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November 2001

My Freedom Fighter, Your Terrorist

By Edward W. Miller

Bush in his announced campaign against "terrorists" promises a worldwide net to capture and bring to justice these evil and dangerous creatures and their organizations. Our President, along with his allies, obviously intends to create a more peaceful climate for international business.

One problem with "Terrorists" is that they pop up unexpectedly like mushrooms. Just weeks ago, Washington was criticizing Russia's Putin for his violent repression of Chechen "patriots," but when Putin joined Bush's "anti-terrorist" club, those same Chechens were suddenly transformed by Washington's magic from freedom-fighters into dangerous "terrorists."

Americans remember Panama's Noriega, once a friendly CIA drug czar and pal to our presidents who, when he refused to let our military use his country as a base for Contra incursion into Nicaragua and then rejected Washington's demand that the treaty (signed by President Carter) to return the Canal to the Panamanians be revised to let US military remain in his country, Noriega was overnight transformed into a dangerous "narco-terrorist." Our president's father than oversaw the bloody military incursion into Panama and capture of Noriega.

Omar Khaddafy, who was conveniently placed on what had been old King Idris' Libyan throne by our CIA, when he began to openly support the interests of his Libyan people and refused to play ball with Washington, closing down our large Wheelus Airforce Base and nationalizing his country's oil, likewise was transformed by Washington's magic into an "international terrorist." The embargo imposed years ago on his country was recently extended for another five years by our Congress.

Recently published on the Internet ([email protected]) was a list of "prominent enemies of the US and admitted (by Washington) notorious human rights violators," followed by a list of former OSA/CIA National Security Administration clients "who received critical US political, military, logistical, and financial support sometime over the past 35 years."

Not surprising, the identical names appear on both lists: Osama Ben Ladin, Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega, Pol Pot, Hoh Chi Minh, Papa Doc Duvalier, Agusto Pinochet, Robert D'Abisson (El Salvador), Ferdinand Marcos, Jones Savimbi (Angola), Mobu Sese Seco (Congo-Zaire), Sonny Avotcha (Nigeria), Pietr Botha (South Africa), Anastasio Somoza (Nicaragua), Luis Rios Montt (Guatemala).

It seems obvious, after reading the list, that just as in the professional harvesting of mushrooms, it has required some skill on Washington's part to arrest their re-Christened "terrorists" at the appropriate ripeness for picking.

The danger in this crusade against "terrorism" is that some individuals or organizations designated as "terrorist" by Bush's international friends, may be perceived by much of the informed world as a "patriot" or as "freedom fighters," rebelling against an oppressive regime.

The IRA, which under President Clinton (who was chasing the domestic Irish vote) achieved world-wide acclaim as an organization of patriots fighting British colonization, this last week under Washington's direction had their Organization's spot on the Internet suddenly removed by our FBI. HyperVine, an Internet service provider, said the FBI threatened to seize its assets if it did not immediately close down the site used by IRAradio.com, which was raining funds for the real IRA.

It follows that Mexico's Chiapas Indians, who are presently resisting the commercial exploitation of their land, might now be identified by President Fox as "terrorists" and thus subject to repression not only by Mexico but by Bush's partners in "anti-terrorism."

In China today, Bush, speaking in Shanghai, was careful not to mention Taiwan in his public remarks about US-China friendship. Bush's International Coalition Against Terrorism has to be careful not to allow China's president Jiang Zemin to identify Taiwan as a "terrorist threat," but perhaps Tibet with its Lhama, popular in the West, or China's western Muslim province may not be so protected by the Bush coalition.

Meanwhile, Washington's Operation Eduring Freedom (it was Operation Infinite Justice until it was pointed out that Muslims believe only Allah can mete out infinite justice) after half-destroying the International Red Cross' huge supply depot in Kabul has been killing the frantically fleeing-freezing-starving Afghanistanians. Today, Oct. 19, US ground forces supposedly joined in the assault.

As more details surface, it becomes obvious that this savage incursion into Afghanistan territory has less and less to do with Osama Ben Ladin and more to do with Washington's plans for oil and political hegemony in the Caspian region. In addition to the US dream of an oil pipeline stretching westward through Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia into Turkey and to the West (thus skirting both Russia and Iran), this is another scenario:

As reported in the Oct. 12 issue of Mideast International, with the USSR in shambles, the Central Asia Republics have all joined NATO's Partnership for Peace program. Writer Bill Hayton notes: from 1996 onwards, the US has trained and molded a combined Central Asian Battalion, made up of troops from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. In 1997 in a high-profile demonstration of US capabilities, part of the 82nd Airborne Division flew 8000 miles non-stop from its base in South Carolina to parachute directly into Kazakhstan." One observer, deputy assistant secretary of defense told these troops: "The US interest in Central Asia has much to do with the vast oil and natural gas fields that, by 2010, will make the region the world's third largest producer of petroleum products." In 1998, troops from the US Mountain Division undertook similar exercises in neighboring Kyrgyzstan.

Since oil fields in Central Asia are a long way from Europe, and South and East Asia including a modernizing China will be the next big customers for petroleum products, a pipeline running south from the Turkmenistan oilfields through Afghanistan to Gwadar a seaport on the Arabian Sea would seem the route to an eastern market.

Bill Hayton reports that Union Oil of California (UNOCAL) and Saudi Arabia's Delta Oil backed the Afghanistan route, hoping that with the ongoing support from the US, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, plus UN aid organizations, the Taliban would stabilize their country. After the 7th of August 1998, when US embassies were bombed in Africa, and Bill Clinton fired missiles into Afghanistan and then into Sudan, the "appetite for UNOCAL's investment in the pipeline disappeared." The company later announced it would only reconsider its investment "when and if Afghanistan achieves the peace and stability necessary to obtain financing from international lending agencies... and an established government is recognized by the United Nations and the United States."

Afghanistan has a long and tragic experience with European military violence. In a recent book by Sven Lindquist, The Race to Bomb, the author notes that the first time airplanes were used in bombing missions, Europeans were bombing Arabs. "Between 1915 and 1920, Britain bombed Arab towns in Egypt, TransJordan, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan." Lindquist notes the use of bombing in wartime, "In reality, it meant that were in the past soldiers died to protect women and children, now women and children would die to protect soldiers." Afghanistanians experienced nine years of bombing under the Soviet occupation which delivered them almost back to the Stone Age.

Establishing a stable and cooperative government in Afghanistan using military violence again, no matter what the excuse, may not be an effective end game. The centuries-old tribal nature of the country's inhabitants, their religious and cultural and language differences, their strong ties to the regime in neighboring Pakistan, which is fighting India in Kashmir, will complicate any future political settlement. In addition to oil and natural gas, Afghanistan's the third economic pillar, heroin, a crop which had an estimated value of $37 billion last year, suggests that the war on drugs may prove as difficult as the war on terrorism.

Like our CIA's drug-running which supports their KLA forces is Kosovo and now Macedonia, the CIA supported some of its Afghanistan anti-Soviet war with drug money. Both the Taliban and the so-called "Northern Alliance" are funded with drug money. With time, the so-called Anti-Terrorist War against the Taliban for Osama Ben Ladin has gathered a scenario more complicated than Vice President Cheney presents it on CNN.

 

 

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