INDEPENDENT NEWS

Sludge Report #116 – Shanghaied!

Published: Sat 20 Oct 2001 06:17 PM
In This Edition: Let The Cowards Of The World Unite
NOTE: Authors of this report will be anonymous and wide ranging, and occasionally finely balanced. Indeed you are invited to contribute: The format is as a reporters notebook. It will be published as and when material is available. C.D. Sludge can be contacted at sludge@scoop.co.nz. The Sludge Report is available as a free email service..Click HERE - http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/myscoop/ to subscribe...
Sludge Report #116
Let The Cowards Of The World Unite
Let the cowards of the world unite. It should be easy enough. They are all in the same place this weekend - Shanghai. And they are all falling over themselves with the same objective - fawning over the United States President.
As this column is written weather forecasts indicate the first snows are beginning to fall in Northern Afghanistan.
What this signals is the beginning of one of the most foul phases in the history of the Western powers. A war crime is underway.
In the name of justice and righteousness forces of the US, with the moral support of most Western and “developed” nations have now been bombing Afghanistan for two weeks.
The President of the USA, George Walker Bush – presently being feted by APEC leaders in Shanghai – has during this period boldly spoken of the destruction of the “air force” and “air defences” of “the enemy”.
The reality is that Afghanistan had neither.
Short of targets many of the US’s smart weapons have gone astray during the brief campaign.
Confirmed reports indicate the US has bombed the United Nations, the Red Cross at least one village full of civilians and even an office being used by Western media.
Throughout the air campaign aid agencies, including those aligned to the United Nations, have warned that a humanitarian catastrophe is fast approaching.
More than 7.5 million Afghanis were relying on humanitarian assistance to survive before the bombing began. In the time since, the flow of aid has slowed dramatically to a trickle.
Now the snows are coming that catastrophe is upon us. Refugees are flooding across the border into Pakistan in their thousands, but hundreds of thousands more will not make it. The snows will come, and soon and they will be inaccessible.
Humanitarian agencies have warned that the people of Afghanistan will starve and freeze to death without urgently needed aid and shelter. They haven’t received it – and so now the snow has come the freezing and starving will shortly commence.
Western leaders know this. US military planners know this. Donald Rumsfeld knows this. George Bush knows this. Tony Blair knows this. The public of the developed world know this. Even the public in the developing world know this.
And not only do we all know that people will die. We were warned. And nothing was done.
Under New Zealand law, and the law of most nations, when an action is taken that leads directly to the death of another it is a crime, either manslaughter or murder.
When that action is taken in full knowledge of the likely consequences we generally consider that the perpetrator of the crime is more culpable, i.e. more guilty.
Therefore what is happening in Afghanistan is a war crime.
The deaths of thousands of civilians in New York was described frequently as one of the “greatest war crimes” of all time. And it is true that the attacks were apalling.
But will the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Afghani’s be considered in the same light?
Probably not.
Leastwise the suffering of Afghanistan’s people does not appear to be seen in this light in Shanghai where leaders of APEC nations are reportedly almost unanimous in their support for the US’s “War against Terrorism”.
Even New Zealand’s Prime Minister, a well educated liberal who spent her formative years protesting US hegemonic activities in South East Asia and Central America, is reported today as supporting the strikes and being slapped on the back by Colin Powell for her trouble.
It is one of the sad truths of early third millennium planet earth politics that the rights of money are considered paramount over the rights of people. A Vietnamese person may not be able to settle anywhere they want to in the world, but they can invest anywhere they want to and open a bank account anywhere.
Strangely this idea is not articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, nor in the constitution of the United Nations.
However it might as well be taken as an article in the constitution of APEC which has often been protested against for this very reason.
And so today the leading cowards of the world should stand up, salute the mighty dollar and applaud the latest semi-literate statement from a man that history will eventually record as a war criminal of significant standing.
Meanwhile, here in NZ, C.D. Sludge is ashamed to be a member of a so called “developed” nation, whose long twisted value system has somehow led us to this tragic point in human history.
As Ghandhi said, Western civilization is a nice idea.
It is long gone time for those who have the courage of their convictions, and who can tell right from wrong, to do something to bring that idea to realisation. Anything.
Anti©opyright Sludge 2001
C.D. Sludge
Scoop Publisher
Alastair Thompson is the co-founder of Scoop. He is of Scottish and Irish extraction and from Wellington, New Zealand. Alastair has 24 years experience in the media, at the Dominion, National Business Review, North & South magazine, Straight Furrow newspaper and online since 1997. He is the winner of several journalism awards for business and investigative work.
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