Sunday, November 25, 2007

Genocide Studies Media File
November 14-25, 2007

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

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"Corruption, Bribes and Trafficking: A Cancer That is Engulfing Afghanistan"
By Anthony Loyd
The Times, 24 November 2007
"[...] Governmental corruption in Afghanistan has become endemic and bribes to secure police and administrative positions along provincial drug routes is an established procedure. 'The British public would be up in arms if they knew that the district appointments in the south for which British soldiers are dying are there just to protect drug routes,' said one analyst. Western and Afghan officials are also alarmed at how narco-kleptocracy has extended its grip around President Karzai, a figure regarded by some as increasingly isolated by a cadre of corrupt officials. ... The Ministry of Interior, key to establishing security in the country, remains the worst offender. Disaffected police officers have named, to The Times, General Azzam, recently appointed Chief of Operations after his stint as Chief of Staff, and his deputy General Reshad as the prime recipients of bribes. ... Even the lowlier posts in provinces free of poppy traffic have a price. 'To buy a position as a detective in any province you pay $10,000,' explained one police colonel, now on indefinite leave because he refused to pay a bribe. 'Then you pay your superior a cut of the money you make through bribes or trafficking.' One former governor told The Times that every judge in his province had been corrupt. He claimed there were cases of the police handing detainees to the Taleban, or helping to transport Taleban commanders from one province to another. 'The Government has essentially collapsed,' he said. 'It has lost its meaning in the provinces, it has lost the security situation and lost its grip on civil servants. Corruption is playing havoc with the country.' The international community has played its own part in contributing to the crisis. One analyst in Kabul said: 'It's not Afghan culture. It's a culture of impunity. We created it. We came in in 2001 with cases of cash and made certain people untouchables.' [...]"
[n.b. Hardly surprising, under these circumstances, that the Taliban is rapidly returning to power -- see following story.]

"Taliban Control Half of Afghanistan, Says Report"
The Telegraph, 23 November 2007
"The Taliban has a permanent presence in most of Afghanistan and the country is in serious danger of falling into the group's hands, according to a report from an international think tank. The Senlis Council claimed that the insurgents controlled 'vast swathes of unchallenged territory' and were gaining 'more and more political legitimacy in the minds of the Afghan people.' It said that the Nato force in the country needed to be doubled to 80,000 front-line soldiers who should be allowed to pursue militants into Pakistan. The 110-page report said that its 'exclusive' research found the Taliban controlled 54 per cent of Afghanistan. It calculated that Nato countries should contribute 2.3 soldiers per £500 million of their GDP to provide 71,000 soldiers, with 9,000 additional troops coming from Muslim nations. ... The report said: 'It is a sad indictment of the current state of Afghanistan that the question now appears to be not if the Taliban will return to Kabul, but when this will happen and in what form. The oft-stated aim of reaching the city in 2008 appears more viable than ever and it is incumbent upon the international community to implement a new strategic paradigm for Afghanistan before time runs out.' [...]"


"Bosnia Grave Had More Than 600 Victims"
Associated Press dispatch in The Los Angeles Times, 23 November 2007 [Registration Required]
"Forensic experts finished exhumation work on a mass grave in eastern Bosnia and found the remains of more than 600 Bosnian Muslims killed by Serb forces at Srebrenica, officials said Friday. The site was the ninth mass grave discovered in the village of Kamenica. Of the remains from 616 bodies found in the grave, only 76 bodies were found intact, said Fatima Hadzibeganovic, a prosecutor in the city of Tuzla, where the exhumation team is from. The team had been working at the grave for a month before exhuming all the remains. It will takes years to identify them through DNA tests. There was evidence that the remains had been moved from one burial site to another to try to hide the crime, officials said. Experts call them 'secondary mass graves' and they are particularly difficult to work on because heavy equipment including bulldozers were usually used to move bodies from one grave to another. Parts from a single body are sometimes found in different mass graves. Hadzibeganovic said the team working on the latest grave in Kamenica also found bullets, bindings around the victims' arms and eyes, and documents indicating the victims were killed in the Srebrenica massacre, which was Europe's worst mass killing since World War II. In 1995, Serb troops overran the eastern Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica, which the United Nations had declared a safe zone, and killed as many as 8,000 Muslim men and boys. Forensics teams have been uncovering mass graves throughout Bosnia in recent years, collecting the remains and extracting DNA to be matched with relatives. Once a match is found, the body is returned to the family for burial. Of the remains from 3,500 bodies of Srebrenica victims exhumed so far, 2,500 have been identified through DNA. Of those identified, 2,000 were buried in a cemetery in the Srebrenica suburb of Potocari and the remaining 500 were buried elsewhere. Another 5,000 bags with remains of victims found in nearly 60 mass graves in eastern Bosnia were still waiting to be identified before being returned to their families."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"Khmer Rouge Jailer in Court's First Public Hearing"
By Ek Madra
Reuters dispatch, 20 November 2007
"Chief Khmer Rouge interrogator Duch stood before the U.N.-backed 'Killing Fields' tribunal on Tuesday, the first public appearance by a senior Pol Pot cadre at the court investigating Cambodia's genocide. The grey-haired ex-commandant of the S-21 interrogation centre, now 66, sat impassively in the dock as prosecutors read out allegations of torture during a televised bail hearing. 'Many people were brutally tortured and killed. They were killed with electric shocks, their finger nails were pulled off and they were beaten,' co-prosecutor Chea Leang told the court. 'Those acts at S-21 were done under the orders of the suspect,' she said, arguing that Duch might try to flee the country if he were released on bail. Duch, also known as Kaing Guek Eav, is appealing against his detention last July when he was charged with crimes against humanity by the joint court set up to prosecute 'those most responsible' for the 1975-79 Khmer Rouge reign of terror, one of the darkest chapters of the 20th century. His appearance at the specially built court on the outskirts of Phnom Penh was a significant step for the tribunal, officials said, after a decade of delays caused by wrangling over jurisdiction and cash. 'Today is a milestone event in the history of the extraordinary chamber,' said Peter Foster, spokesman for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, as the tribunal probing the 1.7 million deaths of the Khmer Rouge era is called. [...]"

"Khmer Rouge Leader Is Arrested"
By Seth Mydans
The New York Times, 20 November 2007 [Registration Required]
"The former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan was taken from a hospital here and arrested today, the last of five top leaders targeted by prosecutors in advance of trials expected to begin next year. An urbane, French-educated leftist intellectual, Khieu Samphan, 76, had been living quietly in a remote town that was once a stronghold of the Khmer Rouge regime. The Khmer Rouge government was responsible for the deaths of 1.7 million people from torture, executions, starvation and the exhaustion of forced labor in the years between 1975 and 1979. Khieu Samphan was brought to a hospital in Phnom Penh, the capital, last Wednesday after suffering an apparent stroke. Witnesses said that today he was supported on both sides by the officers who escorted him to a police car after being arrested. The special international tribunal, which has been set up with the assistance of the United Nations to bring the Khmer Rouge leadership to justice, said in a statement: 'An initial appearance will be held today during which he will be informed of the charges which have been brought against him.' He was to join three other members of the Khmer Rouge central committee as well as the commandant of Tuol Sleng prison, the most notorious torture house of the Khmer Rouge regime, in a detention facility at the tribunal’s headquarters on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. The commandant of the torture house, Kaing Guek Eav, 64, known as Duch, was due to appear at a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday, the first appearance in open court of any Khmer Rouge figure for the crimes of the 1970s. A close confidant of Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge leader who died in 1998, since their student days in France, Khieu Samphan has denied responsibility for the Khmer Rouge’s acts, saying he only learned of the atrocities committed by his regime when he saw a documentary about Tuol Sleng in 2003. [...]


"Canada's Inuit Facing 'Cultural Genocide,' Says Arctic Expert"
By Kathryn Young
CanWest News Service dispatch on, 23 November 2007
"Some Inuit believe climate change could bring about a 'cultural genocide' as their hunting way of life melts with the sea ice, an Arctic expert told a breakfast meeting of parliamentarians on Thursday. 'There's a cultural genocide implied,' said Franklyn Griffiths, a retired University of Toronto political science professor and expert on Arctic and Russian affairs. 'That is my phrase, not something they'd use.' With climate change, the physical basis for Inuit culture will disappear, he said in an interview later. 'They won't be able to practise a hunting culture at all.' Griffiths traveled extensively throughout the Arctic last spring to interview Inuit hunters and elders about their attitudes on climate change. A small but strong minority is concerned climate change will kill the traditional Inuit way of life - based on hunting and fishing on sea ice -- that in turn threatens their identity as a people. 'There's a real worry that the physical basis for the culture will be wiped out,' Griffiths said. 'Hunting will become the equivalent of picnics. It's all over, that way. No longer are they Inuit.' Although the majority of Inuit he interviewed believed they would adapt to climate change, Griffiths said he is worried about their culture. 'I think there is a real risk of Inuit culture being wiped out,' he said, 'but when and how fast that happens, I don't really know.' Last week, Louis Fortier, scientific director of the Canadian research network ArcticNet, said the worst case scenarios about melting sea ice are coming true and the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free in summertime as soon as 2010 or 2015. Previous forecasts had pegged the year at 2050. 'If reputable scientists are saying that, then (cultural genocide) isn't too strong a term,' New Democrat MP Denise Savoie said. 'Aside from the loss in terms of nature, it's also a huge loss culturally.' [...]"


"No More Holocaust Reparations, Says German Finance Minister"
Deutsche Welle dispatch, 24 November 2007
"Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück said in Jerusalem Thursday that Germany had no plans to renegotiate a Holocaust reparations deal signed with Israel in 1952. 'The existing deal is signed and final and there is no need to change it,' said Steinbrück after meeting with the chairman of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, Noah Flug. Flug said that although the reparation agreement with Germany would not be amended, if there were 'specific problems' Germany would try to solve them. 'We didn't ask for money, we spoke of the responsibility of the German government,' added Flug. Complaints that Germany's reparations fail to compensate in any reasonable way for the trauma of the Holocaust are ongoing. But the Israeli Holocaust survivors who met with Steinbrück on Thursday, Nov. 23, to request improvements to the reparations arrangement specifically argued that the original agreement failed to take into account today's longer life expectancy or the tens of thousands of survivors who immigrated to Israel after the fall of the Soviet Union. According to news agency DPA, Steinbrück did agree that Germany would try to help needy survivors via the Claims Committee, the international organization that coordinates compensation payments to survivors. Earlier this month, an Israeli paper published comments by Israel's Pensioners Affairs Minister Rafael Eytan saying Israel was keen to reopen the deal, but he later said he was misquoted and only wished to examine with Germany ways to support survivors given the 'holes' in the original agreement. [...]"

"What Does Germany Owe Israel?"
By Marty Peretz
The Spine blog (on The New Republic), 18 November 2007
"Look, there is no amount of German reparations that can compensate for the calamity inflicted on the Jewish people by the Nazi regime. The post-war Federal Republic has paid out billions and billions of dollars in atonement and concrete restitution to individual Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, to Jewish cultural organizations and to Israel, the Jewish State. Now comes the Israeli Pensioners Affairs Minister who claims that Germany owes more. 'Get it from the Germans' has long been a reflex when money was short. Apparently, it is still a reflex ... when money is not short. It is demeaning to the dead to continue to scrounge from Berlin. The Germans are the best friends of Israel and the Jews in Europe. They have shown that many times and in different ways, not least by supplying three Dolphin class submarines to Israel and right now subsidizing a purchase of two such additional submarines. Enough is enough. Stop the shnorerei!"
[n.b. This is the complete text of the blog post, although it is worth following the link to check out the readers' comments. As an aside, this is probably the first time in my life that I have agreed with Martin Peretz.]


"Leaving Home for the Homeland"
By Rory McCarthy
The Guardian, 24 November 2007
"On Benjamin's 18th day in Israel he stands in the shade of a palm tree in the paved courtyard of an absorption centre that will be his home for the next six months. On his head he wears a kippah and around his neck a chain carrying his name in Hebrew lettering. He is one of the latest young Jewish Iranians to leave their homeland in search of a new life in Israel at a time of growing tensions between the two nations. Once Benjamin, 23, was teaching Hebrew and running a shop in Iran. Two years ago he was arrested by Iranian intelligence agents who threatened to kill him and his family. 'They put a gun in my head and forced me to sign that I was a spy for Israel and they said: "We will kill you." I thought: "I'm going to die just for being Jewish,"' he said. He will not give his real name or have his face photographed for fear of reprisals against his elderly parents who are still in Iran, but he has taken Benjamin as his new name in Israel. Eventually Benjamin escaped, using an old passport that was no longer registered on Iranian government computers and made his way to Israel with the support of the Jewish Agency, which is responsible for arranging immigration for Jews from across the world in what is known in Hebrew as Aliyah, or the ascent. Around 20,000 Jews make Aliyah to Israel every year, most arriving under the Law of Return under which the state grants citizenship to anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent. Not all the new Iranian arrivals have had such harsh experiences. Others in the same absorption centre in east Jerusalem, where they live and take Hebrew classes for six months, say they simply felt suffocated by the current Iranian regime and unable to live freely. [...]"


"Holocaust Denial, American Style"
By Mark Weisbrot
AlterNet (on, 21 November 2007
"Iranian President Ahmedinejad's flirtation with those who deny the reality of the Nazi genocide has rightly been met with disgust. But another holocaust denial is taking place with little notice: the holocaust in Iraq. The average American believes that 10,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the US invasion in March 2003. The most commonly cited figure in the media is 70,000. But the actual number of people who have been killed is most likely more than one million. This is five times more than the estimates of killings in Darfur and even more than the genocide in Rwanda 13 years ago. The estimate of more than one million violent deaths in Iraq was confirmed again two months ago in a poll by the British polling firm Opinion Research Business, which estimated 1,220,580 violent deaths since the US invasion. This is consistent with the study conducted by doctors and scientists from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health more than a year ago. Their study was published in the Lancet, Britain's leading medical journal. It estimated 601,000 people killed due to violence as of July 2006; but if updated on the basis of deaths since the study, this estimate would also be more than a million. These estimates do not include those who have died because of public health problems created by the war, including breakdowns in sewerage systems and electricity, shortages of medicines, etc. ... Of course, acknowledging the holocaust in Iraq might change the debate over the war. While Iraqi lives do not count for much in US politics, recognizing that a mass slaughter of this magnitude is taking place could lead to more questions about how this horrible situation came to be. Right now a convenient myth dominates the discussion: the fall of Saddam Hussein simply unleashed a civil war that was waiting to happen, and the violence is all due to Iraqis' inherent hatred of each other. [...]"

"The Forgotten Fallen"
By John Pilger
New Statesman, 15 November 2007
"On Remembrance Day 2007, the great and the good bowed their heads at the Cenotaph. Gen erals, politicians, newsreaders, football managers and stock-market traders wore their poppies. Hypocrisy was a presence. No one mentioned Iraq. No one uttered the slightest remorse for the fallen of that country. No one read the forbidden list. The forbidden list documents, without favour, the part the British state and its court have played in the destruction of Iraq. Here it is: 1) Holocaust denial. On 25 October, Dai Davies MP asked Gordon Brown about civilian deaths in Iraq. Brown passed the question to the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, who passed it to his junior minister, Kim Howells, who replied: 'We continue to believe that there are no comprehensive or reliable figures for deaths since March 2003.' This was a deception. In October 2006, the Lancet published research by Johns Hopkins University in the US and al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad which calculated that 655,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the Anglo-American invasion. A Freedom of Information search revealed that the government, while publicly dismissing the study, secretly backed it as comprehensive and reliable. The chief scientific adviser to the Ministry of Defence, Sir Roy Anderson, called its methods 'robust' and 'close to best practice.' Other senior governments officials secretly acknowledged the survey's 'tried and tested way of measuring mortality in conflict zones.' Since then, the British research polling agency, Opinion Research Business, has extrapolated a figure of 1.2 million deaths in Iraq. Thus, the scale of death caused by the British and US governments may well have surpassed that of the Rwanda genocide, making it the biggest single act of mass murder of the late 20th century and the 21st century. [...]"


"UN Official Says Israel's Siege of Gaza Breeds Extremism and Human Suffering"
By Donald Macintyre
The Independent, 23 November 2007
"A senior United Nations official has issued an unprecedented appeal to British MPs to use their influence to try to alleviate the impact of 'indiscriminate' and 'illegal' Israeli sanctions in Gaza which display 'profound inhumanity' and are 'serving the agenda of extremists.' In one of the strongest attacks on recent Israeli strategy issued by a senior international official, John Ging, Gaza's director of operations for the refugee agency UNRWA, said that 'crushing sanctions' imposed since the Israeli cabinet declared the Strip a 'hostile entity' in September had contributed to 'truly appalling living conditions.' Mr. Ging said the measures had been justified as protection from what he fully acknowledged were rocket attacks 'terrorising' the Israeli civilian population within range. The rockets have killed two people this year and injured 99 others. But citing cuts in fuel and planned cuts in electricity along with closures which have had 'an atrocious' impact on Palestinian medical care, 'destroyed' Gaza's economy and threatened already 'Third World' water and sanitation, he told the Britain-Palestine group of MPs: 'This presupposes that the civilian population are somehow more capable of stopping the rocket fire than the powerful military of the occupying power. My message ... is that not only are these sanctions not working, but because of their profound inhumanity, they are counterproductive to their stated purpose and while Gaza is not yet an entity populated by people hostile to their neighbour, it inevitably will be if the current approach of collective punitive sanctions continues.' Mr. Ging, whose agency is responsible for 70 per cent of Gaza's 1.5 million population, said that over the past two years 'every hopeful opportunity has been irrationally dashed and followed by even worse circumstances.' He added that Gaza's civilian population expected more of Israel and the international community, who regularly expressed concern about their humanitarian plight but 'to no avail.' [...]"
[n.b. "Profound inhumanity," "crushing," "appalling," "illegal," "atrocious" ... it's all sounding a little like the Warsaw Ghetto circa 1940, isn't it? Perhaps we need an armed outside intervention to take control and forcibly put an end to Israel's proto-genocidal policies toward Gaza. Unfortunately, this is the sort of option for which the term "pipe dream" was invented.]


"Should We Be Afraid of North Korea?"
By David Wallechinsky, 25 November 2007
"[...] During my trip, I was well aware of the darker parts of the country that our guides did not show us, like its nuclear weapons facilities and the prison camps where an estimated 250,000 North Koreans currently are being held for dubious reasons. As hostile as Kim Jong-il's government has been to ours, I look at his people as victims rather than aggressors. However, there are signs that their extreme isolation might be lifting. As shown by its signing of the nuclear-disablement agreement and its desire for economic growth, North Korea is shedding some of its Cold War antagonism and trying to establish more positive relationships with other nations. 'North Korea is an incredibly tough, resilient country,' says Jonathan Pollack, professor of Asian and Pacific studies at the Naval War College. 'Now the leaders understand how far behind they lag, but they fear opening up too much.' When the time comes and the North Koreans are fully exposed to ideas from the rest of the world, I can’t help but hope that they’ll become aware of alternatives to the propaganda and speak out for change on their own."
[n.b. Thanks to Rick Feingold for bringing this source to my attention.]


"As Order Slides, Palestinian Women Face Honor Killings"
By Ilene R. Prusher
The Christian Science Monitor, 20 November 2007
"All the women in the family say Wafa Wahdan was wonderful. But her sisters-in-law add that they noticed a few little things. She had changed the way she dressed in the past year to a less conservative style and she sometimes went out for a drive without saying where she was going. A few weeks ago, the body of the young mother of four was found in a garbage dump east of town. Police arrested two of the woman's male cousins for having trapped Ms. Wahdan and shot her to death, committing the third 'honor killing' in Qalqilya last month. Wahdan's brutal murder devastated her husband and immediate family, who say that the rumor mill's tales of Wahdan having an affair were untrue. But regardless of their veracity, suspicion alone can be enough to get a woman killed by distant relatives looking to 'cleanse' the family honor when there is talk of an illicit relationship. According to local organizations, such murders have risen in the Palestinian territories to nearly 50 this year -- a fact that many here blame on the absence of any true law and order, which allows individuals to enforce their own version of justice. Palestinians here say the image of an ever-weaker Palestinian Authority has increased after Hamas's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in June, making this local vigilantism harder to combat. Particularly galling to many here is the fact that a man who admits to murdering a female relative for reasons of honor can be sentenced to as little as six months in jail. Palestinians say that policy is based on an old Jordanian law, which still holds in the West Bank: Article 341 considers murder a legitimate act of defense when the killer acts 'in defense of his life or his honor.' [...]"


"Rwanda Genocide Court Pressed as Deadline Approaches"
Agence France-Presse dispatch on Yahoo! News, 24 November 2007
"The tribunal responsible for trying alleged criminals of Rwanda's 1994 genocide said on Saturday it cannot complete its work before the court's UN mandate expires and may send cases back to Rwanda. 'There will be at least one case that will not finish,' said Roland Amoussouga, senior legal officer at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), at a news conference at the Commonwealth summit here. 'So the question is, can we achieve what is expected of us by the deadline?' December 2008 is the deadline for all cases to have their first hearing. At least a few cases will spill over that point, including one involving three Rwandan ex-ministers that will likely re-start, he added. The fast-approaching date is the 'nightmare of the (court) president,' he said. Rights group Amnesty International petitioned the ICTR earlier this month to prevent it from extraditing suspects from its base in Arusha, Tanzania, to Rwanda until the country starts holding fair trials and protecting victims. But Amoussouga said the tribunal was still considering whether or not to send its remaining cases back to Rwanda after December 2008. 'The decision will not be political, but of a judicious nature,' he said. Over the past 10 years, the ICTR has indicted 90 people for organising the genocide, arresting 76; some 29 have been handed jail terms ranging from six years to life imprisonment; five were acquitted; and 14 are still missing. [...]"

"Rwanda Minister Condemns ICTR Handing of Genocide Cases to France"
Agence France-Presse dispatch in The Tocqueville Connection, 24 November 2007
"The Rwandan government is astonished by a decision of the international court trying crimes arising from the genocide in the country to let France deal with two suspects, Rwanda's justice minister said Saturday. The ruling from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) means it is now up to Paris to put on trial Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, a 49-year-old Catholic priest, and Laurent Bucyibaruta, 62, a former government official, both living in exile in France. The two men are free on bail, but are under French judicial investigation on charges relating to the genocide. 'We knew that the ICTR had asked France to hand over the two accused,' Rwandan Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama told AFP. 'Now the opposite has happened -- we are astonished.' Karugarama said that Kigali would be seeking an explanation from the ICTR, whose decision to hand over the cases is part of a policy linked to next year's deadline for the court to finish its work. 'One must have confidence in the judicial apparatus everywhere but it must be recognised that France has not yet shown its determination to try cases of genocide,' he said. Rwandan authorities have alleged that Paris bore a responsibility for the genocide and thus has no moral right to try people accused by the ICTR. Last week a special Rwandan commission handed over a 500-page report on France's alleged role in the 1994 slaughter of 800,000 minority Tutsis by the Hutu majority. The current, Tutsi-led government in Kigali accuses Paris of having armed and trained the authors of the massacre, which France denies. In November 2006 the French anti-terrorism judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere implicated Rwandan President Paul Kagame in the assassination of his predecessor Juvenal Habyarimana which sparked the slaughter. Kagame subsequently broke off diplomatic relations with France, which has been trying recently to heal the rift."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"U.S. Offers Mild Criticism In Saudi Rape Case"
Reuters dispatch in The New York Times, 19 November 2007 [Registration Required]
"The United States, which wants Saudi Arabia to attend a Middle East conference next week, gave only mild criticism on Monday of a Saudi court's order to double the number of lashings for a gang rape victim. 'This is a part of a judicial procedure overseas in the court of a sovereign country,' said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack when asked to comment on the case. 'That said, most would find this relatively astonishing that something like this happens,' added McCormack. McCormack declined to directly criticize the Saudi government, or the legal system, which has made a series of erratic verdicts in recent months. 'I don't have anything else to offer,' said McCormack when pressed on what he meant that people would be 'astonished' over such verdicts. Asked whether the Saudi authorities should reconsider the sentence against the woman, McCormack said he could not 'get involved in specific court cases in Saudi Arabia dealing with its own citizens.' The 19-year-old Shi'ite woman from the town of Qatif in the Eastern Province was raped by seven men in 2006. A court had originally sentenced the woman to 90 lashes and the rapists to jail terms of between 10 months and five years. But the victim's lawyer told Reuters last week the court had increased her sentence to 200 lashes and six months in prison. He said the court had blamed the woman for being alone with unrelated men. Clerics who adhere to Saudi Arabia's austere Sunni form of Islamic Sharia law dominate the legal system, with Shi'ite Muslims also judged according to Sunni Islamic law. The United States has been criticized in the past for not being outspoken enough about human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, a close U.S. ally. [...]"
[n.b. Sickening as this story is, it is almost amusing to see the United States waging on the one hand a campaign against Islamist extremism worldwide, and on the other hand supporting to the hilt the most extreme Islamist regime in the world, however barbaric and medieval its actions.]


"It's War if Kosovo Breaks Away, Say Serbs"
The Telegraph, 23 November 2007
"A Serbian extremist group, which claims to have thousands of members, lodged a call to arms yesterday with the Serbian government should Kosovo declare independence. Hadzi Andrej Milic, the leader of the so-called Tsar Lazar Guard, said 'a violent invasion will follow in the case of a unilateral declaration of independence' by Kosovo's ethnic Albanians. The Albanian National Army, branded a terrorist organisation by the UN in Kosovo, claimed that it has support throughout the province and was prepared to fight off any threats from armed Serb groups. Internationally brokered talks are under way between ethnic Albanians and Serbia on settling the long-standing dispute over whether Kosovo will become independent. The province has been under UN control since 1999, when Nato intervened to stop a Serb crackdown. Kosovo's Albanian leaders have threatened to declare independence unilaterally if negotiations fail. Serbia says it is willing to grant autonomy but not independence."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

"'Independence is a Done Deal'"
By Andrew Purvis, 22 November 2007
"[...] Starting last year, the United Nations, which has administered the province since NATO planes drove Serb authorities out of the territory in 1999, has tried to broker a deal in which Kosovo would be granted independence with the consent of Serbia and the rest of the international community. But Belgrade, backed by Moscow, torpedoed the plan. By declaring independence, Kosovo is poised to take on its own Belgrade refuses to voluntarily give. Many Kosovo Serbs, who make up a minority of the province's population, have threatened to secede rather than be ruled by Pristina, while several European Union countries say they may not recognize the new country for fear that such recognition would set a precedent for other separatist groups elsewhere. This week, EU leaders stepped up pressure on Thaci and other leaders to put off the declaration at least until the rest of Europe could coordinate its response. 'We need a soft landing in Kosovo if we are going to avoid a hard crash,' said Sweden's foreign minister, Carl Bildt. After waiting so long for independence already, [Prime-Minister-in-waiting Hashim] Thaci and other Kosovo Albanian leaders may be willing to wait a few weeks longer. Thaci's declaration (to TIME and others) that he intended to declare independence 'immediately' after a deadline for a negotiated solution expired on Dec. 10, may prove to have been mainly for domestic consumption. But he and other Kosovo Albanian leaders are probably not willing to wait longer than January. [...]"

"It's Hard to Imagine a Worse Outcome for the Balkans"
By Simon Jenkins
The Guardian, 21 November 2007
"[...] For eight years Kosovo has enjoyed de facto autonomy under the protection of 17,000 Nato troops. These have allowed the regime to 'reverse-cleanse' the province of half its Serbs, including virtually all the 40,000 who once lived in the capital, Pristina. There are barely 200,000 left, just 10% of the population. Although the new prime minister, the former guerrilla Hashim Thaci, declares that 'Kosovo is ready for independence,' he cannot mean it. Kosovo is a Nato protectorate under UN administration, with more aid per head than any state in Asia or Africa. What Thaci wants is not independence but the luxuriant post-intervention dependency enjoyed by Bosnia, Sierra Leone and the embattled regimes in Baghdad and Kabul. To this the Serbs remain implacably opposed. Even moderate opponents of Milosevic's reign regard the enforced dismemberment of their nation as excessive punishment for the barbarities committed by the Serb army in 1998. Nor will they let it rest. Like the Basque country for Spain and the Falklands for Argentina, Kosovo will always be a cause celebre for Serbia. Independence for Kosovo clearly accords with current realpolitik, but realpolitik is seldom the end of the matter in the Balkans. Russia says it would veto Kosovo's acceptance into the UN, and to that extent Kosovo would be an illegitimate state. Nor is Russia's attitude purely due to Slav solidarity. Moscow is understandably averse to western troops coming to the aid of separatist movements wherever there is insurrection or cries of genocide, least of all within bombing distance of the Caucasus. Russia is supported in this view by Spain, Greece and Cyprus, each with separatist problems. And what does Britain, so keen on Balkan partition, say to the Pashtuns or the Kurds when they demand independence? [...]"

"EU Ministers Try to Head Off Kosovo Breakaway"
By Mark Tran and agencies
The Guardian, 19 November 2007
"EU foreign ministers today cautioned the winners of Kosovo's election against a unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia. The former guerrilla leader Hashim Thaci, who is expected to become prime minister of the breakaway province, said parliament would declare independence after the December 10 deadline for international mediation efforts, which have gone nowhere. With 90% of the votes counted, independent election monitors said Thaci's Democratic Party (PDK) had come first with 34%, ahead of the ruling Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK). Thaci is determined to push for independence, but even Kosovo's strongest backers are urging him not to rush matters, amid fears that it could trigger further instability in the Balkans. 'Kosovo should have her independence, (but) it shouldn't be an unmanaged unilateral declaration. It should be one that is coordinated with the international community,' Britain's minister for Europe, Jim Murphy, told reporters in Brussels. Britain, along with the US, backs independence for Kosovo, but acknowledges that it would be better if such a move had the UN's approval. The EU is split on the issue, with Spain and Greece the most hesitant to back a unilateral declaration because of their own separatist problems. [...]"

"Independence Loses its Magic in Kosovo Vote"
By Douglas Hamilton
Reuters dispatch, 17 November 2007
"Kosovo Albanians who fought Serbia for independence 8 years ago seem disillusioned as their dream approaches realization. More than half of them did not bother to vote in an election on Saturday, despite the fact that it will chose the leaders they expect to declare statehood within a month or two. Kosovo has no second-thoughts about its independence. But the realization that it offers no miracle cure for economic malaise has long overtaken the old euphoria. 'People are depressed,' said local newspaper editor Berat Buzhala. 'This is about the economic situation. No water, no electricity, no jobs.' Shops and small businesses with smart facades have burgeoned in the past few years, spreading cheery neon light onto streets once menaced by sandbagged Serb police checkpoints, where cowed Albanians hurried along in the dark. Now, downtown Mother Teresa Street is being turned into a fine pedestrian corso, paved with imported Chinese granite and lined with trees, in time for Independence Day. But litter and puddles still deface most of the capital, Pristina, and its smoke-filled cafes fuelled by the boredom of 60 percent unemployment are not likely to empty out soon. ... Kosovo was always a poor corner of the old Yugoslavia, mired for decades in a struggle between its steadily growing ethnic Albanian majority and ruling Serbs, who saw that demographic fact encroaching on their ancient homeland. Serbia's iron grip on the province was broken in 1999 when the military crackdown it unleashed on Albanian rebels went too far for Western powers, who used their superior NATO force to prevent a bloodbath after months of warnings went unheeded. [...]"


"Mine Deaths: 'Enough is Enough'", 25 November 2007
"South Africa's biggest miners' union unveiled plans on Friday to down tools in a strike against mounting mine deaths, as Gold Fields, Harmony and Impala Platinum all reported more deaths. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said it was only awaiting a permit to ask its members to strike in a one-day protest on December 4 that would be the first ever such action on safety, and could cripple gold and platinum producers in the world's biggest producer of the precious metals. 'How many more deaths, anguish, and sorrow must be visited upon innocent mineworkers, their families, and the communities in which they live before we can say enough is enough?' asked Senzeni Zokwana, president of the 300 000-strong NUM, in a speech at a global unions' meeting in Thailand. More than 180 workers have been killed this year in rockfalls, explosions or have been buried underground during earth tremors in mines owned by some of the world's biggest mining firms, in what the NUM has termed a 'genocide.' Around 200 workers died in 2006 in rockfalls, explosions or been buried under tonnes of rocks in the mineral-rich nation. [...]"
[n.b. Excerpted for the intriguing use of the word "genocide" in this context. And South African mines pale in comparison with Chinese ones, where thousands of workers die annually in conditions virtually (and intentionally) devoid of occupational safety measures.]


"The Killer They Call Holodomor"
By Mitch Potter
The Star (Toronto), 25 November 2007
"Seventy-five years later, Ivan Brovko says the look in the little girl's eyes still comes to him in his dreams. And terrible dreams they are. He was a young teacher, Marika Khailo was a young student -- and there is no gentle way to convey the fact that she died before his eyes in the front row of his classroom in the village of Rudka in southeastern Ukraine. Marika died of hunger. She was among the millions of people who perished -- estimates range from 4 to 10 million -- in that infamous winter of 1932-33, when the man-made famine known as the Holodomor devastated Ukraine. ... As Ukrainians today mark the 75th anniversary of the Great Famine – a grim remembrance that falls on the last Sunday every November -- Brovko thinks not of Vladimir Ilich Lenin, but of his successor, Joseph Stalin, whose policies he blames for the tyranny that befell Ukraine. Brovko made noise in the village after Marika's death – so much noise that an arrest warrant was issued. He fled, moving north through the dying nation in a desperate quest for survival. 'For decades, it was shrouded under Soviet propaganda,' he says. 'But today there is no longer any doubt -- the study of the archives shows this famine was engineered to brutally force upon Ukraine Stalin's policies of collectivization. The debate over what to call it -- holocaust, genocide, terror -- doesn't really matter. The fact is that the starvation of Ukraine was deliberate. 'I am 92 and so long as I live I will continue talking about it, because the Holodomor is not where it should be in the world's memory.' Famine awareness soared four years ago in an international campaign, led by Canadian researcher Lubomyr Luciuk, demanding the posthumous revocation of the 1933 Pulitzer Prize to Walter Duranty, whose work as Moscow correspondent for The New York Times is widely acknowledged today as Soviet apologia. The Pulitzer committee eventually declined to revoke the award, but even The Times today acknowledges Duranty's reportage as deeply discredited. Ukrainian efforts to codify the memory of the famine in a comprehensive project comparable to Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust museum have yet to materialize, despite the support of President Viktor Yushchenko. [...]"

"Ukraine Seeks Recognition of '32 Genocide"
By Maria Danilova
Associated Press dispatch in The Washington Times, 24 November 2007
"After authorities broke into Yakiv Atamanenko's home in autumn of 1932 and confiscated the family's food, his mother and two brothers died of starvation and their bloated bodies were tossed among others in a freshly dug grave on the outskirts of this farming village. Mr. Atamanenko and other survivors said their neighbors, Oleksandra Korytnyk and her husband, ate their two children. 'They cut their children into pieces and ate them,' recalled Mr. Atamanenko, now a frail, gray-haired 95-year-old. In the end, he and others said, the Korytnyks died as well. Today, Ukraine marks the 75th anniversary of the terrible famine of 1932-33, engineered by Soviet authorities to force peasants across what was then the U.S.S.R. to give up their privately held plots of land and join collective farms. Millions perished. It began on November 24, 1932, with an order raising the quota for the state procurement of grain and wound up as an all-out forced collectivization of agriculture. Ukraine was hit hardest because it was the breadbasket of the Soviet Union. Now, President Viktor Yushchenko is leading an effort to gain international recognition of Holodomor -- or death by hunger, as it is known here -- as a crime rather than merely a disaster, by labeling it an act of genocide. Long kept secret by Soviet authorities, accounts of the great famine still divide historians and politicians, not just in this nation of 47 million but throughout the former Soviet Union. Some are convinced that the famine targeted Ukrainians as an ethnic group. Others argue authorities set out to eradicate all private landowners as a social class, and that the Soviets sought to pay for the U.S.S.R.'s industrialization with grain exports at the expense of starving millions of its own people. [...]"

"Manitoba Sets Aside Day to Recognize Ukrainian Famine as Act of Genocide"
Canadian Press dispatch on CNews, 22 November 2007
"The Manitoba government is setting aside a day to recognize the Ukrainian famine of the 1930s. The government and opposition have jointly tabled a bill to declare the fourth Saturday in November the Ukranian Famine and Genocide Memorial Day. Not every country in the world recognizes the famine as a deliberate genocide on the part of the Soviet Union. But Manitoba deputy premier Rosann Wowchuk says there is clear evidence the famine was a deliberate attempt to starve Ukrainians to death. Wowchuk has visited the region, and says she has talked to relatives who survived the ordeal. Ukraine has asked the United Nations to recognize the famine as a genocide -- something which is still under consideration."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"French Prosecutors Throw out Rumsfeld Torture Case"
Reuters dispatch, 24 November 2007
"The Paris prosecutors' office has dismissed a suit against Donald Rumsfeld accusing the former U.S. defense secretary of torture, human rights groups who brought the case said on Friday. The plaintiffs, who included the French-based International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH) and the U.S. Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), said Rumsfeld had authorized interrogation techniques that led to rights abuses. The FIDH said it had received a letter from the prosecutors' office ruling that Rumsfeld benefited from a 'customary' immunity from prosecution granted to heads of state and government and foreign ministers, even after they left office. It said in a statement it was 'astonished at such a mistaken argument' and said customary immunity from prosecution did not exist under international law. The suit was filed in October during a visit to France by Rumsfeld. The Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq hit the headlines in April 2004 when details of physical abuse and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers were made public, badly damaging the reputation of the U.S. military. Former prisoners at the U.S. detention camp in Guantanamo Bay are suing Rumsfeld and 10 military commanders, alleging torture and violations of their religious rights during their detention there. The CCR and FIDH filed suits in Germany in 2004 and 2006 in an attempt to have Rumsfeld tried for rights abuses."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"Town Suspends Ties to No Place for Hate"
By Kytja Weir
Boston Globe, 25 November 2007
"The town of Bedford has become the latest to join the growing list of area communities to distance itself from an antibias program mired in controversy over the Anti-Defamation League's stance on the Armenian genocide. The five-member Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Monday to suspend the ADL's No Place for Hate program at the urging of the community's Violence Prevention Coalition, an umbrella group that oversaw the community's participation in the national program. 'I don't think we should be carrying the banner of the Anti-Defamation League as long as it puts their interests ahead of protecting all of us from discrimination,' Selectman Gordon Feltman said to a packed room of more than two dozen who turned out for the vote. At least eight other Massachusetts towns -- including Arlington, Belmont, Lexington, and Watertown -- previously had suspended or severed ties with the ADL and No Place for Hate. The Medford City Council also recently suspended the program. Community members there re sponded early this month by gathering in an impromptu ceremony to take down a prominent outdoor sign declaring the community a No Place for Hate location. The program, once certified in more than 60 Massachusetts communities, provides grant money and expertise for educational activities fighting discrimination. Bedford officials had discussed the issue earlier in the fall but chose to wait and see whether the ADL's national board would endorse a resolution before Congress about the Armenian genocide in its Nov. 2 meeting. The ADL's board decided in that meeting not to take further action on whether to classify as genocide the Ottoman Empire's massacre of as many as 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923. The ADL, formed to fight anti-Semitism, has been concerned about relations with Turkey, the modern-day successor of the Ottoman Empire and a key Muslim ally of Israel. [...]"
[n.b. A delightful smackdown for the knuckleheads of the ADL. May I recommend they change the name of their program to No Place for Hate, Unless It Suits Us?]


"As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes"
By Joseph Kahn and Jim Yardley
The New York Times, 26 August 2007
"No country in history has emerged as a major industrial power without creating a legacy of environmental damage that can take decades and big dollops of public wealth to undo. But just as the speed and scale of China's rise as an economic power have no clear parallel in history, so its pollution problem has shattered all precedents. Environmental degradation is now so severe, with such stark domestic and international repercussions, that pollution poses not only a major long-term burden on the Chinese public but also an acute political challenge to the ruling Communist Party. And it is not clear that China can rein in its own economic juggernaut. Public health is reeling. Pollution has made cancer China's leading cause of death, the Ministry of Health says. Ambient air pollution alone is blamed for hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. Nearly 500 million people lack access to safe drinking water. Chinese cities often seem wrapped in a toxic gray shroud. Only 1 percent of the country's 560 million city dwellers breathe air considered safe by the European Union. ... An internal, unpublicized report by the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning in 2003 estimated that 300,000 people die each year from ambient air pollution, mostly of heart disease and lung cancer. An additional 110,000 deaths could be attributed to indoor air pollution caused by poorly ventilated coal and wood stoves or toxic fumes from shoddy construction materials, said a person involved in that study. Another report, prepared in 2005 by Chinese environmental experts, estimated that annual premature deaths attributable to outdoor air pollution were likely to reach 380,000 in 2010 and 550,000 in 2020. This spring, a World Bank study done with SEPA, the national environmental agency, concluded that outdoor air pollution was already causing 350,000 to 400,000 premature deaths a year. Indoor pollution contributed to the deaths of an additional 300,000 people, while 60,000 died from diarrhea, bladder and stomach cancer and other diseases that can be caused by water-borne pollution. [...]"
[n.b. In my view, there are real questions to be asked as to whether such intentional, state-sanctioned destruction of millions (probably tens of millions) of lives, in pursuit of the joint capitalist/state-socialist goal of untrammelled "development," may qualify as genocidal.]


"Vanity Fair Sued over Neo-Nazi Interview"
The Jerusalem Post, 22 November 2007
"An interview with one of Germany's most notorious neo-Nazis has landed Vanity Fair magazine in a heap of trouble. Arno Lustiger, a Jewish historian and Holocaust survivor, has started proceedings to sue the magazine's German edition for publishing an interview with Horst Mahler, the former left-wing extremist who transformed into one of Germany's most rabid neo-Nazi public figures. The interview appeared in the Nov. 1 print and online editions. Filed Nov. 7 and released to the public on Nov. 21, the suit notes that Mahler denied and belittled the Holocaust, which is illegal in Germany. Attorney Uwe Lehmann-Brauns told the JTA on Nov. 21 that he was awaiting confirmation from Berlin's state prosecutor that the suit had been formally entered. Vanity Fair as yet has offered no response. In the interview, conducted by journalist and former vice president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Michel Friedman, Mahler said that 'Hitler was the liberator of the German people. He is demonized as the liberator of Satan.' The publisher had said he ran the interview to make Germans aware of the poisonous ideas in their midst, but Lustiger's attorneys said the motivation was immaterial."


"If Our Friends Do It, It Is Not Genocide"
Corporate Crime Reporter, November 13, 2007
"The Genocide Prevention Task Force was unveiled at the National Press Club this morning. The task force is being co-chair by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen. It's being convened by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the American Academy of Diplomacy, and the United States Institute of Peace. In addition to Cohen and Albright, its members include: John Danforth, Tom Daschle, Stuart Eizenstat, Michael Gerson, Dan Glickman, Jack Kemp, Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, Tom Pickering, Julia Taft, Vin Weber, and Anthony Zinni. 'The world agrees that genocide is unacceptable and yet genocide and mass killings continue,' Albright said. 'Our challenge is to match words to deeds and stop allowing the unacceptable. That task -- simple on the surface -- is in fact one of the most persistent puzzles of our times. We have a duty to find the answer before the vow of "never again" is once again betrayed.' ... But after the opening remarks, Cohen and Albright hit a buzz saw of skeptical questioning from reporters in the First Amendment Room. 'How do you reconcile your work in trying to build a moral American consensus against genocide when just very recently each of you signed letters urging America not to recognize the Armenian genocide?' a reporter asked Cohen and Albright. 'This mission is about the future,' Albright answered. 'We want to look at ways to try and prevent genocide and mass killing.' ... 'If we are saying that this isn't the right time to acknowledge this genocide, does that mean that you are arguing that for political expedience purposes, we are not going to be taking action on nor should we take action on future genocides because of what are perceived to be U.S. interests?' another reporter asked. 'We are saying there are no absolutes in this,' Cohen answered. 'We are going to try and set forth a set of principles that will serve as a guide.' [...]"
[n.b. Thanks to Gerry Caplan for submitting this link.]


"Food Prices: Africa Shows First Signs of Trouble"
By Christophe Parayre
The Mail & Guardian (South Africa), 23 November 2007
"Recent violent unrest over soaring food prices in several West African nations points to new signs of trouble on a continent where nearly half the people live on a dollar a day, experts warn. After Mauritania and Morocco, Senegal this week was the latest country hit by violent protests. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation chief Jacques Diouf last month warned of a 'risk of social and political troubles in Third World nations in the months or years to come' due to the global rise in cereal prices. ... The mounting demand for biofuels and escalating prices of fossil fuels mean farmers cultivate less food in preference of fast cash-spinning biofuel crops. And the internationally rising oil prices are reflected in imported food costs. 'The growing demand for biofuels and the high prices of fossil fuel have a dramatic impact on millions of people,' said Savariaud. ... In the vast and arid Mauritania, where national cereal output is less than 30% of needs, the price of imported flour shot up nearly 100% -- from $200 per ton last year to $360 in September, according to WFP. Shops there were vandalised and torched earlier this month to protest spiralling food prices, leaving one person dead and 17 wounded. In Morocco, about 50 people were injured during September food protests. Escalating food prices have affected almost every nation on the continent, but so far without sparking the kind of violent outbreaks witnessed in West Africa, home to the greatest number of the world's most poverty-stricken countries. Chances of controlling the high food bills are not easy in the short term, warned FAO chief of Global Information and Early Warning System, Henri Josserand. 'It is something that cannot be changed quickly,' he said. 'Prospects are not good for countries that strongly rely on imports because in the short-to-medium term, we forecast that food prices will remain extremely firm, at least in the next 10 years,' Josserand said. Countries are therefore left with no choice but to change dietary habits by substituting imports with local produce, said Josserand. But home-grown food production is also threatened by climate change, with the continent facing desertification and in cases oscillating between extreme conditions of droughts and floods. [...]"

"Neoliberalism's Price Tag: 150,000 Farm Suicides in India from 1997 through 2005"
By P. Sainath, 17-18 November 2007
"Close to 150,000 Indian farmers committed suicide in nine years from 1997 to 2005, official data show. While farm suicides have occurred in many Indian states, nearly two thirds of these deaths are concentrated in five states where just a third of the country's population lives. This means that farmers' suicides occurred in those (mainly cash crop) regions with appalling intensity. On average, one Indian farmer committed suicide every 32 minutes between 1997 and 2005. Since 2002, that has become one suicide every 30 minutes. However, the frequency at which farmers take their lives in any region smaller than the country -- say a single State or group of States -- has to be lower. Because the number of suicides in any such region would be less than the total for the country as a whole in any year. Yet, the frequency at which farmers are killing themselves in many regions is appalling. On average, one farmer took his or her life every 53 minutes between 1997 and 2005 in just the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh (including Chhattisgarh). In Maharashtra alone, that was one suicide every three hours. It got even worse after 2001. It rose to one farm suicide every 48 minutes in these Big Four States, and one every two and a quarter hours in Maharashtra alone. The Big Four have together seen 89,362 farmers' suicides between 1997 and 2005, or 44,102 between 2002 and 2005. ... The number of Indians committing suicide each year rose from around 96,000 in 1997 to roughly 114,000 in 2005. In the same period, the number of farmers taking their own lives each year shot up dramatically, from under 14,000 in 1997 to over 17,000 in 2005. While the rise in farm suicides has been on for over a decade, there have been sharp spurts in some years. For instance, 2004 saw well over 18,200 farm suicides across India. Almost two-thirds of these were in the Big Four or 'Suicide SEZ' states. [...]"


"U.S. Measure Against Rape Fails at U.N."
By Warren Hoge
The New York Times, 17 November 2007 [Registration Required]
"The United States has failed to obtain a General Assembly resolution focused on rape used by governments and armed groups to achieve political and military objectives. A General Assembly committee has instead adopted a resolution that reiterates past condemnations of rape in general but eliminates language in the American draft making specific reference to rape employed by soldiers and militia members as a tactic for intimidation and in warfare. United Nations officials have identified the tactic as one used frequently by government-supported janjaweed militias in Sudan to terrorize the population of the Darfur region. The nonbinding measure was watered down in response to objections from South Africa and Angola, acting on behalf of the Africa Group, a 43-nation coalition. Revisions were made throughout the text to drop mention of organized and state-sanctioned rape, and in a final excision before adoption Thursday night, the final words of the title of the resolution, 'Eliminating rape and other forms of sexual violence in all their manifestations, including as instruments to achieve political objectives,' were changed. The phrase after the comma was altered to read 'including in conflict and related situations.' South Africa's ambassador, Dumisani Kumalo, defended the revised measure. 'The original U.S. draft appeared to concentrate on condemning rape when perpetrated for political and military purposes only,' he said. 'We felt strongly that this would have created two categories of rape, that is, rape by military and militia groups and rape by civilians.' Mr. Kumalo said that the Africans had insisted on the changes 'to balance the text by making certain that there was no politicization of rape.' [...]"
[n.b. Interesting to read this story in the light of the one excerpted above, under Saudi Arabia/United States/Violence against Women.]

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