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October 27, 2001

War on the undesirables

By Davy De Verteuil

Now see if there is any semblance to the African "slave" diasporas, Guatemala's, Nicaragua, Peru, Chili, Grenada, Southern Sudan, Palestine etc!

What makes us think that everyone of those campaigns though they involved the same perpetrator that the story isn't the same...Wealth/greed, with contempt of the colored species. That no matter how vile the carnage and slaughter it was done in the name of democracy and there was enough evidence that warranted unspeakable brutality? Full Article

Terror and Tyranny

By Seumas Milne Guardian Unlimited

For a war that, in the words of US Vice-President Dick Cheney, "may never end", the enemy is proving embarrassingly hard to define. Of course, we know all about Osama bin Laden, supposed mastermind of the twin towers attacks, and his Taliban protectors, and we have become ominously aware of the demands from within the US administration that Iraq be brought into the frame. But this campaign is intended to be something grander still. The bombs and missiles now raining down on Afghanistan have been proclaimed as the curtain-raiser of a war against terror itself, which will not cease until the scourge of political violence is dealt with once and for all. The days of toleration for any form of terrorism from Baghdad to Ballymurphy are, it is said, now over. British ministers may mutter that the war is aimed at al-Qaida and the Taliban alone - but then they are not in charge. Full Article

Poisoning the Well

By Rahul Mahajan

At a Pentagon news briefing on Wednesday, however, this politicization was taken to new heights with the invocation of unnamed "sources" claiming that "there are reports that the Taliban might poison the food and try to blame the United States," according to Rear Adm. John Stufflebeem, deputy director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He went on to warn Afghans receiving aid, "If it comes from Taliban control, they must be careful."

It scarcely needs mentioning that poisoning one's own populace is senseless, and that there is no reason to suppose the Taliban is planning anything of the sort. In fact, it was reported yesterday that officials from the World Food Program expressed "surprise" at the allegations, with one saying "If they're talking about the food we deliver, there's not been a single instance that we know of in which the Taliban have tampered with it. Stolen, yes, but not tampered."

When contacted, Sam Barratt of Oxfam International, currently working out of Peshawar, Pakistan, characterized the Pentagon statement as "deeply unhelpful," adding, "This claim further goes to undermine the position of aid agencies in the country." Full Article

A vision to lift the spirit

By Edward Said Al-Ahram

With the bombs and missiles falling on Afghanistan in the high-altitude US destruction that is Operation Enduring Freedom, the Palestine question may seem tangential to the altogether more urgent events in Central Asia. It would be a mistake to think so -- and not just because Osama Bin Laden and his followers (no one knows how many there are, in theory or in practice) have tried to capture Palestine as a rhetorical part of their unconscionable campaign of terror; for so too has Israel, for its own purposes.

With the killing of Cabinet Minister Rahavam Zeevi on 17 October as retaliation by the PFLP for the assassination of its leader by Israel last August, General Sharon's sustained campaign against the Palestine Authority as Israel's Bin Laden has risen to a new, semi- hysterical pitch. Israel has been assassinating Palestinian leaders and militants (over 60 of them to date) for the past several months, and can't have been surprised that its illegal methods would sooner or later prompt Palestinian retaliation in kind. But why one set of killings should be acceptable and others not is a question Israel and its supporters are unable to answer. So the violence goes on, with Israel's occupation the more deadly, and the vastly more destructive, causing huge civilian suffering: in the period between 18 and 21 October, six Palestinian towns re-occupied by Israeli forces; five more Palestinian activists assassinated plus 21 civilians killed and 160 injured; curfews imposed everywhere -- and all this Israel has the gall to compare with the US war against Afghanistan and terrorism. Full Article

War Needs Good Public Relations

By Norman Solomon

At the Rendon Group, a public-relations firm with offices in Boston and Washington, pleasant news arrived the other day with a $397,000 contract to help the Pentagon look good while bombing Afghanistan. The four-month deal includes an option to renew through most of 2002.

Now, the Rendon Group is facing what is perhaps its most challenging project yet -- spinning for a war in Afghanistan. With its sights set on media content in 79 countries, Rendon will use standard tools of the PR trade, such as focus groups, websites and rigorous analysis of news coverage. Full Article