Monday, April 24, 2006

Genocide_Studies Media File
April 19-24, 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 To receive the Genocide Studies Media File as a weekly digest, simply send an email to


"Armenians All Over the World Are Commemorating Their Fellow-Countrymen Massacred during the 1915 Genocide"
Itar-Tass News Agency, 24 April 2006
"Armenians all over the world are commemorating on Monday their fellow-countrymen, who were massacred during the 1915 Genocide in the Osman Turkish Empire. According to tradition, thousands of people gather at the Memorial to the Genocide Martyrs in the Yerevan park of 'Tsitsernakaberd.' An eternal fire is burning there in memory of the 1.5 million Armenians who were massacred in 1915. Similar ceremonies are being held in several other countries because an Armenian diaspora had appeared on all the continents of the world after the genocide. Efforts to get the genocide internationally affirmed and recognised are among the priority tasks of Armenia's foreign policy. The first genocide of the 20th century was affirmed by several countries of the world and by the European Parliament. It is worth noting that Greece and France had adopted corresponding laws in this connection. The Russian State Duma issued a statement in 1995, condemning the Genocide of the Armenian People. The Armenian President decreed to award special prizes to people, known for their outstanding contributions to the cause of getting the Armenian Genocide affirmed and recognised. The first to get such prizes were historian Verjine Svaznyan for his book 'Armenian Genocide and Historical Memory of People' and German writer Edgar Hilszenrat for his novel 'The Death Tale.'"
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"US Lawmaker Accuses China of Genocide ahead of Bush-Hu Summit"
AFP dispatch on Yahoo! News, 19 April 2006
"A senior lawmaker from US President George W. Bush's Republican party accused China of genocide for allegedly conducting forced abortions to phase out indigenous populations in the largely Buddhist Tibet and Muslim Xinjiang regions. Christopher Smith, chairing a Congressional hearing on human rights abuses in China, slammed the United Nations for backing China's so-called family planning program which he said had been used as a 'tool of repression' in the two regions. 'This assistance puts the UN seal of approval on a very coercive population control program which against the Tibetans and certainly against the Uighurs constitutes genocide,' said Smith at the hearing of the House of Representatives subcommittee on human rights. 'The genocide definition couldn't be more clear ... when people are targeted in whole or in part because of their ethnicity for destruction,' Smith said at the hearing, timed to coincide with Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States. [...]"


"The War the World Forgot"
By Martin Bell
The Guardian, 24 April 2006
"The Great War of Africa has been fought for eight years in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Peace and power-sharing deals have come and gone. Elections are promised for July, the first free elections in the country's history. A UN peacekeeping force, Monuc, is in place, with 17,000 blue helmets trying to dominate a country the size of western Europe. But the fighting continues, between the Congolese army and shifting alliances of rebel militias under the umbrella of the MRC, the Revolutionary Movement of the Congo. The death toll since 1998 has passed 4 million, the highest of any conflict since the second world war. The most volatile province is North Kivu, up against the borders with Uganda and Rwanda. In my role as a Unicef ambassador I have just returned from a visit to North Kivu at the head of a small delegation. We travelled mostly by air because of the insecurity on the ground. New waves of refugees are on the move, driven out by government offensives against the rebels. Near Beni, in the north of the province, the militias fled to the forest and in turn displaced the native people, the pygmies. It is the first time in recorded history that the pygmies have left the forest. They had little choice. Their weapons, bows and poisoned-tipped arrows, are no match for Kalashnikovs. The pygmy chief said: 'This is a serious war and many of our relatives have been killed in the fighting. Our message to the world is that we cannot remain living like this.' This conflict in the heart of Africa shows modern warfare at its most brutal and primitive. It is the only war I have ever known where the worse things get, the more they are ignored. [...]"


"Death Squads Said to Target Youths"
By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan
The Boston Globe, 19 April 2006
"Thirteen-year-old Kevin García and his friends were playing soccer on a sunny afternoon last October when a white Isuzu Trooper without license plates screeched to a halt alongside the barrio's cheek-by-jowl cinderblock and tin shanties, neighbors say. Armed men in unmarked black uniforms and sunglasses leaped out and ordered the teenagers to the ground. Kevin screamed for help, residents recall, and a female neighbor hollered, 'For the love of God, don't take that boy, he doesn't owe anything to anyone!' Residents say one of the men pointed a gun at the woman, but let go of Kevin. His three friends, ages 15, 16, and 18, were kicked and bundled into the vehicle. The next day, their lifeless bodies were discovered 30 miles away, bound and strangled, showing signs of torture, according to local newspapers. Tabloids have oozed over the last year with photos of numerous unsolved murders of young men from this violent satellite town a half-hour's drive south of Guatemala City. Social workers and human rights activists attribute such slayings in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to alleged bands of rogue police, private security officers, or former security forces who are targeting suspected gangs that have fed violence in Central America. Casa Alianza, a regional advocacy group for street children, recorded 2,028 slayings of youths in Honduras alone from January 2002 through February 2006, one of the highest murder rates of young people in the world. Police were responsible for 13 percent of the deaths investigated by a special government unit. A total of 42 percent of cases, according to Casa Alianza, had characteristics of summary executions. [...]"


"Inspectors Find More Torture at Iraqi Jails"
By Ellen Knickmeyer
The Washington Post (on, 24 April 2006
"Last Nov. 13, U.S. soldiers found 173 incarcerated men, some of them emaciated and showing signs of torture, in a secret bunker in an Interior Ministry compound in central Baghdad. The soldiers immediately transferred the men to a separate detention facility to protect them from further abuse, the U.S. military reported. Since then, there have been at least six joint U.S.-Iraqi inspections of detention centers, most of them run by Iraq's Shiite Muslim-dominated Interior Ministry. Two sources involved with the inspections, one Iraqi official and one U.S. official, said abuse of prisoners was found at all the sites visited through February. U.S. military authorities confirmed that signs of severe abuse were observed at two of the detention centers. But U.S. troops have not responded by removing all the detainees, as they did in November. Instead, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials, only a handful of the most severely abused detainees at a single site were removed for medical treatment. Prisoners at two other sites were removed to alleviate overcrowding. U.S. and Iraqi authorities left the rest where they were. This practice of leaving the detainees in place has raised concerns that detainees now face additional threats. It has also prompted fresh questions from the inspectors about whether the United States has honored a pledge by Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that U.S. troops would attempt to stop inhumane treatment if they saw it. [...]"

"Stolen Away", 23 April 2006
"[...] Safah is part of a seldom-discussed aspect of the epidemic of kidnappings in Iraq: sex trafficking. No one knows how many young women have been kidnapped and sold since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. The Organization for Women's Freedom in Iraq, based in Baghdad, estimates from anecdotal evidence that more than 2,000 Iraqi women have gone missing in that period. A Western official in Baghdad who monitors the status of women in Iraq thinks that figure may be inflated but admits that sex trafficking, virtually nonexistent under Saddam, has become a serious issue. The collapse of law and order and the absence of a stable government have allowed criminal gangs, alongside terrorists, to run amuck. Meanwhile, some aid workers say, bureaucrats in the ministries have either paralyzed with red tape or frozen the assets of charities that might have provided refuge for these girls. As a result, sex trafficking has been allowed to fester unchecked. 'It is a problem, definitely,' says the official, who has heard specific reports from Iraqi aid workers about girls being kidnapped and sold to brothels. 'Unfortunately, the security situation doesn't allow us to follow up on this.' The U.S. State Department's June 2005 trafficking report says the extent of the problem in Iraq is 'difficult to appropriately gauge' but cites an unknown number of Iraqi women and girls being sent to Yemen, Syria, Jordan and Persian Gulf countries for sexual exploitation. [...]"

"Saddam 'Did Sign Death Warrants'"
BBC Online, 19 April 2006
"Saddam Hussein personally signed documents ordering the killing of 148 Shia villagers in Dujail in 1982, handwriting experts have concluded. He and seven co-accused face charges for their alleged role in the killings after an assassination attempt. Prosecutors have presented thousands of documents to the court to try to prove a paper trail exists linking the former Iraqi leader directly to the killings. Defence lawyers have insisted the signatures are a forgery. They have also contested the impartiality of the handwriting experts, who they say are linked to Iraq's current interior ministry. The BBC's James Reynolds in Baghdad said the experts' decision was a very significant moment for the prosecution. Among the documents was one apparently approving the Dujail executions and another authorising rewards for intelligence agents involved. [...]"


"Iran 'Greatest Threat to Jews'"
Agency reports in The Guardian, 24 April 2006
"The Israeli defence minister today said Iran's nuclear programme was the biggest threat to Jews 'since Hitler.' Speaking before comments from the Iranian president that Israel could not 'logically continue to live,' Shaul Mofaz urged vigorous diplomatic action over Iran's uranium enrichment activities, which Tehran maintains are purely peaceful. 'Of all the threats we face, Iran is the biggest. The world must not wait. It must do everything necessary on a diplomatic level in order to stop its nuclear activity,' Reuters reported Mr Mofaz telling a conference on Iran at Tel Aviv University. He added: 'Since Hitler we have not faced such a threat.' Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, later called on Israeli Jews to leave the Middle East and 'return to their fatherlands' in Europe. 'We say that this fake regime [Israel] cannot ... logically continue to live,' he told a press conference, according to an Associated Press translation. 'Open the doors [of Europe] and let the Jews go back to their own countries,' he told reporters. Mr. Ahmadinejad also suggested that Iran could pull out of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the nuclear non-proliferation treaty if sanctions were imposed. The UN security council has given Iran until April 28 to suspend uranium enrichment, which it this month claimed to have mastered. [...]"


"Threat of World War Builds, Israel Warns"
Agency reports in The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 April 2006
"Israel has warned the United Nations that a new 'axis of terror' -- Iran, Syria and the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority -- is sowing the seeds of a new world war. But the Palestinians accuse Israel of an escalating military campaign using indiscriminate force to kill civilians and entrench its occupation. The Israeli and Palestinian envoys traded charges at an open Security Council meeting held on Monday in response to the recent surge in Israeli attacks in Gaza. It took place on a day that a Palestinian suicide bomber struck a packed fast-food restaurant in Tel Aviv, killing nine people in the deadliest bombing in Israel in more than a year. Recent statements by the Palestinian government, Iran and Syria, including one by Hamas on Monday defending the suicide bombing, 'are clear declarations of war, and I urge each and every one of you to listen carefully and take them at face value,' said Israel's ambassador to the UN, Dan Gillerman. 'A dark cloud is looming above our region, and it is metastasising as a result of the statements and actions by leaders of Iran, Syria, and the newly elected government of the Palestinian Authority,' he said. The Palestinian UN observer, Riyad Mansour, condemned the suicide bombing and the loss of innocent civilians on both sides, but attacked Israel for trying to portray its latest military escalation -- which killed 21 Palestinians between April 7 and 9 -- as a response to violence from the Palestinian territories. 'Israel, the occupying power has been relentless in its grave breaches of international law, including the wilful killing and injury of civilians and the practice of extrajudicial executions,' he said. [...]"


"After Resisting for Decades, Germany Agrees to Open Archive of Holocaust Documents"
By David Stout
The New York Times, 19 April 2006 [Registration Required]
"Germany agreed Tuesday to allow access to a vast trove of information on what happened to more than 17 million people who were executed, forced to labor for the Nazi war machine or otherwise brutalized during the Holocaust. The German government announced at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum here that it was dropping its decades-long resistance to opening the archives kept in the town of Bad Arolsen. The files, which make up one of the largest Holocaust archives in the world, are more than 15 miles long and hold up to 50 million documents, some seized by the Allies as they liberated concentration camps. ... The accord ends a nasty diplomatic dispute between the United States and Germany. More important, officials at the Holocaust museum said, it will open the documents to historians and researchers, whose access has been blocked because of Germany's strict privacy laws. 'Sixty years after the end of the war, it's time,' Arthur Berger, the Holocaust museum's senior adviser on external affairs, said after Ms. Zypries pledged that Germany would work with the United States to make the documents available. The 11-nation commission that oversees the archives is to meet on May 16 in Luxembourg. Paul Shapiro, the director of advanced Holocaust studies at the museum here, said the documents would offer insights into the day-to-day evils of the Nazi era, 'the routine process of deportation, concentration camps, slave labor, killing.' And perhaps, he said, the paperwork will offer clues to 'a few new perpetrators' who, if no longer subject to earthly justice, can at least stand before the bar of history. [...]"


"Poles Take Russia to Court over 1940 Katyn Massacre"
Belfast Telegraph, 24 April 2006
"Relatives of Polish soldiers executed by Joseph Stalin's secret police in one of the Second World War's most infamous massacres are to take Russia to the European Court of Human Rights to try to make it disclose the full truth about the killings. In the so-called Katyn atrocities, personally ordered by Stalin in 1940, the NKVD (forerunner of the KGB) killed 21,587 Polish Army reservists in cold blood on the grounds that they were 'hardened and uncompromising enemies of Soviet authority.' Russia has refused to prosecute surviving suspects or reveal their names. It is keeping two-thirds of the files on the subject classified, and has classed the murders as an ordinary crime whose statute of limitations has expired. Relatives of victims say that the killings amounted to genocide and that Russia has a moral obligation to open its archive on them. The killings took place at three locations but the massacre took its name from just one, the Katyn Forest in modern-day Belarus. The murders killed many of Poland's intelligentsia; among the dead were officers, chaplains, writers, professors, journalists, engineers, lawyers, aristocrats and teachers. All were killed by a single shot to the back of the head. Some 15,000 bodies have been found and the rest are thought to be still buried in secret mass graves. The murders have soured Moscow's relations with Poland for six decades, with Warsaw accusing the Kremlin of deceit, a lack of remorse and brutal indifference. It was only in 1989 that the then Soviet President, Mikhail Gorbachev, admitted that the killings had been perpetrated by Stalin's secret police. Before that the USSR blamed the atrocities on the Nazis who occupied the area during the war, even going to the trouble of reburying bodies and bulldozing evidence in an elaborate attempt to deflect blame. [...]"


"Armenian Student Killed in Moscow Race Attack"
By Nick Paton Walsh
The Guardian, 24 April 2006
"An ethnic Armenian teenager was stabbed to death in a metro station in central Moscow on Saturday night -- the latest attack in a growing wave of racist violence in Russia. At least six immigrants have been killed so far this month, and many more have been wounded. Media reports said that a man in black clothing with a shaven head had stabbed the victim several times at Pushkin Square station, not far from the Kremlin, before fleeing. Vagan Abramyants, 17, a student, died on the spot. A friend who was with him at the time was badly wounded in the attack."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"Clashes Worsen Somalian Food Crisis as Drought Sets In"
By Edward Girardet
The Christian Science Monitor, 19 April 2006
"Despite ongoing and often tricky efforts to end the civil war that since 1991 has turned Somalia into a worn-out and destitute failed state, heavy clashes have recently erupted between warlords and Islamist extremists in the capital, Mogadishu. The fighting, which has involved indiscriminate barrages of mortar and anti-aircraft fire leveled point blank across the city, represents the worst violence in almost a decade and is bad news for a region already suffering from the ravages of acute drought. Clans traditionally at war with one another are uniting to fight the Islamists, whom they call terrorists, but the Islamists say they can bring order to a lawless state that has not had a central government for 16 years. And while the renewed conflict has been restricted largely to Mogadishu, it is proving detrimental to the overall peace process, the political survival of the country's fragile United Nations-backed transitional government, and critical humanitarian operations. ... The fighting has raised considerable international concern about the protection of civilians and the ability of aid agencies to continue providing key humanitarian relief. Compounded by the drought, which is beginning to create dire famine conditions, including the loss of more than half the country's cattle and sheep, current insecurity is causing people to flee to safer areas, including northern Kenya, where the UN says more than 100,000 Somali refugees are living. [...]"


"Bin Laden Calls for War against UN Peacekeepers"
By Tom Baldwin
The Times, 24 April 2006
"The voice of Osama bin Laden was heard across the world again yesterday with the broadcast of a new tape in which he sought to link al-Qaeda with both Palestinian militants and the brutal civil war in Sudan. In his first message for three months, bin Laden said that the West's decision to cut off funds to the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority proved that it was conducting 'a Zionist crusader war on Islam.' He also spoke about the Darfur crisis in Sudan, which has caused 180,000 deaths, calling on 'holy warriors' to defend Islam and 'prepare for a long war' against a United Nations peacekeeping force. [...]"

"Darfur: Genocide Without Witnesses"
By Jacky Mamou
Libération (on, 24 April 2006
"[...] On the ground, the situation is alarming. The High Commission for Refugees (HCR) announced a 44% reduction in its operations the beginning of March because of the deterioration of security conditions. Jan Pronk declared a few days ago that 'in southern Darfur, militias continue their cleansing operations, village after village.' Murders, rapes, lootings increase without pause, while the World Food Program (WFP) sounds a death knell in the face of new floods of refugees in Chad, who flee combat from both sides of the border. This situation, the UN agency advises, threatens aid to millions of people fleeing the violence. For its part, UNICEF, in charge of children, estimates that insecurity prevents humanitarian agencies from reaching 500,000 people. UNICEF indicates that if, for the moment, the nutritional situation within the displaced persons camps is stable, in two northern Darfur camps (Mellit and Hay Abassy), the threshold of a malnutrition emergency has been breached, with malnutrition reaching 18%. This whole situation has been deliberately organized by the Sudanese government, which wants to create a situation of no-return. One must acknowledge the Sudanese government's true talent for hindering humanitarian action, a practice in which it already excelled during the long decades of its war against the southerners. But they have now gone a step further with the refusal to allow UN Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland to go to Darfur and with the expulsion of the Norwegian NGO, National Refugees Council (NRC), which has been intervening in Darfur's largest refugee camp. What does Khartoum want to hide? [...]"
[n.b. Thanks to Peter Prontzos for bringing this source to my attention.]

"UN Becoming Anxious over Darfur"
By Herve Couturier
Agence France-Presse dispatch in The Mail and Guardian (South Africa), 20 April 2006
"Two pending United Nations decisions could shake up peace talks being held in Nigeria on the conflict in the strife-torn Sudanese region of Darfur. The United States has proposed UN sanctions against four Sudanese government officials while the UN wants to take over the African Union (AU) peacekeeping force in Darfur. UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said the Sudanese government has used the peace talks in Abuja to justify delaying a UN mission to assess peacekeeping needs in Darfur, where hundreds of thousands are said to have died in recent years. Sudanese officials told UN deputy secretary general for peacekeeping operations Hedi Annabi 'that this was not the time for a UN assessment mission to go into Darfur and that they would rather wait till the Abuja process is completed,' he said. The UN Security Council ordered a mission before the end of the month to determine the size, scope and equipment needs for a UN force in Darfur. After months of inconclusive negotiations, the international community has given the AU-brokered Darfur peace talks until April 30 to reach agreement. AU mediator Salim Ahmed Salim of Tanzania on Tuesday told the UN that 'The conflict in Darfur ... seems at last to be ripe for resolution.' 'For the first time there are intensive bilateral and direct discussions between the parties, as well as meetings facilitated by the [AU] mediation,' he said. 'We are hopeful that the differences can be narrowed.' [...]"

"Darfur 'Too Deadly for Aid Work'"
BBC Online, 20 April 2006
"Fighting has made it impossible to reach large areas of the Sudanese region of Darfur, the Red Cross says. International Committee of the Red Cross Sudan spokesman Paul Conneally told the BBC that its vehicles are being systematically looted. He said tens of thousands of people had been forced from their homes around the rebel bases in the Marra mountains. Aid workers are trying to help more than two million people, in what the US says is a genocide. Mr. Conneally says civilians have fled from towns in the area, which are now patrolled only by the Sudanese army. He said the fighting was heavy and confused, with pro-government Arab militia attacking civilians, while factions of the main rebel movement, the Sudan Liberation Army, are also clashing with each other. [...]"

"What To Do About Darfur?"
By Amitabh Pal
The Progressive, 18 April 2006
"[...] The scale of the mass murder in Darfur boggles the mind. Africa Action, one of the foremost groups in the United States working on issues related to that continent, has compiled numbers on the tragedy. An estimated 400,000 people have died since 2003, when the Sudanese regime started unleashing its Arab militia proxies on the inhabitants of the area as a way of putting down a local rebellion. More than 2 million people have been made refugees either within their own country or have had to flee to neighboring Chad. 'As many as 6,000 people are dying each month in Darfur,' Africa Action's website says. 'Unless there is an urgent multinational intervention to protect the people of Darfur, the death toll will continue to rise dramatically in 2006.' Now the conflict threatens to spill over into neighboring nations, affecting a whole swath of North-Central Africa. The Sudanese regime has sponsored rebels to overthrow Chad's government, apparently in retaliation for Chad giving refuge to hundreds of thousands of Darfurians. And the Central African Republic has closed its border with Sudan, alleging that these rebels used its territory in transit on the way to Chad. A broadening of the conflict would add to the already horrific death toll. [...]"
[n.b. Thanks to Peter Prontzos for bringing this source to my attention.]


"Fallout from Chernobyl Will Cause 100,000 Deaths, Says Greenpeace"
By Andrew Osborn
The Independent (on, 19 April 2006)
"The fallout from Chernobyl, the world's worst nuclear accident, will be 10 times more deadly than previously thought and will cause almost 100,000 people to die from cancer in coming years, Greenpeace says. Twenty years after Chernobyl's fourth reactor exploded, sending a radiation-lined cloud into the atmosphere, the green, anti-nuclear campaign group alleged that the human consequences of the disaster have been woefully and deliberately underestimated. It accused the pro-nuclear lobby of systematically trying to play down the scale of the tragedy for cynical public relations purposes. As the 20th anniversary of the accident looms, the truth about how many people have fallen ill or died as a result of the radiation leak has become the subject of a fierce debate between those who support nuclear power and those who don't. It is not an idle academic debate -- establishing how serious Chernobyl really was has taken on cardinal political importance as the UK and continental Europe consider commissioning a new generation of nuclear reactors to compensate for dwindling oil and gas stocks. With its new report Greenpeace became the latest interest group to enter the fray. It cited demographic data which showed that some 200,000 people appear to have already died in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, the area most heavily contaminated, as a direct result of the 1986 Soviet-era accident. The total number of directly attributable cancer cases in that region was set to soar to 270,000, it added, of which 93,000 would be fatal. [...]"
[n.b. See the full text of the Greenpeace report.]


"CIS Ministers Decline to Discuss 1930s 'Genocide' against Ukraine"
RIAN dispatch on The Russia Journal, 21 April 2006
"Former Soviet republics rejected Friday a proposal from Ukraine to discuss a famine in the 1930s that Kiev sees as an act of genocide perpetrated by Moscow. Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk wanted his counterparts from the Commonwealth of Independent States to debate the famine, known as Holodomor, in Ukraine in 1932-1933, which claimed the lives of millions of people and which Kiev says was deliberately caused by the rulers of Soviet Russia. But his colleagues from the other former Soviet republics failed to support his proposal to put the issue on the agenda of their meeting in Moscow. Last year, President Viktor Yushchenko called on the UN to recognize Holodomor as genocide and thanked the countries that had already done so for help in 'breaking the conspiracy of silence.'"
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"Bush Refuses to Rule Out Nuclear Strike on Iran"
The Telegraph, 19 April 2006
"President George W Bush has refused to rule out a nuclear strike on Iran as diplomats from the world's major powers met to respond to Teheran's defiance over its atomic programme. Asked at the White House if his administration was planning for the possibility of a nuclear strike against Iran's atomic research facilities, Mr Bush said: 'All options are on the table.' But he added: 'We want to solve this issue diplomatically and we're working hard to do so.' American officials are reported to be discussing the possibility of nuclear strikes on Iran, fearful that if it were to develop nuclear weapons it could threaten Israel. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president who has vowed to 'wipe Israel off the map,' said yesterday that Iran's army was like a 'meteorite' that would defeat any attack against the country. ... Diplomats from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany were meeting in Moscow last night to map out their strategy if Teheran fails to halt enrichment activity."
[n.b. One rubs one's eyes in disbelief at these terroristic and proto-genocidal declarations.]

"It's Called Mad For A Reason, You Fool!"
by Joyce Marcel, 19 April 2006
"[...] What could be the possible results of multiple bombing attacks, including nuclear ones, on Iran? Mushroom clouds. Radiation in the winds. Mass casualties. Contamination. Assured nuclear proliferation. Possibly an Iran-China alliance -- and China not only has the bomb, but the missiles to deliver it. An army of suicide bombers. Add major Shiite uprisings in Iraq and Iranian retaliation on the 'exposed oil and gas fields in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates,' [journalist Seymour] Hersh said. And -- wait for it! -- at the very least, $150-plus barrels of oil for the foreseeable future. Hezbollah, which has been quiet for the past few years, could be drawn in. And there's always al-Qaida. Remember them? Terrorist attacks all over the world could result. All that's left are lies and illusions masquerading as foreign policy. Now how much would you pay? Is anyone offering a set of Ginzu knives? How about a Pocket Fisherman or a Bamboo Steamer? Why isn't there any amazing TV offer? Why aren't the operators standing by? Bush is playing chicken with nuclear weapons. How can we stop him? Millions around the world took to the streets to protest his invasion of Iraq, yet he remained superior, patronizing and implacable. [...]"

"Why Isn't Genocide On The Table?"
By Cenk Uygur
The Huffington Post, 19 April 2006
"President Bush says he won't take nuclear war off the table. He reserves the right to use nuclear weapons against a country that didn't attack us -- and couldn't possibly build the weapons to attack us for another 5-10 years. I am given to understand that the only way to appear 'strong' on national defense is to promise to wage bigger and nastier wars on our enemies (real or imagined). It would seem 'weak' to take nuclear weapons of the so-called table. Iran must understand that we are barbarians and unstable barbarians at that! We will do anything against our enemies, even if they have no capacity to harm us. Hear us roar! So, why stop with just nuclear war? I understand that the nuclear weapons we are contemplating using in Iran would -- according to a Pentagon simulation -- kill 3 million people and spread radiation as far down as India, and contaminate up to 35 million people with cancerous nuclear fallout. But why stop there? Are we weaklings not really willing to impose our will on this rogue country that refuses to listen to our demands? Let's go all the way. I think we should keep genocide on the table. In fact, it would be weak not to. Every one of our politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, in order to appear stronger than the other should promise to wipe Iran off the map -- kill every man, woman and child. [...]"
[n.b. Please note: tongue in cheek, although the satirical tone is not far removed from the real-life ruminations of certain right-wing commentators.]

"Prominent U.S. Physicists Send Letter to President Bush", 17 April 2006
"Thirteen of the nation's most prominent physicists have written a letter to President Bush, calling U.S. plans to reportedly use nuclear weapons against Iran 'gravely irresponsible' and warning that such action would have 'disastrous consequences for the security of the United States and the world.' The physicists include five Nobel laureates, a recipient of the National Medal of Science and three past presidents of the American Physical Society, the nation's preeminent professional society for physicists. Their letter was prompted by recent articles in the Washington Post, New Yorker and other publications that one of the options being considered by Pentagon planners and the White House in a military confrontation with Iran includes the use of nuclear bunker busters against underground facilities. These reports were neither confirmed nor denied by White House and Pentagon officials. The letter was initiated by Jorge Hirsch, a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego, who last fall put together a petition signed by more than 1,800 physicists that repudiated new U.S. nuclear weapons policies that include preemptive use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear adversaries ( Hirsch has also published 15 articles in recent months ( documenting the dangers associated with a potential U.S. nuclear strike on Iran. 'We are members of the profession that brought nuclear weapons into existence, and we feel strongly that it is our professional duty to contribute our efforts to prevent their misuse,' says Hirsch. 'Physicists know best about the devastating effects of the weapons they created, and these eminent physicists speak for thousands of our colleagues.' [...]"
[n.b. Thanks to Peter Prontzos for bringing this source to my attention.]

"Halliburton's Immigrant Detention Centers"
By Ruth Conniff
The Progressive, 17 April 2006
"While thousands of people were celebrating the contribution America's undocumented immigrants make to our economy, and demanding justice and recognition for workers who are denied basic rights, the government was making plans for large-scale detention centers in case of an 'emergency influx' of immigrants. KBR, the Halliburton subsidiary recently reprimanded for gross overcharging in its military contracts in Iraq, won a $385 million contract to build the centers. According to the Halliburton website -- -- 'the contract, which is effective immediately, provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs.' What new programs might those be? The web was abuzz with speculation after the contract was awarded on January 24. Pacific News Service gave the most detailed analysis. It connected the new 'immigration emergency' plans with older plans that involved imposing martial law. Certainly the detention centers raise the specter of WW II Japanese internment camps. The new facilities could be used for round-ups of Muslim Americans or other American citizens tagged as 'enemy combatants.' The use of military personnel and military contractors in the event of a Katrina-like disaster, which the Halliburton contract provides for, brings us closer to martial law, whether it is officially declared or not. [...]"


"Award for Liberian Green Activist"
BBC Online, 24 April 2006
"A Liberian man who exposed illegal timber exports under former President Charles Taylor is due to receive this year's US Goldman Environmental Award. Silas Siakor, 36, is being honoured for providing evidence that the government illegally sold timber to finance militia groups during the civil war. Mr. Taylor, charged with war crimes, used timber revenue to buy arms after being banned from selling diamonds. 'I feel vindicated,' Mr. Siakor told the BBC's Network Africa programme. Mr. Siakor submitted documents to the UN Security Council, which then banned exports of 'blood timber' from Liberia. The director of Liberia's Sustainable Development Institute said he had a network of informants, which monitored the entire timber exporting process, from the forests to the port. ... 'The evidence Silas Siakor collected at great personal risk was vital to putting sanctions in place and cutting the links between the logging industry and conflict,' said Arthur Blundell, chairman of the UN Panel of Experts on Liberia. Sixteen timber companies either set up militia groups or bought weapons, Mr. Siakor said. He says Liberia's timber exports should remain banned until the industry is reformed, as local communities still do not really feel the benefits and corruption remains rife. [...]"


"Major Drop in World Death Penalty Rate"
The Telegraph, 20 April 2006
"The total number of people executed around the world was far lower in 2005 than in previous years, a new report finds. According to the Amnesty International annual death penalty report at least 2,148 prisoners were executed, with another 20,000 on death row. The number of deaths worldwide was a substantial fall on the figures for 2004, which saw 3,797 people killed for crimes carrying the death penalty. China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the US accounted for 94 per cent of executions recorded in 2005, with China executing 1,770 people -- more than all other countries combined. There was also a drop for the fourth consecutive year in the number of countries which carried out capital punishment, down from 25 in 2004 to 22 last year. But the charity warned that today's report contained minimum figures, as countries such as China refused to publish full official statistics on the death penalty. Amnesty said Chinese legal experts and officials estimated the government executes as many as 8,000-10,000 people each year. [...]"


"Colleagues Say CIA Analyst Played by Rules"
By David S. Cloud
The New York Times (on, 23 April 2006
"In 1998, when President Bill Clinton ordered military strikes against a suspected chemical weapons factory in Sudan, Mary O. McCarthy, a senior intelligence officer assigned to the White House, warned the president that the plan relied on inconclusive intelligence, two former government officials said. Ms. McCarthy's reservations did not stop the attack on the factory, which was carried out in retaliation for Al Qaeda's bombing of two American embassies in East Africa. But they illustrated her willingness to challenge intelligence data and methods endorsed by her bosses at the Central Intelligence Agency. On Thursday, the C.I.A. fired Ms. McCarthy, 61, accusing her of leaking information to reporters about overseas prisons operated by the agency in the years since the Sept. 11 attacks. But despite Ms. McCarthy's independent streak, some colleagues who worked with her at the White House and other offices during her intelligence career say they cannot imagine Ms. McCarthy as a leaker of classified information. As a senior National Security Council aide for intelligence from 1996 to 2001, she was responsible for guarding some of the nations most sensitive secrets. 'We're talking about a person with great integrity who played by the book and, as far as I know, never deviated from the rules,' said Steven Simon, a National Security Council aide in the Clinton administration who worked closely with Ms. McCarthy. ... After an article last November in The Washington Post reported that the C.I.A. was sending terror suspects to clandestine detention centers in several countries, including some in Eastern Europe, Porter J. Goss, the agency's director, ordered polygraphs for intelligence officers who knew about certain 'compartmented' programs, including the secret detention centers for terror suspects. [...]"

"No Proof of Secret C.I.A. Prisons, European Antiterror Chief Says"
By Dan Bilefsky
The New York Times, 21 April 2006 [Registration Required]
"The European Union's antiterrorism chief told a hearing on Thursday that he had not been able to prove that secret C.I.A. prisons existed in Europe. 'We've heard all kinds of allegations,' the official, Gijs de Vries, said before a committee of the European Parliament. 'It does not appear to be proven beyond reasonable doubt.' But Mr. de Vries came under criticism from some legislators who called the hearing a whitewash. Kathalijne Buitenweg, a Dutch member of Parliament from the Green Party, said that even without definitive proof, 'the circumstantial evidence is stunning.' 'I'm appalled that we keep calling to uphold human rights while pretending that these rendition centers don't exist and doing nothing about it,' she said. Many European nations were outraged after an article in The Washington Post in November cited unidentified intelligence officials as saying that the C.I.A. had maintained detention centers for terrorism suspects in eight countries, including some in Eastern Europe. A later report by the advocacy group Human Rights Watch cited Poland and Romania as two of the countries. Both countries, as well as others in Europe, have denied the allegations. But the issue has inflamed trans-Atlantic tensions. ... A number of legislators on Thursday challenged Mr. de Vries for not taking seriously earlier testimony before the committee of a German and a Canadian who gave accounts of being kidnapped and kept imprisoned by foreign agents. The committee also heard Thursday from a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, who said: 'I can attest to the willingness of the U.S. and the U.K. to obtain intelligence that was got under torture in Uzbekistan. If they were not willing, then rendition prisons could not have existed.' [...]"


"... But What If It's A Girl?"
By Carla Power
New Statesman, 24 April 2006
"[...] The Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques Act is powerful indeed, but rarely enforced. Passed after India realised that modern medical techniques such as ultrasound scans and amniocenteses were frequently being used to identify female foetuses -- which are then aborted -- the PNDT Act requires the registration of all ultrasound machines, and bans doctors from revealing the sex of the foetus to expectant parents. The 1994 law was an attempt to reverse India's rampant use of sex-selective abortion, and the lopsided sex ratio this has produced. India's 2001 census showed that there were 927 girls to every 1,000 boys, down from 945:1,000 in 1991 and 962:1,000 in 1981. Until recently, no doctors had been put in prison under the PNDT Act. But late last month a doctor was jailed for three years after telling an undercover investigator that her foetus was female, and hinting that she could abort it. Arvind Kumar, Hyderabad district collector and Satyavathi's boss, sees the law as the only practical tool for tackling India's female foeticide epidemic. Doctors who practise sex-selective abortion, he says, 'like any other criminals, should be treated like criminals.' It is uncertain how many such crimes have been committed. A January study in the Lancet estimated that ten million female foeticides had occurred in India over the past two decades. Both the Indian Medical Association and anti-sex-selection activists disputed the findings, saying the numbers were too high. While the numbers may be a matter of debate, the general trend is not: the ratio of girls to boys in India has been dwindling over the past two decades. [...]"


"Bombs Away"
By Max M. Kampelman
The New York Times, 24 April 2006 [Registration Required]
"In my lifetime, I have witnessed two successful titanic struggles by civilized society against totalitarian movements, those against Nazi fascism and Soviet communism. As an arms control negotiator for Ronald Reagan, I had the privilege of playing a role -- a small role -- in the second of these triumphs. Yet, at the age of 85, I have never been more worried about the future for my children and grandchildren than I am today. The number of countries possessing nuclear arms is increasing, and terrorists are poised to master nuclear technology with the objective of using those deadly arms against us. The United States must face this reality head on and undertake decisive steps to prevent catastrophe. Only we can exercise the constructive leadership necessary to address the nuclear threat. Unfortunately, the goal of globally eliminating all weapons of mass destruction -- nuclear, chemical and biological arms -- is today not an integral part of American foreign policy; it needs to be put back at the top of our agenda. [...]"

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