a U.S.
bomb destroyed their house in Kabul. Pakistani police
filed charges against 150 activists in connection with
violent protests surrounding the deaths.
? In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell
ruled out a dominant role for Pakistan in shaping the
new government, saying the United Nations should take
the lead. He spoke before the House International
Relations Committee, and was to appear before its
Senate counterpart Thursday.
?In London, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he
expected bin Laden would be killed, not arrested.
? Uzbekistan agreed to open its border to allow barges
to carry humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, where some 3
million people are in need, Kenzo Oshima, U.N.
undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said
The United States and Britain launched the military
campaign in Afghanistan Oct. 7 after the Taliban
refused repeated demands to surrender bin Laden, the
chief suspect in last month's terror attacks in the
On Thursday, Taliban spokesman Mullah Amir Muttaqi
reported "severe" airstrikes on Kandahar, which has
been pounded incessantly since the bombing campaign
He told Afghan Islamic Press, an independent
Pakistan-based news agency, that one of Thursday's
bombs hit a bus. The bus caught fire, incinerating at
least 10 people inside, resident Jalal Khan told
another news agency, the South Asian Dispatch Agency.
Pakistan's largest ambulance service said it was
bringing six survivors for treatment in the Pakistani
border town of Chaman.
The Taliban have expelled most foreign journalists
from the country, making it difficult for the outside
world to examine casualty claims. The United States
says bin Laden, his al-Qaida network, and its Taliban
allies are its true targets and insists it is trying
to minimize civilian casualties.
The Taliban also reported overnight attacks at Herat
and in the provinces of Balkh and Samagan, where the
opposition northern alliance has been fighting the
Taliban to open the road to Mazar-e-Sharif.
At Afghanistan's other key front, north of Kabul,
opposition commanders complained anew that U.S.
attacks have not been strong enough to dislodge
"If America wants to finish off terrorism and the
Taliban in Afghanistan, they must bring in ground
troops," insisted Eztullah, leader of a small group of
opposition fighters at the town of Korak Dana near the
Northern alliance forces claim to be bringing
thousands of troops toward the front line, ready for
any order from their leaders to march on Kabul, 30
The fractious alliance of opposition forces, which
ruled Afghanistan for four bloody, chaotic years, lost
power in 1996 when the Taliban routed them from Kabul.
The alliance lost Mazar-e-Sharif to the Taliban two
years later, severing vital supply links with
neighboring Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Opposition forces have been trying to regain both
cities ever since.
In Peshawar, Pakistan, representatives of Afghan
tribes pressed ahead in a two-day council to discuss
formation of a broad-based government to replace the
Pir Sayed Ahmed Gailani, a longtime supporter of the
exiled Afghan King Mohammad Zaher Shah, said tribal
leaders would ask the Afghan people "to revolt against
the Taliban dictatorship."
Meanwhile Thursday, Taliban spokesman Muttaqi denied
Pentagon suggestions that the Taliban might be
poisoning humanitarian food donations, calling them
UNDERSTANDING THE AFGHAN AID CRISIS
From: 9-11PEACE.ORG BULLETIN, Issue 2
Available online at http://www.9-11peace.org/bulletin.php3
Despite the huge number of reporters now broadcasting from
Pakistan and Afghanistan, news and information about the
humanitarian crisis have been difficult to get. Below are
some of the best resources we've seen on the current shape
of the crisis, the response of aid organizations, and the
history that's behind it.
Information straight from the U.N. on the crisis in
Afghanistan, including news releases, maps, statistics, and
an overview. If you only visit one page, visit this one.
Doctors Without Boarders/Medecins Sans Frontieres has issued
a statement, along with a number of other relief
organizations, that a cease-fire is necessary to allow food
and medicine into Afghanistan before winter comes. This
page contains an insightful interview with a MSF
spokesperson on this statement and the problems with getting
aid into Afghanistan.
The vital statistics:
Numbers on Afghanistan from the CIA: life expectancy,
population, geography, and more.
The lay of the land:
A map of the refugee problem in Afghanistan.
A 1999 Amnesty International report on the background and
origin of the aid crisis, which even then was one of the
largest in the world.
Why I hate America
By Khalid Amayreh
I would be dishonest if I said I didn't hate the American government. I
do hate it, so really, so deeply and, yes, so rightly.
America is the tormentor of my people. It is to me, as a Palestinian,
what Nazi Germany was to the Jews. America is the all-powerful devil
that spreads oppression and death in my neighborhood. How can I not hate
this "great Satan," the evil empire? Does anyone expect people to love
America has been, and continues to be, the sponsor, enabler, protector,
and justifier of my people's misery for the last fifty years.
America is the author of 53 years of suffering, death, bereavement,
occupation, oppression, homelessness, and victimization.
America is the usurper of my people's right to human rights, democracy,
civil liberties, development, and dignified life.
America is the abettor and financier of Israeli occupation, apartheid,
repression, terror, and territorial aggrandizement.all at my people's
America is the protector, maintainer, sustainer and guarantor of
despotism, dictatorship, dynastic fiefdoms, and brutal autocracies,
theocracies, oligarchies, and monarchies.
America is the evil power that denies my people their "freedoms and
America is the tyrant, global dictatorship that robs hundreds of
millions of Arabs and Muslims of their right to freely elect their
governments and rulers because corporate America dreads the outcome of
democracy in the Muslim world.
America treats me and my people as "children of a lesser God."
In fact, in the final analysis, America offers me one of two choices:
Either I submissively accept perpetual enslavement and oppression or
become an Osama bin Laden. Honestly, there is not a third choice, if
there is one let us see it.
I'm not exaggerating at all, as I know that the distance between being
tormented by America's oppressive hegemony and being converted or
mesmerized into bin-Ladenism is shorter and smaller than many would
think, including the so-called experts in Washington.
In fact, I dare say that the first inevitably leads to the second in a
straightforward cause-effect relationship.
So, please America, don't make me an Osama bin Laden.
I don't want to be one. I hate to kill innocent people, for, in our
religion, killing an innocent human-being consigns the killer straight
to hell. And I don't want to go to hell.
But I don't want to stay in America's hell, either.
In short, it is virtually impossible for me, as indeed is the case for
most Palestinians, Arabs, or Muslims, not to hate America so much.
For me, in order not to hate America, I would have to be imbecile,
bereft of dignity, or without senses and feelings. completely numb.
Only infra-humans and quasi-beasts wouldn't hate their evil tormentors
and grave-diggers. And America is the Palestinian people's ultimate
tormentor and grave-digger, as well as the oppressor and killer of
millions around the world.
In fact, finding an Arab in these days that doesn't hate America would
be like searching for a Jew who is infatuated with Hitler's Germany. Are
there Jews who adore the Nazis?
Are there still Arabs and Muslims who identify with the indirect, but no
less-real, perpetrator of the massacres of Qana, Sabra and Shatilla, and
now Beit Rima. Maybe there still are some, but I'm sure they soon will
disappear. I know that a wealthy Saudi Emir recently made some
sycophantic remarks about being "an ally of America." However, it is
extremely unlikely that he didn't mean what he said. It would be
scandalous if he did, indeed.
I know that "hate" is evil, at least a passive evil. And I, personally,
really strive not to allow my deep hate for the American government and
its murderous policies be transformed from the static form to the
However, others, who may even hate America more than I do, will not be
able to exercise as much self-control, as much suppression of their
grievances, and as much "wisdom." But Static hate is ultimately a frozen
rage, awaiting the moment of explosion.
I know hate can be blind and deadly. But, I also know that oppression,
as the Holy Qura'n clearly states, is worse than murder. Doesn't Islam's
holy Book declare that "wal-fitnatu Ashaddu minal-qatl?"
Hence, I try, even strive, to make my hate for America, as rational as
possible, as constructive as possible, even as human as possible. This
is not because America deserves to be treated humanely.
The exterminators of 1.5 million Iraqi children, for the purpose of
punishing one man, would never deserve to be treated well, or respected.
They are despicable mass murders of the Hitler's ilk.
I try to control my hate, because my goal is to live in love and peace,
not to hate and be hated by others.
My goal is to be free, free from Israel's US-sponsored and US-funded
oppression and occupation.
I want to be free from apartheid. What is wrong or objectionable about
wanting to be free from apartheid? I want to be free from suffering
which transcends reality.
I want to be free from a life of roadblocks, checkpoints, detention
camps, closed-military zones, "targeted killing," land-confiscation,
home-demolition, and, yes, daily massacres.
I also want to be free from hate, even hate for America. But I know too
well that I can't be free from the effect until I am free from the
cause, and the cause is America's greed, rapacity and hegemony.
All we want is to be left alone and allowed to live a normal life and
exercise our God-given rights and freedoms. like other human beings. Is
this asking for too much?
Please, America, don't make me an Osama bin Laden.
Also of interest:
Two revealing comments on the war against Afghanistan
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/studentsnowar/files (members only)
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