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nettime's avid reader on Thu, 1 Nov 2001 04:47:44 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> News from the papers [3x]

Table of Contents:

   FW: US 'planned attack on Taleban'                                              
     "wade tillett" <super89 {AT} bigfoot.com>                                            

   Robert Fisk: Saifullah, man of peace, killed by American cruise missile         
     Patrice Riemens <patrice {AT} xs4all.nl>                                             

   Freedom of Speech; Just Watch what you Read                                     
     Curt Hagenlocher <curth {AT} motek.com>                                              


Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 14:28:09 -0600
From: "wade tillett" <super89 {AT} bigfoot.com>
Subject: FW: US 'planned attack on Taleban'


US 'planned attack on Taleban'
The wider objective was to oust the Taleban
Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK
By the BBC's George Arney

A former Pakistani diplomat has told the BBC that the US was planning
military action against Osama Bin Laden and the Taleban even before
last week's attacks.

Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, was told by senior
American officials in mid-July that military action against
Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October.

Mr Naik said US officials told him of the plan at a UN-sponsored
international contact group on Afghanistan which took place in Berlin.

Mr Naik told the BBC that at the meeting the US representatives told
him that unless Bin Laden was handed over swiftly America would take
military action to kill or capture both Bin Laden and the Taleban
leader, Mullah Omar.

The wider objective, according to Mr Naik, would be to topple the
Taleban regime and install a transitional government of moderate
Afghans in its place - possibly under the leadership of the former
Afghan King Zahir Shah.

Mr Naik was told that Washington would launch its operation from bases
in Tajikistan, where American advisers were already in place.

He was told that Uzbekistan would also participate in the operation
and that 17,000 Russian troops were on standby.

Mr Naik was told that if the military action went ahead it would take
place before the snows started falling in Afghanistan, by the middle
of October at the latest.

He said that he was in no doubt that after the World Trade Center
bombings this pre-existing US plan had been built upon and would be
implemented within two or three weeks.

And he said it was doubtful that Washington would drop its plan even
if Bin Laden were to be surrendered immediately by the Taleban.


Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 12:08:58 +0100
From: Patrice Riemens <patrice {AT} xs4all.nl>
Subject: Robert Fisk: Saifullah, man of peace, killed by American cruise missile

Bwo the Sarai reader list (http://www.sarai.net)
- ------------------------------------------------

Saifullah, man of peace, killed by American cruise missile
War on Terrorism: Victim
By Robert Fisk
30 October 2001

The Americans have killed Saifullah of Turangzai, MA in Arabic and MA in
Islamic Studies (Peshawar University), BSc (Islamia College), BEd
certificate of teaching, MPhil student and scholarship winner to Al-Azhar in
Cairo, the oldest university in the Arab world.

He spoke fluent English as well as Persian and his native Pashto, and loved
poetry and history and was, so his family say, preparing a little
reluctantly to get married. His father, Hedayatullah, is a medical doctor,
his younger brother a student of chartered accountancy.

Of course, no one outside Pakistan - and few inside - had ever heard of
Saifullah. In these Pashtun villages of the North-West Frontier, many
families do not even have proper names. Saifullah was not a political
leader; indeed his 50-year-old father says his eldest son was a
humanitarian, not a warrior. His brother, Mahazullah, says the same. "He was
always a peaceful person, quiet and calm, he just wanted to protect people
in Afghanistan whom he believed were the victims of terrorism.'' But
everyone agrees how Saifullah died.

He was killed on 22 October when five US cruise missiles detonated against
the walls of a building in the Darulaman suburb of Kabul, where Saifullah
and 35 other men were meeting. His family now call him the shahid, the
martyr. Hedayatullah embraces each visitor to the family home of cement and
mud walls, offers roast chicken and mitha, sweets and pots of milk and tea,
and insists he be "congratulated" on being the proud father of a man who
died for his beliefs. Hens cluck in the yard outside and an old, coloured
poster, depicting a Kalashnikov rifle with the wordjihad (holy struggle)
above it, is pasted to the wall. But "peace" is the word the family utter

Saifullah had only gone to take money to Kabul to help the suffering
Afghans, says Mahazullah, perhaps no more than 20,000 rupees - a mere $3.50
- - which he had raised among his student friends.

That's not the way the Americans tell it, of course. Blundering through
their target maps and killing innocent civilians by the day, the Pentagon
boasted that the Darulaman killings targeted the Taliban's "foreign
fighters", of whom a few were Pakistanis, Saifullah among them.

In Pashto, his Arabic name means "Sword of God". Mahazullah dismisses the
American claims. Only when I suggest that it might not be strange for a
young Muslim with Saifullah's views to have taken a weapon to defend
Afghanistan does Mahazullah say, briefly, that his brother "may have been a

Saifullah's best friend, a smiling, beardless young man with bright blue
eyes, says he telephoned the doomed man on 16 October, two days before he
left for Afghanistan, six days before his death. "I asked him if he was
going to Afghanistan and he said he was - but just to take money to the
Afghans. He said: 'If God wills it, I will be back after 10 days.' I told
him it would be very dangerous. I pleaded with him not to go, but he said he
just wanted to take the money. He said to me: 'I know my life will be in
danger but I'm not going to fight. What can I do? The Americans are out of
range.' He said he just wanted to give moral support.''

Mahazullah never imagined his brother's death. "We never expected his
martyrdom. I never thought he would die,'' he says. A phone call prepared
the family for the news, a friend with information that some Pakistanis had
been killed in Kabul. "It has left a terrible vacuum in our family life,''
Mahazullah says.

"You cannot imagine what it is like without him. He was a person who
respected life, who was a reformer. There was no justification for the war
in Afghanistan. These people are poor. There is no evidence, no proof. Every
human being has the right to the basic necessities of life.

"The family - all of us, including Saifullah - were appalled by the carnage
in New York and Washington on 11 September. Saifullah was very regretful
about this - we all watched it on television.'' At no point does the family
mention the name of Osama bin Laden.

Turangzai is a village of resistance. During the Third Afghan War in 1919,
the British hunted down Hadji Turangzai, one of the principal leaders of the
revolt, and burnt the village bazaar in revenge for its insurgency.

Disconcertingly, a young man enters Saifullah's family home, greets me with
a large smile and announces that he is the grandson of the Hadji, scourge of
the English. But this is no centre of Muslim extremism. Though the family
pray five times a day, they intend their daughters to be educated at

Saifullah spent hours on his personal computer and apparently loved the
poetry of the secular Pakistani national poet Allam Mohamed Iqbal of Surqhot
- - Sir Mohamed Iqbal after he had accepted a British knighthood - and,
according to Mahazullah, was interested in the world's religions.

"He would talk a lot about the Northern Ireland problem and about
Protestants and Catholics,'' he says. "He believed that Islam was the
religion which most promotes peace in the world. He used to say that the
Prophet, peace be upon him, tells us that we can't even attack a person who
is engaged in war with us if he has his gun over his shoulder.

"You can only fight a person who is attacking you. He thought that every
civilian should help the Afghans because they are being attacked. But we are
not extremists or terrorists as the media say.''

Saifullah, at 26 the oldest of three brothers and two sisters, was
unmarried. "Our father told him: 'We are going to marry you,' '' Mahazullah
says. "But my brother said he would only marry after his studies. His father
was trying to see which girls might be suitable. It is our duty to follow
our parents' wishes because they have an experience we don't have.'' But
Saifullah left for Afghanistan. "Trust me,'' were the last words he said to
his father.

Perhaps he was remembering one of Iqbal's most famous verses: "Of God's
command, the inner meaning do you know? To live in constant danger is a life


Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 10:28:13 -0800
From: Curt Hagenlocher <curth {AT} motek.com>
Subject: Freedom of Speech; Just Watch what you Read

Tariq Ali: Karl Marx led to my arrest as a terrorist in Germany
>From http://www.independent.co.uk/story.jsp?story=102144

30 October 2001
I was arrested at Munich airport at 7am yesterday. After one day of
interviews and book signings and two days spent at a Goethe Institute
seminar on "Islam and the Crisis", I was desperate for a cup of coffee.
I checked in and soon my hand luggage was wending its way through the
security machine.

No metal objects were detected, but they insisted on dumping the
contents of my bag onto a table. Newspapers, dirty underpants, shirts,
magazines and books tumbled out in full view. Since news always reaches
Germany a day after it has appeared in the US press, I thought the
locals might be looking for envelopes containing powder in ignorance of
FBI and CIA briefings that Osama bin Laden and Iraq were considered
unlikely to be involved in the anthrax scare.There were no envelopes in
my bag.

The machine-minder brushed aside the copies of the Sued-deutsche Zeitung
(SDZ), the International Herald Tribune and Le Monde Diplomatique. He
appeared to be very interested in The Times Literary Supplement and was
inspecting my scribbled notes on the margin of a particular book review
when his eyes fell on a slim volume in German that had been handed to me
by a local publisher. Since there had been no time to flick through the
volume, it was still wrapped in cellophane. He grasped the text eagerly
and then, in a state of some excitement, rushed it over to the armed

The offending book was an essay by Karl Marx, On Suicide. It was the
reference to suicide that had got the policemen really excited. They
barely registered the author, though when they did real panic set in and
there were agitated exchanges. The way they began to watch me was an
indication of their state of mind. They really thought they had got
someone. My passport and boarding card were taken from me, I was rudely
instructed to re-pack my bag, minus the crucial "evidence" (the SDZ, the
TLS and the offending text by Marx), and I was escorted out of the
departure area and taken to the police headquarters at the airport.

On the way there the arresting officer gave me a triumphant smile. "After
11 September, you can't travel with books like this," he said. "In that
case," I replied, "perhaps you should stop publishing them in Germany,
or, better still, burn them in public view."

Inside headquarters, another officer informed me that it was unlikely I'd
be boarding the BA flight and they would make inquiries about later
departures. At this point my patience evaporated and I demanded to use a
phone. "Who do you want to ring?" he said. "The Mayor of Munich," I
replied. "His name is Christian Ude. He interviewed me about my books and
the present crisis on Friday evening at Hugendubel's bookshop. I wish to
inform him of what is taking place."

The police officer disappeared. A few minutes later another officer (this
one sported a beard) appeared and beckoned me to follow him. He escorted
me to the flight, which had virtually finished boarding. We did not
exchange words. On the plane a German fellow passenger came and expressed
his dismay at the police behaviour. He told me how the policeman who had
detained me had returned to boast to other passengers of how his vigilance
had led to my arrest.

It was a trivial enough episode, but indicative of the mood of the Social
Democrat-Green alliance that rules Germany today. It is almost as if many
of those who are in power are trying desperately to exorcise their own
pasts. While Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was in Pakistan insisting that
there could be no pause in the bombing and that the war of attrition would
continue, his Minister for the Interior, Otto Schily, was busy master-
minding the new security laws, which threaten traditional civil liberties.

Mr Schily, once a radical lawyer and a friend of the generation of 1968,
first acquired public notoriety when he became the defence lawyer for the
Baader-Meinhof gang, an urban terrorist network active in the Seventies.
It was said at the time that he also supported their activities.

In 1980, Mr Schily joined the Greens and was their key spokesman in the
fight against the stationing of Cruise and Pershing missiles in Germany.
In 1989, he moved further by joining the Social Democrats. Today he is
busy justifying extra powers for the police and instilling a sense of
"realism" in his Green coalition partners.

One of the "realist" proposals being discussed is granting jurisdiction to
the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (the German
equivalent of the FBI) so that it has the right to spy on individuals it
suspects of working against the "causes of international understanding or
the peaceful coexistence of nations". And since - in the debased coinage
of the present - "peaceful coexistence of nations" includes waging war
against some of them, I suppose that my experience was a dress rehearsal
for what is yet to come. It was a tiny enough scratch, but, if untreated,
these can lead to gangrene.

- --
Curt Hagenlocher
curth {AT} motek.com


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