La Jornada, MEXICO
The electronic media... confirmed their status as instruments of planetary disinformation; a bombardment of images replaced the search for the motives behind the bombardment of the United States and, as happened a decade ago during the war against Iraq, live broadcasts of destruction helped to obscure the fundamental questions; who planned and executed these demented assaults and what did they have in mind?
No-one refers to the position of advantage these tragic events will give to the hawks in the US and other countries as well. Nowhere on the casualty list appear the individual liberties and guarantees of migrant people.
Nasra Al Sa’adoon, Baghdad-based author, IRAQ
Can this be a turning point? A time to join hands? A halt to carnage which has been going on since the crusades?
And let me say that here in Iraq, contrary to reports, we were not smiling. We know loss and pain too well, we are not vengeful, but we were remembering again what happened to us 10 years ago.
Official Government Statement published in Granma, CUBA
Iran Daily, IRAN
After the colossal damage had been done to American life and property on Tuesday, President George Bush pledged to bring those responsible to ‘justice’… justice these days is a very rare commodity.
Jordan Times, JORDAN
While the Bush administration has announced its determination to ‘wage war on terrorism’, the US will never win that war until it addresses the grievances which inspire militants to strike at Washington. Palestine should be at the top of the Bush administration’s list because the US pro-Israel stance in this century-old conflict fuels the hatred which drives Muslims to attack ‘soft’ US targets and kill US citizens.
Main Islamic fundamentalist group the Muslim Brotherhood, EGYPT
Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, lebanon’s top Shi’a cleric and one-time leader of Hizbollah, we reject methods of this sort. No rational person can accept any people being exposed to what the American people have been exposed to.
Payman Bahrami, a greengrocer, IRAN
Gulf News, DUBAI / UAE
It is important at a time like this that America remembers its role as the world’s leading power, and its commitment to justice. Bush’s intention to ‘punish’ should not disintegrate into plain revenge, but should incorporate justice as well. In such a search for justice America carries the sympathy and support of the world.
Moscow Times, RUSSIA
Boris Pankin, the last Soviet Foreign Minister.
Ashrawi urged the world not to draw conclusions about Palestinian attitudes from the behaviour of the few ‘exceptions’ who had rejoiced at news of the attacks… ‘The Palestinians, as victims of the Israeli occupation, naturally identify with the victims of the terror attack.’
Bangkok Post, THAILAND
Michael Moore, the maker of ‘Roger and Me’ and other films, via email, US
Where did he go to terrorist school? At the CIA!
Posted anonymously onto New York
Statement by Project Underground via email, US
Today our society is awash with fear. But what is of greatest concern is those who would use that fear to inflict a new round of terror. We stand aghast at those who in the wake of tragedy can only speak in terms of dollars and cents. We watch as traders flee to the ‘security’ of gold and oil and are reminded that that ‘security’ has been purchased with the blood of communities with whom we work.
We are saddened and distraught that some would use the bloodshed today as the pretext for greater hate or for the reduction of freedom.
We are deeply and profoundly fearful of the impact of retaliatory military attacks and of the military escalation that results from a United States military response. That needless suffering inflicted on civilians from the sky is morally unacceptable has never been more clear to the people of the United States of America.
Daily Star, LEBANON
America has been made to know the suffering that so many other countries understand all too well. Now it should lead the way in finding solutions to the problems that breed violence and desperation.
Znet, UNITED STATES
As to how to react, we have a choice: we may try to understand, or refuse to do so, contributing to the likelihood that much worse lies ahead.
Abdul Gani Bhat, chair of Kashmir’s main separatist alliance.
Claims have often been levelled in court that (sometimes deadly) military force has been used against people’s resistance to oil companies’ activities – for example in Burma, Nigeria and Colombia. The latest such claim relates to the Indonesian province of Aceh.
Aceh – a relatively small Indonesian province – has a wealth of natural resources, though it is largely undeveloped. A significant exception is the natural-gas project in the Arun area of the province run by Exxon Mobil – one of the largest and most profitable gas projects in the world run by one of the largest and most profitable oil companies in the world.
For many years, a significant proportion of the Aceh population has pushed for independence from Indonesia. In 1999, nearly half of Aceh’s four million people mobilized in the streets demanding a referendum on independence. The Indonesian Government and its military have for decades violently opposed the Aceh separatists. As the opposition grows, so does the military presence in the province, and the violence it creates. There are now more than 30,000 troops in Aceh. In this year alone, more than 1,200 people are estimated to have died in violence between the pro-independence rebels and the security forces.
The new Indonesian President, Megawati Sukarnoputri, is offering Aceh greater autonomy but refusing to grant independence. Aceh is just too valuable to lose. Some 11 per cent of Indonesia’s national budget comes from Aceh’s natural resources. Less than 0.4 per cent remains in Aceh.
A claim recently lodged in a US court helps explain why it’s also in the interests of the military to keep Aceh in the Indonesian fold. In June this year, the Washington-based International Labour Rights Fund lodged a compensation claim in the Columbian District Court against the Exxon Mobil Corporation and other companies associated with its Indonesian operations, on behalf of 11 Aceh villagers. The 24-page complaint alleges serious human-rights abuses have been committed against the Acehnese people, including genocide, murder, torture, sexual violence and kidnapping.
The formal complaint says that Mobil (before it merged with Exxon) provided payment and shares to the family of Indonesia’s second President, Suharto, in exchange for exclusive rights to explore for and produce natural gas in the Arun area of Aceh. As part of the deal, the Suharto regime assigned Indonesian military units to provide security for the gas project.
The complaint says that the gas company paid the military a fee for their services, and provided them with barracks. It was in these barracks that the military rounded up, tortured and slaughtered thousands of Acehnese people. It is also alleged that the company purchased military equipment for the security forces, and paid mercenaries to provide advice and training for the military.
Corporate support would be understandably welcomed by the Indonesian military, which is starved of funding: only an estimated 25-30 per cent of their funding comes from the Indonesian Government’s budget and the military must raise the rest on its own. As Gareth Evans – Australia’s foreign minister from 1988 to 1996 – recently wrote: ‘This desperately corrupting dynamic has severely distorted the capacity of the Indonesian armed forces to operate in anything approaching a satisfactory relationship with the government and the society they are supposed to serve.’
ACTION: Press your government to support Aceh’s democratic right to have a referendum and break all military ties with Indonesia. Petitions and information are available from Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor (ASIET), an Australian-based organization that will field international interest – www.asiet.org.au
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