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October 04, 2001

British Offer Details on Evidence

( Associated Press ) LONDON -- Excerpts from summary of evidence against Osama bin Laden in U.S. terrorist attacks, released Thursday by the British government:

The clear conclusions reached by the government are:

Speak No Evil

( Brooke Shelby Biggs ) Anyone who remembers the Gulf War won't be surprised to hear that as it undertakes the "war on terrorism," the US government plans to freeze out the press to an extent never before seen -- worse even than during Operation Desert Storm, when the media were bottle-fed news of smart bombs and surgical strikes that turned out to be less than accurate. Already, the State Department has "persuaded" the Voice of America to kill an interview with a prominent Taliban leader. And Pentagon officials have announced that they are prepared to lie to the press about developments in Operation Enduring Freedom.

We know to expect these kinds of efforts from a government at war. Even the White House's dressing down of a television personality shouldn't shock us -- anybody remember Murphy Brown and Dan Quayle? Get the whole story here...

Two sides to the coin

( Gary Younge ) LONDON -- Tony Blair is right: Colin Powell couldn't have made it here. But America is no paradise of racial equality either

'Let the black man get upon his person the brass letters, US," said abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass in the mid-18th century. "Let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder... and there is no power on earth which can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship." Get the whole story here...

The high price for Russia's help

( The Independent ) At a summit with EU and Nato officials in Brussels, Mr Putin has promised the West more than its leaders dreamed of asking. He did not criticise a military campaign in Afghanistan and even promised to help it by supplying the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, granting the US use of Russian airspace and promising to persuade his clients in central Asia to follow suit.

Mr Putin's final flourish was to announce that Russia is dropping its years-long resistance to Nato's eastward expansion. Get the whole story here...

War On Terror: The Media

( John Pilger ) During the Falklands war in 1982, the BBC's Weekly Review Board met to discuss how the war should be presented to the public. The minutes show that senior executives decided that the news ought to be shaped to suit 'the emotional sensibilities of the public' and that the weight of BBC coverage would be concerned with government statements of policy. An 'impartial style' was felt to be 'an unnecessary irritation'.

Argentina's acceptance, bar three minor amendments, of a Peruvian peace plan was ignored by the BBC. The Thatcher government was not interested; BBC news reflected this, along with the deception that Argentina was to blame for the plan's 'failure'. ITN, whose reporting was little different, claimed that '70 per cent of the British public want to launch an invasion'. Get the whole story here...

Asking why is not to excuse the terrorists' actions

( Scott Burchill )Consider, for a moment, the effort which goes in to understanding the causes of crime in our society. Psychologists, social workers and criminologists, to name only three professional groups, have a primarily heuristic vocation. There is almost no dissent from the proposition that by better understanding the motivations of criminals, we are in a stronger position to minimise the incidence of crime.

There is, of course, no contradiction between understanding the causes of criminal activity and maintaining the rule of law and a proper legal process. When Timothy McVeigh blew up the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, much thought was given to the personal motivation of a "home-grown terrorist", as he was prosecuted under the law. No-one suggested that Washington should retaliate by bombing Montana or Idaho, where his ultra-right militia supporters are based. Get the whole story here...

Just who are our allies in Afghanistan?

( Robert Fisk ) "America's New War," is what they call it on CNN. And of course, as usual, they've got it wrong. Because in our desire to "bring to justice" let's remember those words in the coming days the vicious men who planned the crimes against humanity in New York and Washington last month, we're hiring some well-known rapists and murderers to work for us.

Yes, it's an old war, a dreary routine that we've seen employed around the world for the past three decades. In Vietnam, the Americans wanted to avoid further casualties; so they re-armed and re-trained the South Vietnamese army to be their foot-soldiers. In southern Lebanon, the Israelis used their Lebanese militia thugs to combat the Palestinians and the Hizbollah. The Phalange and the so-called "South Lebanon Army" were supposed to be Israel's foot-soldiers. They failed, but that is in the nature of wars-by-proxy. In Kosovo, we kept our well-armed Nato troops safely out of harm's way while the KLA acted as our foot-soldiers. Get the whole story here...

Made in the U.S.A.: How the U.S. Manufactures Terrorists

( Peter Dale Scott ) As pundits call for the CIA to recruit more shady characters in the hunt for Islamic terrorists, it is important to learn from the serious mistakes made by the United States and CIA in the past. The usual CIA mode of undermining foreign governments it does not like -- from Russia to Cuba to Iran -- has been to organize and train their opponents in criminal activities, including sabotage and smuggling.

But time and again this strategy backfires.

The problem is that as soon as the United States loses interest in its agents' cause, the sabotage techniques it has taught will more than likely be turned back against it. Full Article