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SACW #2. | 1 Feb. 02

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Wire - Dispatch #2. | 1 February 2002 ... #1. Journalists Petition For Release of WSJ Reporter #2. Sri Lanka: In the Name of Peace :
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2002
      South Asia Citizens Wire - Dispatch #2. | 1 February 2002


      #1. Journalists Petition For Release of WSJ Reporter
      #2. Sri Lanka: In the Name of 'Peace': Terror stalks the North-East (UTHR)
      #3. Yankee, bin Laden Jehads and the Devastation of Afghanistan
      (PART 2) (Hassan N. Gardezi)
      #4. India: Bhopal victims threaten to storm Dow Chemicals



      Thu, 31 Jan 2002 20:57:15 -0500
      For more information: Abi Wright -- 212-465-1004, ext. 105 //


      Appeal to Captors for Daniel Pearl's Release

      New York, January 31, 2002 - The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is
      distributing the following appeal issued today by a leading group of 50
      prominent Arab, Western, and Turkish journalists with a long history of
      covering Middle Eastern and Muslim affairs. The journalists are calling for
      the release of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

      A copy of the appeal follows.

      Daniel Pearl has been missing in Pakistan since January 23.

      * * *
      We, the undersigned, are colleagues of Daniel Pearl, who has become a
      captive while reporting for The Wall Street Journal in Pakistan.

      Like Daniel himself, we are journalists. As he used to, we report on events
      in the Middle East. We are Americans, Arabs, and others, who have spent many
      years, in some cases lifetimes, in the Arab part of the Islamic world.

      We would like to state without hesitation that Daniel is a professional
      journalist of the highest standard. During his own assignment covering the
      Arab part of the Muslim world, he worked with honesty, courage, and
      independence of mind to write the truth about the conflicts and problems of
      the region as he saw it. Like the rest of us, he did his best to convey the
      opinions and emotions of the people of the region.

      We are dismayed by, and reject, accusations that Daniel is employed in any
      capacity other than as a professional journalist. He is in no way
      responsible for any actions or opinions other than his own. We affirm the
      rights of journalists everywhere--be they Western, Arab, Muslim, or any
      other nationality and religion--to perform their vital tasks without being
      subject to accusations and threats.

      Daniel's safe release will enable you to realize this goal.


      Ahmed Abdelmalik, Al Sharq, Doha
      Mohammed al Ali, Al Jazeera, Doha
      Christiane Amanpour, CNN, London
      Ibrahim al Amin, As Safir, Beirut
      Terry Anderson, New York
      Fouzi al Asmar, Washington DC
      Abdul Bari Atwan, Al Quds Al Arabi, London
      Mehmet Ali Birand, CNN Turk, Istanbul
      Bill Blakemore, ABC News, New York
      Tom Brokaw, NBC News, New York
      Cengiz Candar, Yeni Safak, Istanbul
      John K. Cooley, Athens
      Youssef Darwish, Al Raya, Doha
      Raghida Dergham, Al Hayat, New York
      Christopher Dickey, Newsweek, Paris
      James M. Dorsey, The Wall Street Journal, Riyadh
      Charles Glass, London
      Sami Haddad, Al Jazeera, London
      Assad Haydar, Al Moustaqbal, Paris
      Ibrahim Helal, Al Jazeera, Doha
      David Hirst, The Guardian, Cyprus
      Fehmi Howeidi, Al Ahram, Cairo
      Ali Jaber, Future TV, Beirut
      Peter Jennings, ABC News, New York
      Hisham Kassem, Cairo Times, Cairo
      Khairallah Khairallah, London
      Jamal Khashoggi, Arab News, Jeddah
      Jihad al Khazen, Al Hayat, London
      Sami Kleib, As Safir, Paris
      Fehmi Koru, Yeni Safak, Istanbul
      Mohammed Krishene, Al Jazeera, Doha
      Kamal Eddin Labidi, Cairo Times, Cairo
      John Lancaster, The Washington Post, Washington DC
      Khaled al-Maeena, Arab News, Jeddah
      Scott MacLeod, Time Magazine, Cairo
      Hisham Milhem, As Safir, Washington DC
      Hafez al-Mirazi, Al Jazeera, Washington DC
      Ray Moseley, Chicago Tribune, London
      Jamil Mroue, Daily Star, Beirut
      Salama al-Nemaat, Al Hayat & Radio Monte Carlo, Amman
      Jonathan Randal, Paris
      Abdulrahman al-Rashed, Ash Sharq Al Awsat, London
      Dan Rather, CBS News, New York
      Eric Rouleau, Paris
      Salama Ahmed Salama, Al Ahram, Cairo
      Howard Schneider, The Washington Post, Cairo
      Charles Sennott, Boston Globe, London
      Hani Shukrallah, Al Ahram Weekly, Cairo
      Gebran Tueni, An Nahar, Beirut
      Mike Wallace, CBS News, New York



      1 Feb 2002
      In the Name of 'Peace': Terror stalks the North-East
      ...In these circumstances, it falls to the other actors concerned in
      the peace process to safeguard children's rights and create normal
      conditions on the political front as well. A huge responsibility
      falls on Norway that has been called upon to play a facilitating
      role. We need to put mechanisms in place to monitor not only
      violations of the truce between the State and the LTTE, but also the
      use of terror and violations against the civilians by both sides.
      This is the time for the office of the Special Representative of the
      UN Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict to play a
      crucial role in this regard.

      It is, moreover, only right that the NGO community and other civil
      society groups should campaign for some concrete measures rather than
      issue ritual statements. The lists of names provided by us are not
      meant to become part of a database to study children in war, and to
      present papers in academic fora, but mainly to aid timely action to
      stop crimes against them. No one can today give shoddy reasons for
      the continuation of inhuman practices. A cease-fire is in place and
      many powerful interests are pushing for permanent peace. Is it a
      crime against peace, simply to demand that children in the
      North-East, and their parents too, be allowed a semblance of
      normality? ......

      UTHR(J) Bulletin No: 28
      The latest UTHR(J) bulletin No 28 is released today (1st Feb, 2002)
      and its accessible at the link




      Yankee, bin Laden Jehads and the Devastation of Afghanistan (Part 2)

      by Hassan N. Gardezi

      Neither did Pakistan escape the bitter legacy of its deep
      involvement in Afghanistan's prolonged and bloody strife. It left its ugly
      marks and enduring distortions on the entire institutional structure of
      the Pakistani society. It enhanced the intimidating power of the Islamic
      political parties, breeding religious intolerance and sectarian violence.
      Allowed to operate freely, without legal and constitutional restrictions,
      these parties began to raise their own jehadi militias, lashkars, and
      terrorist squads perpetrating murderous attacks on rival Muslim sects and
      non- Muslim minorities. At the same time the massive infusion of
      sophisticated weapons into Afghanistan spilled back across the border and
      into private hands, producing a dramatic increase in armed robberies,
      sectarian murders, political killings and blatant public displays of
      automatic weapons as status symbols - the "klashnikov culture," as the
      entire phenomenon came to be known. Drug running became a new menace.
      While in 1978, the word heroin was hardly known in Pakistan, by mid-1990s
      Pakistan was supplying a major share of the world heroin market and
      millions of its own people had become heroin edicts. Wheeling and dealing
      in the lucrative drug trade drew many top civil and military elite into
      its orbit of corruption. Most importantly, the ISI generals began to act
      independently of the government, setting their own foreign policy agendas
      and interfering in domestic politics, by engineering political alliances
      and funding the election campaigns of right-wing politicians.

      The Rise of the Taliban
      Out of this anarchic situation on both sides of the border was
      born yet another sinister force in the name of religion, soon to be known
      as Taliban. Around 1994, a new militia appeared in Southeastern
      Afghanistan under the leadership of Mullah Mohammad Omar. Himself one of
      the ex-mujahideen fighters, Omar reportedly disliked the corruption and
      debauchery of commanders around him. He soon gathered a large following of
      young Pushtuns from the refugee camps of Pakistan who had been sheltered
      and taught in the madrasas run by Pakistan's Islamist parties (therefore
      the name Taliban, meaning students). Other than learning the Qur'an by
      root, these students were drilled in unquestioning acceptance of an
      austere and misogynist code of conduct enshrined in the Wahabi Islamic
      doctrine of Saudi origin.

      Mullah Omar's militia of Taliban soon attracted the attention and
      support of smugglers, drug dealers and traders who were fed up with paying
      heavy tolls and taxes to local mujahideen warlords. By this time the
      Pakistan military establishment was also thoroughly disillusioned with its
      warring mujahideen prodigies installed as the interim government in Kabul
      and decided to throw its weight behind the Taliban. Reinforced with all
      this support, Omar's militia, overran the mujahideen strongholds and
      checkpoints in and around Kandhar, captured Herat in 1995 and Kabul in
      1996 chasing Ahmed Shah Masood, the star of the anti-Soviet jehad, out of
      the capital along with the interim president Burhanuddin Rabani. The
      Taliban also dragged out Najibullah from the United Nation's compound,
      tortured him to death and left his corps dangling in the city's main
      thoroughfare, with his genitals stuffed in his mouth. Within two years
      that saw the worst massacres of civilians since the start of the
      anti-Soviet jehad, Taliban with the assistance of Pakistan's army
      established their control over most of Afghanistan, except a small area in
      the North commanded by the Northern Alliance, a shaky coalition of ethnic
      Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras.

      Having consolidated their control over Kabul, the Taliban began
      to rule the country as a theocracy under the watchful one eye of their
      supremo, Mullah Omar. Although the ideological framework of the theocracy
      they established under the name of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was
      conceived and nurtured inside Pakistan in the Wahabi madrasas and
      seminaries, its operating norms were enforced in Afghanistan with the
      pathological zeal of young Taliban and semi-literate mullahs, many of them
      raised as orphans, bearing the mental and physical scars of the prolonged
      war. As is well known now, they stripped women of their jobs confining
      them in their homes and burqas (veils), banned education of girls, burned
      films and cinema houses, hacked TV sets and VCRs (except those being
      smuggled from Dubai to Pakistan), massacred Shia Hazaras and ethnic Tajiks
      and Uzbeks, and as a final act of contempt for human civilization, blasted
      with cannon fire the rare giant Buddha statutes of Bamiyan. For their
      spiritual cleansing, if not sport, they now and than stoned to death some
      men and women in the disused soccer stadium of Kabul in the name of
      Islamic shari'a laws.

      Unfortunately, this new wave of misery and destruction unleashed
      on the people touched no humanitarian impulse among those who had set out
      in 1979 and earlier to save Afghanistan from the tyranny of "godless
      communism." Pakistan recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government
      of Afghanistan immediately after their capture of Kabul, followed by Saudi
      Arabia and United Arab Emirate. The United States too welcomed the
      establishment of Taliban rule, although remained short of giving it
      official recognition. For Washington the rise of Taliban was an asset in
      facilitating access to the vast Central Asian oil and gas reserves through
      Afghanistan. Soon after the fall of Herat to Taliban in 1995 the US oil
      company UNCOL, with links with the family of President Bush, signed a
      deal with Turkmenistan to build a multi-billion dollar pipeline through
      Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea port of Gawadar in Pakistan. The strict
      rule of Taliban was seen as necessary for the execution and safety of this
      project.(Ahmed Rashid, op.cit., 2000).

      The Second Coming of Osama bin Laden
      After the Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan, the foreign holy
      warriors also began to drift back to their countries of origin looking for
      new jehads to pick up. Thousands of them returned to their Arab lands
      taking pride in their feat of defeating one of the worlds only two
      superpowers. With their expertise in guerrilla warfare, making and
      handling of explosives and indoctrination in extremist Islamic ideologies,
      they constituted a floating army of God's soldiers, ready to take on any
      power defined as enemy of Islam or oppressor of Muslims. But their
      introduction on the world scene remained of little concern to the founders
      of the Yankee jehad. Asked if he regretted having supported and armed
      future terrorists in the interview already cited, Brzezinsky snapped
      back, "what is most important to the history of the world? Some stirred up
      Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?"

      One of these very "stirred up Muslims" was Osama bin Laden. On his
      return to Saudi Arabia, he found non-Muslim US troops entrenched in the
      sacred land of Mecca and Madina in the aftermath of the Gulf War. Angered
      at this state of affairs he redefined his erstwhile patrons as occupiers
      of Islam's holy lands and subjugators of Muslims by virtu of their actions
      in Palestine and Iraq. The Yankee jehad now branched into bin Laden jehad
      in which the American infidels became the prime target. The Saudi royal
      family also became the object of bin Laden's condemnation for being an
      accomplice in the US imperialist designs. The Saudis forthwith stripped
      him of his citizenship and bin Laden moved to Sudan where he set up the
      initial base of his new jehadi organization, Al-Qaeda. But within two
      years he was also forced out of Sudan under US and Saudi pressure. In the
      summer of 1996 he returned to his familiar bunkers in Afghanistan where he
      was welcomed by Mullah Omar whom he had previously met at the Binori
      Mosque, a major Wahabi center of worship and teaching in Karachi.

      Soon after his return to the Taliban's Afghanistan, bin Laden was
      implicated in several terrorist attacks on US citizens and installations
      around the world, including the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in
      New York. But he continued to enjoy the sanctuary of Taliban's
      Afganistan, without suffering any personal reprisals. From the security of
      his camps there, he also recommenced the training and funding of Muslim
      militants from places as far as Chechniya, Xinjiang, Indonesia, Malaysia,
      Philippines, Algeria and Morocco, this time for the global jehad of his
      own definition to free the world Islamic community, the umma, from the
      domination of infidels of all colors as well as the corrupt and
      contaminated Muslim rulers. But oddly enough, the powerful US intelligence
      agencies, the FBI and CIA maintained a studied incompetence in
      investigating the alleged threats posed to the United States by bin Laden
      and his Al-Qaeda network. (Michael Griffin, Reaping the Whirlwind:
      Afghanistan's Taliban Movement, Herndon, Verginia, Stylus Publications,

      Then on August 7, 1998 US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were
      bombed and a couple of weeks later President Clinton surprised the world
      by lobbing over 70 of his arsenal's very expensive, state of the art cruse
      missiles on Sudan and eastern Afghanistan in retaliation. The Sudan
      strikes destroyed the country's only pharmaceutical factory depriving the
      people of some badly needed life saving medicines. The Afghanistan strikes
      launched from Pakistan's territorial waters of the Indian Ocean hit some
      jehad training camps killing a number of Pakistani, Arab and Afghan
      militants but the intended target, Osama bin Laden, walked away safely
      acquiring international publicity as an invincible holy warrior of Islam
      in some quarters. He was also forewarned by this incident to move his
      operations to his secret and safer mountain fortifications. The missile
      strikes did boost the popularity of Bill Clinton in the public opinion
      polls at home, as the US media and men love the machismo of their
      presidents. That these strikes could be branded as terrorist attacks, in
      violation of international laws regarding the territorial sovereignty of
      states did not bother in the least the US leaders and their apologists.

      US Unilateralism and the Destruction of Afghanistan
      It is quite plausible that the Clinton missile strikes were more
      of a spectacular declaration of US intent than a credible attempt to kill
      Osama bin Laden. They certainly carried a message for all those inclined
      to defy US power that America possessed awesome technological military
      power; that the US fully intended to use this deadly power against its
      enemies no matter what the "collateral damage;" and that if necessary the
      United States was prepared to act unilaterally on the international stage
      without regard to international law or treaties.

      It was perhaps the supreme confidence and arrogance implied in
      this declaration of intent which was impeding the ability of US
      administration to deal adequately with the ground realities of the twin
      phenomena of Taliban misrule and bin Laden Jehad. The Taleban, pampered
      and pandered to by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, continued with the
      atrocities of their governance, while at the same time providing sanctuary
      to bin Laden and his means of propagating Islamic militancy around the
      world. The United States continued to play cat and mouse with Mullah
      Omar's defacto "Emirate." The main reason for Washington's ambivalent
      attitude towards the Taliban was the singular interest of its oil industry
      in exploiting the vast oil and gas reserves of landlocked Central Asian
      region through Afghanistan. As concluded by Rashid during the course of
      his research, "the strategy over pipelines had become the driving force
      behind Washington's interest in Taliban...." (Ahmed Rashid, op.cit., 163).
      The sudden appearance of some Afghan expatriates with links to a major US
      oil company in key positions of Afghanistan's post-Taliban dispensation
      lends much credibility to Rashid's conclusion. The French newspaper Le
      Mondereported on December 13, 2001 that Hamid Karzai the Chairman of the
      new Interim Administration of Afghanistan constituted in Bonn happens to
      be a past advisor to the US based oil company UNCOL. On December 31
      President Bush announced the appointment of Afghan- born Zalmay Khalilzad
      , a naturalized US citizen, to the post of his special envoy to
      Afghanistan. Khalilzad who had publicly lobbied for a sympathetic policy
      towards Taliban was also an advisor to UNCOL. (Patrick Martin, "Oil
      Company Advisor Named US Representative to Afghanistan," World Socialist
      Web Site, 3 January, 2001).

      Even more problematical is the manner in which the US
      administration and its highly resourceful intelligence agencies have dealt
      with bin Laden's jehad and its terrorist potential. The exclusive focus on
      the capture of Osama bin Laden, "dead or alive," as a solution to the
      problem of terrorist attacks on US establishments diverted much needed
      attention from the wider and more explosive phenomenon of Islamic
      militancy initiated by the CIA itself as a Cold War weapon. A product of
      this militancy were the Afghani Arabs, bin Laden included, the veterans of
      Afghanistan's guerrilla wars who had returned to their Arab lands after
      the withdrawal of Soviet troops and the fall of Najibullah's government.
      On return to their native lands they constituted a critical mass
      attracting around them a host of Islamic radical organizations and
      individuals ready to undertake extremist actions to remedy the wrongs they
      perceived their fellow Arabs were suffering at the hands of the United
      States. Whether the American policy makers consider it justified or not,
      these Afghani Arabs specially harbor a great reservoir of anger, despair
      and frustration at the US military presence in Saudi Arabia, US support of
      the brutal and illegal occupation of Palestinian West Bank and Gaza, the
      use of US supplied helicopter gunships by Israel to strafe Palestinian
      towns and villages, US condoned destruction of Beirut, US sponsored
      sanctions leading to the deaths of thousands of Iraqi children, US
      support of corrupt and authoritarian regimes in the Middle East and so

      All this should not be news to the American authorities but they
      obviously failed to recognize that such a reservoir of anger, despair and
      frustration could produce the type of a suicide mission that resulted in
      the horrific atrocity of 911. No matter what links the perpetrators of
      this tragedy had with bin Laden, it was a colossal failure of the US
      intelligence agencies not to be able to anticipate their actions and track
      them down as they planed their September 11, 2001 operation on the ground,
      while flying in and out of the United States for an extended period of
      Once the unbelievable did occur, the US reaction was swift and
      stark. President Bush at once declared "war on terrorism" and warned that
      those who did not side with him were with the terrorists. In other words
      war was declared against all the people of the world who did not approve
      the retaliatory action Bush intended to take. In reality, it turned out to
      be a war against the luckless Afghans, although the suicide attackers of
      911 were all Arabs, mainly from Saudi Arabia and Egypt. On October 7, the
      US B52 bombers and cruise missiles began to unleash a new wave of death
      and destruction on Afghanistan with the stated objective of ousting the
      unmanageable Taliban from their control of Afghanistan and smoking out
      Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda followers from their holes, to use the
      cowboy jargon of George W. Bush..
      It was unmistakably the awesome use of military power signaled in
      the 1998 US missile attacks. As the CNN began to fascinate its world-wide
      audience with apocalyptic booms and mushroom clouds of megaton cluster
      bombs, for the people of Afghanistan there was no place to hide. It looked
      like the entire population of the country was on the move. Men women and
      children abandoning their mud huts, bombed villages and dead relatives
      began to run helter- skelter with their meager belongings loaded on their
      bent backs, donkeys and carts, some reaching the Pakistan borders only to
      be beaten back by the border guards. The UN officials pleaded in vain
      for bombing pauses to be able to deliver food and relief supplies to the
      famine stricken people. More of what was standing in Kabul and other
      cities was reduced to rubble and rubble was reduced to dust. But how many
      innocent civilians were killed, maimed and starved to death? no one knows,
      no one was even bothering to count because these were not the precious
      lives, just the wretched poor of a third world race.

      The tragic irony of all this is that the ouster of the
      Taliban misrule and the disappearance of Osama bin Laden from the face of
      the earth has not won the United States its war against terrorism. The
      Bush administration's pretense of winning a military victory over
      terrorism is totally unrealistic unless the root causes of terrorism, the
      global injustices and inequalities, are addressed. But this is something
      the Bush administration steadfastly refuses to do. Indeed, In the climate
      of war hysteria created in the United States even a suggestion of root
      causes of terrorism provokes accusations of siding with the "enemy."

      Neither has the US military victory over the Taliban, with all its
      human costs, brought Afghanistan any closer to peace. The Yankee jehad,
      metamorphosed into war on terrorism, has not only reduced the country
      into a physical wasteland, its remaining inhabitants have been driven
      apart more than ever into bitter tribal and ethnic enemies. The warlords
      who masqueraded as CIA-ISI sponsored mujahideen for more than two decades
      are now going to be waging their wars of revenge and material gain for
      many more years to come in a cycle of bloodshed.

      For the US this will serve as the pretext, if one is needed, to prolong
      it's military presence in Afghanistan, and administer the aid funds for
      reconstruction of the country until UNCOL is done with laying its pipeline
      and beyond. What the ghost of bin Laden jehad will be doing in all this is
      anybody's guess.



      Sify news
      Feb 01, 2002
      Bhopal victims threaten to storm Dow Chemicals

      Sanjay Sharma in Bhopal

      Survivors of the world's worst industrial disaster- Bhopal gas
      tragedy- have threatened to storm the Mumbai office of US-based Dow
      Chemicals next month if their demand for clean drinking water and
      other services were not met by then.

      Satinath Sarangi, a member of the Bhopal Group of Information and
      Action (BGIA), who claimed to have apprised the Dow Chemicals
      management about the forthcoming agitation said, "We have urged them
      to provide clean drinking water and set up a medical research
      facility failing which the survivors of the tragedy would be forced
      to take the protest to the company's Mumbai office next month".

      On Dow Chemicals' refusal to recognise that it acquired the
      liabilities of the erstwhile Union Carbide along with the assets, the
      survivors' organisations assert, "Paying compensations and
      rehabilitation is a liability that Union Carbide had. And Dow
      Chemicals, by virtue of acquiring Union Carbide, cannot escape these
      liabilities. It must clean up the mess that has been left by Union

      A toxic gas leak in December 1984 from a pesticide plant the Union
      Carbide, which has since been acquired by Dow Chemicals, killed
      between 3,500 and 7,500 people and left more than half a million
      seriously injured who are still strugging to cope with the aftermath
      of the disaster.

      Some 10,000 families living near the factory now have to depend on
      contaminated drinking water, it is reported.

      "By drinking the water, the victims are affected by ailments such as
      tuberculosis and cancer, while newborn babies are turning mentally
      retarded," said Satinath Sarangi.

      The number of gas victims with mental disorders are still showing a
      surge with each passing year.

      The number of persons having psychiatric problems is expected to be
      around 3,000 currently, while the doctors put the toll officially at

      The survivors' organisations are also calling for a quick disbursal
      of compensation payments, many of which have been entangled in
      legislation, and for lifetime pensions for those left permanently



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