Friday, January 19, 2007

Genocide Studies Media File
January 12-19, 2007

A compendium of news stories, features, and human rights reports pertaining to genocide and crimes against humanity. Compiled by Adam Jones. Please send links and feedback to

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"Argentines Fear for Witnesses' Safety in 'Dirty War' Trials"
Associated Press dispatch on, 18 January 2007
"Argentines refusing to be cowed by death threats against the witnesses, judges and lawyers involved in 'dirty war' trials were marching in the capital Thursday, marking four months since the disappearance of a witness who testified against his torturers. Jorge Julio Lopez vanished September 18, after he described being jolted with electric prods by a former police chief and others during two years in a secret prison. Thanks in part to Lopez's willingness to speak up and even show his scars in court, the defendant was convicted and given a life sentence for six disappearances two decades ago. Argentina's leftist government is intent on trying as many as 900 lower-ranking former police and military officers for their roles in state-sponsored terrorism against dissidents during the 1970s and 80s, now that the Supreme Court has struck down amnesty laws that kept all but the top-ranking military leaders from being prosecuted. Key to these trials are as many as 2,000 witnesses, and their safety was at the heart of Thursday's protests. With anonymous death threats raining down on those involved and Lopez still missing despite President Nestor Kirchner's declaration that finding him alive is a top priority, many worry they'll refuse to testify. [...]"

"Argentina Pursues Iran in '94 Blast As Neighbors Court Ahmadinejad"
By Monte Reel
The Washington Post, 14 January 2007 [Registration Required]
"[...] The bombing was the second attack on a Jewish target in Argentina. In 1992, a suicide bomber struck the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29. Shortly after the community center blast, then-Argentine President Carlos Menem blamed the attack on Islamic extremists from Iran. Menem was eventually saddled with some of the blame for the derailed investigations that followed: In 2002, a former Iranian intelligence official alleged that Menem, by then out of office, had received $10 million to cover up Tehran's role in the attack. Menem vigorously denied the accusation, but it nonetheless damaged his standing. The judge investigating the community center bombing -- Juan Jose Galeano -- was also criticized for undermining the case. He was impeached after being found guilty of misdeeds including paying a defendant $400,000 to testify. He also lost hundreds of hours of wiretap recordings and other evidence. The only suspects to be tried in the case have been four Argentine police officers and a car thief who were charged as accessories for providing the van used in the bombing. They were acquitted for lack of proof. ... Iran has repeatedly proclaimed its officials had nothing to do with the bombing. In the weeks since Iran said it would ignore the extradition requests, Rafsanjani has maintained a high public profile in Iran, running for a seat in a council of clerics in December."

"Argentine Ex-President Charged With Rights Abuses"
By Larry Rohter
The New York Times, 13 January 2007 [Registration Required]
"Acting at the request of Argentine officials, the Spanish police on Friday detained María Estela de Perón, the former president of Argentina and the widow of the founder of the ruling party, as part of a broadening investigation by the Peronist government of Argentina into past human rights abuses there. Ms. Perón, who was overthrown in 1976, with Carlos Menem, a political ally, in Buenos Aires in 1988, the year before he was elected president. A judge in the provincial city of Mendoza had issued an order on Thursday that Ms. Perón, known as Isabel, who lives in exile in Spain and gives her age as 75, be detained there for questioning regarding the disappearance of a student during her time in power. Almost simultaneously, a judge in Buenos Aires authorized the arrest of two other officials with ties to the late José López Rega, who was Gen. Juan Perón's private secretary and later Ms. Perón's closest adviser. Those moves were made less than two weeks after Argentina requested that Spain extradite another notorious figure from that era. In each case, the proceedings focus on the Argentine Anti-Communist Alliance, or 'Triple A,' a shadowy right-wing paramilitary death squad controlled by Mr. López Rega that first emerged when General Juan Perón was in power and accelerated its activities during his widow's tenure. Ms. Perón governed Argentina for less than two years, from her husband's death in July 1974 until she was overthrown by a military coup on March 24, 1976. Human rights groups have blamed the Triple A for the killings of at least 1,500 political opponents, most of which occurred when Ms. Perón, a former cabaret dancer who was the general's third wife, was in power. [...]"


"Sylvester Stallone to Make a Film about Armenian Genocide", 19 January 2007 [Sic passim]
"Sylvester Stallone has sparked debate of directing a movie adaptation of controversial book 'The Forty Days Of Musa Dagh,' which describes the Turkish massacre of its Armenian community in 1915. According to FemaleFirst the Austrian author Franz Werfel's book is controversial in Turkey, where the maintained genocide was never entirely accepted as a historical fact. The Association On Struggle Against Armenian Genocide Acknowledgement is advicing Stallone not to make the movie. 'The book is full of lies, since the author got his information from nationalist and radical Armenians. We have already sent necessary documents about the mentioned days to the producer of the film. Our allies will urge the producer not to produce the film,' fumes Chairman Savas Egilmez. The Hollywood actor says the movie would be 'an epic about the complete destruction of a civilisation. (But) talk about a political hot potato. The Turks were killing that subject for 85 years.'"
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"On the Run with the Karen People Forced to Flee Burma's Genocide"
By Pete Pattisson
The Independent, 16 January 2007
"When the Burmese soldiers arrived at his village, Maung Taungy knew what would happen next. Seven villagers were arrested, their feet bound together with rope, and they hung upside down for hours. Exhausted and with their ankles lacerated, the men, suspected of being linked to the Karen resistance army, were then beaten. The soldiers did not stop until they were dead. 'After that,' remembers Maung Taungy, an ethnic-minority Karen from eastern Burma, 'we became the virtual slaves of the army. They ordered us to clear the whole jungle so that they could see approaching enemies. We had to wade through chest-deep water full of snakes to get the area cleared. The work was endless, we made roads, dug trenches, cut bamboo and made fences. We had no choice but to escape.' Maung Taungy now lives in Ei Tu Tha camp for internally displaced people, ineastern Burma. An estimated 27,000 Karen have fled an offensive by the Burmese army in northern Karen State, which began last February. Fifty five thousand Karen remain in hiding in the jungles bordering Thailand, refugees from the world's longest-running civil war, between the Burmese army and the Karen resistance, the Karen National Liberation Army. More than one million Karen have been displaced since 1996 in the face of systematic human rights violations including rape, forced labour and torture. And the situation is worsening. [...]"


"Ex-Khmer Rouge Leader Denies Genocide"
Associated Press dispatch in The Guardian, 12 January 2007
"A former Khmer Rouge leader denied in an interview published Friday that the regime whose extremist policies wiped out much of Cambodia's population in the 1970s committed mass murder. Nuon Chea, 80, who was second only to Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, is expected to go on trial before a joint Cambodia-United Nations tribunal later this year on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. 'Why should we have killed our own people? I do not see a reason,' the English-language Phnom Penh Post quoted him as saying. 'We wanted a clean, illuminating and peaceful regime.' An estimated 1.7 million people died as a result of the 1975-79 communist regime. Some were executed, while others died of starvation, disease and overwork. None of the leaders have been held accountable for the atrocities. Pol Pot died in 1998, but Nuon Chea and several other top deputies still live freely in Cambodia. Nuon Chea also said any documents linking him to the regime's crimes 'were manipulated,' including photographs of human skulls. 'Those photographs with skulls now being presented do not mean a thing. Modern technology can do this,' he told the Post, a biweekly published every other Friday. The comments outraged Youk Chhang, a Khmer Rouge survivor and leading genocide researcher, who called Nuon Chea 'disrespectful and arrogant.' 'The Khmer Rouge did not regard us as humans. They took away our love, our family, soul, belief. We were not humans in their eyes. We were their enemies,' Youk Chhang said."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"Montreal Symphony Premieres Dallaire Tribute", 18 January 2007
"Senator Roméo Dallaire and Montreal audiences have praised the city's symphony orchestra and conductor Kent Nagano for this week's original tribute to the former UN peacekeeping commander. The General is a musical work comprising excerpts from Beethoven's Egmont Overture, woven together with an original narrative inspired by Dallaire's attempts to stop the Rwandan genocide. The General weaves together music by Beethoven and a narrative based on Dallaire's attempt to stop the genocide in Rwanda.The General weaves together music by Beethoven and a narrative based on Dallaire's attempt to stop the genocide in Rwanda. Acclaimed actor Colm Feore served as narrator, delivering the libretto alongside the orchestra in Montreal on Tuesday and Wednesday night. 'To hear in the first person someone saying things that I had lived, and reinforced by an extraordinary, powerful orchestra with that music, I found it quite extraordinary,' Dallaire told CBC News. The project was the brainchild of Nagano, the MSO's enthusiastic conductor and music director. [...]"


"Colombian Militia Leader Confesses to Massacres"
By Sibylla Brodzinsky
The Guardian, 18 January 2007
"A senior commander of Colombia's rightwing militias has admitted taking part in some of the country's most grisly crimes in the first of what could become a flood of confessions from demobilised paramilitary leaders. Salvatore Mancuso told a prosecutor in Medellín this week that he was responsible for hundreds of kidnappings, murders and massacres during his 15-year career in the death squads that spread terror throughout Colombia in the name of fighting leftist rebels. In two days of testimony, Mancuso admitted to directly participating in or ordering the murder of hundreds of people, among them mayors, union leaders and peasants. With presentations projected from his laptop computer, Mancuso listed in chronological order the massacres at El Aro, Mápiripan, El Salado and other towns, all of which he called 'anti-subversive operations.' He also named the victims. Some relatives of the dead heard the confessions. When Miryam Areiza heard Mancuso read her father's name as he recounted the 1997 massacre at El Aro, where he and 14 others were tortured and killed, she said she felt ill. 'Where does he get off saying my father was a guerrilla? My father was a peasant, tending to his farm. He was tortured and killed and Mancuso was responsible,' she said outside the special room for victims and their families to watch the closed proceedings. ... Under a deal with the government, no paramilitary who confesses all his crimes and makes reparations to victims can be sentenced to more than eight years in prison.[...]"


"Germany Moves to Silence Holocaust Deniers Across Europe"
By Jane Paulick
Deutsche Welle dispatch, 19 January 2007
"[...] With opinion divided on the viability of a Holocaust denial law, it seems Europe has yet to figure out how to reconcile the fight against racism with freedom of speech -- and is still struggling to accept that a society that defends freedom of expression also has to tolerate views it doesn't like. The dilemma was catapulted back into the public consciousness over the last year after the publication in Denmark of cartoons satirizing the Prophet Mohammed, which drew accusations from the Muslim world that the EU operates double standards in its attempts to protect religions from insult and injury. Months later, Turkey leveled a similar accusation at France, after the National Assembly passed a law making it a criminal offense to deny that the massacre of Armenians by Turks during World War I was a case of genocide. However eager Europe is to protect Judeo-Christian sensitivities, said Ankara, it is far less interested in combating defamation of Islam."

"A Blanket Ban on Holocaust Denial Would Be A Serious Mistake"
By Timothy Garton Ash
The Guardian, 18 January 2007
"[...] Holocaust denial should be combated in our schools, our universities and our media, not in police stations and courts. It is, at most, a minor contributing factor to today's far-right racism and xenophobia, which now mainly targets Muslims, people of different skin colour, and migrants of all kinds. Nor will today's anti-semitism be countered most effectively by such bans; they may, at the margins, even stoke it up, feeding conspiracy theories about Jewish power and accusations of double-standards. Citizens of the Baltic states, who suffered so terribly under Stalin, will ask why only denial of the Holocaust should be criminalised and not denial of the gulag. Armenians will add: and why not the genocide that our ancestors experienced at the hands of the Turks? And Muslims: why not cartoons of Muhammad? The approach advocated by the German justice minister also reeks of the nanny state. It speaks in the name of freedom but does not trust people to exercise freedom responsibly. Citizens are to be treated as children, guided and guarded at every turn. Indeed, the more I look at what Zypries does and says, the more she seems to me the personification of the contemporary European nanny state. It's no accident that she has also been closely involved in extending German law to allow more bugging of private homes. Vertrauen ist gut, Kontrolle ist besser (trust is good, control is better). Isn't that another mistake Germany made in the past? ... We must learn the lessons of history. But we must learn the right lessons of history, the ones relevant to a free, multicultural continent today. [...]"

"Swastika Ban Call Upsets Hindus"
Reuters dispatch on, 17 January 2007
"Hindus in Europe are joining forces to oppose German calls for a law across the European Union banning the display of Nazi symbols, saying the swastika symbolizes peace and not hate. Hindus in Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Italy plan to visit each EU member state, European Commission leaders and members of the European Parliament to garner support for a pressure group intended to resist the German move. 'The swastika has been around for 5,000 years as a symbol of peace. This is exactly the opposite of how it was used by Hitler,' said Ramesh Kallidai of the Hindu Forum of Britain. 'It is almost like saying that the Klu Klux Klan used burning crosses to terrorize black men, so therefore let us ban the cross. How does that sound to you?' The European umbrella group of Hindus plans to launch in the European Parliament in May. ... Kallidai said Germany's initiative was probably well-meaning but there had been no consultations. 'Every time we see a swastika symbol in a Jewish cemetery, that of course must be condemned. But when the symbol is used in a Hindu wedding, people should learn to respect that,' he told Reuters. 'In Sanskrit it means May Goodness Prevail. Just because Hitler misused the symbol, abused it and used it to propagate a reign of terror and racism and discrimination, it does not mean that its peaceful use should be banned.'"
[n.b. That KKK-cross comparison is pretty hard to gainsay.]

"Germany Bids to Outlaw Denial of Holocaust Across Continent"
By Ian Traynor
The Guardian, 16 January 2007
"Germany yesterday moved to outlaw denial of the Holocaust, the parading of Nazi symbols, and racist speech across Europe, using a meeting of EU interior and justice ministers to call for jail terms of up to three years for the offences. At a meeting in Dresden in eastern Germany, Brigitte Zypries, the German justice minister, demanded that Holocaust denial and the sporting of Nazi symbols be criminalised across the EU. ... The proposals from the German government are supported by Franco Frattini, the EU commissioner for justice, said a commission spokeswoman, although she added that detailed definition of the proposed offences should be left to EU countries to decide individually and that there would be guarantees that 'personal freedoms will not be violated.' Another commission official said that Sweden, for example, whose constitution guarantees absolute freedom of speech, could be granted an opt-out if the EU-wide criminalisation was agreed. Germany has just started a six-month presidency of the EU and is pushing strongly to outlaw statements and actions trivialising Nazi crimes and the Holocaust. 'We believe there are limits to freedom of expression,' said Mrs. Zypries. The European commission says that in a time of growing Islamophobia, racism, and hostility to foreigners across Europe, a decision to criminalise hate speech and praise of Nazi crimes would send a strong signal. But attempts to ban Holocaust denial across the EU have failed on two previous occasions. It is not clear whether the new German campaign will succeed where earlier attempts have failed. [...]"


"Kashmir's Half-Widows Struggle for Fuller Life"
By Haroon Mirani
Women's E-News, 18 January 2007
"[...] Indian-administered Kashmir has been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947. During the current insurgency, which started in 1989, many people have vanished, presumed killed or imprisoned without trial or record. The death toll in the current conflict amounts to somewhere between 40,000 and 90,000, depending on the source. During the last 15 years the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, an organization of the relatives of the disappeared in Kashmir, claims that about 10,000 people have been subjected to enforced disappearances by state agencies, mostly taken by armed personnel. Of the disappeared, they say between 2,000 and 2,500 people were married, and almost all were males. 'There are organizations fighting for land, water, rights, money, freedom, et cetera,' says Parveena Ahanger, chair of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, based in the Kashmiri summer capital of Srinagar. 'We are fighting to obtain just a piece of information about the whereabouts of our disappeared relatives.' Ahanger's son Javid Ahmad Ahanger was picked up by security forces on Aug. 18, 1990, when he was 16; since then she has not heard from him. India denies any connection to the abductions and says fewer than 1,000 people have disappeared. It says most of the missing have gone to the Pakistan-administered side of Kashmir for training in guerrilla warfare. The Indian administration has confirmed 135 such missing persons as dead. [...]"
[n.b. Thanks to David Buchanan for submitting this item. For more on gendercide in Kashmir and Punjab, see the Gendercide Watch case-study.]


"Iraq: Counting the Dead"
By Jon Wiener
The Nation, 17 January 2007
"The new UN estimate of 34,000 Iraqis killed in 2006 made headlines around the world, but it's almost certainly far too low. The number, as the New York Times reported, was 'the first attempt at hand-counting individual deaths for an entire year,' and was based on information from 'morgues, hospitals and municipal authorities across Iraq.' The first problem with the UN count is that refers only to civilians -- and thus almost certainly omitted deaths of Iraqi policemen, soldiers, insurgent fighters, and members of private militias like the Badr brigade. News media failed to report how the UN separated 'civilian' casualties from the total, and the UN notably failed to report the total including non-civilians. The second problem is the UN's methodology, which relied mostly on tallying official death certificates. The UN, according to the Times, argues their methodology is reliable because 'a vast majority of Iraqi deaths are registered' with officials because Iraqis want to 'prove inheritance and receive government compensation.' But many bodies found in mass graves or ditches are unidentified. And there's another problem: according to the L.A. Times, 'Victims' families are all too often reluctant to claim the bodies. ... for fear of reprisals.' And of course chaotic wartime conditions in several provinces make it difficult for officials there to issue death certificates even when victim's families do not fear reprisals. None of the reports in leading newspapers mentioned the other count of Iraqi deaths: the Johns Hopkins study reported last October in the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet. They estimated that 650,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the war -- 600,000 from violence and 50,000 from other war-related causes. President Bush rejected that figure -- 'I don't consider it a credible report,' he told a press conference last October -- and most of the media seem to have agreed. But The Lancet study used state-of-the art demographic techniques, the same methodology employed to estimate war deaths in Kosovo, Congo, and Rwanda, and in natural disasters around the world. World leaders have cited those figures repeatedly without questioning their validity. [...]"


"Activists Condemn Iran Holocaust Meeting"
Associated Press dispatch on, 19 January 2007
"In a statement to be published next week, more than 100 Iranian activists outside their country have condemned its recent conference questioning the Holocaust. The activists signed the statement blasting the Iranian government and paying homage to victims of the Nazi regime. The activists expressed frustration over the relative silence on the subject from the Iranian diaspora. The statement, which began circulating last month, is to be printed next week in The New York Review of Books. The Associated Press recently obtained a copy. The statement notes that the activists signed notwithstanding their 'diverse views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.' The signers include Azar Nafisi, who wrote the best-seller 'Reading Lolita in Tehran.' 'I thought it was inappropriate to use the Holocaust as a political issue,' Nafisi said. 'I thought that Iranians, especially non-Jewish Iranians, had a responsibility to say, "Not in my name."' The two-day conference in December brought together well-known Holocaust deniers and others who have said the Nazi genocide has been blown out of proportion. The Tehran conference was backed by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has made strident statements against Israel and called the Holocaust a 'myth' while seeking to elevate Iran's profile in the region. [...]"

"Israel Mulls Genocide Suit Against Iran President"
Agence France-Press dispatch on Yahoo! News, 14 January 2007
"Israel said it was mulling filing charges of inciting genocide at the International Court of Justice in The Hague against the president of arch-foe Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. 'The director general of the foreign ministry, Aharon Abramovich, and his deputy, Eitan Bentsur, consulted on this matter last week,' Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tali Samesh told AFP. The Jewish state considers the Islamic republic its enemy number one following Ahmadinejad's repeated calls for Israel to be wiped off the map. According to a report in the Maariv daily, Israel is examining whether other countries, like main ally the United States and Great Britain, could eventually join in the suit. Israel, widely considered the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear power, fears that Tehran is trying to develop atomic weapons under the cover of its nuclear power program. The Islamic republic denies the charge, saying the program is for peaceful purposes."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"Terror and Starvation in Gaza"
By John Pilger
New Statesman, 22 January 2007
"A genocide is engulfing the people of Gaza while a silence engulfs its bystanders. 'Some 1.4 million people, mostly children, are piled up in one of the most densely populated regions of the world, with no freedom of movement, no place to run and no space to hide,' wrote the former senior UN relief official Jan Egeland and Jan Eliasson, then foreign minister of Sweden, in Le Figaro. They described a people 'living in a cage,' cut off by land, sea and air, with no reliable power and little water, and tortured by hunger and disease and incessant attacks by Israeli troops and planes. Egeland and Eliasson wrote this four months ago in an attempt to break the silence in Europe, whose obedient alliance with the United States and Israel has sought to reverse the democratic result that brought Hamas to power in last year's Palestinian elections. The horror in Gaza has since been compounded: a family of 18 has died beneath a 500lb US/Israeli bomb; unarmed women have been mown down at point-blank range. Dr. David Halpin, one of the few Britons to break what he calls 'this medieval siege,' reported the killing of 57 children by artillery, rockets and small arms and was shown evidence that civilians are Israel's true targets, as in Lebanon last summer. ... A historian and two foreign journalists have reported the truth about Gaza. All three are Israeli. They are frequently called traitors. The historian Ilan Pappe has documented that 'the genocidal policy [in Gaza] is not formulated in a vacuum' but part of Zionism's deliberate, historic ethnic cleansing. Gideon Levy and Amira Hass are reporters on the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. In November, Levy described how the people of Gaza were beginning to starve to death: 'There are thousands of wounded, disabled and shell-shocked people, unable to receive any treatment ... The shadows of human beings roam the ruins ... They only know the [Israeli army] will return and they know what this will mean for them: more imprisonment in their homes for weeks, more death and destruction in monstrous proportions.' [...]"

"A Powerful Voice: An Interview with Ilan Pape"
By Liam Bailey
Blogcritics Magazine, 17 January 2007
"Prominent Israeli academic and author Ilan Pape is openly critical of Israel. In his latest article, he called Israel's policies in the West Bank 'ethnic cleansing' and felt safe to call their actions in Gaza 'measured genocide.' Let us not forget that Ilan Pape is an Israeli and for him to accuse his own homeland of these things must be very hard indeed, and without a strong basis, I'm sure he would reduce the terms to something much weaker. Secondly, Ilan Pape has extensive experience of the conflict. He is a senior lecturer at the University of Haifa Department of political Science and Chair of the Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian Studies in Haifa. He has also written books on the subject, including, among others: The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (London and New York 1992), The Israel/Palestine Question (London and New York 1999), A History of Modern Palestine (Cambridge 2003), The Modern Middle East (London and New York 2005) and his latest, [The] Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006). An Israeli with so much knowledge criticizing his homeland makes him a powerful voice. [...]"


"Ex-Communist Europe's Pursuit of Holocaust Justice Stirs Anti-Semitism"
By Michael J. Jordan
The Christian Science Monitor, 17 January 2007
"[...] Six decades after World War II, the once-dormant pursuit of Holocaust-related justice is forging ahead in newly democratic central-eastern Europe. Yet the hunt carries a price: It has stirred resentment among a financially struggling populace, which bristles at the multimillion-dollar property claims by their Jewish communities, and sees the harassment of nonagenarians as unnecessary or even cruel. 'I would venture to say Holocaust issues are the major source of anti-Semitism in post-Communist Europe today,' says Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, sometimes referred to as 'the world's last Nazi-hunter.' Other activists disagree, asserting that anti-Semitism merely awaits a pretext to surface. However, there is consensus that the pursuit must go on. 'I understand when young people question: "Why do you go after people who did something 60 years ago when they haven't done anything wrong [since]?"' says Kurt Schrimm, senior public prosecutor for Germany's Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes. 'On the other hand, we have the duty regarding the victims and relatives of the victims, to know the facts of what was done 60 years ago and who did it. So maybe this is more important, to put a 90-year-old in jail.' ... Aided by researchers and archivists, advocates have built their cases. The US Office of Special Investigations (OSI) filed 10 new cases in 2002 alone, a one-year record, against American immigrants who hid a Nazi past. To date, the agency has won cases against 104 people and deported 63, says OSI Director Eli Rosenbaum. 'This sends a message to would-be perpetrators of crimes against humanity,' says Mr. Rosenbaum. 'If they dare to commit such crimes, there is a very real chance they will be pursued for however long it takes -- even into their old age, even to sanctuaries they think they have found, thousands of miles away from the scene of their crimes.' [...]"

"Germany Faces Up to Shame of Sex Slavery in Concentration Camps"
Deutsche Presse-Agentur dispatch in The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 January 2007
"Breaking a long-time taboo in the world of Nazi horrors, Germany has unveiled an exhibition on the 'comfort women' exploited by male concentration-camp inmates. Between 300 and 400 women were forced to provide sexual services to queues of slave labourers from the Nazi armaments factories. 'These brothels were provided as a "performance incentive" so that the male prisoners would increase their output,' said Horst Seferens of the Brandenburg Monuments Foundation, which funded the exhibition at the Ravensbrueck Concentration Camp Memorial. Most male prisoners never admitted after their release that they had exploited the women, who also kept their shame secret. The Nazis used hundreds of thousands of Jews and political prisoners to keep their weapons factories running. The women were selected from Ravensbrueck camp, the main Nazi site for detaining women, and sent to 10 other concentration camps. 'In the story of the concentration camps, the SS's exploitation of women inmates for men inmates has been just so covered up and avoided by everyone,' said Insa Eschebach, the head of the memorial. 'And what did come out was just so distorted and prejudiced against the women.' Items in the show include eyewitness interviews, some of the Nazis' index cards on the victims describing them as 'brothel women,' and the vouchers that were given to male inmates to be redeemed in sexual services. Historians said the story had so embarrassed the women that the Nazis responsible were never prosecuted after the war."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

"Italy Convicts Nazis of Massacre"
BBC Online, 13 January 2007
"Italy has sentenced 10 former members of the Nazi SS to life imprisonment for their role in the worst World War II massacre on Italian soil, reports say. The defendants, all in their 80s and believed to live in Germany, were tried in absentia by a military tribunal in the port of La Spezia. Several hundred people were killed in 1944 around the town of Marzabotto, near Bologna, by retreating Nazis. Most of those who died were women, children and the elderly. ... Italian media said the 10 were also ordered to pay about 100m euros ($129m) in damages to the few survivors and relatives of the victims. Seven other defendants are reported to have been acquitted. Marzabotto was the worst massacre of civilians committed in Italy during World War II. Between 29 September and 5 October, 1944, retreating Nazi troops carrying out reprisals for the local support given to resistance fighters killed civilians around Marzabotto, a mountainous area south of Bologna. The number of those killed in Marzabotto is put at more than 700, and some records say as many as 1,800 were killed by the SS forces as they swept the area in pursuit of partisans. In 2002, then-German President Johannes Rau went to Marzabotto and expressed his country's 'profound sorrow' and 'shame' for the massacre. ... Those convicted are unlikely to go to prison, given their age and the length of time needed for extradition."


"Kin and Rights Groups Search for Pakistan's Missing"
By Salman Masood
The New York Times, 14 January 2007
"Amina Masood Janjua has been fighting for some word on the fate of her husband since he vanished from a bus station here in July 2005. In recent months, she and her two teenage sons and 11-year-old daughter have begun a campaign of court petitions, protests and press releases. Mrs. Janjua's son Muhammad, 17, was beaten as police officers broke up the march. They lowered his trousers as a means of humiliating him. More than 30 families of other missing men have joined her, all seeking to locate what they and human rights groups say are hundreds of people who have disappeared into the hands of the country's feared intelligence agencies in the last few years. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, an independent group, estimates that 400 citizens have been abducted and detained across the country since 2001. Amnesty International says many have been swept up in a campaign against people suspected of being extremists and terrorists. But some here also charge that the government is using the pretext of the war on terror to crack down on opponents. In addition to some with ties to extremist groups, those missing include critics of the government, nationalists, journalists, scientists, researchers and social and political workers, the groups say. [...]"


"No Death Penalty for Genocide Suspects Abroad -- Rwanda"
Reuters dispatch, 19 January 2007
"Rwanda's parliament has scrapped the death penalty for suspects in its 1994 genocide who are either being held at a U.N. court in Tanzania or at large elsewhere abroad, authorities said on Friday. The unanimous 80-0 vote earlier this week paves the way for the transfer of suspects at the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) set up to try masterminds of the slaughter of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Since its first trial in 1997, the ICTR has convicted only 27 people and is due to wind up in 2008, when most pending cases are likely to be transferred back to Kigali. 'Removing the death penalty has been a prerequisite for any legal process to begin regarding transfer of any cases to Rwanda,' Aloys Mutabingwa, Rwanda's representative at the ICTR, told Reuters. 'We are now going to embark on negotiations with the tribunal and I am sure that before the end of this year, we will have some pending cases transferred to Rwanda.' Genocide suspects still at large abroad -- mainly in Europe and the United States -- would also benefit from the new legislation if they were brought home, parliamentary officials said. The new law has to be rubber-stamped by the upper house, but that is a formality, they added. The tiny central African nation has also drafted a law to completely take the death penalty off its statutes. Only four people convicted of genocide inside Rwanda have been executed, in 1997, officials said. About 8,000 remain on death row. [...]"

"Rwanda: Rusesabagina, Genocide And Identity Politics"
By William Church
The New Times (Kigali) (on, 19 January 2007
"[...] It is now my personal opinion that Paul Rusesabagina is not a harmless or even misguided publicity seeker involved in self-promotion to earn speaking fees or sell books. Today, Rusesabagina has gained celebrity status, and now even a well respected news organisation like Reuters feels free to quote him without supporting evidence and checking his facts. The recent Reuters article quoted Rusesabagina as saying: 'Since 1994, Tutsis have been killing Hutus, and even now there are many who are being killed, or who simply disappear,' he said. 'Everything has been taken over by the Tutsi. The Hutu who are 85 percent of the population are intimidated.' A year ago, in his autobiography, he tested the public opinion waters when he said that Rwanda was controlled by a Tutsi elite and any Hutu who cooperated with the Tutsi was 'an empty suit.' At the time, I found this statement highly offensive and insulting to all Rwandans who are trying to rebuild their country. I asked many people one question: 'What would you think if someone was touring Germany 12 years after the holocaust and said that Jews once again run Germany and that any good German who cooperates is not worth anything.' Is there any difference between that last statement and what is being said by Paul Rusesabagina? ... Rusesabagina's approach is an insult to the many NGOs, and Gacaca workers, both Rwandans and non-Africans, who are dedicated to facilitate reconciliation. [...]"
[n.b. Well, if Germany had been invaded and the Nazi regime overthrown by an invading Jewish army, which then set about installing Jews and a few token non-Jews in all high positions and establishing a virtual ethnocracy, then the writer's analogy between Germany and Rwanda might hold.]


"AU Set to Hand Reins to Genocide Accused"
By Beauregard Tromp
"The African Union faces a huge challenge to its legitimacy next week when it has to decide whether to honour a promise to install Sudan's 'genocidal' president as its head. If it does so, President Omar Al-Bashir will have a great say over the actual forces deployed to subdue the militias his government backs. So far, the African Union has given no indication that it will go back on the compromise it reached in Khartoum in January last year. African ministers and officials start gathering in Addis Ababa on Monday, ahead of the heads of state meeting on January 30 in the Ethiopian capital. On Wednesday, 13 UN organisations said the violence against innocent people in Darfur in the past six months had been worse than any time since 2004. Twelve relief workers have been killed and the facilities of 30 NGOs attacked -- more than the total for the previous two years. 'In the face of growing insecurity and danger to communities and aid workers, the UN and its humanitarian partners have effectively been holding the line for the survival and protection of millions. That line cannot be held much longer,' the group said. Since 2003, at least 3 million people have been displaced and 200,000 killed in Darfur, according to UN estimates. ... Should Bashir take up the chair of the continental body, the rebel National Redemption Front has threatened to attack AU peacekeepers deployed in an extended mission to try to stem the killings in Darfur. Bashir has recently given in to pressure and pledged to allow a hybrid 22,500 strong AU-UN force to take over from the AU peacekeepers. [...]"

"For God's Sake, Save Darfur"
By Jim Wallis
The Huffington Post, 19 January 2007
"The genocide in Darfur continues to weigh heavily on my heart. After months and months of talk, it is increasingly clear that there are no real strategies for peace among any of the major players. ... Just before Christmas, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention and I met with Bobby Pittman, the National Security Council's director for African affairs, on behalf of Evangelicals for Darfur. Mr. Pittman was positive and responsive as we urged that the administration move quickly from words to strong, real, action. He assured us of the president's commitment on this issue, and readily agreed that much more needs to be done. We then discussed a series of strong steps: Maximum political and diplomatic pressure should be used to force Sudan to accept additional peacekeepers. Efforts to secure the cooperation of other key National Security Council nations must be increased. Strong actions should be taken against Sudan, including rigorously enforcing sanctions, and targeting sanctions against top government officials. Stronger actions could include a no-fly zone over Darfur and a possible naval blockade. We had complete agreement that only a large and strong multi-national peacekeeping force, with the authority to use 'all necessary means,' would suffice to end the genocide in Darfur -- and that Sudan must be compelled to accept it. We stressed the importance of making Darfur primary in the president's State of the Union address, with clear words about what we -- and the world -- will do in the face of Sudanese intransigence. Deadlines have come and gone, with no real change. The State of the Union should mark the moment for the kind of commitment that is necessary to save Darfur. Next Tuesday, as President Bush delivers his speech, I will be listening for action. For God's sake, save Darfur."


"Taiwan Recognises 'Lost' People"
BBC Online, 17 January 2007
"A Taiwanese indigenous group thought to have been wiped out more than 100 years ago has been officially recognised as the country's 13th aboriginal tribe. The Sakizaya people were decimated in attack by Chinese soldiers in the 19th Century and the survivors lived among other tribes to avoid persecution. In recent years they have fought for recognition as a separate ethnic group. They will now have access to government funds to preserve their culture as well as medical and educational benefits. The Sakizaya were granted their official status at a colourful ceremony, presided over by Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang. The Taiwanese cabinet also approved funding for the reclamation of traditional Sakizaya land taken by the Taiwan Sugar Corporation, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported. The BBC's Caroline Gluck says it has been a long fight for the Sakizaya who, like other aboriginal groups in Taiwan, have suffered discrimination. The tribe was believed to have been wiped out entirely in 1878 after losing a battle against Qing dynasty invaders from the Chinese mainland. [...]"


"Editor of Turkey's Armenian Paper Is Killed"
By Sebnem Arsu
The New York Times, 19 January 2007 [Registration Required]
"The editor of Turkey's only Armenian-language newspaper was assassinated today on an Istanbul street. The editor, Hrant Dink, 53, was convicted last year of insulting the Turkish state and identity because of comments he made about the mass deaths of ethnic Armenians before World War I in what is now Turkey -- events that Armenians and many foreign historians say was genocide by the Ottoman army, but the Turkish government denies took place. Mr. Dink also criticized ethnic Armenians abroad for trying to make official Turkish recognition of those events a precondition for Turkish entry into the European Union, but that stance attracted less attention. Mr. Dink was leaving the office of his newspaper, Agos, in the Sisli district of Istanbul early in the afternoon when he was gunned down in front of the building by one or more assailants, the semiofficial Anatolian News Agency reported today. ... Mr. Dink was prosecuted late last year under Article 301 of the Turkish penal code, a controversial provision that makes negative remarks about Turkishness or the Turkish state a crime. It has been used to try several prominent intellectuals in recent years, and has been criticized by the European Union as an infringement on free speech. An Istanbul court interpreted several comments Mr. Dink made as an insult to the Turkish identity. It sentenced him to six months in jail and then suspended the sentence. In a recent article in Agos, Mr. Dink complained that extreme nationalists opponents were casting him as an enemy of Turks, and said the increasing threats against him were weighing on him. 'I do not know how real these threats are, but what's really unbearable is the psychological torture that I'm living in,' he wrote. 'Like a pigeon, turning my head up and down, left and right, my head quickly rotating.' [...]"
[n.b. Truly shocking and grotesque.]


"UK Poll Reveals Striking Ignorance of Holocaust"
By Paul Majendie
Reuters dispatch, 19 January 2007
"More than a quarter of young Britons do not know if the Holocaust happened, according to a poll on Friday that sparked alarm among Jewish leaders determined the world should not forget the Nazi genocide. 'This poll reinforces the necessity to observe the motto -- Never Again,' said Winston Pickett, spokesman for the umbrella group, the Board of Deputies of British Jews. The poll, conducted by The Jewish Chronicle to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, showed that 28 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds in Britain do not know if the Holocaust happened. But teachers were given some comfort by the poll -- just one percent of those surveyed by YouGov pollsters thought the Holocaust was a myth. By a majority of four-to-one they favored Britain's decision to mark Holocaust Memorial Day every year on January 27, the day in 1945 when the advancing Russian army reached the Auschwitz concentration camp. But only 16 percent of those polled felt that denying the Holocaust should be made a criminal offence in Britain. They won backing from 85-year-old Auschwitz survivor Freddie Knoller who said: 'We are in a country that has freedom of speech and I wouldn't like that to change.' [...]"


"China's 'Cancer Villages' Pay Price"
By Dan Griffiths
BBC Online, 17 January 2007
"The small hamlet of Shangba is a tiny jumbled collection of houses sitting in the lush green paddy fields and hills of southern China. It sounds idyllic, but many of the locals are dying after drinking polluted water. Shangba has become one of the country's growing number of what have been called 'cancer villages.' A broad river runs to the side of the village, its shallow waters rippling over smooth stones. In the past the villagers relied on the river for drinking water, and to irrigate their crops. What they did not know was that mines further upstream were dumping their waste into it. And they're still doing it, there is a thick red residue at the water's edge. Walk along the little paths that wind their way through the paddy fields outside the village and many of the streams that you pass are a rusty orange colour. Scientist Chen Nengchang has been studying the cause and effects of the pollution on the village. He has found high levels of poisonous heavy metals in the water. He believes there is a direct connection between incidences of cancer and mining in the area. His team is working on ways to make the village's rice crop resistant to some of the chemicals in the river. 'The mines are producing heavy metals which have polluted this area' he said. [...]"


"A Nation in Search of 30 Million Brides for 30 Million Bachelors"
By Jane Macartney
The Times, 13 January 2007
"[...] One effect of China's strict population control has been a jump in gender selection of babies. The traditional preference for a son means that more and more women abort their baby if an early-term ultrasound examination shows it to be a girl. Officials deny that the gender imbalance is a result of the family planning policy. It is illegal for doctors to tell parents the results of an ultrasound test without a medical reason, though many do so. As a result, abortions of female foetuses are widespread, especially in rural areas, as parents try to ensure that the one child they are allowed by law is a boy. China's gender ratio for newborn babies in 2005 was 118 boys to 100 girls: compared with 110 to 100 in 2000. In some regions the sex ratio has ballooned to 130 boys to 100 girls. That compares with an average for industrialised countries of between 104 and 107 boys for every 100 girls. Tradition favours boys over girls, because men are seen as the main family breadwinner and in China only a son can carry on the family line. Daughters are expected to leave the home and become members of their husband's family. Anxious government officials have launched a countryside campaign, painting slogans on walls of village houses that exhort parents to value their daughters. 'Having a daughter is as good as having a son.' ... Chinese officials have given no clues as to how they plan to find wives for the battalions of bachelors now growing up in Chinese schools. However, the kidnap of baby girls is becoming increasingly common as families seek a future bride for their only son. Trade in women is also a problem in many rural areas where poor farmers are unable to attract a bride. [...]"


"106-Year-Old Survivor of Pogroms, Nazis Dies"
Associated Press dispatch on, 12 January 2007
"'Bubbe' Maryasha Garelik, who lived through the entire 20th century, surviving the pogroms of czarist Russia, Soviet anti-Semitism and Nazi terror and then dispensing her wisdom to thousands of Lubavitch Jews, has died. She was 106. She died Wednesday night in Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood and was buried Thursday at the Old Montefiore Cemetery near the grave of the ultra Orthodox sect's revered 'rebbe,' Rabbi Menachem Schneerson. ... For decades, the bubbe (grandmother in Yiddish) dispensed wisdom to thousands in her Brooklyn neighborhood who came seeking her guidance. Her advice came from decades of trial by fire. According to a Lubavitch biography of Bubbe Maryasha, her father was killed in a pogrom, or organized massacre, in Czarist Russia when she was 5, and her grandparents, with whom she and her mother lived, were subsequently executed. Years later, under Soviet rule, Garelik, her husband and their small children were evicted from their apartment into the deep snow because he refused to do factory work on the Jewish Sabbath. As a Jewish underground operative, he was arrested in the 1930s during Stalin's rule, then shot. (His wife didn't know exactly what happened to him until 1998, when his fate was revealed in an unsealed Soviet secret police file). ... By 1941, when the Germans advanced onto Soviet soil, Garelik and her brood escaped to Uzbekistan, where she made and sold socks to survive. In 1946, they ended up in a detention camp in Germany. After the war, she moved to Paris, where she established a Lubavitch Jewish girls' school that still exists. She immigrated to the United States in 1953, helping to start a Brooklyn organization whose members visited the sick, and a boys' school for which she collected money into old age. [...]"

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