The war in Afghanistan

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Crisis bulletin from War Resisters' International

Information bulletin No.1

Compiled by Tilly Sheridan

Is this war about oil?

V K Shashikumar, New Delhi, November 21, 2001

www.tehelka.com

Intelligence analysts Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie have released the book "Bin Laden, La Verite Interdite" (Bin Laden, the Forbidden Truth).

It is a result of their work with John O'Neill, former Deputy Director of the FBI, who resigned in protest, claiming that Bush blocked attempts to prove Osama Bin Laden's responsibility for the bombings of World Trade Centre in 1993, US base in Saudi Arabia in 1996, US embassies in 1998 and the USS Cole in 1999.

He alleged that the US government "was aimed at consolidating the Taliban regime, in order to obtain access to the oil and gas reserves in Central Asia". He also claimed that the US were reluctant to upset the Saudi royal family who provide access to oil in return for protection from internal and external threats.

John O'Neill died in the attacks of 11th September.

The BBC's Newsnight, 6th November 2001

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/events/newsnight/newsid_1645000/1645527.stm

An interview by Greg Palast looking into alleged US involvement with Osama Bin Laden and the rest of his family.

The former head of the American visa bureau in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Michael Springman alleged that he was "repeatedly ordered by high level State Dept officials to issue visas to unqualified applicants." He protested about this but says that it was a scheme "to bring recruits, rounded up by Osama Bin Laden, to the US for terrorist training by the CIA. They would then be returned to Afghanistan to fight against the then-Soviets."

Michael Wildes, a lawyer, represented "a Saudi diplomat who defected to the USA with 14,000 documents which Wildes claims implicates Saudi citizens in financing terrorism and more." He showed them to the FBI who refused to use them, saying that they were not allowed to look at them.

George Bush Jnr. made his first million with an oil company partly funded by Salem Bin Laden's chief US representative. He was also a director of a subsidiary of Carlyle Corporation who became one of America's biggest defence contractors, the Bin Ladens held a stake in Carlyle, sold just after 11th September

Censorship

Source: Eric Lichtblau, LA Times, 18th November 2001

http://www.latimes.com

The US government is ordering state and public libraries to destroy documents that are considered security risks. The data includes information on chemical reactors, dams, and mapping of oil pipelines.

Public users of reading rooms at federal agencies must now be escorted to prevent misuse of information.

There is strong concern from academics public interest groups, media representatives and others that this is an overreaction and undermines democratic principles.

Washington Post, 17th November 2001

http://www.washingtonpost.com

Yahoo is censoring views that are critical of the American government on its message boards, however, they will not take of anti-Muslim or anti-Arab comments, despite complaints. "One Muslim U.S. student, Usman Sheikh, claims to have repeatedly tried to post messages foregrounding civilian casualties in the U.S.-led war only to see them deleted"

Military tribunals:

Bush is planning to set up secret military tribunals that will allow him to decide who is tried there. Evidence may be allowed that would not normally meet civilian court requirements, such as hearsay. A two-thirds majority would be required to convict, or impose a death penalty. There will not be a right of appeal.

A number of American voices have expressed concern at Bush's attempts to create "a prosecutorial channel that answers only to him" (source: New York Times, see below)

New York Times, 16th November 2001

http://www.nytimes.com

Sacramento Bee, 16th November 2001

http://www.sacbee.com

http://www.aclu.org

Anti-Taliban forces

Robert Fisk, Independent, 19th November 2001

"There is an apparent reluctance to take responsibilities for acts of massacre, such as that in Mazar, of the Northern Alliance on the part of members of the coalition. Western media has taken the view that you can expect little else from Afghans, after all isn't that just part of their culture?

"We have seen the USA adopt a foreign group to help them serve their interests in Afghanistan and ignore human rights abuses and massacres before. Is the same mistake going to be made again?"

RAWA's appeal to the UN and World community:

"The world should understand that the Northern Alliance is composed of some bands who did show their real criminal and inhuman nature when they were ruling Afghanistan from 1992 to 1996.

The retreat of the terrorist Taliban from Kabul is a positive development, but entering of the rapist and looter NA in the city is nothing but a dreadful and shocking news for about 2 million residents of Kabul whose wounds of the years 1992-96 have not healed yet.

Thousands of people who fled Kabul during the past two months were saying that they feared coming to power of the NA in Kabul much more than being scared by the US bombing…

Though the NA has learned how to pose sometimes before the West as "democratic" and even supporter of women's rights, but in fact they have not at all changed, as a leopard cannot change its spots.

RAWA has already documented heinous crimes of the NA. Time is running out. RAWA on its own part appeals to the UN and world community as a whole to pay urgent and considerable heed to the recent developments in our ill-fated Afghanistan before it is too late.

Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)
November 13, 2001"

Protests

Monday 10th December, International Human Rights Day was used as an opportunity for anti-war and human rights protestors to voice dissent.

Anti war activists gathered outside British Military Joint Forces HQ, Northwood.


A candle lit vigil was held in Parliament Square, London to protest against the Anti-Terrorism Bill which would allow detention of asylum-seekers and refugees indefinitely if they are suspected of having links with terrorism.

Organised by Amnesty International http://www.amnesty.org.uk

Stop the War Coalition, formed in Britain after the events of September 11th, has announced that it will continue action in December. In a press statement, they reminded people that this is not just about Afghanistan, "The US now talks of targeting 40 - 50 countries which may 'harbour terrorists' and is drawing up plans for possible invasions of Somalia and Iraq."

Those interested are asked to contact Lindsay German 07810 540584 or Andrew Murray 0777 376 4455 for further information.

Countries

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