Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Genocide Studies Media File
May 3-9, 2006

A compendium of news stories, features, and human rights reports pertaining to genocide and crimes against humanity. Compiled by Adam Jones. Please send links and feedback to adam.jones@yale.edu. To receive the Genocide Studies Media File as a weekly digest, simply send an email to genocide_studies-subscribe@topica.com.


"Locating Argentine Memories"
By Joseph Huff-Hannon
In These Times, 3 May 2006
"Step into the small offices of the Archive for Permanent Memory (Archivo Permanente Para La Memoria) and follow the main hallway to reach a cramped room divided up by computer stations, shelves that hold meticulously organized stacks of binders, boxes of cassettes and discs, and a gaggle of stereos and audio recording equipment. Pictures of smiling young people dot the walls. 'This is my mother, and here is my father,' says Lorena Battistiol, pointing to a poster with a smattering of black and white passport-type photos. 'They were disappeared in 1977 when I was one year old. We are still looking for my younger brother—or sister. We know my mother gave birth in captivity, we just don’t know if it was a boy or a girl.' Battistiol, 30, is one of the few full-time employees at the Archive, where the lives of people cut short by state terror are being pieced together and archived in the hopes that one day their missing children will have a chance to learn about the parents they never knew. The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, the pioneering Argentine human rights group, inaugurated the Archive in 1998 with help from the University of Buenos Aires. [...]"


"Bosnia War Crimes Court Opens First Genocide Trial"
Reuters dispatch, 9 May 2006
"Bosnia's war crimes court on Tuesday launched the trial of 11 Bosnian Serbs charged over the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims, its first genocide trial since it opened last year. The former army officers and special policemen are accused of killing over 1,000 Muslim men aged between 16 and 60 while they were trying to escape the eastern United Nations-protected enclave on July 13, 1995. Prosecutor Ibro Bulic said 8 of the men fired their machine guns at the prisoners, one threw hand grenades at them and another reloaded the ammunition. The victims were first buried in a nearby mass grave and transferred to Glogova and Zeleni Jadar mass grave sites two weeks later in order to hide the crime, Bulic said. Some bodies were found after the 1992-95 war. 'The prosecution will ask the court to declare these men guilty so that a small step towards meeting justice can be made,' Bulic said in his introductory remarks. Milenko Trifunovic, one of the men accused of firing his machine gun, and Milos Stupar, commanders of two special police squads engaged in the operation, were charged with individual criminal responsibility for failing to intervene and protect the prisoners. The 11 accused were arrested last year and all have pleaded not guilty to the charges. Their indictment brings to 36 the number of those charged for the Srebrenica massacre, Europe's worst atrocity since World War Two. [...]"


"Cambodian King Formally Approves Judges for DK Tribunal"
Angola Press, 8 May 2006
"Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni Sunday formally approved the Cambodian and international judges for a trial of former Democratic Kampuchea (DK), Reach Sambath, a press officer of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) said Monday. The 30 judicial officials for the Extraordinary Chambers to trial former leaders of DK were selected by Cambodia's Supreme Council of the Magistracy on Thursday under the chair of the king. Of the 30 judges, 13 are international nominated by the United Nations. They come from New Zealand, France, Austria, Canada, U.S., Australia, the Netherlands, Japan, Poland and Sri Lanka. Twelve will serve as judges in the two levels of court, and the rest will stay as reserve. The two levels of court include the trial Chamber and the Supreme Court Chamber. At the Trial Chamber, there will be 5 judges comprising 3 Cambodian and 2 international judges. At the Supreme Court Chamber there will be 7 judges including 4 Cambodian and 3 international. Both Cambodia and UN have also provided one prosecutor and one investigating judge each to lead the investigation. The United Nations started negotiations with Cambodia in 1997 on establishing a tribunal to try surviving DK leaders for genocide and crimes against humanity committed in the late 1970s, and two sides reached an agreement in 2003 to jointly convene trials of former DK leaders."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"Congo on the Edge"
By Michela Wrong
New Statesman, 8 May 2006
"[...] There are many who fear that the elections, far from setting Congo on the right path, could actually make things worse, spelling an end to a semi-peaceful hiatus in which mortality rates have fallen and trade has picked up. One problem is the eagerness of President Joseph Kabila to emerge as undisputed victor. Under the three-year-old transition arrangements, he is at present obliged to share power with two rebel movements and the opposition, and he is itching for an undisputed mandate. Many observers fear that, given the absence of credible, politically unbiased mechanisms for policing election irregularities, Kabila will be unable to resist rigging the vote to ensure he gets that mandate at the first round. ... The biggest loser, however, may be an entire ethnic group, the Kinyarwanda-speaking population of Congo's east, tinderbox of previous wars. In the wake of two invasions by neighbouring Rwanda, this community, made up of Tutsis and Hutus, is regarded by other Congolese tribes as a fifth column in its midst. The Kinyarwanda speakers, in their turn, live in terror of a local version of the genocide staged across the border, which left Rwanda scattered with rotting bodies. [...]"


"France Plays Down Algerian 'Genocide' Claims"
Middle East Online, 9 May 2006
"France on Tuesday played down a stinging attack by Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, after he repeated claims that France's colonisation of the north African country had been 'genocidal.' The foreign ministry in Paris said it saw Bouteflika's comments, made on Monday on the 61st anniversary of a massacre of Algerian civilians by French troops, as leaving room for cooperation. 'We understand, from these statements, that there is a shared will to move forward and to strengthen bilateral relations,' said ministry spokesman Denis Simonneau. In a declaration read at the site of the massacre in Guelma, eastern Algeria, Bouteflika described France's colonisation of his country, which it ruled from 1830 to 1962, as 'long, brutal, genocidal.' Algeria, he said, had a 'fundamental right' to a 'public and solemn apology for the crime of colonisation committed againist our people.' The Algerian leader dismissed suggestions of a 'crisis' between Paris and Algiers, but said there was 'still much to do in order to fulfil our shared ambition to go further together.' The French foreign ministry declined to comment on Bouteflika's use of the word 'genocidal.' Bouteflika raised tensions last month by declaring that colonial France had committed a 'genocide of Algerian identity.' [...]"


"German Memorial to Pay Homage to Sinti and Roma"
Deutsche Welle dispatch, 9 May 2006
"The German government and the Central Council of Sinti and Roma have agreed on designs for a memorial. Debate over quotes comparing the genocide of the Jews and of the Sinti and Roma had stalled construction. The government will finance the 2 million euro ($2.5 million) memorial, which is to be built between the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate in central Berlin. Federal Culture Secretary Bernd Neumann announced to journalists on Monday that construction would begin quickly, pending agreement from the Social Democrats. Romani Rose, head of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, said the agreement is an 'important step' toward officially recognizing the genocide committed on the minority group. He said he was 'very happy' about the agreement. Debate about a central inscription on the memorial has raged for years, hampering the memorial's construction. Now, the various sides agreed that the memorial, which will be designed by artist Dani Karavan and shaped like a fountain, will not contain an inscription. Instead, the names of the Nazi concentration camps Auschwitz, Treblinka and Buchenwald will be chiseled into the slabs leading up to the memorial. An additional tablet will display the sentence 'We commemorate all the Roma who were victims of the systematic genocide in Nazi-occupied Europe.' [...]"


"Football-Mad President May Fall Foul of Holocaust Law"
By Roger Boyes
The Times, 4 May 2006
"Forget football hooligans. The thorniest dilemma facing Germany as it prepares to host the World Cup is what to do about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s hardline President, if he insists on coming to watch his team play next month. Germany is obliged to admit the head of state of a participating nation, and the tournament's official motto is 'A Time To Make Friends.' But Mr. Ahmadinejad has demanded Israel's destruction and has repeatedly denied the Holocaust -- a crime in Germany. Iran's first match is in Nuremberg, used by Hitler for his mass rallies, and German neo-Nazis are planning a march in support of Mr. Ahmadinejad. Israel, Iranian exiles and German politicians are demanding he be kept away. 'The question is whether Germany as host can prevent the visit of a head of state who has shown himself to be a repulsive and embarrassing anti-Semite,' Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, said. 'The spirit of the World Cup is in absolute contradiction to the spirit that he represents.' An editorial in the Jerusalem Post accused Germany of trading with Iran and appeasing its nuclear ambitions: 'Germany's behaviour toward Iran is a clear sign that for all its Holocaust memorialising, for all its anti-Nazi legislation, and for all its protestations of friendship with Israel and the Jewish people, Germany has not learnt the lessons of the Holocaust.' ... But the German Government is pressing ahead. Wolfgang Schäuble, the Interior Minister, says that the President 'can naturally come to the matches.' Differences of opinion over the Holocaust, Israel and nuclear power could be aired during the visit. [...]"


"John Pilger Detects the Salvador Option"
By John Pilger
New Statesman, 8 May 2006
"[...] The real news, which is not reported in the CNN 'mainstream,' is that the Salvador Option has been invoked in Iraq. This is the campaign of terror by death squads armed and trained by the US, which attack Sunnis and Shias alike. The goal is the incitement of a real civil war and the break-up of Iraq, the original war aim of Bush's administration. The ministry of the interior in Baghdad, which is run by the CIA, directs the principal death squads. Their members are not exclusively Shia, as the myth goes. The most brutal are the Sunni-led Special Police Commandos, headed by former senior officers in Saddam's Ba'ath Party. This unit was formed and trained by CIA 'counter-insurgency' experts, including veterans of the CIA's terror operations in central America in the 1980s, notably El Salvador. In his new book, Empire's Workshop (Metropolitan Books), the American historian Greg Grandin describes the Salvador Option thus: 'Once in office, [President] Reagan came down hard on central America, in effect letting his administration's most committed militarists set and execute policy. In El Salvador, they provided more than a million dollars a day to fund a lethal counter-insurgency campaign ... All told, US allies in central America during Reagan's two terms killed over 300,000 people, tortured hundreds of thousands and drove millions into exile.' Although the Reagan administration spawned the current Bushites, or 'neo-cons,' the pattern was set earlier. In Vietnam, death squads trained, armed and directed by the CIA murdered up to 50,000 people in Operation Phoenix. In the mid-1960s in Indonesia CIA officers compiled 'death lists' for General Suharto's killing spree during his seizure of power. After the 2003 invasion, it was only a matter of time before this venerable 'policy' was applied in Iraq. [...]"
[n.b. An important article, if still somewhat speculative.]

"Targeted Killings Surge in Baghdad"
By Louise Roug
The Los Angeles Times, 7 May 2006 [Registration Required]
"More Iraqi civilians were killed in Baghdad during the first three months of this year than at any time since the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime -- at least 3,800, many of them found hogtied and shot execution-style. Others were strangled, electrocuted, stabbed, garroted or hanged. Some died in bombings. Many bore signs of torture such as bruises, drill holes, burn marks, gouged eyes or severed limbs. Every day, about 40 bodies arrive at the central Baghdad morgue, an official said. The numbers demonstrate a shift in the nature of the violence, which increasingly has targeted both sides of the country's SunniShiite sectarian divide. In the previous three years, the killings were more random, impersonal. Violence came mostly in the form of bombs wielded by the Sunni Arab-led insurgency that primarily targeted the coalition forces and the Shiite majority: balls of fire and shrapnel tearing through the bodies of those riding the wrong bus, shopping at the wrong market or standing in the wrong line. Now the killings are systematic, personal. Masked gunmen storm into homes, and the victims -- the majority of them Sunnis -- are never again seen alive. Such killings now claim nine times more lives than car bombings, according to figures provided by a high-ranking U.S. military official, who released them only on the condition of anonymity. Statistics obtained at the Baghdad morgue showed a steady increase in the number of shooting deaths and other types of targeted killings over the last year, with a stunning surge in March, after the Feb. 22 bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, one of the holiest Shiite Muslim shrines in the country. [...]"

"'Reason for Their Death Is Known'"
By Dahr Jamail
Truthout.org, 3 May 2006
"[...] This past Saturday I received information from the main morgue in Baghdad from a doctor there, name withheld for security reasons. 'Yesterday we received 36 bodies from the police pickups. All of them are unknown, without IDs, and we don't have refrigerators to put them in since all of ours are completely full already. So we had to keep them on the ground. 12 of them were handcuffed, most of them received between 2 and 10 bullets, some many more than 10. We are not going to put them into biopsy. Reason for their death is known. Most of them are between 20 to 30 years ... This is the number that was brought directly to us in one day, plus there are the dead who are sent to the hospitals. ... Since the shrine explosion, deaths have almost doubled. Daily, we receive between 70 to 80 bodies ... you can see within these 40 minutes that I've talked with you, we received 9 bodies. Nearly every morning the count will be doubled twice this number, for the police find them at night. Most are either found in the streets or killed without sending them to hospitals. Four days ago we received 24 bodies in just 2 hours.' ... Even the UN Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) humanitarian news agency reported on April 26 that 'More than 90 women become widows each day due to continuing violence countrywide, according to government officials and non-governmental organizations devoted to women's issues.' Another extremely telling point in the IRIN report is that 'Although few reliable statistics are available on the total number of widows in Iraq, the Ministry of Women's Affairs says that there are at least 300,000 in Baghdad alone, with another eight million throughout the country.' ... 'Saddam Hussein was responsible for killing thousands of men during his 25 years of brutal rule,' said Ibtissam Kamal in the IRIN report. Kamal, a member of a local organization that works on the issue but prefers anonymity of the organization for security reasons, added, 'But more people have died during the past three years, most of them men ...' [...]"


"Funds Cut, Gaza Faces a Plague of Health Woes"
By Steven Erlanger
The New York Times, 8 May 2006 [Registration Required]
"Hanin al-Hilo was screaming at the nurses at the main Gaza hospital, Al Shifa: 'If I called and said I was the son of Mr. Somebody, some big shot, I'd have a place!' But with a third of the hospital's dialysis machines awaiting repair and spare parts, Mr. Hilo, a policeman, and his father, sitting weakly in a wheelchair, had to wait in the corridor. Even those using the machines are not being given the normal dose of hormones and minerals, a nurse explained, because the hospital has run out. 'Soon they're going to need blood transfusions instead,' she said. With a sudden shortage of everything from disposable needles and adhesive tape to vital drugs, Gaza's once impressive public health system is running down fast under the dual pressure of aid cutoffs and the closing of the Karni crossing point with Israel. Already, says Al Shifa's general director, Dr. Ibrahim al-Habbash, the hospital can no longer provide chemotherapy for many forms of cancer, has only a few days' supply of important surgical drugs like atropine, adrenaline, heparin and lidocaine, and has used up its strategic three-month cache normally kept for a health crisis. In addition, armed men have been forcing their way into the hospital demanding preferential treatment for relatives, clan members or friends, and authorization to travel outside Gaza for medical treatment. 'We've suffered in the past, of course, but in the last month, the problems have really increased,' Dr. Habbash said. 'There are shortages of medications and disposables in all departments, we're trying to limit the operating list and people are suffering, even dying, because of these shortages.' ... A recent internal report by the World Health Organization, provided to The New York Times, portrays a crisis that is bound to worsen as the economic siege of the Hamas-run Palestinian Authority continues. The report forecasts a 'rapid decline of the public health system towards a possible collapse' and 'no access or limited access to preventive programs' like immunization for a large part of the population. [...]"
[n.b. What seems on the verge of occurring here is a crime against humanity, one that would merit the severe sanction of the international community -- if it were not the international community (including my country, Canada) inflicting it.]

"BBC's Coverage of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 'Misleading'"
By Owen Gibson
The Guardian, 3 May 2006
"The BBC's coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is 'incomplete' and 'misleading,' including failing to adequately report the hardships of Palestinians living under occupation, an independent review commissioned by the corporation's board of governors has found. The report urges the BBC to be bolder in setting a policy for using the word 'terrorism' to describe acts of violence perpetrated against either side and suggests a senior editorial figure should be appointed to 'give more secure planning, grip and oversight.' The latest of several reports into contentious areas of the BBC's news provision, it praised the quality of much of its coverage and found 'little to suggest deliberate or systematic bias' but listed a series of 'identifiable shortcomings.' ... In particular, it highlighted a 'failure to convey adequately the disparity in the Israeli and Palestinian experience, reflecting the fact that one side is in control and the other lives under occupation.' On the emotive issue of whether acts of violence perpetrated against either side should be called 'terrorism,' the review said the BBC should use the term because it is 'clear and well understood' and that once it had decided on a policy for the correct use of language it should be more consistent in applying it. [...]"


"Peacekeepers, Teachers Prey on Liberia Girls: Report"
By Alphonso Toweh
Reuters dispatch, 8 May 2006
"U.N. peacekeepers, aid workers and teachers are having sex with Liberian girls as young as 8 in return for money, food or favors, threatening efforts to rebuild a nation wrecked by war, a report said on Monday. Save the Children UK said an alarming number of girls were being sexually exploited by men in authority in refugee camps and in the wider community, sometimes for as little as a bottle of beer, a ride in an aid vehicle or watching a film. 'This cannot continue,' Save the Children UK Chief Executive Jasmine Whitbread said. 'Men who use positions of power to take advantage of vulnerable children must be reported and fired. More must be done to support children and their families to make a living without turning to this kind of desperation.' The 20-page document said local people reported sexual exploitation by peacekeepers in every location where a contingent of the UNMIL peacekeeping force was stationed, highlighting the continuing problem of sex abuse by U.N. forces. Allegations of sexual misconduct have dogged U.N. operations in Liberia, Ivory Coast, Haiti and especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the world body has accused members of its biggest peacekeeping force of rape, pedophilia and giving children food or money in return for sex. The U.N. force in Liberia said in a statement eight cases of sexual exploitation and abuse involving U.N. personnel had been reported since the start of 2006. One of those had been substantiated and the member of staff suspended. 'We are appalled with any activity, the sexual exploitation or abuse by aid workers, be they international or Liberian. It's unacceptable behavior,' Jordan Ryan, the U.N.'s humanitarian coordinator in Liberia, told BBC radio in London from Monrovia. [...]"
[n.b. Link to the full text of the Save the Children UK report (in PDF format).]


"Russian Racism 'Out of Control'"
BBC Online, 4 May 2006
"Racist killings in Russia are 'out of control,' according to a report by international human rights watchdog Amnesty International. The report into violent racism shows that at least 28 people were killed and 366 were assaulted in 2005. This year there have already been a number of high-profile cases, including the death of a Senegalese student. Amnesty condemns discrimination by the authorities and a failure to properly record or investigate racist crimes. The Amnesty report, entitled 'Russian Federation: Violent racism out of control,' includes examples of police and prosecutors routinely classifying murders and serious assaults by skinhead extremists as lesser crimes of 'hooliganism.' Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said racist killings and violent attacks against foreigners, visible ethnic minorities and anti-racist campaigners in Russia were out of control. 'Some Russian authorities are turning a blind eye,' she said. 'Instead of seeing only "hooliganism" in vicious organised attacks on students from African, south-east Asian countries and non-Slavic Russians from Chechnya, Russia's police and prosecutors need to tackle head-on the growing scourge of violent racism in Russia.' She said President Vladimir Putin's government should adopt a comprehensive "plan of action" to combat racism and anti-Semitism. [...]"
[n.b. Link to the full text of the Amnesty report.]


"Serbia Seeks Rebuttal of Genocide Claim"
Agence France-Presse dispatch on AlJazeera.net, 9 May 2006
"Serbia-Montenegro has asked the International Court of Justice to reject Bosnia's claim that Belgrade committed genocide during the Bosnian war. Radoslav Stojanovic, Serbia's representative, said: 'If Serbia-Montenegro were to be found guilty of genocide, the consequences would be disastrous ... I ask the court to rule in favour of reconciliation not the continuation of conflict.' He was recalling the fact that Bosnia's Serb entity did not support the International Court of Jusitce (ICJ) case against Belgrade. Stojanovic, speaking in The Hague on the final day of the oral proceedings in the case on Tuesday, said Belgrade was asking the court to rule that it does not have jurisdiction to hear the case or, if it finds it does have jurisdiction, that the crimes committed in Bosnia cannot be attributed to Serbia-Montenegro. With the death of Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav president, in March, and the subsequent end of his war crimes trial, a ruling by the ICJ has become the only chance for Sarajevo to obtain a comprehensive legal ruling on Belgrade's overall involvement in the Bosnian war. The ICJ, the United Nations' highest court mandated to rule in disputes between states, has heard nine weeks of legal arguments from both parties and will now retire to consider the case. [...]"

"Isolated Serbia Spirals into Crisis as Deputy PM Quits"
By Ian Traynor and Nicholas Watt
The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 May 2006
"The Government of Serbia is staggering towards collapse because of the continued liberty of General Ratko Mladic, Europe's most wanted man. The European Union has called off talks on Serbia's integration with the EU after Belgrade reneged on its promises to arrest the fugitive former Bosnian war commander. The Deputy Prime Minister, Miroljub Labus, resigned on Wednesday in protest at the duplicity of his government, and the chief prosecutor at the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague accused the Prime Minister, Vojislav Kostunica, of lying to her. Several other cabinet ministers could also quit, bringing down the Government and paving the way for a takeover by extreme nationalists. Mr Labus, who was in charge of Serbia's negotiations with Brussels, stepped down, saying he wanted nothing more to do with Mr Kostunica's policies. To widespread disbelief, Mr Kostunica claimed that Mladic's entire network had been smashed and the fugitive, indicted more than a decade ago and on the run for five years, was on his own. That cut little ice with Carla Del Ponte, the tribunal's chief prosecutor, who was promised by Mr Kostunica a month ago that Mladic would be captured and sent to The Hague. [...]"

"EU Halts Serbia Talks over Mladic"
BBC Online, 3 May 2006
"The European Union has called off talks on closer ties with Serbia because of its failure to arrest war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic. The EU enlargement commissioner, Olli Rehn, made the announcement after consulting the UN tribunal's chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte. The deadline set by the EU for Mr. Mladic's arrest expired on Sunday. Mr. Mladic, who led the Bosnian Serb army in the 1990s, is accused of genocide in the Srebrenica massacre. Along with his civilian counterpart, Radovan Karadzic, he is the most wanted war crimes suspect in Europe. He is thought to be hiding somewhere in Serbia. Mr. Rehn said he had discussed the situation with Ms Del Ponte. 'Her assessment is negative,' he said. 'I must say that it is disappointing that Belgrade has been unable to locate, arrest and transfer Ratko Mladic to The Hague. The Commission has therefore to call off the negotiations on the stabilisation and association agreement.' ... The BBC's Oana Lungescu says Mr. Rehn's use of 'calling off' rather than 'suspension' of talks is significant as it means the EU executive can resume talks instantly once Mr. Mladic is arrested -- rather than go through the lengthy procedure of getting political approval from all 25 EU governments. She says there are, however, fears of a nationalist backlash at a sensitive time in Serbia's political calendar. [...]"


"Next Steps to Peace in Darfur"
By Katharine Houreld and Claire Soares
The Christian Science Monitor, 8 May 2006
"The humanitarian disaster in Sudan's Darfur region, which the US labels a 'genocide,' has been growing steadily worse since it began in 2003. But it may have just turned a corner toward peaceful resolution. The plainspoken United Nations' humanitarian chief, Jan Egeland, whom Sudan barred last month from visiting Darfur, arrived there Sunday for a critical assessment of the current situation. His visit comes two days after Sudanese authorities and Darfur's main rebel group reached a landmark peace agreement. Observers say that the most important result of the deal is that it could pave the way for a UN peacekeeping force to enter Sudan. In the past few days different spokesmen for the Sudanese government have confirmed that the government would now at least consider allowing UN peacekeeping troops on the ground, something Khartoum had flatly rejected before Friday's deal. But two smaller rebel groups rejected the deal, and John Prendergast, head of the International Crisis Group's Africa Program, remains skeptical about the sincerity of Sudan's government. 'The agreement is not insignificant ... but it's going to require a strong effort by the international community to ensure even minimum compliance," he says. "It's going to be a year before there are enough peacekeepers on the ground for real coverage.' Mr. Prendergast points out that the Sudanese government has previously shown a willingness to sign treaties (during a rebellion in the south of the country) and then delay implementing them. [...]"

"The Cost of Reconciliation"
By Faith McDonnell
National Review, 8 May 2006
"[...] That was pretty much the extent of the mention of southern Sudan's genocide and the attempt to eradicate the people of the Nuba Mountains. None was forthcoming from most of the rally speakers. Many of the speakers were never involved in grassroots activism for Sudan in the years of jihad waged against the south and the Nuba Mountains. Even some of those who were involved spoke of the genocide of Darfur as if it were the only time Sudanese had ever suffered in such magnitude. The Clinton administration's National Security Council point person on Africa, Gale Smith, spoke far more forcefully about the genocide in Darfur than she ever spoke about Sudan while in office. Another speaker even framed stories of his past activism for southern Sudan as if it had been activism for Darfur. As I took in the enormous sea of faces, the signs, the tee-shirts, the passion for the victims of genocide, and the determination to do something about it, I was torn between pride in the caring people of America and sorrow that there had never been an outpouring on this scale over the starvation, slavery, aerial bombardment, torture, and death that took place in Sudan's first genocide. ... Now we hear there is a peace agreement. The main rebel group, the Sudanese Liberation Army, has agreed on terms with the government of Sudan. Southern Sudanese in the United States and the government of south Sudan have witnessed us spending all our political and material capital on Darfur. Now is an appropriate time to turn an eye once again to southern Sudan, and to the new government that is trying to forge a democracy out of jihad-ravaged land. As Khartoum continues playing chess with the West, using the deadly combination of the proxy militias, rebels, and its own troops to distract and preoccupy, they are always setting up their next move. If south Sudan is lost because we fail to see the next move that is coming, it will be unforgivable."

"UN Must Send Troops to Darfur: Romeo Dallaire"
CTV.ca, 5 May 2006
"A peace agreement in Darfur is a major step towards ending a conflict responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths. But retired Canadian general Romeo Dallaire said a United Nations peacekeeping force is crucial to ensure the violence stops. 'These people are dying now and they need us now, not next year,' Dallaire told CTV's Mike Duffy Live Friday. Decades of low-level tribal clashes over land and water in Darfur erupted into large-scale violence in early 2003. Rebels took up arms against the Sudanese government, citing discrimination against Darfur's black residents. The government responded by unleashing pro-government militias, allegedly including the Janjaweed -- ethnic Arab militia accused of the systematic killing and rape of Darfur's black residents. At least 180,000 people have died in the violence. Another 2 million are homeless, staying in refugee camps in an effort to escape the militias. About 7,000 African Union troops are struggling to relieve the situation in Darfur, but Dallaire said they are in far over their heads and need outside help. 'The African Union troops that are there can't sustain the operation and provide the level of protection needed, let alone get the people back home, so the UN has got to start to move in,' Dallaire said. 'But this is the Achilles' heel: how fast can the UN respond? That is to say, are the countries willing to send troops?' He said even with a Security Council resolution in the next few months, UN troops would not set foot in the region until September at the earliest. [...]"

"Fresh Violence Reverses Aid Agencies' Hard-Won Gains"
By Xan Rice
The Guardian, 3 May 2006
"Until a few months ago Gereida, a small rebel-held town in south Darfur, was home to about 50,000 refugees. Today, almost double that number are crammed into the town after fleeing attacks on hundreds of nearby villages; some as recent as last week when government planes conducted bombing raids. What is happening around Gereida is being echoed across much of Darfur, according to aid workers. This year alone more than 200,000 people have been freshly displaced by fighting involving rebels, government forces and the Janjaweed militia armed by Khartoum. ... Until the recent surge in attacks, conditions in most of the sprawling camps that house 2 million people had been improving. Although the shelters remain extremely rudimentary -- usually just branches covered by a sheet of plastic -- and there is little for inhabitants to do, a massive aid effort had ensured that there was water, sanitation and access to basic healthcare. But hijackings and attacks on aid convoys, which have become so common that the World Food Programme now delivers rations by helicopter in some areas, have put these gains at risk. Last week, the WFP announced it would halve rations due to a lack of funding, meaning malnutrition is likely to increase. In rural areas, the attacks are causing huge difficulties for the nomads and those who remain in their villages. The International Committee of the Red Cross said the clashes meant these people had lost access to fields and markets and would become more reliant on food aid. The security situation has also deteriorated rapidly across the border in eastern Chad, with an increase in rebel activity intent on overthrowing the government."

"Darfur Crisis Puts Sudan Top of 'Failed States' List"
By Claire Soares and Daniel Howden
The Independent (on Truthout.org), 3 May 2006
"The humanitarian crisis in Darfur, which is now spilling over into neighbouring Chad, has pushed Sudan to the top of the Global Index of Failed States. The report -- compiled by the American magazine Foreign Policy and the think-tank Fund for Peace -- was published as diplomats from Britain and the US flew to Africa to push for a peace settlement in Darfur. African nations made up six of the top 10 failed states in the study and the regional impact of the Darfur crisis was reflected in Chad's presence at number six. ... The failed states index ranked nations by giving them a score based on criteria such as the massive movement of refugees and internally displaced peoples, widespread violation of human rights and intervention of other states. The three-year internal conflict in Darfur has led to the deaths of at least 180,000 people and the displacement of more than two million. The scale of the crisis put Sudan ahead of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the previous poll topper, Somalia, as well as Iraq. The Darfur peace talks, taking place in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, have dragged on for two years, with mediators expressing frustration at the warring parties' unwillingness to compromise or to respect a ceasefire. [...]"

"Just Saying No to Imperial Intervention in Sudan"
By Gary Leupp
Counterpunch.com, 2 May 2006
"[...] For many months now I've occasionally received emails asking me, 'Why are you spending so much time attacking Bush Middle East policy, and ignoring the atrocities in Darfur?' There are many reasons I haven't written on it, including the fact that I put opposing imperialist wars with their murderous consequences at the top of my list of things to do in my spare time, and the fact that I haven't much studied the situation in Darfur. But I've sensed for awhile that some forces are using the alleged 'genocide' in that region to divert attention from the ongoing slaughter in Iraq (and ongoing brutalization of the Palestinians by Israel), and to depict another targeted Arab regime as so villainous as to require what the neocons call 'regime change.' They've mischaracterized the conflict as one between 'Arabs' and 'indigenous Africans' whereas (as I understand it) all parties involved are Arabic-speaking black Africans -- 'Arab,' 'African' and 'black' being distinctions more complicated than most Americans realize. ... Washington isn't really much interested in the facts of the Darfur situation, any more that it was about the facts in Iraq before it attacked that country. It's interested rather in what the neocons call 'perception management,' and is doing a good job of managing the perceptions of even some progressives on the issue. [...]"
[n.b. Well, it's a point of view ...]


"Turkey Recalls Envoys over Armenian Genocide"
CTV.ca, 8 May 2006
"Turkey has recalled its envoys to Canada and France in protest of a decision by both countries to recognize the massacres of hundreds of thousands of Armenians during the early 20th century as genocide. Osman Korutuk, Turkey's ambassador to France, and Aydemir Erman, the ambassador in Ottawa, will be recalled 'for a short time for consultations over the latest developments about the baseless allegations of Armenian genocide,' in the two countries, said Turkey's Foreign Ministry spokesman Namik Tan. They will return to their posts following the consultations, he added. The move comes amid mounting international pressure for Ankara to recognize the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians during 1915 and 1923, as genocide. The trial came at a particularly sensitive time for the nation, which recently joined EU membership talks and continues to draw criticism for human rights and laws that stifle freedom of speech. The European Union has said Turkey's bid to seek membership could be hindered by the claims of genocide. Both the International Center for Transitional Justice and the Association of Genocide Scholars have recognized the massacre as genocide, as has the United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. [...]"


"A 'Grandfatherly' Killer"
By John Goddard
The Toronto Star, 8 May 2006
"[...] Banya, Kolo and Kamdulu are only three of the ex-LRA commanders circulating freely in northern Uganda, still addressed by their LRA titles. There are dozens more: mutilators, torturers, rapists, pedophiles, criminals of the lowest possible order. Other countries hold trials, or truth and reconciliation commissions. Uganda offers blanket impunity for any atrocity -- no questions asked -- to any LRA member of any rank who surrenders or is captured in battle. Making sense of the absurdity begins with one extraordinary fact: The Lord's Resistance Army consists primarily of abducted children. Most estimates put the proportion at 80 per cent. The movement might have been born 20 years ago out of legitimate grievances against federal rule from Kampala. But as far as anybody can tell, Joseph Kony's only goal now is to wipe out the adult population of his own people, the Acholi, and replace it with a generation of abducted Acholi children he has trained to kill. He is no longer waging a rebellion; he is leading a murder cult. So far, his effort has directly killed an estimated 32,000 people. It has also displaced 95 per cent of the Acholi population from farmlands into camps where they are dying from disease, the World Health Organization says, at a rate of 1,000 people a week. Kony has abducted an estimated 20,000 children, many of whom have since escaped or been killed, often capriciously by their own LRA commanders. ... Child abductions, indiscriminate killings, mass evacuations -- for years the Acholi people suffered without help from the outside world. They also pondered a desperate peace attempt. Having the army try to rout the LRA and possibly kill their own children seemed out of the question. Instead, they called for a blanket amnesty 'People wanted any shortcut,' Amnesty Commission chairman Justice Peter Onega told a recent forum in Gulu, the north's main town. 'If (a commander) is sure he is going to be forgiven, he will come out,' he said of the theory that led to the commission's establishment in 2000. 'Unfortunately this expectation has not been achieved. The war is still going on.' [...]"


"Pulitzer Prize for Holocaust Denier"
By Henk Ruyssenaars
Foreign Press Foundation (on Santiago.indymedia.org, 9 May 2006)
"[...] Last Tuesday the University of Wales, Aberystwyth (UK) honored the life and work of the outstanding journalist/researcher Gareth Jones, the man who dared to write about the immense suffering and death of the millions of human beings. He was one of the very few to report on this enormous massacre, a genocidal Holocaust in the beginning of the Thirties, which is believed to have caused up to 10 million deaths. But now -- in 2006 -- a bronze plaque was unveiled in the Old College Quad of his old university, by his niece Dr. Margaret Siriol Colley. Dr. Colley has dedicated many years to studying his life and work, and is the author of 'A Manchukuo Incident' which investigates the political intrigue surrounding his murder by Chinese bandits in 1935. Official records declassified since the publishing of that book by the respective secret services -- MI6-KGB-CIA etc. -- show that Gareth's killers probably were acting on behalf of the Soviet secret service NKVD/GPU, as it was called then. The Soviet Union at that time was run by the same group which had been ordering and perpetrating the earlier by Gareth described Holocaust in the Ukraine, where it is known as the Holodomor. What nobody was allowed to see or write about, Gareth Jones went to see for himself, with the advantage of knowing the Russian language. ... 'Gareth reported the tragic plight of the starving peasants. He shared his food with them and even slept with them in their primitive cottages. "There is no bread. We are dying!" was the cry. His press release was printed in many papers including the New York Evening Post and the Manchester Guardian. Gareth was further reviled by the Soviet-sympathetic foreign correspondents in Moscow. Gareth wrote a letter to the New York Times published on May 13th in which stated that he stood by every word he had said about the terrible famine. Except for Malcolm Muggeridge, Gareth was one of the few journalists to report on the tragedy.' [...]"


"Secretary-General Appoints Advisory Committee on Genocide Prevention"
Genocide Watch/UN Department of Public Information, 3 May 2006
"Nobel Prize winner Desmond Tutu of South Africa and the former United Nations Force Commander in Rwanda are among the seven diverse experts appointed today by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to provide support to his Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and to contribute to the broader efforts of the UN to prevent such massive crimes against humanity. The Advisory Committee on Genocide Prevention, composed of senior personalities with backgrounds ranging from conflict prevention to human rights, peacekeeping, diplomacy and mediation, will be chaired by David Hamburg, President Emeritus of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and meet at least twice during this year, with its first meeting scheduled for 19-20 June. Mr. Annan named Juan Méndez the first Special Adviser on genocide prevention in July 2004, with a mandate to collect existing information on massive and serious violations of human rights that could lead to genocide and to bring potential genocidal situations to the attention of the UN Security Council. Among his activities, Mr. Méndez has made repeated visits to Darfur, resulting in varied recommendations to the Secretary-General and to the Security Council about what needs to be done in the strife-torn region. On the 12-year commemoration of the Rwanda genocide, Mr. Mendez wrote an Op-Ed published by several European and Asian newspapers in which he stressed that despite international obligations -- such as the 1948 Genocide Convention -- the global response against genocide continues to fall short of what is required. 'We cannot claim to have learned the lessons of the 1994 Rwandan genocide if our action in the face of genocidal violence remains half-hearted. Action is particularly needed in Darfur, where the threat of genocide continues to loom large,' he wrote. [...]"
[n.b. A fine initiative; only it is disappointing to see no genocide scholars included on this advisory committee.]


"Now under UN Scrutiny: US Interrogation Tactics"
By Warren Richey
The Christian Science Monitor, 8 May 2006
"The US government's use of aggressive interrogation tactics in the war on terror is under a United Nations microscope. The Bush administration has defended its tactics as a means of obtaining actionable intelligence to help thwart terror plots. Critics say it has opened the door to illegal abuse of detainees and even torture. Just how 'aggressive' the tactics have been is under close scrutiny by the UN's Committee Against Torture in Geneva. A US delegation appeared before the committee Friday -- its first appearance since 9/11 -- and it is to face a second round of questioning Monday. The committee is expected to issue a report by May 19. Although it has no specific enforcement powers, the session is viewed as an opportunity to hold countries publicly accountable. At issue is whether the Bush administration has violated an international ban on torture and abuse of prisoners in the war on terror. ... The American delegation declined to discuss allegations about Al Qaeda suspects being subjected to harsh treatment -- including simulated drownings -- at secret detention camps in various countries. Bellinger said it would not be appropriate for the UN committee to delve into 'alleged intelligence activities.' Committee member Andreas Mavrommatis disagreed. He said intelligence matters would be treated with care, but they were not exempt from the UN committee's oversight. 'If during the intelligence activities there is a violation of the convention, it's our duty to investigate [it] and your duty to answer,' Mr. Mavrommatis said. [...]"
[n.b. Some of the no-nonsense language used by committee members during this hearing, responding to the usual US efforts at evasion and obfuscation, has been quite refreshing.]

"Amnesty: Torture 'Widespread' in US Custody"
Reuters dispatch on Truthout.org, 3 May 2006
"Torture and inhumane treatment are "widespread" in U.S.-run detention centers in Afghanistan, Iraq, Cuba and elsewhere despite Washington's denials, Amnesty International said on Wednesday. In a report for the United Nations' Committee against Torture, the London-based human rights group also alleged abuses within the U.S. domestic law enforcement system, including use of excessive force by police and degrading conditions of isolation for inmates in high security prisons. 'Evidence continues to emerge of widespread torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of detainees held in U.S. custody,' Amnesty said in its 47-page report. It said that while Washington has sought to blame abuses that have recently come to light on 'aberrant soldiers and lack of oversight,' much ill-treatment stemmed from officially sanctioned interrogation procedures and techniques. 'The U.S. government is not only failing to take steps to eradicate torture, it is actually creating a climate in which torture and other ill-treatment can flourish,' said Amnesty International USA Senior Deputy Director-General Curt Goering. The U.N. committee, whose experts carry out periodic reviews of countries signatory to the U.N. Convention against Torture, is scheduled to begin consideration of the United States on Friday. The last U.S. review was in 2000. [...]"
[n.b. Link to the full text of the Amnesty report.]


"Bush's Nuclear Madness"
By Joshua Holland
AlterNet.org, 2 May 2006
"George W. Bush has a vision for a strong, independent nuclear America. He wants nuclear weapons for everyday use -- deterrence is for Democrats -- and he wants to build dozens of new nuclear energy plants across the United States. He'll also ship thousands of tons of nuclear waste across the country, first to a huge storage facility in Yucca Mountain, Nev. But that will only contain a little more than what we already have sitting around. We'll need nine more Yuccas by the end of the century if Bush's plans go through. Filling the one we already have means shipping highly radioactive waste through 44 states -- coming within a half mile of 50 million Americans. The most toxic, deadly substances known to humanity would pass through Boston, Baltimore, Newark and Miami. A 1982 study by Sandia Labs -- the country's premiere nuclear research facility -- found that a containment breech in one plant in Pennsylvania would kill 74,000 people within a year and another 34,000 later from cancer. The 1986 Chernobyl disaster spewed more radiation across Europe than was released in Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined, took out 486 villages in Belarus and left a region that had been inhabited by 100,000 people a glow-in-the-dark no-man's land. But don't worry. According to the administration and the deep-pocketed nuclear lobby, it's all perfectly safe. Sure, there's no human invention that's foolproof and, yes, we're talking about making dozens of ripe new targets for terrorists to attack, but hasn't the administration and its corporate partners earned our trust? [...]"

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