[sixties-l] Antiwar News...(# 28) (fwd)

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    Subject: Antiwar News...(# 28)

    Antiwar News...(# 28)

    --On Campus and Off, Antiwar Movements See New Vigor
    --U.S. Appears to Be Losing Public Relations War So Far
    --Anti-war protests in Turkey, Pakistan despite gov't suppression
    --US bombs civilians, again
    --This report cannot be independently verified
    --Thousands protest Afghan strikes at EU summit
    --US bombs UN demining dogs
    --Academic says public want quick fix to Afghan war
    --War-Time Realism Through the Looking Glass
    --Direct witness of Afghanistan civilian victims of attacks
    --No peace, no justice
    --Trapped by the barbed wire border
    --Killing Our Own Kind
    --U.N.: American planes destroyed military hospital
    --U.S. bombs hit civilian areas
    --A True Patriot Can Pose Hard Questions
    --U.N. Confirms Bomb Hit Hospital on Outskirts of an Afghan City
    --Pentagon admits US jets bombed old people's home in Afghan city
    (Anti-war links/resources at the end.)

    On Campus and Off, Antiwar Movements See New Vigor

    LA Times. 28 October 2001.

    AMHERST, Mass. -- As never before, their dance cards are full.

    Scholars of peace and diplomacy say that with little effort -- and no
    exaggeration -- they could schedule three speaking engagements per
    night. Elder statesmen of this country's antiwar movement report a
    similar surge in demand since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Academics
    who study terrorism or the Middle East are taking part in teach-ins that
    generally are packed.

    Off campus, the voices of nonviolence are heard in such places as
    Worcester, a working-class city where a weekly vigil during rush hour
    draws cheers from passersby.

    And in Northampton, where a draft counseling center has opened -- even
    though, at the moment, there is no military draft.

    Any organized campaign to oppose U.S. military force in Afghanistan "is
    still in the process of taking shape," said Joseph Gerson of the
    American Friends Service Committee in Cambridge. But, he said, momentum
    is building.

    "It's big and it's diverse," Gerson said. "I think it can be described
    as a peace movement and an antiwar movement and a justice movement."

    The energy is evident in increased traffic on the Internet, where new
    peace sites are complementing existing sources of information about the
    war. But along with the vast virtual audience, actual crowds are

    In longtime centers of peace activity such as Berkeley and Madison,
    Wis., large demonstrations began before the first bombs were dropped.

    But New England, long a focal point for activism, is where much of the
    antiwar action is unfolding.

    The new pacifism feels almost polite, lacking the stridence of earlier
    generations of American protest. Resistance to the U.S. military
    involvement in Afghanistan is thoughtful, reflective. It is tempered by
    angst, anguish--and most of all, a fundamental abhorrence of what
    happened to this country when hijackers commandeered four jetliners and
    killed more than 5,000 people.

    The focus still is diffuse; there is no monolithic chorus of dissent. No
    charismatic leaders have yet stepped forward. And if there is a single
    defining trait, at present it is a thirst for information.

    With foundations in the vast and growing antiglobalization campaign, the
    evolving peace movement draws on long-standing, traditional
    organizations and philosophies. Days after Sept. 11, Quaker groups
    organized the first peace rallies. The War Resisters League, the
    Fellowship of Reconciliation and other old-time pacifist groups are back
    on the radarscope. Again and again, a well-worn chestnut from Mahatma
    Ghandi -- "an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind" -- shows up
    on handouts and bulletin boards.

    "I'm seeing a lot less of the knee-jerk kind of stuff," said Stephen
    Zunes, a Middle Eastern specialist who directs the peace and justice
    studies program at the University of San Francisco. "People are
    concerned, and they oppose the war. But they realize this is a different
    kind of situation. They need the facts. They want more information."

    A recent two-day speaking swing took Zunes from the Bay Area to Los
    Angeles to Eugene, Ore. His audiences were "big and enthused and
    agitated, but I think in a more reflective, responsible way than we have
    seen sometimes."

    "Certainly there is passion out there, but it is a responsible passion
    -- one that has been tempered by the fact that we witnessed this
    enormous tragedy on Sept. 11."

    Boston University history professor Howard Zinn said he has been
    "besieged" by invitations to speak about terrorism and the war in
    Afghanistan, with "more requests than I could possibly deal with." At
    79, Zinn approaches the stepped-up demand as an eminence grise of the
    antiwar movement and as a bombardier from World War II.

    What he sees, Zinn said, is a massive appetite for information and a
    resistance effort that is fast churning into action.

    [N.B.] "Things are starting earlier now than they did with the Vietnam
    War," Zinn said. "In the spring of 1965, we had 100 people on the Boston
    Common. Just a week or so ago, we had 2,000 people at Copley Square.
    It's starting earlier, and I believe it will grow."

    "Immediately after Sept. 11, if you talked about American foreign policy
    as having anything to do with the problem, people were horrified. It was
    too close. People thought you were diminishing the tragedy. I think as
    time passes, it will be easier to think in more long-term ways."

    Out here in western Massachusetts, fertile territory for alternative
    views since the American Revolution, opposition to capitalism and
    corporate power was already fueling many students.

    Right away, said professor Michael Klare, head of peace and world
    security studies at Hampshire College, "protests were organized by
    students who were already geared up for antiglobalization protests."
    They have a perspective that makes them distinct from many other
    undergraduates Klare has encountered in his post-Sept. 11 flurry of
    speeches and seminars. "Most students don't even have that. They're just
    bewildered," he said.

    But some students--and many nonstudents as well -- crave involvement as
    a way to stave off feelings of helplessness. Over lunch one recent day,
    a table full of Hampshire College students talked about how and why they
    have plunged into action, forming a local branch of a group born at UC
    Berkeley on Sept. 12: Students for a Peaceful Response.

    Their principles of unity, they explained, begin with a condemnation of
    the attacks of Sept. 11.

    >From there, said 21-year-old Kai Newkirk of Shepardstown, W.Va., "we
    have the priority of stopping the mass murder of millions. We have a
    window of a few weeks."

    Sydney Hoover, 17, a freshman from Upper Coe, Md., said she already was
    involved in an antiglobalization protest aimed at the International
    Monetary Fund and the World Bank. After Sept. 11, that effort hastily
    shifted focus to initiate a campus dialogue with a group called
    Activating Peace.

    The loosely knit group launched nonviolence training seminars and began
    preparing speakers, Hoover said. With the goal of creating "some kind of
    visible dissenting presence," they reached out to local high schools and
    community groups, organized teach-ins and held a daylong walkout at
    Hampshire, a private school with 1,200 students.

    The process unfolding at Hampshire reflects a powerfully American
    quality, said Dale Bryan of the peace and justice studies program at
    Tufts University, near Boston.

    "This voice that for many represents rancorous discourse actually it is
    bona fide, genuine American participation," Bryan said. "It is what the
    country does well, to assemble and participate freely, and we always
    have. And sometimes it is directed at the government, and the
    Constitution says, well, sometimes it should be."

    For those in "the movement" -- a timeworn sobriquet that the peace
    effort has clung to -- "this is how it is being realized: in day-to-day,
    face-to-face, ordinary conversations," Bryan said.

    At Lincoln Square in Worcester, an industrial-era city in central
    Massachusetts, this theory plays out each Tuesday at a street vigil.
    Mothers, lawyers, clergy, students -- the number stays constant at about
    50, though the participants change--stand at a busy intersection. They
    chant, wave signs, hand out leaflets and often hold conversations with
    people who come to a stop in their cars.

    Out on the street in his suit and tie, Philip Stone, a 47-year-old
    attorney, said: "I think this is a fairly typical example of the kind of
    grass-roots peace activity that you will see going on all over the
    country. This is a location with high visibility, a place where we can
    demonstrate that there is thoughtful opposition to the policies of the
    current administration."

    Kindergarten teacher Kathleen Connelly Legg, a 45-year-old mother of
    three, said she never protested during Vietnam and thought hard before
    showing up at Lincoln Square. She was troubled, Legg said, that "we, as
    the most powerful nation on Earth, are bombing the most destitute."

    Though small, the weekly demonstration will help the seeds of a new
    peace effort to take root, Legg said.

    "It spreads and it spreads as information gets out. I am hoping we are
    laying the groundwork for something much larger. I am hoping that we get
    that kind of time."


    U.S. Appears to Be Losing Public Relations War So Far


    Published on Sunday, October 28, 2001 in the New York Times
    by Susan Sachs

    CAIRO ^ The Bush administration has belatedly deployed its forces for a
    propaganda war to win over the Arab public. But the campaign, intended to
    convince doubters that the American attacks on Afghanistan are justified and
    its Middle East policy is evenhanded, has so far proved ineffectual.

    Thousands of words from American officials, it appears, have proved no match
    for the last week's news, which produced a barrage of pictures of wounded
    Afghan children and of Israeli tanks rolling into Palestinian villages.

    "Talking heads just can't compete with powerful images," a Western diplomat
    here said. "The images touch emotions, and people in this part of the world
    react according to their emotions."

    Since the bombs started falling nearly three weeks ago, it has become
    obvious to people in Washington, as well as to many friendly Arab leaders,
    that President Bush's "war on terror" has an image problem outside the
    United States.

    The reasons for Arab skepticism may not be immediately apparent to many
    Americans who feel personally threatened by terror and are inundated with
    daily news about anthrax and young soldiers being sent to faraway places to
    fight terrorists.

    But that sense of immediacy ^ that terrorists threatening America are hiding
    out in Afghanistan ^ is absent in the Middle East. While the anthrax story
    is widely reported in the Arab media and stories about Osama bin Laden's
    terror network appear frequently in newspapers here, news organizations in
    the Middle East have shifted much of their attention in the last two weeks
    to events in their own backyard.

    The front pages of newspapers in the region have been filled with reports on
    Israel's latest attacks on Palestinian towns. Funerals of Palestinians
    killed in clashes with Israel are the first item on television news
    programs. The images are taken directly from Western news agency reports.

    For the Bush administration's new public relations campaign to win over
    people in Arab nations, the renewed cycle of killing in Israel and the
    Palestinian territories came at an especially inauspicious time.

    Beginning 10 days ago, a parade of administration officials started
    appearing on Arabic television stations to explain the goals of American
    policy in the Middle East and the attacks on Afghanistan.

    Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and
    the national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, have all been interviewed
    on Al Jazeera, the widely watched Arabic television station based in Qatar.
    State Department officials have appeared on state television in several
    countries, and interviews with other American diplomats have run in
    newspapers in the region.

    The American views ^ always avowing that the United States has nothing
    against Muslims or Islam ^ have received prominent play.

    But in terms of content and impact, the interviews have often fallen flat.
    Ms. Rice, for instance, said several times in her interview that Palestinian
    violence had to end before Israel would consider reopening peace talks. Not
    long after the interview was aired, Al Jazeera viewers saw news reports of
    Israeli tanks rumbling into Palestinian towns.

    "America has failed miserably in marketing their war to the Arabs," said
    Mustapha Kamel al-Sayyid, a political science professor at Cairo University.
    "How can they convince the Arabs of anything while Israel's American-made
    tanks are occupying the Palestinian territories?"

    American newspapers and magazines available in the Middle East do no better
    than the administration in explaining the war on terror to foreigners, he
    added. "They write about how right America is," he said. "They do not try at
    all to articulate the fundamental American thinking. All are writing the
    same thing: terrorists are Arab and Muslim, and the Arab regimes produce

    The United States, of course, started off at a disadvantage in the
    propaganda war because its Middle East policy was seen as blindly
    pro-Israel, and Mr. Bush was seen as being uninterested in the plight of
    Palestinians under Israeli rule.

    Battlefield information is also scarce. Al Jazeera is the only foreign
    television network with a bureau operating in Kabul.

    After nearly three weeks of watching television footage of American missiles
    streaking across the skies of Afghanistan and seeing newspaper photographs
    of Afghan civilians in bloody bandages, many Arabs remain skeptical about
    the war's aim.

    The suspicion can be seen in the way news from the front has begun to be

    Akhbar el Yom, one of Egypt's biggest newspapers, ran a wire service picture
    on the front page on Friday showing an Afghan child with wounds said to have
    been caused by the American bombing.

    Inside the paper was another picture of an Afghan child whose family was
    reported to have been killed in by American bombing. The caption read, "Is
    this baby a Taliban fighter?"


    Anti-war protests in Turkey, Pakistan despite gov't suppression

    Via Workers World News Service
    Reprinted from the Nov. 1, 2001
    issue of Workers World newspaper


    By John Catalinotto

    Important demonstrations opposing U.S. aggression in
    Afghanistan have taken place in two key members of the U.S.-
    led "coalition"--Turkey and Pakistan.

    The significance of these protests is that they were called
    and led not by religious fundamentalists but by communist
    and working-class forces.

    According to a report from the Party of Labor (EMEP) in
    Turkey, demonstrators took to the streets in the cities of
    Istanbul and Adana on Oct. 14 to protest U.S. aggressive
    attacks on Afghanistan and the collaboration of the Ecevit

    The day before, demonstrations were held in Izmir and

    The leading forces in these demonstrations were the EMEP,
    the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ODP) and the Socialist
    Power Party (SIP). Trade unionists from unions affiliated to
    the Confederation of Public Sector Unions also participated.

    All four demonstrations were first called for Oct. 14. But
    when the government banned the actions, two were
    rescheduled. All four protested both the banning of the
    rallies and the war.

    While the demonstration in Adana ended peacefully, police
    brutally attacked the 1,500 people on the Istanbul
    demonstration and took 44 into custody. Others were beaten
    or bitten by police dogs.

    The most popular slogans on the march were "No to war,"
    "Down with U.S. imperialism," "Budget for education, not for
    war," "No to war--work, bread, equality and freedom" and "No
    to poverty and hunger."

    In a talk that was ending as the police attacked, EMEP
    President Levent Tzel noted that "outside of a handful of
    collaborators and people in capitalist circles, the people
    of Turkey do not regard the U.S. as a friend or ally. And
    the people who have sent their sons to Korea and Kosovo
    yesterday are against troops being sent to Afghanistan

    The EMEP leader added, referring to Turkey's grave economic
    crisis, "the government that has dragged the country and the
    people into such a decline should immediately resign its
    duties, without opening the door to new disasters."

    Both the EMEP and SIP party leaders said that neither the
    police attacks nor threats would intimidate their parties,
    and that they would continue to protest U.S. aggression and
    Ecevit's collaboration.


    The Communist Workers and Peasants Party (CMKP) of Pakistan
    held a demonstration Oct. 21 of 200 people in Islamabad.
    According to a participant, this anti-imperialist action
    against attacks on Afghan istan took over Murree Road and
    blocked traffic as participants walked for a kilometer.

    At a seminar in Peshawar, Afzal Kha moosh, general secretary
    of the CMKP, told the audience that U.S. imperialism is in
    search of mineral resources in Central Asia and can only be
    defeated through an anti-imperialist struggle.

    Ghinwa Bhutto, president of the Pakistan Peoples Party, and
    former Finance Minister Dr. Mubasher Hassan also addressed
    the seminar and showed their solidarity.

    Syed Azeem, president of the CMKP, said that his party's
    anti-imperialist campaign is going well and has already led
    to demonstrations in Lahore and Okara. In the next phase the
    CMKP will demonstrate in Multan, Kasoor, Faisalabad and
    Pesha war, where they expect more than 3,000 people,
    including guests from abroad.

    Among the many anti-imperialist resolutions passed at the
    seminar was the following: "In the opinion of this session,
    putting a prefix of 'Islamic' before terrorism is
    unjustifiable and this propaganda on behalf of imperialists
    is wrong and we condemn it. We are of the opinion that the
    U.S. offensive is not a crusade, nor is it a clash of
    civilizations, but it is a war to capture the oil reserves
    of Central Asia."


    US bombs civilians, again

    Afghans: Three Villages Hit by U.S.

    AP. 28 October 2001.

    GHANIKHEIL -- American warplanes struck three villages near the front
    line in the plains north of Kabul, killing as many as nine people,
    villagers told hospital workers on Sunday.

    Kate Rowlands, program coordinator of the Italian-run Emergency hospital
    in nearby Anawa said three villages were bombarded by U.S. planes on
    Saturday. Two were on the northern alliance side and one was on the
    Taliban side.

    She told a news conference the first village hit was Nikhahil on the
    Taliban side of the front line. She said wounded patients had crossed
    the front line on a donkey, arriving after 8 p.m. Saturday.

    The patients said they had been told by relatives there that two people
    had died in the 10 a.m. air strike.

    Eight people from Ghanikheil were admitted to the hospital. Relatives
    there reported that three or four people had been killed in the attack.

    The third bombed village was Raqi on the northern alliance side of the
    front line, Rowlands said. Villages there reported three dead, she said.

    "Myself and the staff are deeply shocked, especially when you see a
    four-year-old and old people coming in," Rowlands said.

    "It's a tragedy and a shock and it should not happen."

    She said all the patients, including those allowed to cross the front
    line by the Taliban, had been treated and were in stable condition.

    In Ghanikheil, standing near mud houses reduced to rubble, distraught
    villagers on Sunday described the air strike -- apparently a stray U.S.
    bombardment -- that hit their village Saturday, killing at least one
    woman and injuring 10.

    "The world shook," said one.

    In the village about 1 mile from the fighting on the Shomali plain north
    of Kabul, one mud house was completely crumbled, and another was partly
    wrecked. In one of the homes hit, the family had been preparing for a
    wedding, relatives said.

    In the worst-hit house, where villagers said a 20-year-old woman was
    killed and six others hurt, wreckage was scattered. A dusty bicycle and
    an empty birdcage could be seen.

    Four others were injured in the second house, witnesses said.

    "I saw it, when the bomb came," said Mohammed Ibrahim, a commander in
    the anti-Taliban alliance, who was nearby when the airstrike hit. "The
    world shook." Those living in one of the houses were his cousins, he

    Saturday's bombardment was the heaviest of the 3-week-old air campaign
    along the front lines where opposition troops are confronting Taliban
    troops north of Kabul.

    Another alliance commander, 35-year-old Imam Jan, said the strike had
    been a mistake. He was not angry, he said, but added: "America should
    not do this again. We're two kilometers from the front lines. Why did
    they bombard this place?"

    A man named Gulkhan, in his 20s, said he had had left one of the houses
    to buy flour in the bazaar just before the bomb hit. "I heard the sound
    of the bomb so I ran back," he said. All those injured were his
    relatives, he said.

    The owner of one of the houses, 70-year-old Amin Ullah, described the
    attack. "The sound was huge. The plane swooped down -- I could hear it
    dive," he said. "I heard the huge explosion."

    Gulkhan, who like many Afghans uses only one name, said: "Everything was

    Saturday marked the first day that this sector of the front line was
    hit. The anti-Taliban rebels had been pressing for heavier airstrikes
    against the Taliban, complaining that previous bombardment had not been
    heavy enough to inflict real damage on them.

    Britain's Sky News, reporting on the air strike, said just before it, a
    U.S. Navy F-18 Hornet could be seen headed in the wrong direction toward
    an area of the anti-Taliban forces.

    Moments after the jet fired its missile, it said the opposition's radio
    reported a bomb hit the village. Sky broadcast pictures from the village
    showing a young girl with a bloodied face and hand, lying on the ground
    near piles of rubble and the remaining walls of a house on the edge of
    the village.

    A 7-year-old boy, nestled in the arms of a young man, had cut hands and
    feet. Nearby, a 22-year-old man, wounded in the abdomen, was shown being
    transported in a wheelbarrow to the nearest road.

    "Why has America attacked us?" an elderly man asked.

    "We are civilians. We thought America was our friend. Please tell them
    to stop bombing us."


    This report cannot be independently verified


    By Pepe Escobar
    October 25, 2001

    ISLAMABAD - "This information cannot be independently verified." This is the
    new mantra on 24-hour news TV as the Slaughter Show of the world's most
    miserable by the world's most affluent reaches its third week - with very
    good ratings indeed.

    Shame on CNN and BBC. Shame on Donald "Duck!" Rumsfeld. Fact: Afghan
    civilians are dying by the hundreds, victims of American bombing. But for
    Christiane "The Vulture" Amanpour, Father John Simpson, those sparkling,
    bubbly, fizzy CNN talking heads, and those dour, somber, frozen-cucumber BBC
    talking heads, "this information cannot be independently verified".

    CNN and BBC are now indistinguishable from "Duck!" Rumsfeld. They behave
    like fundamentalists: with arrogance - in their sense of unquestionable
    superiority; with certainty - in their iron belief in a set of absolutely
    universal values; with prejudice - why would they waste their time trying to
    understand what is profoundly different from themselves? As BBC's Tim "Mr
    Righteous" Sebastian put it in referring to Pakistan, why should the West
    cut "shabby little deals with shabby little nations"?

    The Rasool family was having breakfast in Kabul when a bomb supposed to hit
    a military base a mile away struck their house, killing nine members of the
    extended family and injuring 12. Refugees crossing the Chaman border every
    day tell of dozens of civilian victims in Kandahar. "Duck!" Rumsfeld would
    say they are nothing but liars.

    Afghan civilians, for CNN and BBC, obviously do not qualify as independent.
    They are the only eyewitnesses of the carnage inside Afghanistan. But
    "independently verified" means verified by CNN or the BBC - in their
    arrogant, barely contained rage at not being there, inside Afghanistan.
    Every serious journalist now working in Pakistan is obviously on the verge
    of a nervous breakdown brought on by the impossibility of being in the
    theater of war. But it is hard enough trying to convince the Taliban that it
    is in their own interest to open the borders for the global print media -
    without having to cope with the "You're lying" shrieks of CNN and BBC.

    Al Jazeera - the Qatar-based TV station - happens to be inside Afghanistan
    and as close to the theater of war as possible - but that is too much for
    the Anglo-American media giants, and Way Too Much for America itself, which
    does not think twice about censoring "sensitive" Al Jazeera broadcasts.
    Mohamad Bourini is a reporter covering the war for Al Jazeera from Peshawar.
    He worked for three years in Afghanistan. He said he was "never censored" by
    his bosses in Doha, Qatar.

    The smart, high-IQ bombs of the Pentagon may not find Osama bin Laden and
    the evildoers of Al-Qaeda, but they are finding houses a mile away from
    their targets, UN mine-clearing staff, shepherds and their families, a whole
    village, a Red Cross compound, a school, a bus, the bazaars of Kandahar, a
    hospital in Herat. It is a sterling record - but of course this cannot be
    independently verified. One of these days the Pentagon may even
    "inadvertently" drop a bomb on Al Jazeera's office in Kabul - and remain
    mute about it. Or accuse any accusing voice of lying.

    As this is an invisible war, and perception is reality, the fact is that the
    Pentagon can say or not say anything it wants: its barrage of disinformation
    cannot be independently verified.

    So the major public relations lesson is this: if you are rich and poweful
    and Western, you can bomb whatever you like, the way you like, for as long
    as you like. And you disclose information - if any - about it the way you
    like. If you are poor and miserable and Islamic, you shut up and get bombed.
    Don't make any attempt to say anything about it, because your information
    cannot be independently verified.

    The Greatest Armada in the History of the Universe took four days to secure
    "aerial supremacy" over a pair of ailing MiGs. Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani,
    the Taliban supreme military commander, said that not a single leader or
    commander was killed in two weeks of American ballistic fury. He said the
    Taliban planes were "safe", and Osama bin Laden was "safe, sound and in good
    spirits". The Taliban says it downed an American helicopter: but the spare
    parts shown by the Taliban, says the Pentagon, were made by Bin Laden

    So T S Eliot was wrong. This is the way the world ends: not with a bang -
    but with zillions of whimpers which cannot be independently verified.


    Thousands protest Afghan strikes at EU summit

    By Katie Nguyen

    GHENT, Belgium (Reuters) - Thousands have protested against U.S.-led
    strikes on Afghanistan and global capitalism near a European Union
    summit, but there was no sign of the violence that has marred some
    recent international meetings.
    Belgian police said some 12,000 people had taken part in three
    marches through Ghent as EU heads of state or government met under
    tight security at an ancient abbey in the town.
    The turnout fell far short of the 40,000 predicted by police.
    Two of the protests, involving a wide variety of groups, were aimed
    against the military action in Afghanistan and against capitalism
    while a third was by trade unionists demanding more jobs and social
    "This war is about the power and prestige of the U.S.A. which still
    wants to prove it's the strongest power in the world," said Simon
    Kaplan, a British member of the Committee for the Workers
    International, a Socialist Workers' group.
    "Workers and young people will pay for this war through job losses,
    increases in tax and possible loss of life," he told an afternoon
    rally protesting against the strikes in Afghanistan.
    The marches were generally orderly and police said just seven people
    had been arrested as preventative measuresfour because they had
    objects that could be used as missiles, two for carrying screwdrivers
    and one for wearing a balaclava, used in previous demonstrations by
    protesters bent on violence.
    During the evening march, two bank windows were smashed, a police
    spokeswoman said.
    The police mobilised a huge force of around 2,000 officers in Ghent
    in case of trouble.
    But they kept a low profile and kept riot gear out of sight of the
    The United States has launched military strikes against Afghanistan's
    ruling Taliban, which it accuses of sheltering Osama bin Laden, the
    Saudi-born dissident blamed for September 11 attacks on New York and
    EU leaders in Ghent discussed the situation in Afghanistan and the
    impact of the September 11 attacks on an already weakening European
    Those attacks seem to have taken the steam out of the increasingly
    violent anti-globalisation protests that had marred major
    international gatherings.
    The violence culminated in police shootings of protesters at an EU
    summit in Gothenburg in June and at a Group of Eight summit in Genoa,
    Italy, in July.
    Many anti-globalisation activists have now turned their attention to
    the air strikes against Afghanistan.
    Marchers carried anti-war and anti-capitalist banners such as "People
    not profit", "War stinks, Bush go home" and "No war but the class
    One activist, Peter Ghyselbreght of the anti-capitalist group
    International Resistance, was angry at EU economic liberalisation
    plans, saying: "Thousands of workers in the postal and rail sectors
    are going to lose their jobs, all in the name of the EU."
    Betraying a sense of frustration that the war against terrorism has
    squeezed the anti-globalisation movement out of the headlines, he
    said: "Terrorism isn't good for the workers' movement because it
    pushes us into the background."


    US bombs UN demining dogs

    U.S. fighter jets target Kabul in overnight attacks.

    CNN. 27 October 2001.

    KANDAHAR -- Iran's state-owned radio and television also reported that
    U.S. planes and missiles repeatedly attacked targets in and around Herat
    throughout the night.

    An Iranian correspondent, one the few international journalists in
    Herat, reported that residents rushed to the streets as they heard the
    sounds of explosions and roar of U.S. jets overhead.

    The United Nations said one of its demining centers in Kabul, which
    houses mine-sniffing dogs, was hit in the attacks.

    "The mine dog center is a large compound that included several
    buildings," said U.N. spokeswoman Stephanie Bunker.

    "The exact damage is not known, but some of the buildings have been
    damaged in some ways. Two mine dogs were killed and two vehicles
    destroyed in the attack. There was no injury to mine-action personnel as
    far as we know."

    This incident comes after several warehouses in a Red Cross compound in
    Kabul were bombed Friday.

    Smoke billowed from a compound of the International Committee of the Red
    Cross, whose warehouses were hit by U.S. jets a day earlier. The ICRC
    said on Saturday it could not distribute food to Kabul residents because
    of the bombing.


    Academic says public want quick fix to Afghan war


    Sun, 28 Oct 2001

    Calls for a swift resolution to the Afghanistan conflict are said to be the
    result of the West's growing dependency on "fast food culture".

    Dr Mark Aspinwall says people in the US and Britain may not have the
    stomach for a long, protracted military campaign.

    The Durham University politics lecturer puts it down to the result of the
    relentless pace of modern life.

    He says the increasing reliance on credit to buy luxury products has made
    society a slave to both convenience and immediacy which will inevitably be
    reflected in people's perception of the current war.

    Despite repeated messages from George W Bush and Tony Blair that it will
    take many months, if not years for the campaign to be successful, Dr
    Aspinwall says public opinion may waver as time goes by.

    He commented: "Calls for results arise out of people's desire for immediate

    "The longer it takes the more there will be a fracturing of opinion - you
    will have more negative voices and some will say, 'Let's get more active in
    our attacks'.

    "The fast food culture is partly a desire for fast results but also partly
    a result in itself of a busy society. People try to cram more and more into
    their lives."

    He added: "The majority of the population is now demanding and seeking
    results and convenience. The growth in credit is an obvious indicator.

    "You can even extend that to the realm of politics, if a government doesn't
    deliver then consumers choose another government."


    Who's Being Naive?

    War-Time Realism Through the Looking Glass

    By Tim Wise
    October 28, 2001

    To hear those who support the current air assault on Afghanistan tell
    it, those of us who doubt the likely efficacy of such a campaign, and
    who question its fundamental morality are not only insufficiently
    patriotic but dangerously naive. Lampooning the left for adhering to
    such ostensibly simplistic slogans as "violence begets violence," these
    self-proclaimed pragmatists insist that sometimes massive force is
    necessary and that in the case of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, little
    else could possibly serve to diminish the threat of terrorist attack.

    It takes me back, all this self-assured confidence in the value of
    preemptive assault. To 1986 in particular, when a co-worker of mine
    insisted that although our bombing of Libya had failed to kill Colonel
    Quadafi, that by killing his daughter we had nonetheless served the
    cause of peace. After all, said my co-worker, she was destined to become
    a terrorist someday, so better to kill her before she grew. That others
    might be able to apply the same logic to Americans--who, after all could
    grow up to be Elliot Abrams--was lost on her, as she was convinced the
    world had been made safer that day.

    Of course, come to find out that Libya had not been involved in the
    terrorist incident for which we claimed to be attacking them, but why
    bother with details? And of course, just two years after my colleague
    insisted that our assault on Libya had made us safer, 259 people in a
    plane over Lockerbie, Scotland--and eleven more on the ground
    there--learned how dangerously ignorant such faith really was. They as
    it turned out became the victims of actual Libyan terrorists enraged by
    the previous U.S. attack on their country.

    All this talk of what's naive and what is realistic has seemed to be
    nothing if not bizarre. It's as if words no longer have their original
    meanings, or perhaps mean the opposite of what one might otherwise

    So to be realistic means to believe that bombing one of the poorest
    nations on Earth will not only reduce terrorism, but also fail to ignite
    a new round of anti-American fanaticism. To be nave, on the other hand,
    is to pay attention to modern history, which tells us in no uncertain
    terms that bombing people is rather likely to fuel their anger,
    resentment, and desire for revenge.

    To be realistic is to think that pummeling one nation--in this case
    Afghanistan--will have some appreciable effect on the thugs in al-Qaeda,
    despite the fact that the group operates in sixty-four countries
    including many allies whom we have no intention of bombing. To be naive
    is to point out that terrorists aren't reliant on one, or even several
    countries to operate, and as such, we could eradicate every member of
    the Taliban tomorrow without delaying by so much as a day any future
    attacks on our shores.

    To be realistic is to believe our government officials when they insist
    they have proof of bin Laden's involvement in the 9/11 attacks. To be
    naive is to wonder how an intelligence community that completely missed
    the signs of impending disaster, could be so sure, so soon, of who did
    this thing that they had no idea was coming in the first place.

    To be really nave, I guess, would be to think that perhaps they might
    be lying. Forget that that's exactly what they did so as to justify
    bombing Quadafi, and what they did when the CIA announced that armed
    Libyans were roaming the streets of America, planning to assassinate
    Ronald Reagan. And it's what they did when they claimed the Soviets were
    building a military base in Grenada, or that the Sandinistas in
    Nicaragua were running drugs (actually it was our guys, the contras, who
    were doing that). And apropos of today's headlines, it's what they did
    when they decided to dub a certain band of fundamentalist thugs known as
    the Mujahadeen, "freedom fighters."

    To be realistic is to say things like "all they respect is force." To be
    naive is to point out that the force we have demonstrated over the years
    by our support for Israel, or bombing and sanctions against Iraq, has
    apparently led not to something so kind as their respect for us, but
    rather to their willingness to slaughter as many Americans as possible.
    If this is how al-Qaeda shows respect, I shudder to think what disdain
    must look like.

    To be realistic is to say, "we tried peace and peace failed." To be
    naive is to ask when, exactly, did the U.S. try peace: in the region, or
    specifically in Afghanistan? Was it when we were selling Stinger
    missiles to the Muj, so as to help them fight the Soviets? Or was it
    after, when we left the nation in ruins, unconcerned about helping
    rebuild so long as the Russians had fled? Or was it when we cozied up to
    the Taliban because they promised to crack down on opium cultivation,
    using the time-honored anti-crime techniques of extremist Islam?

    To be realistic is to insist that nations harboring terrorists must be
    brought to justice. To be naive is to note that a) we aren't really
    serious about that--after all, many nations that do so are coalition
    partners in the war on Afghanistan; and b) by that standard, any number
    of nations would have the right to attack us. After all, we have
    harbored and even taught terrorists and death squad leaders at the
    School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia. We have harbored known
    Cuban terrorists in Miami. We even gave a tax exemption for several
    years to a neo-Nazi "church" affiliated with the National Alliance,
    whose leader has called for worldwide racial cleansing, whose words are
    credited with inspiring Timothy McVeigh, and whose members have
    committed bombings, murders and armed robberies across the country.

    To be realistic is to believe that Afghans will be impressed by our
    packets of peanut butter, dropped from airplanes, and that they will
    thank us, and view us as their beneficent saviors. To be naive is to
    point out that the food drops--according to relief agencies--are
    insufficient to meet the need, especially since our bombing has
    aggravated the refugee crisis to staggering proportions. To be really
    naive is to note that to even get the food, Afghans would have to
    traipse across minefields, and that their experience with toy dolls
    dropped from Soviet planes in the 80's--which turned out to be
    explosives--might have left them a bit reluctant to tear into our
    humanitarian goodies. To be naive to the point of disloyalty, would, I
    suppose, be to ask whether or not American soldiers in Pearl Harbor
    would have felt better about the bombing of December 7, 1941, had the
    Japanese pilots made a second run to drop sushi and edamame.

    To be realistic is to claim that attacks on Afghanistan will lead the
    pulverized citizenry to overthrow their Taliban oppressors. To be naive
    is to point out that never in history has a nation under attack blamed
    its own leaders for the attack, but rather, exactly the opposite. After
    all, in the wake of 9/11, Americans did not, en masse write to the
    President demanding he accede to the wishes of Osama bin Laden.

    To be realistic is to insist that this is not a war on Islam. To be
    naive is to point out that if we continue to bomb, especially through
    the holy month of Ramadan, there will be few Muslims in the world who
    will believe that.

    Perhaps it's just me. But something seems dangerously Alice in
    Wonderland, when Clinton Advisor Dick Morris can say on national
    television that we should declare war on Afghanistan, and then Iraq,
    Libya, Sudan, and Columbia--and not be viewed as a paragon of mental
    illness--but Quakers and pacifists are derided as uninformed boobs.

    And yet I have no doubt that many of these American warlords will attend
    Martin Luther King Jr. day celebrations come January, and sing the
    praises of a man who would have condemned them roundly for their current
    course of action. And they will continue to go to church--those who call
    themselves Christians--and sing praises to someone whose teachings run
    completely counter to everything they are now doing. But hey--King,
    Ghandi, Jesus: what did they know? Dreamers all of them: nave,
    simplistic, innocent, and not nearly as informed or clear-headed as say,
    Donald Rumsfeld, or Stephen Ambrose, or Tom Clancy, or White House
    spokesman Ari Fleischer.

    Even more disturbing than the uniformity with which conservatives have
    labeled dissenters un-American and unrealistic (which at least is to be
    expected), is the rapidity with which quite a few progressives have
    accepted the need for, and ultimate propriety of war. Richard Falk--a
    longtime international peace expert--has called Operation Enduring
    Freedom, "the first truly just war since World War II." This, despite
    the fact that by the standards he himself has laid out for a just war,
    the bombing of Afghanistan--and the refugee crisis alone that it has
    sparked^completely fail the test of justice (see Stephen Shalom, "A Just
    War? A Critique of Richard Falk." at,

    Or Marc Cooper, who recently suggested that antiwar protesters might
    suffer from self-hatred, and who accused us of claiming that the U.S.
    invited the attacks of the 11th, merely because we dare point out the
    truism that certain of our policies might have something to do with the
    motivation for flying 757's into buildings. The difference between
    explanation and excuse apparently having escaped him, and the good
    counsel of a Thesaurus that might explain the difference apparently
    being out of his reach, Cooper insists that the left should embrace
    limited military action (the substance of which he leaves undefined) as
    a "moral imperative."

    And one hardly knows what to make of Eleanor Smeal, of the Fund for the
    Feminist Majority. Recently she testified to Congress about Afghanistan,
    not to plead for an end to the macho militarism currently underway,
    which is likely to accelerate the starvation of perhaps a million women
    and girls there, but merely to suggest that the women of Afghanistan not
    be forgotten in any reconstruction government. Not only does she appear
    to support the overthrow of the Taliban by the same U.S. government that
    funded it and cared not a whit for the women there until six weeks ago,
    but she also seems to trust that patriarchy can be pounded into rubble
    by exploding phallic symbols, dropped and fired by guys whose view of
    feminism is probably not much better than Mullah Omar's. Talk about

    Again, maybe it's just me. Or maybe it's 1984, and War Is Peace, and
    Slavery Is Freedom, and Ignorance Is Strength. Or maybe all that is just
    bullshit, being served up on a silver platter, while the servers tell us
    it's really Goose Liver Pate. It reminds me of something my Grandma once
    said: "You can call your ass a turkey, but that doesn't make it
    Thanksgiving." Likewise, you can call your war just, and the rest of us
    naive, but that won't make it so.
    Tim Wise is a writer, activist and antiracism educator. He can be
    reached at tjwise@mindspring.com


    Direct witness of Afghanistan civilian victims of attacks

    By Richard Lloyd Parry
    in Quetta, Pakistan
    The Independent

    Sami Ullah was asleep when it happened, and so his friends and neighbours
    had to tell him about the bomb that struck his house and what it did to him
    and his family. How the American planes, which had been over earlier in the
    evening, had returned after everyone went to bed and how, instead of the
    Taliban base two miles away, they dropped their bombs on a residential area
    of the town of Tarin Kot.
    Mr Ullah's injuries are obvious enough even now deep cuts caused by the
    collapsing house and the fragment of something in his belly that might be
    bomb shrapnel. One of his cousins was also pulled alive from the rubble but
    no one else was. In the 11 hours between the explosion and the moment when
    he finally regained consciousness, the bodies of Mr Ullah's wife, his four
    children, his parents, and five of his brothers and sisters had been lifted
    from the rubble of their home and buried.
    What do you say to a stranger who tells you he has just lost every member
    of his immediate family? All you can decently do is ask questions.
    When did it happen? On Friday night or early Saturday morning. Where? In a
    suburb of Tarin Kot, capital of the Afghan province of Oruzgan. And why?
    But Mr Ullah, who is not familiar with the phrase "collateral damage" or
    "just war" does not have an answer.
    In the 19 days of the bombing campaign, many terrible things have been
    reported but the scenes at the Al-Khidmat Al-Hajeri hospital, where Mr
    Ullah lay last night, are the most pathetic I have seen. In one ward lay a
    woman named Dery Gul, about 30 years old, with her 10-year-old daughter,
    Najimu, and a baby named Hameed Ullah. The little girls have bruised and
    cut faces; the cheek of the baby is cut neatly in a T shape, as if by a
    knife. But to understand how lucky they were you only have to look at their
    Her face is half-covered with bandages, her arm wrapped in plaster. "The
    bomb burned her eyes," says the doctor. "The whole right side of her body
    is burned." The reason Ms Gul is so battered and her daughters so lightly
    injured, they say, is because she cradled them.
     From the Pakistani city of Quetta, where the injured people were carried
    late on Tuesday, the town of Tarin Kot is just a dot in the middle of the
    map of Afghanistan, traversed by a single road, surrounded by contour
    lines. But even if it amounts to no more than a few thousand mud houses
    with a handful of administrative buildings, it is a provincial capital an
    Afghan York or Norwich. Yes, the people in the hospital yesterday said, of
    course there were Taliban there; but, no, they were miles away from Sami
    Ullah, Dery Gul, the little girls and their dead relatives.
    There had been bombing earlier in the evening, Sami Ullah said, and the
    military camp had been hit. "There were four bombs that hit the Taliban,"
    he said, "but many more bombs fell on the houses."
    While some of the villagers were pulling their neighbours out of the
    rubble, more bombs had fallen, and more people had been hurt "about 10
    people were injured, and 20 were killed". But the danger appeared to have
    passed by the time the family went to sleep. If the planes roared overhead,
    they did not wake them and perhaps those who died 12 in Sami Ullah's
    house, eight in the home of the mother and her girls did not even know
    what had happened to them.
    What then went wrong? The Pentagon has already admitted this week bombing
    an old people's home in Herat with a simple targeting error. Two weeks ago,
    bombs killed dozens in the village of Karam where, according to the local
    people, there had once been an Osama bin Laden camp which had moved years
    before. Other stories like it suggest that in some cases American
    intelligence is simply out of date.
    But there is a third possibility that the Taliban are deliberately moving
    military personnel and equipment close to civilian areas, turning their
    oblivious inhabitants into de facto human shields.
    In another hospital in Quetta yesterday, a nurse told of how nine days ago
    the Taliban had turned up at her family's house and ordered them to leave.
    "They said it was for our own safety, because there was a barracks a few
    hundred metres away," she said.
    "But after we had left they moved Taliban soldiers in and stayed there
    themselves. Afterwards the bombs did fall, and my house was destroyed and
    the civilian people who stayed behind were hurt too."
    "We heard the bombs falling often," said Mr Ullah, as I start to run out of
    questions, "but we didn't feel afraid because everyone said that American
    bombs were accurate, and that they would bomb the Talibs, but not the
    innocent people."
    The American broadcasters have a phrase which they repeat in reporting
    civilian casualties in Afghanistan: "The claims cannot be independently
    confirmed". And, of course, there is no way to check on anything that the
    people at the Al-Khidmat Al-Hajeri hospital say.
    But if this is all a hoax perpetrated by the Taliban, why does Mr Ullah
    speak of them with such disdain? And would even the Taliban mutilate a baby
    to win a political point? I believe that Sami Ullah and Dery Gul and her
    girls are what they appear innocent victims of an increasingly
    back-handed war, and that there will be many, many more of them before it
    is close


    No peace, no justice


    In the Vietnam War and again at the time of the Gulf War, different
    slogans have defined contending currents in the anti-war movement.
    That seems to be happening again today. While the differences are
    important and perhaps inevitable, they should not prevent the
    movement from mobilizing the broadest mass participation in united
    struggle against the warmakers.

    For several years at the beginning of the Vietnam War, the issue was
    negotiations versus withdrawal. Peace groups that had until then been
    focused mainly on the issue of nuclear arms raised the
    slogan "Negotiations now," counterpoising it to a withdrawal of U.S.
    troops from Vietnam. As large coalitions began to form against the
    war, some of these groups sought to exclude the demand for withdrawal
    from the coalition demonstrations.

    This struggle within the coalitions was ultimately resolved in the
    streets. The demand to "Bring the GIs home" became so immensely
    popular, and was so obviously the only way to end the war, that it
    became the dominant slogan. Especially as news began to filter out on
    how Henry Kissinger and others used the Paris peace talks to threaten
    the Vietnamese with nuclear weapons, the view that the movement here
    should support a role for the U.S. government in shaping Viet nam's
    future became discredited.

    At the time of the Gulf War, the programmatic divide came over the
    issue of sanctions. The first demonstrations, which were organized by
    the precursor to today's International Action Center, called for no
    war against Iraq. Period.

    A second coalition formed in December 1991, a month before the actual
    bombing started, that called for "Sanctions, not war." This slogan
    implied that Iraq had to be punished--by the U.S., but with UN cover,
    as it turned out. It also implied that sanctions are not a form of

    There are very few today who call themselves part of the peace
    movement who would defend the sanctions on Iraq. After a decade in
    which five times as many Iraqis have died of sanctions than died of
    bombs, that slogan has withered away as it became obvious to all that
    sanctions are a vicious and brutal form of warfare targeting the most
    vulnerable members of society--the old, the infants, the sick.

    The issue today seems to be whether or not to have confidence
    that "justice" for those killed in the Sept. 11 attacks can be had
    within the context of the existing international framework.

    The demand for justice is usually coupled with an exhortation to hunt
    down and prosecute those responsible for the terror attacks. In the
    meantime, without waiting for the results of any investigation, the
    U.S. government is carrying out a monstrous war against Afghanistan
    that threatens literally millions of people with death by starvation
    and exposure this winter. This death sentence is being carried out on
    an innocent population long before the judicial niceties of evidence,
    a trial and a verdict.

    If the U.S. government were capable of bringing mass murderers to
    justice, wouldn't the heads of the tobacco companies be in jail right
    now? They knowingly condemned millions of people in this country to a
    miserable death from smoking-related diseases. And what about all the
    police who have shot down unarmed people in the oppressed communities
    and been set free after departmental review?

    Are socially conscious people supposed to suddenly have confidence
    that the authorities now investigating terrorism--organizations like
    the FBI, the CIA, and local police departments--can be trusted to
    dispense justice?

    When it comes to activities abroad, the record is even more dismal.
    If there is any organization independent enough of Washington's
    pressure to bring mass murderers to justice, then why isn't Chile's
    Pinochet behind bars? Why is Haiti's Toto Constant alive and well in
    Queens, N.Y.? Why is Indonesia's General Suharto enjoying retirement?
    Why are Henry Kissinger, an architect of the Vietnam War, and
    Zbigniew Brzezinski, mastermind of the Afghan counter-revolution,
    still powers behind the throne in Washington?

    The job of the anti-war movement is to stop the war. There will be no
    justice while bombs are raining down on Afghanistan. Justice for the
    victims of the terrible tragedy on Sept. 11 will come with a people's
    victory over the warmakers.


    Trapped by the barbed wire border

    Difficult road for refugees does not end when they reach Pakistan

    Rory Carroll in Quetta
    Monday October 22, 2001
    The Guardian

    A 13-year-old boy was wounded when Pakistan border guards opened fire on
    Afghans last night, forcing back hundreds fleeing the American bombing.
    Border officials said they fired in the air, but doctors treating the child
    at the hospital near the Chaman border said he had been struck by a bullet.
    His condition was not thought to be life-threatening.

    Chaman is a shocking spectacle. Families drained by hunger and thirst jostle
    in a no man's land for a place in the queue. It is a chaotic scene of
    exhausted people squatting in the dust and milling between hundreds of cars,
    buses, trucks, trailers and motorcycles.

    It is thought that on Saturday at least 5,000 people crossed at Chaman, the
    biggest influx in a single day. Pakistan had relaxed its border controls on
    Friday, but clamped down yesterday as thousands more made their way from the
    bombing around the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar.

    Many of those who managed to enter Pakistan ended up at a checkpoint about
    three miles south of Chaman, where authorities inspected papers and decided
    who could continue. Those who were turned back simply sneaked through the
    hills out of sight of the checkpoint guards and rejoined the highway south
    towards Quetta.

    UN workers said 10,000 to 15,000 civilians were crowded into a stretch of no
    man's land between the Afghan and Pakistani borders.

    The human tidal wave is a bonanza for corrupt police, taxi drivers,
    smugglers and forgers, while aid agencies battle red tape, land ownership
    disputes and drought to prepare refugee camps for the thousands more
    expected should Islamabad officially open the border.

    Pakistan is already home to 2m Afghan refugees, spillage from previous wars,
    and its generosity may not stretch to the million who aid agencies warn will
    come if the border is opened. Islamabad says it will open the gates if
    massive numbers would otherwise starve on its doorstep, but meantime it
    deters them by ensuring the journey will be expensive and uncertain of

    Kandahar is a ghost town, missing 80% of its population according to the UN,
    but the deterrent is working. Most have sought refuge in the Afghan
    countryside, cramming villages already close to starvation, rather than sell
    everything for a gamble on the border.

    In theory all the wounded elderly, infirm and very young are allowed over
    the border. But often they have to produce a Pakistani identity document.

    Fatatoumah Kava, from the UN's refugee agency, said: "We know people have
    bribed guards to get through _ Entrepreneurs on the Afghan side are selling
    documents to those who can afford them after paying off their driver. One
    document can get 10 people across at once if they come up with a good
    spiel - being a funeral cortege is popular - and grease guards' hands."

    Once they are across, a smuggler will take the documents back into
    Afghanistan for recycling. Taxis from Quetta make the two-hour shuttle to
    Chaman several times a day, charging whatever they can, according to

    Mohammad Usman, 58, a Taliban elder whose Barech tribe straddles the border,
    said Afghans were being fleeced. "The Americans are bombing us and the
    Pakistanis are robbing us. Whatever these refugees have is taken from them.
    If they are caught they are deported unless families here pay more bribes.
    They are picked up easily because they don't speak Urdu and stick out."

    Mr Usman accused the police, the federal investigation agency and the
    Frontier Corps of involvement in the scam.

    Aid agencies say they need at least the rest of the month to finish two
    refugee camps near Chaman, but for now those who make it must maintain the
    fiction that they are Pakistanis and thus cannot seek humanitarian aid. They
    try to vanish into the settled Afghan communities around Quetta, seeking
    relatives. After Afghanistan this city, impoverished by western standards,
    is an oasis, with food stalls and paved roads and children flying kites.A
    13-year-old boy was wounded when Pakistan border guards opened fire on
    Afghans last night, forcing back hundreds fleeing the American bombing.

    Border officials said they fired in the air, but doctors treating the child
    at the hospital near the Chaman border said he had been struck by a bullet.
    His condition was not thought to be life-threatening.

    Chaman is a shocking spectacle. Families drained by hunger and thirst jostle
    in a no man's land for a place in the queue. It is a chaotic scene of
    exhausted people squatting in the dust and milling between hundreds of cars,
    buses, trucks, trailers and motorcycles.

    It is thought that on Saturday at least 5,000 people crossed at Chaman, the
    biggest influx in a single day. Pakistan had relaxed its border controls on
    Friday, but clamped down yesterday as thousands more made their way from the
    bombing around the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar.

    Many of those who managed to enter Pakistan ended up at a checkpoint about
    three miles south of Chaman, where authorities inspected papers and decided
    who could continue. Those who were turned back simply sneaked through the
    hills out of sight of the checkpoint guards and rejoined the highway south
    towards Quetta.

    UN workers said 10,000 to 15,000 civilians were crowded into a stretch of no
    man's land between the Afghan and Pakistani borders.

    The human tidal wave is a bonanza for corrupt police, taxi drivers,
    smugglers and forgers, while aid agencies battle red tape, land ownership
    disputes and drought to prepare refugee camps for the thousands more
    expected should Islamabad officially open the border.

    Pakistan is already home to 2m Afghan refugees, spillage from previous wars,
    and its generosity may not stretch to the million who aid agencies warn will
    come if the border is opened. Islamabad says it will open the gates if
    massive numbers would otherwise starve on its doorstep, but meantime it
    deters them by ensuring the journey will be expensive and uncertain of

    Kandahar is a ghost town, missing 80% of its population according to the UN,
    but the deterrent is working. Most have sought refuge in the Afghan
    countryside, cramming villages already close to starvation, rather than sell
    everything for a gamble on the border.

    In theory all the wounded elderly, infirm and very young are allowed over
    the border. But often they have to produce a Pakistani identity document.

    Fatatoumah Kava, from the UN's refugee agency, said: "We know people have
    bribed guards to get through ... Entrepreneurs on the Afghan side are
    selling documents to those who can afford them after paying off their
    driver. One document can get 10 people across at once if they come up with a
    good spiel - being a funeral cortege is popular - and grease guards' hands."

    Once they are across, a smuggler will take the documents back into
    Afghanistan for recycling. Taxis from Quetta make the two-hour shuttle to
    Chaman several times a day, charging whatever they can, according to

    Mohammad Usman, 58, a Taliban elder whose Barech tribe straddles the border,
    said Afghans were being fleeced. "The Americans are bombing us and the
    Pakistanis are robbing us. Whatever these refugees have is taken from them.
    If they are caught they are deported unless families here pay more bribes.
    They are picked up easily because they don't speak Urdu and stick out."

    Mr Usman accused the police, the federal investigation agency and the
    Frontier Corps of involvement in the scam.

    Aid agencies say they need at least the rest of the month to finish two
    refugee camps near Chaman, but for now those who make it must maintain the
    fiction that they are Pakistanis and thus cannot seek humanitarian aid. They
    try to vanish into the settled Afghan communities around Quetta, seeking
    relatives. After Afghanistan this city, impoverished by western standards,
    is an oasis, with food stalls and paved roads and children flying kites.


    Killing Our Own Kind


    Attitudes, Perceptions and Contradictions

    October 24, 2001
    by S. Leon Felkins

    When it comes to killing of our own kind, we humans are most peculiar
    compared to the rest of the animal kingdom. In addition to the animal
    instincts that may drive us to kill, we are saddled with a multitude of
    restrictions and incentives deriving from law, customs, religion, and
    propaganda. This results in some confusing activity that I think is worthy
    of some discussion. While the subject of killing has some interesting
    twists in all aspects of our culture, I will limit my exposition here to the
    war time situation as that is the only time ordinary humans have the
    obligation or opportunity to kill in any significant quantity.

    The Soldier's Attitude Towards Killing

    Studies of the killing of human beings by human beings are scarce with even
    less interest shown by the public or the media. Probably the best source of
    information on this subject is the book by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, On
    Killing, and the associated web site, "Killology Research Group." I would
    encourage any of you that are interested in this subject to take a look at
    that book and the articles at the web site.

    According to Col. Grossman, ordinary soldiers are reluctant to personally
    and individually kill the enemy. He quotes the statistic that in World War
    II, only about 15-20% of American soldiers actually fired their weapons at
    the enemy. Similarly, in both the Civil War and World War I, there are
    indications that most non-professional soldiers elected to not actually try
    to kill the enemy. In fact, Grossman claims, ordinary humans experience a
    high stress level when put in the situation of having to kill other humans
    at close range which results in high degree of psychological trauma. It
    should be pointed out that of those who do their best to try to kill the
    enemy, there are many who kill for pleasure rather than just duty.
    Hopefully, those that get pleasure from killing are the professional
    soldiers and not employees of the Postal Service.

    Two things have considerably corrected this situation to the point where
    most modern soldiers do, in fact, try to kill. One is the imbedding of the
    modern individual, from childhood, in a sea of violence in the form of
    movies, television and games, where killing humans is as routine as swatting
    a fly. The other is that the military has changed its training program to
    more effectively create a "killing machine" from the clueless civilian

    By the time the Vietnam conflict came along, the conditioning programs (the
    military training as well as the unintended consequence of massive exposure
    to violent films and games throughout their young lives) was so successful
    that the percentage of soldiers that fired at the enemy had risen to 95%
    (see page 250 of Grossman's book). I emphasized killing by individuals for
    killing by a group is another matter all together.

    Killing Is Easier If You Are Part of a Group

    I have written a number of articles on the peculiarities of actions by a
    group compared to actions by an individual; see "The Social Dilemmas". The
    anonymity provided by membership in a group provides both the opportunity to
    do things that society might frown upon (e.g., activities of the KKK) and to
    avoid doing things that are dangerous to the individual but society would be
    better for it (e.g. the Kitty Genovese case where a group did not act to
    help when she was being raped and killed).

    In his book, Col. Grossman discusses the group effect extensively. A quote
    from the book, attributed to Konrad Lorenz, sums it up nicely: "man is not a
    killer, but the group is." A couple of reasons for this is that; 1) the
    group provides anonymity (every individual can make a good case that it
    probably wasn't his fault) and 2) the group provides very strong peer
    pressure on an individual accountability to do his part and not cut and
    run. If you happen to be part of a group (involved with a "crew-served"
    weapon, crew of a bomber, etc.) and you are also quite distant from your
    enemy, the killing even gets easier.

    Bombs From Forty Thousand Feet or 500 Miles Away

    Recently Bill Maher got in trouble by saying that the terrorists who flew
    the planes into the World Trade Center were not cowards. On the other hand,
    as far as we Americans go, he said "We have been the cowards lobbing
    cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly."

    Whether it is or is not cowardly, I will leave for others to judge but I do
    want to comment on the strangeness of our attitudes.

    Military strategists have a trade-off between close-in fighting and lobbing
    bombs from 500 miles away or from 40,000 feet. Distance bombing has a
    probability of causing hundreds of civilian casualties. But the political
    reality is that losing just a few American soldiers results in a far higher
    price to pay than the loss of thousands of innocent civilians civilians
    that are guilty of doing nothing more than occupying the wrong spot on this
    earth at the wrong time.

    But there is another aspect of this trade-off that is even more interesting
    in examination. Human beings seem to have no problem causing a massive
    amount of suffering, death, and destruction as long as they can't see it.
    Give a soldier a gun, a bayonet, a flame thrower, a grenade, and most will
    get a bit squeamish about using these tools face to face with the enemy or,
    even worse, civilians.

    Now put the same soldier in a control room on a ship, plane, or land
    facility, and tell him all he has to do is press that button and thousands
    of pounds of destructive force and fire will be on its way to some target,
    with some probability of actually hitting. This soldier, in general, will
    give little thought as to what this missile will do when it reaches the
    conclusion of its flight. It might destroy a building, it might kill a few
    enemy soldiers, or it might mangle a few innocent citizens.

    It seems that humans lack the power to imagine what these destructive
    devices will do. Bodies will be torn asunder, women and children may
    receive burns that will cause unimaginable suffering for months or years, or
    some may lay under rubble suffering from wounds and broken bones for days
    while they slowly die. Apparently, the long-distance bombers and artillery
    men have not the means to visualize this or they shut it out of their
    minds intentionally.

    What is wrong with us that we can't visualize and see this destruction and
    suffering in the same way we would see it if we were in hand to hand combat?
    We certainly have no problem imagining horror when we read a book or go to a
    movie. Why can't we see horror when we launch a missile of destruction?

    Grossman says that when the soldier is close-in and his senses are exposed
    to the death, mutilation, and destruction directly, he is subjected to
    emotional pressures such as revulsion toward the destruction and compassion
    for the target victims. Whereas, for the long-distance-bomb soldier it is
    strictly an intellectual exercise and it is not very difficult to convince
    himself that nobody got hurt or if they did, there was little or no

    Let us go back to the killing of innocent civilians for just a moment: does
    it really matter? Apparently not to a large percentage of our population.

    Collateral Damage: The Killing of "Insignificant" Civilians

    To Achieve a Political Objective You will not hear this discussed on the
    evening news, but there is a real trade-off between high-tech warfare and
    civilian casualties (the nonsensical term "collateral damage" is preferred
    by the military and the whipped-dog media). As I pointed out above, by
    using 200 mile guided bombs we can be pretty damn certain that we will have
    almost zero casualties on our side, but civilian casualties on the enemy's
    side are likely to be high. On the other hand, if we were willing to suffer
    some military casualties we could use close-in fire-power, and with
    on-the-ground troops we could insure that there were almost no civilian
    casualties on the enemy's side. Of course, there are many other operations
    of war that cause civilian death and destruction.

    Let us look at a few representative cases.

    Invasion of Panama

    Some say Manuel Noriega, Panama's leader a few years ago, was a brutal thug
    and was heavily in the drug trade. Others say he had gotten too cocky and
    no longer took orders from the CIA. Whatever the reason, President Bush
    (Senior) decided he wanted him off of his seat of power and in a prison here
    in the US. It was up to Dick Cheney to figure out a way to pull that off.

    A careful examination of the Posse Comitatus act convinced the Secretary of
    Defense, Dick Cheney, he could legally go after Noreiga. I quote from the
    Joint Chief's of Staff history document, "Operation Just Cause":

    Hence, on 20 December Cheney approved modification of DOD Directive 5525.5
    to state: "With regard to military actions outside the territorial
    jurisdiction of the United States, however, the Secretary of Defense or the
    Deputy Secretary of Defense will consider for approval, on a case by case
    basis, requests for exceptions to the policy restrictions against direct
    assistance by military personnel to execute the laws. Such requests for
    exceptions to policy outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United
    States should be made only when there are compelling and extraordinary
    circumstances to justify them." Secretary Cheney issued a memo making JUST
    CAUSE such an exception: "Consistent with...Revised DOD Directive 5525.5...I
    approve assistance by the United States Armed Forces in the apprehension of
    Manuel Noriega of Panama." This action authorized the use of federal troops
    to assist US law enforcement officers in apprehending Noriega who was under
    federal indictment for alleged drug trafficking offenses.

    The cable TV channel, WorldLinkTV, has shown, a few times, a video
    documentary of the invasion, Panama Deception, winner of the 1993 "Best
    Documentary Feature" Academy Award. One of the key points brought out in
    this video is the participation of the American media in the propaganda
    effort to impress on the public that this activity was legal, justified, and
    minimally dangerous to the American soldiers involved. To this end, all of
    the major news channels concentrated on reporting of the fact that there
    were very few casualties to the Americans. The deaths (the number of deaths
    are alleged to be anywhere from about 250 to 5,000 depending on who's
    counting) and destruction to the civilians of Panama went unreported. It
    was as if the American public had no interest, whatever, in civilian

    This incident strongly confirms the attitude of the press and the public
    toward civilian casualties is that any count is acceptable as a price to pay
    for bringing an individual that has been declared to be a criminal and/or
    an enemy to "justice." This was done; Noreiga now sits in a specially
    built prison and as many as 5,000 citizens in Panama paid with their lives.
    This poses a most puzzling philosophical and ethical question: "Are the
    lives of ordinary citizens so insignificant compared to the life of the
    sought after criminal that an unlimited number may be terminated?" Does our
    civilian police force becoming more and more militarized every day have
    the same attitude? Was this the principle that was applied at the Branch
    Davidian Massacre? Were they just trying to arrest Koresh and the women and
    children were simply "colatteral damage"?

    The Embargoes of Iraq and Cuba

    This same question is appropriate for the actions of our government in Iraq
    and Cuba. The American government's policy there is that the civilian
    population will be made to suffer by trade embargo such that thousands die
    of hunger and disease to induce them to overthrow their leaders, Saddam
    Hussein and Fidel Castro, respectively (strangely a different policy is
    being used in Afghanistan there we are providing food to the civilians.
    Go figure). The logic is incredibly puzzling. We do not want to kill these
    leaders but instead will kill thousands of innocent but what is assumed to
    be insignificant human beings to achieve the goal of causing the leader to
    step down. Why is the life of these apparently cruel and despicable leaders
    more precious than the mass of unknown, faceless civilians? Conclusion The
    military/political policy of taking the lives of hundreds of civilians,
    using long distance bombing, to avoid the loss of even a few American
    soldiers in close-in fighting is expensive, ineffective and immoral. In
    fact, according to Col. Grossman in his article, "Immoral and Soon to be
    Illegal," this type of warfare will follow the precedent set for land mines
    and be banned in the near future by most of the civilized world. I have my
    doubts that that will happen, for there are other pressures involved such as
    the powerful influence of the weapons manufacturers to sell expensive,
    highly technical, weapons. Nevertheless, the taking of innocent civilian
    lives is highly immoral and cruel and does not present the US in a very good
    light to the rest of the world.

    Apparently the American military has solved its problem of getting our
    soldiers to actually shoot at the enemy by use of "conditioning" and
    "desensitization." The percentage that fire at the enemy has gone for 15-20%
    in World War II to 95% in the Vietnam war. But, at what cost? When these
    civilians soldiers come back home is there a switch somewhere that will turn
    all that programming off? Ask Timothy McVeigh the next time you see him.

    That soldiers feel little compassion or remorse for the victims of
    long-distance bombing is a subject that needs far more research for it has
    several puzzling aspects related to the cognitive and emotional functions of
    the mind. It would appear that the ordinary soldiers repulsion to killing
    is an emotional response rather than an intellectual decision. Nevertheless
    it is the cause of many cases of soldier's trauma.

    In any case, while I am not a fan of Bill Maher, his very "politically
    incorrect" remarks of September 17 are at least partially correct. There is
    no doubt more accurate descriptions you could apply to the terrorists than
    to call them cowards. As far as our lobbing intelligent bombs from hundreds
    of miles away or from 40,000 feet, I would just say that that action is not
    a military but a political and economic strategy.
    Mr. Felkins is a retired former military officer, college professor, and
    computer systems engineer. He is now an activist in the fight for the
    reform of the forfeiture laws now plaguing the US and the world. He is
    presently serving as the Executive Director of F.E.A.R., the forfeiture
    reform group. In addition, he maintains a web page on Political Philosophy,
    "A Rational Life" and another on the history of politics, "The Political


    U.N.: American planes destroyed military hospital


    Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2001
    Knight Ridder Newspapers

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan United Nations officials confirmed here Tuesday that
    American warplanes destroyed a military hospital near Herat in western
    Stephanie Bunker, a U.N. spokeswoman, said relief workers working for the
    United Nations said warplanes had demolished "a military hospital in a
    military compound" in the Eastern outskirts of the city, but said the
    number of casualties could not be determined.
    "The term they used was destroyed," she said, referring to her conversation
    with U.N. workers remaining in the city.
    The independent report corroborates part of the claim made on Monday by
    Taliban officials here that U.S. bombers had killed 100 people, including
    doctors and nurses, when it destroyed a hospital in the city. But Taliban
    officials suggested the facility was a civilian hospital, not part of a
    military compound, and claimed that more than 1,000 civilians had so far
    been killed in U.S. air raids.
    U.N. officials said they did not know whether the military hospital
    displayed the Red Crescent, or other similar markings, clearly identifying
    the building as a hospital facility.
    In Washington, Pentagon spokesperson Victoria Clarke said a stray bomb fell
    near a senior citizens home in Herat, but was unable to say whether the
    home was the same building as the hospital allegedly hit.
    Independent confirmation of the number of civilian casualties are
    impossible to obtain, as the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan have barred
    Western journalists from entering the country, and aid agencies say that
    many of the country's communication lines have been knocked out by U.S.
    bombing raids.
    Western journalists and photographers who visited a hospital in Quetta,
    near the Afghan border, found at least 12 Afghan victims of U.S. attacks
    who had crossed the border to seek medical treatment. The victims included
    a young child with a bullet lodged in his brain and a man whose spinal cord
    had been shattered by shrapnel.
    Taliban's ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef, said recent victims of
    U.S. air strikes "showed symptoms of chemicals in their bodies." He charged
    that Monday's bombing raids had killed 15 civilians and wounded 25 others
    in areas surrounding Kandahar.
    The U.S. military has flatly denied using chemical weapons in Afghanistan.
    On Tuesday, police in Jacobabad snuffed out a small demonstration designed
    to protest President Pervez Musharraf's decision to allow U.S. forces to
    use a nearby military base.
    The government also reportedly seized two of Pakistan's most prominent
    nuclear scientists on Tuesday after they criticized the government's
    pro-American policy for being contrary to Islamic law. One of those taken
    into custody, Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood, is considered a pioneer of the
    nation's development of nuclear technology, and his detention is likely to
    trigger more opposition from the nation's intellectuals and social critics.
    Mahmood and another engineer, Abdul Majeed, had retired from the Pakistan
    Atomic Energy Commission and were active in a non-governmental organization
    working on economic development programs in Afghanistan. Under their
    leadership, Pakistan developed not only a nuclear energy program but also,
    more controversially, the nuclear bomb.


    U.S. bombs hit civilian areas


    Pentagon says 2 struck neighborhood; 1 dropped near home for elderly

    Los Angeles Times

    WASHINGTON -- Three U.S. bombs went astray in weekend strikes in
    Afghanistan, landing in a residential neighborhood northwest of Kabul and
    near a home for the elderly outside Herat, Pentagon officials said Tuesday.
    The incidents were the latest examples of precision-guided weapons going
    astray in the U.S.-led military campaign - mistakes that could hurt efforts
    to win support in Islamic countries for the war on terrorism.
    Pentagon officials also reported that a U.S. helicopter came under fire in
    Pakistan on Saturday. The aircraft was trying to retrieve the wreckage of a
    Black Hawk helicopter that crashed while supporting a U.S. commando raid
    earlier that day.
    The crew returned fire and left, with no injuries reported. It was the
    first time a U.S. aircraft has been fired on outside Afghanistan, Pentagon
    spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said.
    Clarke said the Pentagon had no information on civilian casualties in the
    weekend bombing mistakes, in which a Navy F-14 dropped two 500-pound bombs
    on a residential area near Kabul on Saturday and a Navy F/A-18 Hornet
    dropped a 1,000-pound bomb near a home for the elderly near Herat on Sunday.
    There was confusion about what had been hit in Herat. In Pakistan, a U.N.
    spokeswoman said U.S. air attacks destroyed a military hospital. Clarke
    said she was not sure if the U.N. report referred to the home for the
    elderly, which was 300 feet from a military vehicle storage facility that
    was the bomb's intended target.
    Taliban officials claimed Monday that a hospital in the Herat area had been
    bombed, killing about 100 people. They asserted Tuesday that the civilian
    death toll since the U.S. air attacks began Oct.7 has surpassed 1,000.
    Clarke dismissed the Taliban claims and said civilian casualties have been low.
    Rear Adm. John Stufflebeem, a senior official with the Joint Chiefs of
    Staff, called the errant bombings rare errors.
    He also said he has seen evidence that Taliban forces may be hiding in
    residential neighborhoods, aware of U.S. military efforts to avoid such areas.
    The U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator's office supported that theory
    Tuesday. The office said representatives inside Afghanistan reported that
    residential areas are becoming dangerous because troops have moved in.
    Stufflebeem said bombing continued Tuesday in Afghanistan.
    About 80 U.S. fighters and bombers struck 11 target areas Monday, he said,
    including airfields, radar equipment, military garrisons, military training
    facilities, bunkers and moving targets such as tanks. Much of the attacks,
    he said, focused on Taliban forces fighting opposition groups in northern
    Stufflebeem said evidence is emerging that supply lines for Taliban troops
    and their allies in the al-Qaida terrorist network have been disrupted, as
    have their housing and training facilities. He said Taliban forces have
    taken over Red Cross warehouses and appear to be using the stores to feed
    troops rather than civilians.


    A True Patriot Can Pose Hard Questions

    The Los Angeles Times
    October 23, 2001
    By Robert Scheer

    War skeptics such as Richard Gere, Susan Sontag, Rep. Barbara Lee
    (D-Oakland), Bill Maher and the Berkeley City Council should be
    congratulated, not vilified, for daring to demur, ever so slightly, from
    government propaganda. Right or wrong, they have acted as free people in a
    free society who understand that if our course is correct, it can survive
    criticism. And if it is not, it is all the more important that we gather the
    courage to state that criticism clearly and in a timely fashion.

    It's shocking that so few have raised doubts and that the ones who have are
    called wimps, traitors and worse, with their lives threatened by cowards
    hiding behind anonymous letters and phone calls. It is no badge of courage
    to blindly accept the actions taken in our name by our government.

    Let me be clear: Terrorism as exemplified by the murders of Sept. 11 and the
    anthrax scare that has followed needs to be stopped, fast and efficiently.
    However, there is no blueprint for accomplishing that, and as a free,
    self-ruling democratic people, it is not only our right but our
    responsibility to vigorously and openly debate the issues: the use of
    military force, our foreign policy, civil rights and privacy in a time of
    war, and so on. "America Unites" sounds great as a news logo, but unity is
    no simple concept. We all want our families, our soldiers, our unions, our
    sports teams to be united toward clear, common goals. But is it not
    dangerous for a democratic populace weighing if and how to wage war to value
    unity above all else? It's all too easy to mandate patriotism, as the New
    York Board of Education did last week, bringing back the pledge of
    allegiance to classrooms as if that will stop the Osama bin Ladens of the

    To understand the limits of government-sponsored "unity," we might ask the
    soldiers of the old Soviet Union. They marched with their pledges and
    anthems into the treacherous terrain of Afghanistan two decades ago, while
    at home the dissent that could have saved them from military and economic
    disaster was systematically squelched.

    Authoritarian societies inevitably crumble because they silence the critics
    who could save them from the errors of blind hubris. Dissent is not a luxury
    to be indulged in the best of times but rather an obligation of free people,
    particularly when the very notion of dissent is unpopular. This is why our
    nation's founders enshrined the Bill of Rights, within a few years of
    fighting a revolution in which one-third of their compatriots were
    sympathetic to the British king. They were painfully aware of the
    inconvenience of dissent to those who govern--even in times of war--but they
    valued it as essential to democracy.

    The U.S. Supreme Court clearly understood this when it ruled that mandatory
    recitation of the pledge of allegiance--even before the divisive words
    "under God" were inserted--was unconstitutional. "To believe that patriotism
    will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous
    instead of a compulsory routine is to make an unflattering estimate of the
    appeal of our institutions to free minds," wrote Justice Robert H. Jackson
    for the majority in 1943. This was, remember, at the height of World War II,
    when the war's outcome was very much in doubt.

    If we discourage dissent now, we will give terrorists the victory they
    sought by destroying what they most hate about our society: its commitment
    to unfettered thought and expression. And if we who have hard questions
    about the path our leaders are taking don't speak up, we may be party to a
    more tangible defeat: a continuing erosion of security in a divided world we
    don't always seem to understand.


    U.N. Confirms Bomb Hit Hospital on Outskirts of an Afghan City


    NY Times, Oct. 23, 2001

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Oct. 23 ^ The United Nations said here today that it
    had confirmed that a bomb hit and "reportedly destroyed" a military
    hospital on the outskirts of the western Afghan city of Herat.

    A United Nations spokeswoman, Stephanie Bunker, said there had been
    casualties in the incident but she did not give precise numbers.

    In Washington today a Pentagon spokeswoman said three American bombs went
    astray in Afghanistan over the weekend and that one landed near a senior
    citizens' center outside Herat on Sunday.

    She said it was possible that the seniors' center and the hospital cited by
    the United Nations were in fact the same building. "Yes it is possible,"
    the spokeswoman, Victoria Clarke, said, "but it has been described to us as
    a senior citizens' center."

    For the third consecutive day, United States warplanes attacked Taliban
    forces north of Kabul, the capital. The raids this afternoon came after the
    rebel Northern Alliance and the Taliban engaged overnight in their heaviest
    fighting since the American bombing began more than two weeks ago.

    The roar of jets and several huge explosions could be heard at midafternoon
    by reporters at the Bagram air base, 35 miles north of Kabul. An opposition
    spokesman, Waisuddin Salik, said the jets struck at Uzbashi, an Al Qaeda
    stronghold near this alliance-held air base.

    The Taliban retaliated with antiaircraft, heavy machine-gun and artillery fire.

    The attack on the building near Herat was reported by the Taliban on Monday.

    At a Pentagon briefing later that day, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld
    said that he had seen "absolutely no evidence" that American bombs or
    missiles had hit a hospital. But a Pentagon official told a New York Times
    reporter on Monday night that it appeared that a missile had gone astray
    and might have struck a hospital.

    Today, Ms. Clarke said the intended target was a vehicle storage building
    at an army barracks. A 1,000-pound bomb dropped by an FA-18 landed in a
    field between the seniors' center and the storage building, Ms. Clarke
    said. The buildings are 300 feet apart.

    Ms. Bunker said her information came by radio today from an Afghan worker,
    who is a longtime United Nations employee. She said she believed his
    statements could be trusted. There was no way of independently confirming
    the information.

    The staff member could not be reached by radio on Monday, Ms. Bunker said,
    and today his report was monitored by a Taliban soldier. The staff worker
    was required to speak in Pashto, so the soldier could understand what he
    said, she said, although the language of Herat is largely Dari.

    On Monday the Taliban's ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef,
    said those killed at the hospital included doctors, nurses and patients and
    that the raid was carried out by American and British warplanes. He called
    the bombing a deliberate act of terrorism against the Afghan people. The
    British immediately denied that any of their planes were involved.

    At a news conference today in Islamabad, Mullah Zaeef did not repeat the
    allegation about the bombing and said he did not want to take further
    questions on it.

    Ms. Bunker, who is the spokeswoman for the United Nations Office for
    Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance in Afghanistan, also said two
    residential areas of Kabul had been hit by bombs. But she said the Taliban
    was hiding troops in the civilian districts.

    Today, Ms. Clarke said an F-14 attack dropped two 500-pound bombs on a
    residential area northwest of Kabul on Saturday while aiming at military
    vehicles a half-mile away. She said the military did not have any
    information on possible casualties.

    Asked if civilian casualties could become a growing problem, particularly
    among Muslims, Ms. Clarke said: "We take extraordinary care on the
    targeting process. Our targets are military, our targets are Al Qauda. That
    is what we are going after. There is unintended damage. There is collateral

    Rear. Adm. John D. Stufflebeem, deputy director of operations for the Joint
    Chiefs of Staff, said at the briefing that the United States struck 11
    planned target areas on Monday. including airfields, radar, Taliban forces,
    vehicles and buildings. Targets also included lines of communications and
    military training centers.

    About 80 aircraft were used, he said, of which 60 were carrier-based
    tactical jets. About 10 land-based tactical aircraft were used and about 10
    long-range bombers were part of the strikes.

    In overnight fighting north of Kabul, Soviet-made launchers sent salvos of
    rockets streaking across the horizon with tails of bright red light, until
    they hit thunderously miles away. The staccato sound of machine-gun fire
    echoed through the valley late Monday night and early today.

    It seemed possible that the battle for Kabul had begun. Until recently, the
    American bombardment had avoided hitting front-line Taliban positions north
    of Kabul because of concern that such a move would open the way for the
    Northern Alliance to take the capital, an outcome that Pakistan opposes.
    But American policy has now shifted, and it seems possible that the long
    immobile front lines here would shift too.

    Similar attacks on Taliban positions were reported around Mazar-i-Sharif,
    which the Northern Alliance has been trying to recapture since it lost it
    in 1998. A rebel spokesman in Uzbekistan, Ibrahim Ghafoori, said alliance
    forces had advanced six to nine miles on Mazar-i-Sharif.

    Two United States helicopters came under light, sporadic small-arms fire in
    Pakistan today as their crews tried to retrieve the wreckage of another
    helicopter that crashed in a covert weekend commando raid, the Pentagon said.

    Retrieval crews were transporting a Black Hawk helicopter that crashed on
    Friday, killing two Rangers. The crews returned fire in Monday's incident,
    the Pentagon said, and left the area. The wreckage was also left behind,
    the spokesman said.

    The spokesman said officials did not know who fired at the craft, but it
    comes amid continuing protests by Islamic militants against the attacks on
    Afghanistan and is the most hostile act reported so far against Americans
    in Pakistan.

    In London today, Britain's defense secretary, Geoff Hoon, said British
    troops involved in military exercises in Oman would go to join the
    American-led effort against Afghanistan, but he did not say how many would
    be sent.

    The BBC, citing senior military officials, reported that about 600 Royal
    Marine commandos and several hundred special forces personnel would join
    the ground assault.

    Mr. Hoon said the air assault so far had severely damaged nine airfield and
    24 military barracks. "We believe that nine Al Qaeda camps were occupied
    before the start of the military operation," he said. "I can now tell you
    that we have successfully put all these camps out of action."


    Pentagon admits US jets bombed old people's home in Afghan city

    Foreign Affairs
    Source: The Independent (U.K.)
    Published: 10/24/2001 Author: Rupert Cornwell

    The Pentagon has acknowledged that American jets had probably bombed an old
    people's home on the outskirts of the city of Herat, in the most serious
    instance so far in the Afghanistan campaign of the "collateral damage" that
    caused such controversy in the Gulf and Kosovo.

    The exact circumstances of the "collateral damage" - military-speak for the
    killing of civilians - are still unclear. The UN mission in Pakistan said it
    had been informed by its representatives in Herat that a military hospital
    in a military compound to the east of the city had been hit, but could not
    confirm the figure of 100 dead advanced by the Taliban. A Pentagon
    spokeswoman said a 1,000lb bomb dropped by an F-18 warplane had missed its
    intended target, a vehicle storage depot, 300 feet (90 metres) from what she
    described as a "seniors citizens centre". The accident, which damaged part
    of the latter, was due to weapons guidance system malfunction. "We regret
    any loss of civilian life," she added.

    The Taliban also claimed a mosque in Herat had been struck, adding an
    unspecified number of casualties to the 1,000 people who the Taliban say
    have been killed by the American-led air strikes.

    Geoff Hoon, the Secretary of State for Defence, said that all nine training
    camps known to be used by Osama bin Laden's al-Qa'ida network had been
    destroyed in the Allied air strikes on Afghanistan.

    But Mr Hoon did not reveal details of the deployment of British ground
    forces at a press conference at the Ministry of Defence yesterday, despite
    widespread expectations that he would do so.

    In Washington, the White House said there was a suspicion that the US
    anthrax outbreak was linked to the 11 September attacks. Authorities
    confirmed that two postal workers had died from anthrax.

    An Egyptian dissident living in Britain was arrested by anti-terrorist
    police over allegations that he helped two hit men murder the main Afghan
    opposition leader in September.

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