In Fact…

In Fact…

US food airdrops, School of the Americas Watch gets border scrutiny, V.S. Naipaul, Walter Isaacson and more.



US airdrops of food packages for the Afghans have run into a problem: fears that unexploded bomblets from cluster bombs, small cylinders with yellow jackets, could be confused with the yellow food packets. US psychological operations has broadcast warnings in Dari and Pashto not to touch the bomblets. Unexploded cluster bomblets caused numerous casualties during the Gulf War and in Kosovo, when soldiers and civilians, particularly children, touched them.



Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg writes: In a climate when dissent is silenced and immigrants lose basic rights in the name of national security, School of the Americas Watch, dedicated to closing the US Army training program that has produced some of Latin America's most violent human rights abusers, is feeling the chill. On October 10, when Eric LeCompte, SOA Watch outreach director, and Hendrik Voss, an SOA Watch volunteer, tried to enter Canada to conduct nonviolence training, they were detained by Canadian immigration services. Canadian and US officers searched their belongings and car, paying particular attention to SOA Watch materials. After checking the FBI database, Canadian immigration officers informed LeCompte that he would not be allowed into Canada because of his arrest in 1995 (in a protest against the fingerprinting of welfare recipients). "We were told we would not be allowed into Canada because they thought we were going to encourage Canadians to protest," LeCompte said. After the two were ordered to leave Canada, Voss, a German citizen, was threatened with deportation and detained for one night by US immigration. Voss's journal, which contained information on SOA Watch events and other demonstrations, was photocopied by US officers and later returned to him. SOA Watch has been told by Columbus, Georgia, city officials that it will be denied a permit to protest peacefully outside the Fort Benning gate in November, a protest held legally for the past ten years. The organization has been asked to protest elsewhere in the city. "This year security concerns must outweigh the location," reads a letter from Bobby Peters, the mayor of Columbus, to SOA Watch program director Jeff Winder. SOA Watch has retained the ACLU of Georgia and is engaged in discussions with the mayor.



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* Nobel Prize winner V.S. Naipaul says Islam has "had a calamitous effect on converted peoples. To be converted you have to destroy your past, destroy your history. You have to stamp on it, you have to say my ancestral culture does not exist, it doesn't matter…. this abolition of the self demanded by Muslims was worse than the similar colonial abolition of identity." Clearly he didn't win the Nobel Peace Prize. * CNN chairman Walter Isaacson issued orders to correspondents that in reports with footage of civilian deaths and devastation in Afghanistan they should remind viewers that the Taliban harbors terrorists who killed 5,000 Americans in the September 11 attacks. Isaacson said it seemed "perverse to focus too much on the casualties or hardship in Afghanistan," and he doesn't want CNN to become a platform for Taliban propaganda. Why not a crawl under the pictures saying, "Those people got what was coming to them"?

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