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South Asia Archive

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Arundhati Roy: Instant-Mix Imperial Democracy (Buy One, Get One Free), presented in New York City at The Riverside Church May 13, 2003.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Whatever Happened to Bin Laden?: Springmann complained himself right out of a job. Now a lawyer, he has obtained more information on the questionable "engineers" with no engineering knowledge whom he was ordered to permit into the United States. "What I was protesting was, in reality, an effort to bring recruits, rounded up by Osama bin Laden, to the United States for terrorist training by the CIA. They would then be returned to Afghanistan to fight against the then-Soviets." But then they turned their talents against the post-Soviet power: us. In the parlance of spook-world, this is called "blowback." Bin Laden and his bloody brethren were created in America's own Frankenstein factory. It would not do for the current president nor agency officials to dig back to find that some of the terrorists we are hunting today were trained and armed by the Reagan-Bush administration. And that's one of the problems for agents seeking to investigate groups like WAMY, or Abdullah bin Laden. WAMY literature that talks about that "compassionate young man Osama bin Laden" is likely to have been disseminated, if not written, by our very own government.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Uranium Medical Research Centre - Depleted Uranium impact in Afghanistan: The UMRC field team was shocked by the breadth of public health impacts coincident with the bombing. Without exception, at every bombsite investigated, people are ill. A significant portion of the civilian population presents symptoms consistent with internal contamination by Uranium.

Monday, December 30, 2002

Hijacking India's History: "India's Hindu nationalists have long had a quarrel with history. They are unhappy with the notion that the most ancient texts of Hinduism are associated with the arrival of the Vedic "Aryan" peoples from the Northwest. They don't like the dates of 1500 to 1000 B.C. ascribed by historians to the advent of the Vedic peoples, the forebears of Hinduism, or the idea that the Indus Valley civilization predates Vedic civilization. And they certainly can't stand the implication that Hinduism, like the other religious traditions of India, evolved through a mingling of cultures and peoples from different lands. Last month the National Council of Educational Research and Training, the central government body that sets the national curriculum and oversees education for students up to the 12th grade, released the first of its new school textbooks for social sciences and history. Teachers and academics protested loudly. The schoolbooks are notable for their elision of many awkward facts, like the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by a Hindu nationalist in 1948."

Thursday, December 19, 2002

t r u t h o u t - Group Says U.S. Broke Law in Use Of Cluster Bombs in Afghanistan: "The U.S. military violated international law in Afghanistan by indiscriminately dropping cluster bombs on populated areas, killing at least 25 civilians and injuring numerous others, Human Rights Watch said in a report scheduled for release today. The group also said that another 127 civilians have been killed or injured in Afghanistan by unexploded cluster "bomblets" that have become "de facto antipersonnel landmines" across large areas of the country. Sixty-nine percent of those killed or injured, the group said, were children. "

Monday, December 09, 2002

G.I.'s Walk Perilous Line Between Finding Enemy and Alienating Afghans: "Four months after the United States adopted a new strategy of using more ground troops to hunt for remnants of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, it is unclear if the strategy is working, Afghan officials say. Attacks on American bases have continued through the fall, and by some measures are intensifying. Afghans along the border with Pakistan say aggressive American ground troops and a lack of relief aid are alienating the local population. The central issue of the American military mission here is at stake: how to defeat a shadowy guerrilla enemy without alienating fiercely independent Afghans with a long tradition of souring on, and then humbling, great powers, among them the British Empire and the Soviet Union. Recent attacks and dozens of interviews with Afghans in three strategic border provinces -- Paktia, Khost and Kunar -- suggest that American forces are, at best, holding their own in what has evolved into a classic counterinsurgency campaign. Rather than being cowed, their enemies appear to be gradually growing bolder."

Grand Soviet Scheme for Sharing Water in Central Asia Is Foundering: "From the mountainous Chinese border to the Caspian Sea, the Soviet Union remade the two grand rivers of Central Asia, building 20,000 miles of canals, 45 dams and more than 80 reservoirs. The government turned sand and dust into one of the world's great cotton-growing regions. But the Soviet Union is long dead. And here in western Uzbekistan and in areas of its four neighbors, one of socialism's most grandiose schemes is being sundered by capitalism, nationalism and a legacy of waste. Without a bigger supply of water -- or better use of it -- an economic and social crisis seems to be awaiting the region of 58 million people"

Monday, December 02, 2002

India's Poor Starve as Wheat Rots: "More than two decades after a "green" revolution made India, the world's second-most-populous country, self-sufficient in grain production, half of India's children are malnourished. About 350 million Indians go to bed hungry every night... Yet the government is sitting on wheat surpluses -- now at about 53 million metric tons -- that would stretch to the moon and back at least twice if all the bags were lined up."

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

In Iran, a 'second revolution' gathers steam | ""When I remember the promises and pledges of the revolution, I tremble like a willow thinking of my faith," wrote Ayatollah Jaluddin Taheri, a long-venerated cleric who has since been placed under house arrest. Ayatollah Taheri struck at the ruling clerics as corrupt hypocrites and a "gang of shroud-wearers," whose "deviations" were undermining Islamic rule. He accused Khamenei of being propped up by "louts and fascists, who sharpen the teeth of the crocodile of power.""

Monday, November 25, 2002

Rights Group Says Governor in Afghan West Abuses Power: "Human Rights Watch, in a new report, accuses one of Afghanistan's most powerful regional governors of creating a "virtual ministate" in western Afghanistan where "political intimidation, arrests, beatings and torture" are widespread. The human rights group, in a report to be issued on Tuesday, also contends that the commander, Ismail Khan, who controls the western province of Herat, is reinstituting Taliban-era restrictions on dress for women and is banning Western movies and music.  The group also says the United States and the United Nations are not doing enough to rein in Mr. Khan, who is accused of personally ordering political arrests and beatings, and it accuses the United Nations of turning a blind eye to the violations in the hope of maintaining stability. Mr. Khan, an ethnic Tajik who battled the Taliban, is also accused of overseeing the systematic harassment of ethnic Pashtuns, the country's largest ethnic group and a large source of support for the Taliban."

Former Hostage Taker Now Likes to Take On the Mullahs: "The three leaders of the embassy takeover -- Mr. Asgharzadeh, Mohsen Mirdamadi and Habibollah Bitaraf -- were university students in Tehran in late October 1979, when they met to plan the operation. Today, Mr. Asgharzadeh, along with his former compatriots, is a changed man. As the secretary general of the Solidarity Party -- which advocates more political and social freedom -- he is a strong supporter of President Mohammad Khatami and is a member of the Tehran municipal council. Mr. Mirdamadi is a member of Parliament and Mr. Bitaraf is President Khatami's minister of power. All three consider themselves political reformers. "

Saturday, November 09, 2002

MoveOn Peace: Bulletin Back Issues in English

Return to Afghanistan: Americans begin to suffer grim and bloody backlash By Robert Fisk 14 August 2002" "I have banned all coalition forces from my compound and will not meet with them in public," a Western humanitarian official told me in Kabul. "If they want to contact me, I tell them to send me e-mails. I will meet them only in certain public authority offices. Yes, of course we are worried that people will mistake us for the military. They have these 'humanitarian units' and they ask 'how can we coordinate with you?' but I refuse to co-ordinate with them. They simply have no idea how to deal with the social, cultural, political complex of life here. They are really not interested. They just want to fight a 'war on terror'. I don't think they care."
Earlier stories in the Fisk series "Return to Afghanistan", August 2002:

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Iranian Leader Says U.S. Helps bin Laden's Image: "I hear a discourse from two poles," Mr. Khatami said in his native Persian. "One is the voice raised from Afghanistan by bin Laden that says, `Whoever is not with us must be destroyed.' The other is the voice from the United States that says, `Whoever is not with us is against us."' ... At Complutense University in Madrid, he delivered a speech on Cervantes and his relevance in today's world. In the course of the speech, he cited Proust, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Orwell, Kafka and Mann, and criticized modern-day Don Quixotes who lack his "kindhearted, merciful and humanitarian" nature and "ruthlessly assassinate and annihilate people with their huge war machines."... "If chemical weapons are bad, why when they were used against us or Iraqi citizens wasn't Iraq condemned and pressured?" he asked. But Iran, which shares a long border with Iraq, is vehemently opposed to a unilateral American war against its neighbor and the installation of a government of Washington's choosing in Baghdad. Iranians of all political persuasions are deeply suspicious of American designs on the Persian Gulf, recalling that a C.I.A.-led coup overthrew the government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953 and returned the shah to the throne.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

The Death Convoy of Afghanistan: "Witness reports and the probing of a mass grave point to war crimes. Does the United States have any responsibility for the atrocities of its allies? A NEWSWEEK investigation. "

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Amnesty International - Pakistan: Police inaction encourages climate of religious intolerance: "Zahid Mahmood Akhtar, 48, was stoned to death by hundreds of villagers after the cleric used a loud hailer to issue a fatwa, a religious decree, ordering his execution. The mentally disturbed man had claimed to be the "last prophet of Islam". "

Afghan Timeline: "AFGHANISTAN HISTORICAL OUTLINE", by World War 3 report

Killings From Taliban's Era Still Haunt a Valley: "the people of the Bamian region have been counting their dead since they returned to this fabled valley seven months ago, after the departure of the Taliban. The ancient Buddhas carved into the great cliffs on one side of the valley are gone, destroyed by the Taliban in its Islamic fundamentalist fervor. Gone, too, are an estimated 1,400 villagers, killed in waves over the four years of Taliban rule. The Hazara, the main ethnic group here, say the massacres were part of a sustained campaign by the Taliban to eliminate them. But the scale and circumstances of the killings have not been independently established."

Sunday, July 21, 2002

Flaws in U.S. Air War Left Hundreds of Civilians Dead: "The American air campaign in Afghanistan, based on a high-tech, out-of-harm's-way strategy, has produced a pattern of mistakes that have killed hundreds of Afghan civilians. On-site reviews of 11 locations where airstrikes killed as many as 400 civilians suggest that American commanders have sometimes relied on mistaken information from local Afghans. Also, the Americans' preference for airstrikes instead of riskier ground operations has cut off a way of checking the accuracy of the intelligence."

Monday, July 08, 2002

Expecting Taliban, but Finding Only Horror: "What began as a major operation involving 300 to 400 American and Afghan soldiers against suspected Qaeda and Taliban positions in this isolated corner of southern Afghanistan had apparently turned into a slaughter of innocents. An Afghan delegation says the attack killed 48 people, mostly women and children, and injured 117... it is the scale of the operation in reaction to that intelligence that has angered people, from the villagers right up to ministers in Kabul. "If they have information, they should surround the village and then question us. This is not the way to do it, to bomb the village," said Muhammad Shah, who is the bridegroom's brother and was wounded and lost 25 relatives in the raid. Mr. Rahim said he asked an American commander who visited the scene: "Mullah Omar and Mullah Bradar are just two people and you bombed four villages. Why?" He went on to say that the four villagers arrested by the American soldiers were ordinary farmers."

Collected by Jonathan March with Radio Userland software