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Year 2001 No. 169, October 8, 2001 ARCHIVE HOME SEARCH SUBSCRIBE

No to Anglo-American Aggression against Afghanistan!
For a Just and Peaceful Solution!

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

No to Anglo-American Aggression against Afghanistan! For a Just and Peaceful Solution!

Anti-War Protesters Take to the Streets

Tony Blair’s Statement

Opium Production Plummets 91% in Afghanistan

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Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist)

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No to Anglo-American Aggression against Afghanistan!
For a Just and Peaceful Solution!

US imperialism with its close ally the British government have launched military aggression against Afghanistan. This is a criminal act, no matter in what moral tone it is painted, and what justifications it is given. RCPB(ML) utterly condemns this act of war in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11.

Blair and Bush have given Afghanistan but two choices: stop supporting terrorism or be wiped out of existence. Both leaders have refused to speak or negotiate with the Taleban government of Afghanistan. "Defeat terrorism or be defeated by it!" Tony Blair has declared.

There are other options – a just and peaceful solution is possible, and this is what the people of the world demand! It is possible both to bring the perpetrators of terrorism to justice and to eradicate the causes of terrorism. But this cannot be done by Blair and Bush acting as dictators and launching unilateral acts of war against a sovereign country, once again. This can only be described as state terrorism. The use of force to sort out conflicts between peoples and nations is not acceptable!

People are protesting around the world against the "war on terrorism" and the military aggression against Afghanistan. RCPB(ML) joins its voice and its actions with all justice- and peace-loving people in their protests. It hails the spirit of the people in condemning Anglo-American aggression and calls on the British working class and people to press ahead with their initiatives.

No to Anglo-American Aggression against Afghanistan!

A Just and Peaceful Solution Is Possible!

Article Index



Anti-War Protesters Take to the Streets

Peace protesters took to the streets of London in an immediate response against the Anglo-American military strikes on Afghanistan.

At 7pm a group of 50 had gathered at Trafalgar Square, and 100 were holding a peace vigil opposite Downing Street. At approximately 7pm a group of anti-war protesters numbering 100 also assembled at Oxford Circus to demonstrate against the bombing in Afghanistan. Having swelled to 150 they made their way down, through Trafalgar Square, to Whitehall, stopping briefly outside Downing Street and onto Parliament Square. There were reports of two arrests and of the police using a Section 60 around a "Wombles" group.

ANTI-WAR PROTESTS TODAY

LONDON
6pm, Downing St, organised by CND
7pm Trafalgar Square, organised by Socialist Alliance
ABERDEEN
5pm Castlegate
BANGOR
6pm - vigil by the Memorial Arch, Deiniol Road
BARNSLEY
5pm, Town Hall
BELFAST
4pm outside the US Consulate on Queens Street
BIRMINGHAM
6pm Victoria Square
BRADFORD
Centenary Square, 5pm
BRIDGEND
7.30pm - Friends Meeting House, Park Street, Bridgend, meeting to set up an anti-war coalition.
BRIGHTON
6pm Public meeting at Sallis Benny Theatre, Grand Parade
From 6pm: The War Memorial.
BRISTOL
5:30 pm - 6:30, Peace meeting and vigil, city centre, opposite Hippodrome
CARDIFF
5pm - Aneurin Bevan Statue, Queen Street
COVENTRY
6pm Belgrade Square
EDINBURGH
From 17:00: at St Giles, Parliament Square
GLASGOW
From 17:00: in George Square
LEEDS
From 17:00: assemble in City Square, near railway station
LLANELLI
6pm - meeting of the Just Peace group at the Octagon, Inkerman St.
LUTON
5pm Town Hall steps
MANCHESTER
From 17:30: Market Street, Manchester City Centre
NEWCASTLE
6.00pm at monument - bring banners, drums etc.
NEWPORT
7.30pm - meeting of anti-war coalition in the Old Rising Sun
NORTHAMPTON
5pm St Matthew’s Church, town centre
NOTTINGHAM
Meeting in Market Square, Nottingham; 5pm with CND, Socialist Alliance and Stop the War
OXFORD
Oxford city centre, Carfax at 6.00 pm.
PLYMOUTH
7:00 pm, Place de Brest, City Centre, Organisers: Unison, CND, Socialist Alliance, SWP, SWSS
PORTSMOUTH
Portsmouth Guildhall - 6pm
READING
6pm, Queen Victoria statue, Town Hall Square
ST ALBANS
6pm War memorial, High St
SHEFFIELD
From 17:00: Sheffield Town Hall Steps
SOUTHAMPTON
6pm Civic Centre (Marlands side)
STOKE/KEELE
Hanley Town Hall 6pm
SWANSEA
Outside Marks and Spencer, Oxford Street. 9:30am
5pm Castle Gardens (opp MacDonalds)
WALSALL
On the day, from 18:00: The Crossing at St Pauls, Walsall town centre.
WATFORD
5pm St Mary’s Square

Article Index



Tony Blair’s Statement

The Prime Minister last night made a statement concerning military action against targets in Afghanistan.

In it, he confirmed that British forces are engaged in this action. He said that there was no doubt in his mind that the September 11 attacks were carried out by the al-Qaida organisation and planned by Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden’s network, he said, is harboured and supported by the Taleban regime inside Afghanistan.

Tony Blair referred to the ultimatum given to the Taleban, which Tony Blair called "the choice of siding with justice or siding with terror". He alleged that they have chosen to side with terror.

Tony Blair said that there are three equally important parts to the operation: military, diplomatic and humanitarian. He alleged that the military action will be targeted against places "we know" to be involved in the operation of terror, or against the military apparatus of the Taleban.

He said he could not disclose how long this action would last. The objectives, he alleged, were to eradicate Osama bin Laden’s network and to take action against the Taleban regime. Tony Blair confirmed that last Wednesday the US government made a specific request that a number of British military assets be used in the operation which has now begun. He gave authority for these assets to be deployed. They include the base at Diego Garcia, reconnaissance and flight support aircraft and missile firing submarines. Missile firing submarines are in use tonight. The air assets will be available for use in the coming days.

On the diplomatic front, France, Germany, Australia and Canada have also committed themselves to take part in the operation, Tony Blair said.

On the humanitarian front, he said that a coalition of support was being assembled for refugees in and outside Afghanistan. Tony Blair said that there are two million refugees in Pakistan and one and a half million in Iran.

Tony Blair then launched on a propaganda offensive of his own. He said that the attacks of the September 11 represented the worst terrorist outrage against British citizens in history. Even if no British citizen had died it would be right to act, he alleged.

Still without giving evidence, Tony Blair said that it is known the al-Qaida network threatens Europe, including Britain, going further and declaring that it also threatens any nation throughout the world that does not "share their fanatical views". He therefore alleged that in launching military strikes against Afghanistan Britain was acting in self-defence.

Referring to how economic confidence has suffered with all that means for British jobs and British industry, Tony Blair asserted that British prosperity and standards of living, therefore, required to government to deal with this "terrorist threat".

Tony Blair also alleged that the al-Qaida network and the Taleban regime are funded in large part on the drugs trade. Ninety per cent of all the heroin sold on British streets originates from Afghanistan, he asserted.

Tony Blair also asserted that this is not a war with Islam.

After all this, Tony Blair said that there is at present no specific credible threat to Britain that is known of and that "we have in place tried and tested contingency plans which are the best possible response to any further attempts at terror".

In conclusion, Tony Blair asserted: "None of the leaders involved in this action want war." He said, "We are a peaceful people." Britain, he said, has however learnt the lesson many times in its history that sometimes "to safeguard peace we have to fight". He said, "We only do it if the cause is just but this cause is just." Since the Anglo-American-led coalition "waited so that those responsible" for an "attack on our freedom, our way of life, an attack on civilised values the world over" could be "yielded up by those shielding them", and "that offer was refused", " we have now no choice so we will act." Tony Blair declared that there would be no "let up or rest" until the objectives are met in full.

Article Index


Opium Production Plummets 91% in Afghanistan

Production of the opium poppy in Afghanistan plunged 91 percent this year, thanks to a ban its Taleban rulers imposed last year against poppy growing, UN officials said Friday, October 5.

Growers this year harvested 200 tonnes of the poppy – the plant used for the production of opium, heroin and other drugs – compared with 4,600 tonnes in 1999 and 3,300 tonnes last year, said Mohammad Amirkhizi, senior policy adviser at the Vienna-based UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention.

About 150 tonnes of this year's harvest came from the 10 percent of Afghan land controlled by the opposition Northern Alliance, which is fighting a protracted war against the Taleban regime from its bases in the north. The harvest season this year has ended and the planting season will soon begin.

In 1999 and last year, the opposition-held territories produced between 100 and 150 tonnes of the poppy, roughly 4 percent of overall production, Amirkhizi said, citing ground surveys by UN officials.

Still, opium produced in opposition-held lands amounts to "a modest amount of production" because of the small size of the territory, said Pino Arlacchi, the agency's director.

The UN agency is to release its annual report on opium production in about a week. Afghanistan is among the world's leading opium producers.

Arlacchi said the fall in poppy production might not hold because the Taleban seem to be losing their ability to enforce the ban.

There has been growing concern that the Taleban regime could lift its ban to ease its financial situation as it becomes increasingly isolated.

Several UN officials have said recently that they have no way of monitoring opium production because all their workers left the country immediately after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US.

"We won't know whether the ban is being implemented," Arlacchi said. Although cultivation season is about to begin, "we won't know until February 2002 when flowers blossom if the ban is holding." "Next spring the Taleban probably won't be there, but the opium poppy will," Arlacchi said, adding that the UN and world governments should begin to develop a plan for banning opium after the Taleban fall from power.

The US is supporting the Northern Alliance. The alliance's leader, Ahmed Shah Massoud, who was assassinated shortly before the terrorist attacks, had hoped to phase out opium cultivation, Arlacchi said. "He told me he was committed to this," Arlacchi said. "I believe the leaders of the Northern Alliance know their credibility will be undermined if they allow it."

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