US Agenda in Afghanistan: Peace without Justice
The Indian sage Mahandas Karamchand Gandhi once remarked: “The world provides enough for every man’s need but not for every man’s greed”.
Ben Franklin said: “Those who would give up freedom for security deserve, and will get neither”.
The forward looking Iranian President Mohammad Khatami while addressing the UN General Assembly pointed out to the brutally unequal distribution of the 21st century global capitalism, arguing that “we cannot live in islands of prosperity and progress while the rest of the world is increasingly caught in poverty, illiteracy, disease and insecurity”.
The West’s proclaimed peace is without justice. Its concept of justice is one sided. The West wants justice when only its interest is hurt. What we need is global endeavour to resolve conflicts and establish peace, with the participation of all nations, big or small, rich or poor, advanced or backward, Semitic or non-Semitic. In the same way, the solution of conflicts must be global, commented Uri Avnery, peace worker of Gush Shalom Movement. Nothing justifies killing innocent people, be in America or Afghanistan. The West must sink criminal outrage and killing for the sake of killing. The West must revaluate its policy towards the Third World Arab and Muslim countries; leave its attitude of supremacy and work for genuine peace particularly in those regions of the world where terrorism is largely the result of colonialism, new or old. The West should not think that the people of the Third World countries are stupid and have forgotten that the British invaded Afghanistan in 1842 when there was no Osama Bin Laden, Mollah Umar, Taliban, Al Quida or any terrorist attack in the British mainland. Global peace today is at the crossroad. The international politics should be no more based on the notion that might make right. Global peace cannot be achieved by relying extensively on military might. What is however required, first and foremost, is to make sincere and genuine efforts to see the values of liberty, freedom, equality and dignity for humankind prevail throughout the world. The West must turn away from blatant moral hypocrisy and undeniable prejudice against Islam. This is reflected in US policy of closing down Muslim charities that feed starving children in Palestine, while allowing Jewish American to send over one billion dollars to Israeli settlers and terrorist groups like “Kach” to promote their terrorist activities, murder and expropriation of Palestine land. America can no longer sell its morality, respectability and creditability to the world. US must realize that its foreign policy is biased and morally wrong. Power is a two-edged sword. When used for justice it lasts, when misused it vanishes. History of ancient civilizations- Greek, Roman, Persian and Egyptian- is the testimony of this fact and therefore in our time the so-called modern civilization should take lesson from this. Unfortunately September 11 is the anniversary of the League of Nations proclaiming in Palestine the British mandate in 1922. 2001 is however the United Nation’s year of dialogue of civilizations. Will the year end with a clash of civilizations- a clash between Islam and the West?
The West in the past had always been propagating that the Arab and Muslim countries are technologically backward and that Islam or the Last Revealed Book of God; the Quran is the root cause of their backwardness. Now the big question is: When the Muslim world is as a whole backward, how then an individual Osama Bin Ladin or a group Al Qaida could mastermind such an accurate and precise attack with unthinkable precision on the WTC, the Twin Towers- a Western Minaret - and Pentagon. One wonders whether it is believable that the Arab and Muslim countries have advanced scientifically enough to particularly attack Pentagon, which is protected by highly sophisticated and sensitive technology. If not, why has U.S. targeted Afghanistan for giving sanctuary to Osama Bin Laden? Why this war is then fought? What is the hidden agenda behind U.S. attack on Afghanistan? Analysts believe that U.S. is after Afghanistan for strategic, military and economic reasons. U.S. economic interests in Afghanistan, Central Asia and Caucasus and Caspian region is so vital for the U.S. government that it has started an all out propaganda war to convince and persuade its public that its so-called commitment to freedom and democracy and the American way of life is under attack.
Beneath however lays the real motive. What is that? Why does veteran journalist Robert Fisk of Independent (10 December 2001) question this “War of Civilization” in the name of “good must triumph over evil”? Why is this “dubious battle”, to quote the title of John Steinbeck novel? Why President Bush so horridly declared a “crusade” against Afghanistan? The Western media and U.S. loose no time to establish its own justification and logic to attack Afghanistan, indeed an unequal war. What is the American way of life? Is it liberty, freedom and democracy at home and neo-colonialism outside in the name of so-called new world order, human rights, free market and globalization? U,S, to protect its sheer interests therefore support despotic dictatorial regimes in Third World countries and do not hesitate to intervene and use its armed forces. U.S. must shun its foreign policy of supporting the tyrants and dictators against the legitimate aspirations of the people of the Third World countries to fashion their lives, culture and economy as they wish and allow them to pursue their national independence and identity. U.S. must give up its old practice and willingness to support authoritarian and corrupt regimes as long as these governments serve and advance U.S. economic and strategic interests. Why U.S. government and president Bush Jr. in particular refused to produce solid and concrete evidence and not bias flimsy evidence to Arab and Muslim countries and O.I.C. in particular or to any U.N. Tribunal for the alleged involvement of Osama Bin Laden in the attack on Twin Towers-the two most spectacular buildings in the whole planet-and Pentagon? Is it because that the evidence it has would not stand in any court of law. What we need is an International Criminal Court to deal with all sorts of killers and terrorists. Unfortunately U.S. have not ratified the accord establishing International Criminal Court (ICC). President Bush gave ultimatum to the people of the world that “if you are not with us, you are against us”. Is it the U.S. demonstration of its commitment to freedom and liberty worldwide? What president Bush Jr. wants to convey by saying: Either you are with the West (us) or with the terrorists (Muslims). How a logical and rational person can say that the Muslims by refusing to assist the West against the fellow Muslims automatically become the supporter of terrorist? What will be the position of Sweden as a neutral country in such a situation? As far as the poor Third World countries are concerned the words liberty, freedom, independence, progress, wealth, technology and war have taken anew meaning and dimension. Attack on Afghanistan was not a war. War in Afghanistan was the West’s jingoistic drive for peace. The infinite justice in Afghanistan was the U.S. attempt to humiliate and dominate Afghanistan and enduring freedom was really enduring subjugation, to subjugate Afghanistan economically, militarily and culturally. U.S. refusal to provide evidence of the involvement of Osama Bin Laden, despite request from all quarters, is a gross violation of international law governing relations between states, human rights, rule of law and a demonstration of U.S. arrogance as a super power and its firm commitment to the principle of might is right and its dam attitude towards the global public opinion. U.S. policy of freedom inside the country means dominance and hegemony outside. When U.S. say that they love people outside the West; they really mean they hate non-Westerns who do not subscribe their views, culture and way of life. U.S. activities since the Two World Wars have proved that when they say, they want peace and stability in the non-Western countries, their real intention is to impose war in the name of peace to stop the onward march and progress of the Third World Arab and Muslim countries. Even two days before the attack on WTC and Pentagon eight people were killed in southern Iraq when U.S. and British planes bombed civilian areas which were not covered by the mainstream Western media to keep people in the dark, U.N Media Peace Prize winner campaign journalist John Pilger commented. It is most unfortunate that the Western media largely behaves like a war propaganda machine in shaping public opinion, in projecting U.S. hegemony and dominance. The Western media’s ignorance and prejudice is pushing the world towards clash between civilizations. “Western terror is a part of the recent history of imperialism, a word that journalists dare not to speak or write”, commented John Pilger.
The countries of the International Coalition against Afghanistan are the manufacturer of the deadly weapons of mass destruction and these are the countries that create circumstances whereby they can sell their weapons and test the effectiveness of these weapons. The Third World countries and Muslim regions in the Balkans are the killing ground of the Western producers of the weapons. Carlyle Group is reported to be the largest firm that invests in the defense sector (US $13 billion) and makes money from military conflicts and weapon selling. Such persons run Carlyle as former U.S. Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci (Chairman and Managing Director and a college friend of Donald Rumsfeld), former US Secretary of State James Baker, George Soros (notorious for stabbing the Far Eastern rising economy) and Fred Maleek (George Bush Sr’s Campaign Manager). The Baltimore Chronicle reported that former US President George Bush Sr is seeking investments for the Carlyle Group from the Asian markets.
The other business the Group is involved is oil. It is now an open secret that President George Bush Jr. and Vice President Dick Cheney made fortunes working in U.S. oil industry and their legacy with the oil company still continues. Now the readers can imagine why President Bush is so enthusiastic in the Afghan internal affairs. U.S. always viewed oil from security and strategic consideration and therefore ensured its presence in the West Asia and Gulf region. Turkmenistan, which borders the northwest Afghanistan, holds an estimated six billion barrels of oil reserves and the world’s third largest gas reserves, enough to meet U.S. energy needs for the next thirty years. The Unocal, the U.S. oil giant, has been negotiating with the Taliban for few years for permission to construct an oil pipeline through Afghanistan to Pakistan and out to Arabian Sea to off set the major impediments to American oil interest in the region from Iran and Russia. Unocal wanted access to the lucrative emerging markets of south and south Asia through this pipeline. In December 1997 Taliban representative also visited U.S. and met State Department officials. But when the discussion fizzled out “because of unbending Taliban regime” and Mollah Omar refused to give U.S. the facility to construct pipeline, the real problem surfaced. The U.S. with all its sophisticated monitoring system and intelligence network did not make any attempt to kidnap Osama Bin Laden (the alleged criminal in the eye of U.S. who mastermind the WTC and Pentagon attack) from Afghanistan like it kidnapped Noriega nor made any attempt to capture Osama Bin Laden as it tried to rescue its seized diplomats in Iran after the fall of the Shah of Iran rather decided to bring the fall of Taliban government by military might. Why? It is not because of the so-called denial of fundamental rights to women; Afghan women in hijab or veil, for U.S. finds no wrong with the Saudi women in hijab (Women in Afghanistan follow a particular system of veil, hijab true to their tribal tradition. This is reflected from the fact that those women who have taken refugee camps in Pakistan and out of the control of Mollah Omar follow the same hijab. Afghan women still follow the same hijab code even when the Northern Alliance has taken control of whole of Afghanistan) or the demolition of the two tallest sandstone Buddha statues in Bamiya, central Afghanistan for U.S. also did not raise its voice when the ancient Babri Mosque was demolished by the Indian Hindu fundamentalists although U.S. used these issues to pursue its hidden agenda, the “politics of petroleum”. To U.S. economic and geo-political interests remain always high. Other considerations are secondary and sometimes insignificant. This is reflected from the statement of Madeleine Albright the then U.S. Secretary of State. In 1996 when she was interviewed by CBS television by Leslie Stahl and asked on what she felt about the fact that 500,000 Iraqi children had died as a result of U.S. sanction, she replied that is was “a very hard choice”, but that, all things considered, “we think the price is worth it”. “In U.S, the arms industry, the oil industry, the major media network and indeed the U.S. foreign policy all are controlled the same business combine”, commented Booker Prize Winning author and journalist Arundhati Roy.
The Caspian Sea region has potentially the world’s largest oil reserve, likely making Central Asia the next Middle East. The problem is piping it out. Afghanistan occupies a strategic position between the Caspian and the markets of the Indian subcontinent and East Asia. Its prime concern is building pipelines, which are why the oil company Unocal, as well the U.S. government, welcomed the Taliban rise to power in 1996 as a promising source of “stability”. That however turned out to be a “dream”. President Bush, the US Commander-in-Chief and the oilmen around him have never given up on the tremendous profit possibilities that Central Asia offers. Unfortunately this is the real issue of conflict, which must not escape the attention of the foreign policy analysts.
John Pilger in an article in the London Mirror (29 October 2001) commenting on the U.S. imposed war on Afghanistan described the war as “a cover war” and “a means of achieving American strategic aims that lie behind the flag-waving façade of great power”, a war of attrition of “the powerful against the powerless, with new excuses, new hidden agenda, new lies”. Pilger in his article mentioned that on the day of Twin Towers attack, an “arms fair” selling weapons of terror (like cluster bombs and missiles) to assorted tyrants and human rights abusers, opened in London with the full backing of Blair government. People of the Middle East and South Asia have been victims largely of the West’s exploitation of precious natural resources in or near their countries, Pilger pointed out. This is the hidden agenda of the West. The genocidal blockade of Iraq is causing more deaths of infants every month than the number killed in the World Trade Center. But the U.S. conscience never awakens for the scene of incident is not their heartland but in far-away places beyond the seas. ‘Prayer service is neither organized for these innocent children killed nor a concert with Paul McCartney nor their death is condoled’. Malaysian academician and human rights activists Dr. Chandra Muzaffar raised the question: “Why is that after it was known that a white crew-cut member of a right-wing militia that bombed the Oklahoma Federal Building in 1995 and killed more than a hundred people, there was no mass, or even a limited, expression of collective anger and venom towards crew-cut militia in different parts of the States”?
The oil and gas reserves of Central Asia have been controlled by Russia. Bush government wanted to change that. But Taliban refused to accept U.S. conditions. This changed the U.S. rationale of energy security “into a military one”. This was claimed in the book “Bin Ladin: La Verite Interdite” (Bin Laden: The Formidable Truth), jointly authored by Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, reported IPS from Paris. [Brisard and Dasquie have long experience in intelligence analysis. Brisard was until the late 1990s director of economic analysis and strategy for Vivendi, a French company. He also worked for French secret services, and wrote for them in 1997 a report on the now famous Al Qaida network. Dasquie is an investigative journalist and publisher of Intelligence Online, a respected newsletter on diplomacy, economic analysis and strategy, available through the Internet]. The writers claimed that until August 2001, the U.S. government saw Taliban regime as a source of stability in Central Asia which they thought would enable U.S. to construct an oil pipeline from across Central Asia, from rich oilfields in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, through Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the Indian Ocean. At one stage of the negotiations, the U.S. representative told the Taliban: “Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs”, the authors of the book claimed in an interview in Paris. The last meeting between U.S. and Taliban representatives took place in August, five weeks before the incident in New York and Washington in which Christaian Rocca, in charge of Central Asian affairs for the U.S. government was present.
Bush’s family has a strong oil background. So are his top aides. From the U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, through the Director of the National Security Council Condoleeza Riec, to the Ministers of Commerce and Energy, Donald Evans and Stanley Abraham, all have worked for U.S. oil companies. Cheney was until the end of the year 2000 President of Halliburton, a company that provides services for oil industry; Rice was between 1991 to 2000 Manager for Chevron; Evans and Abraham worked for Tom Brown, another oil giant.
The book confirmed the earlier reports that U.S. government worked closely with U.N. during the negotiations with Taliban. Several meetings took place last year (2001), under the arbitration of Francese Vendrell, personal representative of U.N Secretary General Kofi Annan to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. Representatives of the U.S. government and Russia, and the six countries that border with Afghanistan were present at these meetings. Sometimes representatives of the Taliban also sat around the table. These meetings also called “6+2” because of the number of states (six neighbours plus U.S. and Russia) involved. Naif Naik, former Minister for Foreign Affairs, government of Pakistan also confirmed about these meetings. In a recent French television news programme Naif Naik said that during the “6+2” meeting in Berlin held in July, discussion turned around the formation of a government of national unity. If Taliban had accepted this coalition, they would have immediately received international economic aid and the pipelines from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan would have come. Naif Naik also claimed that Tom Simons, the U.S. representative at these meetings, openly threatened the Taliban and Pakistan. Simons said: “Either the Taliban behave as they ought to, or Pakistan convinces them to do so, or we will use another option”. The words Simons used were “a military operation”’ Naif Naik claimed.
So the natural question is who will benefit from the Afghan war? The answer is obvious. Everyone in the oil industry will benefit, specially the Bush family and their business partners. Everyone in the defense industry complex will benefit, commented William Copper.
It is now clear that anthrax is being produced in the laboratories of U.S. pharmaceutical industries to open up new markets for antibiotic medicine and to discredit Arab and Muslims; this was claimed by German based Green Peace Environment Movement. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Muhammad expressed his suspicions that anthrax terrorism in the U.S. was the work of “violent rightist Christian”. He raised question on the moral standard of the West. “While there is talk about of attacking Iraq, there is no violent rage against the spreading of anthrax”, the Malaysian Premier said, AFP reported from Kuala Lampur. The Western morality is further exposed in the survey conducted by ICM for the News of the World newspaper. The survey showed tremendous increase of popularity of the British Prime Minister Tony Blair as a ‘war leader’ due to his unflinching support to President Bush’s military invasion in Afghanistan. The survey indicated that 67 percent of the Britons supported Blair’s action as a result of which there was unimaginable loss of civilian lives in Afghanistan, old, women and children, indeed mounting loss of innocent lives with terrible catastrophe, reported Reuters from London.
What motivated U.S. not to produce evidence? To use its military might and establish base in Afghanistan and use Afghanistan as springboard. British Prime Minister Tony Blair promised to the Afghan people: “This time we will not walk away from you”. President Bush addressing the gathering at national day of prayer and remembrance service at the National Cathedral at Washington DC expressed his firm determination to continue war in Afghanistan. He said: “This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others. It will end in a way, and at an hour, of our choosing”. Pakistan former Army Chief General Mirza Aslam Beg claimed that U.S. had no evidence against Osama Bin Laden or Afghanistan being involved with the attack of WTC and Pentagon, but the U.S. media had created an atmosphere against them. “This is a trick to achieve a particular objective”, General Bag warned. He warned that there is a serious threat to Pakistan’s nuclear installations (Dawn.Lahore.16 September 2001). And of course there is necessity of containing China and keeping Russia at bay. [Xinhua from Moscow reported on 23 December 2001 that Russia has already urged U.S. to remove its military bases from Central Asian countries since the military action in Afghanistan is over].
According to renowned Pak journalist Hamid Mir President Bush is anti-Taliban because the Taliban has refused to oblige U.S. request. In an article in The Friday Times (September 14-20, 2001) he underlined that U.S. had a three point agenda for the Taliban. One, they would use the Taliban against the Iran. Two, they would like to pressurize them to arrange shelter and training camps to the rebels of Shin kiang in Afghanistan. And three, the American wanted to construct a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan. Northern Alliance was in fact engaged in training a number of youth for infiltration and carrying out subversion activities in Xinjiang to blame eventually Taliban and Pakistani mujahideen. The training was being provided by the Indian intelligence agency RAW and their Israeli counterpart Mossad. Some Americans posing as foreign journalists also visited Darul Uloom Haqqania, in Akora Khatak, and tried to convince its head Moulana Sami-ul-Haq, to lend its support to raise his voice against ‘Chinese repression’ in Xinjiang. U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan William B Millam for the very same purpose paid frequent visits to the Frontier Province without informing the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as the protocol requires (Plotting ‘Jihad’ against China. p 27. Impact International.UK. Vol.31.No. 6.June 2001). The same issue of the Impact also reported that U.S. Department of Defense was “shocked” on the signing of MOU between Pakistan and China for construction of deep-sea port at Gawader providing strategic outlet to China on the vitally important Mekran Coast (ibid. page 15-16). But all U.S, Israeli and Indian efforts to involve any Islamic group of Pakistan against China so far failed.
In October 1995, the California based Unocal Oil Company signed a protocol with Turkmenistan government to explore the prospect of constructing an oil pipeline to Pakistan through Afghan territory. When the Taliban captured Kabul, the Vice President of Unocal, Christopher Taggart, confidently stated: “We regard it as very positive”. Robert Oakley, former US Ambassador in Pakistan was in due course hired by Unocal for lobbing its cause and was busy shuttling between Washington and Islamabad, but Taliban refused to oblige Unocal. In November 1996 former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Robin Raphel went to Kandahar and had a meeting with top Taliban officials, but the policy of engagement failed because the Taliban signed memorandum of understanding with Bridas, an Argentinean company, to develop the proposed gas pipeline. Ultimately when the U.S. $8 billion pipeline project had become a non-starter, U.S. flared up and demanded extradition of Osama Bin Laden, which they refused. This assertion of independence by Taliban government enraged U.S. and it decided to install a government of its own choice in Kabul, when Taliban was controlling 95% of Afghanistan, with the intention to take control of all road links to Central Asia. America clearly wanted to create problem not only for Pakistan and China but also for Iran. The real crime of Taliban is that it refused to become U.S. puppets. Had they submitted to U.S. hegemony and worked for the American economic interest in the region Taliban would have remained an “indigenous movement” and “not fundamentalist or terrorist” and if it agreed to be used to destabilize Chinese Muslim provinces, all their subsequent problems would not have at all been there. Now with the fall of Afghanistan the British troops are already in Kabul as the head of an International Security Assistance Force setup under Security Council Resolution created under chapter seven of U.N. Charter for maintaining, what it called, peace in war ravaged Afghanistan. It is highly suspected that in no time U.S, Israel and Indian intelligence will occupy all the bases close to Pakistan’s northern and western borders. It is believed that these countries will start their covert operations not only against nuclear installation of Pakistan but also against Iran and China. The Independent in its issue of 25 December 2001 reported that U.S. have given green signal to Israel to sell to India Phalcon airborne radar system, three Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) worth one billion dollars.
No doubt America is a massive military and economic power and its arms of influence extend far beyond its shore. It does not require a military alliance to force the downfall of ‘tiny’ Afghanistan but for “political reason”. History also testifies that Afghans are an indomitable people not to be subjugated. The guerilla war is likely to continue if foreign troops are stationed in its soil even if under U.N. flag. It is like inviting a brick to drop through your windscreen. “Every country is afraid that if they swallow a piece of Afghanistan, the Afghans would be their enemy until hell freezes over”, commented Alam Payind, Director of the Middle East Studies Center at Ohio State University (New York Times. I December 2001)
Although it has not been established without any shadow of doubt that Osama Bin Laden is involved with the attack of the WTC and Pentagon but nonetheless Robert Fisk writing in The Independent UK (12 September 2001) raised the question why so many Muslims hate the West. America has bankrolled Israel’s wars for so many years that it believed this would be cost-free. No, it would not be no longer so. The West has now to face the music, the suicide bombers. The fight is now between theology and technology.
Now the question remains to be answered what the Third World countries, especially the Arab and Muslim countries should do in the face of U.S. unjustified behaviour. Now is the time to boycott non-essential U.S. products. Eminent Islamic scholar and dayee Dr. Yusuf Al Qaradawi made an appeal to the Muslims worldwide. He said: The time has come for the Muslim ummah to say no to America, no to its companies and no to its goods, for we are eating, drinking, wearing and riding whatever American produces, thus contributing to her world dominance. Boycotting is the most effective weapon used in the past especially by the weak. No body can bomb others for not buying its goods. People of India boycotted British goods in their struggle for independence. This is a choice that empowers ordinary men, women and children in the street. And this is the minimum we all can do to stand up against the global tyranny and injustice.
The Arab and Muslim countries should also make sincere and serious endeavours to reduce its economic dependence on the West and their extended arms, the World Bank, IMF and WTO which often “terrorize” the poor Third World countries and depend more on the internal resources rather than aid and grant for that would enable them to become really free from the imposed, unjustified and unethical dictation of the West. The Muslim leadership has so far failed to crystallize the dream of the common people of the Muslim countries to establish an Islamic Common Market, which can rightfully safeguard economic interest of these countries. This is the proper time to take effective and concrete measures in this regard. Arab and Muslim countries should also develop their own technology, which is another vital area where they are lagging behind. Al Jazeera Television Qatar has played very significant and meaningful role in projecting the Muslim views in the recent past in the face of prejudiced, unfriendly and immoral propaganda by the Western media. It is high time that the affluent Arab and Muslim countries realize the need to develop their own television networks, which shall be no less than BBC, CNN etc television channels.
Note: This article will remain incomplete if a word is not said about the perception of Islam about terrorism. Terrorism is terrorism whether it is sponsored by motivated groups or sponsored by the state. It is immaterial whether the effected people of such terrorism belongs all-powerful U.S. or poverty stricken and backward Afghanistan. But distinction must be made between terrorism and oppressed people fighting for national identity and self-determination particularly when such people find no way to express their legitimate grievances and take up arms for national liberation. Islam is always against the killing of innocent people, unarmed civilians, old, women, and children and combatants when they lay down their arms. The teaching of Islam is that Muslims cannot feel happy at the pain and agony of others, whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims. The Holy Quran addressing believers said: “… let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice…” [Al Quran –5 (Surat Al Maidah): 8]. The celebrated commentator of the Holy Quran Muhammad Asad in his commentary ‘The Message of the Quran’ translated this verse “… never let hatred of anyone lead you into the sin of deviating from justice…”
1st January 2002