Tuesday, October 31, 2006

NOW AVAILABLE: Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction, by Adam Jones (Routledge, 2006; 430 pp., US $33.95 pbk). See www.genocidetext.net. "The best introductory text available to students of genocide studies ... likely to become the gold standard by which all subsequent introductions to this enormously important subject will be measured" (Kenneth J. Campbell).

Genocide Studies Media File
October 23-31, 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 adamj_jones@hotmail.com.

Consider inviting colleagues and friends to subscribe to Genocide_Studies and the G_S Media File. All it takes is an email to genocide_studies-subscribe@topica.com.


"Iranian Ex-Leader Sought in Argentina"
By Oscar Serrat
Associated Press dispatch in The Washington Post, 26 October 2006 [Registration Required]
"Argentine prosecutors asked a federal judge on Wednesday to order the arrest of former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and seven other people in the 1994 suicide bombing of a Jewish community center here that killed 85 people. The decision to attack the center 'was undertaken in 1993 by the highest authorities of the then-government of Iran,' prosecutor Alberto Nisman said at a news conference. He said the actual attack was entrusted to the Lebanon-based group Hezbollah. The detonation of an explosives-laden vehicle near the Jewish center in Buenos Aires was among the worst terrorist attacks ever on Argentine soil. In addition to killing 85 people, the attack injured more than 200. Iran's government has vehemently denied any involvement in the bombing, following repeated accusations by Jewish community leaders and others here. Iranian authorities in Buenos Aires declined to comment. Prosecutors urged the judge to seek international and national arrest orders for Rafsanjani, who was Iran's president from 1989 to 1997. They also asked the judge to detain former intelligence chief Ali Fallahijan and former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati. In addition, they urged the arrest of two former commanders of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, two former Iranian diplomats and a former Hezbollah security chief for external affairs. Nisman and fellow prosecutor Marcelo Martínez Burgos said they suspected that Hezbollah undertook activities outside Lebanon only 'under orders directly emanating from the regime in Tehran.' [...]"


"This Film Is Pure Fiction, But the Chase Is All Too Real"
By Nicholas Wood
The New York Times, 25 October 2006 [Registration required]
"In all the time that Radovan Karadzic has been on the run, numerous tales about his whereabouts have emerged. After being indicted by United Nations prosecutors as a war crimes suspect 11 years ago, Mr. Karadzic, the former leader of Bosnia's Serbs, has supposedly been sighted disguised as a monk, spotted in a police car escaping from pursuing soldiers and even slipping into Sarajevo, Bosnia's capital, to sip coffee under the noses of international officials responsible for his arrest. Now a film starring Richard Gere as a journalist and partly shot in this city aims to tell a small chapter in one of those tales. 'Spring Break in Bosnia' is a black comedy loosely based on an actual attempt by a group of journalists to track down Mr. Karadzic. The filmmakers say they hope the movie, due out next year, will shame the international community into making his arrest a higher priority, so that he will finally go on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Some 100,000 people, a majority of them Bosnian Muslims, are estimated to have died in the war, which lasted from 1992 to 1995. Many people in Bosnia have mixed feelings about Hollywood tackling such a fraught issue. Mr. Karadzic is the figure most reviled by Muslims and Croats, who are a majority of the population, yet many Serbs laud their former leader as a hero. [...]"


"Pinochet Faces Charges over Secret-Prison Abuses"
Associated Press dispatch in The Los Angeles Times, 28 October 2006 [Registration Required]
"Gen. Augusto Pinochet was indicted Friday in connection with abuses at one of his regime's secret prisons, where President Michelle Bachelet and her mother were once held and mistreated, a lawyer said. Judge Alejandro Solis said he would make an announcement Monday on the indictment connected to abuses at Villa Grimaldi. Local media said the 90-year-old former strongman would face charges in one homicide, 36 kidnappings and 23 cases of torture at the prison used by his secret police in the first five years of his 1973-90 dictatorship. The reports said the indictment included an order for Pinochet to remain under house arrest at his suburban Santiago mansion. Solis, who questioned Pinochet earlier this month, has said Pinochet's health, including his mental condition, will not prevent him from standing trial, and that 'he is lucid enough to understand the consequences of what he says.' During the questioning, Solis said, Pinochet said he did not remember and was not responsible for the actions of his security forces at the prison, where according to official reports 4,500 people were held and tortured and more than 200 disappeared. Previous attempts to try Pinochet have failed after the courts dropped the charges on health grounds. He has been diagnosed with mild dementia resulting from several strokes. He also suffers from diabetes and arthritis and needs a pacemaker."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"China Takes Heat after Tragic Flight of Tibetan Teenager"
By Daniel Pepper
The Christian Science Monitor, 25 October 2006
"[...] Kelsang Namtso had become a Buddhist nun just last year, at the tender age of 16. Her friend, Dolma Palkyi, 16, wanted to go to India, and meet the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, before taking her vows. ... The girls' journey began with a two-day truck ride west from the Tibetan capital city of Lhasa. They joined a group of 73 others, led by two smugglers, making the mountain crossing. For the next two weeks, the group walked mostly at night and slept during the day, at times braving high winds and deep snow. ... The group was walking single file and had just reached the 18,753-foot Nangpa La Pass when they heard the distinct 'zing' of bullets passing on either side. 'They were shooting all around,' says Tenzin Wangmo, one of three nuns walking directly behind Kelsang. They never saw the Chinese policemen. 'When the shooting was going on I just prayed to His Holiness the Dali Lama to kindly save us,' she recounted softly. When a bullet hit young Kelsang, she collapsed into the snow, crying that she had been hit and asked for help. But the nuns themselves were weak with cold, fatigue, and hunger. ... About half the group was captured by Chinese police. The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced the death of a second victim, a 23-year-old male, days later in a hospital, stating he died from 'oxygen shortage.' China's official news agency, Xinhua, reported on Oct. 12 that Chinese police opened fire in self-defense after the Tibetans attacked them. Human rights groups say the Tibetans were unarmed, and that the male victim died from gunshot wounds. [...]"


"Congo Votes in Peaceful Poll But Many Fear War after Result"
By Chris McGreal
The Guardian, 30 October 2006
"Millions of people in the Democratic Republic of Congo voted yesterday in the first free presidential elections since independence in 1960, and in the hope of ending a decade of invasion and civil war thought to have killed 4 million people. The ballot was orderly with a steady stream of enthusiastic voters and few irregularities reported. But there is a widespread anxiety that the promise of the election bringing peace, and even laying the foundation for a new prosperity across central Africa, could be lost in conflict over the election result. ... Officials with the UN peacekeeping force in Congo, the largest in the world at 17,600 troops, say they want to see the results released as soon as possible to head off destabilising speculation, particularly in the capital, Kinshasa, where about 30 people were killed in three days of fighting after the first round. The EU has sent 1,400 troops to Kinshasa for the vote with a second force on standby in neighbouring Gabon. The election has divided the country along regional lines. Mr Kabila has strong support in the east, where the war has been fought, because he is seen as having calmed the conflict through a 2002 peace agreement that brought Mr Bemba into the government. Mr Bemba is widely regarded in the east as a warlord with a lot of blood on his hands. [...]"


"Croatian Fights Extradition After Arrest on War Crimes Warrant"
By Audrey Gillan
The Guardian, 24 October 2006
"He was convicted of war crimes in his native Croatia and sentenced to 20 years in his absence. But it was an arrest for shoplifting that brought Milan Spanovic to the attention of the British authorities. Yesterday, the 44-year-old, who lives in Carshalton, south London, was fighting extradition to the country that convicted him of being part of a Serbian paramilitary unit which burned, looted and terrorised two villages. He is believed to be the first Balkan war criminal found in Britain. The existence of an international arrest warrant might have remained unnoticed had Sutton police not entered Mr Spanovic's details on their computer. The man accused of stealing from shops had been found guilty of 'war crimes against the civilian population.' In August 1991 about 40 members of a Serb gang crashed into the villages of Maja and Svracica and 'committed acts of violence and theft.' Papers laid before Westminster magistrates court yesterday seeking Mr Spanovic's extradition claim that he was part of the gang and that they opened fire on unarmed villagers. [...]"


"Violence in France's Suburban Projects Gets Organized"
Associated Press dispatch in The Globe and Mail, 22 October 2006
"On a routine call, three unwitting police officers fell into a trap. A car darted out to block their path, and dozens of hooded youths surged out of the darkness to attack them with stones, bats and tear gas before fleeing. One officer was hospitalized, and no arrests made. The recent ambush was emblematic of what some officers say has become a near-perpetual and increasingly violent conflict between police and gangs in tough, largely immigrant French neighbourhoods that were the scene of a three-week paroxysm of rioting last year. One small police union claims officers are facing a 'permanent intifada.' Police injuries have risen in the year since the wave of violence. More broadly, worsening violence in France testifies to Europe's growing struggle to integrate its ethnic minorities. Some mainstream European politicians -- adopting positions previously confined largely to far-right fringes -- are suggesting that the minorities themselves are not doing enough to adapt to European mores. ... Some youth gangs no longer seem content to throw stones or torch cars and instead appear determined to hurt police officers -- or worse. 'First, it was a rock here or there. Then it was rocks by the dozen. Now, they're leading operations of an almost military sort to trap us,' said Loic Lecouplier, a police union official in the Seine-Saint-Denis region north of Paris. 'These are acts of war.' National police reported 2,458 cases of violence against officers in the first six months of the year, on pace to top the 4,246 cases recorded for all of 2005 and the 3,842 in 2004. Firefighters and rescue workers have also been targeted -- and some now receive police escorts in such areas. [...]"


"Hungary Remembers 1956 Uprising"
BBC Online, 22 October 2006
"Hungary has begun ceremonies to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the uprising against Soviet rule. President Laszlo Solyom spoke at a ceremony on Sunday, calling for national unity in a country that has seen bitter recent political divisions. On Monday, events will include the unveiling of a huge monument in Budapest's Heroes Square to those who died in the events of 1956. Soviet troops put down the uprising in 12 days amid bloody fighting. ... The uprising started in Budapest on 23 October 1956, with a crowd of 23,000, the reading of a pro-democracy manifesto and the singing of banned national songs. By evening, there were 200,000 people in the centre of Budapest. The Soviet response was swift. Air and artillery assaults on Hungarian cities preceded an armoured invasion by 17 tank and infantry divisions. Imre Nagy, the reforming Prime Minister, made a final impassioned plea to the outside world by radio. He and hundreds of others were arrested and executed, among thousands of Hungarians who died. [...]"


"Operation Enduring Chaos: The Retreat of the Coalition & Rise of the Militias"
By Kim Sengupta
The Independent, 30 October 2006
"[...] Ironically, the death squads are the result of US policy. At the beginning of last year, with no end to the Sunni insurgency in sight, the Pentagon was reported to have decided to train Shia and Kurdish fighters to carry out 'irregular missions.' The policy, exposed in the US media, was called the 'Salvador Option' after the American-backed counter-insurgency in Latin America more than 20 years ago, which led to 70,000 deaths and countless instances of human rights abuse. Some of the most persistent allegations of abuse have been made against the Wolf Brigade, many of whom were formerly in Saddam's Baathist forces. Their main US adviser until April last year was James Steele, who, in his own biography, states that he commanded the US military group in El Salvador during the height of the guerrilla war and was involved in counter-insurgency training. The complaints against Iraqi special forces continue. [...]"
[n.b. For more on the "Salvador option" in Iraq -- that is, the death-squad and mass-murder option -- see Christopher Dickey, "Death-Squad Democracy," MSNBC.com, 11 January 2005; and Max Fuller, "For Iraq, 'The Salvador Option' Becomes Reality," GlobalResearch.ca, 2 June 2005.]

"Iraqis Better Off under Saddam, Says Former Weapons Inspector"
CBC News, 25 October 2006
"The war in Iraq is a 'pure failure' that has left Iraqis in a worse state than when they lived under Saddam Hussein, former United Nations chief weapons inspector Hans Blix said in comments published Wednesday. 'Iraq is a pure failure,' Blix was quoted as saying in the Danish newspaper Politiken. 'If the Americans pull out, there is a risk that they will leave a country in civil war. At the same time it doesn't seem that the United States can help to stabilize the situation by staying there.' Blix, in comments that were seen as unusually critical for the diplomat, said the U.S. is facing a situation where neither staying to fight nor pulling its troops out of Iraq are good decisions. Blix said Iraq would have been better off if the war had not happened. 'Saddam would still have been sitting in office. OK, that is negative and it would not have been joyful for the Iraqi people. But what we have gotten is undoubtedly worse,' he was quoted as saying. [...]"

"UK Scientists Attack Lancet Study over Death Toll"
By Sarah Boseley
The Guardian, 24 October 2006
"A study which found that more than 650,000 Iraqi people have died since the US-led invasion was attacked yesterday by scientists in the UK, who claimed that the households interviewed tended to be located in violence-hit streets. Sean Gourley and Professor Neil Johnson of the physics department at Oxford University and Professor Michael Spagat of the economics department of Royal Holloway, University of London, claimed the methodology of the study was fundamentally flawed by what they term 'main street bias.' But the lead author of the study, which was published by the Lancet medical journal, said their criticism was 'a misconception.' Gilbert Burnham of the Johns Hopkins school of public health in Baltimore, said the methodology had not been published in full by the Lancet and that streets away from obvious conflict had been chosen. Prof Spagat and colleagues levelled their criticism in email exchanges with Prof Burnham and colleagues which were mediated by Science magazine. They claimed the sampling methods used 'will result in an over-estimation of the death toll in Iraq.' ... But Prof Burnham said the researchers penetrated much further into residential areas than was clear from the Lancet paper. The notion 'that we avoided back alleys was totally untrue.' He added that 28% of households were in rural areas -- which matches the population spread. Others had suggested that it was impossible for 40 households to be surveyed in one day -- but in fact the researchers were split into two teams and conducted 20 household interviews each, he said. 'Our point is that it is a big number, we set out to prove that we had the power to say the mortality rate has more than doubled.'"

"Hunting Gays In Iraq: How the Death Squads Work"
by Doug Ireland
ZNet.org, 23 October 2006
"'Every gay and lesbian here lives in fear, just pure fear, of being beaten or killed,' says Ahmad, a 34-year-old gay man, via telephone from his home in Baghdad. 'Homosexuality is seen here as imported from the West and as the work of the devil.' Ahmad is masculine and 'straight-acting,' he says. 'I can go out without being harassed or followed.' But that's not the case for his more effeminate gay friends. 'They just cannot go outside, period,' he says. 'If they did, they would be killed.' To help them survive, Ahmad has been bringing food and other necessities to their homes. 'The situation for us gay people here is beyond bad and dangerous,' he says. Life for gay and lesbian citizens in war-torn Iraq has become grave and is getting worse every day. While President Bush hails a new, 'democratic' society, thousands of civilians are dying in a low-level civil war -- and gays are being targeted just for being gay. The Badr Corps -- the military arm of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI for short), the country's most powerful Shiite political group -- has launched a campaign of 'sexual cleansing,' marshaling death squads to exterminate homosexuality. When Iraq's chief Shiite cleric, the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, removed a fatwa calling for death to gay men from his Web site earlier this year -- it wasn't removed for lesbians -- some observers thought the antigay reign of terror might end. But the fatwa still remains in effect; indeed, persecution of gay Iraqis has only escalated. [...]"
[n.b. This is the first I have read on this subject, and it is a detailed and sickening article.]


"Israel's Minister of Strategic Threats"
By Jonathan Cook
Counterpunch.org, 25 October 2006
"The furore that briefly flared this week at the decision of Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, to invite Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beiteinu party into the government coalition is revealing, but not in quite the way many observers assume. Lieberman, a Russian immigrant, is every bit the populist and racist politician he is portrayed as being. Like many of his fellow politicians, he harbours a strong desire to see the Palestinians of the occupied territories expelled, ideally to neighbouring Arab states or Europe. Lieberman, however, is more outspoken than most in publicly advocating for this position. Where he is seen as overstepping the mark is in arguing that the state should strip up to a quarter of a million Palestinians living inside Israel of their citizenship and seal them and their homes into the Palestinian ghettoes being created inside the West Bank (presumably in preparation for the moment when they will all be expelled to Jordan). He believes any remaining Arab citizens should be required to sign a loyalty oath to Israel as a 'Jewish and democratic state' -- loyalty to a democratic state alone will not suffice. Any who refuse will be physically expelled from Israel. And, as a coup de grace, he has recently demanded the execution for treason of any Arab parliamentarian who talks to the Palestinian leadership in the occupied territories or commemorates Nakba Day, which marks the expulsion and permanent dispossession of the Palestinian people in 1948. That would include every elected representative of Israel's Arab population. ... In the newly established post of Minister for Strategic Threats, Lieberman -- the avowed Arab hater -- will shape Israel's response to Iran, leading the chorus threats being made by Israel that the country is only a hair's breadth from dropping bombs, possibly nuclear warheads, on Tehran. After that, he will presumably help the government decide what other 'strategic threats' it faces. [...]"

"Israel Admits Phosphorous Bombs Used in Lebanon"
By Helen McCormack
The Independent, 23 October 2006
"The Israeli government has admitted for the first time that it used controversial phosphorous bombs during its 34-day war campaign in Lebanon. Cabinet Minister Jacob Edery confirmed that the army had used the bombs to attack 'military targets' during its war with Hizbollah in July and August. Previously, Israel had said the bombs had only been used to mark out targets. During the conflict, doctors in Lebanon reported treating civilians who appeared to have been hit by the shells, which leave their victims with severe chemical wounds that can be fatal. The reports led the Lebanese President, Emile Lahoud, to accuse Israel of breaching the Geneva Convention, which bans the use of white phosphorous both as an incendiary weapon against civilians and in air attacks against military forces in civilian areas. Yesterday, reports in the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz revealed that Mr Edery confirmed to parliament last week that it had used the bombs during its operations this summer. ... The admission of the use of the bomb comes as a 12-year-old boy was killed in Lebanon after ordnance from a cluster bomb exploded in his village in Halta, in southern Lebanon. ... His death brings the total number of recorded victims of cluster bomb explosions in Lebanon since the conflict began to 21, with another 100 injured, according to the United Nations. [...]"


"Swiss Minister Wants to Legalise Genocide Deniers"
By Oliver Bradley
European Jewish Press, 23 October 2006
"Switzerland's justice minister has called on the Swiss government to reverse a law which makes historical revisionism illegal. Minister Christoph Blocher is on a campaign to change the law, according to the Neue Zuercher Zeitung (NZZ) newspaper -- even if it will impinge upon the sensitivities of minority groups, including the country's Jewish communities. Blocher claims that freedom of expression is more important than protecting the sensibilities of minority groups, NZZ wrote. Blocher just returned from a trip to Turkey where a public discussion of the Armenian genocide is de facto punishable by a court of law. Upon his return home, Blocher said that he believes that Swiss laws needs to be a beacon for other nations. As far as the minister is concerned, a ban on free speech in Turkey has made an effective public discussion of the Armenian genocide and Kurdish issues there impossible. In effect, he claims that widening the possibilities for freedom of speech in Switzerland might entice other countries to do the same. [...]"

"Coveting the Holocaust"
By Chris Hedges
Truthdig.com, 23 October 2006
"I sent my New York University journalism students out to write stories based on any one of the themes in the Ten Commandments. A woman of Armenian descent came back with an article about how Armenians she had interviewed were covetous of the Jewish Holocaust. ... She was not writing about the Holocaust itself -- no one covets the suffering of another -- but how it has become a potent political and ideological weapon in the hands of the Israeli government and many in the American Jewish community. While Armenians are still fighting to have the genocide of some 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks accepted as historical fact, many Jews have found in the Nazi Holocaust a useful instrument to deflect criticism of Israel and the dubious actions of the pro-Israeli lobby as well as many Jewish groups in the United States. Norman Finkelstein, who for his writings has been virtually blacklisted, noted in 'The Holocaust Industry' that the Jewish Holocaust has allowed Israel to cast itself and 'the most successful ethnic group in the United States' as eternal victims. Finkelstein, the son of Jewish survivors of the Nazi Holocaust, goes on to argue that this status has enabled Israel, which has 'a horrendous human rights record,' to play the victim as it oppresses Palestinians or destroys Lebanon. This victim status has permitted U.S. Jewish organizations (the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress and others) to get their hands on billions of dollars in reparations, much of which never finds its way to the dwindling number of Holocaust survivors. Finkelstein's mother, who was in the Warsaw ghetto, received $3,500, while the World Jewish Congress walked away with roughly $7 billion in compensation moneys. [...]"
[n.b. The author is "the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times and author of the bestseller 'War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.'"]


"Mercy vs. Justice as Liberia Heals Itself"
By Abraham McLaughlin
The Christian Science Monitor, 26 October 2006
"On a remote, palm-lined beach along West Africa's coast, inside a breeze-filled bungalow, an earnest cabal of nine men and women is plotting to overthrow the old order in their war-weary homeland. With laptops blazing, and a bed sheet strung up for viewing PowerPoint presentations, they debate such issues as how to help victims of war testify in public -- and whether to subpoena warlords-turned-members of parliament. Meet the members of Liberia's new Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Theirs is the latest of the 30-plus truth commissions held around the world since 1974, including South Africa's, which famously charted a healing path for its postapartheid nation. The group includes a bishop who unconditionally forgave the men who killed his father, a former journalist who gave up the good life in America to help her homeland, and a young, untested chairman who'll be the ultimate arbiter as the TRC tackles a looming dilemma: Should wrongdoers -- in this case warlords and fighters who carried out horrific wartime atrocities -- be punished or forgiven or something in between? In short, what's the best path to healing: justice or mercy? In a fragile nation emerging from 14 years of civil war, the TRC members know that too much rough-edged 'justice' risks igniting backlashes and fresh violence. Yet too much well-meaning "mercy" may leave grievances unaddressed, setting the stage for future conflict. Clearly, much is at stake, not least because Liberia is so connected with its war-prone West African neighborhood. Another Liberian war could reignite regional instability. Nor are there obvious institutions -- besides the TRC -- to help build a durable peace. As Priscilla Hayner of the New-York-based International Center for Transitional Justice says of the TRC: 'This is sort of it.' [...]"

"Ex-Liberian President Tries to Block Testimony"
Associated Press dispatch on CNN.com, 23 October 2006
"Lawyers for ex-president Charles Taylor have petitioned Liberia's Supreme Court to prohibit the nation's truth commission from hearing testimony or evidence regarding the ex-rebel leader's alleged crimes, officials said Monday. Taylor is awaiting trial at The Hague, Netherlands, on war crimes charges. The truth commission, modeled after a similar body in South Africa, is investigating crimes and gross human rights abuses committed in Liberia over the last quarter century. The commission will make recommendations to the government on who should be granted reparations, receive amnesty or face prosecution. The lawyers' petition called on the court to issue a writ of prohibition against any evidence or testimony produced before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on the grounds that Taylor was not present to defend himself. They also argue it could affect the outcome of the Hague trial. Truth commission officials said they had not received any official communication from the court on the matter and therefore would not comment. Taylor's name was mentioned before the commission October 15 when a former combatant, 28-year-old Mohammed Sheriff, alleged Taylor ordered him and a group of former Taylor fighters to carry out a series of killings. The lawyers' petition asks 'that all such evidences be declared nonexistent and expunged and obstructed from the records. These kinds of lies and publications certainly do have legal capacities to effect the petitioner's ongoing trial in The Hague,' the petition said. [...]"


"Federal Judge Frees Former Mexican President"
Associated Press dispatch on Fox21.com, 31 October 2006
"A lawyer for former Mexican President Luis Echeverria says genocide charges were dropped against his client when a judge ruled that the statute of limitations had expired. Attorney Juan Velazquez says the federal judge has overturned a house arrest order on the genocide charges, which stem from a 1968 student massacre. Echeverria was interior secretary when it took place. He went on to serve as president from 1970-1976. The decision is the latest blow to prosecutors' attempts to bring charges against Echeverria for his actions during Mexico's so-called Dirty War, a violent crackdown on leftist dissidents in the 1960s and 1970s. Prosecutors can still appeal the decision."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"Herero Genocide Motion Adopted"
By Brigitte Weidlich
The Namibian (on AllAfrica.com), 27 October 2006
"The National Assembly yesterday adopted without any objections a motion dealing with the genocide inflicted by German colonial rule on Namibians a century ago. The motion called for the issue to be debated and for dialogue with Germany on reparations. Herero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako tabled the motion a month ago and 13 MPs, mainly from the opposition parties, contributed to the debate. In his short reply, Riruako thanked the House for debating the motion in a mature manner. 'The debate highlighted that what happened to our people during 1904 and 1908 as a result of General Lothar von Trotha's extermination order was a brutal act of genocide sanctioned by the German government of the day and that our people are entitled to demand the payment of reparations from the German government,' Riruako said. It further emerged during the debate over the past four weeks that the Namibian Government should be an interested party in any discussion between its nationals and Germany on the issue of reparations, while a dialogue should be held between both governments and representatives of those Namibian communities who were affected by the genocide, Riruako added. '(We should) try and resolve this matter amicably and thereby strengthen and solidify the existing excellent relations between the two countries,' the Herero Chief emphasised. Adopting the motion was the absolute minimum that could be done as a legislative body 'to honour the memory of our ancestors who laid the foundation for the war of liberation that led to our Independence on March 21 1990,' Riruako concluded."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"N. Korea Criticized for Abuse of Citizens"
By Edward Harris
Associated Press dispatch in The Columbus Dispatch, 30 October 2006
"A Nobel prize-winning Holocaust survivor, an anti-Soviet dissident and a former European leader called yesterday for U.N. Security Council action on North Korea over its 'egregious' human rights record. Elie Wiesel, who survived a Nazi death camp and later won a Nobel Peace Prize, commissioned a 123-page report detailing North Korean atrocities with dissident playwright-turned-Czech President Vaclav Havel and a former prime minister of Norway, Kjell Magne Bondevik. In the report, the three said the dispute over the country's nuclear program should not eclipse deadly political repression there. Instead, the report said, the council should open another path to influence North Korea by taking on leader Kim Jong Il's regime over its treatment of the country's 23 million people. ... The report argues that Security Council action is warranted under a resolution unanimously approved in April by the 15-nation council that endorsed a 2005 agreement aimed at preventing tragedies like the 1994 Rwanda genocide. North Korea's actions toward its people -- such as food policies that helped fuel a late-1990s famine that killed as many as 1 million -- present a nontraditional threat to international peace, which the report argues is covered by the recent resolution. The report urged the Security Council to adopt a nonpunitive resolution that would demand unhindered access to North Korea by humanitarian workers, the release of all political prisoners and the admission of U.N. human-rights investigators. [...]"


"North Ossetian MPs Pass Statement on 'Genocide'"
Civil George (Tbilisi), 29 October 2006
"Lawmakers in Russia's North Ossetian Republic passed a statement on October 28 calling on the Russian State Duma, the lower house of Parliament, to condemn the crackdown by 'Georgian national-extremist forces' on South Ossetians in 1920 as a genocide of the Ossetian people, Regnum and Kavkazky Uzel news agencies reported. 'The scale and systematic nature of repressions against the Ossetian people in Georgia give reason to conclude that this repression was genocide,' the North Ossetian Parliament's statement reads. Russian President Vladimir Putin has noted several times in recent statements that the authorities in breakaway South Ossetia are accusing Georgians of 'ethnic cleansings.' Currently, there few discussions in Georgia about Ossetian-related developments in 1918-20. Some historians in Georgia say that the then newly-established Georgian Republic had to send troops to Tskhinvali, Java and the villages located in the vicinity of Roki Pass to crack down on rebels that were inspired by Russian Bolsheviks, who in turn were seeking to take over Georgia."
[n.b. this is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"Rwanda Begins Probe into Alleged French Genocide Role"
Reuters dispatch on CNN.com, 24 October 2006
"A Rwandan government-appointed commission launched a probe on Tuesday into allegations French troops supported soldiers behind Rwanda's 1994 genocide and helped facilitate mass murder. ... Kigali says France backed the government of Rwanda's former President Juvenal Habyarimana, providing military training for government forces, despite knowing that some within the leadership were planning to use the troops to commit genocide. France, which sent in soldiers under an operation authorized by the United Nations, has always denied any involvement in the killings. Officials said a seven-man commission, appointed by the government in April, will hear testimony from 20 witnesses over the next week. The testimony could be used as evidence in any legal action taken by Kigali against France. 'We will summon people like former militiamen who were trained and commanded by the French to kill as well as female survivors who accuse some French soldiers of rape,' Jean Paul Kimonyo a member of the commission told Reuters. 'We are also going to invite foreign witnesses including French nationals to testify before the commission.' A French parliamentary commission in 1998 cleared France of responsibility for the genocide but said 'strategic errors' had been made. 'The French sent troops, weapons, trained killers and manned roadblocks to facilitate murderers in achieving their mission of exterminating Tutsis,' Jacques Bihozagara, a former Rwandan ambassador to France, told the commission. [...]"

"Why Jeannette Employs Her Family's Killers"
By Abraham McLaughlin
The Christian Science Monitor, 24 October 2006
"A tall, slender Tutsi woman named Jeannette Nyirabaganwa has at least 100 perfectly good reasons never to speak to Anastaz Turimubakunzi again. That's how many of Jeannette's relatives, including her husband, parents, and baby, were killed during the 1994 genocide that raced through her hometown here in Africa's midsection. Anastaz is a confessed killer who, Jeannette says, helped murder her husband. Yet Jeannette does, in fact, speak to Anastaz regularly. She even pays him - along with other Hutus who killed her relatives -- to work on her coffee farm. Increasingly, their uneasy partnership is paying off: The beans they grow and pick together are being sold, along with those of many other Rwandan coffee farmers, to Starbucks and other high-end US coffee purveyors, creating growing prosperity for her, him, and others. Jeannette's explanation of how she can stand to work alongside such men is utterly pragmatic: After genocide laid waste to Rwanda, she says, 'The only solution was to go together with my countrymen' -- even the killers. 'There was no alternative.' This is a tale of Rwandan-style reconciliation. It may seem almost incomprehensible to outsiders, yet in some cases it works here. It's driven largely by economics: Coffee is Rwanda's biggest export. To get the beans grown, harvested, and processed, both killers and victims from the genocide are striking an uneasy peace born of economic codependence. 'They need each other to make that container of coffee,' says Timothy Schilling, a coffee consultant, referring to steel shipping containers that are packed with beans and shipped overseas. [...]"
[n.b. An important and moving story by one of the Monitor's best journalists.]


"Serbs Claim Kosovo after Struggle in Referendum"
By David Charter
The Times, 30 October 2006
"Voters in Serbia backed a new constitution reinforcing sovereignty over Kosovo last night before a UN assessment of the province's suitability for independence. The referendum on the country's new constitution only narrowly reached the 50 per cent threshold for success after desperate last-minute television appeals by Vojislav Kostunica, the Prime Minister, who gave warning of 'unforeseeable consequences' if it failed. ... While the document will put the state of Serbia on a legal basis after the independence of Montenegro, its claim that Kosovo is 'integral' to the country is widely seen as a provocative act when some form of independence is likely to be proposed by the UN soon. ... While Kosovo lies within Serbia's southern borders, it has been under UN control since Nato's armed intervention to stop ethnic cleansing of the province in 1999 and is widely understood to be heading for some kind of independence. Mr. Kostunica had hoped for a resounding demonstration of traditional Serb patriotism before the long-awaited verdict on the status of Kosovo by Martii Ahtisaari, the UN Special Envoy. But the struggle to secure a 'yes' vote after a month-long campaign led by the Government and the Serbian Christian Orthodox Church suggested widespread antipathy towards the political establishment in Belgrade. The vote took place amid rising international tensions over Kosovo, with fears that Russia could veto independence moves at the UN because of concerns over a precedent for Chechnya. Similarly, China might feel that independence would set a precedent for relinquishing its claim to Taiwan or Tibet. [...]"


"Govt's HIV Policy 'Is Genocide'"
By Zinkie Sithole
News24.com (South Africa), 30 October 2006
"British billionaire Richard Branson has helped build a R44m health centre for villagers in Mpumalanga because the government's own intervention programmes are 'useless.' The outspoken head of Virgin told Lilliesdale villagers at the opening of the clinic near Bushbuckridge at the weekend that the government's delay in addressing HIV/Aids was unnecessarily killing tens of thousands of people and was equivalent to genocide. 'This government is not doing enough ... the little that they are doing could be seen as genocide,' he said. '(The government) is killing thousands of its own people.' The government's lack of interest in saving people with Aids was demonstrated, he said, in the way that the national health department declined an offer by one of his friends to buy antiretrovirals worth $100m (almost R1bn) for the country. [...]"


"Sudan Would Allow Doubling of Darfur Force"
The Guardian, 25 October 2006
"Sudan is willing to accept a large increase in the number of foreign peacekeepers in Darfur with a stronger mandate to protect civilians, as long as they remain under African Union control, President Omar al-Bashir has told the Guardian. The force could have logistical help from European and Arab countries, he added, warning that any UN attempt to impose foreign troops could lead to 'such troops becoming a target of attacks and part of the conflict, not the solution.' Sudan has come under intense international pressure in recent weeks over the three-year conflict in its western region after the security council passed a resolution calling for 20,000 UN troops to replace the African Union's 7,000-strong force. Senior US and British envoys travelled to the capital, Khartoum, last week to urge the ruling coalition government to let the peacekeepers in. The Arab League's secretary-general has also discussed new options with the government. In his first interview since the diplomatic missions, Mr al-Bashir refused to give ground. Denying reports that the Arab League had suggested he accept troops from Arab or Muslim countries outside Africa, he insisted any non-African help for the AU be confined to equipment and logistics. [...]"

"No Justice for Darfur Rape Victims"
By Stephanie Nieuwoudt
Institute for War and Peace Reporting, 25 October 2006
"[...] Fiona Laird, a midwife posted until recently at southern Darfur's Kalma camp with the aid agency Médecins Sans Frontiéres, MSF, spoke in a BBC radio interview about the horrific rape cases she had seen on a daily basis. The worst case was that of a nine-year-old girl who had left the refugee encampment to gather grass for thatch and as fuel. A smiling man approached her and asked her to help him. She agreed, but as they moved further from the camp she told him her mother had told her not to wander so far. Turning ugly, the man gagged her and tied her on top of the bundles of grass before raping her repeatedly. On release, she staggered back to the camp where Laird treated her for bleeding so severe that the child was unable to walk for many days afterwards. In new reports to the United Nations Security Council, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and six separate UN agencies have condemned what they describe as a 'massive upsurge in rape in Darfur.' The reports come as the Nairobi-based African Women's Development and Communications Network, FEMNET, has urged the International Criminal Court, ICC, in The Hague to bring alleged rapists in Darfur to trial. 'The ICC offers an alternative avenue for justice -- other than that provided by Sudan -- for the women and girls who comprise almost ninety per cent of the victims in the Darfur conflict,' said FEMNET communications officer Christine Butegwa. The UN reports say that attacks on women and girls occur both inside and outside the refugee camps, with many different groups participating in the crimes. Warring parties seek retribution against their opponents by inflicting humiliating punishment on civilians in complete disregard of obligations under international law. [...]"

"Grim New Turn Likely to Harden Darfur Conflict"
By Lydia Polgreen
The New York Times, 23 October 2006 [Registration Required]
"Haroun Abdullah Kabir stepped from one bloodied corpse to another on the parched, rocky battlefield. He searched the soldiers' decomposing faces for an aquiline nose, fair complexion or fine, straight hair: telltale Arab features. Instead Mr. Kabir, a field commander of the Darfur rebels fighting the Arab-dominated Sudanese government, found among the Sudanese soldiers his men had felled only the dark-skinned faces of southern Sudanese and Darfurians. He looked away in disgust. 'You see, they send black men to kill black men,' he said. 'We are waiting for them to send Arabs for a real fight.' This is the new battlefield in Darfur, a blood-soaked land in which at least 200,000 people have died since early 2003, many of hunger and disease, as a result of a campaign of violence the Bush administration and others have called genocide. For the first time in more than two years, rebels fighting the government for more autonomy are making brazen, direct and successful attacks on soldiers, and are declaring that all previous cease-fires are no longer in effect. The latest peace agreement, signed in May and heavily backed by the United States but approved by only one rebel faction and the Sudanese government, is in disarray. The government vows to crush the rebellion, and as its military struggles to fend of attacks, it will likely turn again to Arab militias called janjaweed to wage its counterinsurgency campaign, analysts say. [...]"

"Sudan Expels UN Official for Blog Revealing Darfur Military Defeats"
By Jonathan Steele
The Guardian, 23 October 2006
"Sudan is to expel the UN's top official in the country after he reported two military defeats for the government and other embarrassing details in the largely invisible war in the western region of Darfur. Journalists and aid workers have minimal access to the conflict zone to check claims and counter claims by government and rebel commanders as well as displaced villagers, but Jan Pronk used his authority as Kofi Annan's special representative to make sensitive statements on his weblog. This month he reported heavy government casualties, the sacking of several generals and the mobilising of Arab militias to make up for a fall in army morale after frightened troops mutinied. His remarks were quickly denounced by the Sudanese army which described Mr Pronk as a security threat and the foreign ministry has told him to leave the country by midday Wednesday. ... The highly unusual expulsion of a UN official is likely to sour relations between Khartoum and the UN, which were already tense because of Sudan's refusal to accept a security council resolution calling for 20,000 troops to move into Darfur to protect civilians. Ironically, Mr Pronk had made it clear he personally agreed with Sudan's position that African Union troops could do the job just as well, provided they had proper funds and equipment. He was also a critic of the Bush administration for its confrontational line towards Khartoum. [...]"


"The Way the World Ends"
By Helen Caldicott
The Ottawa Citizen (on CommonDreams.org), 21 October 2006
"[...] While lateral proliferation is indeed an incredibly serious problem as ever-more countries prepare to enter the portals of the nuclear club, one consistent outstanding nuclear threat that continues to endanger most planetary species is ignored by the international community. In fact, the real 'rogue' nations that continue to hold the world at nuclear ransom are Russia and the United States. Contrary to popular belief, the threat of a massive nuclear attack -- whether by accident, human fallibility or malfeasance -- has increased. Of the 30,000 nuclear weapons in the world today, the United States and Russia possess 96 per cent of them. Of these, Russia aims most of its 8,200 strategic nuclear warheads at U.S. and Canadian targets, while the U.S. aims most of its 7,000 offensive strategic hydrogen bombs on Russian missile silos and command centres. ... Most towns and cities with populations over 50,000 on the North American continent are targeted with at least one hydrogen bomb. Only 1,000 bombs exploding on 100 cities could induce nuclear winter and the end of most life on earth. There are fewer than 300 major cities in the Northern hemisphere. Such is the redundancy of nuclear weapons. A U.S. Foreign Military Studies Office report of January 2002, 'Prototypes for Targeting America, a Soviet Military Assessment,' states that New York City, for example, is the single most important target in the Atlantic region after major military installations. A U.S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment report, commissioned in the 1980s but still relevant, estimated that Soviet nuclear war plans had two one-megaton bombs aimed at each of three airports that serve New York, one aimed at each of the major bridges, two at Wall Street and two at each of four oil refineries. The major rail centres and power stations were also targeted, along with the port facilities. The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates that New York City would be obliterated by nuclear blasts and the resulting firestorms and fallout. [...]"


"The Horrors of 'Extraordinary Rendition'"
By Maher Arar
Foreign Policy in Focus (on CommonDreams.org), 27 October 2006
"[...] After 12 hours of detention, unlawful detention in Jordan I was eventually driven to Syria. And I just didn't want to believe that I was going to Syria. I always was hoping that someone, a miracle would happen -- the Canadian government would intervene. A miracle would happen that would take me back to my country Canada. I arrived in Syria that same day, at the end of the day and I was able to confirm that I was in fact in Syria after my blindfold was removed and I was able to see the pictures of the Syrian President. My feeling then is I just wanted to kill myself because I knew what was coming. I knew that the Americans, the American government send me there to be tortured. Sometime later the interrogators came in. They started asking questions, routine questions at the beginning, but whenever I hesitated to answer their questions or whenever they thought I was lying one of them would threaten me with a chair, a metallic chair with no seats in it, only the frames. And back then I did not understand or I did not know how they would torture people with it. I later learned that from other prison inmates. But the message was clear: if you don't speak quickly enough we will torture you. That day, the interrogation lasted about four hours. There was no physical beating; there was only verbal threats. Around midnight, they took me to the basement. In the basement, the guard opened a door for me, a metallic door. I could not believe my eyes. I looked at him and I said, what is that? He didn't answer. He just said to me: Enter. [...]"

"Cheney Endorses Simulated Drowning"
By Mark Tran
The Guardian, 27 October 2006
"The use of a form of torture known as waterboarding to gain information is a 'no-brainer,' the US vice-president, Dick Cheney, told a radio interviewer, it was reported today. Mr. Cheney implied that the technique -- a form of simulated drowning -- was used on the alleged September 11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is being held at Guantánamo Bay. In an interview with Scott Hennen, a conservative radio show host in Fargo, North Dakota, on Tuesday, Mr Cheney agreed with the assertion that 'a dunk in water' could yield valuable intelligence from terror suspects. 'Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?' Mr. Hennen asked. 'Well, it's a no-brainer for me,' Mr. Cheney replied. 'But for a while there, I was criticised as being the vice president for torture. We don't torture. That's not what we're involved in.' In some versions of waterboarding, prisoners are strapped to a board and their faces covered with cloth or cellophane while water is poured over their mouths to stimulate drowning. In others, they are forced head first into water. Mr. Cheney's comments set him at odds with the Military Commissions Act, which bars, under all circumstances, treatment of prisoners that inflicts serious physical or mental pain or suffering. [...]"

"The End of Habeas Corpus and the Belligerent Despot-in-Chief"
By Ralph Nader
Counterpunch.org, 23 October 2006
"[...] If you want more evidence of how obsessively-compulsed George W. Bush is about his wars, their fabrications, budgets and cover-ups, consider his cue card statement on the legislation at the White House signing ceremony. 'It is a rare occasion when a president can sign a bill he knows will save American lives,' he declared. Hello! He has rejected all kinds of occasions to save American lives here at home. He has refused to do anything about the widespread and preventable mayhem known as medical and hospital malpractice, while fanatically pushing for restrictions on the right of such victims or their next of kin to have their full day in court. At least 80,000 Americans die from malpractice just in hospitals every year, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. The same Presidential pen could have saved thousands of more lives and prevented many more injuries were it to alight on safety legislation and larger budgets for reducing job-related sickness and trauma (58,000 lost lives a year) and air pollution (65,000 lives a year) -- to name a few categories of preventable violence. But he signaled from the onset of his Presidency that such bills would be opposed from the getgo. And once again remember his incompetence in letting U.S. soldiers -- hundreds of them die in Iraq from the lack of adequate body armor. At the signing event, Mr. Bush called the legislation 'a way to deliver justice to the terrorists we have captured.' To him all captured subjects are ipso facto convicted terrorists. It is not as if his record gives any credence to such fantasies. But he persists in his deception none the less. Out of nearly 700 prisoners in Guantánamo Bay, he has charged only ten after over four years of detention. Ten! Why? Mostly, as military, civilian lawyers and other monitors have said, because the vast majority of these abused or beaten prisoners were innocent from the day of their apprehension -- victims of bounty hunters in Afghanistan and surroundings. [...]"

Sunday, October 22, 2006

NOW AVAILABLE: Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction, by Adam Jones (Routledge, 2006; 430 pp., US $33.95 pbk). See www.genocidetext.net. "The best introductory text available to students of genocide studies ... likely to become the gold standard by which all subsequent introductions to this enormously important subject will be measured" (Kenneth J. Campbell).

Genocide Studies Media File
October 15-22, 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 adamj_jones@hotmail.com.

Consider inviting colleagues and friends to subscribe to Genocide_Studies and the G_S Media File. All it takes is an email to genocide_studies-subscribe@topica.com.


"Argentine 'Dirty War' Trials Revive Old Fears, Hostilities"
By Monte Reel
The Washington Post, 20 October 2006 [Registration Required]
"Argentina is putting its past on trial this year, probing the memories and consciences of those who lived through its bloody "dirty war," which pitted a military government against thousands of dissidents in the 1970s and '80s. Long-standing legal protections that shielded former military personnel from prosecution were removed last year, allowing a series of trials related to the 'dirty war' to go forward. The first to face prosecution, an officer with the Buenos Aires provincial police, was recently convicted, and many more people are awaiting their days in court. A witness in the officer's trial, a 77-year-old bricklayer who testified to being tortured by the military, has been missing for a month and is feared dead. In recent weeks, judges and prosecutors have received threatening letters demanding a halt to the trials. At the same time, backers of the former military government complain that their opponents, who now control the government and its courts, are persecuting them in the name of vengeance. History hasn't been sympathetic to them, and many say that the trials represent their last chance to voice their argument: that they were the victims of the conflict, attacked by dissident terrorists bent on destroying the country they were trying to protect. A look at people representing those conflicting points of view -- one a judge leading the trials, the other a retired military officer opposing them -- illustrates how a violent conflict that officially ended more than 20 years ago continues to evolve, anger and terrorize those who were caught up in it. [...]"


"'Stolen Generation' of Aborigines Wins Apology and Payout in Tasmania"
By Kathy Marks
The Independent, 19 October 2006
"[...] Australia's treatment of its indigenous people remains a running sore, and the plight of the Stolen Generation is a principal reason. Nine years ago, a national inquiry concluded that the policy amounted to genocide. The Prime Minister, John Howard, who had just come to power then, has yet to apologise on behalf of his predecessors. Survivors have not received a cent in damages. That is about to change, in Tasmania at least, following the unveiling yesterday by the state premier, Paul Lennon, of a $5m (£2m) compensation package. For Mr. Lennon, it represents a vital step on the road to reconciliation between black and white Australia. 'It's about recognising that, in Tasmania's history, Aboriginal people were dispossessed from their land, severed from their culture and taken from their families,' he said. 'It's about saying that we're sorry that this happened.' The funds will be made available to Tasmanian Aborigines who were separated from their parents, or, in the case of those already dead, to their children. An independently appointed assessor will judge each claim and one-off payments of up to $5,000 per person and $20,000 per family will be made to relatives. The rest of the fund will be divided among surviving members of the Stolen Generation. Whether other states and territories, and more importantly the federal government, will follow Mr. Lennon's lead remains to be seen. [...]"


"10,000 Refugees from Burundi Coming to U.S."
Reuters dispatch on CNN.com, 18 October 2006
"The United States plans to take in about 10,000 Burundian refugees -- many of whom fled their landlocked Central African nation as far back as 1972 -- from Tanzania, the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday. 'We are planning to offer permanent resettlement to a group of Burundian refugees who've been in western camps in Tanzania,' State Department spokesman Tom Casey told reporters, saying an estimated 10,000 people would be offered residence. Burundi has been plagued by civil strife since it achieved independence from Belgium in 1962. Thousands of Burundians from the Hutu majority fled ethnic massacres by the powerful Tutsi minority in 1972. Hundreds of thousands more Burundians fled to neighboring countries during a 12-year civil war that killed roughly 300,000 people before it ended last year with a U.N.-backed peace agreement. Casey said the United States agreed to taken in the refugees at the request of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Washington received the request within the past year, he said. A UNHCR spokesman said the agency seeks to help refugees return to their original country or to integrate into the communities where they have fled. If neither is possible, it looks to resettle them in third countries. 'This group felt that they were unable or unwilling to return,' said UNHCR spokesman Tim Irwin. Local integration also was not an option, he said, leading to the decision to seek permanent homes for them elsewhere. He said the group had become known as the 1972 Burundians -- referring to the year they left the country -- and that many were born in Tanzania and had no direct experience of Burundi."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch. Kudos to the U.S. State Department.]


"MPs Back Bill to Revive Kelowna Deal"
By John Bryden
Canadian Press dispatch in the Toronto Star, 18 October 2006
"Former prime minister Paul Martin won approval in principle Wednesday for a private member's bill aimed at resurrecting his cherished Kelowna accord. Martin's bill, which would compel the Harper government to implement the $5.1- billion aboriginal pact, passed 159-123 with the support of Liberal, New Democrat and Bloc Quebecois MPs. Conservatives voted against it. ... Given the dismal health and education statistics for aboriginals, Martin said: 'I don't understand ... why the government isn't supporting it. How can they turn their back on such important issues?' The accord was the product of 18 months of negotiation. It was struck by Martin, premiers, territorial leaders and native leaders on the eve of last winter's election, which turfed Martin's Liberals. The pact committed them to reduce the gap between natives and non-natives in a host of areas, including education, health care, housing and employment. Stephen Harper's Conservatives scrapped the accord upon taking power, dismissing it as little more than a pre-election gimmick and claiming that no money had ever been set aside to pay for it. 'That is simply not true,' Martin said Wednesday. 'The money was there. And I can tell you there's only one way in which that money is removed and that's if the new minister of finance essentially took it out.' Martin clearly views Kelowna as the crowning achievement of his brief two-year stint as prime minister. He is devoting much of his post-prime ministerial career to aboriginal issues and is determined to revive Kelowna, which he called 'really one of the most significant moves ever' to help natives. [...]"


"Six Croats Held for Serb Killings"
BBC Online, 21 October 2006
"Police in Croatia have arrested six former soldiers on suspicion of war crimes against ethnic Serbs. The six have been accused of detaining and killing Serbian civilians in the town of Osijek in eastern Croatia in late 1991 and early 1992. A number of Serbs were found dead in the river with their hands and feet tied as the four-year conflict between Croatian and Serbian forces began. Human rights groups have been pressing for the killings to be investigated. Osijek county police chief Vladimir Faber announced that five men and one woman, all former members of a paramilitary unit, had been detained. 'Finally, after 15 years we have resolved the killings of civilians in Osijek,' he said. Thirty-seven Serb civilians were killed in Osijek over the period in question, according to police figures. Osijek was heavily shelled by rebel Serbs and the Yugoslav army at the beginning of the war, which was triggered when Croatia declared independence from the former Yugoslavia."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"Judge: Ethiopian Forces Killed 193 Unarmed Protesters"
Associated Press dispatch on CNN.com, 18 October 2006
"A senior Ethiopian judge appointed by his government to investigate election-related unrest says security forces shot, beat and strangled to death 193 unarmed protesters last year. Wolde-Michael Meshesha, a vice chairman of the 10-member inquiry, accused the government Wednesday of trying to suppress the results of the probe amid sharp questions about Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's commitment to democratic reform. Ethiopian officials refused to comment on the claims. Officials said at the time that demonstrators were trying to overthrow the government. 'This was a massacre,' Wolde-Michael said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. 'These demonstrators were unarmed yet the majority died from shots to the head. There is no doubt that excessive force was used,' added the judge, who left Ethiopia last month after receiving anonymous death threats, leaving his wife and five daughters behind. He is now claiming asylum in Europe and would not disclose his exact whereabouts out of fear for his safety. A draft of the inquiry team's report, which was to have been presented to the Ethiopian parliament in early July and has since been obtained by the AP, says among those killed were 40 teenagers, including a boy and a girl, both 14. The two were shot. Six policemen were also killed in the June and November 2005 riots, bringing the overall death toll to 199. Some 763 people were injured, the report adds. Wolde-Michael says the figures could be higher because many people were too afraid to speak out. [...]"


"Probe into French Actions during Rwandan Genocide Goes Public"
Agence France-Presse dispatch in The Tocqueville Connection, 21 October 2006
"A Rwandan probe of France's alleged role in the 1994 genocide in the country is scheduled to open its first public hearings next week, officials said Saturday. The panel, made up of historians, legal experts and a senior military officer in the former Rwandan army, is expected to cross-examine 25 witnesses starting on Tuesday, its leader, former justice minister Jean de Dieu Mucyo said. 'This is an important inquiry that should be witnessed by everyone interested in this important episode of our history,' Mucyo said. 'The report will determine whether to pursue legal action at the International Court of Justice or to rest the matter,' he said, adding that the finding are expected in six months. In August, Mucyo said the team, probing claims that France trained and armed those responsible for the massacre and helped some of them flee in the aftermath, had wound up preliminary investigations and was moving to genocide sites in its next phase. ... French soldiers were deployed to southwestern Rwanda under a UN mandate in the final weeks of the genocide to set up and secure a humanitarian zone, but have been accused of allowing radical Hutus to enter Tutsi camps."


"Genocide Watch: Saddam's Anfal against the Kurds Was Genocide"
KurdishMedia.com, 22 October 2006
"Statement by Genocide Watch: The Anfal campaign of the Saddam Hussein regime in the 1980's was unquestionably a genocide as defined by the International Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, also known as the Genocide Convention. The Genocide Convention defines genocide as 'the intentional destruction, in whole or in part, of a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.' The intent of the Saddam Hussein regime was the destruction of a significant part of the Kurdish population of Iraq. The killing was intentional state policy. The Anfal genocide was ordered by Saddam Hussein and directed by Saddam's cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid, Secretary General of the Ba'ath Party's Northern Bureau. The victims were killed because they were Kurdish, because of their ethnic identity. That is genocide. Ali Hassan al-Majid stated in a recorded speech, 'Yes, I'll certainly look after the Kurds. I'll do it by burying them with bulldozers. That's how I'll do it.' The Anfal genocide murdered at least one hundred thousand Kurds, and destroyed over four thousand Kurdish villages. Kurdish men and boys were especially targeted, but the gas attacks on villages, such as the infamous chemical attack on five thousand people in the village of Halabja, also killed thousands of women and children. The Anfal Campaign meets all of the legal requirements to be called 'genocide.' The Anfal genocide was a gross violation of the Genocide Convention, an international treaty which Iraq signed and ratified in 1959. Saddam Hussein, Ali Hassan al-Majid and others now on trial for the Anfal mass murders should be convicted of committing genocide, the crime of crimes, the worst crime ever outlawed by international law."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the statement.]

"Iraq Aims to Limit Mortality Data"
By Colum Lynch
The Washington Post, 20 October 2006 [Registration Required]
"Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office has instructed the country's health ministry to stop providing mortality figures to the United Nations, jeopardizing a key source of information on the number of civilian war dead in Iraq, according to a U.N. document. A confidential cable from the United Nations' top official in Baghdad, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi of Pakistan, said the Iraqi prime minister is seeking to exercise greater control over the release of the country's politically sensitive death toll. U.N. officials expressed concern that the move threatens to politicize the process of counting Iraq's dead and muddy international efforts to gain a clear snapshot of the scale of killing in Iraq. Qazi warned in the cable that the development 'may affect' the United Nations' ability to adequately record the number of civilians killed or wounded in the Iraq war as it endures a bloody new phase of sectarian violence. He said U.N. human rights workers would have 'no guaranteed means to corroborate' figures provided by the government. ... The Iraqi government has long resisted efforts by U.N. officials and human rights workers to obtain reliable government figures on mortality. But since July 2005, the Medico-Legal Institute in Baghdad, which is controlled by the Iraqi health ministry, has supplied U.N. investigators with raw figures from morgues on civilians who have died violently. The health ministry's department of operation has provided the United Nations with similar figures from the country's hospitals. Those numbers attracted relatively little attention until June, when the U.N. human rights office in Baghdad estimated that more than 100 people a day were dying in Iraq. In August, the office recorded the largest spike of violence since the invasion, with more than 6,600 people killed in Iraq in July and August. [...]"

"Saddam Trial Told of Mass Graves"
BBC Online, 18 October 2006
"A Kurdish witness has told the trial of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein how troops rounded up and killed Kurds during 'Operation Anfal' in 1988. The man, speaking from behind a screen, said he managed to escape but saw killings and mass graves. Saddam Hussein and six co-defendants have rejected the charges of war crimes and genocide laid against them. On Tuesday, Saddam Hussein accused prosecution witnesses of fuelling division and hatred among Iraqis. The latest person to testify for the prosecution recounted how Saddam Hussein's troops drove terrified Kurds into the desert and gunned them down, AFP news agency reported. 'I fled from the shooting and I fell into a ditch and it was full of bodies,' he said. 'I saw people who had been shot. The desert was full of mounds that all had people buried underneath.' Prosecutors say some 180,000 people died during the Anfal offensive. Defence lawyers had been boycotting the trial after the sacking of the previous presiding judge for alleged bias towards Saddam Hussein. Wednesday's session began without them, although it had been reported the lawyers had ended their protest."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

"Bush's Attacks on Lancet's Iraq War Death Study:
Slandering Sound Science"

By Dr. Curran Warf, M.D.
Counterpunch.org, 18 October 2006
"Last week the medical journal The Lancet released an epidemiological study concluding that 655,000 Iraqis died from war-related injury and disease from March 2003 to July 2006. This shockingly high figure has drawn attacks from the Bush administration and right-wing pundits. Speaking as a medical doctor, I wish to set the record straight. The Lancet study is superb science. The study followed a strict, widely accepted methodology to arrive at its sobering conclusion. The study is being attacked not on scientific grounds, but for ideological reasons. People may not realize that The Lancet is the world's most prestigious medical journal. Prior to publication, the Iraq study was subjected to a thorough peer-review by specialists in the field of epidemiology. ... The investigators followed the same methodology in Iraq that has had been used in estimating death and disease in other conflicts such as the Congo -- where the Bush administration uncritically accepted their results. The public health tool they employed -- cluster surveys -- has been demonstrated time and again to be the best method of estimating rates of death in areas where vital statistics are not scrupulously maintained. Such bureaucratic vigilance is not the case in present day Iraq. ... Since the media has been unable to find a scientist critical of the study, they've turned to policy wonks with literally no expertise in the health sciences. Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Foundation derides the study, but her advanced degree is in international studies. Nor does Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies nor Michael E. O'Hanlon of Brookings have a health background. [...]"

"Iraqis Ask Why US Forces Didn't Intervene in Balad"
By Michael Luo
The New York Times (on Truthout.org), 17 October 2006
"American military units joined with Iraqi forces on Monday in maintaining a fragile peace between Sunni and Shiite communities in Balad, a rural town north of the capital where an explosion of sectarian violence over the weekend left dozens dead. In the aftermath of the reprisals, some residents of Balad asked why American troops had not intervened when the killings began in earnest on Saturday. One of the largest American military bases in Iraq, Camp Anaconda, which includes a sprawling air base that serves as the logistical hub of the war, is nearby. 'People are bewildered because of the weak response by the Americans,' said one Balad resident who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals. 'They used to patrol the city every day, but when the violence started, we didn't see any sign of them.' The situation in Balad, about 50 miles north of Baghdad, appears, in stark form, to show the dilemma for American military commanders at a time when they are hastening the transfer of wide areas of the country to Iraqi forces. They are also insisting that those troops take the lead in quelling violence, leaving American forces to step in only when asked. It also highlighted yet again the powerlessness of the Iraqi forces to stand in the way of such sectarian violence. Killings also continued to besiege the capital on Monday with the discovery of at least 64 bodies across the city, and two car bomb attacks that appeared to kill 22 people. [...]"

"Iraq's Christians Flee as Extremist Threat Worsens"
By Michael Luo
The New York Times, 17 October 2006 [Registration Required]
"The blackened shells of five cars still sit in front of the Church of the Virgin Mary here, stark reminders of a bomb blast that killed two people after a recent Sunday Mass. In the northern city of Mosul, a priest from the Syriac Orthodox Church was kidnapped last week. His church complied with his captors' demands and put up posters denouncing recent comments made by the pope about Islam, but he was killed anyway. The police found his beheaded body on Wednesday. Muslim fury over Pope Benedict XVI's public reflections on Islam in Germany a month ago -- when he quoted a 14th-century Byzantine emperor as calling Islam 'evil and inhuman' -- has subsided elsewhere, but repercussions continue to reverberate in Iraq, bringing a new level of threat to an already shrinking Christian population. Several extremist groups threatened to kill all Christians unless the pope apologized. Sunni and Shiite clerics united in the condemnation, calling the comments an insult to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. In Baghdad, many churches canceled services after receiving threats. Some have not met since. [...]"

"Iraqi Death Rate May Top Our Civil War -- But Will the Press Confirm It?"
By Greg Mitchell
Editor & Publisher, 16 October 2006
"With mass killings occurring every day in Iraq, and Americans falling at one of the highest daily rates of the entire war, it's no wonder that support for the conflict in the U.S. continues to slip. What the American press, public and political figures have yet to grasp or acknowledge, however, is the true human catastrophe in Iraq, a 21st century holocaust, if I may put it that way. This inconvenient truth -- suggested, if not proven, by the Johns Hopkins study released last week -- seems to be too horrible for many to face, considering the mild or negative reaction to the report in the days following the broad attention it did receive at first. Would it surprise you to learn that if the Johns Hopkins estimates of 400,000 to 800,000 deaths are correct -- and many experts in the survey field seem to suggest they probably are -- that the supposedly not-yet-civil-war in Iraq has already cost more lives, per capita, than our own Civil War (one in 40 of all Iraqis alive in 2003)? And that these losses are comparable to what some European nations suffered in World War II? You'd never know it from mainstream press coverage in the U.S. 'Everybody knows the boat is leaking, everybody knows the captain lied,' Leonard Cohen once sang. The question the new study raises: How many will go down with the ship, and will the press finally hold the captain fully accountable? [...]"

"It's Time to Say Sorry for Iraq's Agony"
By Mary Riddell
The Observer (on Truthout.org), 15 October 2006
"[...] On Friday, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) issued its bleakest assessment. Conflict has displaced 1.5 million people inside Iraq; a tide of refugees swells the 1.6 million living outside the country. The Lancet's estimate of 655,000 deaths since the conflict began is not only in a different stratosphere from Bush's ballpark figure of 30,000 'more or less.' It is also evidence of the asymmetry in the death roll of the war on terror. In contrast to the attrition in Iraq, no US citizen has died in an Islamist attack on US soil since 9/11. Neo-con certainties about gun-barrel democracy have perished, naturally, and the graveyards of political theory bristle with their memorials. But, like a headless chicken, the strategy stumbles on. ... Meanwhile, the fate of Iraqis grows more hideous. A road-sweeper says he works with 'his soul in his hands'. Stand on the Syrian border and you will see, each day, 1,000 refugees fleeing Iraq. They drive Mercedes and Chevrolets, these doctors or engineers driven out by kidnap, rape and brutality from streets where muggers kill for a mobile phone. A middle class is on the move, to Syria, Jordan and to Europe. Such itinerants are not poor, but they soon will be. Their host countries will grow weary of a diaspora sinking into destitution. The UNHCR believes this exodus is the biggest displacement in the Arab world since the flight from Palestine in 1948. Meanwhile, those without the means to leave stay home and die. This is what British troops and up to one in 40 Iraqis died for. It is the closing chapter and the legacy of the invasion the Prime Minister commended to history. [...]"


"Hizbullah Accused of Using Cluster Bombs"
By Brian Whitaker
The Guardian, 19 October 2006
"Hizbullah was accused of firing cluster bombs into civilian areas of northern Israel in a statement by Human Rights Watch today. The Lebanese Shia militia used two Chinese-made Type-81 rockets for cluster strikes that hit the Galilee village of Mghar on July 25, according to evidence gathered by the US-based organisation. Although Israel made extensive use of cluster weapons against Lebanon during the last days of the conflict, this is the first independent confirmation that Hizbullah used the controversial weapons too. Cluster weapons scatter hundreds of small 'bomblets' as they land, and can cause death or injuries over a wide area. 'We are disturbed to discover that not only Israel but also Hizbullah used cluster munitions in their recent conflict, at a time when many countries are turning away from this kind of weapon precisely because of its impact on civilians,' said Steve Goose, director of Human Rights Watch's arms division. 'Use of cluster munitions is never justified in civilian-populated areas because they are inaccurate and unreliable.' The organisation cited statements from witnesses in Mghar, including some who had found 'clearly identifiable pieces of submunitions and their casings.' Israeli police told Human Rights Watch they had documented 113 cluster rockets fired at Israel during the conflict, causing one death and 12 injuries in all. If the police figure for the number of rockets is correct, the total number of bomblets would be about 4,400. In Lebanon, the UN has identified at least 749 locations that it says were hit by Israeli cluster weapons, making an estimated total of 4m bomblets. [...]"


"Gaza Doctors Say Patients Suffering Mystery Injuries after Israeli Attacks"
By Rory McCarthy
The Guardian, 18 October 2006
"Doctors in Gaza have reported previously unseen injuries from Israeli weapons that cause severe burning and leave deep internal wounds, often resulting in amputations or death. The injuries were first seen in July, when Israel launched operations in Gaza following the capture of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian militants. Doctors said that, unlike traditional combat injuries, there was no large shrapnel found in the bodies and there appeared to be a 'dusting' on damaged internal organs. 'Bodies arrived severely fragmented, melted and disfigured,' said Jumaa Saqa'a, a doctor at the Shifa hospital, in Gaza City. 'We found internal burning of organs, while externally there were minute pieces of shrapnel. When we opened many of the injured people we found dusting on their internal organs.' It is not clear whether the injuries come from a new weapon. The Israeli military declined to detail the weapons in its arsenal, but denied reports that the injuries came from a Dense Inert Metal Explosive (Dime), an experimental weapon. In Gaza, Dr. Saqa'a said the small pieces of shrapnel found in patients' bodies did not show up under x-ray. 'We are used to seeing shrapnel penetrate the body making localised damage. Now we didn't see shrapnel, but we found the destruction,' he said. Most of the injuries were around the abdomen, he said. The doctors also found that patients who were stabilised after one or two days suddenly died. 'The patient dies without any apparent scientific cause,' he said. [...]"

"Carter Book Slaps Israel with 'Apartheid' Tag, Provides Ammo to GOP"
By Jennifer Siegel
Forward.com, 17 October 2006
"As Republicans step up their efforts to paint Democrats as increasingly hostile toward Israel, former President Jimmy Carter is releasing a book on the Middle East, titled 'Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.' Judging from an advance review manuscript of the new work, published by Simon & Schuster and set for release November 14, Carter places the bulk of the blame on Israel for its continuing conflict with the Palestinians. But critics of the former president probably will be most offended by his use of the word 'apartheid' in the book's title and text. Israel's current policy in the territories, Carter writes in the book's summary, is 'a system of apartheid, with two peoples occupying the same land but completely separated from each other, with Israelis totally dominant and suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights.' In a separate passage in the advance draft, the former president stated that 'Israel's continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land.' In addition, Carter takes what is being interpreted by some critics as a swipe at the pro-Israel lobby. 'Because of powerful political, economic, and religious forces in the United States, Israeli government decisions are rarely questioned or condemned,' the former president writes. Carter's book comes as the Republican Jewish Coalition is already waging a nationwide media campaign to convince Jewish voters that the Democratic Party no longer can be counted on to provide unflinching support for Israel. One of the recent RJC ads features a large image of Carter and quotes the former president as saying, 'I don't think Israel has any legal or moral justification for their massive bombing of the entire nation of Lebanon.' Simon & Schuster spokeswoman Elizabeth Hayes confirmed the substance of the quotes from Carter's book, but said that the wording could change in the final edition. [...]"

"Gaza as Laboratory: The Great Experiment"
By Uri Avnery
Counterpunch.com, 14-15 October 2006
"Is it possible to force a whole people to submit to foreign occupation by starving it? That is, certainly, an interesting question. So interesting, indeed, that the governments of Israel and the United States, in close cooperation with Europe, are now engaged in a rigorous scientific experiment in order to obtain a definitive answer. The laboratory for the experiment is the Gaza Strip, and the guinea pigs are the million and a quarter Palestinians living there. In order to meet the required scientific standards, it was necessary first of all to prepare the laboratory. That was done in the following way: First, Ariel Sharon uprooted the Israeli settlements that were stuck there. After all, you can't conduct a proper experiment with pets roaming around the laboratory. It was done with 'determination and sensitivity,' tears flowed like water, the soldiers kissed and embraced the evicted settlers, and again it was shown that the Israeli army is the most-most in the world. With the laboratory cleaned, the next phase could begin: all entrances and exits were hermetically sealed, in order to eliminate disturbing influences from the world outside. ... So everything was ready for the experiment. The signal for its beginning was given after the Palestinians had held spotlessly democratic elections, under the supervision of former President Jimmy Carter. George Bush was enthusiastic: his vision of bringing democracy to the Middle East was coming true. But the Palestinians flunked the test. Instead of electing 'good Arabs,' devotees of the United States, they voted for very bad Arabs, devotees of Allah. Bush felt insulted. But the Israeli government was ecstatic: after the Hamas victory, the Americans and Europeans were ready to take part in the experiment. ... How can a population that is hit by hunger, lacking medicaments and equipment for its primitive hospitals and exposed to attacks on land, from sea and from the air, hold out? Will it break? Will it go down on its knees and beg for mercy? Or will it find inhuman strength and stand the test? In short: What and how much is needed to get a population to surrender? [...]"


"Namibia: Nama Genocide (1904-1907)"
New Era (Windhoek) on AllAfrica.com, 20 October 2006
"The motion by the Nudo President, Kuaima Riruako, tabled in the National Assembly to debate genocide in which many Namibians died kick-started at a constructive pace, but discussions so far seemed to exclude one of the formidable tribes of the time, the Nama. Historical records narrate pre-dominance of this tribe in socio-economics and politics of the then Namibia by conquering, discovering, marauding, and fierce resistance to colonial occupation of their motherland. The colonial forces reacted to fierce opposition from this tribe with mounted reprisal, and with superior weaponry killed, raped, maimed, drowned, fed to sharks, beheaded, deported and besmirched more than half of the Nama population, with resulting loss of precious lives, land, possessions and property at the hands of the German occupation forces. The brutal killings of the Nama by German forces cannot be treated as an inconspicuous piece of historical irrelevance, and Nama traditional and political leadership should make it their responsibility to highlight the prominence of the Nama genocide within the historical realm of this country. While awaiting response from Nama leadership, let me humbly contribute by highlighting chronologically those aspects of the painful history in which many Nama people were subjected to extermination and forceful deportations, simply because they wanted self-governance and self-reliance. The severity of the Nama genocide should also be seen in the context of their determination to fight until their last man and not to subjugate themselves and their land to German occupation forces. [...]"


"Nation under a Nuclear Cloud"
By Michael Sheridan
The Times, 15 October 2006
"The North Korean regime's obsession with racial purity has led to the killing of disabled infants and forced abortions for women suspected of conceiving their babies by Chinese fathers, according to a growing body of testimony from defectors. ... A report in 2003 for the pressure group US Committee for Human Rights in North Korea that was compiled by David Hawk, a human rights investigator, ... found 'extreme phenomena of repression ... unique to North Korea' and concluded that its regime practised 'ethnic infanticide.' He traced eight female witnesses who gave distressing accounts of child murder. One took place at the women's detention centre in Sinuju, a border zone visible across the Yalu River from the Chinese city of Dandong. Choi Yong-hwa, 28, described how she was made to accompany a heavily pregnant woman, who had also been returned across the bridge from China, to a clinic where doctors induced labour. After the infant was born, Choi said she and other women stood by in disbelief as it was suffocated with a wet towel. The mother passed out. [...]"


"Museum Explores Peru's Shining Path"
By Robin Emmott
Reuters dispatch in The Washington Post, 22 October 2006
"Paintings celebrating deadly bomb attacks, photographs of beheaded children and rusting homemade grenades fill a police museum dedicated to the tens of thousands of people killed by Peru's ruthless Shining Path rebels. With the Maoist group's leader Abimael Guzman recently sentenced to life in prison, officials are encouraging Peruvians to contemplate the dangers of fanaticism in a country still afflicted by the chronic poverty that experts say allowed Shining Path to flourish. 'Shining Path is not just part of Peru's past. It reflects the country's social exclusion, injustice and poverty that creates monsters like Guzman,' said Salomon Lerner, who headed a government truth commission in 2003. Guzman, a former philosophy professor, waged a 'popular war' from 1980 until his capture in 1992 to try to install communism in Peru, offering dignity to millions of Andean peasants. But his calls for followers to first cross a 'river of blood' and kill 10 percent of the population ultimately alienated supporters and deeply scarred Peru. Housed in a police building once bombed by Shining Path, the museum contains objects created out of wood, stone, leather and even soap by followers in Peruvian prisons. Wooden miniatures celebrate the start of Shining Path's war with the burning of ballot boxes in 1980, as Peru returned to democracy after more than a decade of military dictatorship. [...]"

"Peru Shining Path Head Gets Life"
BBC Online, 14 October 2006
"The founder of Peru's Shining Path Maoist guerrillas has been found guilty of terrorism at a retrial and been sentenced to life imprisonment. Former philosophy professor Abimael Guzman led a 12-year rebellion in which around 70,000 people died. Abimael Guzman was tried after his capture in 1992 by a secret military court, but the verdict and life sentence were thrown out in 2003. Guzman's partner Elena Iparraguirre was also found guilty and given life. ... In 2003, a truth and reconciliation commission blamed more than 31,000 killings on the guerrillas. Survivors from a Shining Path massacre in the Andean village of Lucanamarca, where 69 peasants were shot and hacked to death as a reprisal, gathered outside the court to demand maximum sentences for the defendants. 'They killed them with machetes, stones, axes -- and for those who did not die in agony in this way, they even put them into a vat of boiling water,' Ignacio Tacas, a 35-year-old farmer from the village, told the Associated Press news agency. The Shining Path founder said the massacre had been a response to 'reactionary military action.' The insurgency provoked a state backlash by the government of former president Alberto Fujimori which was blamed for tens of thousands more deaths. [...]"
[n.b. See also the BBC's detailed description of the Lucanamarca massacre.]


"'Genocide Star' Up for Slaughter"
News24.com (South Africa), 20 October 2006
"A famed musician accused of inciting mass murder through songs during Rwanda's 1994 genocide was also part of an extremist Hutu militia blamed for much of the slaughter, a United Nations war crimes court heard on Friday. A former member of the Interahamwe militia told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that Simon Bikindi had been a leading member of the group and performed songs that encouraged the slaughter of minority Tutsis. The witness, a former butcher known as AHB who was serving a life sentence for his role in the killings of about 800,000 mainly Tutsis and moderate Hutus, said: 'Bikindi was a very important Interahamwe.' The witness testified that Bikindi, a renowned traditional composer who founded the popular Irindiro Ballet, had performed with the group in Interahamwe uniform before at least one meeting of the former ruling party. ... According to court officials, the ICTR had in the past tried and convicted media personalities and at least one journalist on genocide charges, but Bikindi's trial would be its first of a creative artist. His lawyer, Wilfred Nderitu, had denounced the charges as blatant violations of Bikindi's human rights and a denial of his artistic liberty, freedom of thought, expression and speech. [...]"

"Rwandan Suspects on Genocide Panel Payroll"
By Jon Swain
The Sunday Times, 15 October 2006
"The tribunal established by the United Nations to prosecute the leaders of the 1994 Rwandan genocide has been plunged into renewed controversy by claims that as many as a dozen Rwandans accused of genocide crimes were on its payroll. The allegations were made to the UN general assembly last Monday by Joseph Nsengimana, Rwanda's envoy. They were reiterated by Martin Ngoga, the country's prosecutor-general, on Friday when he produced a list of suspects, saying several of them featured on Rwanda's list of 100 most wanted figures in the genocide. Nsengimana said his government had brought the security council's attention last month to the fact that 14 well-known 'genocide suspects' were employed by the tribunal. Ten had since resigned and he said the tribunal must now 'expeditiously resolve that very serious issue, including by making public the report of the independent investigation and following that up with arrests and prosecutions.' But Everard O'Donnell, the tribunal's spokesman and registrar, issued a sharp denial of Rwanda's claim, arguing that it was politically motivated. While he acknowledged that up to a dozen genocide suspects had been on the payroll, he said they had never been employed as tribunal staff, but had worked on the defence teams of various accused. [...]"


"Up to 2,000 Refugees a Day Flood into Darfur's Camps of Despair"
By Jonathan Erasmus
The Independent, 22 October 2006
"The humanitarian catastrophe in Darfur is worsening by the day, as dramatic increases in fighting and militia raids on villages force thousands of people to flee their homes. Up to 2,000 refugees a day are now flooding into camps, many travelling hundreds of miles crushed together like livestock, piled one on top of the other, often with 300 people in a single truck. Other refugees have made the journey on foot, walking for 20 days or more in searing heat in order to reach the camps. Many though, whether through ill health or militia attacks, did not survive. Aid workers in Darfur say several of the camps have taken in up to 12,000 refugees in the past two weeks, and say they expect a further 10,000 arrivals before the end of the month. Many are seriously malnourished, dehydrated or in critical need of medical assistance. Non-governmental organisations are working tirelessly to cope with the sudden surge of refugees, but a lack of funding, complex internal bureaucracy and increased harassment from government officials is making their work all the more difficult. ... UN reports say the fighting has now become 'far more brutal towards civilians than previous attacks,' with witnesses saying they saw women and children being thrown into burning houses. In Buram, a town 80 miles south of Nyala, five days of fighting between the Habbania and Falata tribes saw 500 people killed. An estimated 120,000 people have been forced to flee north in search of refuge."

"Darfur Call by Genocide Survivors"
BBC Online, 20 October 2006
"Genocide survivors have urged the European Union to do far more to help end the violence in the western Sudanese region of Darfur. The call was contained in an open letter, signed by 120 survivors of the Holocaust, and the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda and Bosnia. Their message was backed by six leading aid agencies, calling on the EU to increase pressure on Sudan. EU leaders later said a UN peacekeeping force was 'the only viable option.' But the Sudan government is refusing to let such a force into Darfur. ... 'The African Union has worked very well in Darfur and done what it could,' James Smith, director of the British-based Aegis Trust, told the BBC's World Today programme. 'But the rest of the world hasn't supported those efforts the way it should have done with sufficient funds and sufficient equipment,' he added. The Aegis Trust has helped organise the genocide survivors' open letter, calling for action by the EU leaders gathered for a summit in Finland. Meanwhile, a conference is being organised in London, bringing together survivors from genocides throughout the past 60 years, Mr. Smith told the BBC. 'From the Holocaust in Europe, when six million Jews were killed by the Nazis, to survivors from Bosnia, from Rwanda, from the genocide in Cambodia, and, indeed, survivors from Darfur itself,' Mr. Smith said. The survivors insist that the EU leaders step up pressure against the Sudanese government, accusing them of being 'bystanders' to the mass killing in Darfur."

"UN Envoy Accused of 'Waging War' in Sudan"
By Mohammed Ali Saeed
Sapa-AFP dispatch in The Mail & Guardian (South Africa), 20 October 2006
"The Sudanese military declared United Nations special envoy Jan Pronk persona non grata on Friday, accusing him of 'waging war against the armed forces,' in the latest escalation in a war of words between Khartoum and the international community. The general command accused Pronk, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's special representative in Sudan, of 'openly intruding in the armed forces' affairs.' It considers the envoy's presence and movements in Sudan 'a military threat that adversely affects the performance of the armed forces and [he] has therefore become a persona non grata,' a statement said. It complained that the envoy had travelled around Sudan without government permission and dealt with rebel groups fighting the military in the western region of Darfur. ... A senior general called for the envoy's swift deportation. ... The government of President Omar al-Beshir has repeatedly refused to allow the deployment of UN peacekeepers to replace the overstretched AU force, charging that the Security Council resolution was a Western plot to occupy his country and plunder its resources. However, it remained unclear whether the government would follow the military's stance toward Pronk. [...]"

"Darfur Violence Spills into Neighboring Chad"
Reuters dispatch on CNN.com, 18 October 2006
"Sudanese Janjaweed militia and Chadian rebels have attacked at least 10 villages in southeast Chad in the past two weeks, killing over 100 people and displacing more than 3,000, local and U.N. officials say. The attacks are part of a spillover of violence from Sudan's western Darfur region, where violence has increased as seasonal riverbeds dry out after annual rains, becoming passable to rebel jeeps and Janjaweed on horses or camels. 'First we were attacked by local Chadian Arabs and the Janjaweed,' said Usman Mucktar Hassan, sitting exhausted and dusty after fleeing his devastated village of Djimese Djarma. 'They came on horseback and used M14s to shoot at us. We managed to fight them off for a few days, but then they sent in the rebels. The rebels came in their Toyotas. They had heavy arms like bazookas. They killed many people,' he said. Hassan and others have sought refuge in Goz Amir camp near Koukou Angarana, a small town about 55 miles (90 km) from Chad's border with Sudan, after attacks that local administrative chief Mahamat Ibrahim Bahit said left more than 100 people dead. The camp houses Sudanese refugees from Darfur's war between local rebel groups and government forces assisted by Janjaweed -- a tag loosely based on the Arabic for 'devils on horseback.' [...]"

"Darfur Rebels Call for Unity as Clashes Continue"
By Opheera McDoom
Reuters dispatch in The Mail & Guardian (South Africa), 18 October 2006
"Darfur rebels called on a former ally to rejoin their ranks on Wednesday as a top United Nations envoy said the government had lost two major battles in the western region, with reports of 'very high' losses. Sudan's government signed a peace accord in May with one of three rebel factions. But since returning to Khartoum, the head of that group -- former rebel Minni Arcua Minnawi -- has lost ground in Darfur and been sidelined on the political scene. 'Minni was betrayed by the international community and the government,' said Khalil Ibrahim, a senior member of a new rebel alliance called the National Redemption Front (NRF). 'Minni has to come back and join us. He is our brother and he can come back -- this is his only choice,' he told Reuters. Mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms in early 2003 accusing the central government of marginalising the vast region. Far from ending the bloodshed that experts say has killed 200 000 and forced 2,5-million from their homes, the May accord escalated the violence, with infighting between rebel factions and clashes between the NRF and the government. [...]"

"'We Burnt Their Homes and Killed All the Men, Women and Children'"
By Martin Fletcher
The Times, 18 October 2006
"[...] Dily, a Sudanese Arab, recounts how for three years he and his fellow Janjawid charged the farming villages of Darfur on their camels and horses, raking the huts with gunfire and shouting: 'Kill the slaves. Kill the slaves.' He reckons he attacked about 30 villages in all, and cannot count the people he shot. The villages were invariably destroyed, he says. The homes were burnt to the ground and the men, women and children killed -- sometimes with the help of government airstrikes. If there were survivors 'they would be left there ... They couldn't get help. Sometimes they made it to camps but mostly they died of thirst or starvation.' Dily is a rarity in that wretched conflict. Filled with disgust, he finally escaped the Janjawid's clutches and last month, with the help of 'people smugglers,' reached Britain, where he is now seeking political asylum. He expresses remorse. He is willing to talk, and the story he tells flatly contradicts the Sudanese Government's claims that it has no control over the Janjawid -- the predominantly Arab 'devils on horseback' who have driven two million of Darfur's black Africans into camps and killed at least 200,000. He says the Government deceived innocent Arab shepherds like himself into joining the Janjawid, saying they had to defend their communities against attack by Darfur's black African rebel groups. He says they were trained and armed by Sudanese soldiers, ordered by the Government to attack Darfur's villages and given military support when necessary. [...]"

"Britain to Look at Boosting Darfur Force"
By Jonathan Steele
The Guardian, 18 October 2006
"Britain is preparing to consider new ways of getting extra troops into Darfur to protect civilians if the Sudanese government continues to reject a UN force, Hilary Benn, the development secretary, said yesterday. After a one-day trip to Darfur and Khartoum, where he met the president, Omar al-Bashir, Mr. Benn said the Sudanese leader 'remains resolutely opposed' to UN resolution 1706, which calls for 20,000 troops to replace the current contingent of 7,000 from the African Union, which is due to leave at the end of December. ... Mr. Benn's visit coincides with a six-day tour of Sudan by Andrew Natsios, George Bush's new special envoy. The EU commission president, José Manuel Barroso, saw Mr. Bashir a fortnight ago and a senior Sudanese presidential adviser was in Paris last week. The flurry of diplomatic activity is expected to lead to discussions in the UN security council on how to break the impasse. 'Once we get beyond the end of this month we'll have to consider alternatives' to the 1706 resolution, Mr. Benn said. Some speculate on the possibility of a UN mandate for African Union troops or an 'AU-Plus' plan of an increase in AU troops funded by western states. Sudan is looking to Europe to broker a compromise. It was angered by Mr. Bush's decision to toughen sanctions on Sudan on Friday, the day that Mr. Natsios left for Khartoum. The White House renewed a freeze on Sudanese government assets held in the US and added a ban on oil and petrochemical transactions. [...]"


"This Is the Moment for Europe to Dismantle Taboos, Not Erect Them"
By Timothy Garton Ash
The Guardian, 19 October 2006
"What a magnificent blow for truth, justice and humanity the French national assembly has struck. Last week it voted for a bill that would make it a crime to deny that the Turks committed genocide against the Armenians during the first world war. Bravo! Chapeau bas! Vive la France! But let this be only a beginning in a brave new chapter of European history. Let the British parliament now make it a crime to deny that it was Russians who murdered Polish officers at Katyn in 1940. Let the Turkish parliament make it a crime to deny that France used torture against insurgents in Algeria. Let the German parliament pass a bill making it a crime to deny the existence of the Soviet gulag. Let the Irish parliament criminalise denial of the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition. Let the Spanish parliament mandate a minimum of 10 years' imprisonment for anyone who claims that the Serbs did not attempt genocide against Albanians in Kosovo. And the European parliament should immediately pass into European law a bill making it obligatory to describe as genocide the American colonists' treatment of Native Americans. The only pity is that we, in the European Union, can't impose the death sentence for these heinous thought crimes. But perhaps, with time, we may change that too. Oh brave new Europe! It is entirely beyond me how anyone in their right mind - apart, of course, from a French-Armenian lobbyist -- can regard this draft bill, which in any case will almost certainly be voted down in the upper house of the French parliament, as a progressive and enlightened step. [...]"
[n.b. Thanks to Ursula Daba for forwarding this link.]

"Confronting Turkey's Armenian Genocide"
By Robert Fisk
The Independent (on Counterpunch.com), 14-15 October 2006
"This has been a bad week for Holocaust deniers. I'm talking about those who wilfully lie about the 1915 genocide of 1.5 million Armenian Christians by the Ottoman Turks. On Thursday, France's lower house of parliament approved a Bill making it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered genocide. And, within an hour, Turkey's most celebrated writer, Orhan Pamuk -- only recently cleared by a Turkish court for insulting 'Turkishness' (sic) by telling a Swiss newspaper that nobody in Turkey dared mention the Armenian massacres -- won the Nobel Prize for Literature. In the mass graves below the deserts of Syria and beneath the soil of southern Turkey, a few souls may have been comforted. While Turkey continues to blather on about its innocence -- the systematic killing of hundreds of thousands of male Armenians and of their gang-raped women is supposed to be the sad result of 'civil war' -- Armenian historians such as Vahakn Dadrian continue to unearth new evidence of the premeditated Holocaust (and, yes, it will deserve its capital H since it was the direct precursor of the Jewish Holocaust, some of whose Nazi architects were in Turkey in 1915) with all the energy of a gravedigger. Armenian victims were killed with daggers, swords, hammers and axes to save ammunition. Massive drowning operations were carried out in the Black Sea and the Euphrates rivers -- mostly of women and children, so many that the Euphrates became clogged with corpses and changed its course for up to half a mile. But Dadrian, who speaks and reads Turkish fluently, ha s now discovered that tens of thousands of Armenians were also burned alive in haylofts. [...]"


"Panel Suggests Brown U. Atone for Ties to Slavery"
By Pam Belluck
The New York Times, 19 October 2006
"Extensively documenting Brown University's 18th-century ties to slavery, a university committee called Wednesday for the institution to make amends by building a memorial, creating a center for the study of slavery and injustice and increasing efforts to recruit minority students, particularly from Africa and the West Indies. The Committee on Slavery and Justice, appointed three years ago by Brown's president, Ruth J. Simmons, a great-granddaughter of slaves who is the first black president of an Ivy League institution, said in a report: 'We cannot change the past. But an institution can hold itself accountable for the past, accepting its burdens and responsibilities along with its benefits and privileges.' The report added, 'In the present instance this means acknowledging and taking responsibility for Brown's part in grievous crimes.' The committee did not call for outright reparations, an idea that has support among some African-Americans and was a controversial issue at Brown several years ago. But the committee's chairman, James T. Campbell, a history professor at Brown, said he believed the recommendations 'are substantive and do indeed represent a form of repair.' The committee also recommended that the university publicly and persistently acknowledge its slave ties, including during freshmen orientation. Dr. Campbell said he believed that the recommendations, if carried out, would represent a more concrete effort than that of any other American university to make amends for ties to slavery. 'I think it is unprecedented,' Dr. Campbell said, adding that a few other universities and colleges have established memorials, study programs or issued apologies, but not on the scale of the Brown recommendations. It was not clear how much the committee's recommendations would cost to carry out. [...]"
[n.b. Thanks to Ursula Daba for forwarding this link. See the full text of the Brown University report.]


"Who Really Sailed the Ocean Blue in 1492?"
By Lisa Abend and Geoff Pingree
The Christian Science Monitor, 17 October 2006
"[...] While Columbus's origins remain undetermined, Consuelo Varela, a historian at Spain's Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, has answered another question: Why, once he was governor of Hispaniola, did Columbus fall so far from favor that Ferdinand and Isabella ordered him arrested and returned in chains to Spain? After archivist Isabel Aguirre discovered an uncatalogued transcript of Columbus's trial and brought it to Ms. Varela's attention, the answer was clear to her: Even by the uncharitable standards of 16th-century Spanish colonies, Columbus was a brute. In her book 'The Fall of Columbus,' Varela uses the testimony from 23 witnesses contained in the document to show that as governor of Hispaniola, Columbus regularly used torture to maintain order on the island. 'It was far more brutal than we had known,' says Varela. 'It was a frontier society, with terrible misery and injustice.' Columbus was also a strong supporter of slavery, refusing to baptize the indigenous people of Hispaniola so that he could enslave them (Spanish law prohibited the enslavement of Christians), and auctioning Spaniards into slavery, including a young boy caught stealing, as punishment. Varela also notes that Columbus was 'surprisingly greedy. He was always tremendously worried about making money.' [...]"
[n.b. Nice to see this acquisitive, torturing, slavedriving thug get more of his due.]


"Nigerian Leaders 'Stole' $380bn"
BBC Online, 20 October 2006
"More than $380bn has either been stolen or wasted by Nigerian governments since independence in 1960, the chief corruption fighter has said. Nuhu Ribadu told the BBC that Nigeria has 'nothing much' to show for the missing money. He said the worst period for corruption was the 1980s and '90s, but currently two-thirds of governors are being investigated by Mr. Ribadu's agency. Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil exporter but most people are poor. The country is regularly ranked as one of the most corrupt by graft watchdog Transparency International. President Olusegun Obasanjo declared a state of emergency in Ekiti State on Thursday after the governor was found guilty of siphoning state funds into personal bank accounts and receiving kickbacks. Mr. Ribadu said he had come up with his figure of $380bn stolen or wasted since independence 'easily' through records kept by the Nigerian central bank and the ministry of finance. 'Basically, this money has gone to waste, nothing much to show for it,' he told the BBC's Network Africa programme. 'Of course, probably part of it will have gone to outside stealing.' [...]"


"A New Global Nuclear Order"
By Alissa J. Rubin
The Los Angeles Times, 15 October 2006 [Registration Required]
"When North Korea announced its nuclear test last week, it was just the latest sign that the effort to contain the spread of atomic weapons was breaking down: Several countries are on the verge of beginning uranium enrichment programs, and others have already started such efforts, policymakers and experts say. Brazil recently inaugurated an industrial-scale uranium enrichment plant, and Argentina and South Africa are interested in similar projects. Australia, which has large supplies of natural uranium, is also considering an enrichment program. Iran has defied requests by the international community to suspend its program to enrich uranium, the first step toward making the fissile material suitable for a bomb. North Korea's announcement of a test follows ones by India and Pakistan in 1998. The rise of a new generation of nuclear states has led to increasing concerns that others could follow, and fueled fears that the more countries with nuclear capability, the greater the risk that fissile material will fall into terrorist hands. 'We are, at present, at the unraveling of the nonproliferation regime and the global nuclear order that we've taken for granted,' said Graham Allison, a former assistant secretary of Defense under President Clinton, who directs the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. 'This is a huge event whose importance may only become evident in five years. In terms of global order, global nuclear order, this is a nuclear blast,' he said. [...]"


"Psychology Professor Looks at Darker Side of Human Nature"
By Lynn Berk
CDAPress.com, 19 October 2006
"Those who commit genocide and or mass killings, those who decide that their neighbors and their friends and even their relatives are now their enemies, don't sprout horns and don't grow third eyes. In some strange and awful way, they may bear the mark of Cain -- the world's first death. But they look like you and me. That was the one fact that Dr. James Waller wanted most to drive home Thursday night in a utilitarian room decorated in black-and-white photographs of Holocaust victim Anne Frank and her sister, Margot. And he did it to a packed room in an old brick building with utilitarian walls and lighting that seemed appropriate on a dark and stormy night evoking terrible memories of what was -- and what is today. ... While other psychologists talk about how people relate to each other, Waller admitted that he is most interested in is how people mis-relate; how the most ordinary of people can become the most extraordinary of killers. Most of the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust, he pointed out, weren't killed by those in the high or even the middle echelons of government. They were killed by the rank and file, who sometimes return to the same kind of ordinary life they were living before they were convinced that certain people in their neighborhoods, in their cities and in their countries were so far out of their circle of 'moral commitment and obligation' that they were no longer humans. Dehumanize, Waller said, and it becomes easier to kill. [...]"


"Space: America's New War Zone"
By Andrew Buncombe
The Independent, 19 October 2006
"The Bush administration has staked an aggressive new claim to dominate space -- rejecting any new treaties that seek to limit the United States' extraterrestrial activities and warning that it will oppose any nations that try to get in its way. A new policy recently signed by President George Bush, asserts that his country has the right to conduct whatever research, development and 'other activities' in space that it deems necessary for its own national interests. The new policy further warns that the US will take those actions necessary to protect its space capabilities 'and deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile' to those interests. ... 'Freedom of action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power.' ... Some experts believe the space directive, discreetly published more than a week ago and barely noticed outside specialist circles, puts the US on a new and dangerous course given that it transports 'Bush Doctrine' policy to a new arena and rejects any efforts to limit US behaviour. 'I think that saying we will not have any limits on our actions is quite dangerous,' said Theresa Hitchens, director of the Washington-based Centre for Defence Information. 'It claims no one can prohibit our rights but it also denies rights to [others]. You would think that we would have learnt our lessons about the danger of military pre-emptive action and unilateralism in Iraq yet we are repeating the same policy towards space.' [...]"

"US Adopts Tough New Space Policy"
BBC Online, 18 October 2006
"The US has adopted a tough new policy aimed at protecting its interests in space and denying 'adversaries' access there for hostile purposes. The document -- signed by President Bush -- also says 'freedom of action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power.' The document rejects any proposals to ban space weapons. But the White House has said the policy does not call for the development or deployment of weapons in space. However, some military experts warn that by refusing to enter into negotiations on space weaponry, the US is likely to fuel international suspicions that it will develop such weapons. The 10-page strategic document states that the US national security 'is critically dependent upon space capabilities, and this dependence will grow.' 'The United States will preserve its rights, capabilities, and freedom of action in space ... and deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to US national interests,' it says. [...]"


"Shut Up or Else, Military Tells Guantanamo Lawyers"
By Carol Williams
The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 October 2006
"The US Marine Corps has threatened to punish two military lawyers if they continue to speak publicly about reported prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay, a civilian colleague has said. The threat to Lieutenant-Colonel Colby Vokey and Sergeant Heather Cerveny follows their report that guards bragged about beating prisoners, said Muneer Ahmad, a law professor at American University in Washington who helps in the defence of a Canadian suspect. The order has heightened fears among the military defenders of Guantanamo prisoners that their careers will suffer for exposing flaws and injustices in the system, Professor Ahmad said at the weekend. 'In one fell swoop, the Government is gagging a defence lawyer and threatening retaliation against a whistleblower,' he said. 'It really points out what is wrong with the detainee legislation that [President George] Bush is scheduled to sign on Tuesday: it permits the abuse of detainees to continue, immunises the wrongdoers and precludes the detainees from ever challenging it in court.' The Marine Corps said the gag had been ordered to ensure the legal team's actions complied with professional standards. [...]"

"Planespotting: Nerds with Binoculars Bust the CIA's Torture Taxis"
By Trevor Paglen & A.C. Thompson
The Village Voice, 16 October 2006
"[...] Ray is somewhat unusual among planespotters because, much more than others with the same hobby, he tends to move beyond the 'How does it work?' questions and venture into 'What does it all mean?' When he logs new aircraft or sees suspicious movements, he's quick to check newspapers and, when necessary, file Freedom of Information Act requests to develop a deeper understanding of what he's logged. Because he follows up his planespotting with intensive database and Internet searches, phone calls to journalists and public-affairs officers at military bases and airports, he's made some discoveries about the workings of the U.S. military and other government agencies that add up to much more than a sum of collected data. That's how he inadvertently discovered the CIA's fleet of 'torture planes.' He became aware of the network of unmarked airplanes, front companies, and unexplained incidents involving American 'civilians' around the world after noticing a collection of unusual aircraft at a remote airstrip in central Nevada called Base Camp. 'If you want to know about how I started tracking these torture planes,' Ray would later explain to us, 'I think we're going to have to talk about Base Camp.' [...]"