The urge to start ritualistically frying people for crimes of Sept. 11 can never be a substitute for the sort of methodical police work, intelligence gathering, clever surveillance and increased airline security that are better safeguards against such atrocities happening again.
--Robert Reno (Newsday 11/27/2001)
--An Associated Press photographer saw a field of about 50 bodies laid out in the southern part of the fort on Wednesday. Northern alliance fighters were cutting scarves from the hands of the corpses with knives and scissors. At least one fighter pried gold fillings from a corpse. (AP)
--The deployment of hundreds of US marines, said to be the elite forces of the US, in the Afghan territory at this late stage of operation and under the pretext of establishing security to the war-ravaged country, smacks of "opportunism" warned `Kayhan International' in its editorial on Wednesday. The English-language daily was commenting on the Voice of America report on Monday that hundreds of American marines have been deployed in the Afghan territory at a base near the Taliban-controlled Qandahar. "But why should the marines wait until the country is almost wrested from the Taliban's hands by the forces of the Northern Alliance?" asked the paper in its viewpoint column. "Perhaps the US forces are introduced into the Afghan scene as a reminder to the Northern Afghanistan alliance that they should not push so much for their fair share at the upcoming Bonn conference," it wrote. But it goes without saying that American strategists are worried about thereturn of body bags at US ports of entries and the arrival of decomposed bodies of American soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Introducing ground forces at this late of operation, when they stayed away from it in the beginning, is blatant opportunism, hit out the article. (IRNA)
--"There has been a contact between Pakistan and the Northern Alliance leader Professor Burhanuddin in Dubai," Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Mr. Aziz Ahmad Khan said Wednesday. Khan told reporters that Pakistan has always welcomed contacts with all afghan groups. "If Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani wishes to come to Pakistan as a leader of the Northern Alliance he is most welcome and they will meet him," the Foreign Office spokesman said. He emphasised that Pakistan has always extended friendship and cooperation to all Afghans including the three million refugees. He said as for the formation of broad-based government, Pakistan feels that all Afghans should be included and whatever is acceptable to broad majority of Afghans would be acceptable to Pakistan. (IRNA)
--Afghanistan Online (11/28/2001)
The real apportioning of power in t he post-Taliban Afghanistan may be occurring far away from the Koenigswinter talks. Rabbani pointedly stayed away, and so did most other contenders. But the former president, whose tenure is remembered as a time of vicious internecine fighting among the riv al mujahedeen commanders who had appointed him, remains an astute operator. He may have stayed away from Germany, but Rabbani is reported to be planning to visit Pakistan for talks with President Musharraf. Pakistan has traditionally been fiercely opposed to an Alliance backed by old foes such as Russia and India, and had backed the Taliban's five year war against Rabbani's group. But Pakistan is home to the majority of Pashtun, and Islamabad has set itself up as the guarantor of Pashtun interests in Kabul. If Rabbani, whose own claim to power is strongly backed by Russia, can cut a political deal with Musharraf, whatever transpires in Koenigswinter may well prove to be primarily symbolic.
--Tony Karon (Time 11/27/2001)
Activists and organizers of the Green Party of the United States are demanding that women be represented in international talks on the future of Afghanistan beginning this week in Bonn, Germany. Party members were angered to learn that the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), which has worked to end the suppression of women's rights and abuse of women in Afghanistan by both the Taliban and the Northern Alliance, was not invited to join U.S. officials, United Nations representatives, and five Afghan groups in the talks.
--Press Release (GPUS 11/27/2001)
The Bush administration is planning to provide Egypt with highly accurate surface-to-surface missiles -- and four patrol boats from which to fire them -- in a $400 million arms deal. The proposal has alarmed some of Israel's supporters on Capitol Hill, and several are trying to block the transfer....
One point in Egypt's favor is that the 199-foot, diesel-powered Ambassador-class patrol craft that would serve as a platform for the missiles are built in Mississippi, the home state of Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott (R). Lott is a staunch defender of shipping interests there.
--John Lancaster (Washington Post 11/27/2001)
U.S. consumer confidence fell for a fifth straight month in November as Americans fretted over layoffs and job security, according to a report on Tuesday that dashed expectations for a rise and suggested the holiday shopping season will be sluggish.
--Reuters (NYTimes Online 11/27/2001)
Iraq rejected Tuesday a call by President Bush to let U.N. weapons inspectors back into the country to determine whether it is building weapons of mass destruction.
--Reuters (NYTimes Online 11/27/2001)
Ashcroft said the terrorism investigation had charged 104 people with federal crimes, and that 55 of those remained in custody. In addition, he said, 548 people remain in custody on immigration charges, some of whom are also charged with federal crimes....
Ashcroft's refusal [to say more] came as the terrorism investigation advanced overseas and a federal agent in Virginia described a possible motive for one of the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11. FBI Special Agent Jesus Gomez said suspected terrorist ringleader Mohammed Atta blamed the United States for most of the world's wars.
''Atta felt that the U.S. was responsible for most of the wars being fought in the world,'' Gomez said during an abbreviated preliminary hearing in Alexandria, Va., federal court for Agus Budiman, an Indonesian man whom prosecutors believe was a close associate of Atta.
--AP (NYTimes Online 11/27/2001)
Some international women's organizations have been concerned that a religious framework for the discussion of women's roles would sanction abuses against women, but this need not be so. The international community should never tolerate abuses against women in any part of the world. In order to oppose injustices that have been imposed on women in the name of a repressive and politicized Islam, Westerners must gain a better understanding of Islam as a whole.
--Rina Amiri (NYTimes 11/27/2001)
Soon after the horrific destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, the US administration began aggressive pursuit of a goal to institute an internationally recognized government in Afghanistan. As the above timeline of developing interests shows, the US for several years had been organizing the will and resources for such a campaign, consistent with a strategy aimed at energy development and geo-political influence in the Central Asian sphere. While the official text of US military action in Afghanistan may be articulated as a discourse of war against terrorism, there are good reasons to believe that a pre-text may be working to define terms of engagement that will secure US interests in Central Asian oil. The oil motive may be one reason why the US administration quickly defined the Sept. 11 provocation as "war" rather than "crime against humanity" and then pursued a military strategy directed more toward the re-conquest of Afghanistan than incisive strikes against alleged co-conspirators. The model of an oil framework also suggests that US attacks will be followed by attempts to secure permanent bases in the region in support of long-lasting petro-political policies.
--Greg Moses (11/26/2001) [Copied also to Page C: Ed.]
On Sunday, alliance soldiers said the revolt had been crushed and the fort retaken with the aid of attacks by United States warplanes.
An unknown number of people died, possibly a great number, at the prison, which is outside Mazar-i-Sharif. A United States Special Forces soldier at the scene told the BBC that hundreds of prisoners had died in the revolt.
Similarly, accounts were murky as to the the number of Northern Alliance casualties. But at least one of the dead was reported to be an American. If true, that would be the first known American combat death in Afghanistan since Washington began attacking Taliban forces on Oct. 7.
--Carlotta Gall (NYTimes 11/26/2001)
Military attorneys are silently seething because they know that to be untrue. The U.C.M.J. demands a public trial, proof beyond reasonable doubt, an accused's voice in the selection of juries and right to choose counsel, unanimity in death sentencing and above all appellate review by civilians confirmed by the Senate. Not one of those fundamental rights can be found in Bush's military order setting up kangaroo courts for people he designates before "trial" to be terrorists. Bush's fiat turns back the clock on all advances in military justice, through three wars, in the past half-century.
--William Saffire (NYTimes 11/26/2001)
Officials believe that extending the campaign to Sudan, Somalia and Yemen will keep Al-Qaeda on the run. A Ministry of Defence spokesman said last night: "We are focused on Afghanistan. However, this is part of a wider war on terror, wherever that may be, so it should not be a surprise to learn that military planning may be under way in other parts of the world. While we cannot confirm targets, the three countries mentioned have all been linked to terrorist activity."
--James Clark, etal (Sunday Times 11/25/2001)
There's a hollow ring to this loud new wartime motto, "We'll show our enemies we're more powerful than they are." Our enemies know that already, they've known it all their lives as they trained to the careful, hateful mastery of tools the weak may use against the mighty. They can plainly see we are richer, stronger, in every way more capable of destruction. I would like us to show them, instead, that we are better.
--Barbara Kingsolver (Washinton Post 11/23/2001)
The Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1998 was aimed at closing these loopholes and increasing the types of hate crimes prosecuted, and the penalties for them. But the measure is still frozen in the Senate. With Congress fixated on passing and bank-rolling the wave of anti-terrorism laws, with provisions that come dangerously close to green lightening racial profiling and sanctioning civil liberties violations against Arab-Americans, expanded hate crimes legislation is dead in the water. While President Bush and
Attorney-General John Ashcroft publicly condemn hate attacks against Muslims, given their stubborn past hostility to tougher hate crimes laws, there’s little reason to expect them to do an about face and prod Congress to pass the bill.
-- Earl Ofari Hutchinson (11/23/2001)
College and university faculty have been the weak link in America’s
response to the attack.
--American Council of Trustees & Alumni (Defending Civilization Report)
No president can govern in a fishbowl, particularly in time of war. But as president-watchers have noticed, we clearly have an incumbent who savors secrecy. Not since Richard Nixon went to work in the Oval Office has there been so concentrated an effort to keep the real work of a president hidden, revealing to the public only a scripted leader.
--John W. Dean (MSNBC 11/15/2001)
What's new is the finding that, since voters are supposed to decide elections rather than lawyers or judges, the state's electoral votes appear to have gone to the wrong candidate. Given that the outcome in Florida determined the national victor, this is not just news but a critical challenge to the legitimacy of the presidency.
--Jim Naureckas (Common Dreams 11/15/2001)
Military tribunals would authorize secret trials without a jury and without the requirement of a unanimous verdict. They would limit a defendant's opportunities to confront the evidence against him and to choose his own lawyer. What's worse, these important protections would be removed in a situation where the defendant could face the death penalty. This executive order must be rescinded to ensure due process rights.
--ACLU (Action Alert 11/15/2001)
Prof Boyle: a coup against the American Constitution.. the president and secretary of state are bound by the 4th Geneva convention overseas.. domestically they are bound by the Constitution of the United States.. yet this is exactly what this executive order is un/doing.. we're becoming a Banana Republic, with 'disappeared people'.. reports a immigrant prisoner was tortured to death in a New Jersey lockup.. when will these government agencies start to turn these powers against the American people? that's the next step..
--Flashpoints (Transcript 11/14/2001)
Would one know from his commentary that under international covenants torture is illegal? One would not, and one assumes that Alter regards the issue as entirely immaterial. Would one know that in recent years the United States has been charged by the UN, and also by human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, as tolerating torture in prisons in many states, by methods ranging from solitary, 23-hour-a-day confinement in concrete boxes for years on end, to activating 50,000 volt shocks through a mandatory belt worn by a prisoner?
--Alexander Cockburn (11/15/2001)
Han Shan, program director for the Ruckus Society, which provides nonviolent civil disobedience training for demonstrators like those who disrupted the 1999 World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle, says the current climate dictates a change in tactics. In Shan's words, "It's Gandhi time."
Misadvised by a frustrated and panic-stricken attorney
general, a president of the United States has just assumed what
amounts to dictatorial power to jail or execute aliens. Intimidated
by terrorists and inflamed by a passion for rough justice, we are
letting George W. Bush get away with the replacement of the American rule of law with military kangaroo courts.
--William Safire (NYTimes 11/15/2001)
The United States-sponsored Northern Alliance forces massacred 1,700 Taliban fighters 20 km south of Kabul, The Frontier Post has learnt.
--Naveed Miraj (Frontier Post 11/15/2001)
--The victorious Northern Alliance provided a foretaste of trouble by insisting yesterday that it would take care of security in Afghanistan and that an international peacekeeping force was unnecessary. Within the last 48 hours, the alliance has defied the US by capturing Kabul and has rejected calls from America, Britain and the United Nations to create a broad-based government that would include moderate elements of the Taliban. (Guardian)
--With the Taliban reeling before rebel forces and U.S. warplanes, the Pentagon cautioned on Wednesday the war in Afghanistan was not over and America was prepared to fight a guerrilla conflict there if necessary. (Reuters)
--Earlier on Wednesday, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told reporters traveling with him on a trip to New York City that elite U.S. Special Operations troops had set up checkpoints along roads in southern Afghanistan to keep Taliban and al Qaeda fighters from moving in either direction.
''If people know you're there, they are less likely to come,'' Rumsfeld said of the American troops, who were also directing U.S. air strikes against the Taliban and al Qaeda.
'YOU SHOOT THEM' -- RUMSFELD
Asked if any action might have been taken against those who had been stopped at the checkpoints, he replied:
''If they're the kind you want to shoot, you shoot them.''
--U.S. warplanes zeroed in Thursday on one of the last pockets of Taliban resistance in northern Afghanistan, where Taliban fighters and followers of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network were apparently set to make a stand near the town of Kunduz. (AP)
--Omar: You (the BBC) and American puppet radios have created concern. But the current situation in Afghanistan is related to a bigger cause - that is the destruction of America.
--It is not so much the case that people feel liberated by the Northern Alliance, rather they feel liberated from the Taleban. Fatima had worked for 20 years as a civil servant until the Taleban decreed that women should stay at home. (BBC)
--Afghanistan Online (11/15/2001)
Most despicable are those in our media, who sit comfortably in their
modern offices, staring at their computers, and hit the keys advocating
more killing of innocents thousands of miles away.
--Russell Mokhiber & Robert Weissman (Essential Org 11/15/2001)
--Afghanistan's exiled king urged Afghans on Wednesday to unite and freely choose their own destiny now that the Taliban rulers have fled Kabul. (AP)
--The northern alliance took over key symbols of power in Kabul, including the defense ministry, on Wednesday despite a pledge to support a broad-based government. Anti-Taliban forces took control of the airport outside the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, U.S. and Afghan sources said, as well as the eastern city of Jalalabad....
U.S military planners are seeking to persuade Pashtun tribal leaders unhappy with the Taliban to defect. The CIA is believed to be running the attempt to create a revolt. Other tribes may be making an opportunistic grab to fill the power vacuum, the U.S. official said....
The northern alliance's foreign minister, Abdullah, said international peacekeepers would not be needed in Afghanistan once the Taliban are defeated across the country. The top U.N. envoy on Afghanistan has said a multinational force should be deployed in the country.
Taliban supporters say the withdrawal from urban areas throughout the country is a strategy that will allow the militia and its allies to wage a guerrilla war from Kandahar's rugged mountains and caves. (AP)
--Farm families coming back to the devastated northeastern landscape of Takhar province accused Taliban fighters of laying waste to homes and property of ethnic minority Uzbeks and Tajiks during the months Taliban forces held the area. (AP)
--HAIRATON, Afghanistan (AP) -- The first aid shipment across the Uzbek-Afghan border arrived Wednesday in this Afghan port city, greeted by cheers by the turbaned men lining the banks of the Amu-Darya River.
--Some experts are already beginning to see a cleave in Afghanistan that could have a deleterious effect on Pakistan. If the Northern Alliance, whose political orientation is towards countries to its north and west (Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Iran), begins to control the northern half of the country, Islamabad could begin to feel the heat in the provinces bordering the Taliban controlled territories to the south, where its writ is weak in any case. (Times of India)
--Brahimi said the current ``six plus two'' group of Afghanistan's neighbors, the United States and Russia, should be broadened to 21 nations to monitor the process. (Reuters)
--Afghanistan Online (11/14/2001)
The work of military engineers and civilian construction companies will be just as important as the combat campaign. Scenes of Afghan parents mourning their dead children, killed by stray American bombs, should be replaced by scenes of American soldiers feeding and clothing Afghan children and rebuilding their homes.
--Larry P. Goodson (NYTimes 11/14/2001).
So the budgetary cost of the war on terrorism, abroad and at home, looks like fairly small change. Even counting the measures that are likely to pass despite Mr. Bush's threat, I have a hard time coming up with a total cost that exceeds $200 billion. Compare that with the $2.7 trillion Social Security surplus. What will happen to the remaining $2.5 trillion?
Again, no mystery: much of the money was actually gone before Sept. 11, swallowed by last spring's tax cut, which will in the end reduce revenue by around $1 trillion more than the numbers you usually hear. And the administration's allies in Congress are striving energetically to give away the rest in tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy individuals.
--Paul Krugman (NYTimes 11/14/2001).
DOHA, Qatar, Nov. 14 — World trade ministers agreed on a broad framework on free trade today, overcoming sharp differences to reach a final compromise on an accord that they hope will bolster the global economy....
The apparent flexibility of the Bush administration's position contrasts the firm stances it took on global warming, germ warfare and other international agreements, suggesting that President Bush's international focus since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has affected the administration's approach to economic matters as well.
A number of ministers said today's agreement was mainly written to benefit developing countries, which have complained bitterly that trade rules favor the rich but have begun to exercise huge sway within the trade group, especially since helping bring down the Seattle talks.
--Joseph Kahn (NYTimes 11/14/2001).
74. The attacks of the 11 September 2001 were planned and carried out by Al Qaida, an organisation whose head is Usama Bin Laden. That organisation has the will, and the resources, to execute further attacks of similar scale. Both the United States and its close allies are targets for such attacks. The attack could not have occurred without the alliance between the Taleban and Usama Bin Laden, which allowed Bin Laden to operate freely in Afghanistan, promoting, planning and executing terrorist activity.
--Conclusion (10 Downing Street Update 11/14/2001).
The new evidence would help to show that bin Laden was somebody "whose sole political beliefs are terrorism and the Talibanisation of the Muslim world".
After repeated denials in previous videos, this time bin Laden boasted "history would be a witness that we are terrorists".
--David Millward and Andrew Sparrow (News Telegraph 11/12/2001).
The House Appropriations Committee rejected efforts by New Yorkers and Democrats Wednesday to boost anti-terrorism spending by billions of dollars, handing a victory to President Bush....
Bush had said he would veto any legislation exceeding that initial $40 billion, arguing that enough money has been provided until lawmakers convene next year.
But New Yorkers say when that figure was agreed to, Bush promised to provide half of it for New York and other areas hit by the terrorists. So far, just under $10 billion has been set aside for New York.
--AP (NYTimes Online 11/14/2001).
The Airbus A-300 that crashed shortly after takeoff from Kennedy International Airport shed part of one of its two engines, raising the possibility that the jetliner suffered a catastrophic breakup of the engine or that the engine itself detached from the plane — an event so severe that pilots do not even train for it.
--Matthew L. Wald (NYTimes Online 11/12/2001).
A law enforcement source at the scene told The Associated Press that the likelihood of a mechanical problem stemmed from the fact that flames were seen shooting out of the left engine and that witnesses reported the plane had difficulty climbing and was banking to the left.
--AP (NYTimes Online 11/12/2001).
--Opposition forces in Afghanistan have broken through Taleban front lines north of the capital Kabul and entered the key western city of Herat in a rapid advance. The BBC's John Simpson, 16 kilometres (10 miles) north of Kabul, says the Northern Alliance offensive has turned into a complete rout of the Taleban. (BBC)
--As the conflict in Afghanistan progresses, Pukhtoon tribal chieftains on both sides of the Durand Line are growing in importance, reported a Peshawar-based daily Monday. "The Frontier Post" said that the backers of exiled Afghan king Zahir Shah are out on a campaign to muster support form these tribal chieftains. "It seems the powers working to wrest Afghanistan from the puritanical Taliban militia are working to cobble together a Southern Alliance, politically backed by these chieftains and made up of Afghan youths disappointed by Taliban policies", it noted. The newspaper pointed out that the idea is to build an ethnic Pakhtoon fighting force to sweep south to north, storming Kandahar and Jalalabad, converging at Kabul with Northern Alliance offensive. Zahir Shah's activists are also busy in seeking support for loya jirga for establishment of a post-Taliban government in Afghanistan, the paper noted. "A delegation from Rome has already beeen sent to hold talks with tribal chieftains to convince them about the formation of volunteers group against Taliban". The newspaper explained that the delegation is currently busy to seek permission from the chieftains for setting up training camps in tribal areas for the volunteers. The former king, the paper further, disclosed has doled out Rs.20 million for the new plan of raising the alliance. (IRNA)
--Uzbekistan says it will allow a big emergency aid operation to begin into neighbouring Afghanistan on Monday, two days earlier than planned. "We will be sending the cargo today. We have moved it forward because the United Nations was able to reach agreement with the Afghan side," Uzbek Emergency Situations Minister Rovshan Khaidarov told the French news agency AFP. (BBC)
--Afghanistan Online (11/12/2001).
Nervous workers were finding it difficult in some cases to ride the subways or go into tall buildings, making it difficult to get to work. Absences have increased. Safe Horizon and other groups have reported that friction at work, particularly between employees and supervisors, has also increased. The looming threat of layoffs has not helped.
--Bob Herbert (NYTimes 11/12/2001).
But the results in Florida and, therefore, in the presidential election might have been different had the 67 counties been ordered to proceed with a manual recount of all undervotes and overvotes.
--Dan Keating & Dan Balz (WashingtonPost Online 11/12/2001).