The Fate of People the Colour of Earth

When the rich wage war, it is the poor who die.  - Jean Paul Sartre

A single F16 fighter plane costs $20 million dollars, enough money to keep about two million poor people with fresh water for life, a single Tomahawk missile around $1 million with the US Air Force’s more powerful version running to $2 million each.

When we consider that a US air strike costs more than $100 million a day, judging by the costs of Yugoslavia, then it becomes apparent that this current war against terrorism isn’t about blowing holes in tents, nor about capturing certain bearded individuals.

This new war on “terrorism” is simply another synonym of all the other wars the US and UK have fought in the last fifty years or so. Maybe even longer. A war on terrorism meaning in standard English: war against third world nations or their individuals who aspire to manage their own affairs - one needn’t think the Basque country in Spain is going to be bombed by the US or NATO nor they of Northern Ireland.  

Whether attacks against the black savages or barbarians of the 19th century, or the numerous aggressions against ”Communists”, Nationalists or extremists of the twentieth, this new war is the continual concern of powerful European and US corporate states: that a Third World people dare to think they could take matters into their own hands and decide their country’s destiny.  

Afghanistan is a classic case in hand. Its land geographically is of vital importance to both corporations and states. Not only for its strategically placed borders but also for its vast fields of natural gas and minerals and its land routes used for transporting petroleum and oil from the Persian Gulf  to the lucrative Pakistani market.

This “new” type of war is going to be viewed by most Afghanis as anything but new. Simply the continuance of European arrogance and aggression - lets not forget that the US is viewed by many as little more than old world Europeans settled in the new world. The forthcoming US and UK atrocities are going to be seen as further evidence of this proposition.

Few Afghanis will have forgotten the “Grand Game” of their land in 19th century between Britain and Russia nor the military actions of the late twentieth century in which the Islamic world witnessed the horrific expansion policies of the USA and the beginning of the end of Soviet “adventurism” in the Third World.

In recent years the Afghan people will give little thanks to the US and UK’s governments for backing (to the tax payers tune of $10 million a year) the Mujahideen Afghan guerrilla movement -- out of which the Taliban militia movement developed. Their first political expression was the war against women.

All those laws that had permitted divorce, the voluntary removal of the veil, the abolition of purdah - the grotesque practice of secluding women from public view, the right for women to vote and the fact that by the late seventies more women were enrolled in the University of Kabul than men, were abolished.

It gets worse: by 1996 all women were forbidden to work, their schools were closed. The death sentence to adulterers was implanted, as with the flagellation of homosexuals, the amputation of thief’s hands, the banning of football and chess and games of luck and the closure of television, cinema, and newspapers.

Between 1978 and 1994 whilst the US and Russia and to some extent the UK were playing their “grand game”, more than a million civilians were murdered.

Today Afghanistan has the largest refugee concentration in the world. It is one of the most land-mined, estimations of around 10 million, “the size of tennis balls, made of plastic so you can’t detect them.” Its people are some of the poorest, meaning they are starving to death. The hope of life is a mere 46 years, only a small percentage of the country can read or write.

Why then this continued abuse of Afghanistan from aggressive foreigners? As stated: borders, oil reserves and land routes. Another reason: Recall that way back in the Eighties, Reagan, was stating that terrorism was going to play a very active role in US foreign policy, much the same way as the US and UK’s “war on drugs”, or the war against the “evil empire”. PC terms for interfering into Third World affairs.

During centuries Afghanistan’s opium production was marginal, most of the twentieth it was prohibited. That was until 1979 when the US got involved and whilst Reagan’s wife was spouting “say no to drugs” her husband and cohorts established the largest heroin production of  the world in Afghanistan. The US and UK governments backing of illegal shipments of heroin to near regions and Europe helped finance the war and Western arms industries.

Apart from the Afghanis, where now are the terrorists that our governments wish to liquidate? According to western news sources there are also zones of terrorists in China, Indonesia, Algeria, Uzbekistan, Syria, Sudan, Pakistan, the Philippines, Lebanon, Iraq, Chechnya, Palestine, Egypt the Gaza and West Bank.

The very areas that have been of vital interest to the G7, Russia and now China following its entry into the World Trade Organization, (an organization that Samuel Huntington, professor of Harvard University stated, is “made up of about a thousand businessmen, bankers, government officials” whose people “control virtually all international institutions, many of the world’s governments and the bulk of the world’s economic and military capabilities.”)

Taking just three elementary examples from the list above we find that the area with terrorists in China is the north-west region of Xinjiang, an area with a repressed minority of Muslims denouncing quite rightly, the sordid acts of Peking. These terrorists also happen to be in the very same area where the Chinese plan to terminate its pipeline from Kazakhstan a country holding almost 110,000 million barrels of oil. Or Chechnya and the Russian oil line that will run from the conflict zone to Baku in Azerbaijan. Or again Indonesia, the British being in the last decade the largest exporter of arms to a dictatorship protecting “stability” of stolen oil and gas reserves in East Timor.

This isn’t to say this new war is only a war for Western oil protection or a war against Islam. It is also a war on pecking orders and brutal submission. A war to guarantee that Third World nations and their people “stick to the rules” as the financial papers would have it, meaning to continue their philanthropic role of dying young and starving their children so that we of the rich world may enjoy the fruits of their labour and of their raw materials.

With the world entering another one of its routine economic slump cycles, reported by economists and commentators months ago, this new war on terrorism has also come as excellent timing for certain businesses.

The EU has announced a handout of about $140 million to General Electric, one of the worlds largest weapons contractors. There is also a similar package going to General Motors a company also involved heavily in the arms trade, and although these companies like many others are beginning to rid of staff in the US and Europe one will also notice that like GM, they are opening brand new factories for low paid, longer working, more disciplined Third World workers in Vietnam and Egypt. As Jeffrey Immelt the new president of GE stated this week, the share price growth for the company next year will rise way “above two digits.”

Afghanistan like many other poverty stricken areas of the world will be made an example of, regardless that there has never been an Afghan involved in acts of terrorism considered those conducted by the Arabic community. A small matter of concern when following the vile dictates of the rich and powerful. Their message already to the hungry billions; you either follow our rules “or you are against us.”

Twenty or thirty years ago politicians and media would have called these terrorists, “Commies”. What they have in common is their cry and clamouring for self determination. Away from the interfering mandates of fundamental Christians and European extremists.

Robert Scott
September 24, 2001

Notes and References : "The Fate of People the Colour of Earth"

Paragraph 1 & 2 : There is an abundance of information relating to the cost of arms both on the internet and published paper works. I have included just the one here for reference, ABC News.

Paragraph 3 & 4 : This type of notice is nothing original. Thomas Hobbes in the 17th century was saying just as much, as with Adam Smith in the 18th, Marx and Engles of the 19th and Bertrand Russell, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn of the 20th.

Paragraph 5 & 6 & 7 : References to the Grand Game were taken from "History of the World" by J.M. Roberts (Penguin Books). For information on land resources the Spanish National Newspaper, El País between the dates 12th September to 23rd September and the National Newspaper of the United Kingdom, Guardian.

Paragraph 8 : Again a scan of any "decent" international newspaper of Europe will include this information, i.e. the CIA backing of the Taliban and costs. Suggestions are again the Guardian, Observer and Independent of the UK. El País and El Mundo of Spain.

Rather illuminating from a European perspective, due to the subtle methods of censorship and control, many of the "serious" newspapers of the United States avoid this information.

My own references have included the National Newspaper of Spain, El País and the Guardian of Great Britain between the dates 12th September to 23rd September.

Paragraphs 9 to 12 : Newspaper references between the dates 12th September until the 23rd are of help, as with Amnesty International Report of 2000, the United Nations Health report of 2000, Human Rights Watch and even the CIA Handbook. All can be found on the internet and local library.

Paragraph 13 & 14 : Where does one start? So as not to appear a conspiracy of any sort, here follows a very slight list of my references; Global Research—"Who is Bin Laden?" by Michael Chossudovsky, Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa 12th September 2001, El Pais –"El Opio de los talibán," 23rd September 2001, Guardian –"Blowback Chronicles" by Giles Foden September 15th 2001, "Culture of Life" by Rob Gowland 21st march 2001. LA Weekly –"Re-Hush" by Charles Rapplege, August 28th-sept 3rd 1998. The Tribune – "The Sinister World of the Narcotic Trade" by Randeep Wandehra & Ama Nath Wadehra. Independent – "Taliban is a Monster Hatched by the US" by Peter Popham 17th September 2001 & "High Times Low Blows from an Unwinnable War" by Charles Shaar Murrey 9th October 1999. Also take a look at the books "White Out" by Alexander Cockburn & Jeffrey St Clair and works of Alfred McCoy.

Paragraph 15 – 17 : Again reports from El País and Guardian and New York Times. 12th September –23rd September. The quote from Huntington was from his vicious work; "The Clashes of Civilisation and the Remaking of World Order" (Touchstone Books)

Paragraph 20 : El País 23rd September. Financial Times 21st, 22nd, 24th September.


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