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On the run
October 22, 2001

An artificial centre cannot hold, that's the danger

By Peter Preston The Guardian

Leaders who lose wars, of course, tend to lose everything. So farewell Anthony Eden, Ayub Khan, General Galtieri. But leaders who win wars can have a rough time of it, too. Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and FDR took some hard knocks at the hustings while battle still raged. Bush the elder went from hero to zero. And who was it the other day (yes - the Guardian) who found Tony Blair "as popular as Churchill"? Full Article

September 11 Attacks Impossible Without Help of U.S. Groups

Tehran Times

According to some U.S. newspapers, some internal extremist groups may have been responsible for recent bioterrorist acts inside the United States. This raises the question whether U.S. extremist groups were also involved in the September 11 attacks. The TEHRAN TIMES has interviewed two experts on this subject.

Mr. Abbas Maleki, the director of the Caspian Sea Studies Office, believes that extremist groups have been active in the United States for a long time and that this is not a new phenomenon. According to U.S. sources, more than 1000 of these groups are active in the U.S.

Mr. Maleki says that these groups have acquired biological weapons and toxins. The case of Timothy McVeigh is an obvious example. He blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 269 people. Full Article

Promises, Promises

by Robert Fisk

Tea on the lawn. Perhaps only in the old British Empire do they make black tea and milk in the same scalding pot, poured with lashings of sugar into fragile cups. The bougainvillea blasted crimson and purple down the brick wall beside me while big, aggressive black birds pursued each other over the cut grass of my tiny Peshawar hotel. At the end of my little road lies the tiny British cemetery wherein gravestones mark the assassination of the 19th century Raj's good men from Surrey and Yorkshire, murdered by what were called ghazis, the Afghan fundamentalists of their age who were often accompanied into battle - and I quote Captain Mannering of the Second Afghan war - "by religious men called talibs".

In those days, we made promises. We promised Afghan governments our support if they kept out the Russians. We promised our Indian Empire wealth, communications and education in return for its loyalty. Little has changed. Yesterday - all day long into the sweaty evening - fighter-bombers pulsed through the yellow sky above my little lawn, grey supersonic streaks that rose like hawks from Peshawar's mighty runway and headed west towards the mountains of Afghanistan. Their jet engines must have vibrated among the English bones in the cemetery at the end of the road, as Hardy's Channel firing once disturbed Parson Thirdly's last mortal remains. And, on the great black television in my bedroom, the broken, veined screen proved that Imperial history does indeed repeat itself. Full Article

Liberating the Mind from Orthodoxies

An interview with Noam Chomsky
By David Barsamian

BARSAMIAN: Letís talk about propaganda and indoctrination. As a teacher, how do you get people to think for themselves? Can you impart tools that will enable that?

CHOMSKY: I think you learn by doingóIím a Deweyite from way back. You learn by doing, and you figure out how to do things by watching other people do them. Thatís the way you learn to be a good carpenter, for example, and the way you learn to be a good physicist. Nobody can train you on how to do physics. You donít teach methodology courses in the natural sciences. You may in the social sciences. In any field that has significant intellectual content, you donít teach methodology. You just watch people doing it and participate with them in doing it. So a typical, say, graduate seminar in a science course would be people working together, not all that different from an artisan picking up a craft and working with someone whoís supposedly good at it. I donít try to persuade people, at least not consciously. The way you do it is by trying to do it yourself, and in particular trying to show, although itís not all that difficult, the chasm that separates standard versions of what goes on in the world from what the evidence and peopleís inquiries will show them. A common response that I get, even on things like chat networks, is, I canít believe anything youíre saying. Itís totally in conflict with what Iíve learned and always believed and I donít have time to look up all those footnotes. How do I know what youíre saying is true? Thatís a plausible reaction. I tell people itís the right reaction. You shouldnít believe what I say is true. Nobody is going to pour truth into your brain. Itís something you have to find out for yourself. Full Article

Self-delusion has led us to throw away a chance to negotiate peace and nation-build in Afghanistan

By Madeleine Bunting The Guardian

Today, Jack Straw will devote his speech at the International Institute of Strategic Studies to nation building. Why is this fascination with Afghan tribal conflict now centre stage? It's simple. The moral fantasy of a good war is falling apart after last week's squabble with aid agencies over what hampers the humanitarian operation (bombing or the Taliban). The truth is out; as anyone could have foretold (and a few did) you could never "umbilically link" military and the humanitarian operations, since they are at odds with each other. Bombing fuel dumps, water systems, aid depots and roads cannot avoid pushing a fragile country like Afghanistan into outright catastrophe and it was absurd to have ever thought that anything else could be true. Full Article