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Pravda - US Bombed Refugees; Guardian - US Buys All Sattelite Images
18/10/2001 1:15 pm Thu
[Jika AS sanggup membunuh mereka yang tidak terbabit langsung di Afghanistan
tidak mustahil ia sendiri yang merencanakan tragedi ngeri WTC. Bagi AS nyawa itu
seolah-olah sudah tiada nilainya lagi. Ia sebenarnya bukannya memburu pengganas
tetapi mengganas sesuka hati.
This was stated by Western news agencies with reference to sources
from Afghanistan. According to the available information, an American
bomber has bombed a column of refugees having taken a long line of
trucks for the Taliban troops. The tragedy took place last night around
Jalalabad. At least 12 people were killed.
The Pentagon has not yet disproved the information, although
yesterday's news about the bombing of acolumn of refugees (20 of
them were killed) was not rejected. The spokesmen for the Pentagon
released a statement today that stated that the major targets for the U.S.
Air Forces in Afghanistan have been bombed. Now, the pilots have
more freedom of action - they are free to choose a target and hit it.
The American military hopes to destroy the armored military hardware
of the Taliban movement, as well as the artillery and ammunition
It was also said by Pentagon officials that the new tactics of the
American aviation did not mean that the pilots would bomb each
house they 'like.' First of all, they are supposed to get a permission
for each strike from the headquarters. However, it is not rather clear
how people at the headquarters know what target to bomb if they are
so far away from it. The only way to find this out is to listen to what a
pilot will say. Maybe that is why the bombs and missiles hit the
columns of refugees and food storage facilities.
According to information from Afghanistan, seven people were killed
during one day in Kabul as a result of the American air raids.
According to eye-witness, two bombs hit the administrative building
and another one hit the ammunition depot on the outskirts of the city.
US buys up all satellite war images
Duncan Campbell Wednesday October 17, 2001 The Guardian
The Pentagon has spent millions of dollars to prevent western media from
seeing highly accurate civilian satellite pictures of the effects of bombing
in Afghanistan, it was revealed yesterday.
The images, which are taken from Ikonos, an advanced civilian satellite
launched in 1999, are better than the spy satellite pictures available to
the military during most of the cold war.
The extraordinary detail of the images already taken by the satellite
includes a line of terrorist trainees marching between training camps at
Jalalabad. At the same resolution, it would be possible to see bodies lying
on the ground after last week's bombing attacks.
Under American law, the US defence department has legal power to
exercise "shutter control" over civilian satellites launched from the US in
order to prevent enemies using the images while America is at war. But no
order for shutter control was given, even after the bombing raids began 10
The decision to shut down access to satellite images was taken last
Thursday, after reports of heavy civilian casualties from the overnight
bombing of training camps near Darunta, north-west of Jalalabad. Instead
of invoking its legal powers, the Pentagon bought exclusive rights to all
Ikonos satellite pictures of Afghanistan off Space Imaging, the company
which runs the satellite. The agreement was made retrospectively to the
start of the bombing raids.
The US military does not need the pictures for its own purposes because it
already has six imaging satellites in orbit, augmented by a seventh
launched last weekend. Four of the satellites, called Keyholes, take
photographic images estimated to be six to 10 times better than the 1
metre resolution available from Ikonos.
The decision to use commercial rather than legal powers to bar access to
satellite images was heavily criticised by US intelligence specialists last
night. Since images of the bombed Afghan bases would not have shown
the position of US forces or compromised US military security, the ban
could have been challenged by news media as being a breach of the
First Amendment, which guarantees press freedom.
"If they had imposed shutter control, it is entirely possible that news
organisations would have filed a lawsuit against the government arguing
prior restraint censorship," said Dr John Pike, of Globalsecurity, a US
website which publishes satellite images of military and alleged terrorist
facilities around the world.
The only alternative source of accurate satellite images would be the
Russian Cosmos system. But Russia has not yet decided to step into the
information void created by the Pentagon deal with Space Imaging.
· Duncan Campbell is a writer on intelligence matters, and is not the Guardian's Los Angeles correspondent of the same n