Tyranny in the Name of Freedom

| February 22, 2002 Issue

Tyranny in the Name of Freedom, Simon Churchyard, Red Pepper
Is the U.S. creating another Osama? The repressive, totalitarian Uzbekistan government has received millions in U.S. aid since September 11, and this newfound U.S.-Uzbek friendship raises questions about the wisdom of supporting violent regimes in the war against terrorism. Writing in the British progressive magazine Red Pepper, Simon Churchyard exposes the deplorable human rights record and anti-democratic policies of Uzbekistan president Islam Karimov. Numerous human rights groups have condemned the country's torture of prisoners, and a recent decision by President Karimov to extend his term indefinitely has raised concerns about his consolidation of power. Churchyard accuses the U.S. of funding the country to drive a wedge between Russia and its former provinces, and to gain control over Uzbekistan's rich oil fields. He also warns of the danger of U.S. involvement in the region. "A corrupt U.S.-backed regime in Uzbekistan could become a powerful rallying target for charismatic fanatical leaders to harness popular Muslim rage, leading to more terrorist attacks," he writes. "That was, after all, the story of the first Osama bin Laden."
--Madeleine Baran
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