|Office of Research||Issue Focus||Foreign Media Reaction|
Media observers worldwide assessed how the U.S.-led campaign in Afghanistan was faring on the information, image and public opinion fronts, with a majority concluding that the U.S. was losing the "propaganda war" and not "winning over hearts and minds." For many, the images of the "humanitarian catastrophe" and Usama bin Laden's videotaped message, which aired November 3 on Al-Jazeera TV, underscored the potential "power" of the media in this war and fueled doubts about the West's ability to "convince" the Muslim audience. Around the globe, observers were mystified that while U.S. was allegedly failing to communicate, UBL had managed to portray himself as a "revolutionary leader" with mass appeal who used "the best formulas of Western TV journalism" for his own aims. Taliban disinformation themes also resonated. For example, Pakistani papers gave substantial play to Taliban claims of capturing and executing U.S. commandos. Salient themes follow:
UBL Uses 'Tactical Flexibility' To Manipulate The Media. UBL's second video galvanized the European press, and served as a jolting reminder of the events of September 11. Some analysts took his "threat" as further proof of bin Laden's determination to "set fire to the entire planet." While the European press widely condemned the UBL statement, as did the Arab League leadership, Arab editorial comment was conspicuously absent on the subject. The exception was a Bahraini editorial which chastised bin Laden not for his message, but for inadvertantly giving "America's acts a [moral] value they do not deserve." Other Muslim observers, decided that UBL was the "big winner." Pakistani papers, concurred that "for better or for worse...Usama tops the charts."
U.S. 'Manipulating' Media As Part Of A Propaganda Campaign. Critics throughout the Arab-Muslim press, and in some quarters in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa, accused the U.S. of a range of "propaganda" ploys as well as "denying the truth" and "hiding the tragedies" of civilian deaths from the media. Some maligned the humanitarian air drops-- "shrink-wrapped fast food, seasoned with death and cluster bombs"--as a "giant adult propaganda campaign." The Arab media, notably in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the UAE and Kuwait were consistently vitriolic. Many accused the American "Zionist-dominated" media of colluding with the military in "unleashing a campaign against Muslims and Arabs" and "spreading lies" to "poison Arab-U.S. relations." And capturing the prominent cynicism of the Greek press, the popular, leftist, anti-American Eleftherotypia suggested the USG was exaggerating the threat to "terrorize public opinion" into submission.
U.S. Underestimating 'Power' Of Media. Some observers in European and other Western outlets criticized the U.S. for failing to use the power of the media in the war on terrorism, and warned that "self-censorship" by some in the press played right into UBL's hands. Many observers gave the U.S. poor marks for managing the "propaganda battle" and agreed with Berlin's right-of-center Die Welt that "military victories mean nothing if the media war is lost." Some suggested that by "sidelining the media," the U.S. and its Allies were in effect enabling the Taliban and UBL to "define the conflict as an attack against Islam."
EDITORS: Irene Marr, Gail Hamer Burke, Katherine Starr and Kathleen Brahney
EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey is based on 66 reports from 32 countries, 10/30-11/5. Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "Carpet Bombing Is Losing Us The Propaganda War And May Prove Futile"
The centrist Independent offered this lead editorial (11/2): "Carpet bombing is not a phrase calculated to help persuade the skeptics that the United States is exercising proportionate force in its campaign to eliminate the terrorist threat from al-Qaeda.... Tony Blair knew already that the bombing was alienating most Arab and Muslim countries, but he was reminded of it most forcefully by President Assad of Syria. That matters not just in the broader struggle against fundamental Islamic terrorism but in the local struggle for the hearts and minds of Afghans. Military impatience with the lack of results from so-called pinpoint bombing, or urgency about the approach of winter, should not be allowed to weaken the coalition of support behind the ultimate objective."
FRANCE: "Urgent Necessity"
Jacques Amalric held in left-of-center Liberation (11/5): "The optimists who want to believe that the September 11 attacks were a dramatic parenthesis need to read and re-read Bin Laden's latest threat. His is indeed a 'religious war.'... His threat against the UN and the Arab leaders of member nations is a new and logical escalation in his view of things. Bin Laden is threatening the Arab leaders who recognize 'international right of law in place of the Koran.' While this is not surprising, it is important to underscore that Bin Laden wants to set fire to the entire planet.... He and his men are dangerous totalitarian fighters whom we must not underestimate.... The urgent and necessary challenge we face is to find Bin Laden and his men before they contaminate the Moslem world. There is no reason why this challenge should be faced by the U.S. alone."
Jean-Luc Macia commented in Catholic La Croix (11/5): "Democracies appear to be ill-equipped against rumor and fear.... The Afghan conflict is also being played out in the area of communications. Bin Laden can threaten and lie without anyone being able to answer back loud enough. It will be difficult for Western nations to convince Moslem public opinion that the messages sent by the Taliban and Bin Laden are insane, when they are not even able to reassure their own populations. In this area, as in the military operation, effective answers are needed."
Jacques Almaric opined left-of-center Liberation (11/2): "The anti-terrorist campaign is not suffering so much from a lack of counter-propaganda as it is from a serious failure to inform the publics in the West.... The American media has been slow to react to this information deficit.... Some imply that the inability of the government to communicate reflects its inability to define a clear strategy. Today there are signs that the American leaders are finally considering a re-examination of their strategy...but on this vital point they have yet to communicate."
GERMANY: "Confidence Can Decide War"
Christoph von Marschall argued in an editorial in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (11/5): "This war will also be decided in the struggle for public opinion. Despite all the difficulties in Afghanistan, the United States has an advantage. The distrust towards the United States is not as great as the one towards the Taliban. But the United States is miserly with its information, and in contrast to the Kosovo war, there are no journalists on site who could offer an independent reporting. Now an independent journalists reported that U.S. soldiers were in serious difficulties when they stormed the hideout of Taliban leader Omar on October 20. The Pentagon report, however, sounded different. The Bush administration must stick to the truth. It may be painful to listen to the lies of the Taliban and to concede failures, but confidence is an important capital. Who will have confidence in a U.S. denial if it is being caught swindling several times?"
"No Time For A Battle Break"
Dietrich Alexander had this to say in an editorial in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (11/5): We can see censored pictures from Al-Jazeera. All of a sudden we see pictures of injured children, and slowly we are comprehending that the clinical-surgical precision war is in reality a dirty war. But it must be finished, irrespective of the time it may take. Someone like Osama bin Laden will not surrender and the same is true for his terrorist network and for the Taliban. This time, the Americans will not be able to stop in front of Baghdad, they will have to take Kandahar to destroy the breeding ground of terrorism. Those who question this need, have not realized the seriousness of this threat."
"A Campaign Of False Assessments"
H. Knabe commented on national radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (11/4): "The coalition against terrorism under America's leadership is increasingly turning into a campaign of false assessments as far as political and military aspects are concerned.... The horror pictures of the collapsing World Trade Center and the fire in the Pentagon are fading in view of the growing misery among an increasing number of Afghans who had nothing to do with the terror. America is running the risk of marching into a political and military trap in the Hindukush if it continues to follow only military logic--as it did in the past in Vietnam."
"At War And On The Side Of The Law"
Stefan Ulrich noted in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (11/3): "The reasons speaking in favor of the United States' right to self-defense have become stronger rather than weaker over the past four weeks of war. Bin Laden has underlined his terrorist intentions and permanent dangerousness in several statements. And his fight alongside the Taliban reveals how inextricably the two are woven together. Thus, one cannot fault Washington for using international law in order to derive a license for military action -- especially since its critics still have not presented a concept for dealing with Afghan terrorism in a peaceful manner. It is, however, important that the military strikes are aimed only at combatants, not at civilians.... The uncertain news situation is making it impossible to come to a clear judgment in this matter. However, the many stories about civilian casualties and the unclear prospects of fighting the Taliban successfully, make it mandatory that the military strategy and missions in Afghanistan are constantly reassessed."
"Terror And The Media War"
Michael Stuermer observed in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (11/2): "Americans and the British are once again learning that all military victories mean nothing if the media war is lost. That is why they are now setting up three information centers, in Washington, London, and Islamabad. They are to counter Bin Laden's and the Taliban's information war authoritatively and around the clock. Better late than never. Asymmetrical warfare follows its own rules. Operations are part of a larger whole that does not only include military hardware, but also psychological software, which is just as important. In addition, this war has not been defined yet. It has no underlying theory and thus is open to all interpretations. In the end, the war of images will decide the military war."
ITALY: "The Weakest Links"
Prominent foreign affairs commentator Sergio Romano commented in the Sunday issue of centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (11/4): "Usama's second TV speech...confirms that the real enemies of the Al-Qaida leader are the lay or moderate Muslim regimes. When he accuses them of hypocrisy...bin Laden talks, in reality, to Muslim masses and invites them to rebel against their governments.... If compared with Sadddam Hussein, however, Usama bin Laden has some additional tools that he has used very intelligently so far. The first one is his image.... After Lenin, Castro and Che Guevara, the world now has a new revolutionary symbol.... The second tool is the TV network he is using--Al Jazeera--which, unlike the Soviet-style and opaque Iraqi TV, is successfully resorting to all the best formulas of Western TV journalism.... In order to better fight against America, the fiercest enemy of the West uses its technology, its journalistic style and its liberal culture."
"First Round Goes To Bin Laden"
Edgardo Bartoli's commentary in pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale read (11/3): "Four weeks of impressive bombings and secret operations in Afghanistan have not produced any visible results: a growing impatience and a sense of disappointment are prevailing in what has been described as the 'internal front.' Signals of confusion and mistrust come mainly from the United States and Great Britain, the two nations that are on the front line, so much so that Bush and Blair deemed it necessary to intervene personally in order to reassure their respective nations.... There's no doubt that the first round has been won by bin Laden.... But the longer the holy war drags out and is fought amid the mountains of Afghanistan, the more it loses its momentum. If it does not triumph rapidly, this will be a lost war.... Time is getting short, and bin Laden is aware of that, as is shown by his appeal to Pakistani Muslims to overthrow the Musharraf government, support the Taliban, and give him a reign from where he will be able to continue the war."
"Usama Bets On Pakistan"
Marcella Emiliani judged in Rome's centrist Il Messaggero (11/3): "Does Usama bin Laden have a strategy?.... There is no doubt that he is a hardened criminal, but his 'timed' messages in the form of videos or faxes to Al-Jazeera seem to suggest, rather than a precise strategy, a tactical flexibility that adapts itself to circumstances in order to better exploit them. Right after the September 11 attacks, Usama was still raving about striking at the United States until it is destroyed, but now he has lowered the ante and resolved to bet on the differences within the international alliance against terrorism. One of the main differences goes through Pakistan.... But even radical Pakistani Muslims have their rules and their disagreements. So far, nobody can state that bin Laden has been identified as the Savior by anyone."
RUSSIA: "Save Islam From Bin Laden"
Semyon Novoprudskiy, referring to Bin Laden's address over the weekend, said on page one of reformist Izvestiya (11/5): "He has ultimately defined confrontation in Afghanistan as a global religious war and presented the Islamic world with an ultimatum. From now on the chief mission of Western and Russian diplomacy is to help the Islamic world make the right choice.... Islam's future is on the line. That bin Laden dares to speak on Allah's behalf, almost like a prophet incarnate, while other Islamic leaders don't even try to stop him, means that Islam is automatically becoming an embodiment of the world's evil. We can compare the current state of affairs in the Islamic community with the Reformation and the late Middle Ages, when the Christians had to decide what future, bloody or peaceful, they wanted for their religion.... To save Islam from Bin Laden and his advocates means to save humanity."
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA: "Voice Of America"
Sarajevo's oldest daily Oslobodjenje (11/1) commented: "Revenge in Afghanistan started without any prior trial. Fear of being accused to have sympathy toward terrorist and anti-Americanism paralyzed critical thinking of the democratic public even here (in Bosnia). However, the cry of a mother whose seven children and a husband were killed by a bomb, resulted in Bosnia and Herzegovina in first official reaction by Rasim Kadic, who said 'Killing children and civilians can not be treated as collateral damage.' Yes! Nothing can justify killing of civilians because other civilians were killed. The murder of parents cannot be punished by the murder of children. The voice of democratic America is facing a huge test."
The lead editorial of popular, leftist, anti-American, pro-GoG Eleftherotypia said (11/3): "Following 'reliable information' given out by the FBI that two big bridges in the U.S. may be targeted by terrorists on November 7, red alert has sounded for eight American states...At the same time, another scenario has it that terrorists may launch a nuclear attack... The odd thing is that while that information is termed 'reliable,' the FBI says it cannot detect the terrorists. The public opinion is terrorized by those scenarios.... It remains an intractable mystery how American agencies know of the plans of terrorists, yet, they do not know of the terrorists themselves.... Therefore, we have good reason to suspect that that information is made known to the public in order to serve other goals. That is, to terrorize the public opinion and secure its consensus in order to continue bombardments against Afghanistan. The bombardments have not proved effective so far and are not going to prove effective for the combating of terrorism. A country is being destroyed and civilians are killed. The terror-scenarios do not justify the continuation of the bombardments."
"The War As A Message"
Writing in left-of-center, pro-GoG, Ta Nea (11/3) senior political commentator Pavlos Tsimas wrote in his regular week-end lead article: "Today, the media are no longer in the service of the goals of a war, but are the means that a war uses in order to achieve communicational goals.... How can we explain the strange war that is going on in front of our stunned eyes? Who and how is waging it, who wins, who loses? At first sight, the big winner is Bin Laden, or whatever he stands for. Flawlessly staged as a 'media event,' the strike of September 11 was an all-powerful message. So far, that message has brought about the results its producers wished: First, Bin Laden has proved to be a hero of the international, third-world despair. Second, he has proved to be an enemy who deserves the hatred and attack of a superpower. Third, America has attacked, in the name of Bin Laden, an extremely poor and destroyed country, generating exactly the kind of reaction Bin Laden might have dreamed of. If the U.S. does Bin Laden the favor to continue bombardments (against civilians of course, since there are no military targets to hit any more) during the Ramadan, Bin Laden's victory on the communication level will be total. The question is, why is Washington reacting the way Bin Laden wanted? The most likely question is that America could not have done anything else. America has entrapped itself in a war it runs the risk of losing, because it has no way to send convincing and effective messages to the other side, that is, the public opinion of the Muslim world from Indonesia to Algiers."
"Great Power, Feeble Thought"
Writing in influential, independent Kathimerini (11/2) senior editor Costas Angelopoulos opined: "The U.S. 'policies' against Afghanistan apparently have no specific goal.... The 'communication' power the U.S. controls in the West is not able to convince us that the 'answer' Washington wants to give to the perpetrators of the drama for September 11 is correct and has a 'moral basis.'"
IRELAND: "West Is Losing Battle For Hearts And Minds"
Eoghan O Neachtain noted in the conservative, populist Irish Independent (11/2): "Despite the early clear and emphatic predictions from US Secretary of State and Gulf War hero, Colin Powell, that the war could take years to win, middle America is crying out for a quick fix solution which will deliver bin Laden's head on a plate.... Lessons learned in Vietnam should have alerted the U.S. military to the destructive potential of a hostile media--if for no other reason they can dismay a supporting public by showing up incompetent and inadequate tactics and leadership. Though tactics and leadership win battles on the ground, without media support, the likelihood of overall victory will be denied. ...In the War on Terrorism there is no obvious front-line or military build and no heroic images of soldiers preparing to 'do the right thing'. The truth is this 'new kind of war' as President Bush called it, is war behind closed doors. Air raids and special forces insertions do not make good photo calls. A constant supply of images of starving displaced innocent women and children are deeply disquieting to the general public in the West."
"1500 People Killed In U.S. Air Strikes, Taliban claims"
The centrist Irish Examiner noted (11/1): "'Americans are throwing cluster bombs on the people of Afghanistan made in the form of food boxes,' he (Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, Afghani Ambassador to Pakistan) said. The United States has issued a warning that the canisters in the deadly cluster bombs, whose bomblets do not always explode on impact, are yellow - the same color as the square plastic covered food packages it is airdropping across Afghanistan. 'A child was martyred in (western) Herat province today after touching a cluster bomb thrown by American planes,' Zaeef said. ...The United States says the casualty figures have been exaggerated."
ROMANIA: "War Rooms"
Editorialist Andreea Enea wrote in business-oriented Curentul (11/5): "Until a few days ago, America organized only short term propaganda campaigns, in order to conquer the hearts of the Afghans. Now the U.S. has mobilized, and while sending several elite troop units into Afghanistan so that the ground military action becomes more consistent, it has also decided to launch a major offensive at the media level. Therefore, it has opened three information centers, linked via satellite, in Washington, London and Islamabad. These are not simple press offices, they are real propaganda machines...based on the 'war room' model, used in electoral campaigns."
SPAIN: "From Arafat To Bin Laden"
Conservative La Vanguardia wrote (11/4): "The objective of Bin Laden, it is clear, is [to win over] the Arab street, where the protests against the war in Afghanistan are taking place. The absence of negotiations [in the Middle East], certainly, is a brewing pot for radicalism, and Bin Laden is trying to exploit it."
"The Course Of The War"
Left-of-Center El Pais wrote (11/1): "Washington has designed a strategy based on too much balancing of interests, and basically managed in order to not alienate moderate Muslims.... The U.S., furthermore, is not managing with any real confidence the propaganda battle in the Muslim countries, where Bin Laden has an opportunity to define the conflict as an attack against Islam.... A fight of this nature is, by definition, long and confused in some of its stages. There will always be in democracies, as time passes without apparent results and as civilian casualties mount, questions about the conduct of the war and the price paid for it."
TURKEY: Media Treatment--UBL's Statement
Papers (111/4-11/5) reported that the 22-nation Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa dismissed bin Laden's appeal for a holy war, saying Laden did not speak for the world's Muslims. Turkish press took note of UBL's remarks to the Al Jazeera television, and his declaration of 'those who act with the U.S. are infidel' is quoted.
EGYPT: "American Press Do Not Represent American Policy"
Aggressively pro-government Al Akhbar's unsigned editorial read (11/5): "The State Department statement that American press articles against Egypt do not represent the American Administration's view and that Egypt is a friend...eliminated great confusion.... The American press' recent commentary, especially following Bright Star exercises, gave the impression that Egypt is part of the alliance with America in its war against terrorism in Afghanistan. This Zionist-run press ignored the fact Mubarak has constantly confirmed Egypt's rejection of terrorism and called for an international conference under the UN."
Media Treatment--Exchange Of Statements Between U.S. And UBL
Leading pro-government Al Ahram reported (11/4) on an exchange of statements between bin Laden and the U.S. administration through Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera quoted bin Laden's claim that the UN is behind Arab and Muslim tragedies while State Department advisor Christopher Ross was quoted saying the war is not a religious one and that terrorism has harmed Islam.
"What Does The Washington Post Want?"
Leading pro-government Al Ahram's editor-in-chief Ibrahim Nafie wrote on page one (11/1): "American mass media continue their vicious campaign against Egypt because of her position on what the American Administration is calling 'campaign against terror' and this despite Egypt's has constantly confirming her full support in combating terrorism 'on principle.' However, Egypt has strong reservations against the killing of innocent Afghani. The most recent part of this vicious campaign is The Washington Post's editorial of the day before.... The Washington Post considered any assault on American policy a kind of antagonism to the West and to modernization and to Jews.... The paper chose only three lines out of a full-page article we wrote about reports which mentioned American planes are dropping food to the Afghani people in a way which is dangerous... In fact, these reports were taken from statements by the Taliban leaders themselves, while they are more aware of what is happening in their own country. These statements were broadcast on Al Jazira's (satellite TV)...and were published by many other mass media. We neither confirmed nor denied these reports, and our discussion about this point was very accurate and clear. As for the threat of dropping food aid from planes, there is broad agreement among analysts, experts and mass media about it. The American (magazine) Newsweek itself ridiculed this method in an October 23 article.... The Washington Post ignored the fact that Egypt has been enjoying during Mubarak's era an unprecedented freedom of expression and opinion from political trends or partisan streams.... We repeatedly said Egypt is one of the counties most hurt by terrorism and called for a war against it... We strongly affirm Egypt does not succumb to any threat or blackmail by any American mass media. We reject The Washington Post's ideological terrorism...which can only block constructive dialogue between Egypt and the U.S.... Noticeably, the writer of this article chose to make all these major fallacies in The Washington Post's editorial so he would not sign his name. Whether this was intentional or not, the name might have been the key to the constant attack on Egypt."
"Politics For Real"
Leading pro-government Al Ahram's senior columnist Salama Ahmed Salama writing in the English-language Al Ahram Weekly surmised (11/1): "Perhaps the American people will soon have rid themselves of the blind fury that beset them following the shock of September 11 and grow more capable ofseeing things as they are. Why were the attacks directed at America? Why are many Moslems unhappy with America? The questions being asked in American academia recall similar debates at the time of the Vietnam War.... Americans are regaining their interest in the outside world after years of self-absorption. The Wall Street Journal asserts that for the first time since the oil scare during the (October) 1973 War, Americans are uncertain about their blind support for Israel.... Despite constraints placed on the media, America's open society seems more capable of facing the facts than are many members of Congress and political analysts who persist in denying the connection between terrorism and America's misguided policies and chronic injustices in the Middle East.... U.S. Secretary Powell's recent statements...contain the first signs of a realistic and just vision which could put an end to one aspect of the misunderstanding between Americans and Arabs and Moslems.... Powell said there are many grey areas which must be dealt with politically.... American politicians seem unable to accept such statements.... It is here that the importance of developing a systematic Arab effort to undertake dialogue and uncover the facts becomes apparent, for only among the people will misconceptions which place Islam and terrorism - as well as Palestinian rights and Israel's anti-terrorist endeavors - on an equal footing be dissipated. There is no excuse for Arabs to fail in this arena."
Interview With Egyptian Minister Of Information
Sout El-Omma (11/1), an opposition weekly, published an interview with Egyptian Minister of Information Safwat El-Sherif, who denied any over-sensitivity towards Al Jazeera . The Minister said: "Al Jazeera is present in Egypt on the orders of President Mubarak.... Egyptian TV does not lack capabilities.... It is the right of the United States to retaliate but this should be restricted to the criminals and exclude Arab and Moslem countries."
JORDAN: "Not A Picnic"
Prominent daily columnist Tariq Masarwah wrote in semi-official influential Al-Ra’i (10/31): “The U.S. administration, in its Afghan war, is like a man who rides the tiger. People run away from him in fear, but no one is as frightened as he is himself, unable to escape from the situation, yet envied for the power under him. What will happen if the situation of General Musharaf in Pakistan changes? Or if there is further tension in the deceptive alliance between the U.S. and Arab governments? Will international public opinion support the war, years ahead when it sees the result of the daily bombing of the poor an hungry Afghans, as they escape from their homes seeking security and bread? Will they accept starving 6 million to avenge the 6000 Americans and guests of the U.S. killed in the World Trade Center? The war in Afghanistan seems incomparable to the Gulf War.”
SAUDI ARABIA: "How To Confront False Accusations"
Jeddah based, moderate Al Bilad held (11/5): "Crown Prince Abdullah lashed out at media reports critical of the Kingdom. He stated that it is the duty of Muslims to defend the image of Islam and confront the unfair media campaigns against it. His highness confirmed that the Kingdom and the Islamic countries condemn terrorism and the September 11th attacks in Washington and New York, the Kingdom also condemns the biased media campaigns which are aim at increasing the tension and struggle among civilizations."
"U.S. Media Dancing To A Zionist Tune"
Jeddah-based, moderate Arab News' op-ed "Plain Speaking" by Hassan Tahsin averred (11/5): "Since the United States began to cobble together an international alliance to combat terrorism... the American media are unleashing a campaign against Muslims and Arabs.... Worse still, by the time the air strikes on Afghanistan began, the American media was attacking Saudi Arabia and Egypt for not agreeing to punish an entire nation on the pretext of hunting down a few individuals.... Saudi Arabia and Egypt have made it very clear that they oppose terrorism of all sorts and are ready and willing to participate in combating terrorism provided it is under the auspices of the international community and within the framework of international law. Interestingly, the U.S. media attacks on Saudi Arabia and Egypt run counter to the daily statements of the U.S. president or his secretary of State. Thomas Friedman, a Jew, accuses Saudi Arabia and Egypt of not being with the United States in its war on Afghanistan. The Washington Post even questions the legitimacy of the government in Egypt by saying that the elections were not fair, that freedom of expression is suppressed and that the political situation is in peril.... Zionism convinced the Western world that communism was their enemy number one with Islam occupying the second position.... The U.S. media that are dominated by Zionists continue attacking Islam, Muslims and Arabs taking advantage of the fact that the prime suspects in the attacks (in the U.S.) are Arab or Muslim. The enmity between the West and Islam is growing due to the lies spread by Zionism. Zionists claim that Arabs and Muslims are against Israel. They choose to ignore the fact that Israel is an alien outpost in the Arab world. It was Jews who occupied Palestine and displaced its original people. Zionists are trying to poison Arab-U.S. relations to further their own interests. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Egypt believe in open diplomacy. They have their own perceptions on Afghanistan.... The Western countries should ponder whether it is in their own interests to swallow the Zionist version of everything."
"Stop This War!"
Jeddah based, moderate Al-Bilad editorial (10/31): "When Saudi Arabia strongly condemned the terrorist attacks against the U.S., it wasn't an unconsidered stand but a clearly stated opinion and stand against fighting terrorism, and the need for the international community to combat its evils. With the same degree of clearness and principle, the Kingdom has called on the U.S. to hit terrorist targets without harming innocent civilians. Prince Naif has emphasized this more than once. The international community shares this desire of the Kingdom, due to its heightened concern about the number of civilian victims and the level ofdestruction in Afghanistan, which has not achieved the desired goal. But it seems the U.S. only wants to hear the voice of its revenge, even if the voice of the world's conscience loudly demands that the war stop, since the military machine has lost its direction, by turning its compass toward Afghan civilians. The American tyrant's pride has reached the stage of denying the truth, while the eyes of the world's conscience see pictures of victims and babies' bodies. Even the expressions of sorrow have disappeared from American official's statements, as they hide these tragedies from their media. What is happening in Afghanistan today as a result of the bombardment has deprived this war of its legitimacy, according to the sprit of international law and holy religions. Even if Washington stuck to the decision it imposed on the UN Security Council, (i.e.,) its right to self-defense, this has turned into an absurd war without substantial targets, with no connection to the international resolution and the desire of the international community in this struggle against terrorism.... And these questions remain: How long will the international community leave the Afghani people under the hell of American bombardment? Will international law be imposed on the U.S. for killing so many civilians?"
BAHRAIN: "Listen UBL, Saying This Is A Religious War, Gives U.S. Moral Justification"
Semi-official, Arabic-language Al-Ayam ran this comment (11/5) by Aqeel Swar: "America’s major wars were with countries like Japan, Vietnam, Germany, Italy but none of these countries is Muslim. So, by insisting in his recent statement that our conflict with the U.S. is of a religious nature, Usama bin Laden not only forces a misleading awareness on people but also contradicts what he wants to do, since religion will give America’s war an ethical justification. Because any religious war is waged for ethical and moral reasons and that gives America’s acts a value that they do not deserve."
KUWAIT: Media Treatment--Printed Media Carry UBL Message
All Kuwaiti papers (11/4) carried the Bin Laden videotaped message released November 3.
Attorney Rashed Al-Radaan wrote in independent Al-Qabas (11/4): "The American media campaign against Saudi Arabia is clear evidence that the American community is arrogant, backward, and lacks any knowledge about other countries. (This community) is also not interested in building friendships with others because it is driven by its interests and nothing else."
TUNISIA: Media Treatment--One Paper Reports On UBL, Others On Arab League Statement
Several papers (11/5) commented on bin Laden's latest video message in which he criticized the UN as "an instrument of crime" and in which he claimed that the United States has no proof that can incriminate the Taliban regime. Bin Laden's harsh criticism of Arab leaders playing along with the UN was covered in one independent Arabic-language paper. Some papers reported the Arab League Secretary General's statement that "Bin Laden does not represent Arabs and Muslims."
"What If Pakistan Slips Away...?"
An analysis by Manoubi Akrout, Editor, in independent French-language Le Quotidien (11/3): "What consequences would there be for the American campaign, if Pakistan slips away...? What will be the future of the coalition created by the United States in its war on terror?... How long will the 'unilateralists' remain silent in the U.S.?...Certainly the coalition encompasses countries which sustain traditional alliances but also those with whom 'friendship' lasts only the time of a shared interest. Relations between India and Pakistan stand out as a striking example.... Confirmed information also relates to the 2,000 tribal fighters who have just crossed the Pakistani border. Are the Pakistani tribes so independent of Pakistan's central power? Moreover, an Arab channel has just broadcast a message by bin Laden inciting Pakistanis to confront the 'crusades' conducted by the U.S. against Islam and Muslims. All this put together might explain the tension that weighs on the Pakistani authorities. An American journal has just published information according to which Israeli-American special commando units might be trained in order to take control of Pakistani nuclear plants if Musharaf is a victim of a coup d'etat.... Today, Pakistan is like a time-bomb which can blow up in anybody's face, starting with America's."
"War In The Field...And War In The Media"
Independent, bilingual weekly RTalitTs opined (11/1): "Since the American war started, it has become obvious that a media war is taking place in tandem between the American administration and the American people on one side, and between the American administration and the rest of the world on the other. In fact, the American administration was well aware from the very beginning that the media war has to be won by controlling all information channels...so it imposed several oppressive decisions on the mass media, so much so that it made the whole world look at the country of freedoms through a different lens. The first instructions consisted of having the Pentagon control all information and pictures pertaining to the war. Then came other instructions from the Homeland Security Advisor who requested all Americanchannels not to air directly pictures received from Al Jazeera because they might contain coded information and because of the influence they can have on public opinion...The loss of the media war by the Americans was brought about, this time, by an Arabic channel, which managed to provide exclusive pictures and to present the other version of war...Even European television...started to show the undeclared horrors of the American war, civilian casualties, two successive attacks on a Red Cross building, pictures of refugees along the Afghan-Pakistan border...This war is taking place in a new world context, which allows people around the globe to know the reality--not the pseudo American reality --and to readjust our interest byreorienting us toward the Arabic channels instead of Western channels."
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: "Change, Not Beautification"
Sharjah-based pan-Arab Al-Khaleej declared (10/30): "The U.S. will not succeed in changing its image abroad unless it movescourageously to review its policies that caused the dangers that are attacking it domestically...The calamities of all peoples, including Americans, will continue and even escalate if the U.S. continues to carryout its policies as it did before September 11...The September 11 shock must motivate the U.S. to work in the opposite direction to what has been going before. It is not enough to ask what happened and why the world hates America (and here we distinguish completely between American policies and the American people.) There is a lack of confidence between America and its political and economic strategies in the world, because every nation of theworld, except for a few, has its own sufferings from America.... America must not impose on others what it does not accept for itself. It must let others live the way they wish with the same right it approves for itself...A rule like this requires that America change its image and not improve it by putting on make-up, such as some positions which have been taken to maintain the success of the coalition against what it calls international terrorism, that will change as soon as the temporary circumstances surrounding them change."
PAKISTAN: "Usama: A Blessing or A Curse In Disguise?"
News commentary by Fazila Gulrez in the Karachi-based independent national Dawn read (11/5): "If a worldwide popularity poll was carried out today, the one man who will top the charts with a massive margin is none other than Usama bin Laden, with Mr. Bush lagging far behind on the popularity scale. For better or worse, as villain or hero, Usama tops the chart."
An editorial in the center-right national Nation held (11/5): "The primary target of the propaganda campaign is to compromise the credibility of Islamabad's cooperation with the international community.... The thesis built up by hostile media channels is that since the Taliban are a creation of Pakistan, it continues to harbor a sneaking sympathy for them. The objective is to hurt Pakistan's interests by planting such suspicions.... The damaging misinformation campaign should be of concern not only to our media managers, but also to our Foreign Office.... Let our missions in the U.S. too gear themselves up to counter such hostile media projection, with appropriate backing from the head office."
"Media Imperatives For Muslim World"
An op-ed by Muhammad Abbas in the center-right national Nation read (11/5): "The ongoing propaganda blitz by Western media against terrorism and in favor of war against terrorism provokes many questions in the minds of discerning Muslims.... It is high time that Islam as a religion, a way of life, a civilization and culture is projected in the proper light.... The Muslim world must fight the intellectual attack on Islam on an intellectual front and adopt offensive-defensive measures while talking about contradictions and weaknesses in the Western approach and attitude towards Islam. These must be projected as continuous efforts. We should not accuse the other side but we should be rational and objective in our responses."
"Usama Wants Proof"
An editorial in Islamabad's rightist English Pakistan Observer argued (11/5): "Bin Laden has said that the United States has no proof to blame him for the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington or to justify air strikes against the Afghan people.... Usama said that the U.S. military operations against Afghanistan are not based on any evidence implicating the Afghan people in what happened to the United States.... Washington has provided 'evidence' allegedly involving Usama and Taliban in last month's terrorist attack on World Trade Center and Pentagon to some countries including Britain and Pakistan.... The 'evidence', which was revealed selectively was also not allegedly credible or authentic. It is said to be too sketchy and weak to incriminate Usama or the Taliban in the September 11 tragedy. The Taliban had also persistently sought 'evidence' against Usama and had also committed to surrender him for trial in any neutral country if the evidence is credible, but their demand was also rejected with arrogance, emerging from Washington's military might.... Bin Laden may not be totally wrong in his assertion that the United States has no proof of his involvement in the September 11 tragedy and that the Taliban may have been subjected to air strikes without any reason. We feel that there is still time to take the international community into confidence by releasing the 'evidence' through the United Nations.... It is in Washington's own interest to let the world know the facts. Even truth turns hazy if it is not projected in the proper perspective."
"Behind The Wall Of Terrorism"
An op-ed by [former Speaker of the Punjab Provincial Assembly] Hanif Ramay in the sensationalist Urdu Khabrain claimed (11/5): "Whatever noble name the U.S. gives to its operations--from Korea, to Vietnam, down to Afghanistan--an impartial history would remember it as state terrorism.... Every third Afghan child is an orphan, at least 5 million Afghans have been displaced. Who is responsible for this loss? The U.S. CIA shed the blood of at least 500,000, if not 2 million, human beings in 1965 in Indonesia to topple Sukarno and replace him with dictator Suharto. Who is responsible for shedding that blood? About 5000 persons were killed in New York [on September 11], but this is the same number of people the U.S. killed to capture Panamanian strongman Noriega.... The U.S. says democracy and freedom are very dear to it. But it is talking about creating a government of its choice in Afghanistan today. Would America and its allies like if it everyone rises up today and starts installing governments of their own choice the world over? If America holds its own freedom dear, it should not be-grudge the same to others.... Like other nations, Afghans too have the right to choose their own leadership... Even the common man knows that absolute power corrupts absolutely. America should realize that the stronger the power, the bigger the responsibility. As a superpower, it is America's responsibility to safeguard freedom, democracy and prosperity the world over, not just in its own home. It must strive for these ideals globally and give up its opportunist foreign policy. The sooner it holds itself accountable, the sooner their will be peace in the world and the sooner hatred for the U.S. will diminish.
"Usama: Right Or Wrong?"
An op-ed by Ishtiaq Ahmad in Islamabad's rightist English Pakistan Observer asserted (11/4): "Usama bin Laden is basically using bad means to cash in on some just ends. In the guise of Islam, he claims to tackle purely political challenges facing the Muslim world. While we cannot justify the use of religion for political objectives, which Usama is doing, we have to accept the fact that the issues he talks about are essentially true, just and fair."
"The Ramadan Pause"
An editorial in the center-right national Nation commented (11/3): "Media images of death and destruction and the growing graveyards of Afghanistan, where more civilians than Taliban warriors are being buried, are creating revulsion globally, and strengthening the clash of civilization thesis that is being talked about. This thesis will be enhanced once the conflict moves into the sacred month (Ramazan). A practical step for the U.S. should be to study the ramifications on the delicate coalition against terror it has built so painstakingly, of which the Muslim component is so crucial. If it does not, it may achieve its immediate military objective, but the collateral damage could be its long-term strategy against terrorism. That would be winning the battle and losing the war, surely."
Sample Headlines--Possible Disinformation
Second-largest Urdu Nawa-e-Waqt (11/5): "American Aircraft Bomb for Seven Hours; Northern Alliance Commander Defects to Taliban along with 40 Associates;" Lead Story in the leading Urdu Nawa-e-Waqt (11/3): "U.S. Commandos Fail To Land In Afghanistan; 100 U.S. Soldiers Killed;" Lead Story in leading Urdu Nawa-e-Waqt (11/3): "Taliban Execute U.S. Commandos"
BANGLADESH: "The U.S. War Has Become An Indiscriminate Killing Campaign"
The independent, English-language Daily Star commented (11/5): "We know Osama bin Laden doesn't care how many lives are lost to achieve whatever cause he supports. Can the U.S. argue that their attack on Afghanistan is any different in method, objective or regard for who dies or lives? It may have started on a higher moral plane but that is no longer the case anymore. We have stood up firmly against terrorism. We wholeheartedly condemned the killing of innocent people in the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. In the same spirit we are forced to condemn the indiscriminate killing of Afghan women, children and ordinary citizens resulting from the carpet-bombing going on now. We cannot stand by and be a silent spectator of the destruction of a whole people."
SRI LANKA: "The Zionist Controlled Western Media"
An op-ed page article by Ameen Izzadeen in the independent popular Daily Mirror said (11/2): "As the Zionist controlled Western media in an apparent diversionary move, focus their attention on the U.S.-led war against Afghanistan, the space and time they allocate to report what is happening now in the occupied Palestinian land are anything but desirable.... The (Zionist) lobby has frightened the glorious, free American media, notwithstanding the fact that the subject concerns the basic national interest of their country at this critical juncture."
AUSTRALIA: "Free Speech Should Not Be A Victim Of War"
An editorial in the national, conservative Australian judged (11/3-4): "As impatience threatens to undermine the resolve to fight terrorism, we must revisit the core values we're fighting for.... Our best weapon to make sure the coalition remains united and pubic support remains solid is to counter criticism of the anti-terrorist campaign with persuasive, rational argument.... Now more than ever we must fight to uphold at home those core values that define our society--and one of those is freedom of speech.... We live in a mature democracy, and one of the tests of our maturity is our ability to cope with dissent. Australia has overcome divisions during wars in the past, let's not let them overcome us now."
CHINA: CHINA/HONG KONG SAR: "Trial Options"
The independent, English-language South China Morning Post said in its editorial (11/5): "Bin Laden's rhetoric against the non-Islamic world is a dangerous attempt to stir up people in the Muslim world and enlarge the war against him and the Taliban into a general war between the Western and Islamic worlds. The danger is that the longer the attacks on Afghanistan last, the larger the number of Muslims who will tend to see it as a war on themselves.... There are many who doubt the United States will actually succeed in bringing bin Laden to justice through military action. Concerns have also been voiced about the suffering that the U.S. bombing has brought upon ordinary people in Afghanistan. Unless these concerns are addressed, the war will increasingly look like a war against Muslims in general. It is important to think of alternate ways of bringing bin Laden to justice.... A trial in a neutral country using judges acceptable to both sides ought to be explored. Even if bin Laden refuses the offer, as he is likely to, it will help calm Muslim fears that this is a war against their religion."
"U.S. Should Not Escalate The War"
The independent, Chinese-language Ming Pao Daily News underscored in its editorial (11/5): "Every country in the world and every individual will unconditionally support all sorts of activities that combat terrorism and terrorist organizations. The only debate is how to crush these terrorist activities effectively and how to avoid bringing disaster to innocent civilians.... The United States has done quite a good job in developing a united front through diplomatic means. As long as it can enhance international cooperation to exchange information and to block economic sources for terrorist organizations, there will be no place for the terrorists in society to hide. Then the United States will not need to send even one soldier but can still have the result of beating terrorist activities. The Taliban claimed that 1,500 Afghan civilians died during the air strikes. Although the U.S. military did not reveal the actual figures, they confirmed that there were deaths and injuries. If ground attacks really start, more deaths and injuries from both military sides will result, and the situation of the more than seven million refugees will make people feel even more anxious. For its own sake and for the sake of other people, the United States should not escalate the war."
"America's Evidence And The Truth About September 11 Incident "
Chu Jingtao commented in Nanfang Weekend (Nanfang Zhoumo, 11/2): "If Bin Laden is innocent, why doesn’t he stand up squarely and verify the matter. For the U.S. side, it should publish the evidence and dispel the doubts of the world’s people. Some say that in order to avoid domestic conflicts between different religions, the United States has to first turn Laden into a scapegoat since he had launched many attacks against the United States before. After the coming winter, the United States will be able to finish the investigation and we will know the real story behind the September 11 incident."
"Bush Faces Challenges To Maintain Support Rate"
Xin Bei commented in the official English-language China Daily, (11/1): "Criticism of the Bush Administration's handling of the war against terrorism at home and abroad is mounting, suggesting that the president's post-September 11 honeymoon may be coming to an end. Criticism so far has centered on four key areas: The military campaign in Afghanistan is getting bogged down and not progressing towards the desired results of capturing or killing Saudi militant Osama bin Laden.... 2. The U.S. is soft-pedaling its military strikes in a futile attempt to keep lukewarm Arab support. Meanwhile, it is losing the propaganda war in the Islamic world anyway. 3.The administration is mishandling the anthrax threat. 4.Criticism of the military operation began to be voiced publicly last week and has grown since then, with conservatives leading the charge."
"There Are Various Things Floating Down From The Sky Of Afghanistan"
Wang Wei commented in the official Chinese Youth Party China Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao, (11/1): "Since the U.S. began military strikes against Afghanistan, the Afghan people could never know what would be floating down from the sky. Is it bombs, food or leaflets? While dropping bombs on the country, the U.S. simultaneously shows its comparatively gentle side to the Afghan people by dropping some humanitarian assistance.... However, international assistance groups have expressed their condemnation of the U.S. air-dropping both food and bombs at the same time.... Moreover, most of the relief food has been dropped to the region nearest the landmine region. In this case, hungry Afghans have to risk being blown up while they try to get the food. In any case, the Afghan people would prefer to look at clear skies rather than at bombs, food or leaflets."
SOUTH KOREA: “Propaganda War And The Press”
Kang Byung-tae wrote in the moderate Hankook Ilbo (11/1): “The recent U.S. criticism that the Taliban is using civilians as a human shield against air strikes can be seen as part of a U.S. propaganda campaign designed to defuse the mounting anti-war mood and concerns about civilian casualties…. Delays in achieving a war objective often create skepticism and discord among supporters. The ongoing war against terrorism is no exception. Even in the U.K., a long-time U.S. war partner, anti-war views are spreading rapidly, and news outlets are revealing the truth about the ongoing war -- hidden so far behind propaganda campaigns. The recent ‘wild’ warning about possible terror attacks in a week, and the theory of a ‘50-year-long war’ might be U.S. propaganda tactics designed to prevent the current trend from being reversed. The blind following of this propaganda war by the press is tantamount to dereliction of duty.”
THAILAND: “What Goes Around, Comes Around”
Imtiaz Muqbil commented in the top-circulation, moderately conservative, English-language Bangkok Post (11/4): “The U.S. government is supposedly fighting to protect American values and way of life. To do that, it has made its media toe the party line, arrested hundreds as ‘material witnesses’, is killing innocent people in the ‘war against terrorism’ and sides with Israel when it does the same. Its intelligence agencies have been given more power and money to eavesdrop, monitor emails and yes, even resort to extra-judicial targeted killings. On the battlefront, it is using cluster bombs and, accord to the Taliban, chemical weapons. Aren’t these violations of the same values, human rights and democracy that the U.S. government has long preached to others?... Worse, the people of the United States, who expect to be told the truth, are realizing that they are not being told the whole truth. Anyone with access to the Internet can bypass the United States' government-controlled media...and log on to many websites where intelligent and erudite scholars are telling the many truths that the U.S. government would rather not see told."
ANADA: "Optics Bad For America In Battle Over Afghanistan"
Editorial page editor emeritus Haroon Siddiqui commented in the liberal Toronto Star (11/4): "America's justified war on terrorism, which started off well, is going awry, not so much militarily...but politically.... America's greater challenge is to grasp that this war is not just about this war but two additional ones as well: First, winning over public opinion in two related but distinct constituencies, among Afghans and among Muslims everywhere else. Second, killing the ghosts of its own wretched record of the last decade during which the Clinton administration, aided and abetted by CNN and other...American media, portrayed Muslims as the West's principal post-Cold War enemy.... As justified as this war is, its moral high ground is being steadily eroded by America's hi-tech war on a low-tech people - the richest nation pounding the most impoverished, with hundreds of thousands of frightened and fleeing innocents penned behind sealed Iranian and Pakistani borders and bombed from on high.... The optics are bad for America.... Opinion is shifting even in Europe in the wake of a steady stream of pictures of Afghans trekking to safety on foot, in bullock carts or on mules, many carrying the old and the infirm on their shoulders.... Then there is the awkward issue of America's aversion to exposing its soldiers to risk.... The new intensified bombing may yet allow the Northern Alliance to punch through to the key cities of Mazar-e-Sharif and the capital, Kabul. That would still leave a lot of turf, and caves, under the control of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. Flushing them out will require more than B-52s and F-14s. It will require the wisdom to undo the damage of the Clinton years, hold world public opinion in tow and a political coalition intact."
ARGENTINA: "Pro-Taliban Militia Urged To Corner Islamabad"
Maria Laura Avignolo, on special assignment in Pakistan for leading Clarin, wrote (10/30): "Police and security forces have confirmed that the Taliban are afraid of tribal dissidents entering the country precisely when they have to face the allies in an eventual land deployment of troops. This shows the weakness of the Taliban in this paradoxical war. Islamic Fundamentalists managed to obtain support from the Afghan people thanks to the U.S. bombing, but now fear the consequences of a political solution which could seduce tribal chiefs -- with their private armies within Afghanistan -- to eventually refuse facing the allies.... Another paradoxical aspect of this conflict is that Osama Bin Laden is winning the propaganda war in the Western world and is the new Che or new Islamic prophet of thousands of Muslim youngsters in Asia and the Gulf, but he and his Arab Mujhaideen lost all support from the Afghan people that are suffering the bombing in their country, and are accusing him of being responsible for their misery."
BRAZIL: "Pause For Peace"
An editorial in liberal Folha de Sao Paulo commented (10/31): "Predictably, popular support in both the U.S. and the UK for the military action in Afghanistan has gradually diminished... There are indications in both nations that support for the attacks will not last forever or be unconditional.... In addition to the diminishing popular support, the U.S. media has adopted in recent days a more critical tone in covering the military campaign. It is impossible for one not to notice that 'intelligent' bombs have missed their targets and caused many civilian casualties. Public opinion has also realized the humanitarian catastrophe that will come with the Afghanistan winter.... It really seems that the most judicious thing to do now, as most British citizens want, is to suspend the attacks so as not to condemn millions to hunger and cold. A pause now would also have the effect of preserving the fragile anti-terror coalition that has already been eroded."
"A Positive Development"
Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo political columnist Janio de Freitas said (10/31): "The U.S. media began to critically question the bombings in Afghanistan and is reducing its absolute support of the USG. Is this a positive development? Of course it is. Not, however, for U.S. journalists and the concept of journalism... Since September 12, these journalists have gone along with self-censorship and gave the government and the Pentagon a free hand. Today they have begun to feel uneasy with the unfair and useless massacre that they continue to hide rather than show.... U.S. journalists are disturbed by the photos and films they are receiving from Afghanistan; or with their conscience. And it is here that true journalism will begin."
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: "Silence Doesn't Help"
Journalist Juan Ducodray wrote in an op-ed in conservative El Caribe (10/31): "International public opinion - and, of course, especially that of the U.S. - must know as much as possible about what is going on. This absolute silence does not help the fight against terrorism."
ECUADOR: "It Is Not Easy To Write In This Time Of War"
An opinion column by editor Hernan Ramos Benalcazar in leading, centrist El Comercio read (11/2): "Throughout its journalistic history, the U.S. has been famous for having excellent war reporters.... The U.S. press has also had excellent researchers who have enlightened and given life to the profession.... Let's continue with (Bob) Woodward, who is still active.... He stressed one idea: defend to the death the thesis that information must flow to the population in all scenarios, even extreme ones, such as war.... Moreover, his message...fell like a bombshell in Washington exactly because that power (economic, political, military) has wanted to gag and trip up the free and independent press in both the U.S. and abroad.... The dangerous tendency of U.S. power to veer toward a veiled type of censorship and indirect repression is noticeable.... Why is it important now to read at least a portion of the U.S. press? Because the U.S. is where the biggest pressures are; because the U.S. is where cracks have appeared in the fundamental role of journalism, especially by some media that has not made the effort to separate, as is proper, the interests of the state from the interests of civil society."
"The Role Of Intellectuals During A War"
Eduardo Pavlovsky (political analyst from Argentina) judged in leading, centrist El Comercio (11/4): "The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN do not inform American citizens about the alignment of U.S. foreign policy. In the U.S. the word 'imperialism' does not exist. They do not talk about this issue and the voice of European and Latin American intellectuals is silenced with subsidies, trips and scholarships.... With socialism having fallen, with the present alarming misery, a dollar or two a day per inhabitant, and a powerful and autocratic empire, it was not illogical to think that some reaction could surface.... We do not approve of the attack, but it was logical to think that a reaction was being incubated somewhere against the U.S., after so much impunity and indifference to the misery of half the planet.... Nobody supports the attack that killed so many innocents. It would be immoral. But it is also immoral not to relate U.S. state terrorism with the attacks on the Twin Towers. We should not be nanve. We should recover the critical spirit. It is immoral that the U.S. demands that Pakistan halt food shipments that would have prevented the death of a significant portion of the Afghan population. Millions of people may die of hunger and to simultaneously bomb and drop food is amoral. The heads of government of France, England, Spain or Germany do not say a word about this. They have sold their ethics to the empire."
JAMAICA: "What After The Bombings?"
Technology columnist Clifton Segree wrote in the influential, moderate Daily Gleaner (11/1): "It would appear that the United States and Britain are winning the war in Afghanistan but losing the public relations war worldwide, as John Public is now seeing on television the result of bombings on civilians. The television pictures of poor people crying because of the loss of loved ones and their homes are going to cause people to see more Ugly Americans as the campaign drags on. Since it is not practical to use bombs and planes forever in the campaign, a lot of technology and intelligence are going to be used. I have no doubt that all telephone calls going in and out of the U.S. are being monitored...apparently, it is going to be a war on all fronts."
NIGERIA: "Stop Carnage In Afghanistan"
In an op-ed column, Tola Adeniyi of the Nigerian Tribune said (11/5): "Events since the campaign to punish those behind the wicked mayhem in New York and Washington have conclusively shown that the U.S. is serving punishment and not justice. And it is serving it to the wrong people, may be for good reasons, but albeit to the most undeserving people.... Eight weeks of relentless bombing had only succeeded in killing hundreds of innocent civilians.... Man and women of conscience should draw the U.S. attention to the fact that it did not rain bombs on the home town of McVeigh even after a conclusive evidence that Timothy murdered 268 people in cold blood."
SOUTH AFRICA: "A Case Of Waste Not, Want Not?"
Regular columnist Nicola Jones opined in the liberal, independent Daily News (10/30): "Waste not, want not.... I tend to associate this phrase with all that is inhumane and illogical, a giant adult propaganda campaign.... The supreme example of this mindset is the food parcels the United States is benevolently flinging out of its military aircraft when the smart bombs need a break.... Aid agencies have condemned the food drops as a cynical, dangerous, public-relations exercise.... The United States is not dropping food to feed the starving.... Surely not, when no staple foodstuff, no medicines, no milk powder for starving babies, no blankets for a freezing nation, no tents for shelter and certainly no green cards are drifting gently down. Only shrink-wrapped fast food, seasoned with death and cluster bombs.... You've got to hand it to the U.S. government...international airlines are going under a dime a dozen...all those cellophane-wrapped airline meals will be going to waste as well. So what better way to dispose of all those unwanted pre-packaged meals than simply drop them from a safe height?... Waste not, want not. And if a few more civilians blow themselves up running after packets in minefields--well, write it off to collateral damage, and think of all the money you're saving in bombs."