War on Terrorism "Fraud"
Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2001 20:12:48 -0800
Subject: [OCCP] Pilger on this 'fraud' of a war The Mirror 29 October 2001
Legendary foreign correspondent delivers his devastating verdict
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 Russians.
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 company, Unocal.
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
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
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
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? £800 million so far.
According to an internal UN report, covering a five-month
period, 41per 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 McCartney.
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 Western media. 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
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
"It is not the way to go...not in our son's name."
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