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Pravda - US Bombed Refugees; Guardian - US Buys All Sattelite Images
By Pravda

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.
- Editor

18:57 2001-10-18


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 depots.

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.,3604,575586,00.html

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 days ago.

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