The War Against Humanity: Afghan front


Richard Moore

    "Aid officials estimate that up to 7.5 million Afghans might
    be threatened with starvation." 
    - from article below


The evidence seems to be that more people will die in
Afghanistan this winter than died in all of Hitler's
concentration camps.  During these last few weeks when
something might still be done about it, the US-UK Axis
continues the bombing raids and drops token food packages -
not enough to feed a single village.  And these are dropped
in the wrong places, often in fields infested with land

There is no possibility that the Axis leaders are unaware of
the genocidal consequences of their acts, and the token food
drops amount to a cynical propaganda ploy to distract public
attention from those consequences.  Add this to the 1.5
million Iraqi's killed by Axis sanctions, and millions
killed by IMF/CIA actions in Rwanda and elsewhere in Africa
-- we are witnessing history's greatest intentional

Following a brief report on the humanitarian disaster, and
another about U.S. cover-up measures, there's a longer piece
from ZNet.


To: "MER" <•••@••.•••>
From: "MER" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Millions Likely To Die in Afghanistan U.N. Warns
Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2001 22:24:21 -0400


                      By Jason Burke, Peshawar

[The Observer - Sunday October 21, 2001]:
The United Nations is set to issue an unprecedented appeal
to the United States and its coalition allies to halt the
war on Afghanistan and allow time for a huge relief

UN sources in Pakistan said growing concern over the
deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country - in
part, they say, caused by the relentless bombing campaign -
has forced them to take the radical step. Aid officials
estimate that up to 7.5 million Afghans might be threatened
with starvation.

'The situation is completely untenable inside Afghanistan.
We really need to get our point across here and have to be
very bold in doing it. Unless the [US air] strikes stop,
there will be a huge number of deaths,' one UN source said.

The move will embarrass Clare Short, the International
Development Secretary, who said last week that there was no
'cause and effect' between the bombing and the ability of
aid agencies to deliver much-needed food and shelter.

Aid workers yesterday strongly rejected Short's statements.
'Basically the bombing makes it difficult to get enough
supplies in. It is as simple as that,' an Islamabad-based
aid official told The Observer .

Dominic Nutt, a spokesman for the British charity Christian
Aid, called Short's remarks sickening. 'Needy people are
being put at risk by government spin-doctors who are showing
a callous disregard for life,' he said. 'To say that there
is no link is not just misleading but profoundly dangerous.'
Christian Aid report 600 people have already died in the
Dar-e-Suf region of northern Afghanistan due to starvation,
malnutrition and related diseases.

Other agencies confirmed that the sick, the young and the
old are already dying in refugee camps around the northern
city of Mazar-e-Sharif.

The World Food Programme has calculated that 52,000 tonnes
of wheat must be distributed in Afghanistan each month to
stave off mass starvation. Since the aid programme was
restarted - on 25 September - only 20,000 tonnes have been
supplied and 15,000 distributed. The concern is that the
coming winter will make relief efforts more difficult. The
first snows have already fallen on the Hindu Kush mountains
and the isolated highlands of Hazarajat.

But though the WFP is accelerating the supply of food, it
says it is unlikely to be able to bring in more than
two-thirds of what is required. And it is clear that little
aid is reaching the most remote areas where the need is

A new assessment by aid workers on the ground in Afghanistan
will be presented to UN co-ordinators in Islamabad this
week. It shows that the effects of the three-year drought
that has hit Afghanistan are far worse than previously
thought. Areas in the north-east are of particular concern.

In the western city of Herat food deliveries are barely
keeping up with demand from the 1,000 people a day who are
arriving at refugee camps.

'We are getting a significant amount of food into the
country and we are desperately trying to get it to more
remote areas. The usual distribution networks are hugely
disrupted. At the moment a trickle is getting through,' said
Michael Huggins, a spokesman for the WFP.

He said the WFP operation was hampered by a lack of truck
drivers willing to carry food through Afghanistan because of
the bombing raids, high fuel prices and communication

The Taliban have also caused problems for aid agencies. A
series of offices have been looted in major cities,
prompting French agency MÈdecins Sans FrontiËres to shut
down its entire Afghan operation. There have been a number
of attempts to steal vehicles from aid agencies. The Taliban
have also delayed relief convoys by demanding high taxes on
their passage.

Although the expected influx of refugees to Pakistan has yet
to occur, there are signs of larger shifts of population
than before. The last three days have seen more than 10,000
people cross the border from Afghanistan around the Taliban
stronghold of Kandahar.

Refugees report a breakdown in law and order in Kandahar.
'It is impossible to live there now,' one said.


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From: "Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space" 
To: <Undisclosed-Recipient:;;;;>
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 11:55:47 -0400

US buys up all satellite war images

Duncan Campbell
Guardian (UK)

Wednesday October 17, 2001

The Pentagon has spent millions of dollars to prevent
western media from seeing highly accurate civilian satellite
pictures of the effects of bombing in Afghanistan, it was
revealed yesterday.

The images, which are taken from Ikonos, an advanced
civilian satellite launched in 1999, are better than the spy
satellite pictures available to the military during most of
the cold war.

The extraordinary detail of the images already taken by the
satellite includes a line of terrorist trainees marching
between training camps at Jalalabad. At the same resolution,
it would be possible to see bodies lying on the ground after
last week's bombing attacks.

Under American law, the US defence department has legal
power to exercise "shutter control" over civilian satellites
launched from the US in order to prevent enemies using the
images while America is at war. But no order for shutter
control was given, even after the bombing raids began 10
days ago.

The decision to shut down access to satellite images was
taken last Thursday, after reports of heavy civilian
casualties from the overnight bombing of training camps near
Darunta, north-west of Jalalabad. Instead of invoking its
legal powers, the Pentagon bought exclusive rights to all
Ikonos satellite pictures of Afghanistan off Space Imaging,
the company which runs the satellite. The agreement was made
retrospectively to the start of the bombing raids.

The US military does not need the pictures for its own
purposes because it already has six imaging satellites in
orbit, augmented by a seventh launched last weekend. Four of
the satellites, called Keyholes, take photographic images
estimated to be six to 10 times better than the 1 metre
resolution available from Ikonos.

The decision to use commercial rather than legal powers to
bar access to satellite images was heavily criticised by US
intelligence specialists last night. Since images of the
bombed Afghan bases would not have shown the position of US
forces or compromised US military security, the ban could
have been challenged by news media as being a breach of the
First Amendment, which guarantees press freedom.

"If they had imposed shutter control, it is entirely
possible that news organisations would have filed a lawsuit
against the government arguing prior restraint censorship,"
said Dr John Pike, of Globalsecurity, a US website which
publishes satellite images of military and alleged terrorist
facilities around the world.

The only alternative source of accurate satellite images
would be the Russian Cosmos system. But Russia has not yet
decided to step into the information void created by the
Pentagon deal with Space Imaging.
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 90083
Gainesville, FL. 32607
(352) 337-9274

Delivered-To: •••@••.•••
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 15:08:47 -0700
From: ZNet Commentaries <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Albert / Whats So Complex About It? / Oct 19
To: •••@••.•••

Today's commentary on the web:

ZNet Commentary
What's So Complex About It? October 19, 2001
By Michael Albert 

In the past few weeks I have minutely explored, often with
Stephen Shalom, multifold concerns about September 11 and
the "war on terrorism." With him I have tried to calmly and
soberly respond to all kinds of concerns people feel. I
recommend doing it. We all need to become adept at rebutting
the insanely manipulative media messages that crowd into so
many people's minds, and into our own as well. But going
straight to the uncomplicated heart of the matter sometimes
has merit, too.

The U.S. bombing of Afghanistan is a barbaric assault on
defenseless civilians. It threatens a nearly
incomprehensible human calamity. It is pursuing abominable

The bombing is not a "just war," as Richard Falk labels it
in The Nation, but a vigilante attack. No, it is not a
vigilante attack; it is a vigilante lynch-mob assault writ
large. No, it is not even a vigilante lynch mob assault writ
large--even vigilante lynch mobs go after only those they
think are culprits and not innocent bystanders. The bombing
of Afghanistan is a gargantuan repugnance hurled against
some of the poorest people on the planet. And this
gargantuan repugnance is undertaken not out of sincere if
horrendously misguided desires to curtail terrorism--since
the bombing undeniably manifests terror and feeds the
wellsprings of more terrorism to come--but out of malicious
desires to establish a new elite-serving logic of U.S.
policy-making via an endless War on Terrorism to replace the
defunct Cold War. This is rehashed Reaganism made more
cataclysmic than even his dismal mind could conceive.

When people say, but doesn't the U.S. have a right to defend
itself?. I understand their hurt, pain, anger, and
confusion. But I also have to admit that I want to scream
that the U.S. is increasing the likelihood that a million or
more souls will suffer fatal starvation. Is that self

Put differently, what kind of thinking sees denying food to
humans as self defense? The answer is thinking like Bush's,
thinking like bin Laden's, thinking that treats innocent
human lives as chess pieces, as checkers, as tidily winks,
in pursuit of its own deadly agendas. Thinking that is
willing to rocket a plane into a building to take 6,000
innocent lives, or thinking that is willing to drop bombs
into an already devastated country abetting cataclysmic
starvation. Or, more often, it is thinking that has been
systematically denied the most basic information relevant to
the issues at hand, and that is too fearful, depressed,
angry, or cynical to admit disturbing truths.

You think I exaggerate?

Jean Ziegler, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food to the
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said October 15,
"The bombing has to stop right now. There is a humanitarian
emergency." Lest anyone miss the point, he continued, "In
winter the lorries cannot go in any more. Millions of
Afghans will be unreachable in winter and winter is coming
very, very soon." As Reuters reported (and AP carried as
well, but not any U.S. newspaper or other major media
outlet, as best I can tell), "the United Nations has warned
of a catastrophe unless aid can get through for up to seven
million Afghans." Ziegler continues, "We must give the
(humanitarian) organizations a chance to save the millions
of people who are internally displaced (inside
Afghanistan)," adding that he was echoing an (essentially
unreported) appeal made by U.N. Human Rights Commissioner
Mary Robinson a few days earlier, who was in turn echoing
reports that go back to before the bombing. Ziegler called
the bombing "a catastrophe for humanitarian work." Or in the
words of Christian Aid Spokesman Dominic Nutt (quoted in the
Scotsman but again in no U.S. papers): "We are beyond the
stage where we can sit down and talk about this over tea. If
they stop the bombing we can get the food aid in, it's as
simple as that. Tony Blair and George Bush have repeatedly
said this is a three-stringed offensive--diplomatic,
military and humanitarian. Well the diplomatic and military
are there but where is the humanitarian? A few planes
throwing lunchboxes around over the mountains is laughable."

So what's complicated in all this?

Perhaps someone with a more subtle mind than mine can
clarify it for me. But assuming one has the above
information at hand, to me it all seems to boil down to
this. If we bomb (or even just threaten to bomb), they are
more likely to starve. If we don't bomb (or threaten to
bomb), they are less likely to starve. If we choose bombing,
we are telling the innocent civilians who may starve--not
thousands but millions of them--you just don't count.
Compared to Washington's agenda, you are nothing. And what
is Washington's agenda? Remarkably the stated aim is to get
bin Laden and to try him or perhaps just execute him
ourselves. We could stop the bombing and have him tried in a
third country, the Taliban has noted, but that's not
acceptable. So for this minuscule gradation of difference,
we are told that Washington is willing to risk 7 million
people. Behind the rhetoric, to me the real goals appear to
be to delegitimate international law, to establish that
Washington will get its way regardless of impediments and
that we can and will act unilaterally whenever it suits us
-- the technical term for which is to be "credible" --and to
propel a long-term war on terrorism to entrench the most
reactionary policies and notions in the U.S. and around the
globe, and, along with all that, to terminate bin Laden and
others. Risking seven million people's lives for these aims
is worse than doing it only for the minuscule gradation of
trying bin Laden ourselves rather than having a third
country do it, because the additional reasons are all
grotesquely negative, supposing such calculus is even
manageable by a sane mind.

When I was a kid and first learned about Nazi Germany, like
many other kids, I asked how could the German population
abide such horrors. I even wondered if maybe Germans were
somehow genetically evil or amoral. I have long since
understood that Germans weren't different than Brits or
Americans or anyone else, though their circumstances were
different, but for those who still don't understand mass
subservience to vile crimes induced by structural processes
of great power and breadth, I have to admit that I mostly
just want to shout: Look around, dammit!

We live in a highly advanced country with means of
communication that are virtually instantaneous and vastly
superior to what the German populace had. We don't have a
dictator and brownshirts threatening everyone who dissents.
Dissent here isn't pleasant and involves some sacrifice and
risk, but the price is most often way less than
incarceration, much less death. That's fact one. Fact two is
that our country is risking murdering a few million
civilians in the next few months...every serious commentator
knows it, no serious commentator denies it...and we are
pursuing that genocidal path on the idiotic or grotesquely
racist pretext that by so doing we are reducing terrorism in
the world, even as we add millions to the tally of civilians
currently terrorized for political purposes and
simultaneously breed new hate and desperation that will
yield still more terror in the future. Does anyone remember
"destroying the city to save it"? What's next? Terrorize the
planet to rid it of terrorists? For people of my generation,
in the Vietnam War the U.S. killed roughly 2 million people
over years and years of horrible violation of the norms of
justice, liberty, and plain humanity. The utterly
incomprehensible truth is that the U.S. could attain that
same level of massacre in the next few months, and, whether
it happens or not, is quite sanguine about doing so, as is
virtually its entire intelligentsia, its mainstream media
pundits, and so on.

It is possible, with considerable effort, for the average
person to discover that this "war" is potentially genocidal.
One can easily get much more background, context, and
analysis from ZNet, sure--but of course only one out of
roughly every five hundred or one thousand U.S. citizens has
encountered ZNet--but one can get that single insight, the
possibility that genocidal calamity is imminent, even from
the NY Times or Washington Post or any major paper that one
might read, if one digs deep into it and reads it very
carefully. Of course, the fact that such information isn't
prime time news in every outlet in the land reveals how
supinely our media elevate obedience above performance. They
are seeing the AID and UN reports and calls for a bombing
halt, of course, and seeing the articles in periodicals
around the world, and they are simply excluding it from U.S.
communications. But even with this massive media
obfuscation, how hard is this war to comprehend, supposing
one actually tries to comprehend it?

Shortly after September 11 there was a letter in the NYT
that a grade school child wrote to the editor, and I
paraphrase from memory: "If we attack them aren't we doing
to them what they did to us?" This child wasn't a genius,
just a normal elementary school student. The Times probably
ran the letter to show how cute kids can be, but of course
the child was correct, not cute. The real question is why
don't more of us see what the child instantly saw, even now,
weeks later, with the horror before our eyes?

Yes, a never-ending trumpet beat of patriotism proclaiming
U.S. virtues and motives contributes to our blindness. Of
course accumulated confusions, augmented daily, cloud our
understanding and push the sad facts of potential starvation
out of our field of vision. And yes the human capacity for
self deception to avoid travail contributes, no doubt, to
the process. But I suspect most people's blindness is
largely due to resignation. The key fact, I suspect, isn't
that people don't know about the criminality of U.S.
policies, though there is an element of that at work,
especially in the more educated classes, to be sure. But
even among those carefully groomed to be socially and
politically ignorant -- which is to say those who have
higher educations -- I think many people do know at some
broad level Washington's culpability for crimes, and of
those who don't know, many don't in part because they are
deceived, sure, but also in part because they are more or
less actively avoiding knowing. And in my view the key
factor causing this avoidance isn't that people are
sublimating comprehension to rationalizations due to
cowardly fearing the implications of dissent and wanting to
run with the big crowd instead of against it. I think
instead that people can find deep resources of courage, when
they think it will do some good. Witness those firemen,
average folks, running up the stairs of the WTO.

No, to me the biggest impediment to dissenting is that
people feel that they can't impact the situation in any
useful way. If one has no positive hope, then of course it
appears easiest and least painful and even most productive
to toe the line and get on with life, trying to ignore the
injustices perpetrated by one's country, or to alibi them,
or even to claim them to be meritorious, while also trying
to do what one can for one's kids and families, where we
believe we can have an impact. To admit the horror that our
country is producing seems to auger only alienation and
tears. Here is one of many examples ... at the end of an
email that I got from a young woman as I was finishing
writing this essay, the author laments: "I've never had a
huge amount of trust in governmental actions. But what I do
know is that I have no control over anything. And all I can
do is hope."

It follows that the task of those who understand the
efficacy of dissent is of course to counter lies and
rationalizations and to clear up confusions by calmly and
soberly addressing all kinds of media-induced concerns and
confusions that people have, but it is also to demonstrate
to people their capacity to make a difference. We have to
escort people, and sometimes ourselves too, over the chasms
of cynicism and doubt to the productivity of informed

We do not face, as some would claim, a transformed world
turned upside down and inside out. There is no new DNA
coursing through us and our major societal institutions are
as they were yesterday, last week, and last year. In fact,
the main new thing in this month's events is that major
violence based in the third world hit for the first time in
modern history people in the first world. But the problem of
civilians being attacked is all too familiar. And all too
often the perpetrator is us, or those we arm and empower,
including in this case, with bin Laden being a prime example
of monstrous blowback. And now the problem is being
replicated, writ ever larger, as if by a berserk Xerox
machine. What we have to do is precisely what we would want
others to do: oppose barbaric policies with our words and
deeds, arouse ever greater numbers of dissenters, and
nurture ever greater commitment to dissent, until elites
cannot sensibly believe that a "War on Terrorism" will lead
to anything but a population thoroughly fed up with and
hostile to elites. People all over the world are embarking
on this path...we should too.
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Richard K Moore
Wexford, Ireland
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance 
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