Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Herve Ghesquiere and Stephane Taponier, French journalists and hostages of the war in Afghanistan

Paris call for the hostages' liberation

1 year ago, the two journalists Stéphane Taponier and Hervé Ghesquière were abducted with their escorts, Mohammed Reza, Ghulam and Satar, in the plain of Kapisa, Afghanistan, by a group of Talibans.

Journalist and cameraman for France Television, (the French national broadcasting) they were reporting for France 3, the TV channel program "Pièce à conviction." Their detention longer than for Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot, longer than for Florence Aubenas. They joined the painful cohort of journalists hostage for long periods.

Having spent three weeks alongside French troops engaged in the field, they decided to collect also the vision of the Afghan people who are the first victims of this war, to produce a report on a conflict in which France is party involved.

For freedom of information, we must fight every day to get everything done to free the two French reporters and their three companions. I have launched this appeal several times under my mandate at the FCCJ Foreign press club in Japan as co-chair of the FCCJ Freedom of the Press Committee. Today I join again all my colleagues in France and in the world to ask to their captors the liberation of our colleagues and of their team, they are messengers, witnesses, not actors of wars. Their struggle is information, don't bind them with ropes of ignorance and cruelty.

(NDAG 21-01-2011: This article has been sent to the Number 1 Shimbun, the magazine of the Foreign Correspondents 'Club of Japan financed by our membership, but it has been rejected in spite of the EMERGENCY. Our hostages in Afghanistan and all the media might not really appreciate, as we, such a censorship by current FCCJ 2011 administration.)

Children in war by newsroom-magazine

Now what are the reasons of such conflict in Afghanistan? What might happen in the future? I read this story of William Pfaff, a former columnist for The International Herald Tribune: "Afghanistan: The End May Be In Sight, What Next ?"


It is not impossible that the great campaign to create
a new Middle East and Central Asia, defeat the
Taliban, slay Islam’s violent extremists, capture or
kill Osama bin Laden, and build a radiant new world of
democracy and capitalism, may be closer to being
called off than one might think.

The campaign has failed. It is not working now, but
going backward, as in the case of politically chaotic
and sectarian-divided Iraq, recently “liberated” by
the United States at the price of more than 100
thousand civilian casualties, the flight of two
million of its people from their country, and nearly
two million more driven out of their homes or
otherwise having their lives uprooted. According to
The New York Times, the forces opposing the new Nuri
Kamal al-Maliki government may demand America’s total
withdrawal from Iraq, abandoning what currently is
supposed to be an “enduring” U.S. deployment there.

In mid-December the Obama administration revealed the
conclusions of its Afghan policy review, supposed to
fine-tune a war-winning grand strategy in Afghanistan.
They offered no fundamental change in the American
program, and reported that the war against the Taliban
goes a little better in some respects, and rather
worse in others, and that relations with Pakistan,
which supports the Taliban as well as the United
States, are bad and getting worse. A U.S. National
Intelligence Estimate was published almost
simultaneously, which said the American intelligence
community is unanimously convinced that the Afghan war
is being lost...."

And an extension of conflict in the Far - East?
A coming US -
China conflict?

"... The Pentagon and America’s foreign policy
community are determined that the United States must
continue its effort permanently to control the region.
The democracy-building mindset, with which all of this
began during the Clinton years, confirmed after 9/11
by George W. Bush, still prevails, even in the camp
of American foreign policy “realists.”

John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago has
a major article in the latest issue of The National
Interest magazine which provides a lucid critique of
how the United States got into these dangerous Asian
entanglements, but ends by asserting that to assure
its own security Washington must continue to possess
Asian domination, blocking any rival (meaning China).

He asserts that “no American leader will accept” a
Chinese effort to turn its economic power into
military power in order to impose its own hegemony in
Northeast Asia. Washington should adopt an
“offshore`’ policy, he writes, that keeps American
military power “over the horizon” from East Asia, but
ready to intervene against China.

This seems to me to rest on highly exaggerated
assumptions about China’s ambitions, and about the
ease with which a Chinese economy that currently
remains a satellite of the advanced European and
American economies, and is still dependent on foreign
technology, can be turned into a military giant
capable of dominating Asia and challenging the United

It also ignores the existence of the world’s third
largest industrial economy, that of Japan, a nation of
highly advanced technology (and demonstrated military
capacities, should it be threatened). India is
another neighbor of China’s, as is South Korea.

Finally, this supposedly “realistic” policy
recommendation makes vague and controversial
assumptions about an American interest in possessing
Northeast Asian hegemony. What, exactly, is China’s
threat to the United States? Mearsheimer is
reformulating the same policy of global domination
that he and other American “realists” have opposed in
the Middle East, Central Asia, and now in Afghanistan-
Pakistan. If it is a bad policy there, why is it a
good policy in Northeast Asia? Why withdraw from a
war to control Afghanistan but prepare for a war with
China?" Unquote.

His entire story:

Also from Pfaff, an informative book to read:

The Tragedy of America’s Foreign Policy.
By William Pfaff

children foreign policy blogs

Reporter's notes

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Herve Ghesquiere and Stephane Taponier, French journalists and hostages of the war in Afghanistan by Asian Gazette Blog of Joel Legendre-Koizumi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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