---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 13:16:22 -0800
From: radtimes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Antiwar News...(# 29)
Antiwar News...(# 29)
--The war against terrorism is a fraud
--Air strikes on Kabul 'kill 13 civilians'
--"A Walk for Healing and Peace"
--Peace protesters surround MoD
--Misdirected air strikes kill more civilians in capital
--The Sick Logic of War
--Thousands march in anti-war protests
--U.S. Shifts Gears After a Week of Setbacks
--U.S. Bombers Kill Kabul Family
--U.S. Bombers Kill Kabul Family, Bus of Refugees
--The USA and International Terrorism
--New book by Chomsky on 9-11
--DO THE UNEXPECTED
--Getting Ready for Winter
Also of interest (links only):
*What health problems do Afghan refugees face?
*WOMEN AND THE FUTURE OF AFGHANISTAN
*Online index documents censorship, free speech incidents
*Afghanistan news links (comprehensive)
*HIGHTOWER: WAVE OUR FLAG!
(Anti-war links/resources at the end.)
The war against terrorism is a fraud
The Mirror (London) October 28
By John Pilger Former Mirror Chief Foreign Correspondent
THE war against terrorism is a fraud. After three weeks' bombing, not a
single terrorist implicated in the attacks on America has been caught or
killed in Afghanistan.
Instead, one of the poorest, most stricken nations has been terrorised by
the most powerful - to the point where American pilots have run out of
dubious "military" targets and are now destroying mud houses, a hospital,
Red Cross warehouses, lorries carrying refugees.
Unlike the relentless pictures from New York, we are seeing almost
nothing of this. Tony Blair has yet to tell us what the violent death of
children - seven in one family - has to do with Osama bin Laden.
And why are cluster bombs being used? The British public should know
about these bombs, which the RAF also uses. They spray hundreds of
bomblets that have only one purpose; to kill and maim people. Those that
do not explode lie on the ground like landmines, waiting for people to
step on them.
If ever a weapon was designed specifically for acts of terrorism, this is
it. I have seen the victims of American cluster weapons in other
countries, such as the Laotian toddler who picked one up and had her
right leg and face blown off. Be assured this is now happening in
Afghanistan, in your name.
None of those directly involved in the September 11 atrocity was Afghani.
Most were Saudis, who apparently did their planning and training in
Germany and the United States. The camps which the Taliban allowed bin
Laden to use were emptied weeks ago. Moreover, the Taliban itself is a
creation of the Americans and the British. In the 1980s, the tribal army
that produced them was funded by the CIA and trained by the SAS to fight
The hypocrisy does not stop there. When the Taliban took Kabul in 1996,
Washington said nothing. Why? Because Taliban leaders were soon on their
way to Houston, Texas, to be entertained by executives of the oil
WITH secret US government approval, the company offered them a generous
cut of the profits of the oil and gas pumped through a pipeline that the
Americans wanted to build from Soviet central Asia through Afghanistan.
A US diplomat said: "The Taliban will probably develop like the Saudis
did." He explained that Afghanistan would become an American oil colony,
there would be huge profits for the West, no democracy and the legal
persecution of women. "We can live with that," he said.
Although the deal fell through, it remains an urgent priority of the
administration of George W. Bush, which is steeped in the oil industry.
Bush's concealed agenda is to exploit the oil and gas reserves in the
Caspian basin, the greatest source of untapped fossil fuel on earth and
enough, according to one estimate, to meet America's voracious energy
needs for a generation. Only if the pipeline runs through Afghanistan can
the Americans hope to control it.
So, not surprisingly, US Secretary of State Colin Powell is now referring
to "moderate" Taliban, who will join an American-sponsored "loose
federation" to run Afghanistan. The "war on terrorism" is a cover for
this: a means of achieving American strategic aims that lie behind the
flag-waving facade of great power.
The Royal Marines, who will do the real dirty work, will be little more
than mercenaries for Washington's imperial ambitions, not to mention the
extraordinary pretensions of Blair himself. Having made Britain a target
for terrorism with his bellicose "shoulder to shoulder" with Bush
nonsense, he is now prepared to send troops to a battlefield where the
goals are so uncertain that even the Chief of the Defence Staff says the
conflict "could last 50 years". The irresponsibility of this is
breathtaking; the pressure on Pakistan alone could ignite an
unprecedented crisis across the Indian sub-continent. Having reported
many wars, I am always struck by the absurdity of effete politicians
eager to wave farewell to young soldiers, but who themselves would not
say boo to a Taliban goose.
In the days of gunboats, our imperial leaders covered their violence in
the "morality" of their actions. Blair is no different. Like them, his
selective moralising omits the most basic truth. Nothing justified the
killing of innocent people in America on September 11, and nothing
justifies the killing of innocent people anywhere else.
By killing innocents in Afghanistan, Blair and Bush stoop to the level of
the criminal outrage in New York. Once you cluster bomb, "mistakes" and
"blunders" are a pretence. Murder is murder, regardless of whether you
crash a plane into a building or order and collude with it from the Oval
Office and Downing Street.
If Blair was really opposed to all forms of terrorism, he would get
Britain out of the arms trade. On the day of the twin towers attack, an
"arms fair", selling weapons of terror (like cluster bombs and missiles)
to assorted tyrants and human rights abusers, opened in London's
Docklands with the full backing of the Blair government. Britain's
biggest arms customer is the medieval Saudi regime, which beheads
heretics and spawned the religious fanaticism of the Taliban.
If he really wanted to demonstrate "the moral fibre of Britain", Blair
would do everything in his power to lift the threat of violence in those
parts of the world where there is great and justifiable grievance and
anger. He would do more than make gestures; he would demand that Israel
ends its illegal occupation of Palestine and withdraw to its borders
prior to the 1967 war, as ordered by the Security Council, of which
Britain is a permanent member.
HE would call for an end to the genocidal blockade which the UN - in
reality, America and Britain - has imposed on the suffering people of
Iraq for more than a decade, causing the deaths of half a million
children under the age of five.
That's more deaths of infants every month than the number killed in the
World Trade Center.
There are signs that Washington is about to extend its current "war" to
Iraq; yet unknown to most of us, almost every day RAF and American
aircraft already bomb Iraq. There are no headlines. There is nothing on
the TV news. This terror is the longest-running Anglo-American bombing
campaign since World War Two.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the US and Britain faced a
"dilemma" in Iraq, because "few targets remain". "We're down to the last
outhouse," said a US official. That was two years ago, and they're still
bombing. The cost to the British taxpayer? 800million so far.
According to an internal UN report, covering a five-month period, 41 per
cent of the casualties are civilians. In northern Iraq, I met a woman
whose husband and four children were among the deaths listed in the
report. He was a shepherd, who was tending his sheep with his elderly
father and his children when two planes attacked them, each making a
sweep. It was an open valley; there were no military targets nearby.
"I want to see the pilot who did this," said the widow at the graveside
of her entire family. For them, there was no service in St Paul's
Cathedral with the Queen in attendance; no rock concert with Paul
THE tragedy of the Iraqis, and the Palestinians, and the Afghanis is a
truth that is the very opposite of their caricatures in much of the
Far from being the terrorists of the world, the overwhelming majority of
the Islamic peoples of the Middle East and south Asia have been its
victims - victims largely of the West's exploitation of precious natural
resources in or near their countries.
There is no war on terrorism. If there was, the Royal Marines and the SAS
would be storming the beaches of Florida, where more CIA-funded
terrorists, ex-Latin American dictators and torturers, are given refuge
than anywhere on earth.
There is, however, a continuing war of the powerful against the
powerless, with new excuses, new hidden agendas, new lies. Before another
child dies violently, or quietly from starvation, before new fanatics are
created in both the east and the west, it is time for the people of
Britain to make their voices heard and to stop this fraudulent war - and
to demand the kind of bold, imaginative non-violent initiatives that
require real political courage.
The other day, the parents of Greg Rodriguez, a young man who died in the
World Trade Center, said this: "We read enough of the news to sense that
our government is heading in the direction of violent revenge, with the
prospect of sons, daughters, parents, friends in distant lands dying,
suffering, and nursing further grievances against us.
"It is not the way to go...not in our son's name."
Air strikes on Kabul 'kill 13 civilians'
Staff and agencies
Sunday October 28, 2001
US warplanes today hit a residential area in the Afghan capital Kabul
killing at least 13 civilians and virtually wiping out
one family, according to local reports.
Seven children and their father are reported to have been killed in the
attacks, which occurred early this morning. The
eight victims were having breakfast together when a bomb hit their home,
which is near the site of a Taliban anti-aircraft
Eyewitnesses said three houses were hit when US jets roared over Kabul,
apparently aiming at military targets on the
northern and eastern edge of the city.
American warplanes also attacked targets in the northern city of
Mazar-i-Sharif, the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar in
the south, Herat in the west and Jalalabad in the east, according to local
Today's strikes came just a day after stray bombs hit three villages in
northern Afghanistan in what witnesses called the
heaviest attacks on Taliban front lines in the area.
A total of eight or nine civilians were killed in the villages, most of
them in alliance-held communities, according to
witnesses. A further 10 were injured.
In Washington, Pentagon spokesmen have made no comment on the latest
civilian casualties although the US
government has repeatedly stressed that civilians are never deliberately
But the tide of civilian casualties in Afghanistan has been testing local
support for the air strikes and has galvanised
support for the Taliban in nearby Pakistan.
Pakistani guards have halted a convoy of around armed tribesmen attempting
to cross the border into Afghanistan to
help the Taliban.
Around 4,500 Pakistani tribesmen set out in buses and trucks yesterday,
carrying Kalashnikov rifles and rocket
The group is led by the Islamist party head Sufi Mohammad, who has called
for jihad, or a holy war, against the US.
"A Walk for Healing and Peace"
From: Voices in the Wilderness [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2001 1:34 PM
We are writing to announce a walk which Voices in the Wilderness will
help coordinate and to invite your involvement and support:
A Walk for Healing and Peace
>From Washington DC to NYC - November 25 - December 4.
Following the tragedies that occurred on September 11, 2001, in New York
City, Washington, DC, and in Pennsylvania, several individuals spoke to
the world words of extraordinary spiritual depth and courage. Even as
they mourned their loss of beloved family members and close friends,
they asked that the deaths of their loved ones not be used to justify
retaliatory attacks on other innocent people.
In the past weeks, US Armed Forces have daily attacked Afghanistan.
Millions of people there now face hunger, displacement, and fear of
further attacks. The war could spread to other countries. With each
passing day, we increasingly appreciate calls to resist war, hunger, and
revenge. We are particularly respectful of the testimony given in
statements mentioned above, --those words collectively clarified: "Our
Grief Is Not A Cry For War." (http://www.nonviolence.org/vitw/)
Walkers will use such testimony as a moral compass in a pilgrimage from
Washington DC to NYC. Led by Buddhist and Franciscan monks, and joined
from time to time by various leaders of faith-based and peacemaking
communities, we will depart from Washington DC, on Sunday, November 25.
The route will include visits in Baltimore, MD, Princeton, NJ,
Philadelphia, PA, and Trenton, NJ, arriving in New York City on
Saturday, December 1. (A large bus will assist with shuttling during
parts of the route.)
At each stop along the way, walkers and supporters will invite members
of the public to join them for public events. We must not forget the
hundreds of thousands of people who have died and are still dying from
the effects of economic and military warfare in the Middle East. We must
not forget Iraqi mothers who have wept over their dying children and yet
said, "We pray that this will never happen to a mother in your country."
We must not forget the refugee families facing the Afghan winter without
food or shelter.
We will welcome accompaniment, on the road, from all those who want to
be guided by the calls for nonviolence. For more information about the
itinerary and about the public gatherings, please contact (646)208-2098
This walk is endorsed by The National Coalition for Peace and Justice.
Concurrent with this walk will be national days of prayer and fasting
coordinated by the National Network to End the War Against Iraq
Voices in the Wilderness
1460 West Carmen Ave
Chicago IL 60640
Peace protesters surround MoD
'We're just a family ... but it's families and children in Afghanistan'
By Alan Crawford
ANOTHER Saturday, another day of global anti-war protests.
Beneath the autumn sunshine and showers of yesterday morning, the third
rally by the Scottish Coalition for Justice Not War assembled in central
Glasgow after a week in which the calls for peace could not have failed to
penetrate the war cabinet of Prime Minister Tony Blair.
First the Scottish Parliament had the audacity to debate the international
situation, then on Friday First Minister Henry McLeish was forced to defend
what he called the 'inevitable' military action.
Inevitable or questionable, people converged on Glasgow yesterday to show
their opposition to the war, first by forming a human chain around the
wedge-shaped MoD building in Argyle Street, then marching to George Square
for a peace rally.
Unlike at previous demos, nobody mentioned September 11. The emphasis had
shifted perceptibly from the victims of the US attacks to those victims on
the other side of the world: the Afghan refugees, the civilians whose
plight cannot be helped by the accidental bombing of Red Cross warehouses,
the sick and injured reported killed by stray bombs as they lay in hospital.
This was Scotland's contribution to an international day of protest which
saw people take to the streets in Melbourne and Alabama, Athens and
Hiroshima, Copenhagen, Santiago and Waikiki.
Following the heaviest night of bombing yet, during which Kabul was pounded
for a solid 11 hours, protesters in 35 US states, including New York,
showed they were far from united with their president's actions. In the UK
meanwhile, demonstrators turned out in Bristol, Leeds, Bury, Lancaster,
Manchester, Preston, Swansea and Sheffield.
In Glasgow, many faces familiar from the previous protests milled around
the MoD building smiling and chatting, but so too did many new recruits.
For Ron and Janey, from Glasgow, it was their first outing against the war.
'We just felt we had to come along and be part of it,' said Ron. 'We are in
the 21st century, we are supposed to be living in a civilised country but
war is not civilised. There must be other ways of doing things.'
A collie puppy belonging to one protester was busy frolicking with
another's cocker spaniel when a CND marshall stepped on to the low wall
surrounding the building. 'We need around 500 people to surround the
building,' he shouted, evidently speaking from experience. 'Holding hands
is purely optional.'
Heather Walton and Reiner Holst, Heather's daughter Maia, eight, and her
friend Rowan, seven, had already taken up position. Maia and Rowan had
insisted on painting their own placard calling for peace.
'We are just a family but it's families and children that are out there in
Afghanistan where it's nearly winter,' said Heather. 'There's no hope for
them if this military action continues.
'People are beginning to have doubts about how this is going to work out,'
Reiner added. 'Even children in the playground are talking about it and
having nightmares about it.'
The police were out in numbers and had helpfully opened up the gates at the
side of the building to allow protesters to encircle the place. This was an
entirely peaceable affair.
With more than enough people to surround the building, a hush went around
and a minute's silence was observed, followed by a brief self-
Samba drums then struck up a marching rhythm and the phalanx for peace set
off along Argyle Street as gridlocked car drivers quietly fumed.
Many seemed bemused by the unlikely contrast of elderly gents in flat caps
marching alongside tattered anarchists. One girl wore a dress created from
spent Woolworths bags skillfully knotted together and decorated with a CND
symbol. A man in his 50s who looked the epitome of a Glasgow hardman
carried a banner which pleaded: 'Resist the war machine'.
Chatting and chanting, the protesters obviously felt rather good about
bringing a halt to traffic and stepping along the middle of the road on a
busy Saturday morning.
Onwards into Queen Street, a halt was called outside the Army Careers
Centre where protesters crouched down and chanted a few slogans. One
elderly marcher whipped out a folding stool and squatted down with the
others. The march, by now more than 1000-strong, filed into George Square
MSP Dennis Canavan said the rally sent a 'strong and unequivocal message to
Bush and Blair that the killing must stop'.
Coalition chairman Alan MacKinnon felt that the campaign was growing as the
war failed in its aims. 'At least we achieve our objectives,' he said.
Misdirected air strikes kill more civilians in capital
By Kathy Gannon, Associated Press, 10/28/01
KABUL, Afghanistan -- American airstrikes meant to punish the Taliban
spilled over Sunday into residential neighborhoods of the Afghan capital,
killing 13 civilians -- the second time in as many days that missiles have
accidentally hit homes and killed residents.
Later Sunday, U.S. jets were back over the skies of the beleaguered Afghan
capital, and strong explosions could be heard in the direction of the main
road from Kabul to the opposition-controlled Bagram air base.
Weeping families buried their dead hours after the morning bombardment,
apparently aimed at Taliban targets to the north and east of Kabul. "I have
lost all my family. I am finished," said a sobbing woman in the Qali Hotair
neighborhood on Kabul's northern edge.
In Washington, Pentagon spokesmen had no immediate comment on the latest
strikes and civilian casualties involved. It has stressed repeatedly that
civilians are never deliberately targeted.
Three weeks after the U.S.-led air assault against Afghanistan began,
British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed confidence the allies would
prevail. However, his foreign secretary, Jack Straw, told the British
Broadcasting Corp. that the war could drag on "indefinitely" and that the
coalition was considering a pause during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan,
which begins around Nov. 17.
In neighboring Pakistan, where the government has had to work to keep a lid
on pro-Taliban unrest, there was growing concern over civilian casualties.
"We feel the military action should possibly be short and targeted in order
to avoid civilian casualties," Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf,
said after meeting German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
Pakistan's government has allied itself with the United States in the
confrontation over Osama bin Laden, chief suspect the Sept. 11 terror
attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
In a token of that cooperation, Pakistani officials said Sunday they had
turned over to U.S. officials a man wanted in connection with another bin
Laden-linked attack -- the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. The
handover of the suspect, a Yemeni microbiology student, was the first known
arrest outside Yemen in connection with the Cole attack.
Elsewhere in Pakistan, at least 16 Christian worshippers were killed in the
southern town of Behawalpur when attackers suspected of belonging to a
fundamentalist Muslim group sprayed the church with gunfire.
It was not known if the attack was related to the U.S. air campaign. But the
parish priest, Rev. Rocus Patras, suggested it was linked to tensions,
saying "Whenever something happens with America, they attack Christian
Pakistan's main radical Islamic party vowed to step up the challenge to
Musharraf, saying it and other religious groups would meet Monday to plan a
10-day protest in the capital to topple the president.
Qazi Hussain Ahmad, head of the Jamaat-e-Islami, said the protest would
involve a march into Islamabad and a sit-in.
Elsewhere in Pakistan, hundreds of armed pro-Taliban Pakistanis seized a
remote northern town Sunday demanding that the government stop supporting
the U.S.-led strikes, witnesses said. The rebels, armed with rocket
launchers, Kalashnikov assault rifles, handmade guns and swords, took over
most government offices in Chilas about 200 miles northeast of Peshawar.
In Sunday morning's airstrikes, witnesses said 10 people were killed in
Kabul's Qali Hotair neighborhood. An Associated Press reporter saw six
bodies, four of them children.
A wailing father hugged the dead body of his son, who looked barely 2.
Bereaved women slapped themselves with grief. One 13-year-old boy, Jawad,
bandaged and bloody from the strike, asked about his relatives -- not
knowing he was the only survivor in his nine-member family.
Three other people died near an eastern housing complex called Macroyan,
In the Pakistani frontier city of Peshawar, another memorial for the dead
took place Sunday -- but without the corpse.
The Taliban refused to return the body of Afghan opposition figure Abdul
Haq, executed Friday after he crossed over into Afghanistan in hopes of
drumming up support for the anti-Taliban cause. The Taliban said they had
buried Haq in his home village in Afghanistan.
The strikes that hit Kabul came only 12 hours after stray bombs landed
Saturday evening behind the rebel military alliance's battle lines north of
the capital. Areas behind Taliban lines were also reported hit.
Eight or nine civilians were killed -- most of them in alliance-held areas,
according to witnesses.
In the opposition-held village of Ghanikheil, villagers said a 20-year-old
woman died in the ruins of her mud-brick house, and six were hurt. Four
others were injured in a nearby house, they said.
"The sound was huge. The plane swooped down -- I could hear it dive," said
an eyewitness, Amin Ullah, 70.
Rebels confronting Taliban troops north of the capital had been complaining
publicly that the American airstrikes weren't doing enough to advance their
cause. It wasn't known if Saturday's heavy raids were in response to that.
The opposition's spokesman, Abdullah, who uses only one name, called the
damage to the Taliban front lines from Saturday's raids significant and said
if such heavy bombardment were routinely employed, "the objective of
eradicating terrorism could be achieved much quicker."
The civilian deaths, he said, were an unfortunate mistake.
"Of course we know this wasn't a deliberate targeting," Abdullah said. "We
have to coordinate."
Some injured civilians from the Taliban side crossed the front line by
donkey to seek treatment, said Kate Rowlands, program director of an
Italian-run emergency clinic in opposition territory.
Meanwhile, the chief of the U.N. refugee agency, Ruud Lubbers, said on a
visit to the Afghan frontier that Pakistan has agreed to allow in refugees
in need of urgent help. Pakistan and U.N. staff will screen Afghans at the
border, and women, children, the elderly and those in need of medical
treatment will be permitted to cross, he said.
Pakistan, which already holds 2 million Afghans, the largest refugee
population in the world, is fearful of a new flood of refugees and wants to
maintain tight control of its border.
The Sick Logic of War
October 27, 2001
by Matthew Rothschild
When the United States started the war against Afghanistan, Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld told us two things: It would be a war unlike any
other, fought by non-traditional means, and it was not a war against the
But the Donald was wrong on both counts.
The United States is waging this war as it did the ones against Iraq and
Yugoslavia, with massive bombings that begin with great accuracy and then
gradually start missing their mark.
Because in the first few days, the most obvious targets are hit, the enemy
doesn't give up, and the Pentagon is left with all this firepower and
nowhere to put it.
So it looks for less obvious targets, and these are often civilian: in Iraq,
a bomb shelter with hundreds of people; in Yugoslavia, the Chinese embassy;
in Afghanistan, a nursing home, a hospital, villages, and the Red Cross
(which the U.S. has now managed to hit twice).
Nor does it help that in Afghanistan, the Pentagon has given pilots the
freedom to fire at will, instead of going after predetermined targets. With
such leeway, the civilian casualties are bound to mount.
They are also bound to mount when the United States litters the landscape
with cluster bombs, as it did in Iraq, Yugoslavia, and now Afghanistan.
These weapons scatter about 200 bomblets each, little armor-penetrating
canisters that lie on the ground until a tank rolls over them-or a kid picks
It may not be long before the number of cluster bombs on the ground exceed
the number of care packages.
This is not a war against the Afghan people?
The sick logic of war compels the aggressor to keep upping the carnage. If
the enemy does not collapse at the beginning (as the United States foolishly
expected the Taliban to do), then hit them harder. This logic played out in
Vietnam also, but never triumphed, unless you call the deaths of more than
two million people a triumph.
And now we're seeing the same logic at play in Afghanistan, and we're even
hearing it articulated in our leading newspapers.
Take the Wall Street Journal.
On October 26, Senator John McCain took to the Journal's editorial page to
write a chilling piece called, "There Is No Substitute for Victory."
Here's what he says: "Get on with the business of killing our enemies as
quickly as we can, and as ruthlessly as we must." He advocates the use of
"all force necessary to achieve unconditional victory." And he casts aside
the unpleasant likelihood of high civilian casualties.
"We cannot fight it without risking unintended damage to humanitarian and
political interests," he says.
A bit later, he goes on as if reading from the Vietnam script: "We cannot
allow the Taliban safe refuge among the civilian population. We must destroy
them, wherever they hide. That will surely increase the terrible danger
facing noncombatants, a regrettable but necessary fact of war."
At the end, he washes his hands of these "regrettable" civilian deaths. "We
did not cause this war. Our enemies did, and they are to blame for the
deprivations and difficulties it occasions. They are to blame for the loss
of innocent lives."
This moral shirking mirrors the U.S. rationale for keeping sanctions on
Iraq. All those hundreds of thousands of kids who've died as a result, they
are all Saddam Hussein's responsibility, our government tells us.
Two days before McCain's piece came out, I spoke with Robert Fisk, the great
foreign correspondent of the London Independent, who was in Islamabad. He
predicted the kind of debased rhetoric that McCain employed.
"In about three or four weeks time," Fisk said, "this could turn into a
tragedy of biblical proportions, as the starving and dying of famine arrive
at the borders. At which point, there's going to be a most unseemly and
revolting argument in which we're going to say, 'It's the Taliban's fault.
If they weren't there, we wouldn't be bombing.' And a lot of Muslims are
going to say, 'These people are dying because they are fleeing from your
bombs.' That's what's going to enrage Arabs. The Arabs have seen the
pictures of emaciated Iraqi kids dying. Are they now going to see pictures
of emaciated Afghans dying?"
The Bush Administration has sped by several exits off the bloody highway of
war. In the days before the United States began bombing, the Taliban offered
to arrest bin Laden if the U.S. produced the evidence. Bush said no.
Then the Taliban offered to put bin Laden on trial under Islamic law. Bush
Then after the first week or so of bombing, the Taliban foreign minister
asked for a two-day ceasefire so his government could find bin Laden and
hand him over to a third country. Bush said no.
The Pope, the Dalai Lama, the U.N. humanitarian agency, and Doctors Without
Borders urged Bush not to pursue this war. Bush said no.
Robert McNamara has written that one of the serious flaws of the U.S. war
planners in Vietnam was rejecting opportunities to stop the war along the
way. But Bush and Rumsfeld have not learned that lesson.
And so they continue to go headlong and headstrong toward McCain's goal of
If they arrive there, they will be accompanied by thousands of civilian
corpses and by world chaos.
Thousands march in anti-war protests
Sun, 28 Oct 2001
Thousands of people have turned out in Barcelona to demonstrate against the
US air strikes on Afghanistan.
The 15,000 demonstrators marched from University Square to the city cathedral.
The protest was organised by leftist groups, feminists, labour unions and
At the cathedral, a protest leader told the crowd: "Like Gandhi said, an
eye for an eye will leave the world blind."
On Saturday, around 5,000 people in Madrid and another 4,000 people in the
east coast city of Valencia participated in demonstrations against the war.
The government has dismissed such demonstrations as a minority viewpoint
and defended its offers to the US of unequivocal support, troops and use of
military bases on Spanish soil.
U.S. Shifts Gears After a Week of Setbacks
October 28 2001
WASHINGTON IS INCREASINGLY BEING WARNED THAT A SHORT-TERM
CAMPAIGN IS THE ONLY WAY TO PREVENT A MOUNTING BACKLASH.
By ROBIN WRIGHT and DOYLE McMANUS
WASHINGTON -- Stung by a week of setbacks in its Afghan campaign, the
United States is adjusting both its military and political tactics, with
shifts ranging from possible bombing pauses during the Muslim holy month
of Ramadan to a more prominent diplomatic role for the United Nations.
Even Bush administration officials acknowledge that last week's reverses
were not encouraging. Airstrikes went awry, hitting Red Cross warehouses,
mine-sniffing dogs and Toyotas. A rebel offensive collapsed near the
northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. A charismatic Afghan military hero,
apparently the first to plot a daring overthrow of the Taliban, was
captured and executed shortly after sneaking into Afghanistan. And a
drive to unite the anti-Taliban opposition bogged down in jealous
But the officials argue that these are only short-term problems.
"We've only been at it 19 days," said one senior administration official
who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of military
operations and diplomatic efforts.
"Have there been ups and downs?" this official asked. "You bet. Things we
didn't anticipate? You bet. Should this be a surprise to anybody? No. . .
We have a good plan, and we believe it's going to work."
Yet U.S. officials face a strategic conundrum: Even as the likelihood is
growing that defeating the Taliban will take months or even years,
Washington is increasingly being warned that a short-term campaign is the
only way to prevent a mounting backlash against the United States along
with political spillover throughout South Asia and the Middle East.
Britain's defense chief, Adm. Michael Boyce, predicted Saturday that the
Afghan campaign could take three to four years.
Pakistan, on which the U.S. campaign is dependent, and other U.S. allies
in the Islamic world have called on the United States to halt the bombing
of Afghanistan. Even several European allies are concerned about growing
civilian casualties and nonmilitary destruction caused by U.S.
airstrikes, Asian and European diplomats say.
As a result, the administration is making some tactical adjustments while
insisting that its strategy is still working.
On the military front, the administration is considering ways to
demonstrate respect for Islam during Ramadan, which begins in
mid-November. Instead of bombing straight through, as Defense Secretary
Donald H. Rumsfeld vowed last week, the Pentagon may orchestrate brief
bombing pauses during the holiest times of the month.
The United States is also hoping that greater coordination of airstrikes
with Afghan opposition forces will prompt them to wage another offensive
to capture Mazar-i-Sharif. The Pentagon has more confidence in Gen. Abdul
Rashid Dostum than in the other military leaders of the Northern
Alliance, even though Dostum's initial forays last week failed.
"The air campaign [is] now shifting to provide close air support and
battlefield air interdiction in support of those forces arrayed against
the Taliban. And if those forces show aggressiveness, if they're prepared
to move, if they have the supplies that they need--and I sense that they
are getting what they need--then between the two, air and their ground,
the Taliban would have a tough time coping with that over time,"
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee last week.
Yet the alliance insists that it needs more military aid.
"We only have enough now to be defensive," said Haron Amin, the group's
Washington representative. "We need a lot more equipment to be able to
move on the ground. Without adequate supplies, we can't go on the
The alliance has asked for mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, machine
guns and ammunition. Amin also charged that the United States is not
providing adequate air cover for the alliance to gain ground against
But the administration is not convinced that the Northern Alliance, a
loose coalition of minority ethnic groups, is capable of taking the
capital, Kabul, let alone governing the city.
"Nobody is counting on them to win the battle--and nobody is sure they
could do it anyway, although anything they can do to put pressure on,
harass, bother or push back the Taliban is welcome," a senior State
Department official said Saturday.
Meanwhile, in southern Afghanistan, the United States is still hoping
that leaders among the Pushtun, the country's largest ethnic group, will
rise up against the Taliban.
"We're beginning to have evidence that people in the south and Pushtun
tribes are beginning to stir themselves," a senior official said. But
there has been no visible sign of an uprising.
Part of the problem is the administration's hesitation to back the
efforts of influential Pushtun commanders with anti-Taliban credentials,
such as the late Abdul Haq in eastern Afghanistan or Gul Agha Shirzai in
the south, according to Western diplomats in Pakistan.
U.S. officials counter that progress has been made.
"The fact that the forces in the north and south have not moved
dramatically does not mean that the effort that's been expended has been
wasted," Rumsfeld told reporters Thursday. "They are better off today
than they were before. They're in a position to be more successful."
But he acknowledged that the United States is still not certain of the
whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, who is accused of directing the Sept. 11
attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
On the political front, U.N. special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is launching a
new round of negotiations with the fragmented Taliban opposition in
Pakistan, Iran and Europe, trying to cobble together an alternative
government. He left on a 10-day mission Friday.
"We can't make a government from outside. It doesn't work. It has to be
an Afghan effort with outsiders pretty active in trying to get them to
work it out, and Brahimi can best carry out that mission," the senior
State Department official said.
Last week, Afghan opposition members in Pakistan held their first
meeting. A second group, which includes supporters of former King
Mohammad Zaher Shah and the Northern Alliance, is scheduled to assemble
in Ankara, Turkey, this week. But Zaher Shah's bid to form a
government-in-waiting has bogged down under the strain of ethnic rivalry
and renewed mistrust among several groups, Afghans involved in the
The strains are complicated by Pakistani meddling, opposition from Iran,
India and Russia, and U.S. reluctance to embrace the exiled king's plan,
according to advisors to the former monarch.
Zaher Shah's initiative calls for a Supreme Council for National Unity.
The council would enter Kabul and run the country after Taliban rule
collapsed. It would then elect a larger assembly, known as a loya jirga,
that would appoint a two-year provisional government--all under the
87-year-old ex-king's figurehead authority.
Under this plan, the supreme council would be made up of 120 people from
all Afghan regions, tribes and ethnic groups; 50 members would be named
by the former king, 50 by the Northern Alliance and 20 by the two sides
But Pushtun groups supported by Pakistan have complained that this
numerical formula gives too many seats to the Northern Alliance, and they
are pressing the king to add more seats to the council. The alliance, not
surprisingly, opposes that idea.
Both the political and military fronts have been badly hurt by the lack
of information about what's going on inside Afghanistan. With virtually
no decent intelligence network of its own in the country, Washington
hoped its newfound friends in Pakistan would remedy the shortfall,
according to Pakistani officials and Western diplomats. The Taliban is
widely viewed as a virtual creation of Pakistan's Inter-Services
Intelligence Directorate, or ISI.
But when Pakistan jettisoned the Taliban in a political U-turn last
month, its intelligence network in Afghanistan shriveled, some officials
Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdus Sattar said the flow of information from
Pakistan "has slowed to a trickle."
U.S. Bombers Kill Kabul Family.
Reuters. 28 October 2001.
KABUL -- A U.S. bomb crashed through a flimsy mud-brick home in the
Kabul Sunday blowing apart seven children as they ate breakfast with
their father, the mother said.
U.S. bombers killed a total of 12 civilians in two early morning raids
on the Afghan capital.
A civilian was also killed when U.S. planes mistakenly bombed a village
north of the city in territory controlled by the opposition Northern
Alliance Saturday, residents said.
Al-Jazeera television of Qatar had earlier reported that 10 civilians
were killed by a stray U.S. bomb in the same area.
"What shall I do now? Look at their savageness," wailed the wife of Gul
Ahmad as the bodies of her children were pulled from the smoldering
wreckage of her home and wrapped in shrouds.
"They killed all of my children and husband," she said.
"The whole world is responsible for this tragedy. Why are they not
taking any decision to stop this?" she asked.
Sobs racked the body of a middle-aged man as he cradled the head of his
baby, its dust-covered body dressed only in a blue diaper, lying beside
the bodies of three other children, their colorful clothes layered with
debris from their shattered homes.
The blast that killed the family also destroyed their neighbor's house,
killing two children there, witnesses said.
Men digging graves for the children were angry.
"Your filming makes no difference. No body runs it. Just get lost," one
said to a Reuters reporter.
Two other civilians died when a bomb hit the minibus in which they were
attempting to flee Kabul with their family.
A Reuters reporter said one woman was killed and 10 people injured when
warplanes mistakenly bombed the tiny hamlet of Ghanikhel Saturday.
About 100 locals gathered in the cemetery for the funeral of Kukugul,
who died when her house was struck by a huge blast between 4 and 5 p.m.
The United States and its allies have been attacking frontline Taliban
positions north of Kabul for a week, dropping powerful explosives from
high in the sky to avoid the Taliban's meager air defenses.
"There has only been one explosion on opposition territory," Haji Kahar,
an opposition foreign ministry spokesman based in Jabal-us-Saraj, told
"One woman was killed and around eight people were injured in the town
The Taliban say hundreds of Afghan civilians have been killed by stray
U.S. bombs or missiles.
U.S. Bombers Kill Kabul Family, Bus of Refugees
October 28, 2001
KABUL (Reuters) - A U.S. bomb flattened a flimsy mud-brick home in Kabul
Sunday blowing apart seven children as they ate breakfast with their
The blast shattered a neighbor's house killing another two children in
one of the most gruesome scenes of Washington's three-week-old bombing of
the Afghan capital.
U.S. bombers killed a total of 12 civilians in two early morning raids on
Two civilians were also killed when U.S. planes mistakenly bombed a
village north of Kabul in territory controlled by the opposition Northern
Alliance Saturday, residents said.
The bombing has outraged many Muslims. In neighboring Muslim Pakistan
masked gunmen killed up to 15 Christians and a policeman who was guarding
their church Sunday.
In Kabul, the sounds of grief echoed down shattered alleys.
``What shall I do now? Look at their savagery,'' wailed the wife of Gul
Ahmad as the bodies of her children were pulled from the smoldering
wreckage of her home and wrapped in shrouds.
``They killed all of my children and husband,'' she said.
``The whole world is responsible for this tragedy. Why are they not
taking any decision to stop this?'' she asked.
Sobs racked the body of a middle-aged man as he cradled the head of his
baby, its dust-covered body dressed only in a blue diaper, lying beside
the bodies of three other children, their colorful clothes layered with
debris from their shattered homes.
The U.S. attacks were launched on October 7 against Afghanistan's ruling
Taliban in retaliation for sheltering Osama bin Laden, the suspected
mastermind behind the September 11 attacks on the United States that
killed some 5,000.
BOMBS HIT BUS, OPPOSITION VILLAGE
The houses were in a residential area called Qalaye Khatir near a hill
where the hard-line Taliban militia had placed an anti-aircraft gun.
Men digging graves for the children were angry.
``Your filming makes no difference. Nobody runs it. Just get lost,'' one
said to a Reuters reporter.
Two other civilians died when a bomb hit the minibus in which they were
attempting to flee Kabul with their family.
Two villagers were killed and 10 people injured when U.S. warplanes
mistakenly bombed the tiny hamlet of Ghanikhel in territory held by the
opposition Northern Alliance near their frontline positions facing the
The blast turned the mood in the village against the United States.
``The Americans come here, drop their bombs on Afghanistan and kill
innocent people,'' an Afghan cleric, Kamaruddin, said at the funeral of
one victim Sunday.
``We cannot condone this, although we ourselves are guilty,'' Kamaruddin
shouted, as 100 men crouched in the morning sun in the bleak cemetery
just outside the village.
``We were the ones to invite them here.''
The United States and its allies have been attacking Taliban positions
north of Kabul for a week, dropping powerful explosives from high in the
sky to avoid the Taliban's meager air defenses.
The Taliban say hundreds of Afghan civilians have been killed by stray
U.S. bombs or missiles. U.S. officials call the figure exaggerated.
Opposition foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, while refusing to confirm
the presence of U.S. soldiers in the area, said the opposition was trying
to work more closely with the United States to avoid mistakes.
Asked if coordination had improved Abdullah told reporters in
Jabal-us-Saraj: ``I shouldn't say that there is a breakthrough in that
but we are trying to improve it.''
Taliban Education Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said attacks north of Kabul
``U.S. jets have been very active and during the past 24 hours the
bombings have been the worst since the start of the attacks,'' he told
Reuters in Kabul. He stressed that battlefield losses had been minimal.
But Abdullah Abdullah urged the United States to step up the bombardment
of forward positions, saying the damage to Taliban frontlines had been
``Yesterday's damage to the Taliban capacity in the frontlines was
significant,'' he told a news briefing.
``If yesterday's type of bombing becomes the standard, the objective of
the eradication of terrorism and the war against terror as a whole could
be achieved much quicker -- sooner rather than later.''
But Washington's political campaign to replace the Taliban with a broad
coalition of Afghans took a blow when the Taliban captured and executed
exiled opposition commander Abdul Haq, who had slipped into Afghanistan
to try to persuade Pashtun tribal leaders to switch allegiance.
Haq is expected to be buried in Afghanistan because the Taliban have not
released his body for burial in Peshawar, northern Pakistan, where
thousands of exiled Afghans paid their respects to the Haq family Sunday.
DEATH FOR CHRISTIANS
The bombing of civilians is particularly embarrassing for Muslim
countries supporting the United States.
Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf, under fire at home from Islamic
opponents for dropping support for the Taliban, has said the bombing must
be as short and targeted as possible.
He condemned the killing of the 15 Christians in central Pakistan, the
first such attack.
Christians had expressed fears they could become targets if unrest broke
out over the U.S. bombing.
In a show of support for the isolated Taliban, more than 4,000 Pakistani
tribesmen and exiled Afghans gathered six km (four miles) from the Afghan
border in Pakistan's remote northwestern tribal region, hoping to cross
Young and old had come from miles around to volunteer to fight, using a
motley array of weapons from muskets to machineguns.
``They have sent a delegation for talks to Kandahar to discuss the
arrangements but the people have not yet crossed into Afghanistan,''
Rehmatullah, a witness said.
The USA and International Terrorism
The Cold War never really ended. It did so along the east-west axis.
But the Cold War always had a north-south dimension-- the war against
forces of liberation in Third World countries. That never ended, and
it continues today. [Through my studies] I gradually came to the
conclusion that what my CIA colleagues and I had been doing during
the 1950s and '60s was nothing more than a continuation of nearly
five hundred years of exploitation and political repression.
by Philip Agee
I would like to begin by citing a well-known observation of A. J.
Liebling, a U.S. journalist and media critic who was active during
the mid-1900s: "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who
own one," he said.
In a sense, this has always been true. News media in general, except
for state-funded organizations, are part of the private sector. I
know that, here in Sweden as in Britain, you have state television
and state radio. But generally speaking, and certainly in the United
States, the press has always been in the private sector.
The Power of the Word
The United States - that is, the political class of the United States
- has known about the power of the word for a very, very long time. A
personal experience may serve to illustrate how powerful the written
word can be.
For legal reasons, I stayed away from the United States for about
seventeen years-- from the time I started work on my first book, in
the early 1970s, until my autobiography was ready for publication in
1987. The publisher of the latter was very eager for me to return to
the States for the promotion of the book, but my lawyers all warned
me not to take a chance. They suspected that there could be secret
criminal indictment, as there could have been all those years, and
argued that the risk was not worth it.
My wife and I decided that we would take that risk. We went back, and
they didn't touch me. I did the promotion of the book, and that began
ten years of frequent travel to the U.S. for lectures at universities
and speeches at political rallies, civic centres, churches, even out
in the street. Altogether, and must have spoken at more than 500
events in the United States.
One of my trips, around 1989 or 1990, was to the University of
California at Santa Cruz. When the organizers told me that the event
was scheduled to take place at a civic centre with room for about
3000 people, my reaction was: "Oh,my god! We are going to look like
we're all alone in there. We will never attract more than a couple of
hundred people." But they said, "Don't worry. You'll see."
Sure enough, on the night of the meeting the arena was packed. During
the discussion period after my talk, which was about the war in
Central America still going on at the time, a man stood up way in the
back. He was a very large person, with a lot of long hair, a bushy
beard, and a plaid lumberjack shirt. He paused for a moment, and then
said my name in an enormous, booming voice: "Philip Agee!" He said,
"Philip Agee, I want to thank you for saving my life!"
With that, the place became as quiet as you could imagine. You could
have heard the proverbial pin drop. He went on to tell the story of
how he was seriously wounded in Vietnam, and had to spend several
years in a veterans' hospital in the United States. While in
hospital, he became despondent: He thought there was no hope, and
decided to commit suicide. But then someone gave him a copy of my
He said: "When I read that book, it changed my life." He said that he
decided then not to end his life, but to spend the rest of it helping
Vietnam War veterans who had problems like his own. From that point
in the mid-1970s until the time of this meeting some fifteen years
later, he had made a career of social work among Vietnam War veterans
suffering from mental problems because of the things that they had
done and seen in Vietnam.
This is merely one personal story, but it indicates the strength of
the written word. Possibly, one life was saved-- possibly.
The CIA, as you probably know, was founded in the years following
World War II-- supposedly, to prevent another Pearl Harbor, the
Japanese surprise attack which brought the United States into that
war. In that sense, the events of September 11th represent a terrible
failure on the part of the CIA and the rest of the U.S. intelligence
There are at least twelve or thirteen different intelligence agencies
in the United States, and they are spending on the order of thirty
billion dollars per year-- the CIA being simply the foremost among
them. Of course, the CIA was not only established to collect
information and to anticipate attacks.
From the beginning of the CIA's existence, it was also used to
intervene secretly in the internal affairs of other countries.
Virtually no country on earth was exempt.
This secret intervention-- as opposed to the collection of
information-- was called covert action, and it was used in a variety
of ways to influence the institutions of other countries.
Interventions in elections were very frequent. Every CIA station,
that is the undercover CIA office inside a U.S. embassy, included
agents who were involved in covert action. In addition to
intervention to ensure the election of favoured candidates and the
defeat of disfavoured candidates, the CIA also infiltrated the
institutions of power in countries all over the world. I am sure that
Sweden is no exception, and was not an exception during all the years
of the Cold War.
There was electoral intervention, propaganda via the media, and also
the penetration and manipulation of women's organizations, religious
organizations, youth and student organizations, the trade-union
movement-- very important-- but also the military and security
services and, of course, political parties. All of these institutions
were free game for penetration and manipulation by the CIA.
In short, the CIA influenced the civic life of countries all around
the world. It did this due to a lack of faith in democracy in other
There was a desire for control. The secret U.S. policy was to not
leave things to "chance", that is to the will of the people in
whatever country it might be. They had to be tutored, they had to be
"guided" in such a way that they would be safe for U.S. control.
Control was the key word. None of this was done for altruistic or
Three key factors
Where the media are concerned, there are three important factors
involved: sources, selection and the slant. With regard to sources,
it is my understanding that Swedish news media have very few of their
own people working abroad. That means that they are dependent on what
they get from other sources, for example the Associated Press,
Reuters, BBC or CNN.
Those huge organizations which have people all over the world are, of
course, selling their products here.
So you receive those products here, and an editor takes uses them in
any way he chooses. What seems to be happening with globalization is
that the treatment of news is becoming more and more homogeneous.
Sweden, of course, is a unique society with a unique history, culture
and language. You would surely have a unique way of viewing and
interpreting world events-- a vision of the world that is Swedish, in
contrast to that of the U.S., Germany or any other nationality.
But how do you maintain this cultural identity with regard to
international news, if the media here are dependent on foreign
sources? These sources are, of course, becoming fewer and fewer, as
the process of monopolization continues. Consider the mergers that
have occurred just during the past ten years or so-- for example,
Time merging with Warner, then taking over CNN and now merging with
AOL. Or General Electric, another giant corporation, taking control
of NBC. This is a process that has been going on for a long time,
resulting in fewer and fewer independent sources.
Selection may be the most important factor of the three, because what
is most important in the news is what is left out. It is a form of
There is a lot of news out there; but editors determine what is news
and what is not. Whatever is overlooked, not reported, says a lot
about the media.
This has been very well illustrated during the past two weeks. I
imagine that we have all seen the same reports over and over again,
on what happened in New York and Washington, along with the
demonization of Osama bin Ladin.
There has been some reporting, but not very much, about the fact that
bin Ladin is a product of the United States. He is a creature of the
CIA, having gone to work for it in Afghanistan. It was the largest
operation ever carried out by the CIA, and its purpose was to bleed
the Soviet Union.
Bin Ladin was one of thousands who volunteered to fight with the
mujihadin against the Soviets. As I recall, there were seven
different groups. All seven were basically fundamentalist Islamic
forces, who felt that the Soviet invasion defiled an Islamic country.
Bin Ladin was among those who did not stop fighting after the Soviets
were expelled. In fact, he started laying plans for the future while
the war against the Soviet Union was still going on. He was able to
develop a world-wide network which today is operating in sixty
countries or more.
Very little of this background on bin Ladin as a creation of the
United States has been brought to public attention during the past
two weeks. Most of what we have seen and heard is related to the
"solution", which is war.
How much have we read or heard about those voices calling for
alternative solutions to the problem of international terrorism? How
much reporting have we seen on analyses of what has driven these
people to such desperation that they carried out those attacks on
I have not seen very much of that. This may be due to the fact that I
am living in Cuba at present. But I do read the New York Times on the
Internet every morning, for example, and have access to quite a lot
of other news.
When it comes to alternative solutions to the problem, such as a
re-examination of U.S. policy in the Middle East, particularly with
respect to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, I don't think I have
seen anything. The only thing we get is Bush saying "this is war, we
are at war, this is the first war of the 21st century, this is a
question of good versus evil, whoever is not with us is against us",
and so on.
That is pretty much the attitude we had in the CIA during the 1950s.
When we analysed the operational climate and all the political forces
in any given country, we had our friends and we had our enemies.
There was no one in between. The friends were centre and right-wing
social democrats, conservatives, liberals, in some cases all the way
over to neo-fascists.
The enemies were left-wing social democrats, socialists, communists,
all the way to those advocating armed struggle.
This is the way we saw the world. It was a strictly dualistic view of
the political climate in any given country where we were operating.
It was very much like what we are hearing today from Washington.
The Uses of Journalists
The third important factor affecting the news is, of course, the
slant or bias. It reflects the moral, social and political values of
the person doing the writing, or at least the editor. This is where
the CIA played a very fundamental role in years past, and I cannot
imagine that it suddenly stopped when the Cold War came to an end.
In fact, like many others, I believe that the Cold War never really
It did so along the east-west axis. But the Cold War always had a
north-south dimension-- the war against forces of liberation in Third
World countries. That never ended, and it continues today.
I also believe that the CIA's media operations have continued. They
involve the recruitment and payment of editors and reporters who take
the CIA's material and publish it as if it were their own. Taken all
together-- the sources and selection of material, and the point of
view or slant-- the result is essentially what is known as
propaganda, but which passes for "unbiased news".
Journalists are also very important to the CIA for non-journalistic
activities. They serve as very convenient agents of access for the
Particularly since they come from a country with a neutral tradition,
Swedes in general have always been of great interest to the CIA. This
is because they do not carry a lot of political baggage, as do people
from most other countries. I am aware of the ongoing debate here
concerning just how neutral Sweden has or has not been. But in the
rest of the world, the neutrality of Sweden has created a special
attraction for U.S. intelligence agencies, because Swedes have
readier access to certain target individuals than, say, an American
or a German would.
The fact is that journalists are used for non-journalistic purposes--
as collection agents for intelligence, and for making contacts,
because a journalist can approach practically anyone and ask for an
interview or develop some type of relationship. Of the hundreds of
journalists who have come to me over the years, I have no idea how
many have been sent by the CIA. I get some idea when I read what they
write. But I learned to be cautious, early on.
Education in Injustice
The covert action operations to which I referred earlier were carried
out all over the world, and certainly in Latin America where I was
posted. I spent three years in Ecuador, then three more in Uruguay.
In both cases, my cover was as a political attach in the U.S.
I then returned to Washington, pretty disillusioned with the work. I
was a product of the U.S. education system of the 1950s, which
provided me with a very good liberal education, but no political
education at all. I was simply brought up to believe that whatever
the government did was good, and that it was doing these good things
in the name of us all.
It was not until I got down to Latin America that I began to get a
political education. Whatever my ideas when I went down there, I saw
things around me every day that influenced me. I saw the terrible
economic and social conditions, and the injustices that could not be
The two most fundamental, interrelated problems were the grossly
unequal distribution of land and the unequal distribution of wealth.
In the early years of the Kennedy administration-- I had gone down to
Latin American toward the end of the Eisenhower period-- there was
much talk about land reform as a way of dealing with those problems.
But with the success of the Cuban revolution, and its success in
surviving U.S. attempts at invasion and other hostilities, land
reform in the rest of Latin America was put aside. "Stability" was
the order of the day. The view in Washington was that, if reform
programmes were pushed, it could lead to instability and create
openings for liberation forces all over Latin America that were
inspired by the Cuban revolution.
So, the aim of our programmes was to support the status quo, to
support the oligarchies of Latin America. These are the power
structures that date back centuries, based on ownership of the land,
of the financial resources, of the export-import system, and
excluding the vast majority of the population.
With all of our programmes, we were supporting these traditional
power structures. What first caused me to turn against these people
were the corruption and the greed that they exhibited in all areas of
society. My ideas and attitudes began to change, and eventually I
decided to resign from the CIA.
It is widely believed that, once you have joined the CIA, it is
likely being in the mafia, that you can never leave. But that is
actually not the case.
The CIA does not want people working within the organization who are
not happy and do not want to be there. They are security risks, for
So, people are coming and going all the time in that large
organization of some 18,000 employees.
I decided to start a new career in teaching, and enrolled as a Ph.D.
student in a programme of Latin American studies at the National
Autonomous University of Mexico. In the course of those studies-- of
the Spanish Conquest, the colonial period, and all the horrors that
have occurred over the centuries in Latin America -- I gradually came
to the conclusion that what my CIA colleagues and I had been doing
during the 1950s and '60s was nothing more than a continuation of
nearly five hundred years of exploitation and political repression.
It was then that an idea entered my mind which had previously been
unthinkable -- to write a book that would show how all this works.
The research required me to spend a year in Paris, and then another
year in London where the British Library's newspaper archive proved
to be invaluable. There, I was able to read all the news reports
relating to the places that I had worked in Latin America, in many
cases dating back to the 19th century.
When the book finally came out-- the title was Inside the Company:
CIA Diary-- it was reviewed in the CIA's classified in-house journal,
Studies in Intelligence. I managed to get a copy of the review, which
speculated that I had kept copies of all the stuff I had worked on
while I was in the CIA, because they could not believe that I was
able to reconstruct all those thousands and thousands of details from
memory. It drove them absolutely crazy. But, in fact, most of the
maddening details were gleaned from the newspaper archive of the
The book had a tremendous effect on the Agency's effectiveness, its
ability to continue its standard operations. The most gratifying
result was that many Latin Americans told me how important the book
was for defending themselves and their organizations from destruction
by the CIA. In the broadest sense, the purpose of the Agency's
various activities was to prop up those forces that were considered
to be friendly to U.S. interests, while penetrating, dividing,
weakening and destroying those forces that were regarded as
unfriendly to U.S. interests-- the forces of the political left that
I mentioned earlier.
Thus, for Latin American revolutionaries to come to me and say how
much they appreciated the book, with all its details on how the CIA
works to subvert institutions in other countries, was extremely
Since the events of two weeks ago, there has been much comment and
speculation about the new era we may now be entering. Looking back,
there was a long Cold War that had already begun during World War II.
An important turning point occurred in 1950, when it was decided to
start an arms race that would serve the dual purpose of forcing the
Soviet Union into bankruptcy while stimulating the U.S. economy.
Since the Soviet Union was still recovering from the devastation of
World War II, it would never be able to catch up; but it would be
compelled to make the effort, nevertheless. Meanwhile, military
spending in the U.S. would keep going up and up, which in turn would
stimulate the U.S. economy through a sort of "military Keynesianism".
This continued through the Reagan administration of the 1980s.
But in the decade since the end of the Cold War until September 11th,
the U.S. security establishment-- the political class, the CIA, the
people who fought the Cold War-- had no real enemy to focus on. True,
they had Saddam Hussein for awhile, and they might have had a minor
enemy here, another one there. But there was no real world-wide
threat similar to that of the Cold War. Well, now it seems that they
have one again.
What this means is that the United States is going to be in this for
quite some time. I have feeling that it is going to go on for ten or
fifteen years, because they are not going to wipe out international
terrorism or something like bin Ladin's group overnight. During this
period, they are going to be doing the same things they did in the
Cold War. We can already here it in such expression as, "Whoever is
not with us is against us." They are going to be trying to use every
bit of power they have to bring countries in line behind the United
It also means important changes within the United States, because the
war on terrorism will serve as the justification for restraints on
They are building a huge crisis in the United States. They are
building the psychological climate for broad-based acceptance of an
ongoing war, for which there will be no quick resolution. There will
be no great battles, either.
Little Room for Alternatives
During this period, there will be very little room for alternative
views and alternative solutions in U.S. news media. What are the
alternatives? Well, one is obviously to address the question of why
these people are doing these things: What are the roots of
international terrorism? How does U.S. foreign policy create this
type of reaction? How does U.S. support of everything that Israel
does, including the oppression of the Palestinian people, influence
fundamentalist Islamic groups?
In other words, a feasible alternative would be a reconsideration of
U.S. foreign policy, to see if it would not be possible to create a
more just situation in the Middle East. But the United States is
stuck. It is stuck with an authoritarian regime in Egypt, which is
one of the really shaky countries at the moment. Algeria has gone
through a horrible period, and the fundamentalist movement there has
not died away at all. In Pakistan the government could fall;
fundamentalists there could take over, and they would then have
nuclear weapons in their hands. So, a lot of things can happen in the
months and years ahead.
Unfortunately, I suspect that there will be greater self-censorship
by U.S. media in order to line up behind the government, however its
policy of war may turn out. There is already talk of a personal
identification system of some kind for the entire country, together
with large-scale surveillance of the population-- especially
immigrants, and Muslim immigrants in particular.
There will be some opposition to this; but historically, the courts
have usually gone along with the government, even though they are
theoretically supposed to be the guarantors of civil liberties. For
example, the courts went along with the internment of
Japanese-Americans during World War II.
So, it will be possible to restrict, and even infringe upon, civil
liberties and human rights in the U.S.
It is early days to draw any conclusions about how all this is going
to develop, since it is still in the planning stage. But in my
opinion, if they carry out this military solution-- with an attack or
a series of attacks, or the establishment of military bases in
Islamic countries-- they will be doing exactly what bin Ladin wants
them to do. It would turn more and more people to fundamentalism and
to his organization. They could kill him tomorrow, but the
organization that he has established will live on, and it will be
nearly impossible to penetrate.
My reading of the situation is that there have been a few defectors
from bin Ladin's organization who have provided valuable information.
But the U.S. has not been able to have anyone working in these
clandestine groups around the world and reporting from the inside. It
has had to make do with whatever it can learn from a few defectors.
Certainly, the CIA and the other components of the U.S. intelligence
apparatus will be using all available technical means to locate and
attack these groups, wherever they may be.
They should certainly know where all the training bases are located,
since they were established by the CIA, itself. But that will not be
[Philip Agee is a former CIA officer and author of "Inside the
Company: A CIA Diary," and "On the Run." This is article is adapted
from the text of a speech Agee gave at ABF House, in Stockholm on 24
New book by Chomsky on 9-11
"9-11" contains interviews conducted with Chomsky by a variety of
interviewers during the first month following the attacks of 9-11. The
interviews were conducted largely via email, many with foreign journalists
who speak and write English as a second language.
Order paperback or download eBook here:
Noam Chomsky comments on the the new war on terrorism, U.S. foreign policy,
Osama bin Laden, U.S. involvement with Afghanistan, and the long-term
implications of America's military attacks abroad. Based on a composite of
interviews conducted the 9-11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trace
Center, Chomsky's impeccable knowledge of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle
East and South Asia sheds light on the rapidly shifting balance of world
power. Speaking out against responding to violence with violence, Chomsky
hopes that "an aroused public within the more free and democratic societies
can direct policies towards a much more humane and honorable course."
Editor's Note iv
1. NOT SINCE THE WAR OF 1812 6
2. IS THE WAR ON TERRORISM WINNABLE? 20
3. THE IDEOLOGICAL CAMPAIGN 27
4. CRIMES OF STATE 38
5. CHOICE OF ACTION 63
6. CIVILIZATIONS EAST AND WEST 78
7. CONSIDERABLE RESTRAINT? 106
Appendix A 139
DEPARTEMENT OF STATE REPORT ON FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS (OCTOBER 5,
Appendix B 148
About the Author 150
DO THE UNEXPECTED
[A common question posed to anti-war folks is, "Well, what's your
from an unattributed email
What Terrorists Expect
A massive military response resulting in:
* The deaths of innocent victims
* The martyrdom of Osama bin Laden and other terrorist
* Reinforcement of the view that the US is a ruthless
and greedy super-bully seeking to destroy the Islamic
way of life
* Increased desperation among militants in Muslim
states and territories
* The overthrow of moderate Arab regimes
* Increased focus on the US as a terrorist target
* Thousands of new recruits for terrorist networks
* Spend billions on peace instead of war
* Seek out conversations with governments of
impoverished states, especially those surrounding
Afghanistan, and find out what we can do to help
them meet the fundamental needs of their people
* Sensitize ourselves to the feelings and perceptions
of Muslims everywhere; find common ground and build our
* Appoint a qualified Muslim-American to a high-profile
* Support the establishment and use of an international
criminal court to prosecute international crimes such
as terrorist acts
* Make global peace and justice, and not the health of
our huge economy, the driving force behind foreign
* Pay all UN dues and sign the many global treaties
from which we have recently chosen to exempt ourselves
* Make a large donation to UN-sponsored anti-poverty
programs as a public memorial to the victims of the
tragedies of September 11
* Remove unnecessary military troops and hardware from
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (the "no-fly zone" can be
policed from aircraft carriers in the Gulf) of which has been the
deaths of half a million innocent people)
* Energetically pursue a balanced and sustainable peace
process for the Israeli/Palestinian conflict,
including banning the use of US-made and-supplied F-16s
and Apache attack helicopters against Palestinian civilians
LET'S DO THE UNEXPECTED
Getting Ready for Winter
by James Glaser
October 24, 2001
It is late fall in northern Minnesota. All the leaves are gone, the ducks
are coming down from Canada, and we have had that first hard frost. Every
year it is like a ritual you put away all the yard tools, move anything
that the snow plow might hit, and check out the furnace. You also have to
make sure you have plenty of fire wood in case you need a backup heat.
For veterans, it is not a time we are fond of: "firearm deer season."
Thousands and thousands of city dwellers will invade the northland looking
for that trophy whitail buck. The thought of thousands of men with no real
experience with firearms keeps a lot of veterans inside for the season, and
for many the report of a distant rifle can bring back combat in a second.
This year I think of the veterans in Afghanistan. I'm sure at one time they
too had their fall ritual, but now with years of war, first with Russia,
then ten years of civil war, and now with we Americans attacking,
everything must be set aside again in defense of their homeland. There is
no doubt in my mind that these guys must have post-traumatic stress big
time. Probably the whole country has it.
I am sad, as I look out on the lake and think that like a broken record,
that we are once again attacking a country and the veterans of that country
are defending their families and homeland. The hate we are building up in
those people overwhelms me. I think of how I feel every time I see a
Vietnamese. Even after thirty years that hate is still there. Oh, I can
stop it, but for those first few seconds of recognition, everything is
brought to the forefront and I really have to calm down. I think about the
fact that I was the aggressor in their country, and how much hate I still
carry. I have to wonder what a Vietnamese vet thinks about me.
Here we are lead into a war by a leader who has never been to war, and that
scares me, too. Men who have been to war know that there is nothing good or
just about war. Those who have never been, can think of all sorts of
"noble" things about their war.
Sending someone to combat is a life sentence. That is why old vets can
describe their combat like yesterday, because they have had to relive it in
their minds hundreds of times. The people who live in a war zone have that
same monkey on their back. Only now it isn't just the war vet, but every
man, women, and child. If you make children hate you by killing their
parents, sibling, or best friend down the street, you have a lifetime of
hate to deal with.
It bothers me also that we are the most powerful country on earth, and we
are taking on maybe the most pitiful country. It cheapens what we are
doing, and makes the defense of Afghanistan seem kind of noble. This
backward country is taking us on, Wow! Crud as it seems, this vet can say
that those people have "Balls."
Now I love America and our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Our foundation
is what is good about America, and if other countries saw us living by
these documents, more of them would want to be like us.
But we don't live by our own set of rules. We have become the warriors of
the world. We fight in Iraq, Somalia, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Panama, Granada,
and now Afghanistan. We have become the world's aggressor and that doesn't
make friends. Countries are not our friends. Countries fear us and do our
bidding out of that fear. To tell you the truth. I don't like us being the
bully. I have to ask myself why we can't lead by example rather than by bomber.
Every country that we have attacked with all of our "noble" reasons has
been subjected to terror. War is terror on a grand scale. Just introducing
troops in full military gear is a form of terror. We terrorize other
countries because that is what our leaders think is best for us. Oh, they
don't see it as terror because they haven't been to war. George senior was,
and maybe that is why he stopped us from going to Baghdad. I think you have
to go back to Dwight before you can see a real combat vet. Combat doesn't
make the man; it just sort of tempers him.
When our leaders are sworn in, they put their hand on the Bible and swear
to defend the Constitution. In that Bible is a commandment of God, "Thou
shalt not kill." That seems pretty clear to me. I don't see how you can
interpret that in too many ways, but we do, and that is why we are in the
fix we are.
Also of interest:
What health problems do Afghan refugees face?
WOMEN AND THE FUTURE OF AFGHANISTAN
Tamara Straus, AlterNet
Spending an afternoon with Tahmeena Faryal, a member of
the Afghan feminist group RAWA, makes it clear that women
should participate in the emerging government there.
Online index documents censorship, free speech incidents
The National Coalition Against Censorship has unveiled an
online directory of what it refers to as "various censorship
and free expression incidents" that have occurred in the wake
of the terrorist attacks. The incidents range from suppressed
speech to mandated patriotism. (11/08/01)
Afghanistan news links (comprehensive)
HIGHTOWER: WAVE OUR FLAG!
Jim Hightower, AlterNet
I'll be double-damned to hell before I allow our flag to be
usurped by political opportunists, corporatists and
war-mongerers who confuse conformity with patriotism.
New this issue:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/studentsnowar/files (members only)
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