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EDITORIAL - Update Oct 16th

Do you even have a basement? How deep do you have to go to escape a smart bomb? How much time? Do we even know how to deal with an emergency?

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face--forever." --
Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell

Extract from Larry King Live discussing the Anthrax incidents in Baton Rouge:
'And the scary thing about this, Larry, is that it could happen to anybody. It could happen to -- it could happen to Time Warner. It could -- it could happen to "The New York Times." It could happen to basically anybody. And the fear and hysteria is incredible. As a matter of fact, what is so amazing to me is after everyone has worked, after all my employees worked this hard to get the papers out, I'm getting calls from retailers throughout the United States that people, that our customers are afraid to touch...
KING: To buy it? Afraid to touch the paper?
PECKER: Are afraid to actually touch the papers, because they're afraid that anthrax can be communicated. And -- and -- and what I'd like to do, Larry, if you don't mind, the Center for Disease Control yesterday had a press conference at 5:30. And there was an excerpt that I think is very important for people to hear, and I'm hoping to relieve some of the hysteria. And what they said was "We're aware of concerns that have been expressed by the general public about anthrax being transmitted to paper and ink. The public is at no risk of disease from handling printed paper. There is no risk of exposure of anthrax being transmitted by handling any tabloids or any publications published by American Media."

The phoney war is over. 50 Tomahawk missiles fired from submarines fired at Afghanistan signaled the start of the either a global conflict between Islam and Christianity or the demolition of a country that is already up to it’s neck in rubble. Time will tell.

Just the first 50 missiles cost £670,000 each to fire. It might be churlish to mention this right now but someone has to pay for all this and so far only the UK and USA are in the ‘battle’. Add the Stealth bombers, B52 Stratofortresses, submarines, battleships, hundreds of fighter jets and other assorted war planes, ground forces, supply logistics and catering this is modern warfare and it is expensive. No wonder then so many countries in Europe don’t want to play. Much better to carry on selling the Mercedes or chocolates and let the other suckers pay the increased taxes.

Right now we have been bombing for nearly two weeks and other than destablising Pakistan, it doesn't seem to have affected the Taliban much at all. In the end, all we are doing is rearranging rubble. Perhaps someone in the Pentagon will realise that it is changing hearts and minds that wins wars rather than providing the enemy with scrap metal. My own informed sources say that the Taliban will eventually hand over Bin Laden to the US. But it's pub talk and they are also saying that three weeks of bombing will leave the Taliban intact. We shall see.

In the UK we became aware of the attack at around 5.30 pm on the Sunday afternoon. From our situation in Cafe Nero on the King’s Road the instant topic of conversation became ‘what are the targets for reprisal ’. The realisation that one works in the ‘city’ another in a sensitive telecommunications building and all have to use the underground to get to work is sobering. Although nothing has happened here in the UK, you stop to think for a moment of how much fear there must be on the ground in Kabul or Jalababad.

None of us save the old know what it is like to live with planes bombing, the panic as the air is ignited all around you, the complete lack of security. Think about it right now. Look around you where you are reading this. Where would you go? Where could you hide? Do you even have a basement? How deep do you have to go to escape a smart bomb? How much time? Do we even know how to deal with an emergency, where do you go for help, is there a Civil Defence organisation anymore? Do you even own a fire extinguisher? Do you stay home or risk running in the street to save the kids from school. What about food, light, heat, cooking gas, your deep freeze, your dog or cat. Do you know how to stop bleeding or bandage a wound? Put yourself in their shoes today and tomorrow. Hear the bombs falling, how strong is your heart?

Our leaders talk of revenge, right or wrong, the Sept 11th attack was heinous and evil by any standard, but it doesn’t bring the victims back. Now we, like those in Afghanistan who have been waiting three weeks for the bombs to drop, we must wait for the reprisals in London, New York, Washington or more likely softer targets, cities with no strategic value but a vulnerable population taken unawares.

Oct 16th
Almost nine days has gone by and Afghanistan is pretty much crippled now. The Taliban are defiant, but what else could they be? The real problem is dealing with the aftermath now. Who should rule Afghanistan? If the US imposes a government or makes it a protectorate, how long will they have to be there? How stable is Saudi Arabia or anywhere in that region. Is the anthrax scare in the USA overblown or can we expect more surprises in the mail? More importantly, has anyone in the States woken up to the fact that oil supplies could become very erratic in the future and maybe, just maybe, huge Dodge V8s and other monsters of the road are not a great idea anymore. I guess not.

Osama bin Laden must be laughing his head off, following a report that bizarre office accidents are injuring thousands of UK workers. Bombs? Anthrax? Crashing hijackers jet-liners? Nope.

According to the Ananova newswire, "The Department of Trade and Industry says rubber bands, paperclips, pencil sharpeners and staplers were among the innocent-looking items which turned on their users" in a continuing barrage of office injuries. Paperclips caused 238 accidents, while 402 people hurt themselves with rubber bands. 955 office workers suffered a serious injury as a result of a fall in the last five years, while workplace accidents in the UK last year alone reached 29,315. So how do we defeat terrorism? It's obvious. Send them rubber bands, paperclips, pencil sharpeners and staplers -- the items most likely to cause damage, according to the DTI. John Lewell

Strange conversations took place last Sunday night in Cafe Pasta on High Street Kensington.
If you were ‘them’ how would you do it? How would you take revenge?
The curious thing is that you do not need to explode anything or bomb anyone.

To strangle London all you need is to whisper in the ear of a union leader of the RMT and London's Underground trains will be brought to a halt. All you need is to park a stolen truck across the entry roads such as the A3, M3, M1, A1, the North Circular and that’s it. London would be completely crippled. No one would get in or out. Do it for a week and the city economy would probably collapse. One only has to see just how strategic placed the road works are that are in progress now on all these roads. Virtually all of them have been narrowed to one lane , the traffic is backed up for miles for hours every day in both directions. Add this to the trains that invariably run late, the bankrupt Railtrack, you really don’t have to do much to destroy London. Successive local governments and the anti-motorist Mayor Ken Livingston are doing the terrorists work for them.

London is virtually unnavigable at the best of times with traffic being deliberately choked off at key points of entry. Decades of under investment in rail, road, the underground, you name it, has left most of the city as sophisticated and organised as Calcutta. The lack of vision is stunning, the indifference monumental. The motorist gets the blame, but to be truthful London may well be fabulous in Holland Park or St Johns Wood, but it is not the great city it could be, it is not safe, clean or even possessed of a city plan to make it better. Property prices may have doubled in the last three years, but in truth, all it reveals is how tacky and miserable the place is. To pay half a million to live in a flat in West Kensington or Camden or worse Hackney with garbage strewn all over the pavement and virtually ever car getting broken into every month is not the best advert for our ‘way of life’. For some older people they already live a life of terror confined to their homes as they too scared to go outside because of urban crime and or racial abuse (on both sides).

We may now have a feeling of superiority over the soon to be vanquished, but the seeds of our destruction are visible in our London streets. We are not a cohesive society, we don’t seem to be a society that cares about the immediate environment outside our homes, let alone the next neighbourhood. Now is the time to reflect on what it is exactly we value and why. If you really want to do this vicariously then go and see the film SOUTH WEST 9 - Brixton life as you have never seen it before.

It is also a time to make sure to contribute something towards a charity that will aide the innocent Afghans caught up in this battle. Even before this war the population of 20.9 million (WHO 1988 figures) had appalling statistics. 35% of the children under five have malnutrition, life expectancy is only 40-45 years, only 12 percent of the population had access to safe water.
They need to know you care. £25 could help feed two people for the winter.
You can help by going to

© Sam North - Managing Editor

© Carine Thomas - Publisher - A Brighter Image Company

Making Peace by Michael Levy
New York Reality - Robert Cooper
A new view of New York - A.Ashman
Before the bombs fell - editorial


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