9-11, Afghanistan and “The Survival of Civilization”
By Gabriele Zamparini
On 20 September 2001 US President Bush addressing the Congress stated: “The United States respects the people of Afghanistan -- after all, we are currently its largest source of humanitarian aid…”.
On 7 October 2001 addressing the country Bush said: “At the same time, the oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the generosity of America and our allies. As we strike military targets, we'll also drop food, medicine and supplies to the starving and suffering men and women and children of Afghanistan. The United States of America is a friend to the Afghan people…” .
Five years later the results of this respectful and generous friendship have been published by the Senlis Council, an international policy think tank with offices in Kabul, London, Paris and Brussels. “Afghanistan Five Years Later: The Return of the Taliban” reads:
After five years of intensive international involvement in Afghanistan, the country remains ravaged by severe poverty and the spreading starvation of the rural and urban poor. Despite promises from the US-led international community guaranteeing to provide the resources and assistance necessary for its reconstruction and development needs, Afghanistan’s people are starving to death. Afghanistan continues to rank at the bottom of most poverty indicators, and the situation of women and children is particularly grave. One in four children born in Afghanistan cannot expect to live beyond the age of five and certain provinces of the country lay claim to the worst maternal mortality rates ever recorded in the world. Yet, the local and international development community’s abilities to respond to Afghanistan’s many poverty-related challenges have been undermined by the United States’ and United Kingdom’s misguided focus on counter-narcotics eradication policies. As such, these two self-appointed lead nations on terrorism and counter-narcotics are jointly responsible for southern Afghanistan’s current hunger crisis.
The report continues:
Afghans’ anger at seeing no representatives from international organisations has only served in endearing the Taliban to the local people. The Taliban are often seen as doing their bit to help the Afghans, despite having much less money than the international community, while international troops are perceived as being in the country for their own purposes. Even those who do not want to turn to the Taliban are forced to do so in order to survive and support their families. After five years of no positive change, the overriding opinion is that this a war – originally supposed to “help” the poor people of Afghanistan – which only serves in making the rich richer, including all “foreigners”. With children dying, people starving and family livelihoods being destroyed, there is an urgent need for a complete rethink on the part of the international community if Afghans are no longer to live in extreme poverty.
On another section, the devastating report reads:
The ousting of the Taliban regime five years ago was widely believed to mark a new era for Afghanistan. Plagued by decades of violence and poverty, the arrival of the international community heralded a bright future for Afghanistan, confirmed by speeches assuring that the Afghan people would forever be freed from insecurity and oppression. The United States claimed the removal of the Taliban as a humanitarian duty, and promised to deliver enduring freedom to the Afghan people. (…)
Total military spending vs. total development spending in Afghanistan 2002-2006
As this chart illustrates, despite the extreme poverty in Afghanistan, the majority of spending by the international community is on military rather than development and poverty relief projects.
With civilians being killed on a regular basis, Afghans are angry that the majority of international aid has been spent on the military purposes rather than poverty relief. Many believe that the military missions are misguided, having lost faith in the ability of the “foreigners” to bring stability to the country. A perceived lack of respect from international military troops has fuelled Afghans’ resentment towards the international community. International troops’ apparent unwillingness to study Afghan culture and co-operate with locals, has caused mass hatred of the “foreigners”. Some believe that the ongoing fighting in Iraq and recent clashes in Lebanon are proof that the West is attempting to re-colonise the Muslim world. Many Afghans are now looking to the Taliban for leadership, declaring that they will “die fighting the foreigners".
Back in May 2003, the BBC reported:
A small sample of Afghan civilians have shown "astonishing" levels of uranium in their urine, an independent scientist says. (…) The scientist is Dr Asaf Durakovic, of the Uranium Medical Research Center (UMRC), based in Canada. Dr Durakovic, a former US army adviser who is now a professor of medicine, said in 2000 he had found "significant" DU levels in two-thirds of the 17 Gulf veterans he had tested. In May 2002, he sent a team to Afghanistan to interview and examine civilians there. The UMRC says: "Independent monitoring of the weapon types and delivery systems indicate that radioactive, toxic uranium alloys and hard-target uranium warheads were being used by the coalition forces. (…) Without exception, every person donating urine specimens tested positive for uranium internal contamination. The results were astounding: the donors presented concentrations of toxic and radioactive uranium isotopes between 100 and 400 times greater than in the Gulf veterans tested in 1999. If UMRC's Nangarhar findings are corroborated in other communities across Afghanistan, the country faces a severe public health disaster... Every subsequent generation is at risk."
The BBC report continues:
A second UMRC visit to Afghanistan in September 2002 found "a potentially much broader area and larger population of contamination". It collected 25 more urine samples, which bore out the findings from the earlier group. Dr Durakovic said he was "stunned" by the results he had found, which are to be published shortly in several scientific journals. He told BBC News Online: "In Afghanistan there were no oil fires, no pesticides, nobody had been vaccinated - all explanations suggested for the Gulf veterans' condition. But people had exactly the same symptoms. I'm certainly not saying Afghanistan was a vast experiment with new uranium weapons. But use your common sense."
It would be ungenerous though to thank only George W. Bush and his gang of psychopathic mass murderers for this exquisite example of Western friendship. As Bush reminded the Congress on that 20 September 2001, “America has no truer friend than Great Britain. Once again, we are joined together in a great cause. The British Prime Minister has crossed an ocean to show his unity of purpose with America, and tonight we welcome Tony Blair.”
The winners of the Cold War took their responsibilities. The NATO, an organization started in 1949 “to promote stability and well-being in the North Atlantic area”, extended its nobility and generosity behind its geographical borders. In its “first mission outside the Euro-Atlantic area”, NATO took command and co-ordination of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan in August 2003.
The role of ISAF in Afghanistan “is to assist the Government of Afghanistan and the International Community in maintaining security within its area of operation. ISAF supports the Government of Afghanistan in expanding its authority to the rest of the country, and in providing a safe and secure environment conducive to free and fair elections, the spread of the rule of law, and the reconstruction of the country.”
A perfect example of much altruism was reported a few days ago. “NATO and Afghan forces killed more than 200 suspected Taliban guerrillas with air strikes and artillery fire in a major offensive in a volatile province in southern Afghanistan, the alliance said Sunday”
As in every real success, the friendship with Afghanistan could have never given its fruits without those journalists, writers, intellectuals, pundits, show business heroes, think tanks’ analysts, scholars, experts, showgirls and clowns who have so bravely marched singing “United We Stand”.
A particular thanks must also go to the many famous Hollywood stars who have traveled the world to “Support Our Troops”.
More recently almost hundred of these modern maîtres à penser took out a full page advertisement in the Los Angeles Times to write:
"We the undersigned are pained and devastated by the civilian casualties in Israel and Lebanon caused by terrorist actions initiated by terrorist organisations such as Hezbollah and Hamas.”
The script goes on:
"If we do not succeed in stopping terrorism around the world, chaos will rule and innocent people will continue to die. We need to support democratic societies and stop terrorism at all costs."
The “pained and devastated” list of brave hearts included the actors Nicole Kidman, Michael Douglas, Dennis Hopper, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Danny De Vito, Don Johnson, James Woods, Kelly Preston, Millie Perkins, Patricia Heaton, James Woods, Gary Sinise and William Hurt; the directors Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Michael Mann, Dick Donner and Sam Raimi; the chairman and majority owner of Paramount Pictures, Sumner Redstone; media moguls Rupert Murdoch, Sumner Redstone and Haim Saban; and tennis star Serena Williams.
The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California reported:
“The project was initiated by Ehud Danoch, Israel’s consul general in Los Angeles, who has made the entertainment industry a special concern. Danoch and his early partners on the project assumed that the ad would carry no more than 50 or 60 signatures. But the names kept coming in, until the organizers had to close the list at 84 names. Israeli Danny Dimbort, co-chairman of the Nu Image production company, contacted 28 people. Most signed on, he said, though “some were scared to do so.” His company also paid for the full-page ad in the national and international news section of the L.A. Times — at a cost of $117,132, according to the paper’s advertising department. Gottlieb, president of Samuel Goldwyn Films, said he received only positive feedback, with friends telling him they were moved by the ad. Some even chided him for not inviting them to sign the statement.”
Presenting his new movie, World Trade Center, at the beginning of August in New York, director Oliver Stone said, "Many Americans, perhaps the majority, were really angry and wanted revenge... In fact, I did, too. I'm not a pacifist. I'd like to be one. I'd love to be in the best of all worlds. But we're dealing with reality here. I felt very angry, but I think the enemy was 5,000, 6,000 al-Qaeda. And I would go again to fight them. I wouldn't hesitate. And I'd send my son to fight them. That was the war, in Afghanistan. We didn't complete that war.”
A few days ago in Venice for the Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica, better known internationally as the Venice Film Festival, the director of Platoon was quoted by the Italian press saying, “L'America si è sentita oltraggiata, giustamente arrabbiata. Anche se io, personalmente, reputo sbagliato l'intervento in Iraq. Ma giusto quello in Afghanistan" [America felt outraged, rightly angry. Even though I personally consider wrong the military intervention in Iraq. But just the war in Afghanistan].
This bizarre position [the war in Iraq was wrong but the Afghanistan one was just] is even too common in the West, even within the anti-war movement and what is left of the left. The power of Hollywood, one might say.
After five years the truth about what happened on September 11, 2001 is still unknown. The US government has lied and deceived its own people and the world. But the official narrative has been used by Washington and London to wage war against innocent countries, to mass murder hundreds of thousands of innocent people, to reopen concentration camps, to kidnap and torture, and to curtail freedom and civil liberties at home. Tel Aviv has used the September 11 events to step up ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Palestinian People so to carry out the Zionist dream of the Greater Israel.
We need to remember that whatever happened that day of five years ago, Afghanistan had nothing to do with it. Waging a war against that country because of the attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was like waging a war against Denmark. Whoever is responsible for the September 11, 2001 events [and we don’t know it yet!] the reason for the aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq must be found somewhere else.
Looking back at the comments made just after the attacks in New York and Washington, those made by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the Government Reform Committee of the House of Representatives in Washington on September 20, 2001 have now the power of a prophecy. “What is at stake today is nothing less than the survival of our civilization.” Netanyahu made a call for a total war against the Arab and Muslim world. [Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post published a shorter version of Netanyahu’s statement the following day.]
Of course he named the Palestinian territories. And thanks to Israel, the situation in the Palestinian territories is today worse than ever, with genocide taking place in Gaza in these very hours. He named Afghanistan, and Afghanistan was invaded and occupied. He named Iraq, and Iraq was invaded and occupied. He named Lebanon, and Lebanon was bombed and destroyed. On that list Netanyahu names a few other countries too, among them Syria and Iran. Those countries have not been bombed yet. But it’s just a matter of time and “Benjamin Netanyahu, the head of the hard-line Likud Party who just five months ago was soundly defeated in elections, has now emerged as the most popular Israeli politician” according to a poll by the Dahaf Institute, published at the end of August in the Yediot Ahronot daily. “If elections were held now, Netanyahu's right-wing Likud would emerge as the strongest party… Right-wing and religious parties would form the largest bloc in parliament… When given a choice between Netanyahu and Olmert as prime minister, 45 percent chose Netanyahu and 24 percent supported Olmert. Netanyahu's renewed popularity comes after a year on the political fringe, following his opposition to Israel's unilateral pullout from the Gaza Strip last summer.”
“Today we are all Americans”, said Netanyahu five years ago. The West was quick to repeat this slogan, which had nothing to do with the solidarity with the victims of the September 11 attacks but a call for a total war that should have been fought by the US in Israel’s interest. Is that what’s been happening?
It’s obvious that the control of the energy resources by our capitalist dictatorship is an important element to understand what’s been happening in the last five years, but it cannot be the only reason to explain the geo-political complexity. Far from being a conspiracy theory, the Jewish-Zionist-Israeli lobby is a fact of life. Its power could be seen once again in all its deadly strength just a few weeks ago, when the whole world was condemned to be a powerless spectator in front of the destruction inflicted against Lebanon. This lobby exercises its power in many different countries and through many different ways and it’s understandable that the lobby itself tries to suppress open discussion, dissent and freedom of speech through charges of anti-Semitism every time someone tries to question its role in today’s world. More difficult instead it’s to understand the reasons of the Jewish-Zionist-Israeli lobby’s deniers among those who try to fight imperialism, in this historical moment that sees imperialism and Zionism allied against humanity.
Why don't we shout “Today we are all Afghans, Iraqis, Lebanese and Palestinians?”