Thursday, May 08, 2008

NOW AVAILABLE: Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction, by Adam Jones (Routledge, 2006; 430 pp., US $33.95 pbk). See "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
April 19 - May 8, 2008

NOTE: This is the last Media File for the summer, which I will spend travelling and conducting research in Russia and India. See you in September!


"Bangladeshis Seeking Justice" (TV report)
Al-Jazeera (on YouTube), 17 April 2008
NOTE: This is the first in-depth, English-language TV report I have ever seen on the 1971 Bangladeshi genocide, and reflects Al-Jazeera's usual high journalistic standards. On YouTube in two parts:
Part 1 (13 mins.)
Part 2 (10 mins.)
[n.b. Thanks to Jamal Hasan for bringing this source to my attention.]


"Bosnia Court Jails Four Ethnic Serbs for Warcrimes"
Reuters dispatch, 22 April 2008
"Bosnia's war crimes court on Tuesday sentenced an ethnic Serb former soldier to 29 years in jail and two others to 21 years each for the killing of 23 Muslim civilians early in the country's 1992-95 war. The court found Mirko Pekez, a second man also named Mirko Pekez and Milorad Savic guilty of the shooting in cold blood of unarmed men, women and children near the western town of Jajce in September 1992. The trio forced the group, among them 10 women, a small child and three minors, out of their homes and 'ordered them to line up next to the edge of a cliff and started firing bursts at them, killing 23 and wounding 4 persons,' the court said. In a separate verdict on Tuesday, the court jailed for nine years Dusan Fustar, one of four Bosnian Serbs charged with the persecution, killing, imprisonment and rape of non-Serbs in the notorious Keraterm detention camp in northwestern Bosnia. Fustar's case was tried separately from other defendants on the same charges after he pleaded guilty, the first such plea-bargain agreement struck at the court. The former mechanic, who worked as a shift commander at the camp near the town of Prijedor, surrendered in 2002 to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and was transferred for trial in Bosnia in 2006. Keraterm was one of three major Serb-run camps set up to 'ethnically cleanse' Muslims and Croats from the northwestern parts of the Balkan country after the break-up of the former Yugoslav federation. Some 1,500 Muslims and Croats were detained in Keraterm and hundreds are believed to have been killed. The Hague-based ICTY has tried 10 Bosnian Serbs for crimes committed in the Prijedor area and gave them jail terms ranging from five to 40 years. One suspect remains at large. Bosnia's war crimes court was set up in 2005 to alleviate the U.N. war crimes tribunal and take over low- and mid-level cases as the U.N. court plans to wind down by 2010."


"Support for Aboriginal Apology Hikes in Canada"
Angus Reid Global Monitor, 8 May 2008
"More Canadians believe their government should follow Australia's example and extend an apology to its Aboriginal population, according to a poll by Angus Reid Strategies. 53 per cent of respondents think an official apology is warranted, up 11 points since March. For over 60 years and into the 1970s, the Australian government -- and Catholic Church missions -- forcibly removed Australia's Aboriginal children from their families and placed them in institutions or with foster families. In 1995, a national Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission was established to look into the problems caused by the policy. A report released by the commission two years later concluded that the removal of children was a 'violation of basic human rights' that amounted to genocide, because it sought to eliminate an ethnic group. The government began to work on several policies for the return of the 'lost' children, as well as the reconciliation between Australians of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal origin. ... In February 2008, Australian prime minister and leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) Kevin Rudd became the first head of government to formally apologize to Australia's Aboriginal population, saying, 'For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.' In the 19th and 20th centuries, several residential schools for Aboriginal children operated in Canada under various religious denominations, and with funding from the Canadian government. Tens of thousands of children were taken from their families in an attempt to assimilate Canada's Aboriginal population into the non-native culture. The residential schools ultimately became infamous because physical and sexual abuse was widespread. [...]"

"The Native American Holocaust Denial by Canadian Churches and State"
By Kevin Annett, 1 May 2008
"[...] Unlike post-war Germans, Canadians have yet to acknowledge, let alone repent from, the genocide that we inflicted on millions of conquered people: the aboriginal men, women and children who were deliberately exterminated by our racially supremacist churches and state. As early as November 1907, the Canadian press was acknowledging that the death rate within Indian residential schools exceeded 50% (see Appendix, Key Newspaper Articles). And yet the reality of such a massacre has been wiped clean from the public record and consciousness in Canada over the past decades. Small wonder; for that hidden history reveals a system whose aim was to destroy most native people by disease, relocation and outright murder, while 'assimilating' a minority of collaborators who were trained to serve the genocidal system. This history of purposeful genocide implicates every level of government in Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), every mainstream church, large corporations and local police, doctors and judges. The web of complicity in this killing machine was, and remains, so vast that its concealment has required an equally elaborate campaign of cover-up that has been engineered at the highest levels of power in our country; a cover-up that is continuing, especially now that eyewitnesses to murders and atrocities at the church-run native residential 'schools' have come forward for the first time. For it was the residential 'schools' that constituted the death camps of the Canadian Holocaust, and within their walls nearly one-half of all aboriginal children sent there by law died, or disappeared, according to the government's own statistics. [...]"


"Sask. Legislation Will Set Day to Recognize Ukrainian Famine and Genocide"
By Angela Hall
Regina Leader-Post, 6 May 2008
"Saskatchewan politicians are uniting to designate a day to annually recognize the Ukrainian famine and genocide. Sask. Party Deputy Premier and Education Minister Ken Krawetz on Tuesday introduced legislation that will ensure the fourth Saturday in November is set aside each year to remember the lives lost as a result of the starvation imposed by the Soviet Communist regime in 1932-33. The introduction of the Ukrainian famine and genocide bill follows a special ceremony that took place two weeks ago outside the legislature to honour survivors. The Saskatchewan branch of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress urged the government to introduce an act to formally recognize a memorial day. Following the ceremony, Premier Brad Wall said he thought the province could move quickly in the fall to introduce legislation. But Krawetz said the government -- with the co-operation of the New Democrat Opposition MLAs -- is moving even faster because the issue is 'extremely important' to the Ukrainian community in Saskatchewan. 'There's support across the entire province to do this,' Krawetz added. The bill was introduced for first reading Tuesday afternoon and is expected to pass before the current legislative session ends next week. Waiting until the fall to move forward might have meant the day of remembrance wouldn't officially be in place for November 2008, Krawetz noted. Manitoba has already introduced a bill to proclaim the fourth Saturday of November in each year as 'Ukrainian Famine and Genocide Memorial Day.' [...]"


"Retired Navy Officers Indicted in Chile for Killing, Torture of Priest"
Associated Press dispatch in The Los Angeles Times, 19 April 2008
"Five high-ranking retired navy officers were indicted Friday for the abduction, torture and killing a British-Chilean priest and other dissidents in the days following Chile's 1973 military coup. The priest, Michael Woodward, was taken into custody by security forces in the port city of Valparaiso on Sep. 16, 1973, five days after the coup that brought Gen. Augusto Pinochet to power. Woodward was allegedly tortured with other detainees on at least two navy ships used as detention centers and died on Sep. 22. He was buried in a mass grave and his family was provided with a certificate saying he died of cardio-respiratory problems. But prosecutors believe he died from his injuries under torture. On Friday, Judge Eliana Quezada said she indicted retired admirals Sergio Barros, Guillermo Aldoney and Adolfo Walbaum and retired navy captains Sergio Barra and Ricardo Riesgo for the kidnapping and torture of Woodward and other members of leftist groups. The five men were taken into custody and sent to military barracks in Valparaiso on Friday. Also charged was Carlos Costa, a navy doctor. Quezada said the defendants all maintain their innocence, but they could not be reached independently. Woodward, 42 at the time of his death, had been suspended from the Roman Catholic priesthood and joined the Christians for Socialism, according to a report by a commission appointed by the first post-Pinochet civilian government to investigate the rights abuses during the 1973-90 dictatorship. He had Chilean and British citizenship. Woodward's sister, Patricia, applauded the indictments. 'The case of my brother has taken a very important step ahead,' she said. 'I hope this means we are reaching truth and justice for Miguel and other victims of the navy.' About 3,200 people were killed for political reasons under Pinochet, the post-dictatorship commission found."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"Washington Too Timid with China on Darfur: US Senator"
Agence France-Presse dispatch on, 23 April 2008
"A US senator on Wednesday accused the administration of President George W. Bush of being 'timid' in trying to get China to stop the sale of arms to Sudan, which are fueling the conflict in Darfur. 'Whether it's Tibet or the genocide in Darfur, we are allowing the Chinese to get away with so much,' Senator Robert Menendez told a congressional hearing into the five-year-old conflict in the western Sudan's Darfur region, where a UN official says 300,000 people may have been killed. 'Maybe it's because (the Chinese) own so much of our debt, but our response to them has been timid,' Menendez said. Menendez accused China of breaking a UN embargo on weapons sales to Darfur. 'Ninety percent of small arms sold to Sudan between 2004 and 2006 ... including assault rifles, the most common weapon used in Darfur, come from the Chinese,' he said. Beijing 'has either disavowed their existence or minimized the scope of its arms trade with Sudan, or denied that its weapons make a difference in the conflict in Darfur. Isn't China clearly, by continuing to provide arms that make their way to Darfur, violating the embargo?' he asked Bush's special envoy to Sudan, Richard Williamson, who gave testimony to a panel of US senators on whether progress has been made towards ending the violence in Darfur. China is the top arms supplier to Sudan and a major investor in Africa's largest country, particularly in its oil industry. [...]"


"Cousin of Colombian President Arrested in Death Squad Probe"
By Juan Forero
The Washington Post, 23 April 2008 [Registration Required]
"Authorities on Tuesday arrested former senator Mario Uribe, a cousin and close ally of President Álvaro Uribe, for alleged ties to death squads in a widening inquiry that has implicated nearly a quarter of Colombia's Congress. The arrest of the former senator, who built a formidable political movement that helped his cousin win the presidency in 2002, comes during an institutional crisis that has tarnished a country closely allied with the United States. As the result of investigations that began in 2006, 32 members of Congress have been arrested and about 30 others are being formally investigated for ties to paramilitary groups that killed thousands of civilians, infiltrated state institutions and trafficked cocaine to the United States. Preliminary investigations have begun against dozens of others, including the president of Congress, Nancy Patricia Gutiérrez, who was implicated last week. With the legitimacy of Congress at rock bottom, lawmakers have been locked in a series of heated debates over how to reform the 268-member body and punish those parties whose members have been linked to paramilitary groups. 'What we've seen happen is a de facto alliance between powerful economic interests and narco-traffickers, and the motives were to co-opt institutions and convert Colombia itself into a criminal enterprise,' said Sen. Gustavo Petro, who has publicly denounced ties between his colleagues and paramilitary members. 'Congress is one of the institutions that's been co-opted.' In the case of Mario Uribe's party, Democratic Colombia, five of six members who held seats in Congress have been accused of collaborating with paramilitary groups, with one member, Sen. Álvaro Garcia, charged with helping to organize a massacre. Uribe, who is accused of meeting with a notorious commander named Salvatore Mancuso to plan land grabs, fled to the Costa Rican Embassy in Bogota on Tuesday and applied for political asylum. He was rejected hours later, with San Jose calling the petition "inappropriate" because of the outstanding warrant. [...]"


"Lynchings in Congo as Penis Theft Panic Hits Capital"
By Joe Bavier
Reuters dispatch on Yahoo! News, 22 April 2008
"Police in Congo have arrested 13 suspected sorcerers accused of using black magic to steal or shrink men's penises after a wave of panic and attempted lynchings triggered by the alleged witchcraft. Reports of so-called penis snatching are not uncommon in West Africa, where belief in traditional religions and witchcraft remains widespread, and where ritual killings to obtain blood or body parts still occur. Rumours of penis theft began circulating last week in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo's sprawling capital of some 8 million inhabitants. They quickly dominated radio call-in shows, with listeners advised to beware of fellow passengers in communal taxis wearing gold rings. Purported victims, 14 of whom were also detained by police, claimed that sorcerers simply touched them to make their genitals shrink or disappear, in what some residents said was an attempt to extort cash with the promise of a cure. 'You just have to be accused of that, and people come after you. We've had a number of attempted lynchings. ... You see them covered in marks after being beaten,' Kinshasa's police chief, Jean-Dieudonne Oleko, told Reuters on Tuesday. Police arrested the accused sorcerers and their victims in an effort to avoid the sort of bloodshed seen in Ghana a decade ago, when 12 suspected penis snatchers were beaten to death by angry mobs. The 27 men have since been released. ... Some Kinshasa residents accuse a separatist sect from nearby Bas-Congo province of being behind the witchcraft in revenge for a recent government crackdown on its members. 'It's real. Just yesterday here, there was a man who was a victim. We saw. What was left was tiny,' said 29-year-old Alain Kalala, who sells phone credits near a Kinshasa police station."
[n.b. Sometimes one does not know whether to laugh or cry ...]


"'Neo-Nazi Vandals' Were Scrap Metal Thieves"
By Roger Boyes
The Times, 19 April 2008
"It was regarded as one of the worst acts of anti-Semitic vandalism since the war. More than 320 bronze plaques, all giving names to faceless victims, had been ripped out of the cemetery adjoining the former Nazi camp of Theresienstadt. Yesterday, however, Czech police called off their hunt for a group of neo-Nazi suspects -- and instead arrested a scrap dealer. The plaques, it seems, were the latest booty in a new global crime wave. Scrap metal prices have been soaring, largely because of the rapid industrial growth in China, and some experts blame the demand generated by the massive construction work for the Beijing Olympics. The world market price of copper, used in the traffic and communications infrastructure for the Olympics, soared fivefold between 2001 and 2007. Scrap thieves have resorted to ever more bizarre techniques to capitalise on the high prices. In February, a gang stole an entire four-tonne iron railway bridge near Cheb in western Bohemia, close to the Czech-German border. ... Scrap metal prices usually rise and fall quite rapidly, making big heists a risky business. In the three weeks it takes to remove a kilometre of railway track the prices could drop so significantly that the thieves would find themselves without a market. However, the Bureau of International Recycling in Brussels, which represents about 700 companies and associations, says that the gigantic investment in construction in China, India and other Asian states has kept prices unusually high. The result can be seen in crime figures across the world -- from the theft of lead off British church roofs to manhole-lid robbery in Ukraine. [...]"


"France Allows Rwanda Genocide Suspect Handover"
Reuters dispatch, 7 May 2008
"France's highest appeals court opened the way on Wednesday for a former Rwandan official accused of coordinating the massacre of thousands of people during the 1994 genocide to be handed over to a U.N. court. The Cour de Cassation rejected an appeal by Dominique Ntawukuriryayo, who had been living in France before his arrest last year, against a transfer to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania. It was not immediately clear when the transfer would take place. Ntawukuriryayo was sub-prefect of the town of Gisagara in the southern Rwandan province of Butare during the 1994 genocide in which some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. He is charged with genocide, complicity in genocide and inciting the public to commit genocide. According to the 2005 tribunal indictment, Ntawukuriryayo played a central role in a massacre at Kabuye hill near Gisagara in which thousands of Tutsi refugees were rounded up and ordered to go to a hill where they were told they would be safe. Ntawukuriryayo organised soldiers and militias to go to the site to kill them, it says. 'As a result of his actions, Dominique Ntawukuriryayo was responsible for the death of as many as 25,000 Tutsi refugees who were killed at Kabuye hill during the period of 21st to 25th of April 1994,' the indictment said."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"Investigation Sought of Alleged Kosovo War Crimes"
By Tracy Wilkinson
The Los Angeles Times, 6 May 2008 [Registration Required]
"A leading human rights group on Monday urged the governments of Albania and the self-declared state of Kosovo to investigate horrific allegations about the kidnapping and abuse of Serb civilians after the NATO-led war that drove Serbian forces from Kosovo. The allegations involve about 400 Serbs who went missing after the war, which ended in June 1999. At that time, Kosovo Albanians were gaining power, backed by the United Nations and the U.S. Human Rights Watch, in calling for an investigation, cited new information, some of it contained in a controversial book written and released last month by the former lead war crimes prosecutor for the Balkans, Carla Del Ponte. According to Del Ponte and other accounts presented to the war crimes tribunal at The Hague, several hundred Serbs were abducted in Kosovo and transported across the province's southern border to Albania. Some were beaten. Their fates have remained undetermined and many are thought to have been killed. In letters sent April 4 to the governments of Albania and Kosovo, Human Rights Watch said Del Ponte presented 'circumstantial evidence ... sufficiently grave to warrant further investigation.' As of Monday, neither Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci nor Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha had responded, said Fred Abrahams, a senior Balkans investigator for the New York-based human rights watchdog, as the group made its appeal public. Among the most incendiary of the allegations contained in Del Ponte's book, published in Italian and titled 'The Hunt: War Criminals and Me,' is the claim that doctors removed the internal organs of some of the captives after they were transported to Albania. The organs were then shipped abroad, she asserted. Abrahams said information on organ trafficking 'is suggestive but far from complete.' He recounted a 2004 inquiry conducted by tribunal officials and a team from the United Nations at a house in Albania that Del Ponte's informants had identified as the site of the organ removals. The investigation found traces of blood and syringes, drip bags and other equipment used in surgery. But officials did not deem that evidence to be conclusive. [...]"


"A Deadly Harvest of Cluster Bombs in Laos"
By Richard Lloyd Parry
The Times, 26 April 2008
"[...] The South-East Asian nation of Laos is not a country in conflict -- in fact few places in the world are so torpid and peaceful. The weapon that killed Bounma was a tennis ball-sized pod of ball bearings that fell to earth when Lyndon Johnson was US President and the Beatles were at the height of their powers. It was part of a cluster bomb -- one of the most stubborn, long-lasting and cruelly undiscriminating weapons of modern war -- scattered by American B52 bombers in the so-called 'Secret War' intended to drive back communist guerrillas and block supply lines for US enemies in Vietnam. Cluster bombs consist of an outer casing that splits open to release as many as 700 individual 'bomblets' designed to explode on impact, spreading blast and deadly fragments over soldiers and armoured vehicles in a 30 metre radius. But invariably, between 10 per cent and 40 per cent of the bomblets fail to detonate. They are small, innocuous looking, and often colourful -- almost as if designed to attract the attention of playful children. And like the bomblet that killed Bounma, they can lie in the ground for a generation until the chance touch of a spade or a curious hand triggers them into deadly life. ... Finally, the world has started to take notice of cluster bombs. Next month in Dublin, about a hundred governments will gather to finalise an international treaty to restrict their use. Many governments, including the victorious communists who still govern Laos, are pressing for a complete ban. The world's biggest military powers, including Russia, China and the US, are refusing to take part in the negotiations. And then there are those governments, including Britain, that want to retain the right to use certain kinds of cluster bomb. 'We refer to cluster bombs as the weapon that never stops killing,' said Peter Herby, of the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is lobbying for an unconditional ban. 'It's bad enough when civilians get caught up and injured in conflict. But for us it's repugnant when killing goes on for years and decades simply because of the wrong choice of weapon. In the end politicians have to decide that some weapons are beyond the pale.' [...]"


"Lost in the Holocaust: Experts Plumb Newly Opened Archive"
By Melissa Eddy
Associated Press dispatch on Yahoo! News, 8 May 2008
"A mother and child separated. A father's war wound. An uncle's name on a list. The unrelated and disparate items are among the discoveries made by 40 Jewish genealogists who spent the past week plumbing a trove of Nazi documents made public after 60 years. For genealogists of Jewish families, the Holocaust is both a tragedy and a black hole, because so many of the 6 million Jewish victims disappeared without a trace. For years, researchers hoping to fill the gaps have longed to dive into the more than 50 million documents held in this German spa town and entrusted to the International Tracing Service, or ITS. 'The Nazis took away our names and gave us numbers. Our role is to take away the numbers and give back the names,' Gary Mokotoff, a genealogist who helped organize the group from Israel, the U.S., Britain and Australia, said Thursday. 'There is a wealth of information here.' For decades after World War II, the files were used only to help find missing persons or document atrocities to support compensation claims. But in November, the last of the 11 countries that govern the archive under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross cleared the way for public access. Since then, interest has skyrocketed. Erich Oetiker, deputy director of the archive, said while the staff of 400 continue to process some 1,000 tracing requests per day, there are now also near daily visits from historians or individuals eager to trace a lost person's fate or view an original document. [...]"

"German Volunteers Help Holocaust Survivors", 4 May 2008
"Holocaust survivor Leviash Aba still struggles with his past, and his 80-year-old body needs special care at the Israeli nursing home where he lives. But he's well taken care of by a German volunteer. Larka Scholeng said she cares for Aba and other seniors at the nursing home as a way to ease her conscience. 'I used to feel guilt for many, many years and I think I took the guilt that my parents could never take,' she said. 'Now I feel responsible.' Scholeng, a teacher from Berlin, has volunteered at the nursing home for the past three months. She said that the Holocaust survivors at the home were initially suspicious of her intentions, but now some even speak to her in her native German. At any time, there are more than 100 volunteers from German organizations involved in community work in Israel. Some do it instead of mandatory military service, others as part of their school studies. For many, it is a means of atoning for Germany's Nazi past and -- in some cases -- their own family's history. The war generation of German volunteer Jana Gelitzki's family is gone, and they never spoke about the Third Reich or the Holocaust. 'Some of them, I know, were in the army or also in organizations like the SS (Schutzstaffel),' said Gelitzki. 'I cannot be sure, but I think some of them more or less took part in the genocide.' Gelitzki volunteers are a museum founded by Holocaust survivor Havka Folman Raban, who was tattooed with the prisoner number 32291 at Auschwitz. 'I don't hate you, you are not guilty, you were not then, but you are responsible for the present,' Raban told Gelitzki. [...]"

"Sirens Wail as Israel Remembers Victims of Holocaust"
Associated Press dispatch in The Los Angeles Times, 1 May 2008 [Registration Required]
"Sirens pierced the air in a mournful two-minute wail throughout Israel today in a tribute to the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis as the country marked Holocaust remembrance day. In an annual ritual, drivers switched off their engines and people put aside their daily activities to stand at attention as the sirens sounded. Theaters and other places of entertainment shut down Wednesday night, when the observances officially began. Radio and television programming focused exclusively on the Holocaust, and melancholy music poured over the airwaves. In a speech Wednesday evening marking remembrance day, Israel's president took a veiled swipe at Iran and its disputed nuclear program. Shimon Peres charged that the world woke up too late to eliminate the threat of Adolf Hitler before he started a war that killed 60 million people. He warned that the world must not let that happen again. 'In history, it is forbidden to be late,' he said at the ceremony at Yad Vashem, Israel's official Holocaust memorial. Although Peres did not refer specifically to either Iran or its president his aides said later that he was alluding to them when he talked about Hitler and the Nazi regime in Germany. Despite Iranian insistence its nuclear program is peaceful, Israel, the U.S. and others believe Iran is trying to build atomic weapons. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called repeatedly for the Jewish state's destruction. About 270,000 Holocaust survivors live in Israel, of whom about 80,000 survived Nazi death camps, according to Zeev Factor, chairman of a commission working on benefits for them."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"We're Not Celebrating Israel's Anniversary"
The Guardian, 30 April 2008
"In May, Jewish organisations will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. This is understandable in the context of centuries of persecution culminating in the Holocaust. Nevertheless, we are Jews who will not be celebrating. Surely it is now time to acknowledge the narrative of the other, the price paid by another people for European anti-semitism and Hitler's genocidal policies. As Edward Said emphasised, what the Holocaust is to the Jews, the Naqba is to the Palestinians. In April 1948, the same month as the infamous massacre at Deir Yassin and the mortar attack on Palestinian civilians in Haifa's market square, Plan Dalet was put into operation. This authorised the destruction of Palestinian villages and the expulsion of the indigenous population outside the borders of the state. We will not be celebrating. In July 1948, 70,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes in Lydda and Ramleh in the heat of the summer with no food or water. Hundreds died. It was known as the Death March. We will not be celebrating. In all, 750,000 Palestinians became refugees. Some 400 villages were wiped off the map. That did not end the ethnic cleansing. Thousands of Palestinians (Israeli citizens) were expelled from the Galilee in 1956. Many thousands more when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza. Under international law and sanctioned by UN resolution 194, refugees from war have a right to return or compensation. Israel has never accepted that right. We will not be celebrating. We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state founded on terrorism, massacres and the dispossession of another people from their land. We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state that even now engages in ethnic cleansing, that violates international law, that is inflicting a monstrous collective punishment on the civilian population of Gaza and that continues to deny to Palestinians their human rights and national aspirations. We will celebrate when Arab and Jew live as equals in a peaceful Middle East."
Seymour Alexander [and numerous others]
[n.b. This is the complete text of the letter.]

"Israeli Fire Kills Mother, 4 Children in Gaza: Medics"
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
Reuters dispatch, 28 April 2008
"Israeli fire hit a house in the Gaza Strip on Monday while a family was eating breakfast, killing six Palestinians, including four children and their mother, residents and medical officials said. 'They have wiped out my family,' said the children's father, Ahmed Abu Meateq, putting his hands on his head in despair and weeping as the bodies were prepared for burial. The deaths in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun cast another shadow on Egyptian efforts to forge a ceasefire between Israel and militant groups and end violence threatening U.S.-brokered Palestinian statehood talks. ... Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, without giving details of the raid in Beit Hanoun, said Hamas Islamists controlling the Gaza Strip bore overall responsibility for casualties among non-combatants because gunmen 'operated among civilians'. Medical officials and residents of Beit Hanoun, an area where militants frequently fire rockets at Israel, said an Israeli projectile smashed through the ceiling of a one-storey house where a family was having breakfast. They said four children -- siblings whose ages ranged from 1-1/2 to 5 years old -- and their mother were killed in the house during what the Israeli military described as an operation against rocket launching crews and snipers. 'They were eating and they were hit,' a neighbor said at the site, where chickens pecked at a bloodstained floor and cooked potatoes grew cold in a pot. [...]"
[n.b. Another day, another massacre of innocents. Provided here because the personal details are unusually vivid, and because this sort of atrocity has become so banal that it evokes little more than a ripple of media coverage.]

"Walkout at U.N. over Gaza Comparison to Nazi Death Camps"
The Los Angeles Times, 24 April 2008 [Registration Required]
"The United States, France and Britain walked out of a Security Council debate on the Middle East on Wednesday after Libya compared the situation in the Gaza Strip to that of Nazi 'concentration camps,' diplomats said. French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert plucked off his translation earpiece and walked out, followed by his two colleagues, after Libyan Deputy Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi made the statement. Syrian U.N. Ambassador Bashar Jaafari told reporters, 'Unfortunately, those who complain of being victims of genocide [during World War II] are repeating the same kind of genocide against the Palestinians.' 'The issue for us is to see the Security Council properly involved in finding solutions' to the crisis, in particular 'the Israeli persecution of the Palestinians,' he said. The incident occurred as the 15-member council was trying to agree on a compromise statement that would have highlighted the dire situation in the Gaza Strip while contributing to efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian settlement. Angela Kane, United Nations assistant secretary-general for political affairs, told the Security Council on Wednesday morning that the deteriorating humanitarian and security situation in Gaza could spark regional insecurity for Palestinians, Israel and Egypt."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch. The Libyan representative's analogy is a spurious and offensive one. However, a comparison with the Nazi ghettoization policy of 1940-41 seems increasingly tenable.]


"Rwanda Official in Genocide Trial"
BBC Online, 5 May 2008
"A former Rwandan cabinet minister has gone on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, charged with taking part in the 1994 genocide. The prosecution said the defendant, Callixte Kalimanzira, participated in the massacre of thousands of ethnic Tutsis who had approached him for help. Mr. Kalimanzira has pleaded not guilty to the charges. An estimated 800,000 people, mainly Tutsis, were killed during the genocide campaign by Hutu extremists. Christine Graham, representing the prosecution at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), said Mr Kalimanzira had played a 'key role' in the massacre of Tutsis. Ms. Graham said that in 1994 thousands of Tutsi refugees had approached Mr Kalimanzira -- who was then caretaker interior minister -- seeking his help. Instead, she alleged, the accused had participated in their massacre. Ms. Graham said the killings were carried out over several days by soldiers and militia on a hill at Kibuye, in southern Rwanda. [...]"


"UN Predicts Massive Crisis"
Explainer, The Guardian, 21 April 2008
"Crisis, emergency, disaster; words used liberally over the past 17 years that Somalia has been without a government. But most Somalia experts agree: things have never been this bad. A brutal guerrilla war, three years of drought, hyperinflation and restricted aid agency access that compares only to Iraq have pushed the country to the brink. Philippe Lazzarini, the UN's head of humanitarian affairs for Somalia, this week said that a 'massive, massive crisis' was brewing, with 2.5 million people needing food or other assistance. 'We are on the eve of what triggered the massive international intervention [the disastrous US-led relief operation] in 1992,' he said. Asha Haji Elmi, who heads the Mogadishu-based Save Somali Women and Children project, said the humanitarian need and security situation was 'unprecedented,' with a complete culture of impunity among all sides to the conflict. Dennis McNamara, who works at the Swiss-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, said a new international approach was needed to help a country that was 'beyond a failed state.' All the warring parties, including the Islamist 'Al Shabab' movement, recently given terrorist status by the US, need to be engaged. 'Somalia has been in the international community's 'too hard to solve' basket for more than a decade,' said McNamara. 'Unless we act now it is headed towards the catastrophe basket as well.'"
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"Korea's 'Comfort Women': The Slaves' Revolt"
By David McNeill
The Independent, 24 April 2008
"[...] Thousands of Asian women -- some as young as 12 -- were 'enslaved ... and repeatedly raped, tortured and brutalised for months and years,' according to Amnesty International. Sexual abuse, beatings and forced abortions left many unable to bear children. Most survivors stayed silent until a small group of Korean victims spoke out in the early 1990s. Among the first was Kim Hak-soon, who was raped and treated, in her words, 'like a public toilet.' 'We must record these things that were forced upon us,' she said before she died. The call was taken up by about 50 women, recalls Ahn Sin Kweon. 'Many weren't married or were living alone in small towns, barely able to scrape a living.' A Buddhist organisation helped construct Sharing House on donated land in the 1990s. 'They were initially reluctant because the more they were out in the spotlight, the more people knew that they were raped. It is very difficult for women of that generation to discuss sexual matters openly, let alone these experiences.' Japan officially acknowledged wartime military slavery in a landmark 1993 statement, followed by the offer of compensation from a small private fund, which expired last year. But the so-called Kono statement has long baited Japanese revisionists, who deny the military was directly involved. 'The women were legal prostitutes, earning money for their families,' claims the revisionist academic Nobukatsu Fujioka. Although Mr. Abe is gone, replaced by Yasuo Fukuda, Kang il-chul and her fellow victims fear it is only a matter of time before the denials return, perhaps with the next Japanese prime minister. The struggle defines the final years of their lives: if they lose, they will in effect be branded prostitutes. [...]"


"U.N. Seeks Urgent Access to Darfur Bombing Victims"
By Opheera McDoom
Reuters dispatch, 6 May 2008
"The top U.N. humanitarian official in Sudan on Tuesday called for immediate access to those wounded in a government bombing attack on a school and busy marketplace in North Darfur, which killed 12 people. Around 30 wounded, mostly women and children, have been waiting for help since the bomb attack on Sunday. No help has arrived because of logistical difficulties and denial of access by authorities, according to witnesses and aid sources. The attack killed 12, including six children, a teacher at the school told Reuters by telephone. Earlier reports had a figure of 13 killed. 'I am deeply perturbed by the reported bombings of a school, water installations and a market where civilians, especially women and children are present,' Sudan's U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Ameerah Haq said in a statement. 'It is essential that we have immediate humanitarian access to the affected populations in order to provide humanitarian assistance and medical evacuation.' Haq is in Norway where donor nations are meeting Sudanese officials to pledge money to rebuild Sudan after decades of multiple civil wars. If the death toll from the attack is confirmed, it would be the single deadliest bombing raid in many years in Darfur. Mokhtar Mohamed, a teacher at the school in Shegeg Karo, said they had been told many times that U.N. planes were coming to evacuate the wounded but no help had arrived late on Tuesday. [...]"

"Suffering Lost in a Numbers Game"
By Simon Tisdall
The Guardian, 29 April 2008
"A claim by the senior UN official in charge of humanitarian relief that up to 300,000 people have died in Darfur, in western Sudan, since fighting erupted there in 2003 has reignited controversy over whether mortality figures are being deliberately inflated, or understated, for political reasons. John Holmes, a former British diplomat who is now UN under secretary general for humanitarian affairs, gave the new estimated figure in a report to the security council last week. The previous UN estimate for deaths from all causes, including disease, malnutrition, reduced life expectancy and direct combat, was 200,000. The 50% increase in total fatalities has reportedly surprised UN agencies and NGOs operating in Darfur. The crisis, in which 2.7 million people have been displaced, has turned into the world's biggest relief operation involving 14,000 humanitarian workers and an annual cost of $800m (£400m). Such continuing high mortality levels, if accurate, would suggest their work has had little impact. Sudan's Islamic government has strongly objected to Holmes' new total. Mustafa Osman Ismail, an adviser to President Omar al-Bashir, said the figure was unfounded and designed to pressure Khartoum's leadership. Sudan is under US sanctions and is accused by western countries of causing the crisis and hindering attempts to alleviate it. [...]"

"Rights Groups Launch Campaign to Press for Darfur Arrests"
By Nora Boustany
The Washington Post, 26 April 2008 [Registration Required]
"One year after the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued arrest warrants for a Sudanese minister and a militia leader on 51 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, human rights and international groups yesterday launched a campaign to force the Khartoum government to stop blocking attempts to bring to justice those responsible for atrocities in Sudan's Darfur region. The Justice for Darfur coalition, cobbled together during meetings in Paris last month, comprises about 30 organizations, including Amnesty International, the New York-based Human Rights Watch and groups from Canada, Britain, the Middle East and Africa. 'By blatantly obstructing justice, Sudan's President Bashir and his underlings are parading their pariah credentials before the world community,' said Richard Dicker, Human Rights Watch's international justice program director. 'We look to the [U.N.] Security Council and other states to make clear that stonewalling accountability for horrific crimes comes close to active complicity in these deeds.' ... Last year, the court sent to Khartoum arrest warrants for then-Interior Minister Ahmad Harun, accused of financing, arming and inciting the horse-mounted Janjaweed militia that carried out mass killings of civilians in Darfur in 2003-2004, and for Ali Kushayb, a Janjaweed leader. Both men are still at large. Harun has been named Sudan's state minister for humanitarian affairs, putting him in charge of the same people the Janjaweed had driven into camps. Kushayb has been released from a Sudanese prison after being convicted of unrelated offences. [...]"

"UN Says Darfur Conflict Worsening, With Perhaps 300,000 Dead"
By Edith M. Lederer
Associated Press dispatch on Yahoo! News, 22 April 2008
"The conflict in Darfur is deteriorating, with full deployment of a new peacekeeping force delayed until 2009 and no prospect of a political settlement for a war that has killed perhaps 300,000 people in five years, U.N. officials said Tuesday. In grim reports to the Security Council, the United Nations aid chief and the representative of the peacekeeping mission said suffering in the Sudanese region is worsening. Tens of thousands more have been uprooted from their homes and food rations to the needy are about to be cut in half, they said. 'We continue to see the goal posts receding, to the point where peace in Darfur seems further away today than ever,' said John Holmes, undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs. The conflict began in early 2003 when ethnic African rebels took up arms against Sudan's Arab-dominated central government, accusing it of discrimination. Many of the worst atrocities in the war have been blamed on the janjaweed militia of Arab nomads allied with the government. A joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force took over duties in Darfur in January from a beleaguered 7,000-man AU mission. But only about 9,000 soldiers and police officers of the authorized 26,000 have deployed. ... The mission faces major problems in putting troops into a very hostile environment, Adada said. It still lacks five critical capabilities to become operational -- attack helicopters, surveillance aircraft, transport helicopters, military engineers and logistical support. Holmes said further progress in deploying the joint peacekeeping force, known as UNAMID, would help protect civilians and possibly humanitarian convoys. 'But only an end to all violence and concrete steps towards a political settlement will make the fundamental difference needed, as the rebel movements themselves above all need to recognize,' Holmes said. 'Otherwise the reality is that the people of Darfur face a continued steady deterioration of their conditions of life and their chances of lasting recovery.' [...]"


"Hillary Strangelove" (Editorial)
The Boston Globe, 27 April 2008
"Americans have learned to take with a grain of salt much of the rhetoric in a campaign like the current Democratic donnybrook between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Still, there are some red lines that should never be crossed. Clinton did so Tuesday morning, the day of the Pennsylvania primary, when she told ABC's 'Good Morning America' that, if she were president, she would 'totally obliterate' Iran if Iran attacked Israel. This foolish and dangerous threat was muted in domestic media coverage. But it reverberated in headlines around the world. Responding with understatement to a question in the British House of Lords, the foreign minister responsible for Asia, Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, said of Clinton's implication of a mushroom cloud over Iran: 'While it is reasonable to warn Iran of the consequences of it continuing to develop nuclear weapons and what those real consequences bring to its security, it is probably not prudent in today's world to threaten to obliterate any other country and in many cases civilians resident in such a country.' ... While Clinton has hammered Obama for supporting military strikes in Pakistan, her comments on Iran are much more far-reaching. She seems not to realize that she undermined Iranian reformists and pragmatists. The Iranian people have been more favorable to America than any other in the Gulf region or the Middle East. A presidential candidate who lightly commits to obliterating Iran -- and, presumably, all the children, parents, and grandparents in Iran -- should not be answering the White House phone at any time of day or night. [...]"

"Hillary Clinton's Monstrous Threat"
By Dave Lindorff, 22 April 2008
"Tough guy Hillary Clinton, on the morning of a critical primary vote in Pennsylvania, uttered a monstrous threat, saying on ABC's 'Good Morning America' program today that if Iran were to launch a nuclear attack on Israel while she was president, 'we would be able to totally obliterate them.' Think about that a moment! A country that we view as a theocracy, run dictatorially by a bunch of self-appointed religious fanatics, whose rule is enforced by an army of equally fanatic quasi-military thugs and enforcers, launches an attack on America's ally Israel, and Clinton says her response would be to incinerate the people of that country -- people who are as powerless to stop such an attack as would be the people of Israel or the United States. Is this the way we want the world the work? Is this the way we want our government to act? Granted that if Iran's leaders were, for some crazy reason, to decide to launch an unprovoked nuclear attack on Israel, it would require some kind of response by the US and other nations, but is the appropriate response the slaughter of tens of millions of innocent Iranian citizens? Of course not. The destruction of Iran's government might be a logical response. Certainly the incineration of the Religious Council might be appropriate, or the leveling of the country's military headquarters and its command and control system. But killing the country's people, who are civilians and have no say over such things, is pathological. ... What makes this particular threat so disgusting is that Clinton knows better. Unlike [John] McCain, who appears to relish the thought of death and mayhem, whether in Iraq or Iran, and who presents his history of bombing dikes and hospitals in North Vietnam as heroic exploits, she opposed that war in Indochina once upon a time. I assume that among other things she opposed the Indochina War because she thought it was wrong for the US to be slaughtering millions of innocent peasants. Now she's talking about slaughtering not millions of innocent Vietnamese, but tens of millions of innocent Iranians. What a fine display of leadership potential we have here! [...]"
[n.b. This was precisely my response when I read of Clinton's explicitly genocidal threat.]


"Tracking Down a Massacre"
By John Simpson
BBC Online, 7 May 2008
"The terrible wounds which Robert Mugabe's Fifth Brigade inflicted on Matabeleland in the early 1980s still show. The countryside is under-populated, there is even less employment in the towns than there is in the rest of Zimbabwe, and people are scared to talk. Not all of them, though. We slipped into Matabeleland with the help of local people, and gathered evidence of some of the massacres carried out there between 1982 and 1986. It began as an attempt by Robert Mugabe, who was then prime minister of Zimbabwe, to deal with about 500 dissidents. These were followers of his rival, Joshua Nkomo, and mostly belonged to Nkomo's militia, Zipra. Mr. Mugabe ordered the Fifth Brigade, which had been trained by the North Korean army and had a number of North Korean officers serving with it, to root them out. It soon turned into something much worse. The Fifth Brigade, like Mr Mugabe's government and administration, was mostly Shona-speaking; Matabeleland is populated mostly by Ndebeles, the descendants of Zulus who came to the area in the 1830s. Nowadays, many in Matabeleland describe the campaign of murder as genocide. To find out how many people died, we went to the quiet precincts of the Catholic cathedral in Bulawayo to meet Joseph Buchena Nkatazo. He co-ordinated an investigation carried out some years ago by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace. Mr. Nkatazo told us that in the areas where they had been able to investigate, they had found evidence of more than 20,000 deaths. He was sure there must have been many more elsewhere. [...]"

"Zimbabwe Church Leaders Warn of Genocide"
By Joanna Sugden
The Times, 22 April 2008
"Violence in Zimbabwe will reach full-scale genocide if the international community doesn't intervene, church leaders in the beleaguered country warned today. In a joint statement, Catholic, Anglican and Evangelical church leaders warned that violence following the elections last month would turn to genocide of the same magnitude experienced in Rwanda if the world failed to act. 'We warn that if nothing is done to help the people of Zimbabwe from their predicament, we shall soon be witnessing genocide similar to that experienced in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and other hot spots in Africa and elsewhere,' the statement said. 'Organised violence perpetrated against individuals, families and communities who are accused of campaigning or voting for the "wrong" political party ... has been unleashed throughout the country.' Abduction, torture and humiliation were commonplace for anyone in the country accused of voting for the 'wrong' candidate, the statement said. A recount of votes cast in elections on March 29 is under way, after President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu (PF) party lodged legal objections in an apparent attempt to cling to power. The opposition party Movement for Democratic Change says that pro-Mugabe militias have killed 10 of its members and injured hundreds more since the elections. Zanu (PF) strongly deny the claims against them. The church leaders' statement made a direct appeal for the international community to come to Zimbabwe's aid. 'We appeal to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union and the United Nations to work towards arresting the deteriorating political and security situation in Zimbabwe,' they said. The statement, which was signed by the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, called for an end to voter intimidation. It also said there was 'widespread famine' in Zimbabwe's countryside because basic goods were unavailable or too expensive. No medicines were available to treat people injured in the post-election violence they said. [...]"


"Multinationals Make Billions in Profit out of Growing Global Food Crisis"
By Geoffrey Lean
The Independent, 4 May 2008
"Giant agribusinesses are enjoying soaring earnings and profits out of the world food crisis which is driving millions of people towards starvation, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. And speculation is helping to drive the prices of basic foodstuffs out of the reach of the hungry. The prices of wheat, corn and rice have soared over the past year driving the world's poor -- who already spend about 80 per cent of their income on food -- into hunger and destitution. The World Bank says that 100 million more people are facing severe hunger. Yet some of the world's richest food companies are making record profits. Monsanto last month reported that its net income for the three months up to the end of February this year had more than doubled over the same period in 2007, from $543m (£275m) to $1.12bn. Its profits increased from $1.44bn to $2.22bn. Cargill's net earnings soared by 86 per cent from $553m to $1.030bn over the same three months. And Archer Daniels Midland, one of the world's largest agricultural processors of soy, corn and wheat, increased its net earnings by 42 per cent in the first three months of this year from $363m to $517m. The operating profit of its grains merchandising and handling operations jumped 16-fold from $21m to $341m. Similarly, the Mosaic Company, one of the world's largest fertiliser companies, saw its income for the three months ending 29 February rise more than 12-fold, from $42.2m to $520.8m, on the back of a shortage of fertiliser. The prices of some kinds of fertiliser have more than tripled over the past year as demand has outstripped supply. As a result, plans to increase harvests in developing countries have been hit hard. The Food and Agriculture Organisation reports that 37 developing countries are in urgent need of food. And food riots are breaking out across the globe from Bangladesh to Burkina Faso, from China to Cameroon, and from Uzbekistan to the United Arab Emirates. [...]
[n.b. Okay, so some kind of near-term, stopgap, finger-in-the-dyke solution to this immense crisis: a global windfall tax on agribusinesses that are profitiong from others' misery, and the routing of the proceeds to the World Food Program to fill its half-billion dollar gap in donations. How about it?]

"America's Role in Haiti's Hunger Riots"
By Bill Quigley, 21 April 2008
"[...] The New York Times lectured Haiti on April 18 that 'Haiti, its agriculture industry in shambles, needs to better feed itself.' Unfortunately, the article did not talk at all about one of the main causes of the shortages -- the fact that the US and other international financial bodies destroyed Haitian rice farmers to create a major market for heavily subsidized rice from US farmers. This is not the only cause of hunger in Haiti and other poor countries, but it is a major force. Thirty years ago, Haiti raised nearly all the rice it needed. What happened? In 1986, after the expulsion of Haitian dictator Jean Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loaned Haiti $24.6 million in desperately needed funds (Baby Doc had raided the treasury on the way out). But, in order to get the IMF loan, Haiti was required to reduce tariff protections for Haitian rice and other agricultural products and some industries, to open up the country's markets to competition from outside countries. The US has by far the largest voice in decisions of the IMF. Doctor Paul Farmer was in Haiti then and saw what happened. 'Within less than two years, it became impossible for Haitian farmers to compete with what they called "Miami rice." The whole local rice market in Haiti fell apart as cheap, US subsidized rice, some of it in the form of "food aid," flooded the market. There was violence ... "rice wars," and lives were lost.' ... But Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere; what reason could the US have for destroying the rice market of this tiny country? ... Haiti has become one of the top importers of rice from the United States. The US Department of Agriculture 2008 numbers show Haiti is the third-largest importer of US rice -- at over 240,000 metric tons of rice. (One metric ton is 2,200 pounds). [...]"


"Death in Childbirth: A Health Scourge for Afghanistan"
By Tan Ee Lyn
Reuters dispatch, 29 April 2008
"A woman hemorrhages to death as she lies screaming in agony in a Spartan hut in a remote region of Afghanistan. There is no doctor or midwife to help and the hospital is several days journey away. Women die this way every day in Afghanistan, a country with one of the world's highest maternal mortality rates. About 1,600 Afghan women die in childbirth out of every 100,000 live births. In some of the most remote areas, the death rate is as high as 6,500. In comparison, the average rate in developing countries is 450 and in developed countries it is 9. Virtually everyone in Afghanistan can recount a story about a relative dying in childbirth, often from minor complications that can be easily treated with proper medical care. Sharifa's sister, a mother of six, bled to death after giving birth at home. 'There is no clinic, no cars, no proper roads. It is a remote village, we could not take her to hospital. She remained at home for one day and one night, then she died,' recalled Sharifa, who identified herself only by her first name. Afghanistan's government aims to reduce maternal mortality by 20 percent by 2020 but there are many obstacles to overcome such as a reluctance by women to be examined by male doctors and a lack of female doctors, nurses and midwives. Then there are the vast distances in this war-torn country where hospitals are generally poorly equipped and medical help is inaccessible to those living in remote locations. ... Among the prime complications of childbirth in Afghanistan are bleeding, infection, hypertension and obstructed labour. It is not uncommon for girls as young as 13 to marry in Afghanistan and there are often complications when they give birth. [...]"


"Torture and the Law"
By Spencer Ackerman
The Washington Independent, 18 April 2008
"With nine months remaining in President George W. Bush's term, virtually no legal analyst expects that anyone in his administration will face indictment and prosecution in connection with the torture of terrorism detainees. However, a new admission from Bush last week has some legal analysts contending that the case for such prosecution has gotten significantly stronger. ABC News reported on Apr. 9 that then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice chaired an informal panel of top administration officials that approved specific brutal interrogation tactics for use on three suspected Al Qaeda detainees. The panel consisted of Vice President Dick Cheney, and former administration officials -- Donald H. Rumsfeld, then defense secretary, Colin L. Powell, the former secretary of state, George Tenet, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and John Ashcroft, then attorney general. This group debated for use on detainees -- and eventually approved -- methods of abuse like being 'slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding,' ABC reported. ... This disclosure presents a nested series of legal implications. 'I predict that there will be calls for top administration officials to be prosecuted in an international court for war crimes,' said Erwin Chemerinsky, a civil liberties expert who teaches at Duke University Law School. 'This meeting supports the involvement of top officials -- including the president -- in approving torture.' 'If you, as an individual, order such conduct, you're culpable under the aiding-and-abetting provision of federal law,' said Aziz Huq, director of the Liberty and National Security Project at New York University's Brennan Center for Justice. 'There is at least a colorable theory, a credible case, for federal criminal liability here.' [...]"