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On 11 September

It used to be that if you spoke out against the Foreign Policy of Western governments in general, and the US government in particular, you would be called a supporter of the Soviet Union. The collapse of the USSR ended that, but since the events of Sept 11 last year the new thing to say is that if you disagree with Tony Blair, George Dubya Bush and co, then you must obviously either support Al Quida or that you just don't care about people dying in terrorist acts. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Hijacking planes full of people and crashing them into buildings is an appalling act. It shows clear disregard for human life, especially for those of civilians, or "collateral" as governments like to refer to us as. But the acts of Sept 11 were those of a wanna-be government that, like other wanna-be governments, engages in retail terrorism, simply because they don't have their own air force or long-range missiles. Various governments around the world have been engaging in wholesale terrorism for decades, and like Al Quida, they also target civilians.

New Zealand politicians have been condemning the Sept 11 terrorist acts, which any sane person would. But how many of them spoke out when, in the mid-1990s, our airforce was sent to Indonesia to train their airforce in the use of ground-attack aircraft. Protestors had spoken out, saying that the Indonesian airforce was using Hawk ground-attack aircraft to bomb and terrorise civilians in East Timor and West Papua. Or are we to assume that our leaders approve of such acts of killing civilians because no planes were hijacked to do so?

I came across an article last year by Larry Mosqueda, Ph. D of Evergreen State College, USA, who wrote:

"Like all Americans, I was shocked and horrified to watch the WTC Twin Towers attacked by hijacked planes and collapse. I had not been that shocked and horrified since January 16, 1991, when then President Bush attacked Iraq and began killing 200,000 people during that war. This includes the infamous 'Highway of Death' in the last days of the slaughter when US pilots literally shot in the back retreating Iraqi soldiers and civilians. I continue to be horrified by the sanctions on Iraq, which have resulted in the deaths of over 1,000,000 Iraqis, about whom former Secretary of State Madeline Albright has stated that their deaths - quote- 'are worth the cost'."

Larry Mosqueda continued

"Over the course of my life I have been shocked and horrified by a variety of US governmental actions, such as the US sponsored coup against democracy in Guatemala in 1954 which resulted in the deaths of over 120,000 Guatemalan peasants by US installed dictatorships over the course of four decades. September 11s events reminded me of the horror I felt when the US overthrew the government of the Dominican Republic in 1965 and helped murder 3,000 people. And it reminded me of the shock I felt in 1973, when the US sponsored a coup in Chile against the democratic government of Salvador Allende and helped to murder another 30,000 people, including US citizens."

Unfortunately I don't have time to read any more of the article to you, but I think you get the picture.

In the wake of the events of September 11, the Taliban, that repressive regime that had come from the Islamic fundamentalists funded by the USA during the war between Afghanistan and the USSR, offered to hand over Osama bin Laden to stand trial in another country. It would have been the perfect opportunity for both Al Quida and the USA to offer their cases whilst the world watched. But George Dubya Bush refused. He claimed that he had the proof of bin Laden's involvement, so he didn't need to present any evidence in court, and said that bin Laden should just be handed over to him. How arrogant of that man, to claim that he is beyond needing to prove things in court.

An article appeared in the American newspaper the Chicago Tribune, on Monday March 18 of this year. The article, titled "Pipeline politics taint US war" outlined how since 1995, US oil company Unocal Corp had been negotiating with the Taliban to build oil and gas pipelines through northern Afghanistan. While people were protesting worldwide at the Talibans authoritarian rule, governments and oil companies didn't care. Two former Unocal Corp employees in Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai and Zalmay Khalizad, were to respectively become the President of Afghanistan and the Bush Administrations Afghanistan envoy. A coincidence perhaps? Maybe it's also a coincidence, as pointed out by the Chicago Tribune and the daily Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv, that the US bases created in Northern Afghanistan were created in a line completely identical to the route of the proposed Unocal pipeline through the area.

Both George Bush and his cheerleader Tony Blair have been calling for a war against Iraq, a dictatorial regime they supported for years, and like many Western Governments, provided with weapons for use in Saddam Husseins war against Iran. Tony Blair said last week that he was prepared to publish proof of Saddam Husseins weapons programme in a few weeks time. If he has the proof, why not publish it now? Is he bluffing, or merely hoping that within a few weeks the war against Iraq that he wants will be underway, thus relieving him of the need to publish proof?

Former US Marine major Scott Ritter played a senior intelligence role for General Norman Schwartzkopf during the Gulf War, and ran the UN arms inspection programme in Iraq until 1998. When asked in an interview published in the September 7-13 2002 issue of the Listener whether there was any evidence that Hussein has rebuilt his arsenal, Ritter replied "No, actually we have the opposite evidence." Ritter went on to comment that current US policy towards Iraq doesn't make sense.

At the same time that Bush and Tony Blair are calling for weapons inspectors to be allowed back into Iraq, they are also calling for war against Iraq and ousting Saddam Hussein, with Bush even authorising a covert CIA operation to assassinate Hussein. The UN weapons inspection teams were kicked out of Iraq in 1998 because they were also spying on Iraq. Within two days of being kicked out, information they had gathered was used in an extensive bombing campaign of Iraq. It should come as no surprise that Iraq is less than keen to let weapons inspection teams back in.

Not that Iraq should be ignored. Saddam Hussein has committed crimes against people in Iran as well as within Iraq, including the Kurds, who make up 25% of the Iraqi population. It comes as no surprise that when Saddam Hussein was a hero for western nations because of his stance against Iran, his crimes against the Kurds went without protest from western governments. It is equally disturbing that even now, crimes are being committed against the Kurds in Turkey and northern Iraq.

Crimes such as people being forced from their villages, and entire villages being destroyed by bombing from aircraft. Last year, British pilots patrolling the no-fly zone in Northern Iraq reported on a number of occassions that when they were returning from patrol, they had seen Turkish Air Force planes taking off loaded with bombs. The British pilots would then be grounded until the Turkish planes returned, without their bombs. Once back on patrol, the British pilots saw on a numerous occassions, Kurdish villages in flames, obviously after a bombing by ground-attack aircraft. This was reported in several British newspapers. Perhaps the fact that these crimes are being committed by Turkey, an ally of western governments, is the reason why George Bush, Tony Blair, Helen Clark and others are ignoring them.

And perhaps it is once again, because these crimes are being committed using military aircraft and not hijacked civilian planes, that they are not being referred to as terrorist?

Ross Gardiner
Global Citizens September 11th One Year On, 11 September 2002

11 September 2002 in Aotearoa / New Zealand


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