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memri
October 31, 2001 No.
292

Terror in America (20): Editor of Leading Egyptian Government Daily Al-Ahram: The U.S. is Dropping Afghanis Genetically Altered Food… in Areas Full of Landmines

Following the recent press coverage by the Washington Post and the New York Times of Egypt's lack of support for U.S. war efforts, the leading Egyptian government press launched an offensive against the U.S. media and accused the U.S. of dropping genetically altered food rations to Afghanis in areas full of land mines. The following are excerpts from the Egyptian government press:

The American Papers Launch 'Deranged Attack' on Egypt
In an article titled: "Disturbing Phenonemon in the U.S. Media"[1] Al-Ahram's editor Ibrahim Nafi' wrote: "Recently… we have encountered a deranged attack by many American papers on Egypt's position in the current crisis; we have noticed intentional attempts to artificially create structural disagreement between the U.S. and Egypt. The situation has reached such a state that these newspapers incite the American government against Egypt."

"…Some of the most prominent columnists in the American papers, such as Thomas Friedman, took part in these attacks. If we look at the attack launched by The Washington Post as an example of the barbaric attack against Egypt, we will find that it is based on a biased misapprehension of the Egyptian position…"

Egypt Has Independent Positions… Even If They Clash With American Policy
"The [Post's] accusations are ludicrous, but at the same time they reflect ignorance, misapprehension, and arrogance…What is strange is that the authors of these articles do not realize that it is the U.S.'s policy that aspires to turn governments in most of the countries of the world into dictatorships when it demands that they blindly support American measures, while ignoring their own national interests and public opinion. The American government and media ignore one essential fact: Egypt is a sovereign state with principles, independent positions, and highly realistic views about the international problems and the crisis."

"I do not know how the Americans dare to speak in this way, primarily in light of the fact that they have no reason to think that Egypt is obligated to adopt the American positions absolutely, with no [independent] thought. Egypt has always adopted independent national and pan-Arab positions on all international and regional problems, even if these have clashed with American policy…"

Egypt's Position on Terror
"The truth is that these media attacks view the Egyptian position from a narrow angle, and misinterpret it, not according to its real essence… Egypt expressed complete sympathy for [the victims of] the disaster in America, and strongly condemned the terrorist action. It called on the U.S. to consider the crisis of September 11 in an objective and balanced manner. Egypt stated that terror should be struck with full force… [At the same time] Egypt emphasized that efforts to strike at terrorism must not lead to damage to innocent civilians, in Afghanistan in particular and in the world in general. Similarly, Egypt maintained that the American war against terrorism need not lead to attacks on any Arab or Islamic countries, which will, if it happens, constitute cruel and stupid aggression that will necessarily serve Israel's interests and necessarily increase the hatred in Arab and Islamic public opinion towards the American policy…"

The American-British Military Actions Hit Civillians, Children, and Women
"The developments of recent days have proved the justice of Egypt's position and the validity of Egypt's apprehensions, which President Mubarak has been pointing out since the beginning of the crisis. The American military action in Afghanistan has entered a most dangerous phase, after the aerial bombing and the American missiles hit civilians and residential areas in the Afghan capital, and after the bombing continued for a relatively long time and [was] more extensive than initially expected."

"The main goal of the American bombing and missile attacks was to achieve what is called air superiority over the arena of events, something for which, it can be assumed, no more than one day, or a few days at most, will suffice, in light of the Taliban movement's and Al-Qaida organization's few central military targets in Afghanistan."

"This means that American missiles and bombs have nothing to hit in Afghanistan. Instead of cutting this stage short, the American forces have greatly expanded it, and thus many questions have arisen concerning what exactly the U.S. forces are bombing… Similarly, it would be expected that the bombings would not hit innocent civilians… This development is evidence that the American-British military actions in Afghanistan have begun to hit civilians, children, and women; it is not limited to the 'scarce' military targets, but is expanding into populated areas and causing great damage to civilians."

America's Humanitarian Aid May be a Crime Against Humanity
"The U.S. tries to prove in every way possible that its military campaign is not directed at the Afghani people, but at the Taliban movement and the Al-Qaida organization. It has tried to express this in ways considered exceptional in the history of warfare. American planes drop humanitarian aid from the air on Afghani soil, as aid for the starving Afghani people, while American fighter planes, bombs, and missiles crush other regions in Afghanistan. This method poses serious risk… for the Afghan people, because [it] is dropped in areas full of landmines, which cause damage to the Afghani citizens trying to gather it up."

"Similarly, there were several reports that the humanitarian materials have been genetically treated, with the aim of affecting the health of the Afghani people. If this is true, the U.S. is committing a crime against humanity by giving the Afghani people hazardous humanitarian products, as it was said in those reports…"

U.S. Government is Behind Journalists' Attacks on Egypt
"There is no doubt that the recent attacks on Egypt by the American press aim at blackmailing our country. They are trying to divert attention from Israeli violations against the Palestinian people. Obviously, we understand that the positions of the American media are not necessarily representative of the American government's official position; it may be that they represent the position of the author of the article, of the newspaper, or of a particular stream in the U.S. But we also realize that such attacks are not usually isolated from American governmental influence, particularly at a time of crisis and war. We also view with great concern that the attacks by the American press on Egypt were simultaneous, which means that there is a collective coordinated attack in the U.S. against Egypt and Arab countries…"

Galal Dwidar, editor of the Egyptian government paper Al-Akhbar, focused on The Washington Post. Headlining his article "Will The Washington Post atone for the crimes against Egypt?" Dwidar wrote: "We in Egypt are sick of the pro-Israel bias of the American media that submit to the directives of the Jewish lobby. Because some of what is written on Egypt and the Arabs is a lie based on deceit, the names of some of those newspapers and television stations – whose identity is American in theory but Zionist in practice – have become synonymous with unreliability. We have begun to view these mouthpieces as a media apparatus in the pay of… the Zionist organizations and the apparatuses working clandestinely… What they write can be described only as blackmail, and as desperate attempts to distort the image [of Egypt] and to pressure it to change its loyal and moral positions."

"Oh how I hope that The Washington Post's aspiration to interview President Mubarak is an attempt on its part to atone for the media crime it committed against Egypt, which was expressed in an article rife with lies and evil intentions, written and published last Thursday ["The Arab Paradox," October 11, 2001] in favor of Israel, the pioneer of state-sponsored terrorism in the entire world."

"In response to the nonsensical words of The Washington Post, we say: 'Is the fact that American planes are attacking and killing civilians in Afghanistan, instead of the wanted terrorist leaders, compatible with human rights? Can the agents and those who sell their country's secrets [i.e. Egyptian human rights activist Sa'ad Al-Din Ibrahim, sentenced and jailed by the Egyptian authorities, and mentioned in the Post article] be considered heroes and victims only because the law was implemented in their case…? Is what Israel does every day against the Palestinians compatible with the principles of human rights? …'"[2]

Al-Akhbar columnist Dr. Abd Al-'Aati Muhammad also rebutted the articles in the American press. In an article entitled "The new terrorists," he wrote: "Since the events of September 11, [we have seen] the emergence of some who can be called 'new terrorists,' who are not very different than the old terrorists. Both kinds negate those who oppose their opinion and maintain that the truth is only on their side, and are incapable of self-criticism or admitting their mistakes. While the old terrorists have used arms to repress those who oppose them, the new terrorists are now using an even deadlier weapon – the weapon of ideological oppression…"

"The campaign of hatred and incitement against Egypt currently being waged by The Washington Post and The New York Times is a good example of the new terrorists whose voice is rising in the West… Although we have already become accustomed to these Western attacks, this time they have shown the true intentions of the group that influences the capitals of the West…"

"There is no need for us to remind these new terrorists that Egypt was the first to express support for the American political campaign against terrorism… There is no need for us to remind them that the American democracy, for which they now weep, is the one that put its hand in the hands of the old terrorists; it is that [democracy] whose hands were stained with the blood of innocents in several wars; it is that [democracy] which supported many autocratic regimes in Asia, Africa, and in Latin America, and its conscience was not shaken by the fear for democracy [in those countries]. By what human right do the new terrorists from the U.S. claim to teach others what democracy is? Does this not fundamentally contradict the idea of democracy?"[3]


[1] Al-Ahram (Egypt), October 19, 2001.

[2] Al-Akhbar (Egypt), October 18, 2001.

[3] Al-Akhbar (Egypt), October 16, 2001.