News Monitor for July 16-31, 2005 (last
updated 21 July 2005)
Tracking current news on genocide and items related to past and present ethnic, national, racial and religious violence.
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Also see the weekly Peace Negotiations Watch (since Sept. 2002), and the monthly CrisisWatch (since Sept. 2003.
Each CrisisWatch report includes a Summary, Trends of Deteriorated, Improved and Unchanged Situations and Watchlists of Conflict Risk Alerts and Conflict Resolution Opportunities)
NYT July 15, 2005 All Rock, No Action By JEAN-CLAUDE SHANDA TONME Yaoundé, Cameroon LIVE 8, that extraordinary media event that some people of good intentions in the West just orchestrated, would have left us Africans indifferent if we hadn't realized that it was an insult both to us and to common sense. We have nothing against those who this month, in a stadium, a street, a park, in Berlin, London, Moscow, Philadelphia, gathered crowds and played guitar and talked about global poverty and aid for Africa. But we are troubled to think that they are so misguided about what Africa's real problem is, and dismayed by their willingness to propose solutions on our behalf. We Africans know what the problem is, and no one else should speak in our name. Africa has men of letters and science, great thinkers and stifled geniuses who at the risk of torture rise up to declare the truth and demand liberty. Don't insult Africa, this continent so rich yet so badly led. Instead, insult its leaders, who have ruined everything. Our anger is all the greater because despite all the presidents for life, despite all the evidence of genocide, we didn't hear anyone at Live 8 raise a cry for democracy in Africa. Don't the organizers of the concerts realize that Africa lives under the oppression of rulers like Yoweri Museveni (who just eliminated term limits in Uganda so he can be president indefinitely) and Omar Bongo (who has become immensely rich in his three decades of running Gabon)? Don't they know what is happening in Cameroon, Chad, Togo and the Central African Republic? Don't they understand that fighting poverty is fruitless if dictatorships remain in place? Even more puzzling is why Youssou N'Dour and other Africans participated in this charade. Like us, they can't help but know that Africa's real problem is the lack of freedom of expression, the usurpation of power, the brutal oppression. Neither debt relief nor huge amounts of food aid nor an invasion of experts will change anything. Those will merely prop up the continent's dictators. It's up to each nation to liberate itself and to help itself. When there is a problem in the United States, in Britain, in France, the citizens vote to change their leaders. And those times when it wasn't possible to freely vote to change those leaders, the people revolted. In Africa, our leaders have led us into misery, and we need to rid ourselves of these cancers. We would have preferred for the musicians in Philadelphia and London to have marched and sung for political revolution. Instead, they mourned a corpse while forgetting to denounce the murderer. What is at issue is an Africa where dictators kill, steal and usurp power yet are treated like heroes at meetings of the African Union. What is at issue is rulers like François Bozizé, the coup leader running the Central Africa Republic, and Faure Gnassingbé, who just succeeded his father as president of Togo, free to trample universal suffrage and muzzle their people with no danger that they'll lose their seats at the United Nations. Who here wants a concert against poverty when an African is born, lives and dies without ever being able to vote freely? But the truth is that it was not for us, for Africa, that the musicians at Live 8 were singing; it was to amuse the crowds and to clear their own consciences, and whether they realized it or not, to reinforce dictatorships. They still believe us to be like children that they must save, as if we don't realize ourselves what the source of our problems is. Jean-Claude Shanda Tonme is a consultant on international law and a columnist for Le Messager, a Cameroonian daily, where a version of this article first appeared. This article was translated by The Times from the French.
BBC 13 July 2005 Burundi's rebels extend attacks UN peacekeepers have not ended the violence Burundi's last active rebel group has been involved in deadly clashes in central areas of the country for the first time, leaving at least six dead. The National Liberation Forces (FNL) have only previously staged attacks in the west and around the capital. The FNL, however, said its fighters were only responding after being attacked by the army. Ethnic Hutu rebels have been fighting the Tutsi-led army since 1993. Another rebel group won recent elections. Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD) leader Pierre Nkurunziza is set to become Burundi's next leader in August, after his party won most seats in the elections for parliament, which chooses the president. Failed ceasefire As well as five rebels and a policeman, three soldiers were reportedly killed in two clashes in the central Muramya province. Army spokesman Major Adolphe Manirakiza, however, said the soldiers had only been wounded. Army sources say that 45 people have now been killed in the two weeks since the parliamentary elections around the capital, Bujumbura, alone. In May, FNL leader Agathon Rwasa and out-going President Domitien Ndayizeye agreed a ceasefire but the clashes have continued. The BBC's Prime Ndikumagenge says it looks as though the task of securing peace with the FNL will fall to Burundi's next government.
BBC 17 Jul, 2005 Long wait for justice in Burundi By Robert Walker BBC News, Burundi Earlier this month, Burundi held its first parliamentary elections since civil war broke out in 1993. When the new government comes to power in August, it will face the huge task of trying to deliver justice for the victims who suffered years of political and ethnic violence. It is the dry season again in Burundi. The hillsides around the village of Mparamirundi are already changing from green to brown. And when the wind blows, clouds of dust swirl through the streets. Outside her mud brick house, Domatilla is laying out the bean pods harvested from her fields, as she does every year. She puts them in the sun to dry, then beats the pods to release the beans from their dry brown husks. As she works, Domatilla greets her passing neighbours. She points out Joseph, a slight man in his 30s. "He tried to kill me just over 10 years ago", she tells me, wide-eyed, as if even now she cannot believe it. "He beat me on the head with a club." "And that is Vianney". She indicates an older man, smiling at us. "After they took my husband away, Vianney was the one that came to mock me," she says. "He asked me why I was not cooking dinner for my husband that day." Mparamirundi is like any other village in Burundi. Tutsi soldiers assassinated the new president shortly after he took up office. And revenge against the Tutsi minority exploded A tiny country packed with more than seven million people. A population who share some of the bitterest history in Africa. But Burundi's horror is often overshadowed by the genocide in neighbouring Rwanda in 1994. By then the killings had already started in Burundi. Spiralling violence After the assassination of President Ndadaye, civil war rapidly followed It was at the end of the dry season in 1993. The first rains had started and Domatilla had safely stored her bean crop inside the house, when President Melchior Ndadaye was murdered. He was Burundi's first elected Hutu president. Up to then, members of the Tutsi minority had always controlled the army and government. Tutsi soldiers assassinated the new president shortly after he took up office and revenge attacks against the Tutsi minority exploded. The wave of killing quickly reached Mparamirundi and it washed away Domatilla's family: her husband and 12 other relatives were killed. "I heard they cut them down with machetes and then threw them in the river," she says. "I never saw their bodies." By "they" she means her Hutu neighbours. Across the country thousands of Tutsis were massacred in 1993. But the violence did not stop there. Rebels Up the street, another of Domatilla's neighbours, Jean-Claude, is repairing a car. Jean-Claude was 11 at the time. But he remembers everything clearly. After the killings of Tutsis, he says, the government army arrived in Mparamirundi and they started killing Hutus. Jean-Claude's mother was stabbed to death by the soldiers. He never saw his father again and he does not know how he died. As the Tutsi led army took revenge, young Hutu men streamed into the hills to join a new rebel group and Burundi spiralled into civil war. Up to 300,000 people were killed over the next 10 years. Elections Voting had not taken place in Burundi for 12 years But finally there is real cause for hope. Burundi has just held general elections, the first time since the poll in 1993 ended in disaster. The vote was praised as peaceful and largely fair. A former Hutu rebel group won a majority of seats in the new national assembly and all sides have accepted the results. But the new government, to be signed in next month, now has to deal with Burundi's bloody past. And that means finding justice for victims in villages like Mpamirundi. Reconciliation The choice now is whether to try to bring to justice all those involved in more than 40 years of political violence Many other countries coming out of war have had to wrestle with this same dilemma. How to account for past crimes, while holding together a shaky peace deal. The problem for Burundi is that the killings go right back to independence. In the biggest of the massacres, in 1972, 150,000 Hutus are estimated to have been slaughtered by the government army. The choice now is whether to try to bring to justice all those involved in more than 40 years of political violence. Or whether to search only for the ringleaders. Whether to concentrate on punishing the guilty on all sides, or on trying to reconcile divided populations. But many Burundians are sceptical of seeing any justice at all. Political and military leaders who faced each other during the civil war will now sit together in the new parliament and the new united army. Many fear these leaders have a shared interest in slowing down investigations into the crimes that all sides committed. Back in Mpamirundi, Domatilla is waiting for the wind to bring back the rains. She is getting ready to plant again like every year. She says she is waiting for justice. She wants those who killed her husband and relatives to be punished. But most of all she says, she wants them to recognise what they did and come to ask her for forgiveness. "Then I can really be sure they will never try to do the same thing again," she says. "And it is only then I can know my children will be safe."
BBC 16 July, 2005 Ivorian peace plan laws passed The New Forces rebels were refusing to disarm without the reforms Ivory Coast's leader Laurent Gbagbo has used a presidential decree to introduce legal reforms which northern rebels were demanding as part of a peace deal. Mr Gbagbo said the changes, including new nationality laws and the setting up of an independent electoral commission, would take immediate effect. South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, who brokered the peace, wrote to Mr Gbagbo asking him to enact the reforms. The New Forces rebels had refused to disarm until the reforms were made. Nationality issue Ivory Coast has been in crisis since the New Forces rebels seized the north of the country in September 2002. Mr Gbagbo's ruling FPI party is hostile to the reforms agreed to in the South Africa brokered peace deal and had been blocking the law reforms in the country's National Assembly. Mr Gbagbo's decision paves the way for elections But the BBC's James Copnall in the Ivory Coast's main city Abidjan says Mr Gbagbo's use of exceptional constitutional powers to push them through could now lead to disarmament and pave the way for presidential elections in October. Mr Gbagbo has used such a decree before to settle other rebel demands. In April, he allowed opposition leader Alassane Ouattara to bid for election, which he had been prevented from doing in 2000 because his parents were not both Ivorian. But our correspondent says nationality is a touchy subject in a country where 26% of the residents are considered foreign. The rebels say the constitution discriminates against people from the mainly Muslim north, making it hard for people of foreign descent to get Ivorian citizenship. Disarmament is due to start at the end of this month. Some 10,000 French troops and UN peacekeepers currently patrol a no-weapons buffer zone which separates the rebels from the rest of the country.
AP 12 July 2005 U.N.: Congo Assailants Burn 39 to Death The Associated Press Tuesday, July 12, 2005; 4:14 PM KINSHASA, Congo -- Assailants forced a group of villagers into their huts and set them on fire in eastern Congo, killing 39 people and injuring 17 others, a U.N. spokesman said Tuesday. The attack came late Saturday in Ntulumamba village, some 45 miles northwest of Bukavu, U.N. spokesman Kemal Saiki said. Communications with the remote area are difficult. Villagers who managed to escape blamed Hutu rebels for the attack, but Saiki said this could not be independently verified. Some 10,000 Rwandan Hutu rebels operate in eastern Congo after fleeing their homeland following the 1994 genocide. Fifty Pakistani peacekeepers were immediately sent to the area and local and international rights group were also in the region to investigate the massacre, Saiki said. Asked about reports the attacks were retaliation for U.N. peacekeeping activities, Secretary General Kofi Annan said in New York: "It would be unfortunate if that were the case because really what our people on the ground are trying to do is to take effective measures to protect the population who've been harassed over the years by these militias." In May, the United Nations reported that Hutu rebels and local militiamen have killed, raped and kidnapped about 900 people since June 2004. Neighboring Rwanda and Uganda have invaded Congo twice, in 1996 and 1998, under the auspices of driving out the rebels, who they feared were plotting another slaughter of Tutsis across the Rwandan border. The 1998 invasion sparked a five-year war that sucked in six African armies. The war killed nearly 4 million people, mostly from war-induced sickness and hunger, aid groups say.
UN steps up pace in eastern Congo after massacre Thu Jul 14, 2005 8:17 AM GMT By Irwin Arieff UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. peacekeepers must speed the repatriation of foreign fighters in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and work harder to build up the army there following the latest civilian massacre in the region, a senior U.N. official said on Wednesday. "We have to get the foreign armed groups out of the Kivus as quickly as possible," William Swing, the U.N. special envoy for Congo, told reporters after briefing the Security Council on the killing of some 50 people in South Kivu province. While some 12,000 fighters had already been sent home, the pace has slowed to a crawl in the past year, he said. Congolese troops, for their part, needed better logistic support and soldiers are not always been paid, fueling instability, Swing said. But no definitive list of Congo's soldiers exists and a census of the country's military is still under way, he added. Swing flew to New York to address the council after the United Nations reported that Rwandan rebels had burned 39 people alive on Saturday in the village of Mtulumamba, some 25 miles (40 km) west of Bukavu. U.N. officials later said the death toll was around 50. The initial body count had been conducted after some victims had already been buried. Rwandan Hutu militias, many of whom fled their homeland for neighboring Congo after carrying out the 1994 genocide there, have been active in eastern Congo for some time. The U.N. mission in Congo, known as MONUC, has long been accused of doing too little to protect civilians. But it has stepped up operations in the east this year, and some locals said the attack on Mtulumamba had been meant to punish the village for supporting the peacekeepers. Retaliation was "a theory that cannot be excluded" but the killings were still under investigation, Swing said. After the briefing, the council approved a statement condemning the killings "with utmost firmness" and calling on Congo's government to bring the killers to justice. Such attacks by armed groups "not only cause further suffering to civilians but also threaten the stability of the entire region as well as the holding of elections," it said. Despite the massacre, Swing said it was "quite clear" the country was closer to holding long-delayed democratic elections than at any time since its first elections in 1960. "There is a lot coming together there that makes these elections pretty much irreversible at this point," he said.
NewsWire 19/07/2005 Canada Condemns DR Congo South Kivu Massacre PANA Kinshasa, DR Congo (PANA) - Canada has denounced the massacre of some 39 civilians by unidentified gunmen 10 July in Ntulamamba, a village in DR Congo's eastern province of South Kivu. Canadian Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew, in a statement expressed his condolences to "the families of the victims and the Congolese people." He said Canada would continue to support the UN Mission in the DR Congo (MONUC) in its efforts to fulfil the Security Council's mandate, especially the protection of civilians and the restoration of security. "We urge all members of the different armed factions still operating in the area to stop the violence and honour their commitments to peace agreements. Demobilisation, reintegration and repatriation programmes have been initiated to take care of former fighters. Rwandan Hutu rebels who sought refuge in DR Congo should end the war and go back home, as they promised in March 2005," the statement stressed. It said Canada supported ongoing transition process in DR Congo, aimed at restoring democracy and stability in the country, and called on all parties to participate in the electoral process.
News24 ZA Genocide trial starts in Congo 19/07/2005 09:47 - (SA) Related Articles 4 indicted for missing exiles DRC refugee leaders vanish Congolese families file suit Congo probes disappearances Kabila: soldiers responsible Brazzaville - The trial opens on Tuesday of 16 people accused of slaughtering dozens of President Denis Sassou Nguesso's opponents in the explosive case of the "beach missing". The trial of those charged with the killing of people who disappeared after returning from exile in 1999 marks the last chapter in a political and legal saga which has touched both Congo and France. Unusually for Africa, some of the highest-ranking members of the country's military and police forces will stand accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and assassinations. The saga began in May 1999 when dozens of exiled Congolese refugees returned home after an agreement guaranteeing their safety was signed under the watch of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Dozens of refugees "disappeared" The refugees had taken refuge in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after civil war broke out a year before. However when the refugees arrived at Brazzaville's port, known as "the beach", dozens of them were arrested by Sassou Nguesso's authorities on suspicion of being supporters of a militia known as the Ninja, formerly one of the private armies political parties used in the 1990s. They were taken to detention centres and were never seen again. Human rights groups and relatives of the missing claim 353 people had "disappeared" - apparently having been tortured and executed. The accused and authorities vehemently deny all allegations of murder, conceding only that "mistakes" may have been made - amid civil war confusion - when the refugees returned home. Families lodged legal complaints According to a legal source the Congolese examining magistrate had only found 80 cases of people who had gone missing. The victims' families lodged a series of legal complaints in Brazzaville which never saw the light of day. At the end of 2001, fearing the cases would be buried and forgotten, a number of relatives tracked down Congolese generals they suspected of being implicated in the disappearances and the men suspected of giving them their orders: President Sassou Nguesso and his interior minister Pierre Oba. Six months later, an investigation into the incident was opened by the Congolese justice system, it was the only inquiry to be followed through to the end. In 2004, the Congolese police chief - accused of crimes against humanity - faced trial on the outskirts of Paris, but legal proceedings were suddenly cancelled and he was released. The Court of Appeal ruled a procedural mistake had been made in the drafting of the lawsuit but the families of the victims claimed the trial had been annulled in a bid to protect authorities. Relatives now fear Tuesday's trial in Brazzaville will be a sham, claiming the strings of the Congolese justice system are being pulled by the government.
IRIN 15 July 2005 Political parties urged to renounce violence [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] ADDIS ABABA, 15 Jul 2005 (IRIN) - The European Union and the United States appealed on Thursday for the peaceful resolution of disputes stemming from the 15 May national elections in Ethiopia. "All parties should renounce all use of violence, inflammatory, defamatory or ethnic hate messages via the media or Internet, and any other action that is likely to further increase tension in Ethiopia," they said in a statement. "The European Union and the United States expect all political parties and the government to abide by the political process through parliamentary and constitutional means to resolve this election crisis," the statement added. The statement came after a human rights group estimated that at least 40 people were killed during post election violence. On 15 June, Britain froze 20 million Pounds Sterling (US $35 million) in aid due to the unrest that followed the post-election violence. Some 524 seats were contested during the election. The ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and opposition groups were virtually neck and neck after the release of partial official election results last week. With just over half the results released, the EPRDF had taken 139 seats while the main opposition group, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy had won 93 seats. Another opposition group, the United Ethiopian Democratic Front, held 42 seats. Twenty-three seats are due to be contested during elections in Ethiopia’s Somali Region in August, The National Electoral Board is investigating complaints of election violations in 140 constituencies, and is holding hearings of complaints in another 180 constituencies where original complaints were rejected but political parties have appealed. "All dissenting views need to be registered and the personal safety of witnesses ensured," the EU and the US said. "Where there are procedural or other problems, these need to be addressed swiftly and constructively." It added: "We urge the government to respect international principles of human rights by exercising due process and releasing detained party members and party supporters who are not going to be charged."
BBC 15 July 2005 Thousands flee from Kenyan raids This is the worst attack in a long-standing feud Kenyans living near a village where 76 people, 22 of them children, were massacred on Tuesday, have fled their homes in fear of further attacks. Some 6,000 people from around Turbi village in north-eastern Kenya have gone to Marsabit, the nearest large town, a Kenyan Red Cross official said. Two men were killed in apparent revenge attacks on Thursday, police said and more huts have been burnt in Turbi. Security forces in armoured cars and helicopters are pursuing the raiders. Machete attacks Hundreds of armed men surrounded Turbi primary school and nearby houses and opened fire as children were making their way to school early on Tuesday. The situation is very sad on the ground, everybody is mourning the dead Bonaya Godana Former Kenyan foreign minister In pictures: Kenya massacre Raid survivors' tales The BBC's Adam Mynott in Turbi says witnesses report that many of the children were hacked to death with machetes as they arrived at the school. "Three [children] from strand eight were caught in the school compound when they were trying to rescue the young ones, to run out of the school. They were killed there," said head teacher Guay Sako. Ten bandits are also said to have died in the violence. Feuding clans The raid on Turbi - populated by the Gabra clan - is blamed on the rival Borana, some of whom come from Ethiopia. The two groups have feuded over water and pasture in the semi-arid region. Kenyans say the killers have fled north, towards Ethiopia, and they have stolen cattle, goats and camels. Hostile area, hostile groups In Marsabit 16 people are being treated in hospital, our correspondent in Turbi says. Among those who fled the violence, one person said he left because his home had been destroyed and had no confidence in the security forces. Confirming the deaths of two Borana men in Moyale near the Ethiopian border, the area's deputy police commander Hezbon Kadenge told the AFP news agency: "The tension here is very high, the two clans are completely at odds." Cross-border raids for livestock are common in the area but correspondents say this is one of the most deadly such attacks in Kenya's history. Presidential appeal On Wednesday, President Mwai Kibaki appealed for calm. Government spokesman Alfred Mutua said Kenya had started diplomatic channels to bring those responsible to justice. This seven-year-old boy was air-lifted to Nairobi 560km away But he hinted that the raiders would be caught before they reached the border, 200km away, with lots of livestock. "They don't just disappear into thin air," he said. Deputy provincial police officer Gerald Oluch told the BBC's Network Africa programme that some cattle stolen by them had been recovered. "More than a 100 policemen are on the ground, and the army," he said, adding other units were on their way.
BBC 15 July 2005 Crack troops seek Kenya killers This is the worst attack in a long-standing feud Some 2,000 elite soldiers have arrived in northern Kenya to seek those responsible for this week's massacre of 76 people, 22 of them children. They will also try to prevent further revenge attacks between the feuding Gabra and Borana communities. Some 6,000 people have fled to the area's main town Marsabit, a Kenyan Red Cross official said. One man has survived a revenge attack in which nine people were pulled from a priest's car and hacked to death. Bude Wako, 35, stayed alive for 48 hours under a pile of bodies, reports the Daily Nation newspaper. Three [children] from strand eight were caught in the school compound... They were killed there Guay Sako Press seeks answers Catholic Bishop killed The priest was forced to watch the killings but was not physically harmed by a group of Gabras, taking revenge on any Boranas they found. The Boranas were accused of responsibility for Tuesday's massacre in Turbi village. Meanwhile, an Italian Roman Catholic Bishop has been killed in an area further south also inhabited by the two groups. Police are investigating whether the killing of Bishop Luigi Locati was linked to the communal violence. Government criticised The bodies of five suspected attackers have been found, after a clash with security forces on Wednesday, police spokesman Jasper Ombati told the AFP news agency. Fifteen of the attackers have now been killed, he said. Two men were killed in apparent revenge attacks on Thursday, police said. Four helicopters - two from the police and two from the military - are ferrying police men and crack troops from the General Service Unit around the area, as far as the Ethiopian border, where the attackers are suspected to have fled. Hostile area, hostile groups In pictures: Kenya massacre Correspondents say there has been much public criticism of the government's response to the killings. Two ministers in the president's office have now gone to the area, to try and cool tensions. Government spokesman Alfred Mutua said the authorities had been organising meetings between community leaders since the latest cycle of clashes began in January. He also said that Kenya had started diplomatic channels to bring those responsible to justice. But he hinted that the raiders would be caught before they reached the border with Ethiopia, 200km away, with hundreds of animals they had stolen from Turbi. "They don't just disappear into thin air," he said. Machetes Hundreds of armed men surrounded Turbi primary school and nearby houses and opened fire as children were making their way to school early on Tuesday. This seven-year-old boy was air-lifted to Nairobi 560km away The BBC's Adam Mynott in Turbi says witnesses report that many of the children were hacked to death with machetes as they arrived at the school. "Three [children] from strand eight were caught in the school compound when they were trying to rescue the young ones, to run out of the school. They were killed there," said head teacher Guay Sako. Cross-border raids for livestock are common in the area but correspondents say this is the most deadly such attacks in Kenya's history.
BBC 15 July, 2005 Kenya press looks for massacre answers Alongside outrage and disgust at Tuesday's massacre of more than 75 people in the village of Turbi, near Marsabit, Kenyan newspapers are also looking for explanations. Widespread poverty, a struggle for economic advantage, and long-standing neglect of the area by politicians are some of the answers offered in commentaries and editorials. Mention is also made of the conflict in the border region between neighbouring Ethiopia and the Oromo Liberation Front.--- Though inter-clan conflicts in Marsabit and other areas in North-Eastern Province are sadly becoming a common phenomenon, Tuesday's attack was the most horrendous and devastating... These senseless killings must come to an end... Only by tackling the high levels of poverty will a long-term solution to the conflicts in the area be ensured. People Daily - The conflict in Marsabit is emblematic of a larger trend... Although Marsabit is Kenya's driest district, it offers a range of possibilities that can enhance the country's economic well-being... It is time to rethink national policy and practical responses on the ground. Paul Goldsmith in The Nation ---- Fundamental questions have to be raised as to why the government cannot contain insecurity in the northern frontier districts... Ultimately, the entire government machinery, including the provincial and political leaders, must give an account as to why such a massacre could be perpetrated with such ease. The Nation ---- There is something disappointing in the way the central government has reacted to this tragedy... Though the president condemned the attack, and assured the people of security, his words sounded hollow in the face of the fact that no senior government officials deemed it necessary to rush to Marsabit, assess for themselves what was happening and comfort the people. The Standard --- This is not the time to apportion blame. We must look at the situation afresh and seek long-term solutions... Any strategy to end cattle rustling and other forms of insecurity must involve a close partnership with the neighbours - Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda. The Nation -- Yesterday's attack fitted into mind-boggling pattern in which raiders cross from Ethiopia, perpetrate their senseless act and disappear into their country... Of more urgency here is for the government to secure the borders... The government should raise this matter with its Ethiopian counterpart with a view to putting an end to these killings... The government must protect its people. The Standard ---This week's events could be attributed to resentment that the Oromo may have harboured due to Kenya's cooperation with Addis Ababa... With its tentacles thus spread across the region, the Oromo Liberation Front remains a potent threat to regional stability... It would be interesting to know why the government has not seen it fit to establish a garrison in North-Eastern Province. Peter Kimani in The Nation ---- The Oromo have been waging a bitter war against the Ethiopian government in a bid to form their own nation-state - along the same lines as Eritrea... Researchers believe the carnage in the north is basically a search for and desire to control an enlarged Oromo territory. The Standard -- BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.
The Nation (Nairobi) OPINION 18 July 2005 The Massacre Could Have Been Averted By Billow Kerrow Nairobi American writer Negely Farson once said of North Eastern Kenya: "There is one half of Kenya about which the other half knows nothing about, and seems to care even less". The people of Marsabit, like others in the then Northern Frontier Districts, did not participate in the Lancaster House constitutional conference of 1963. Mzee Jomo Kenyatta slapped emergency rule on the region two weeks after independence, and it lasted for 30 years until 1997, leaving behind a trail of death, destruction and violation of human rights. More importantly, it led to the region lagging behind in socio-economic and human development. The region is characterised by poverty, illiteracy, poor infrastructure, lack of economic opportunities and unending conflicts. Forty years after Lancaster, will they participate in the new constitutional referendum that guarantees them a right to economic development? Quite unlikely, if the current conflict persists. The feuding Marsabit clans are pastoralists. Pastoralism is a nomadic way of life that centres on livestock production and extensive use of rangelands. Pastoralist conflicts Despite early predictions by colonialists that pastoralism will die before the end of 20th century, the pastoralist areas today cover 80 per cent of the country's land mass, and account for over 50 per cent of livestock production, contributing about 16 per cent to the country's GDP. Yet, neither the Government, nor the vast majority of Kenyans, understand the pastoral community. And much less the pastoralist conflicts which have increased in frequency and scale of ferocity in recent years. A recent study identifies the causes of conflicts in Marsabit District as the competition over use, access to and control of pasture resources in the district among the Borana, Gabra and Rendille communities. The violent conflicts among these communities have been aggravated by loss of traditional authority, failure by the Government to understand the traditional grazing boundaries, and the spread of automatic weapons. Inflammatory remarks by political leaders may actually trigger a conflict, but are not necessarily the underlying causes of the conflict. The regional nomadism in search of pasture across the borders have created animosities between various communities. Above all, there is a growing sense of failure by the Government to provide physical security which has led to most communities establishing armed militias to safeguard them. Corruption and indifference amongst security officers in the region have eroded confidence. In most instances, the administrators lack proper understanding of the pastoralist communities. In 2000, at the height of the bloody conflict between clans in Garissa, it was the arrival of Mohamud Saleh as PC that not only ended the conflict, but restored enduring peace and tranquillity in the entire province. Mr Saleh comes from the area and hence understood the people, the region and the dynamics of the conflict. No sooner had he been transferred in 2003 than a bloody conflict started in Mandera in 2004. The new PC, Mr Abdul Mwasera, lacked the capacity to understand the conflict that raged on for more than a year and led to over 65 persons dead. Nor did he attempt to impartially address the conflict through the involvement of leaders. Yet, it took a panel of religious leaders a couple of weeks to study the conflict and arbitrate between the warring communities, leading to subsequent peace that holds till today. Given the increasing incidents of violent conflicts in Northern Kenya in the past two years, there is growing concern that the Government is not doing enough to address the short- and long-term causes of the conflict, and lacks an effective response mechanism. The ongoing disarmament of these communities is not a panacea for these conflicts. There has been an attempt by the Government to channel more development resources to the area, but it is too little to have any impact. In 2004/5, the Government spent over Sh5 billion on relief food in Northern Kenya, but less than 10 per cent of that in tangible development projects. The use of military jets, tanks and helicopters may be a show of strength by the Government, but it will not resolve the conflict. What we need is a different show of strength by the Government - a socio-economic one that is characterised by economic opportunities, better rangelands management, development of infrastructure, recognition of the pastoralist way of life, and peace-building dialogue. It took more than 12 hours for the report of the Turbi massacre to reach Marsabit. Clearly there is lack of basic communication equipment such as radio calls or telephone facilities even in divisional offices. The majority of the divisional administrative offices do not even have vehicles. In a special development proposal submitted to the Government in May 2003 by pastoralists MPs through the Ministry of Planning and National Development which sponsored the workshop, communications facilities for at least divisional offices was identified as an urgent requirement for rapid conflict response. and the Government urged to supply them. Long-term solution The long-term solution is to address socio-economic development. Poverty is as high as 76 per cent in the region, with enrolment in schools still below 30 per cent. Health coverage is the poorest in the country, with an average of one doctor to 120,000 people, Access to clean water supply is below 10 per cent, whilst there is no all-weather road in the entire North East Kenya, making travel very difficult. Peace meetings chaired by Government authorities simply lord it over the people but do not provide enabling environment for frank and open dialogue. Blaming political leaders will only inflame their communities. Authorities have to exercise impartiality in their actions as suggestions of bias only antagonise the offended communities. It pays to engage political leaders in security matters at district level. The utter disregard of the views of leaders by security apparatus is responsible for the failure to prevent the flare-ups. The Government should deploy administrative officers who hail from these regions as they have a better understanding of their communities. More often than not, the culprits in such massacres are known by the victims and should be arrested. The police who have remained too long in the area suffer inertia due to corruption and should be moved after such incidents. Mr Kerrow is Kanu's Shadow Finance Minister and the MP for Mandera Central
News24.com SA 20 July 2005 2 held over inter-clan clashes Inter-clan violence killed 55 Kenyan clan clashes: 21 dead Nairobi - Kenyan police said on Wednesday they had arrested two local officials in connection with the murder of nine people in an apparent revenge attack for a deadly village massacre in northern Kenya last week. The pair, from the Gabra clan, were detained on Tuesday after they were identified by a witness as being involved in the slaying of nine members of the rival Borana clan after Borana raiders attacked the village of Turbi, they said. "We arrested two chiefs because we believe they were involved or were among the people who killed nine people after the Turbi massacre," said Robert Kipkemoi Kitur, assistant police commissioner in Eastern Province where the violence occurred. "A survivor of the attack identified the two chiefs as being among people who attacked them," said Kitur from the provincial of Embu. "If we find it is true, then we shall straightaway charge them with murder for their heinous act." Nine suspects in custody The incident, in which 10 Boranas riding in a church van driven by a Catholic priest were pulled out and all but one beaten to death, took place within hours of the July 12 raid on Turbi which targeted members of the rival Gabra clan. The massacre at Turbi, about 580km northeast of Nairobi, the church van killings and other revenge attacks in the region, killed at least 82 people, including 26 children. The arrest of the two administrators from Moyale district brings to nine the total suspects now in custody for alleged involvement in the grisly cycle of inter-clan violence rooted in long-standing disputes over water and pasture in the semi-arid region, according to police.
Mail & Guardian (South Africa) www.mg.co.za US first lady seeks advice on preventing genocide Jennifer Loven | Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 14 July 2005 12:38 United States First Lady Laura Bush says she is looking to Rwandan President Paul Kagame to suggest how the world can make sure that a genocide his country experienced more than a decade ago is not repeated in Sudan's Darfur region, or anywhere else. Bush was closing out a week-long trip through Africa with a visit on Thursday to Rwanda, where a 100-day slaughter in 1994 by Hutu militias killed nearly half a million minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus. She was being joined there by Cherie Blair, wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair. "I look forward to talking with both the first lady of Rwanda, as well as the president of Rwanda, about what the rest of the world can do in situations similar to this, like in Darfur," Bush said on Wednesday to reporters. On the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide last year, Kagame criticised other nations and institutions for failing to halt the killing. Instead of strengthening its peacekeeping force, the United Nations pulled troops. Both former US president Bill Clinton and the UN have since apologised. The massacre ended when Tutsi rebels led by Kagame ousted the extremist government. Bush, in several events in Kigali, was promoting US-supported efforts to help Rwanda by supporting women in political life and helping girls get an education. "The healing process, the reconciliation that Rwanda has managed to have is really amazing considering how extensive the genocide was and how violent," she said. Her first stop, however, was the Kigali Memorial Centre -- Gisozi Genocide Memorial -- where she planned to lay a wreath and sign a visitors' book. "The genocide was recent enough that everyone still remembers it and no doubt many, many people are still grieving for their family members, their loved ones that they lost," Bush said. "How difficult it must be, to live with a genocide like that in your country, to live with it in your history, is really, really hard to imagine." There were no indications that Bush planned to make a direct public link between what happened in Rwanda and the situation now in Darfur. More than two years of conflict there have left tens of thousands dead and more than two million displaced in Sudan, mostly as the result of a counterinsurgency by Arab, pro-government militias against black African rebels. Paul Rusesabagina, the lifesaving hotel manager portrayed in the movie Hotel Rwanda, recently accused the world of failing Darfur now just as it did Rwanda in 1994. Before travelling to Rwanda, Bush was spending the morning in Zanzibar, Tanzania's Indian Ocean archipelago. She planned to reach out to its large Muslim community at a time when there are concerns the semiautonomous area could turn toward a stricter form of Islam. Mindful of the 1998 deadly truck bombings of the US embassies in Dar es Salaam and in Nairobi, the capital of neighbouring Kenya, Washington is keeping an eye on an area where anti-Western rhetoric increasingly has been a feature of Friday sermons. Bush was also to visit the US-funded school Al Rahma Madrasa Pre-Primary School to demonstrate the US's role in ensuring education for the community, and to a teacher-training school that is receiving 20 000 books donated through private and public money in the US. -- Sapa-AP
www.iol.co.za 17 July 2005 Africa moved me, says Laura Bush July 17 2005 at 02:36PM By Jennifer Loven American First Lady Laura Bush heard a Rwandan girl tearfully describe raising her three young brothers, their father killed in the 1994 genocide and their mother dying of Aids. She saw kilometres of South African shanty towns crowded in the shadow of Cape Town's wealth. She met women risking ostracism by flaunting their HIV-positive status as the only way to make inroads against the disease that is crippling Africa. Moved by the orphans and many others she met on a weeklong trip, the First Lady said on Friday she would try to make sure the United States kept its promises to the world's poorest continent. - "In a lot of cases in international aid ... the pledges are made, but they're never really carried through," she said. That's why she wanted Cherie Blair, wife of British prime minister Tony Blair, to join her for the last day in Rwanda. The symbolism was clear - the wife of the leader of the United States, the globe's largest donor to Africa, and the wife of the British leader, who made Africa's problems Topic A at last week's summit of wealthy democracies, going from that meeting to Africa. Bush made the trip to South Africa, Tanzania and Rwanda to spread the word of American help. She returned home determined to be an advocate, saying she would tell her husband what she had seen and that she hoped congress would agree to his proposal to double aid to Africa by 2010 to $8.6-billion. "It's life-changing for me to see the real scope of what the problems are. But not only that, to be inspired by people who are dealing with these problems." The last day was the most wrenching of the trip. The first lady and one of her twin daughters, Jenna, went to a poor, remote corner of Zanzibar, where children at a US-funded Muslim school played on a swing made of rope and tyres. She visited an evangelical church in Kigali where missionaries try to help Rwandans pick up the pieces of the genocide-shattered country by giving shelters to their orphans and treatment to their Aids-inflicted. At times - holding an affection-starved HIV-positive orphan in her lap or gazing at giant photographs of children at Kigali's genocide museum - her drawn expression revealed the difficulty of preventing her feelings from spilling into the open. "Especially the last day was very emotional," she said. Her exposure to the slaughter's lingering effects and her brief talk with President Paul Kagame prompted Bush to say that the atrocities in nearby Sudan's Darfur region need the United States' sustained attention. This article was originally published on page 12 of Sunday Argus on July 17, 2005
Salon.com (Guardian UK) 20 July 2005 Conversations with mass murderers In Machete Season, 10 Hutu men recall how they enjoyed slaughtering their neighbours with machetes and clubs - and, six years after the Rwanda genocide, feel no guilt Suzy Hansen Wednesday July 20, 2005 The 1994 Rwandan genocide was ignored by most of the world as it raged on. But in years since, the horrific event that claimed 800,000 deaths has garnered worldwide attention, thanks to numerous books and documentaries, and even a Hollywood film. Philip Gourevitch's masterly We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families, based on his dispatches from Rwanda for the New Yorker, became an award-winning bestseller. Romeo Dallaire, the United Nations commander stationed in Rwanda at the time, recently participated in a documentary based on his own memoir, Shake Hands With the Devil. And last year, the tragedy of the slaughter was brought to the big screen in the surprisingly good Hotel Rwanda, a film starring Don Cheadle that managed to grab three Oscar nominations. These renderings of the genocide include many unfathomable images of men furiously hacking at other men, of whole communities decimated while seeking refuge in church, of bloated, days-old bodies choking the country's rivers. As by now most people know, in Rwanda, the vast majority of the Hutu population participated in the mass killing of their fellow Tutsi countrymen (as well as Hutu moderates) in only 100 days, a little more than three months. The killing was done without the efficient aid of gas chambers or bombs or machine guns; instead, most of the murders were of the one-on-one sort - a very personal, laborious killing in which many, many people willingly, almost enthusiastically, took part. Although western writers and artists have attempted, and will continue attempting, to translate the reality of a mass extermination, it's a nearly impossible task. They succeed in many ways, but what they can't quite get across is technical: what is it like for one entire population to kill another, day after day, for an entire season of the year? Did the men go to work too? Did they make love at night, and wake up and kill in the morning? Did they read books, get drunk, tell bedtime stories - all after a day's kill? Did they cry? Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak, the second book on Rwanda by French journalist Jean Hatzfeld, attempts to answer some of these questions, and gives this madness a shocking sort of order. Hatzfeld interviewed 10 Hutus six years after the genocide, while the men served time in jail. These Hutus were from the rural Nyamata district (population 119,000), which includes a small town and 14 surrounding hills (Rwanda is lush and mountainous) split almost half between Hutus and Tutsis. Beginning in April 1994, within six weeks, five out of every six Tutsis in Nyamata were killed. The 10 men, ranging from 20 to 62 years of age, hailed from these hills, where most of them were farmers. "None of them has ever quarrelled with his Tutsi neighbors over land, crops, damage, and women," Hatzfeld writes. In fact, they lived next door to Tutsis, played soccer with them, went to church with them. "But these 10 banded together," Hatzfeld explains, "because of the proximity of their fields, their patronage of a cabaret, and their natural affinities and shared concerns". Hatzfeld gives the reader a basic sense of who the men are - the little detail already provided in this review - but he wisely lets the men talk first before proffering their proper biographies. "That bunch was famous on the hill for carousing and tomfoolery," said Clementine, a local Hutu who is married to a Tutsi. "Those fellows did not seem so bad." The Rwandan genocide officially began after the death of President Juvénal Habyarimana, a Hutu, whose plane was mysteriously shot down on April 6 1994. The death of the president was the excuse the Hutu extremists needed to begin the killing that they had long planned. (Obviously, Rwandan history is ever more complicated: Hutu extremists had long been paranoid about Tutsi power; at various times Tutsis had suffered, and been slaughtered, at the hands of Hutus; a group of exiled Tutsis organised the Rwandan Patriotic Front, with whom Habyarimana had signed peace accords in 1993. Later, the RPF would enter Rwanda and stop the genocide.) Hatzfeld's band of ordinary Hutus, incited by extremists broadcasting on the radio, gathered together, singing songs and screwing around, and then headed down to the marshes where they believed the Tutsis were hiding. The new killers indeed bonded immediately: "We gathered into teams on the soccer field and went out hunting as kindred spirits," said Ignace. "We had to work fast, and we got no time off, especially not Sundays - we had to finish up," said Elie. "We cancelled all ceremonies. Everyone was hired at the same level for a single job - to crush all the cockroaches." The most difficult part of all of this is to comprehend the moment when men become killers. The Hutus claimed not to have been forced to kill, though they did fear the consequences of not joining in at the beginning. By the time of the interviews, killing strikes them as quite normal. It's not as though their first kill is particularly memorable. Still, they attempt to recall it: Fulgence: "First I cracked an old mama's head with a club." Alphonse: "I was quite surprised by the speed of death, and also by the softness of the blow." Adalbert didn't remember the "precise details" of his first kill: "Therefore the true first time worth telling from a lasting memory, for me, is when I killed two children, April 17." They meditate on murder like this throughout the book. Elie: "The club is more crushing, but the machete is more natural. The Rwandan is accustomed to the machete from childhood. Grab a machete - that is what we do every morning." Alphonse: "Saving the babies, that was not practical. They were whacked against walls and trees or they were cut right away." Indeed, especially for farmers, slicing at things was routine. The men use the word "cut" to describe their murders, as if what they did was akin to dragging a paper edge across a thumb. Obviously it's a callous way of distancing themselves from their deeds, but it also signals the parallel they saw between hacking Tutsis and working in the fields. Yet, there were differences. "Killing was a demanding but more gratifying activity," said Pio. "The proof: none ever asked permission to go clear brush on his field, not even for a half-day." Soon it became addictive, and there were rewards: "We could no longer stop ourselves from wielding the machete, it brought us so much profit." The looting that accompanied the killing was dazzling for the poor farmers, and it offered a way for the women to pitch in (though some women and children did kill). They stole everything - some even grabbed the bloodstained clothing of the dead. "If you went home empty-handed, you might even be scolded by your wife or your children," one man said. And despite knowing that their husbands were out raping women and then killing them, most wives still made love to their husbands at night. Many men insisted that this life - the one where they woke up and killed people all day - was a better one. "Man can get used to killing, if he kills on and on," said Alphonse. Fulgence went one step further: "The more we saw people die, the less we thought about their lives, the less we talked about their deaths. And the more we got used to enjoying it." As the killing went on, the men became intoxicated by the idea of "finishing the job". The idea appears to have been that when it was all over, the Tutsis would be gone, and there would be no reminder of them. So the drive to kill every last Tutsi became more ferocious. In Nyamata not one bond of friendship spared a life, writes Hatzfeld; unlike in Nazi Germany, for example, Tutsis found "not a single escape network". But there was another key component to the genocide's ferocity: no one was watching. There is nothing so damning in Machete Season as when the men speak of the "whites". One man suggests that the idea of genocide germinated in 1959, when Hutus massacred many Tutsis "without being punished". And, in 1994, Hutu extremists gradually realised that the world was averting its eyes from the present atrocities as well. "All the important people turned their backs on our killings," said Elie. "The blue helmets, the Belgians, the white directors, the black presidents, the humanitarian people and the international cameramen, the priests and the bishops and finally even God ... We were all abandoned by all words of rebuke." Pancrace agreed: "Killing is very discouraging if you yourself must decide to do it ... but if you must obey the orders of the authorities ... if you see that the killing will be total and without disastrous consequences for yourself, you feel soothed and reassured." These were ordinary men, for sure. And ordinary men would have feared the punishment of others; as soon as the west pulled out of Rwanda they knew they were free to kill. It's clear that if some force had been monitoring them, at least some of the motivation to kill would have withered away. Fittingly, one of the chapters in the book is titled A Sealed Chamber. Perhaps not surprisingly, because of this long absence of condemnation, the men have no regrets. "I want to make clear that from the first gentleman I killed to the last, I was not sorry about a single one," said Leopord. Hatzfeld notes in amazement that the killers speak in monotone and "never allow themselves to be overwhelmed by anything". During the men's seven years in prison, they knew of not one Hutu suicide. If they were depressed, it was only because they were locked up. "Aside from the anguish of my years in prison," said Pancrace, "I do not see my life as harmed by all these regrettable events." The unfortunately candid Elie takes a stab at remorse: "In prison and on the hills, everyone is obviously sorry. But most of the killers are sorry they didn't finish the job." Machete Season is realistic and, above all else, terrifying; Hatzfeld brilliantly organises his subjects' stories for maximum effect. His method captures the rhythm of a genocide - the cold, workmanlike, fierce nature of its repetition. The book goes on and on, the killers are still alive, they persist, they won't stop talking. Just when you think they won't mention their machete again, it's back. When the men return home from jail, it's to a country in trauma. "The silence on the Rwandan hills is indescribable and cannot be compared with the usual mutism in the aftermath of war," writes Hatzfeld. What Hatzfeld suggests is the possibility of an Africa in turmoil because of many of its people's learned fatalism. Perhaps the most terrible line in Machete Season is spoken by Pio, who noted with astonishment the silence with which the Tutsis confronted their deaths, even as he came near to where they hid in the marsh, machete in hand. They did not fight back. They did not cry out. "They felt so abandoned they did not even open their mouths." · Suzy Hansen, a former editor at Salon, is an editor at the New York Observer. This article has been provided by Salon through a special arrangement with Guardian Newspapers Limited.
IRIN 15 July 2005 Local militias causing havoc in the south - CPMT [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © NAIROBI, 15 Jul 2005 (IRIN) - Armed Lou Nuer militias left their established routes and water points from January to June to carry out aggressive acts against communities in the Upper Nile region of southeastern Sudan, a report by the US-sponsored Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT) said. "The Lou Nuer conflict with other communities generated an unacceptable scale of displacement and deprivation among the general population," the CPMT said in its June report. It documented a number of incidents from heavy fighting and rape to cattle rustling, particularly near Duk Padiet in western Jonglei State. The conflict continued to contravene the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed by the government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) on 9 January, which guaranteed the security of south Sudanese civilians, it added. "These people, looking forward to peace after decades of conflict, are losing confidence in the "peace" as they continue to be killed, robbed and looted," the CPMT warned. Traditionally, the Lou Nuer, who inhabit the water-scarce middle Jonglei region, move with their livestock between rainy season and dry season pastures on a seasonal basis. During the dry season, water and pasture become limited and most pastoralist groups move their livestock towards the so-called "toich", the floodplains of the Nile. Despite the fragile and complex environment, reports from Pact, an agency supporting grass-roots peace efforts in Sudan, have highlighted some positive conflict-resolution efforts also underway in the area. When the Lou-Nuer left the "toich" to return to their home-areas in May, a full-scale conflict with a group of some 3,500 armed Gawar Nuer and Holl Dinka was prevented by a "rapid response" initiative led by local peace actors, which opened a safe passage for the Lou Nuer through Duk Dinka territories. According to Pact, several Lou community leaders had led efforts in Waat and Yuai to reconcile the divided Lou community with the hope that this would provide a foundation for positive relationships among communities and their neighbours. A UNICEF-sponsored report on grassroots conflicts in Sudan said as the dry season progressed, pastoralists from various ethnic groups tended to concentrate around the last available water and grazing resources, increasing incidents of cattle rustling, abductions, and violent clashes. As a result, most communities had formed their own informal militia - known as the 'jesh mabor' or white army - for self-defence. However, these groups served as a pool of men and boys periodically mobilised by actors in the wider civil war, such as the Sudanese government, the SPLM/A and Nuer factions that split from the SPLM/A in 1991. A humanitarian source in the region said overall, cattle rustling and violence in the region was less prevalent than in the past. "It has now been reduced to pockets of violence," he said. The general opinion, he added, was that the proliferation of weapons in the region had brought harm to the people and the arms needed to be collected. "Almost everyone of the age of 16 and above is carrying a gun. It creates a lot of havoc and fear among the people," he said. He also warned against treating the Lou Nuer as a homogeneous group. Gabriel Yuol Dok, deputy chairman of the South Sudan Liberation Movement/Army, formed in 1999 in the Upper Nile region to restore order and unity among the Nuer people, said a Lou-Lou reconciliation conference had taken place in Yuai from 5 - 11 July. "The people have agreed to try to resolve the conflict amongst themselves, stop the fighting and cattle rustling and restore the unity of the people in Yuai," he said on Friday. "There have been no reported incidents lately. It is relatively stable at the moment."
Reuters 20 July 2005 Rice says US could send ambassador to Sudan again Wed Jul 20, 2005 5:30 PM GMT By Saul Hudson DAKAR (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held out the possibility of sending an ambassador to Sudan for the first time since 1997, in a sign of improving ties after the installation of a new government. "We are looking to the day when we can put (ambassadorial) representation there, because obviously things are moving pretty quickly in Sudan," Rice told reporters en route to Senegal, where she arrived on Wednesday on her first trip to the continent as secretary of state. Leaders of a coalition peace government were sworn in on July 9. That marked a new era after two decades of north-south civil war and raised the prospect of better ties with Washington despite U.S. accusations Sudan has aided genocide and been a sponsor of terrorism. The return of a U.S. ambassador would show international acceptance of the Khartoum government, something which Sudan's leaders covet, U.S. officials say. But Rice said such a move would depend on Khartoum resolving a conflict in the western region of Darfur and being removed from a U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. At a news conference in Dakar, she said she would demand on a visit to Khartoum and Darfur on Thursday that Sudanese leaders act to stop the violence, which she called genocide. "I will start from the point it could also be a new day if this new government ... exercises its responsibility toward all the people of Sudan, including the people of Darfur," she said. "We don't rely on words, we rely on actions," she added. "We have gotten some help from the Sudanese government but by no means enough." Violence has abated this year in Darfur, after tens of thousands of people died and about 2 million were driven from their homes following a rebel uprising in early 2003. Washington last year accused President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's government of helping militia commit genocide in Darfur. Senegal's Foreign Minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio said his government was "totally dissatisfied" at the African Union's failure to stop the killing despite sending troops to the region. "Those militias are still very active, killing people, burning villages, raping women," he said, standing alongside Rice. HOST TO BIN LADEN The United States hopes a new vice president -- former southern rebel John Garang, who has frequently visited Washington -- will help improve ties between the two countries. Ambassador Tim Carney left Khartoum in 1997 after the United States imposed sanctions on Sudan for what it said was its support for terrorism. The top U.S. representative in the country is a charge d'affaires. Frosty U.S. ties with Khartoum, where Osama bin Laden lived from 1991 to 1996, reached a low in 1998 when Washington launched missiles to destroy a pharmaceuticals plant it said was linked to the al Qaeda leader and was making ingredients for chemical weapons. Rice's top diplomat for Africa, Connie Newman, said a carrot-and-stick policy was needed for Sudan, which had responded last year to pressure over Darfur because it did not want to be a pariah state. Rice, who noted a threat of U.N. sanctions remained, said it was difficult to balance the goal of helping establish a new government with that of trying to hold Sudan accountable for atrocities in Darfur. "I'll admit that it is not the easiest thing to manage," she said.
IRIN 15 July 2005 People still fleeing in fear of persecution, says human rights league [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © IRIN Togolese refugees at Hilacondji, border with Benin LOME, 15 Jul 2005 (IRIN) - Frightened citizens are continuing to stream into the offices of the Togo Human Rights League (LTDH) to complain of political persecution, despite government assurances that it is now safe for people who fled the country in recent weeks to return home, a leader of the rights group said. “The human rights situation today in Togo is catastrophic,” Togoata Apedo-Amah, LTDH secretary-general, said in an interview on Thursday. “Togo has descended into barbarity.” Almost three months after a disputed presidential election degenerated into violence, sending 38,000 refugees fleeing into Benin and Ghana, government opponents still live in fear of arrest and persecution, Apedo-Amah said. Sitting at a desk piled high with complaints of rights abuse filed in June and July, Apedo-Amah said “only this week a young man from Kpalime said his father had been abducted at 11 p.m. by non-identified individuals.” Other complaints include rape, notably against a 92-year-old woman whose oldest child is 71. Apedo-Amaha highlighted another case where 13 young girls from the town of Kpalime, 150 km north of Lome near the Ghana border, had been detained and raped for three days by a group of men wearing military gear. Young men arrested with them were beaten on the penis during the rapes, he added. Apedo-Amah, whose organisation is criticised by the authorities as being close to the opposition, said that the LTDH had received complaints from many people who feared arrest because they had monitored voting booths on behalf of the opposition during the 24 April presidential election. The poll was called hurriedly following the death of Togo’s president for 38 years, Gnassingbe Eyadema. His son Faure Gnassingbe was officially declared the winner, despite opposition claims that the ballot was rigged. The father-to-son succession triggered violent street protests put down by security forces. Earlier this month, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said between 20 and 60 Togolese refugees were still registering for asylum daily at Hilacondji, the main border crossing with neighbouring Benin. Most were young people afraid of being abducted or arrested at night, UNHCR officials said. UNHCR said in a statement that over 3,000 new refugees fled to Benin and Ghana in June alone. Despite pledges of help and safe return from President Gnassingbe’s new government, only a handful of the 38,000 who fled Togo over the last three months have actually gone home, the officials added. Food aid is urgently needed both for the refugees and the families in Benin and Ghana who have been hosting them and sharing their scant resources, the UN food agency World Food Programme said in a statement on Friday. It appealed for US $3 million to prevent an estimated 66,500 people going hungry. “The victims of Togo’s turmoil are some of the least acknowledged in the world,” said WFP’s West Africa director Mustapha Darboe. WFP said the aid was needed to feed 21,000 refugees in Benin, 17,000 in Ghana and 10,000 who are internally displaced people within Togo, as well as 18,500 people in Benin and Ghana who have hosted the refugees. The government has put the casualty toll during the election violence at less than 100, while the LTDH has said 790 people were killed in the election strife, mostly at the hands of the security forces and pro-government militiamen. In Lome, Communications Minister Kokou Tozoun dismissed the LTDH’s claims of continuing persecution. “Give us the names of those who are sought or arrested,” he told IRIN. “During the elections there were people who committed crimes, who killed, who burned Malian people alive. Those guilty of these crimes cannot go unpunished,” he added. Tozoun, who until recently served as Foreign Minister under Gnassingbe's father, said the government was still urging refugees to come home and also was releasing prisoners from Togo's jails. But Apedo-Amah retorted that the government’s planned release of several hundred detainees was a propaganda exercise aimed at securing European Union funds. “They’re releasing them because of the visit by an EU follow-up mission,” he said. An EU team is in Togo on a weeklong visit to assess whether the new government is sticking to an April 2004 deal to implement 22 commitments to promote democracy and human rights. The EU cut off aid to the former French colony in 1993 because of “democratic deficiencies” and is refusing to resume aid until it is satisfied that Togo has improved its poor record. Justice Minister Abi Tchessa said earlier this week that 105 prisoners had been freed in Lome and hundreds more would be allowed to walk free from other jails as part of a humanitarian scheme aimed at decongesting prisons countrywide. He said the main beneficiaries would be detainees who had almost completed their jail terms and prisoners who had been held for long periods on remand without being brought to trial. The EU team, which toured some of Togo’s jails, also met members of the so-called six-party opposition alliance whose joint candidate was defeated in the April election. This so called "radical" opposition has refused to join a government of national unity formed by the new president. This includes a sprinkling of defectors from the opposition ranks as well as hard-line stalwarts of the Eyadema regime. The new president is a 39-year-old graduate of business schools in France and the United States.
15 July, 2005, 17:23 GMT 18:23 UK E-mail this to a friend Printable version Killings in Uganda cattle battles By Will Ross BBC News, Kampala Without guns herders feel powerless to stop thefts At least 25 people have died in two days of clashes between the army and cattle raiders in north-east Uganda. Humanitarian sources report that four children and a teacher were among the civilians killed in the crossfire in Karamoja on Wednesday and Thursday. An army commander said the trouble began when Pian warriors raided cattle from the rival Bokora ethnic group. Battles ensued after soldiers recovered the cattle, which many keep as a store of wealth in this gun-ridden region. The Ugandan army has been operating a voluntary disarmament exercise in Karamoja, which is one of the least developed areas of Uganda. But cattle raids and general banditry have increased in recent years with great loss of life. Ambush The worst of the clashes have taken place in Karamoja's Nakapiripirit district. It is not yet clear how many people have died, but a district official said many civilians were caught in the crossfire and the fighting in Nabelatuk had left around 30 Ugandan soldiers dead. Cows are a major commodity in the area The area's army commander, Colonel Silver Kayemba, described this as an exaggeration, saying five soldiers were killed and 14 were wounded when a group of Pian warriors ambushed an army unit. He said after the army recovered the animals raided earlier this week, the warriors took revenge by attacking the soldiers. He reports that soldiers have killed 20 of the warriors since then. Another source reports that huts were set ablaze during the clashes. Gunshots A district official said the Pian population had become angry after several raids by Bokora warriors in recent months. He said the army had not reacted to the raids. The official estimates that the Pian had lost over 2,000 cattle in the past two months. There are reports of other violence in Karamoja this week. Humanitarian sources report that a commercial vehicle was ambushed on Wednesday, leaving four local police dead. It is also reported that warriors from other rival ethnic groups have taken advantage of the violence in Nakapiripirit district and carried out cattle raids. People in Moroto town reported hearing gunshots on Friday morning. A disarmament exercise was carried by the army out three years ago, but was effectively abandoned as soldiers were relocated to deal with the conflict in northern Uganda. This week's clashes are a reminder that the Karamoja problem is great and still needs to be resolved.
BBC 17 July 2005 Demolitions Are Suspended in Zimbabwe By REUTERS HARARE, Zimbabwe, July 16 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has temporarily halted its demolition of illegal business premises to allow their owners time to register them with authorities, The Herald, the nation's official newspaper, said Saturday. The police have taken the two-month crackdown to more affluent areas after razing shacks, unregistered stalls and workshops in the country's poor urban townships in an operation that aid agencies said had left at least 300,000 people homeless and without income. "The demolition of illegal structures has been temporarily suspended with government giving owners of such structures 10 working days - starting on Monday - to regularize them with council," The Herald said. The announcement offers temporary relief to residents in Harare's once-prosperous suburbs, who had started pulling down their own home-based kiosks after the police warned that their crackdown on illegal structures would be extended to new areas.
www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries 25 June 2005 General Carlos Suárez Mason Hardline general at the heart of Argentina's ruthless dictatorship Phil Gunson Saturday June 25, 2005 The Guardian General Carlos Suárez Mason, who has died, aged 81, of heart failure following an emergency operation, was known in 1970s Argentina as a hardliner's hardliner. As commander of the 1st Army Corps for the first three years following the 1976 military overthrow of María Estela "Isabelita" Perón, he was responsible for the repression in Buenos Aires and outlying areas, and for dozens of clandestine torture centres. "I was never soft," he told Noticias magazine in 1996, in his only press interview. "I never ordered anyone shot. Some we eliminated. That is more or less clear." In this context, "some" amounted to perhaps 5,000 people, who disappeared and/or were tortured and executed. The precise figure will never be known, and Suárez Mason always attributed torture testimonies to the activities of subordinates, of which he had no personal knowledge. Although he died a prisoner, Suárez Mason was never convicted in Argentina of any of the 600 or so crimes - including more than 400 kidnappings and 30 murders - of which he was accused. In Italy, he had been sentenced to life imprisonment in his absence for the murder of Italian-Argentinians, and the German and Spanish authorities had unsuccessfully sought his extradition. He was also accused of illicit enrichment and of using this wealth to finance anti-subversive campaigns elsewhere in Latin America. Other allegations linked him to Bolivian generals involved in drug-trafficking. Born in Buenos Aires, Suárez Mason graduated from military academy in 1944, along with future junta leaders Jorge Rafael Videla and Roberto Viola. He took part in the 1951 uprising against General Juan Dom- ingo Perón, and, as a result, was forced into exile in neighbouring Uruguay. There, he continued to conspire against Perón until the latter's overthrow in 1955. During the dictatorship of Juan Carlos Onganía, who seized power in Argentina in 1966, Suárez Mason was military attaché to Ecuador. He became a general in 1972 and was given a prominent role in state intelligence, before taking over the strategically located 1st Army Corps. As a radical anti-communist - as well as an anti-Perónist - he joined Videla in plotting to oust Perón's widow, Isabelita, and setting up a regime dedicated to conducting a dirty war against leftist guerrillas and their allies. "In war, there are no excesses," he said in 1996. "War is a game in which the most violent wins." The official history of the dirty war speaks of some 12,000 victims, though human rights activists claim the figure is nearer 30,000. Many were later revealed to have been thrown from aircraft over the River Plate estuary - drugged, but alive. In the latter part of the dictatorship, which ended after Argentina's defeat in the 1982 Falklands war, Suárez Mason was made chairman of the state oil corporation, YPF. The company was pillaged by the government, which ran up huge debts in its name, and the general allegedly sold adulterated petrol to finance his anti-communist operations. Put on trial with other leading generals after the return to civilian government, he fled Argentina in 1984, ending up (via central America, whose rightist dictatorships he had helped prop up) in San Francisco. There, he was eventually arrested at the request of the Buenos Aires government, put on trial and ordered to pay millions in damages to victims and relatives by then living in the United States. In 1988, he was extradited to Argentina, but before his trial concluded, President Carlos Saúl Menem pardoned the generals and he walked free. In the late 1990s, the trials began again, this time for the stealing of babies born in jail to disappeared women prisoners, a crime outside the terms of the earlier pardon. Earlier this month, the Argentinian supreme court ruled that the generals' amnesty was illegal under international law. Suárez Mason had been held under house arrest because of his advanced age. However, he allegedly violated the terms of his detention by leaving home for an 80th birthday celebration at Argentino Juniors football club. As a young man, he had been an enthusiastic goalkeeper, and among his contributions to Argentinian football was the watchful eye he kept on the career of Diego Maradona, a military conscript and youth international in the 1970s. Still protesting his innocence, the general was re-arrested and sent to the Villa Devoto prison, where he was kept in solitary confinement while awaiting trial. "Hell reserves the right of admission," said the headline in the leftist daily Página 12 on learning of his death. He is survived by his wife, Angélica Alais, and four children. · Carlos Guillermo Suárez Mason, soldier, born January 2 1924; died June 21 2005
www.buenosairesherald.com June 2005 ENGLISH VERSION The devil’s disciple HERALD STAFF VERSIÓN ESPAÑOL El discípulo del diablo El finado ex-general Carlos Guillermo Suárez Mason, símbolo de la represión militar, nunca fue juzgado ni condenado por sus muchos crímenes (635 imputaciones, casi todas de homicidio) y ahora jamás lo será a pesar del fallo emitido la semana pasada por la Corte Suprema y que reabre la posibilidad de varios procesos por violaciones de los derechos humanos, incluido el numeroso conjunto de casos que implicaron al primer cuerpo de ejército que Suárez Mason comandó entre 1976 y 1979. Razón de más para un veredicto sobre el ex-militar. Lea más The late ex-general Carlos Guillermo Suárez Mason, an icon of military repression, was never tried or convicted for his many crimes (635 counts of mostly murder) and now never will be despite last week’s Supreme Court ruling to reopen the various trials of human rights violations, including the large cluster of cases surrounding the first army corps he commanded between 1976 and 1979. All the more reason for a verdict on him now. The 1976-83 dictatorship is often facilely linked to Nazism and fascism but in fact Suárez Mason was one of the few cases where that shoe (or should we say jackboot?) fits. Whatever the crimes of humanity under his presidency, Jorge Videla had a definite self-image of defending Western Christian civilization rather than imposing Nazi barbarity while his economy minister José Martínez de Hoz dreamed of an age of privatization and modernization once Peronist populism had been removed, realizing too late that the military caste is even more wedded to a big state and big government. No such subtleties apply to Suárez Mason — in an interview earning him a 42-month sentence for racial discrimination which he was still serving upon his death on Tuesday, he described Jewry as a world power although some of his best friends were Jews (inaccurately including the Alemann brothers in that category). Along with the late former Buenos Aires provincial police chief Ramón Camps, Suárez Mason was part of the lunatic fringe of the military régime which was phased out once it had done its worst — the “we Argentines are right and human” mentality caused the junta to resist the tremendous world pressure preceding the 1978 World Cup but in their hearts they knew the world was right and people like Suárez Mason and Camps were weeded out in 1979. In 1981 Suárez Mason became trustee of YPF state oil company in a triumphant assertion of economic nationalism and statism over Martínez de Hoz who was replaced that year. No matter how bad his military peers were, Suárez Mason always managed to be worse — a “red faction” supporter of crude military rule in 1962 when even such a despot as Juan Carlos Onganía favoured “blue faction” legalism, the only ex-general to flee justice (extradited from the United States in 1988), the only “dirty warrior” over 70 years to go to prison for violating house arrest by spending his birthday at his beloved Argentinos Juniors soccer club (from which he was expelled), etc. No loss to mankind.
Muslims Against Terrorism 15 July 2005 m-a-t.org Muslim’s Holocausts and Genocide Remembrance Day Media is requested to run special stories on the sufferings of Muslims Muslims Against Terrorism (MAT) was founded in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on January 11, 1999. The main objective of MAT is to create awareness about the dangers of violence and terrorism. The tragedy of 9/11 brought more focus to MAT and this small Calgary based organization spread rapidly all over the world. We now have chapters in several cities of Canada, USA, UK, Netherlands, Pakistan, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore. MAT also works with other organizations to promote tolerance and peace in the society. We do recognize and honour the victims of various genocides and holocausts including the holocaust and genocide of Jews, Christians, Aboriginals, and several other communities. However, we are very surprised that neither the Canadian media, nor any other world body recognizes the Muslim victims of various Holocausts and Genocides. In 2002, MAT and several other Muslim organizations declared July 15 as a “Muslims Holocaust and Genocide Remembrance Day”. The first Holocaust against Muslims was carried out by the crusaders. On Friday, July 15, 1099 the crusaders captured Jerusalem and murdered thousands of Muslims. More than 70, 000 dead bodies of Muslim children and women were found in the Mosque of Omar in Jerusalem alone. There have been several other Holocausts and genocides of Muslims; Crusaders killed more than half million Muslims during and after occupying Jerusalem. Ganges Khan and his forces killed more than a million Muslims during the occupation of Iraq and neighboring areas. Thousands of Muslims were killed / forced to change religion by Spanish Crusaders in South America More than a million Muslims were killed / displaced by Spanish and other European extremists during the rebellion against the Ottoman Empire. More than 3 million Muslims were killed / displaced by the European colonial powers during and after the occupation of Muslim countries after World War I and II. More than 5 million Muslims were killed / displaced by Tsars of Russia More than a million Muslims were killed / displaced by Communist Government of Russia More than 1.5 million Muslims have been killed in China, Cambodia, Vietnam, and other Far East countries since the world war II More than half million Muslims have been killed / displaced in Burma since World War II More than half million Muslims have been killed in India and Kashmir since 1947 More than half million Muslims were killed by Serbs and Croats in Bosnia during early 90s. More than 100,000 Muslims were killed in Kosovo and Albania during mid 90s. More than 5 million Muslims have been killed / displaced in Palestine since 1948 More than 5 million Muslims were killed / displaced by the Russian occupation of Afghanistan More than one million Muslims children died from malnutrition in Iraq during the US/UN embargo on Iraq during 1990s. Thousands of Muslims have been killed by the secular governments in Muslim countries, backed by the Western Governments, since the independence from the colonial powers. Currently, hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed by the American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan References: H.G. Wells, “A Short History of the World,” Penguin Books, 1949 “Chambers Dictionary of the World History,” Chambers, 1994. G. C. Kohn, “Dictionary of the Wars,” Doubleday, 1987. Erna Paris, “The End of the Days,” Lester Publishing, 1995. David Brownstone and Irene Franck, “Timelines of the War,” Cittle, Brown and Company, 1994. A. Hourani, “A History of the Arab Peoples,” Harvard University Press, 1991. Roland Oliver and J. D. Fage, “A Short History of Africa,” 1968. J. Burne, Editor, “Chronicle of the World,” Longman, 1989. N. Davies, “Europe, A History,” Pimilico, 1997. P. Hitti, “History of the Arabs,” Mcmillan, 1990. T. Pakenham, “The Scramble For Africa,” George Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1997. J. A. hammerton, “The Outline History of the World,” The Amalgamated Press Ltd., 1993. Cox, George, W, The Crusades (1886); Laffan, R.G.D (ed. and trans.), Select Documents of European History 800 - 1492, (1929) Note: Anyone who will be able to prove that the above mentioned numbers of Muslim casualties are wrong, will be rewarded with CDN$1000.00 We request the Canadian and international media to honour the Muslim victims of so many genocides by recognizing “Muslim’s Holocaust and Genocide Remembrance Day” on July 15. MAT, Alberta chapter will be holding a memorial service on Friday, July 8, 2005 at the Monterey Park Community Centre, 2707 Catalina Blvd. NE Calgary, AB at 1:30 PM MAT, Ontario chapter will be holding a memorial service on Friday, July 15, 2005 at the Burnhamthorpe Community Centre, 1500 Gulleden Drive in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Coincidently, this year July 15 falls on Friday. The first holocaust of Muslims was also on Friday, July 15, 1099. For information, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org OR (403)-208-7148 Muslims Against Terrorism (M-A-T) First Anti-Terrorism NGO in the World for Global Peace and Justice (Founded in Calgary on January 11, 1999) www.m-a-t.org Prof. Syed B. Soharwardy, founder of MAT, was born in a very highly respected religious family in Karachi, Pakistan. His father and Murshad (spiritual guide), Allama Syed Muhammad Riazuddin Soharwardy (May Allah shower His blessings upon him) was a Khateeb and Imam of a famous mosque, Jamia Bughdadi Masjid, Martin Road, Karachi. Syed B. Soharwardy's grandfather, Allama Syed Muhammad Jalaluddin Chishty (May Allah shower His blessings upon him) was a Grand Mufti of Kashmir (Baramula).. . Prof. Soharwardy is the founder of Muslims Against Terrorism. He founded this organization in January 1999. Mr. Soharwardy has addressed hundreds of gatherings in Pakistan, USA, UK and Canada on various topics of Islamic faith. Mr. Soharwardy can be contacted at Soharwardy@shaw.ca
Reuters 17 July 2005 Guatemala police files on abuses found - ombudsman 17 Jul 2005 01:08:45 GMT Source: Reuters GUATEMALA CITY, July 16 (Reuters) - Some 30,000 police files have been unearthed and confirm that human rights abuses took place in the 1980s at the height of the country's civil war, Guatemala's human rights ombudsman said on Saturday. The documents, discovered in archives of the now defunct National Police, contain information about disappearances in the 36-year civil war during which rights groups estimate 200,000 people died and 50,000 vanished, ombudsman Sergio Morales said. "This is one of the most important discoveries in recent times," he told local radio. Security forces are accused of carrying out illegal detentions, disappearances, summary executions, kidnappings and torture during the war, which ended in 1996 with peace accords between the government and leftist insurgents. The war pitted largely poor rural dwellers against a government backed by the United States and Guatemala's urban elite. The army was accused of wiping out entire villages that it said harbored guerrillas. Activists from dozens of rights organizations have demanded the Guatemalan government carry out a full examination of the archives. The National Police was replaced with a new police force after the civil war ended.
AP 18 JUly 2005 Guatemala Apologizes for 1982 Massacre GUATEMALA CITY -- Under orders from an international court, Guatemala apologized Monday for the government-directed massacre of 226 people in a highland village during the nation's bloody civil war. Vice President Eduardo Stein traveled via helicopter to Plan de Sanchez, 95 miles north of the capital, Guatemala City, to formally accept government responsibility for the killings by soldiers on July 18, 1982. The government was ordered to apologize by the Inter-American Human Rights Court, which also decreed that the state pay survivors and relatives $7.9 million in damages in a ruling last fall. Stein said the army had "unleashed bloodshed and fire to wipe out an entire community." Soldiers aided by members of civilian patrols stormed into Plan de Sanchez in search of leftist guerrillas who rebelled against the government during the 1960-1996 war. They used machetes and machine guns to kill inhabitants, and forced groups of men and women into homes which they set ablaze or pelted with grenades. Additionally, a helicopter bombed the area, considered a stronghold of rebel activity. The war killed 200,000 people before a U.N.-brokered peace treaty was signed by both sides in December 1996. The overwhelming majority of victims were Mayan civilians killed by soldiers or paramilitary forces in massacres meant to weed out support for guerrillas. The Plan de Sanchez killings took place during the 18-month dictatorship of Efrain Rios Montt, whose government directed a scorched earth policy that international observers say led to some of the war's worst human rights violations. Stein said he insisted the ceremony take place in Plan de Sanchez and called the court ruling historic. "The people want moments that commemorate their victims," he said. "But, more than anything, they don't want what happened to keep being denied officially."
Reuters 15 July 2005 U.N. troops accused in deaths of Haiti residents 15 Jul 2005 15:01:08 GMT Source: Reuters Background CRISIS PROFILE: Is Haiti on the brink of civil war? MORE By Joseph Guyler Delva PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, July 14 (Reuters) - Opposition groups and residents of two Port-au-Prince slums say dozens of innocent people were killed during anti-gang raids by U.N troops and Haitian police last week, but U.N. and police officials denied the accusations. The Lawyers Committee for Individual Rights, a group known as CARLI and regarded as one of the most independent rights groups operating in Haiti, said U.N. peacekeepers and Haitian police killed unarmed residents, including children and elders, in the slums of Bel-Air and Cite Soleil, strongholds of supporters of ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. "We have credible information that U.N. troops, accompanied by Haitian police, killed an undetermined number of unarmed residents of Cite Soleil, including several babies and women," Renan Hedouville, the head of CARLI, told Reuters this week. An assistant to Brazilian General Augusto Heleno, commander of the U.N. force, called the accusations unfounded. "We have no information about any killing of unarmed civilians, ladies or babies by our forces," Brazilian marine Commander Alfredo Taranto said. "Our action was directed against the armed gangs and only against the armed gangs," said Taranto. Haitian police officials also denied the accusations. On July 6, about 400 U.N. troops with 41 armored vehicles and helicopters, and several dozen Haitian police officers, conducted a raid in Cite Soleil, Haiti's largest slum, to root out gunmen. The slum harbors a number of gangs, many of them loyal to Aristide. "The foreign soldiers came with helicopters and their war machines and started shooting on everything that moved. They killed 40 people who carried no weapons," said Rene Momplaisir, a spokesman for a pro-Aristide grass-roots movement in Cite Soleil. Aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) said it treated more than two dozen people that day, including a pregnant woman who survived surgery but lost her baby. 'WOUNDED BY GUNSHOTS' "We received 27 people wounded by gunshots on July 6. Three quarters were children and women," said Ali Besnaci, the head of the MSF mission in Haiti. "We had not received so many wounded in one day for a long time." A U.N. military spokesman, Col. Elouafi Boulbars, said U.N. troops killed five "criminals" during the operation. But after those bodies were taken away, a Reuters TV crew filmed seven other bodies of people killed during the operation, including those of two one-year-old baby boys and a woman in her 60s. All seven were killed in a house in the Bois-Neuf area of Cite Soleil, a territory controlled by one of Haiti's most wanted gang leaders, Emmanuel "Dread" Wilme. He is believed to have been killed during the raid, but U.N. and Haitian officials could not confirm his death. Dread Wilme's lieutenants and several hundred of his supporters last Saturday took part in what they called a funeral ceremony for Wilme. But they refused to allow reporters to verify whether there was a body in the buried coffin. Residents said the number of people killed in that area on July 6 ranged from 25 to 40. "I counted 18 bodies, but a friend of mine who lives on the other side of Bois-Neuf told me he saw seven bodies. He, too, almost got killed," said Bernard Desrosier, 24, a resident of Cite Soleil. "It is a real massacre." The same day, residents in another slum, Bel-Air, blamed Haitian police officers wearing black uniforms for the killing of 12 people. At least 18 other people were reported killed last Friday in similar circumstances in the same slum. A Reuters correspondent saw several of the bodies. "It is absolute necessary that the security forces neutralize criminals, but nothing can justify the murders of innocent people as it is occurring now in those poor areas," said Hedouville. U.N. peacekeepers were sent to stabilize the troubled Caribbean country after Aristide was forced into exile in February 2004 by a bloody rebellion and under pressure from the United States and France to quit. The U.N. mission, now numbering 6,207 soldiers and 1,437 civilian police, has been criticized for failing to curb violence and disarm both criminal gangs and former members of Haiti's disbanded army who participated in the rebellion. The Haiti Action Committee, a San Francisco-based activist group, condemned what it called a "massacre" in Cite Soleil. The group said at least 23 people were killed.
IPS 14 July 2005 RIGHTS-HAITI: Group Charges ”Massacre” in U.N. Raid Haider Rizvi UNITED NATIONS, Jul 14 (IPS) - A group of U.S.-based human rights and trade union activists is urging the United Nations to investigate the alleged killings of innocent civilians by its peacekeeping troops in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince last week. The activists, who were dispatched to Haiti by the San Francisco Labour Council early this month to participate in a labour conference there, said they had evidence proving that U.N. military forces had carried out a ”massacre” in Cite Soleil, one of the poorest communities in Port-au-Prince, on Jul. 6. ”The evidence of a massacre by U.N. military forces is substantial and compelling,” activist Seth Donnelly, who returned from Haiti last Sunday, told IPS. ”It completely contradicts the official version.” Soon after the Jul. 6 incident, U.N. military officials in Haiti justified their actions by saying that the raid was ”designed to rout gangs” that have been active in Port-au-Prince. A U.N. mission spokesman said the operation ”killed or wounded several gang members.” But Donnelly and his colleagues, who interviewed scores of local residents, doctors and human right activists, said many among the dead were innocent civilians, who were completely unarmed when the U.N. military forces carried out the raid. Haiti has been in the grip of escalating violence since the overthrow of its democratically-elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide, who is currently living in exile in South Africa. Aristide has repeatedly accused Washington of toppling his government. He says he was kidnapped by the U.S. military personnel from his bedroom on Feb. 28, 2004. Haiti watchers say since Aristide's ouster from power, the people of poor neighbourhoods like Cite Soleil have faced extreme repression -- including extra-judicial killings -- at the hands of Haitian police. In order to protect their community from police oppression, many young adults have set up their own armed networks, which are labeled by authorities as ”gangs.” The U.N. mission in Haiti is insisting that these networks turn in their arms, but has failed to rein in the police units that have been terrorising the residents of poor neighbourhoods of Port-au-Prince, some critics say. ”The bandits tried to fight our men. They suffered serious losses and we found five bodies in what was left of a house,” U.N. peacekeeping spokesman Col. Elouafi Boulbars told reporters a day after the operation. U.N. troops used helicopters, tanks, machine guns and tear gas in the operation, according to residents, who described it as the deadliest raid since the peacekeepers were deployed there last year. Currently, there are more than 7,000 U.N. troops stationed in Haiti. ”We viewed film footage taken by a Haitian who was on the scene when the U.N. operation was occurring,” Donnelly said. ”The video shows many of the killings. One can view at least 10 unarmed people either in the process of being killed or who were already killed.” In addition to interviews with the residents and medical aid workers, Donnelly and his colleagues also interviewed U.N. peacekeeping officials, Lt. Gen. Augusto Heleno and Col. Jacques Morneau. The two officials told activists the purpose of the operation was to capture Dread Wilme, who led one of Cite Soleil's armed networks. Both the U.N. and the interim government have portrayed Dread Wilme as a gangster. However, in the eyes of many residents, he was a popular leader who cared about his community. Last Saturday, thousands of Haitians in Port-au-Prince took part in his funeral. Activists say the testimonies they have gathered from Cite Soleil and the video footage suggested there were at least 20 people killed during and after the U.N. operation, in addition to the five dead whose bodies were buried by their families. The eyewitness who filmed the incident reported that people were killed in their homes and outside. One man named Leon Cherry, 46, was shot and killed on his way to work. A woman who was a street vendor was shot in the head and killed. A mother and her two young children were killed in their own home. A man named Mira was shot and killed in his bathroom, the witness said. ”The video footage shows many of the killings while they were occurring,” said Donnelly. U.N. officials are tightlipped about the activists' charge that the Jul. 6 incident was a massacre. A U.N. spokesperson provided a translation of fragmented notes from the U.N. military briefing in Port-au-Prince suggesting the U.N. does not consider the incident as a massacre. ”There were never any fire from any helicopters,” Lt. Col. Boulbars told reporters in Haiti Thursday. ”On the contrary, they (helicopters) stopped some of the firing on the gang membersàThe gang activity is what is harming relief and humanitarian effort.” Meanwhile, Donnelly and other activists say they are not going to give up until the U.N. Human Rights Commission orders an inquiry into the issue. ”Haiti cannot have stability if you don't hold those responsible for committing human right abuses,” he said.
BBC 14 Jul, 2005 Star Haitian journalist murdered 7,000 UN peacekeepers have failed to halt the violence One of Haiti's best-known journalists and poets, Jacques Roche, has been found murdered, police say. Mr Roche, who presented a popular television show and wrote for a newspaper, was kidnapped last week. His handcuffed and mutilated body was found in a slum district of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince. Mr Roche is the latest victim of a wave of kidnappings in Haiti, which come as UN peacekeepers struggle to control a volatile security situation. Police say more than 450 people have been kidnapped since March. Correspondents say the unrest is increasing concern about whether elections will be able to go ahead as planned later this year. Ransom demand Mr Roche had been tortured and shot several times. His arms, handcuffed behind his back, had been broken and burned and his body was covered in blood. He had been kidnapped on Sunday morning while driving his car in the Nazon area of Port-au-Prince. Most abductions in Haiti are carried out for money, with the victim usually being released after a ransom is paid. According to Mr Roche's colleagues at the Le Matin newspaper his kidnappers had made a ransom demand of $250,000 which was later scaled back to $10,000. "His relatives and friends had collected $10,000 that was sent to the kidnappers," journalist Chenald Augustin said. "Then they said they were waiting for the $240,000 remaining." Mr Roche was in charge of the cultural section of Le Matin newspaper as well as a talk show host on local TV and a radio sports commentator. A 7,000-strong contingent of UN peacekeepers has struggled to maintain order in Haiti since the ousting of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti's former leader, who was overthrown in an armed uprising last year.
Guardian UK 18 July 2005 Comment -6/7: the massacre of the poor that the world ignored The US cannot accept that the Haitian president it ousted still has support Naomi Klein Monday July 18, 2005 The Guardian When terror strikes western capitals, it doesn't just blast bodies and buildings, it also blasts other sites of suffering off the media map. A massacre of Iraqi children, blown up while taking sweets from US soldiers, is banished deep into the inside pages of our newspapers. The outpouring of compassion for the daily deaths of thousands from Aids in Africa is suddenly treated as a frivolous distraction. In this context, a massacre in Haiti alleged to have taken place the day before the London bombings never stood a chance. Well before July 7, Haiti couldn't compete in the suffering sweepstakes: the US-supported coup that ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide had the misfortune of taking place in late February 2004, just as the occupation of Iraq was reaching a new level of chaos and brutality. The crushing of Haiti's constitutional democracy made headlines for only a couple of weeks. But the battle over Haiti's future rages on. Most recently, on July 6, 300 UN troops stormed the pro-Aristide slum of Cité Soleil. The UN admits that five were killed, but residents put the number of dead at no fewer than 20. A Reuters correspondent, Joseph Guyler Delva, says he "saw seven bodies in one house alone, including two babies and one older woman in her 60s". Ali Besnaci, head of Médecins Sans Frontières in Haiti, confirmed that on the day of the siege an "unprecedented" 27 people came to the MSF clinic with gunshot wounds, three-quarters of them women and children. Where news of the siege was reported, it was treated as a necessary measure to control Haiti's violent armed gangs. But the residents of Cité Soleil tell a different story: they say they are being killed not for being violent, but for being militant - for daring to demand the return of their elected president. On the bodies of their dead friends and family members, they place photographs of Aristide. It was only 10 years ago that President Clinton celebrated Aristide's return to power as "the triumph of freedom over fear". So it seems worth asking: what changed? Aristide is certainly no saint, but even if the worst of the allegations against him are true, they pale next to the rap sheets of the convicted killers, drug smugglers and arms traders who ousted him. Turning Haiti over to this underworld gang out of concern for Aristide's lack of "good governance" is like escaping an annoying date by accepting a lift home from Charles Manson. A few weeks ago I visited Aristide in Pretoria, South Africa, where he lives in forced exile. I asked him what was really behind his dramatic falling-out with Washington. He offered an explanation rarely heard in discussions of Haitian politics - actually, he offered three: "Privatisation, privatisation and privatisation." The dispute dates back to a series of meetings in early 1994, a pivotal moment in Haiti's history that Aristide has rarely discussed. Haitians were living under the barbaric rule of Raoul Cédras, who overthrew Aristide in a 1991 US-backed coup. Aristide was in Washington and, despite popular calls for his return, there was no way he could face down the junta without military back-up. Increasingly embarrassed by Cédras's abuses, the Clinton administration offered Aristide a deal: US troops would take him back to Haiti - but only after he agreed to a sweeping economic programme with the stated goal to "substantially transform the nature of the Haitian state". Aristide agreed to pay the debts accumulated under the kleptocratic Duvalier dictatorships, slash the civil service, open up Haiti to "free trade" and cut import tariffs on rice and corn. It was a lousy deal but, Aristide says, he had little choice. "I was out of my country and my country was the poorest in the western hemisphere, so what kind of power did I have at that time?" But Washington's negotiators made one demand that Aristide could not accept: the immediate sell-off of Haiti's state-owned enterprises, including phones and electricity. Aristide argued that unregulated privatisation would transform state monopolies into private oligarchies, increasing the riches of Haiti's elite and stripping the poor of their national wealth. He says the proposal simply didn't add up: "Being honest means saying two plus two equals four. They wanted us to sing two plus two equals five." Aristide proposed a compromise: Rather than sell off the firms outright, he would "democratise" them. He defined this as writing anti-trust legislation, ensuring that proceeds from the sales were redistributed to the poor and allowing workers to become shareholders. Washington backed down, and the final text of the agreement called for the "democratisation" of state companies. But when Aristide announced that no sales could take place until parliament had approved the new laws, Washington cried foul. Aristide says he realised then that what was being attempted was an "economic coup". "The hidden agenda was to tie my hands once I was back and make me give for nothing all the state public enterprises." He threatened to arrest anyone who went ahead with privatisations. "Washington was very angry at me. They said I didn't respect my word, when they were the ones who didn't respect our common economic policy." The US cut off more than $500m in promised loans and aid, starving his government, and poured millions into the coffers of opposition groups, culminating ultimately in the February 2004 armed coup. And the war continues. On June 23 Roger Noriega, US assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, called on UN troops to take a more "proactive role" in going after armed pro-Aristide gangs. In practice, this has meant a wave of collective punishment inflicted on neighbourhoods known for supporting Aristide, most recently in Cité Soleil on July 6. Yet despite these attacks, Haitians are still on the streets - rejecting the planned sham elections, opposing privatisation and holding up photographs of their president. And just as Washington's experts could not fathom the possibility that Aristide would reject their advice a decade ago, today they cannot accept that his poor supporters could be acting of their own accord. "We believe that his people are receiving instructions directly from his voice and indirectly through his acolytes that communicate with him personally in South Africa," Noriega said. Aristide claims no such powers. "The people are bright, the people are intelligent, the people are courageous," he says. They know that two plus two does not equal five. · Research assistance was provided by Aaron Maté. · A version of this column was first published in the Nation (www.thenation.com).
Reuters 15 July 2005 Bush frees up funds to help Darfur mission Fri Jul 15, 2005 7:55 PM ET WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush ordered the freeing up on Friday of Defense Department resources to provide logistical help to African Union troops struggling to keep the peace in Sudan's troubled Darfur region. Bush said up to $6 million in equipment and other resources should be set aside for the Darfur crisis, which he has characterized as genocide. The Darfur conflict broke out in February 2003 when rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated government. Sudan's government is accused of arming local Arab militias, who burned down villages and slaughtered and raped civilians. Tens of thousands have been killed in Darfur and more than 2 million have been forced to flee their homes.
www.defenselink.mil/news 16 July 2005 U.S. Contribution to Darfur Airlift Operation Begins American Forces Press Service STUTTGART-VAIHINGEN, Germany, July 16, 2005 – U.S. European Command began the deployment of airmen and equipment to Kigali, Rwanda, July 14 to provide logistical and airlift support of Rwandan forces as part of the African Union's expanded mission in the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan. A U.S. Air Force advanced team and a C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft loaded with support equipment departed Ramstein Air Base, Germany, en route to Kigali, where a logistics hub will be established to transport some 1,200 Rwandan soldiers to western Sudan over the next several weeks, U.S. European Command officials said in a release. On July 15, President Bush authorized an additional $6 million in emergency spending for the Defense Department to "to support the transportation of African Union forces to Darfur." The U.S. airlift is part of NATO's response to support the AU's expanded peacekeeping mission in Darfur with logistics and training. The mission is part of the larger multinational effort to improve security and create conditions in which humanitarian assistance can reach the people of Darfur, where civil conflict is estimated to have killed tens of thousands and displaced some 2 million more people. NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer announced on June 9 that the alliance would help the AU expand its peacekeeping force in Darfur from 3,300 to about 7,700 in the coming months. Planning for the airlift mission is being coordinated by the U.S. European Command plans and operations center here, working with NATO logistics planners at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Three U.S. Air Forces in Europe C-130 Hercules transports and approximately 150 airmen from bases at Ramstein and Royal Air Force station Mildenhall, United Kingdom, along with additional strategic support from U.S. Transportation Command, will rotate Rwandan troops from Kigali, to El Fashir, Sudan, beginning in the next few days, officials announced. About 120 USAFE airmen and two C-130 aircraft from Ramstein deployed to Africa in October 2004 to conduct a similar mission. By mission's end, the C-130s had carried approximately 352 African Union troops and 118,000 pounds of cargo.
San Francisco Chronicle 15 July 2005 Grassroots project to relieve Sudan goes nationwide- Interfaith mission is to end atrocities in Darfur region Jim Doyle, Chronicle Staff Writer A Petaluma group that seeks to raise money for the victims of atrocities in the Darfur region of western Sudan is launching a nationwide campaign, timed to interfaith prayer events across America this weekend, to help at least 500,000 refugees by the end of this year. Tim Nonn, the founder of a grassroots campaign known as "Dear Sudan, Love Petaluma," has already raised about $12,000 -- enough to feed about 65,000 Sudanese refugees for one day. Similar fund-raising campaigns using the Dear Sudan moniker are under way in Marin, Contra Costa and Solano counties and in Santa Rosa, Washington, D.C., and Vancouver, British Columbia. Beginning today, churches and communities of Christians, Jews and Muslims across the Bay Area and nation are sponsoring three days of prayer sessions -- known as the National Weekend of Prayer and Reflection -- to mark one year after Congress declared that the upwelling of atrocities in western Sudan since February 2003 constituted genocide. Nonn, a former editor of technical journals who has a doctorate in Christian ethics, plans to use the anniversary events to launch a Web site Monday, at www.dearsudan.org. The campaign will call for 5,000 towns, cities and counties across the nation to initiate Dear Sudan campaigns to raise money for Sudanese refugees displaced from their homes and those living in U.N.- sponsored refugee camps. "That's the number of cities that we think it will take to save tens of thousands of Sudanese refugees that face death by the end of the year," Nonn said Thursday, "and to create the political will to stop the genocide." More than 2.5 million Sudanese people have been displaced from their homes, and more than 200,000 have fled across the border to Chad, according to the Save Darfur Coalition of New York, which represents about 120 religious and secular organizations that are pressing for an end to the violence in western Sudan. Humanitarian relief officials say that about 400,000 people have died as a result of violence, starvation and disease in western Sudan since government- sponsored militias began their attacks against civilians. Nonn, the primary caretaker of a 5-year-old boy, said he was moved to act after seeing images of Sudanese refugees on television and in newspapers and magazines. "For a long time, I couldn't look at those photos coming from Sudan," he said. "I didn't want to think about children dying." In September, Nonn gave a sermon at his home church, the United Church of Christ in Petaluma, telling members of the congregation that something needed to be done about Darfur. "I basically said we can't turn away from the genocide anymore," he said. The money raised in Petaluma goes to Church World Service, a humanitarian organization based in Elkhart, Ind. The group has retained Nonn to begin a national campaign to raise money to feed, clothe and provide medicine to Sudanese refugees as well as to fund advocacy and education campaigns to stop the genocide. "Our main source of support is the religious community," he said. "It's an interfaith effort in each community. Religious organizations lead the way. We encourage Jews, Catholics and Muslims to be involved in the leadership." Abby Fleishman, assistant director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, praised the campaign. "I don't think that any project alone is going to create the momentum that's needed to really light a fire under this administration," she said, "but I think it's an incredibly innovative grassroots model of advocacy." Helping Darfur refugees -- Donations may be sent to the Dear Sudan national campaign in care of Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. Contributors may also make a donation using a credit card by calling the organization at (800) 297- 1516. For information on the campaign, go to www.dearsudan.org beginning Monday. -- For information on the National Weekend of Prayer, go to www.savedarfur.org. E-mail Jim Doyle at email@example.com. Page B - 2
Oakland Tribune - Oakland,CA 16 July 2005 www.insidebayarea.com/oaklandtribune Lee: Vigil for Darfur not enough Oakland congresswoman pushes divestment in Sudan, where genocide has killed 400,000 By Angela Woodall, CORRESPONDENT Congress kicked off a national weekend of prayer Friday to call attention to the conflict in Darfur that lawmakers and President Bush have called genocide. Legislators, religious leaders and officials from non-governmental agencies urged more and faster action to end the violence in Darfur that has left an estimated 400,000 dead and more than a million displaced in the past two years. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said the weekend of prayer must be backed by action, citing the need for California to continue to mount its $9 billion divestment campaign to pull money out of retirement funds that invest in companies active in Sudan. "Californians don't want to have blood on their hands," Lee said. "They don't want to support genocide." Lee, who traveled to Darfur in January said, "I witnessed this humanitarian crisis — a crisis like none other I have ever seen." President Bush was criticized for not doing more to pressure the Sudanese government, which is blamed for provoking the tension in Darfur and arming Arab militias from the pastoralist community that carried out scorchedearth tactics against the non-Arab, black African farmers in Darfur. Tensions between the two sides have risen in the past decades because of water and land scarcity and demands by the non-Arab farmers for more say in the ongoing negotiations between the North and South, which ended a 20-year civil war that killed an estimated 1.2 million civilians. Other estimates put the number at 2 million. The Rev. Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals said leaders of the movement are not happy with the president's response to the genocide and urged him to "put Darfur at the top of his inbox." Of particular concern were indications that Washington is tightening ties with the Sudanese government in Khartoum, a U.S.-ally in the war on terror. They criticized a June 23 visit to Washington by Sudan's foreign minister, Mustafa Osman Ismail, to meet with the State Department's No. 2 official, Deputy Secretary Robert Zoellick. That visit followed the arrival several months ago of Sudanese intelligence chief Salah Abdallah Gosh, who was invited by the CIA to share information about the war on terrorism, according to news reports. Sudan is on the State Department's list of terrorist-sponsoring states, blocking most U.S. trade and assistance. The State Department has said it will not lift sanctions until the situation has improved.
Auburn Citizen - Auburn,NY 16 July 2005 www.auburnpub.com Riders aim for genocide awareness By Linda Ober / The Citizen Saturday, July 16, 2005 12:12 AM EDT SKANEATELES - Elvir Camdzic knows all too well about genocide. The Bosnian native grew up in Tuzla, about 30 miles away from where an estimated 8,000 unarmed Muslim men and boys were murdered by Serb forces July 11, 1995, in what has come to be known as the Srebrenica massacre. Today, Camdzic is concerned about mass killings in a different part of the world. "We thought that genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing had passed on with the ending of the 20th century," Camdzic said. "But we were wrong." Camdzic, director and co-founder of the San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition, is co-leading the "Ride Against Genocide," a 600-mile bike trip from Ithaca to Ottawa, Canada. The ride is an attempt to raise awareness about human rights violations in Darfur and to pressure the U.S. and Canadian governments to remain actively involved in measures that may put an end to it. The ride began July 11 in Ithaca with a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre. Riders will pass through Auburn around 11 a.m. today and will make a presentation 2 p.m. at the IDEA Center for the Voices of Humanity in Seneca Falls. Camdzic will ride up to Niagara Falls. As of Friday afternoon, Cornell history professor John Weiss, event organizer and the other leader, was the only confirmed rider who plans to go the whole 600 miles. The two men met in Bosnia in 1996, and Weiss later taught Camdzic at Cornell. Weiss will stop in about 27 towns; in some, he will make a presentation about Darfur, the western region of Sudan. Friday afternoon, Camdzic and Weiss arrived at the First Presbyterian Church in Skaneateles, drenched in sweat from the 80-degree plus weather but eager to talk. "I'm deeply convicted that it's not that Americans don't care about human rights issues, it's just that they don't have the information," Camdzic said. "That's why it's critical to raise awareness." Genocide in Darfur has claimed the lives of 400,000 people and displaced more than 2.5 million, according to the Genocide Intervention Fund, one of the sponsoring organizations. In addition to the GIF, other sponsors are the Cornell Darfur Action Group, San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition and Darfur Association of Canada. The killings, often referred to as "ethnic cleansing," are being perpetrated by Sudanese government-backed armed militias known as Janjaweed. "This is a systematic effort to destroy black, native, non-Arab tribes," Camdzic said. Along the ride, Weiss is making a video and hopes to gather at least 1,000 signatures for a petition that asks the U.S. and Canadian governments to aggressively monitor NATO's support of the African Union's deployment of troops. The union, Africa's main intergovernmental body, pledged to send 5,000 more troops to Darfur by the end of the summer; a previous deployment of 2,700 troops took more than six months, Camdzic said. "Every extra day it's taking them is directly costing lives," he said. The petition also asks that the U.S. and Canadian governments pressure AU to secure a mandate to protect civilians and aid workers. Camdzic credits the U.S. Congress for its recent efforts related to Darfur, including the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, now waiting for passage by the House of Representatives. The act reaffirms that the situation in Darfur is genocide - a statement first made by Congress in July of last year - and urges further action by the administration and international organizations. But Camdzic said that despite the U.S. government's recent attention, the administration hasn't responded very actively thus far. "All this outrage hasn't really produced a decisive action to put a stop to it, and this is what it really troubling for us," Camdzic said. "We needed action this summer to save some lives." Weiss agreed, noting that it was very important to get Canada involved. "We realize that you can't just have one country doing it," he said. "American policy has run to the end of its capabilities." Camdzic said that a large number of Darfuri continue to die from not only genocide but also starvation, malnutrition and disease, and that many are internally displaced or in refugee camps. "These people are perhaps already beyond the point of no return," he said. Though it was only Weiss, his wife and Camdzic riding Friday, Camdzic said that there have been people joining in and that there may be a bigger crowd over the weekend. Canadian co-sponsors have even estimated 1,000 riders for the final leg in Ottawa Aug. 8. The petition will be presented to the Canadian Parliament and U.S. Congress, Camdzic said.
washingtonpost.com U.S. Berated Over Indians' Treatment Judge Orders Interior Dept. to Send Written Warnings About Its Credibility By Evelyn Nieves Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, July 13, 2005; A19 In a scathing rebuke of the federal government's treatment of Native Americans, a federal judge yesterday ordered the Interior Department to include notices in its correspondence with Indians whose land the government holds in trust, warning them that the government's information may not be credible. U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth, who has presided for nearly 10 years over a class-action suit on behalf of 500,000 Indians whose land the government has leased to mining, ranching and timber interests, issued one of his most strongly worded opinions on the case. Lamberth ruled that the government essentially has to tell trust-account holders the information it sends them is not reliable. He also described in his 34-page opinion the history of the lawsuit as proof that the government continues to treat Indians "as if they were somehow less than deserving of the respect that should be afforded to everyone in a society where all people are supposed to be equal." Lamberth wrote: "For those harboring hope that the stories of murder, dispossession, forced marches, assimilationist policy programs, and other incidents of cultural genocide against the Indians are merely the echoes of a horrible, bigoted government-past that has been sanitized by the good deeds of more recent history, this case serves as an appalling reminder of the evils that result when large numbers of the politically powerless are placed at the mercy of institutions engendered and controlled by a politically powerful few." The Interior Department, in a statement, said the opinion "contains intemperate rhetoric uncommon to jurisprudence, but made common in this case" and pointed out that the District Court's opinion has been overturned in the three most recent appeals filed. Since 1996, when Eloise Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Indians of Montana, brought the class-action lawsuit against Interior seeking a complete accounting of the money collected and distributed in the trust accounts dating to 1879, Lamberth has found that the federal government has not lived up to its responsibilities in handling the trust accounts or the lawsuit. He has held two interior secretaries, Gale A. Norton of the Bush administration and Bruce Babbitt of the Clinton administration, in contempt of court. Yesterday, he wrote that "the entire record in this case tells the dreary story of Interior's degenerate tenure as Trustee-Delegate for the Indian trust, a story shot through with bureaucratic blunders, flubs, goofs and foul-ups, and peppered with scandals, deception, dirty tricks and outright villainy, the end of which is nowhere in sight." Elliot Levitas, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said the opinion could be a turning point in the case. The ruling will require the agency to notify individual trust-account holders who were not aware of the suit that they have a place to turn to if they suspect the government has been withholding money or information. "I predict that as a result of that, we'll be getting information from class members who will tell us about misconduct, misdeeds and mismanagement that we've not heard before. That will help us pursue the litigation," Levitas said. "I think that the public and the Congress are going to be enlightened, and be motivated to see that this injustice is ended and that the taint on our government be removed."
Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism 14 July 2005 www.freemuslims.org Press Corner Choosing Sides-The challenge for Muslims. July 14, 2005 By Alykhan Velshi “You’re either with us,” said President George W. Bush, in a much-maligned speech delivered after 9/11, “or you’re with the terrorists.” At the time, our thoughts turned to whether the United States of America and her allies would have the steel to fight the war on terrorism to a victorious conclusion. Since then, a goodly number of America’s allies have wobbled, especially over Iraq, but even they realize that the United States is not the bad guy. One cannot say the same for the many Muslims living in the West who have yet to pick a side in the war on terrorism. It shouldn’t be a difficult choice for Muslims. There is nothing in the Koran that sanctions violence on the scale we saw in London on 7/7, Madrid on 3/11, or New York on 9/11. There’s no passage endorsing suicide bombing, or its 7th-century equivalent. Indeed, suicide is a mortal sin in Islam: Muslims know this, and they also know that al Qaeda plays fast and loose with the Koran to justify its nihilist ideology. And yet, disquietingly, most have chosen to sit out this war — to remain insouciant while terrorists and brigands hijack their religion. The subway attacks in London have demonstrated once and for all the necessity for moderate Muslims to openly repudiate Islamist extremism. Two underground stations that were targeted — King’s Cross and Aldgate East — were hubs for ordinary Londoners going about their business. But the third target, Edgware Road Station, was different. Edgware Road is in an area heavily populated with Arab Muslims. Walking down Edgware Road in the evening, one sees Middle Eastern restaurants brimming over with young Muslims eating ethnic fare, smoking flavored tobacco in water pipes, drinking mint tea, and generally enjoying themselves. The London terror attacks — indeed, al Qaeda’s war against civilization — is against these moderate Muslims, too. It is a war against an Islam that is tolerant, adaptable to Western society, and that preaches respect and peace. Even if a significant number of moderate Muslims wanted to condemn terrorism and repudiate Islamist fanaticism, it might be very difficult to do so: The menace of fanaticism does not simply infect Islamist states, it also poisons its civil society, even in the West. Sadly — dangerously — it is not uncommon for U.S. and British Muslim groups to be evasive when discussing the war on terror. Of course they’ll condemn individual terrorist attacks, though more out of sympathy for the victims and their families than out of a sense of solidarity with the West. When so much of Islamic civil society is corroded by the ideology of extremism, moderate Muslim dissenters have few outlets to voice their frustration and stop the tragic hijacking of their faith. I experienced this firsthand while studying at the London School of Economics. Less than two weeks into my freshman year, after I expressed some interest in becoming involved in the student Islamic Society, I was invited to a screening of an incendiary video on the conflict in Chechnya, and another on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These videos were clearly intended to recruit potential terrorists: Indeed, the London School of Economics has a grim history on this front, having educated the terrorist who murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, and having unwittingly hosted the jihadist group al-Muhajiroun. What is more, another extremist group recently set up shop on campus, and invited a speaker who expressed his support for a nuclear Iran and a “global Islamic caliphate.” All this occurs because school authorities look the other way, refusing to monitor campus Islamic groups which are increasingly being taken over by extremists. When even Islamic civil society is controlled by fanatics and terror partisans, there is very little, if anything, that moderate Muslims can do. It is a sobering, sad, and thoroughly dispiriting truth. The war on terror is not simply against terror-sponsoring states, but against the institutions of civil society that give terrorists quiet support, that inflame local Muslim populations, and that prevent the emergence of a moderate, peaceful form of Islam. The war on terror can never be won unless Muslims who have the privilege of living in the West stand up for civilization against the forces of barbarism and nihilism. I wish I could say otherwise, but I won’t be holding my breath.
Waking Up to 'Islamo-Fascism' July 14, 2005 By M. Zuhdi Jasser As we all began digesting the news of last week's terrorist attack, most of America's Muslim organizations issued what has become a predictable, yet empty, round of condemnations. Articulated in press releases, these rote statements are not backed up with sincere attempts to acknowledge and fix the problems within Islam. Listening to these empty pronouncements, I can't help but ask: Where is our Muslim responsibility--our duty--to protect the world from the actions of our own? It is time for us Muslims to take ownership of our faith by moving beyond empty condemnations and ensuring that Islamo-fascists--those who seek to create an Islamic totalitarian theocracy through the use of any and all means--have no place in our world. These fascists are Muslims who have hijacked and twisted our faith. They subscribe to a medieval code where the ends justify the means. And you can hear their rhetoric not only in the Middle East; radical imams preach in London and in many cities in the U.S. Cutting off this lifeblood and its ideology should be the focus of our collective Muslim response. Many well-meaning Muslims react to news about Muslim terrorists by insisting that anyone who commits violent acts is, by definition, not part of Islam. But who are we fooling? The Islamo-fascists did not come out of thin air. They use our scripture, our prayers, our language, and our tradition--and they come from somewhere within our community. These killers are doing incomprehensibly evil actions across the world in the name of our religion, and because of that, my fellow Muslims and I should act now--decisively, publicly, and in tandem with our leadership--against Islamo-fascism. To argue whether they are Muslims or not--and what is a 'true' Islamic society--is only deflection and denial. Every time I experience the joy and spirituality of joining with my Muslim brothers and sisters in devotional prayer, I feel a perfect harmony of thought and movement as we bow and say God's praises together. Islam is a religion of community, and I know I can walk into any mosque in the world and join the congregation in reciting the same prayers I say at home. While my faith is very personal, without that communal energy, my religion is not complete. But with spiritual fulfillment and community connection come responsibility. Moderate, moral Muslims--that is to say, the vast majority of the world's Muslims--may see these Islamo-fascists as far removed from our reality; however the unforgiving truth is that we are responsible as a group for our weakest and also for our most corrupt and deranged. Islam has no formal clergy, and so it falls to the community as a whole, all of us, to take on this challenge. Denial serves nothing but the empty ego and is destined to fail. As Muslims we must help bring these barbaric Islamists to justice and assist in dismantling the systems that create them. How many wake-up calls do we need? Most faith groups have at some point in their histories seen their compasses falter, as deviants exploited their altars. However, those same faith groups have also eventually assumed responsibility for exposing, exterminating, and marginalizing the cancers who are their own. The need for Muslims to act now cannot be overstated, for it becomes exponentially more difficult after each horrific bombing. My fellow Muslims must immediately--and in large numbers--become proactive in the war against militant Islamists, or soon it may be too late. We owe it to the nations in which we live, as well as to our truly pluralistic faith. Many people ask what they or their communities could possibly do to counter a cancer like Islamo-fascism. But all Muslims--and all Muslim organizations--can play an active role in this battle. What it would mean to take a true stand against terror The immediate reaction to the London devastation should be declaration after declaration by Muslim leaders around the free world that we will immediately redirect all of our resources to combat al Qaeda and every other militant Islamist organization, in order to extinguish their barbarism. These barbarians should hear words from moderate Muslims around the globe that make them fear they will never again find a single religious haven for their ideology. As pluralistic Muslims take away from them the mantle of faith and the acceptance of their formative ideologies, they will be left with nothing but the depths of their own evil. It's time to build an anti-terror ethos within the Islamic community. We can publicly embarrass radical imams and organizations who preach hatred. We can publicly expose the twisted interpretations of the Qu'ran and Muslim teachings perpetuated by radical Islamists who justify killing innocent people in the name of our God. We can focus the public agenda of American Muslims on publicizing our commitment to our citizenship oath and to the American secular form of democratic government. We need to force a public debate with the Islamists, not run from it. By constantly reasserting Muslim critiques of Wahhabism, Salafism, and other fundamentalist Islamist ideologies that feed terrorist networks, we will fight terror at its core. It is time to ensure that Islamic sermons around the world teach Muslims to dismantle terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Hezbullah, and any group that harbors, teaches, and trains the world's future Islamo-fascists. In addition, we must root out all hate and intolerance from the educational texts in our mosques, which we use to teach our youth and our co-religionists. Anti-Semitism, anti-Western feelings, and chauvinism should be combated directly by American Muslim organizations. And we need to teach our Muslim-American youth to feel a sense of responsibility to our America, which gives us freedom and liberty. Why is it that so many people from every minority in America are dying to liberate Iraq and Afghanistan and free the world from the Islamo-fascists while so few American Muslim organizations have actively encouraged military service since 9-11? We should sponsor public campaigns to encourage our community to join the military and law-enforcement agencies. What better way to ensure that enforcement of the Patriot Act does not unfairly target Muslims than to have American Muslims within law enforcement? Allegiance to our country is in fact a deeply Islamic obligation. The war against Islamo-fascism has many fronts, and moderate Muslims need to be leading the struggle. We must always remember the Qu'ranic teachings on peace and justice, such as: "Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be against rich or poor, for God can best protect both. Follow not the cravings of your hearts, lest you swerve, and if you distort justice or decline to do justice, verily God is well acquainted with all that you do." (Qu'ran 4:135). At its core, "terror" is simply a barbarically evil tactic in a war of ideologies. Muslims, and only Muslims, hold the keys to the flood gates that can drown militant Islamists in their own twisted interpretations of scripture. But time is running short. Muslims must realize the challenge before us and step forward on all these fronts or risk losing our freedoms and our faith to the barbarism of Islamo-fascist terror. It is time that the majority of Muslims said, "not on our watch."
The Free Muslims Coalition is a nonprofit organization made up of American Muslims and Arabs of all backgrounds who feel that religious violence and terrorism have not been fully rejected by the Muslim community in the post 9-11 era. Founder, Kamal Nawash Kamal Nawash began life as a Palestinian refugee. One of six children born in Bethlehem, Kamal was nine years old when his family arrived in New Orleans in 1979. Upon completing his education in 1997, he became the Legal Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Today Kamal is a successful attorney with degrees in business and law and international legal studies. An active member in his community, as well as in his voting district, Kamal ran as a Republican candidate for Virginia State Senate in 2003.
NYT 16 July 2005 Ruling Lets U.S. Restart Trials at Guantánamo By NEIL A. LEWIS WASHINGTON, July 15 - A federal appeals court ruled unanimously on Friday that the military could resume war crimes trials of terrorism suspects at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, which were suspended last year. The decision, by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, reversed a lower court's ruling that abruptly halted the first war crimes trials conducted by the United States since the aftermath of World War II. The appeals judges said the Bush administration's plan to try some detainees before military commissions did not violate the Constitution, international law or American military law. Their ruling, in the case of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a driver for Osama bin Laden, was a significant legal victory for the administration, which has found itself engaged in several court battles over tools that officials say they need to fight terrorist groups. "The president's authority under the laws of our nation to try enemy combatants is a vital part of the global war on terror," Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said on Friday, "and today's decision reaffirms this critical authority." Neal K. Katyal, a Georgetown University law professor who represented Mr. Hamdan, said he would consider an appeal. "Today's ruling," Mr. Katyal said, "places absolute trust in the president, unchecked by the Constitution, statutes of Congress and longstanding treaties ratified by the Senate of the United States." He noted that many retired senior officers who had signed a brief supporting his position maintained that the way detainees at Guantánamo had been treated imperiled American troops who might themselves be captured on the battlefield. Military officials have said in recent weeks that they are eager and ready to resume the trial of Mr. Hamdan. At a Senate hearing on Thursday, Brig. Gen. Thomas L. Hemingway, the Air Force officer who supervises the military commission process, and Daniel J. Dell'Orto, the Pentagon's principal deputy general counsel, both said they expected war crimes trials to resume within 30 to 45 days if the appeals court ruled in their favor. Of more than 500 detainees remaining at Guantánamo, Mr. Hamdan is one of four who have so far been charged with war crimes. Twelve others have been designated by President Bush as eligible for trial, and military officials have suggested that they are prepared to bring charges against dozens of other prisoners there should the president designate them as well. Mr. Hamdan, a 35-year-old Yemeni who was captured in Afghanistan, is charged with conspiracy to commit attacks on civilians, murder and terrorism. He has argued through his lawyers that although he served as a driver for Mr. bin Laden, he was not a member of Al Qaeda and never took up arms against Americans or their allies. He was sitting in a Guantánamo courtroom when the proceedings in his case were suddenly halted Nov. 8 by the earlier court decision, issued by James Robertson, a federal district judge in Washington. Judge Robertson ruled that the military commissions violated the Geneva Conventions, the principal international laws of war, to which the United States is a signatory; violated the Constitution, because, he said, the president did not have the necessary authority from Congress; and violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which, he said, requires that detainees be tried under the same conditions as American soldiers who are court-martialed. In Friday's decision, written by Judge A. Raymond Randolph, the appeals court rejected all three rationales, with occasionally disdainful language. The court said it was well established that the Geneva Conventions "do not create judicially enforceable rights" - that is, accusations of a violation may not be brought in a lawsuit. The appeals panel also held that Judge Robertson had been incorrect in maintaining that Congress had not authorized Mr. Bush to set up the commissions. Congress gave him the authority to do so, the panel said, in three resolutions dealing with terrorism. In one, the lawmakers authorized the president "to use all necessary and appropriate force" against anyone who had abetted the Sept. 11 attacks, and granted him the authority to act to prevent international acts of terrorism. In addition, the appeals court said the commissions were not bound by the rules of courts-martial, like allowing for defendants to be present at all times. In the earlier decision, Judge Robertson noted that Mr. Hamdan had been excluded from the Guantánamo courtroom for some of the proceedings after the military commission's chief judge ruled that classified information was likely to be exposed. The three judges who issued the ruling were all nominated to the bench by Republican presidents. Judge Randolph, chosen by the first President Bush, was joined in the decision by Judges John Roberts, nominated by the current president, and Stephen F. Williams, by President Ronald Reagan. Judge Robertson, of the lower court, was nominated by President Bill Clinton. The war crimes commissions are one of three types of legal bodies created by the military to deal with detainees at Guantánamo. The first, called combatant status review tribunals, made up of three-officer panels, considered the cases of all the detainees to determine if they had been properly deemed unlawful enemy combatants, who, the military said, could be held there indefinitely. Those tribunals found that all but 33 of more than 560 detainees then at Guantánamo had been properly imprisoned. This year, the military began a second set of proceedings for the remaining detainees, now numbering about 520. In these proceedings, before "administrative review boards," panels of three officers are asked to determine if the detainee is no longer a threat and thus may be eligible for release. No figures from those deliberations have been announced. Separately, nearly 200 of the Guantánamo prisoners are represented in lawsuits in federal court. Those actions were made possible by a Supreme Court ruling in June 2004 that detainees could use the civilian court system to challenge their imprisonment.
NYT' 15 July 2005 July 15, 2005 Theater Listings By THE NEW YORK TIMES BEAST ON THE MOON' Richard Kalinoski's musty romantic drama depicts the fractious marriage of two survivors of the genocide of Armenians during World War I. Larry Moss's production is respectable and effective, but the performances by Omar Metwally and Lena Georgas are exhaustingly busy (2:00). Century Center for the Performing Arts, 111 East 15th Street, Flatiron district, (212) 239-6200. (Isherwood)
July 16, 2005 A Producer Takes Over By JASON ZINOMAN A drama set in the shadow of the early 20th-century Armenian genocide, "Beast on the Moon" is already melodramatic enough. It doesn't need exaggerated facial expressions and theatrical line readings, but if David Grillo is overdoing it a bit as the pained photographer Aram, it may be because he has more at stake than your typical replacement actor. He is also the co-producer. When it was announced that Mr. Grillo hired himself to replace the Tony nominee Omar Metwally ("Sixteen Wounded"), who is taking a hiatus to appear in Steven Spielberg's movie about the terrorist attack at the 1972 Olympics, some theater people snickered. But to be fair, Mr. Grillo does have a long résumé of credits, and his elocution and classical posture are evidence of a trained performer. And since he has played Aram in a regional production in Boston, he needn't bone up on the part - or, presumably, waste time with contract negotiations. Richard Kalinoski's old-fashioned memory play hinges on a delicate interplay between Aram and his teenage bride, Seta (Lena Georgas), but these actors never seem to connect. Ms. Georgas delivers a subtle, lived-in performance, but she often seems onstage with strangers. Mr. Grillo relishes monologues, which he delivers with brio. But when she's speaking, he overplays his reactions. Once upset, he turns away from the actors and gazes into the distance. (Is he getting a closer look at the paint job?) Mr. Metwally returns in early August. In the meantime, Mr. Grillo deserves credit for chutzpah, a quality that will take him far as a producer. (Read Charles Isherwood's review of the original production.) "Beast on the Moon" is at the Century Center, 111 East 15th Street, Manhattan, (212) 239-6200.
swarthmore.edu 19 July 2005 Swarthmore College Establishes Scholarship to Fight Genocide SWARTHMORE, Pa., July 19 (AScribe Newswire) -- Swarthmore College's newest scholarship is named for Raphael Lemkin, a lifelong advocate for human rights and the man who coined the word "genocide." The scholarship is funded by a gift from Ann and John Montgomery, both members of the Class of 1977, who asked members of the Genocide Intervention Fund to help devise its name and scope. The Montgomery's gift was matched by Bridgeway Capital Management, a mutual fund advisory firm founded by John Montgomery that donates half of its own advisory fee profits to charitable and non-profit organizations. The Lemkin scholarship will recognize students who are "upstanders," a term used by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Samantha Power in her book "A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide." To be chosen, students must demonstrate distinguished academic and extracurricular achievement and demonstrable interest in human rights, especially in anti-genocide work. As Lemkin Scholars, they will serve as interns for several institutions focusing on human rights and international justice, such as the international tribunals of Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia, the Genocide Intervention Fund, Human Rights Watch, and International Crisis Group. The Genocide Intervention Fund was started by Swarthmore students last year in response to the crisis in Darfur. It aims to provide critically needed supplies to African Union peacekeepers on the ground there, increase public awareness about genocide, and pressure the international community to fulfill its responsibility to protect civilians targeted by genocide. - - - - CONTACT: Alisa Giardinelli, Swarthmore Media Relations, 610-690-5717, firstname.lastname@example.org ABOUT: Located near Philadelphia, Swarthmore is a highly selective liberal arts college whose mission combines academic rigor with social responsibility. Swarthmore, with an enrollment of 1,450, is consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Media Contact: Alisa Giardinelli, 610-690-5717, email@example.com
BBC 19 Jul, 2005 Olympics bomber gets life in jail Eric Rudolph agreed a plea bargain US Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph has been sentenced to life in jail for the 1998 bombing of an Alabama abortion clinic, which killed one person. Under a plea bargain that spared him the death sentence, Rudolph received two life sentences without parole for the attack in the city of Birmingham. Next month he will get two more life terms for the Atlanta Olympic bombings and two other attacks in the city. During sentencing Rudolph said abortion must be fought with "deadly force". "Children are disposed of at will," the 38-year-old said in court on Monday. The widow of the police officer killed in the 1998 attack said that in her opinion "there is no punishment great enough" for Rudolph. Former fugitive The attack on the New Woman All Women Health Care clinic on 29 January 1998 killed Robert Sanderson and seriously wounded nurse Emily Lyons. Rudolph is suspected of following a white supremacist sect that is against abortion. BOMBINGS BLAMED ON RUDOLPH 1996: Atlanta Olympic games, 1 dead 1997: Atlanta gay nightclub 1997: Atlanta abortion clinic 1998: Birmingham abortion clinic, 1 dead Profile of Eric Rudolph The four blasts killed two people and injured more than 120 others. The fatal attack during the 1996 Olympics marred the Games and led to fears of US domestic terrorism. After being identified following the attacks, Rudolph spent more than five years on the run in the North Carolina wilderness. He employed the survivalist techniques he had learned as a soldier. Rudolph was captured in 2003 while scavenging for food behind a grocery store.
Chicago Tribune 20 July 2005 www.chicagotribune.com Senator hires genocide expert Jill Zuckman, Washington Bureau Published July 20, 2005 WASHINGTON -- Sen. Barack Obama has snared a high-profile human-rights activist, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and lecturer from Harvard to join his Senate staff, advising him on issues of genocide and the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan. Samantha Power, winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide," is expected to become a foreign policy adviser to the Illinois Democrat, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "She has terrific expertise, like Darfur," Obama said. "It's a mutual interest on her part and my part." Obama said that he and Power are still discussing when she would join his staff but that they had struck an agreement in principle. Power is a lecturer in public policy at the Kennedy School of Government and the founding executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. From 1993 to 1996, she covered the wars in the former Yugoslavia for U.S. News & World Report, the Economist and the Boston Globe.
NYT 17 July 2005 Afghan Tribal Chief Killed By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS KABUL, Afghanistan, July 16 (AP) - Gunmen suspected of being Taliban kidnapped and hanged a pro-government tribal leader in southern Afghanistan, an official said Saturday. The leader, Agha Jan, was kidnapped Thursday with his two sons, brother and two nephews from his home in southern Zabul Province, said the local police chief, Gul Habib Jan. Agha Jan's relatives were freed unharmed, but the tribal chief's body was found on Friday. The police chief described him as a "strong supporter" of President Hamid Karzai. Dozens of prominent supporters of Mr. Karzai's American-backed administration, and more than 700 other people, have been killed since March.
Amnesty UK18 July 2005 Zardad conviction: Major step forward in fight against torture Responding to today’s news (18 July) that a British court has found the Afghan national Faryadi Zardad guilty of torture and hostage-taking in Afghanistan, Amnesty International has hailed the case as an important development in the international fight against torture. Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said: “This prosecution is a major step forward in the international fight against torture and the UK authorities should be congratulated for bringing this man to justice. “This case strengthens the legal principle that torture is an international crime and that there is no hiding place for torturers around the world. “It sends out the message that torture is a vile crime and there should be no safe havens for torturers.” A jury at the Old Bailey found Zardad guilty earlier today after hearing evidence of numerous incidents of summary execution and hostage-taking in Afghanistan between 1991-96 when Zardad’s armed group controlled a road between the Afghan capital Kabul and the city of Jalalabad. Amnesty International has consistently called on all governments to prosecute in cases of suspected torture if prosecutions could not realistically be secured in countries where alleged offences have taken place. Background Zardad’s trial was brought under the legal principle of ‘universal jurisdiction’, where international crimes are tried in a country other than where offences took place. The Zardad case was only the second trial in the UK ever brought in this fashion. The other occurred in 1999, when Anthony (Andrzej) Sawoniuk was convicted under the War Crimes Act 1991 of war crimes during the Second World War and sentenced to life in prison. Prior to today’s judgment, all efforts to prosecute persons in Britain for crimes under international law have been unsuccessful. Prior to Sawoniuk’s case, only one of hundreds of suspected Nazi war criminals living in Britain was prosecuted, and that prosecution was ended on medical grounds. None of the other efforts, such as the five attempts to prosecute former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet when he was detained in London pending a decision on extradition requests from four countries in 1998 and 1999, were successful. In one case, that of Tharcisse Muvunyi, a Rwandan, the police investigation of his alleged role in killings and torture in Rwanda did not result in a determination whether to charge him or not. The investigation ended with his transfer to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where he was convicted of these crimes. In addition there has been an attempt in the Scottish courts to prosecute a Sudanese doctor for torture in Sudan but the prosecution abandoned that attempt on grounds of “insufficient evidence.”
washingtonpost.com 13 July 2005 Big Shift in China's Oil Policy With Iraq Deal Dissolved by War, Beijing Looks Elsewhere By Peter S. Goodman Washington Post Foreign Service Wednesday, July 13, 2005; D01 SHANGHAI -- Until recently, China's view of the global energy map focused narrowly on the Middle East, which holds roughly two-thirds of the world's oil. Special attention was directed toward one well-supplied country: Iraq. Through cultivation of Saddam Hussein's government, China sought to develop some of Iraq's more promising reserves. Beijing advocated lifting the United Nations sanctions that prevented investment in Iraq's oil patch and limited sales of its production. Then the United States went to war in Iraq in 2003, wiping out China's stakes. The war and its aftermath have reshaped China's basic conception of the geopolitics of oil and added urgency to its mission to lessen dependence on Middle East supplies. It has reinforced China's fears that it is locked in a zero-sum contest for energy with the world's lone superpower, prompting Beijing to intensify its search for new sources, international relations and energy experts say. As a vocal camp in Congress recoils at the prospect of a Chinese state-owned company, Cnooc Ltd., taking control of the California-based Unocal Corp., the Bush administration's decision to wage the war in Iraq stands out as a crucial factor in explaining how China came to scour the earth for energy and why the effort is likely to remain central to U.S.-Chinese relations for some time, those analysts say. "Iraq changed the government's thinking," said Pan Rui, an international relations expert at Fudan University in Shanghai. "The Middle East is China's largest source of oil. America is now pursuing a grand strategy, the pursuit of American hegemony in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is the number one oil producer, and Iraq is number two [in terms of reserves]. Now, the United States has direct influence in both countries." Many other factors help explain China's motives in dispatching its energy companies abroad for new stocks. Oil demand is exploding in China as people embrace automobiles and as factories, apartment towers and office buildings proliferate. For the third summer in a row, China is rationing energy, limiting production in industrial areas. In little more than a decade, China has changed from a net exporter of oil into the world's second-largest importer, trailing only the United States. Concern is mounting about future prospects for China's domestic oil production, which supplies about two-thirds of the country's crude oil needs. China's government estimates that it will need 600 million tons of crude oil a year by 2020, more than triple its expected output. Worldwide, the best oil fields are already claimed. For the United States, Europe and Japan, the oil shocks of the 1970s supplied the lessons that have shaped their thinking about energy. China is a latecomer to the vagaries of the global energy business. It is grappling with how to manage dramatic growth and soaring demand for energy at the same time it confronts the implications of interventionist U.S. foreign policy. "Many people argue that oil interests are the driving force behind the Iraq war," said Zhu Feng, a security expert at Beijing University. "For China, it has been a reminder and a warning about how geopolitical changes can affect its own energy interests. So China has decided to focus much more intently to address its security." Throughout China's modern history, and particularly under Communist Party rule, the country's leaders have sought self-sufficiency -- a drive fueled by nationalist pride and the experience of colonialism, which fed notions that the outside world wants to prevent China's rise as a great power. Under the rule of Mao Zedong, China -- under the banner of fending for itself -- focused on oil production in its northeast, near the city of Daqing. The government's current push to secure foreign oil fields is driven by worries that there may one day be too little oil to meet worldwide demand and that foreign powers -- in particular the United States -- will choke China. "If the world oil stocks were exceeded by growth, who would provide energy to China?" said Shen Dingli, an international relations expert at Fudan University, who advises the government on security policy. "America would protect its own energy supply. The U.S. is China's major competitor." Such fears involve Taiwan, the self-governing island claimed by China. The United States has pledged to help Taiwan should China attack. Officials in Beijing envision being cut off from energy supplies by the U.S. Navy in the event of war. Many energy experts say owning oil fields provides no real energy security. It does not cushion against a rising cost of energy because no one country is large enough to determine the market price. Neither does it ensure access, because getting oil where it is needed depends largely upon shipping lanes policed by the U.S. Navy. "There's an illusion that ownership ensures either volume or price," said William H. Overholt, director of the Rand Center for Asia-Pacific Policy in Santa Monica, Calif. "Oil is an internationally traded commodity. The key is having secure lines of supply from the Middle East." Even the chairman of Cnooc asserted in an interview that buying foreign oil fields would give China additional security, dismissing the notion that anything other than commercial interest motivates his company's $18.5 billion bid for Unocal. "In today's world, as long as you have money, you can buy oil from anywhere," Fu Chengyu said. Fu maintained that Cnooc's interest in Unocal is purely commercial. The Chinese company is eager to have Unocal's substantial oil and gas reserves in Southeast Asia to help feed the liquid-natural-gas terminals it is developing in coastal China. For China's leaders, however, buying foreign oil and gas fields in the name of energy security has become a central mission. Throughout the 1990s, China made deals to lock in long-term supplies and buy installations from Africa to Latin America. In 2002, Cnooc became the largest offshore oil producer in Indonesia when it bought a field from the Spanish firm Repsol YPF SA. The Iraq war substantially intensified the foreign push. Most immediately, it destroyed China's hopes of developing large assets in Iraq. China had been waiting for the end of sanctions to begin work on the Al-Ahdab field in central Iraq, under a $1.3 billion contract signed in 1997 by its largest state-owned firm, China National Petroleum Corp. The field's production potential has been estimated at 90,000 barrels a day. China was also pursuing rights to a far bigger prize -- the Halfayah field, which could produce 300,000 barrels a day. Together, those two fields might have delivered quantities equivalent to 13 percent of China's current domestic production. But the larger impact of the war was on China's understanding of the rules of the global energy game. "The turning point in China's energy strategy was the Iraq war," said Tong Lixia, an energy expert at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, which is affiliated with China's Commerce Ministry. "After 2003, both the companies and the government realized China could not rely on one or two oil production areas. It's too risky." This year, China began work on a strategic oil reserve in coastal Zhejiang province that would allow the country to operate without imports for as long as three months. But the biggest emphasis has been on securing new stocks abroad, particularly in neighboring countries such as Kazakhstan and Russia, to limit dependence on shipping lanes. China National Petroleum Corp. led the way. Since 2003, the company has signed 20 contracts to explore or purchase production facilities in 12 countries, including Peru, Tunisia, Azerbaijan and Mauritania. In 2004, the company's production of natural gas at overseas facilities nearly doubled from the previous year. Its overseas oil production climbed by a fifth. Late last year, President Hu Jintao said Chinese companies would invest $5 billion in oil projects in Argentina. So far, however, China's foreign campaign has delivered more lessons in the difficulties of the energy business than energy itself. In June 2003, Beijing hailed a $150 billion agreement with Russia to tap fields in Siberia and send the oil through a new pipeline to China. The project was to supply as much as one-third of China's needed imports by 2030. But that deal appeared to disintegrate when the Russian signatory, Yukos Oil Co., fell into disarray last year after its chief founder was jailed on tax-evasion charges. Japan appears poised to capture the Siberian oil with a promise of at least $6 billion to develop the fields, though recent indications are that Beijing is putting together an even more generous package to bring the project back, according to an adviser to the government. With so much competition for assets, China has pursued deals with international pariah states that are off-limits to Western oil companies because of sanctions, security concerns or the threat of bad publicity. China National Petroleum is the largest shareholder in a consortium running much of the oil patch in Sudan, a country accused by the United States of genocide in its western region of Darfur. Last year, China signed a $70 billion oil and gas purchase agreement with Iran, undercutting efforts by the United States and Europe to isolate Teheran and force it to give up plans for nuclear weapons. If Cnooc acquires Unocal, it would have gas fields and a pipeline in Burma, whose operation by the U.S. company has been criticized by human-rights groups. "No matter if it's rogue's oil or a friend's oil, we don't care," said an energy adviser to the central government who spoke on the condition he not be identified, citing the threat of government disciplinary action. "Human rights? We don't care. We care about oil. Whether Iran would have nuclear weapons or not is not our business. America cares, but Iran is not our neighbor. Anyone who helps China with energy is a friend." Special correspondents Eva Woo and Jason Cai contributed to this report.
CRIENGLISH.com 20 July 2005 Evidence of Nanjing Massacre Kept by U.S. Missionary On Display Over 100 pieces of valued documents, preserved from the Nanjing Massacre, have begun being displayed in Memorial Hall of Victims. (Minnie Vautrin with her collegues at Ginling's College for Women) Over 100 pieces of valued documents, preserved from the Nanjing Massacre, have begun being displayed in the Memorial Hall of the Victims on Wednesday in Nanjing. These documents were shown for the first time in China by the granddaughter of Minnie Vautrin, including photos, letters, passports and armbands that belonged to Minnie Vautrin. Minnie Vautrin was born in 1886 in the United States. She came to China in 1912 as a missionary. Then she became president of Ginling's College for Women in Nanjing in 1919. On December 13, 1937, the Japanese army conquered Nanking, Vautrin bravely turned Ginling into a safety zone with 20 other foreigners, placing over 10,000 Chinese children and women under their protection. The pictures and diary kept by Vautrin during the massacre has proven the atrocities committed by the Japanese army. Part of these documents will be displayed in August in Beijing.
BBC 21 Jul, 2005 Chinese riot farmers regain land Footage of the riot Chinese farmers have won a dispute over land rights which culminated in a bloody riot last month in the northern province of Hebei, state media says. The June clashes, in which six people died, were filmed by a local and given widespread publicity abroad. Farmers in Shengyou village, northern Hebei province, were angry they had not been compensated for land proposed for a power plant's ash storage yard. Now, the yard will be built in a place where it will take less arable land. "[Because] Shengyou village, the originally proposed site of the power plant's ash storage yard, has a big population but relatively little land, the Hebei provincial government... has now made a decision not to requisition land from that village," Xinhua state news agency reported. Dramatic footage handed to The Washington Post in June showed local farmers fighting a pitched battle with dozens of unidentified men wearing camouflage gear and construction helmets wielding hunting rifles and clubs. Arrests Police have since arrested 31 people and detained another 131 involved in the incident, Xinhua said. Violent disputes like this one are common in China, where competition for useable land is fierce. On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that farmers in eastern Zhejiang province had forced a pharmaceutical plant to halt activity in a row over pollution. A factory official told the Associated Press news agency that government officials were negotiating with the farmers. The eviction of local people to make way for new developments is becoming one of the country's sharpest social issues, says a BBC correspondent in Beijing, Daniel Griffiths.
www.kuam.com 19 July 2005 Ceremony held to remember Fena massacre 61 years ago by Sabrina Salas Matanane, KUAM News A solemn ceremony for the 61st anniversary of the Fena massacre was commemorated today at Ga'an Point in Agat. World War II for many is a black-and-white war, meaning you only knew what was shown on television in those rather non-descript colors. But for the survivors, such as those of the massacre, they remember the war in full color - mainly red. 61 years ago on July 23, 33 young men and women from the villages of Agat and Sumay were massacred by Japanese troops who invaded Guam during World War II. Stories from survivors like Tan Chong San Nicolas are devastating - she was just eight years old when the Japanese lied to she and her family in order to march them to their deaths. She says they were taken to a nearby cave where they were told to rest before reporting for an important job in the morning. But that night, while resting peacefully, nearly everyone in the cave was massacred. "When we went there we were told to rest in the cave, and then at midnight or some time after midnight they came into the cave and began killing, you know," she recalled. Art Toves was another survivor who was so choked up he could barely compose himself for on-camera interview. "Believe me, it was something I don't even share with my children. But what I did say that I experienced was coming from my heart," he explained. He explained that he was a mere teenager when the Japanese ordered him to dig two graves in Agat before having to bury them. He watched in terror as the Japanese shot and beheaded his very own relatives. Senator Mike Cruz (D) attended the ceremony in support of his grandmother and uncles who were murdered during the Fena massacre. To his shock just today, he learned that it was Mr. Toves who literally dug the graves for his family. KUAM's Sonya Artero contributed to this report .
BBC 17 July 2005 Indonesia agrees Aceh peace deal The conflict in Aceh has gone on for 30 years The Indonesian government and rebels from the province of Aceh have agreed a deal to end a 30-year-old insurgency. Indonesian Communications Minister Sofyan Djalil made the announcement in the Finish capital Helsinki where the talks are being held. But confusing messages have been given by the government in Jakarta, says our correspondent there, Rachel Harvey. It is not clear if Jakarta has agreed to allow rebels to form their own political parties - a sticking point. The talks began after the tsunami that killed at least 120,000 people in Aceh. The differences have been ironed out Sofyan Djalil Indonesian Communications Minister A deal will facilitate the delivery of international reconstruction aid to the province - which was worst hit by December's tsunami. About 15,000 people have died in the three decades-old conflict. A previous peace deal broke down in May 2003 amid bitter recriminations. Unclear messages The meeting, brokered by Finnish mediators, had been deadlocked over the issue of political representation. The Free Aceh Movement (Gam) - which has given up its demands for independence for the province - had insisted on being allowed to form its own political party. Negotiators had rejected a proposal that would allow them to field candidates within existing political parties, demanding instead that it be allowed to form its own political party. ACEH: ESSENTIAL FACTS Located on the northern tip of Sumatra island Population of 4.3m people Rich fuel resources, including oil and natural gas Gam rebels have been fighting for an independent state The compromise was sent to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Saturday. "The differences have been ironed out," Mr Djalil said in Helsinki. "The president has agreed to the draft submitted by GAM about political parties." However, in Jakarta, the president said he would not agree to the rebels' demand "in an easy way". Our correspondent says it is not clear what he meant. The two sides are scheduled to unveil details in Helsinki later on Sunday.
UPI16 July 2005 Iraqi president supports Kirkuk proposal BAGHDAD, July 16 (UPI) -- Iraq's interim President Jalal Talabani supports a proposal to resolve a dispute over the ethnic identity of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. Talabani recently met with an Arab delegation from the northern city and blessed a proposal to allow all ethnic residents originating from Kirkuk to return to their hometown. An official statement said the president stressed finding a just solution to the issue of Kirkuk that would "consolidate Arab-Kurdish brotherly links." The Arab delegation from Kirkuk, where Arabs, Kurds and ethnic Turkmen have lived for hundreds of years, suggested all Arab Iraqis who moved to Kirkuk during the Saddam Hussein regime be allowed to remain there if they choose and to allow all the residents who left to return, regardless of their ethnic background. Talabani, a Kurd, reportedly insisted Kurds did not want to expel the Arabs from Kirkuk, "but at the same time they oppose the policy of ethnic cleansing and changing the demographic reality" of the city. The Kurds have demanded Kirkuk become part of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, but the Arabs and Turkmen say the Kurds had never been a majority.
July 16, 2005 No Date yet for Saddam Hussein's Trial - Court By REUTERS Filed at 8:23 a.m. ET BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi prosecutors are close to completing investigations into some accusations against Saddam Hussein but no date has been set for the ousted leader's trial, an official in the tribunal that will try him said on Saturday. ``The investigation is continuing. When we finish the investigation we will send it to the chief judge who will decide a time,'' the official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters. ``Some of the cases are close to being finished. There are always new twists in the investigations that could lead to new investigations which will take more time.'' Some media reports have said the toppled Iraqi dictator could stand trial in the next two months, but the official said: ``These are just predictions and we are not responsible for such statements.'' Iraqis saw Saddam on camera for the first time in a year in June, apparently being questioned by a judge about killings of Shi'ite villagers after an attempt on his life in the village of Dujail in 1982. Government officials have said the Dujail incident could provide a test case for a swift trial. The tribunal official said that an investigation into the Dujail accusations is close to completion. A government source has told Reuters that prosecutors believe they can build a strong test case for Saddam's personal role at Dujail, possibly based on testimony from a half-brother and the former vice-president, accelerating the trial process. The Shi'ite- and Kurdish-led government has said it wants to try Saddam for his life within months -- before an election due in December. U.S. and international demands that a trial should be fair and fully prepared suggest that timetable is improbable. Iraqi officials believe trying Saddam and some of his most feared aides will help defuse an Arab Sunni insurgency led by former army officers and intelligence agents in his Baath Party. But similar predictions after his capture in December 2003 and his first court appearance a year ago failed to come true. A guerrilla campaign dominated by Saddam loyalists which also includes foreign fighters from other Arab states shows few signs of weakening. Proving guilt for genocide and crimes against humanity in broader cases, such as the suppression of Shi'ite and Kurdish uprisings -- part of a list of accusations -- may take much longer than the Dujail case. The prosecution will allege the killings were reprisals for a gun attack on Saddam's motorcade as it passed through Dujail, 60 km north of Baghdad, in July 1982. U.S. forces guard Saddam and his aides at a base near Baghdad. Saddam questions the tribunal's authority and his complaints of ``victor's justice'' strike a chord with fellow Sunni Arabs. But many Iraqis want a quick death sentence.
BBC 16 July 2005 Many killed in Iraq suicide bomb At least 58 people have been killed in a suicide bomb attack in the town of Musayyib, some 60 km (40 miles) south of Baghdad. Police told the BBC the bomber blew himself up near a mosque. The blast caused a nearby fuel tanker to explode. At least another 80 people are said to have been injured. The blast, the worst single attack in over two months, follows a week of violence in which 100 were killed in 16 suicide attacks in Baghdad. On Friday alone, 10 suicide bombers blew themselves up in a wave of attacks across the city. In a statement posted on the internet afterwards, the militant group al-Qaeda in Iraq said their leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had urged them to intensify their attacks. Earlier on Saturday, three British soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in central Amarah, south-east Iraq. Mixed town Musayyib is a mixed town near Kerbala where the majority of the population is Shia. MAJOR RECENT ATTACKS 15 July: Suicide bombs kill 16 13 July: Bomb kills 26 children 10 July: 20 army recruits killed 26 June: 35 die in Mosul attack 25 June: Suicide attacks kill 23 20 June: Several attacks, 31 dead 2 June: Multiple bombs kill 24 30 May: 27 dead in Hilla 11 May: 70 dead in Tikrit, Hawija 4 May: Irbil bombing kills 60 There have been bombings there in the past, but nothing on this scale, says the BBC's Richard Galpin in Baghdad. "This is a black day in the history of the town," Musayyib police chief Yas Khudayr told Reuters news agency. The attacker in Musayyib is thought to have detonated explosives that blew up a petrol tanker near the Shia mosque and a market. The explosion set neighbouring houses on fire and caused very serious damage, an interior ministry official told the AFP news agency. The police say there are so many casualties that ambulances are having to take them to hospitals in several neighbouring towns.
Karen Dabrowska 17 July 2005 Dabrowska.Org The Massacre Of Mesopotamia Posted: 07/16 From: Dabrowska Iraq is a country of firsts: the earliest villages and cities, writing, poetry, epic literature, temples, codified religion, armies, warfare, world economy and empire. Tragically it is also the first entire country to be designated an 'endangered site' by the World Monuments Fund (WMF). "Decades of political isolation, a protracted war with Iran and, more recently, the conflict begun in 2003 have put Iraq's extraordinary heritage at grave risk", said WMF President, Bonnie Burnham. "Widespread looting, military occupation, artillery fire, vandalism and other acts of violence are devastating Iraq. By focusing attention on imperiled sites, the WMF helps bring local communities, governments and preservation professionals together". Specific sites have been named by the WMF as a major risk, including the ancient Assyrian capital of Nineveh, the ziggurat in Ur, the temple precinct in Babylon and the 9th century spiral minaret in Samarra. The fund has begun working with the Iraq State Board Of Antiquities and Heritage to assess and document what has survived and plan for its long-term preservation. But this project, like all other endeavors to stop Iraq's heritage from becoming history - literally - has been delayed because of the threat of kidnappings and attacks by insurgents. Three Iraqi archaeologists who studied site management in Britain earlier this year, refused all publicity due to fear of reprisals for their "collaboration with Westerners" when they returned home. British archaeologists are training Iraqis to draw up the first modern inventory of the country's ancient sites and monuments in an attempt to curtail widespread looting. Tragically the ambitious survey which includes thousands of Sumerian palaces, Assyrian ziggurats and Bronze Age settlements has been delayed due to the security situation. "It has become desperate since the end of the war", said Bill Blake the head of English Heritage's metric survey team who recently returned from running courses in neighboring Jordan because of the dangers to Westerners in Iraq. "State control has effectively collapsed and people are helping themselves to whatever they can get. They are taking material for building or digging for antiquities to be sold abroad". The English Heritage team, working in partnership with the Getty Conservation Institute and the WMF have been advising their Iraqi counterparts on the latest surveying techniques, such as the use of GPS mapping equipment, date recording forms and satellite imaging. But if the looting does not stop little will be left to survey or record. Antiquities smuggling is a multibillion dollar business that ranks third in international monetary terms, behind drug smuggling and weapons sales. "The picture is appalling", said Joanne Farchakh Bajjaly, an independent archaeologist and journalist covering the Middle East, who has been studying Iraqi heritage for the last seven years. “More than 150 Sumerian cities dating back to the 4th millennium BC such as Umma, Umma Al-Akkareb, Larsa and Tello lie destroyed, turned into crater-filled landscapes of shredded pottery and broken bricks. If properly excavated these cities, covering 20 sq km, could help us learn about the development of the human race. But the looters have destroyed ancient monuments, erasing the region’s history in a tireless search for a cylinder seal, a sculpture or cuneiform tablet that they can sell to a dealer. Bajjaly’s view is echoed by Abdul Amir Hamadani an archaeologist, working in Nasiriyah, southern Iraq. “More than 100 Sumerian cities have been destroyed by looters since the beginning of the war. It’s a disaster that we all keep watching but about which we can do little. We are incapable of stopping the looting. We are five archaeologists, some hundred guards and occasionally a couple of policemen – and they are a million armed looters, backed by their tribes and the dealers”. It’s not only the ancient monuments which are suffering. Baghdad’s unique 19th century houses are also being destroyed as people want steel frames. The story of the Iraq Museum is another tragedy. In April 2003 looters plundered over 15,000 antiquities – at present more than half, spanning 10,000 years of human history, are still missing. It is too dangerous for museum staff to work on an inventory of the material that has been returned. And in summer, with no air conditioning due to the faltering electricity supply and temperatures of 40 degrees, even the most determined conservationists succumb to the unbearable heat and call it a day. The museum remains closed with little prospects of re-opening. After failing to protect the museum from looters the coalition forces added insult to injury by damaging archaeological sites. An alarming report by the keeper of the British Museum’s Near East Department, Dr John Curtis, describes how areas in the middle of Babylon were leveled to create a landing area for helicopters and parking lots for heavy vehicles. “They caused substantial damage to the Ishtar Gate, one of the most famous monuments from antiquity. US military vehicles crushed 2,600-year-old brick pavements, archaeological fragments were scattered across the site, more than 12 trenches were driven into ancient deposits and military earth-moving projects contaminated the site for future generations of scientists. Add to all that the damage caused to nine of the moulded brick figures of dragons in the Ishtar Gate by people trying to remove the bricks from the wall”. Joanne Farchakh Bajjaly concluded that there will be no end to the destruction of Iraq’s heritage unless the country’s leaders take a political decision to consider archaeology a priority. But the recent merger of the Iraq State Board Of Antiquities and Heritage with the newly created Tourism Ministry does not bode well for the future. The longer Iraq finds itself in a state of war, the more the cradle of civilization is threatened. It many not even last long enough for our grandchildren to learn from.
Los Angeles Times 17 July 2005 Saddam's fall rekindles a regional land dispute Louise Roug and Raheem Salman BAGHDAD -- Near the Musa al Kadhim shrine in Baghdad, Ali Alwani hides in plain sight among Shiite merchants selling sticky coconut and cardamom sweets from rickety stalls. Across town, his brother has taken refuge in an upscale Sunni Muslim neighborhood. He feels safer surrounded by former members of Saddam Hussein's regime. The brothers are Shiite Muslims, but it is Shiites they fear. Many lives in Iraq were upended by the fall of Saddam's regime. Some people gained freedom and liberty. Others lost everything they had. The brothers' limbo illustrates the pitfalls of history and the intertwined destinies of Iran and Iraq, two neighboring, Shiite-majority nations that lately have grown even closer. The Alwanis say they left Iran in 1979 because, as secular Arabs in a Persian land, they endured persecution and feared what the Islamic Revolution would bring. They claim the government already had begun forcefully resettling the oil-rich southern part of the country where they lived with Persian citizens, renaming cities in Persian and denying Arabs basic rights. Crossing the border into Iraq, they and other Iranian Arabs were welcomed by Saddam, an Arab leader who realized he could use these exiles against the country they were fleeing. Today, after three wars and the passing of a quarter of a century, they cannot go back. Their allegiance with Saddam, they say, has condemned them to a life without a country and without rights. "Iran considers us Iraqi and Iraq considers us Iranian," Alwani said. His family backs an Arab separatist movement that seeks the independence of the Iranian region where he and his brothers grew up. Although it is basically an ethnic struggle, the stakes are even higher because the region is home to some of the most valuable land in Iran, known as Arabistan by exiled Arabs and Khuzistan by the Iranian government. Alwani, who believes that a battle has begun for control of the region, supports violence, while his brother advocates more peaceful means. Both are active in the separatist movement. Eight killed Last month, a series of bombings aimed at government buildings in the regional capital, Ahvaz, killed eight people in what was described as the worst violence Iran had seen in a decade. The following day, the Iranian government arrested several people but released little information about the suspects. The government said outside groups wanted to disrupt the recent Iranian election in which hard-line Tehran Mayor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad easily won the presidency. One Ahvaz exile group took responsibility for the bombings, but other exiled Arabs said that group was a front for the Iranian secret police, who were the ones behind the attacks. Alwani says he does not know who carried out the attacks, but he feels uplifted by them." I believe my country is occupied and what has been taken by force should be taken back by force," he said. "We feel all the people in the region are getting their independence. Why not us?" With Americans in the region, now's the perfect time to achieve that ambition, he said. "A fair infidel is better than an unfair believer," he said. Sitting at the back of his store in Baghdad's Kadhimiya neighborhood, Alwani tells stories of bloodshed and persecution of Arabs in his homeland and an underground movement, born in 1925, seeking Arab separation. The size of the Arab community in southern Iran is unclear. The government has never conducted a census. The province's population is estimated at 4.3 million people, with Ahvaz numbering close to a million inhabitants. How many fled amid the 1979 Iranian revolution also is unclear. Hard to come by "Balanced information on Khuzistan, especially anything having to do with the Arab population there, is pretty hard to come by," said Wayne White, a fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington who is a specialist on the region. "The province probably was heavily Arabic-speaking, say, at the beginning of the 20th century. That said, the oil boom since then brought in countless Iranians of non-Arab origin, reinforced beginning in the 1930s by the deliberate Persianizing efforts of the late shah." Supporting the secessionists, Saddam's regime gave the exiles plots of land and special privileges, soon laying claim to Khuzistan. In an effort to exacerbate ethnic tensions, Iraqi TV and radio stations broadcast programs into the region, calling for Arab revolt against the government in Tehran. As Iraq invaded Iran in 1980, starting the eight-year war that killed more than a million people, the Arab exiles fought alongside the Iraqis, Shiites against Shiites. As the saying goes, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," said Alwani's brother, who wants to be known simply as Abu Amar, or father of Amar, because he fears retribution. He acknowledges that his family ended up on the wrong side of history but insists the allegiance with Saddam was purely strategic. "We were ambushed by the Mukhabarat," the notorious Iraqi secret police under Saddam. "Iraq used us as a political card in the game against Iran." As devout Shiites increasingly gained power in Iraq after Saddam's fall, the Arab exiles began fearing that militias connected to the political parties or even Iranian agents would seek revenge for the past allegiance to the fallen dictator. Several people with ties to the old regime were assassinated in southern Iraq. "We will be killed, if not today, then tomorrow," said Tamim Nashali, another exile. "Iraq will be a cemetery for the Ahvazi." In Baghdad, Abu Amar works as a taxi driver. Fake documents hide his history as a major in the previous Iraqi army. Sunnis have been supportive until now, he said. "That's why I'm here in this neighborhood." A friend with ties to Saddam's regime was assassinated recently in the southern Iraqi city of Amara, shot 10 times by gunmen on his way to a funeral, Abu Amar said. Before the U.S. invasion, "we were free," he said. "We had land. We lived in dignity. We had a house." Now all he has is an old ID card from the Defense Ministry and a letter from the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees certifying his status as a refugee.
washingtonpost.com 17 July 2005 Bombing At Mosque Kills 54 In Iraq Gas Tanker Ignited In Suicide Attack By Andy Mosher and Naseer Nouri Washington Post Foreign Service Sunday, July 17, 2005; A01 BAGHDAD, July 16 -- A suicide bomber detonated an explosive belt Saturday night inside a Shiite Muslim mosque in a town south of Baghdad, igniting cooking gas in a tanker parked outside and setting off a massive fireball that killed at least 54 people, wounded 82 and destroyed or damaged homes more than a half-mile away, police said. The unidentified bomber struck at 8 p.m. in Musayyib, a town about 35 miles south of Baghdad in a largely lawless part of Babil province that has come to be known as the triangle of death. A spokesman for the provincial police, Capt. Muthanna Ahmed, said by telephone that the attacker detonated his belt inside the mosque and could not have known the fuel tanker had been parked nearby while its driver was eating dinner at a local restaurant. As a result, Ahmed said, the apparent attempt at killing a relatively small group of worshipers resulted in a conflagration that was "just like a nuclear bomb explosion." The attack, a rare act of violence inside a mosque, appeared to be the deadliest in Iraq since Feb. 28, when a suicide bomb in nearby Hilla killed 125 people, most of them police and military recruits. Ahmed said many of the wounded were critically burned and that Musayyib's medical facilities could not handle the huge number of casualties. Some of the wounded were taken to clinics in Hilla and Karbala, while provincial officials appealed for medical workers in the area to go to Musayyib as quickly as possible. Firefighters already were converging on the town to battle blazes that were still raging late into the night, said Ahmed, who estimated that the devastation extended from the mosque for about 1,100 yards in every direction. The victims were among at least 76 people killed in attacks across the country. Meanwhile, the U.S. military announced in a statement that 11 American soldiers had been charged with violating military regulations in connection with alleged assaults on suspected insurgents. The statement gave no details about the soldiers' violations except to note that none of the suspected insurgents needed medical treatment and only one of them is currently in U.S. custody. "All Task Force Baghdad soldiers are expected to act appropriately and to treat all persons under their control with dignity and respect. Allegations of illegal activities will always be thoroughly investigated," said Lt. Col. Clifford Kent, a spokesman for the task force, which is responsible for security in and around the capital. "The unit involved has been pulled off-line to complete the inquiry and retraining." The new investigation is the latest of several cases in which U.S. service personnel have been charged with abuse in Iraq. Last year, in the most notorious case, photographs of Iraqi detainees subjected to sexual humiliation in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison led to the conviction of one soldier in a court-martial. Four others pleaded guilty to charges arising from the case. Early Saturday morning, in Iskandariyah, a volatile town about 15 miles north of Musayyib, 10 people were killed, including four Iraqi soldiers, and up to 20 wounded by a suicide car bomb. The attack occurred at 1 a.m., while Iraqi soldiers were manning a checkpoint and searching cars for suspected insurgents, Ahmed said. Musayyib and surrounding towns have been wracked by violence for months. The area has been terrorized by insurgents who rob or kill travelers at illegal checkpoints along local roads. A large proportion of travelers in the area are Shiites heading south from Baghdad to the Shiite holy cities of Karbala and Najaf, while the insurgents are overwhelmingly Sunni. The sectarian divide between Iraq's long-repressed Shiite majority and the Sunni minority that ruled the country for decades has been a principal causeof the violence that has surged since late April, when modern Iraq's first Shiite-led government took office. Car bombings in Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad, unexplained killings of groups of Sunni men in and around the capital and assassinations of clerics from both branches of Islam have accounted for much of the bloodletting, which has killed more than 1,500 Iraqis since April 28. In Najaf, the office of Iraq's preeminent Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, issued a statement late Saturday night condemning the violence. "This is a tragedy for the people -- Shiite and Sunni," said the statement, which contended that insurgents had come to the area from cities in the north "to kill the innocent." Sistani called on all Iraqis to control themselves and allow their passions to cool, the statement said. In the southern city of Amarah, an apparent roadside bomb killed three British soldiers and wounded two, according to a British Defense Ministry statement quoted by news agencies. Such attacks are rare in the relatively quiet southern provinces of Iraq where Britain has security duties. A total of 92 British soldiers have died in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, including 53 killed in combat. Six policemen were killed and 20 wounded in a suicide attack near Mosul, 220 miles north of Baghdad. The attack took place in the town of Hammam Alil, six miles south of the city, where a man in police uniform entered the town's police station and detonated a belt of explosives he wore, said Mosul police's press officer, Maj. Ahmed Lazim. And in Baghdad, three policemen were killed and 20 wounded by a car bomb that targeted a police patrol in the Doura neighborhood, the Reuters news agency reported. U.S. and Iraqi officials have repeatedly said insurgent attacks in Baghdad have decreased since a security operation was launched in late May. The operation, officially dubbed Operation Lightning and said to be the biggest Iraqi operation since the invasion, resulted in the killing or arrests of hundreds of alleged insurgents, according to officials. In the past week, however, the capital has been hit by repeated suicide bombings, including at least seven on Friday. Special correspondents Saad Sarhan in Najaf, Omar Fekeiki in Baghdad and Dlovan Brwari in Mosul contributed to this report.
www.timesonline.co.uk 19 July 2005 Ayatollah's despair at 'genocide' of suicide bombings From James Hider in Baghdad THE main restraint to Iraq sliding into civil war is not the US-trained police forces, the newly elected parliament beavering away at a constitution, or the presence of 150,000 American and British troops. It is a bearded, 75-year-old Iranian with a heart condition who lives in seclusion in the Shia holy city of Najaf. Once a week he makes a secretive trip to the nearby Imam Ali shrine to pray at the grave of the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, founder of the Shia branch of Islam. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, spiritual leader of the Shia who constitute 60 per cent of Iraqis, is the man with the authority to issue a fatwa that would compel his flock to fight whoever he chooses. Fortunately for Iraq, he is a moderate man, but yesterday even he showed signs of despair at the worsening plight of his country. Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the Shia vice-president, saw the Grand Ayatollah and said that he was deeply upset by the slaughter perpetrated by suicide bombers and gunmen, which he called “this genocidal war”. His disturbing pronouncement came after one of his representatives in Baghdad, Sheikh Jalal al-Din al-Saghir, warned Parliament that Iraq was heading toward a civil war if the bloodshed were not stemmed. Such dire proclamations from the Shia majority’s moderate leadership indicate just how far the Baathist and al-Qaeda terrorist campaigns are driving sectarian tensions. Despite his insistence that clerics remain aloof from politics, Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani has been one of the main forces in shaping postwar Iraq. First, he derailed an American attempt to hold elections by a selective caucus process, designed to keep the religious Shia parties that are close to him from power. Then he insisted on direct elections instead, issuing a fatwa ordering Shias to vote. His tacit support for the religious Shia block subsequently swept it to victory. He has used his influence to restrain militias that could otherwise have wrought havoc. In one fell swoop he ended the pitched battle between the al-Mahdi Army, led by his young rival Moqtada al-Sadr, and US forces last summer. In a BBC interview last night, al-Sadr urged Iraqis to “exercise restraint” with US troops — although he repeated his opposition to “foreign occupation” and said that resistance was legitimate. The Grand Ayatollah’s influence was also demonstrated when the people of Madain, a village south of Baghdad where Sunni guerrillas murdered and kidnapped scores of local Shia, asked him for permission to fight back. He refused, arguing that the bloodshed would be even worse if the Shias were provoked into a civil war. His aides refused yesterday to talk about the comments leaked by Mr Abdul-Mahdi, a senior member of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution (Sciri). But the inflammatory use of the word “genocide” hinted at the anger boiling in the clerical leadership. For many Shias, too, frustration at the police’s inability to quell the daily terror attacks is boiling over, and puzzlement that the venerated cleric has retreated from the public stage in such trying times. While most Shias realise that their restraint is the key to avoiding civil war, many militiamen have nonetheless gone ahead anyway and engaged in a low-level campaign of killing former Baathists and suspected Sunni insurgents. Jamal Rydah, the head of Sciri’s political office, confirmed yesterday that the Shia block was studying ways of allowing the formation of armed neighbourhood watch groups — in effect, more local militias — to supplement the police. Some fear the move will further unleash the genie of sectarian violence, which only the Grand Ayatollah seems capable of keeping in the bottle. But on Baghdad’s edgy streets, the idea was welcomed by many others, such as 45-year-old Saad Ahmed, who have lost confidence in the Government. “This country is walking toward doomsday. I see only darkness ahead,” he said I’m only interested now in protecting my family. The rest of the country can go to hell.”
15 July, 2005, 02:21 GMT 03:21 UK E-mail this to a friend Printable version Israeli aircraft hit Gaza targets One the Israeli missiles struck an Islamic centre in Jabaliya Israeli helicopters have fired missiles at targets in the Gaza Strip. The overnight strikes on three locations came after a woman in Israel was killed by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip on Thursday. Meanwhile Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas arrived in Gaza to hold talks with armed groups, in an attempt to put an end to militant attacks. An upsurge of violence in recent days has put further strain on a fragile five-month truce. The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and Hamas said they carried out Thursday's rocket attack, in revenge for the killing of an Islamic Jihad leader by the Israeli army in Nablus. Multiple targets One of the missile fired by the Israeli helicopter gunships was aimed at a pro-Hamas Islamic cultural centre in Jabaliya, north of Gaza City, witnesses said. Another was aimed at a cemetery near Khan Younis further south - from where militant have in the past launched rocket and mortar attacks on nearby Israeli settlements. Witnesses said the third target was close to the Deir al-Balah refugee camp in central Gaza. There were no immediate reports of casualties. Violence escalated on Tuesday, when an Islamic Jihad militant killed five Israelis in a suicide bombing in the Israeli coastal resort of Netanya. Israel responded by carrying out raids in Nablus. This in turn triggered Thursday's rocket attacks by al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and Hamas. The death of the Israeli woman, said to be in her 20s, on the Netiv Haasara farm marked the first fatal rocket strike in Israel since February. Others hit another farm, an army base and a Jewish settlement in Gaza, Israeli media said. Hamas anger Soon after the barrage, Palestinian police, reportedly acting on orders to stop further rocket fire, clashed with Hamas members in northern Gaza. Thursday's fatal rocket attack was the first in Israel since February Five militants were wounded when police fired at their car, Hamas said. The Palestinian Authority says large numbers of Hamas activists then poured into the area, attacking a security force post and setting fire to two jeeps. "We will not keep silent," Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas spokesman, told Reuters, calling the police action "unacceptable". The BBC's Alan Johnston in Gaza says all this violence is only serving to escalate tensions just a month ahead of Israel's planned withdrawal from Gaza. The Israelis say that if they come under attack during the pullout, they will retaliate with huge force.
NYT 17 July 2005 A Sucker Bet By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF PYONGYANG, North Korea Every single home in this country has two portraits on the wall, one of the Great Leader, Kim Il Sung, who is still president even though he died 11 years ago, and one of his son, the Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il. Inspectors regularly visit homes to make sure the portraits are well cared for. Every subway car carries those same two portraits as well, and every adult wears a button depicting the Great Leader. And every home (or village, in rural areas) has an audio speaker, which starts broadcasting propaganda at 6 each morning to tell people how lucky they are. Children spend long hours in day care centers from the age of 6 months, sometimes returning to their parents only on weekends. Men normally perform seven or more years of military service. Disabled people are sometimes expelled from Pyongyang, a green and well-groomed capital that is one of the prettiest in Asia, because they are considered unsightly. And although the national ideology is juche, or self-reliance, the U.N. World Food Program feeds 6.5 million North Koreans, almost one-third of the population. Even so, hunger is widespread and has left 37 percent of the children stunted. Yet North Korea focuses its resources on prestige projects, like an amazing 10-lane highway to Nampo (with no traffic). Many conservatives in and out of the Bush administration assume that North Korea's population must be seething and that the regime must be on its last legs. Indeed, the Bush administration's policy on North Korea, to the extent that it has one, seems to be to wait for it to collapse. I'm afraid that could be a long, long wait. The central paradox of North Korea is this: No government in the world today is more brutal or has failed its people more abjectly, yet it appears to be in solid control and may even have substantial popular support. From a brief visit like mine, it's hard to gauge the mood, because anyone who criticizes the government risks immediate arrest. But Chinese and other foreigners I've spoken to who live in North Korea or visit regularly say they believe that most North Koreans buy into the system, just as ordinary Chinese did during the Maoist period. Likewise, over the years I've interviewed dozens of North Koreans who have fled to China or South Korea, and they overwhelmingly say that while they personally dislike the regime - that's why they fled - their relatives believe in the Kim dynasty with a quasi-religious faith. They say that when everyone is raised to worship the Dear Leader, when there are no contrary voices, people genuinely revere the leader. Most say the faith is not as strong as it was a dozen years ago, mostly because so many people have heard whispers of Chinese prosperity. But they still laugh at the idea that the Dear Leader is about to be toppled. "I think we'll have regime change in America before we have regime change in North Korea," says Han Park, a Korea specialist at the University of Georgia. He estimates that 30 percent of North Koreans have a stake in the system, and that most of the rest know so little about the outside world that they don't realize how badly off they are. A hermetic seal is the main reason the Kim dynasty has survived so long. When I arrived at Pyongyang airport, I was obliged to hand over my cellphones and satellite phones, to be picked up on my departure. Even many senior government officials have no access to the Internet. From the moment I landed at the airport, I kept trying to change money. But the airport refused, my hotel refused and shops refused. Foreigners are supposed to pay for everything only in foreign currency and be isolated from the local economy. (Finally, a friendly Korean official - they were all surprisingly friendly, with unexpectedly good senses of humor - gave me a few coins as souvenirs for my children.) If the American policy premise about North Korea - that it is near collapse - is highly dubious, our essential policy approach is even more so. The West should be trying to break that hermetic seal, to increase interactions with North Korea and to infiltrate into North Korea the most effective subversive agents we have: overweight Western business executives. Instead, we maintain sanctions, isolate North Korea and wait indefinitely for the regime to collapse. I'm afraid we're helping the Dear Leader stay in power.
19 July 2005 Lebanon amnesty sparks violence The bullet-scarred buildings are
a reminder of past conflict Armed clashes broke out in the Lebanese capital
overnight after parliament granted an amnesty to a former warlord. The clashes
took place along the old Green Line which used to separate Christian East and
Muslim West Beirut during the 1975-90 civil war. Media reports say a Shia
Muslim teenager was killed and 16 other people were injured in the clash. Army
units were deployed to the area and loudspeakers called for calm. Several people
were arrested. The violence began when sticks and rocks were used in fighting
between members of the Shia Amal movement and supporters of former Lebanese Forces
leader Samir Geagea. Analysts say it is a worrying reminder of the dark days of
Lebanon's civil war, which devastated the country and is estimated to have left
more than 100,000 people dead. Cabinet troubles Meanwhile, Prime Minister-designate
Fouad Siniora said he could announce the new Lebanese government later on Tuesday.
The afternoon started with celebrations for Geagea supporters "We have reached
agreement on a 24-member government," Mr Siniora said after consultations with
President Emile Lahoud. It has taken Mr Siniora a month to get to this stage,
having failed to form a national unity government and a technocratic one. On Friday,
he said he would form a government from a broad spectrum of parties approved by
the pro-Syrian Hezbollah-Amal alliance as well as the anti-Syrian bloc which holds
a majority in parliament. Newly-elected MPs used the first parliamentary session
to vote for an amnesty for Mr Geagea, the only civil war militia leader to face
charges over the conflict. .
Malaysia Star, Malaysia 17 July 2005 thestar.com.my July 17, 2005 Slaughter at Long Nawang BY OOI KEAT GIN CONTRARY to the Chief Secretary’s “definite instructions” requiring that “officers in charge of districts were expected to remain at their stations,” several Brooke officers in the Lower Rejang fled. A party of 26 men, three women and two children (nine months and five years old), including Andrew Macpherson, the Resident of the Third Division, and three district officers (of Sibu, Kanowit and Kapit) fled inland. Macpherson's plan was to go up the Rejang, cross over into Dutch Borneo to Long Nawang, a Dutch military outpost. The party reached Kapit by motorboat, negotiated the Pelagus Rapids to arrive at Long Bahau above Belaga. They stayed at Kenyah longhouses along the way. After Belaga, smaller and lighter boats brought them through the shallower, rapid-infested headwaters of the Ulu Rejang. Kenyah boat paddlers doubled as bearers and guides brought the party through jungle and across into Dutch Borneo. After a tortuous journey – one morning “crossed one river 36 times, a raging mountain torrent sometimes knee deep, sometimes armpit deep and particularly powerful” – of 28 days, they arrived at the Dutch outpost. Mrs Macpherson, then six-months pregnant survived unscathed. At an altitude of about 800m, Long Nawang had a pleasant climate, akin to that of a hill station. There was a four-bed hospital with a good supply of medicine. It had enough rice, vegetables and fruit to last a year, besides a herd of forty cattle, and a stork of pigs and goats. In April 1942, Lieutenant D. J. A. Westerhuis arrived at Long Nawang with 40 Dutch and Indonesian soldiers, part of the garrison at Tarakan. Mrs Westerhuis joined the three other women, including Mrs Macpherson and her newborn. In early August, two American missionaries, Reverends Jackson and Sandy, and Mrs Jackson and a baby, sought refuge at Long Nawang. Then on August 19, two Kenyahs brought news that more than 70 Japanese soldiers were heading towards Long Nawang. Westerhuis arrogantly dismissed the warning from the Kenyahs, whom he claimed had mistaken retreating Dutch troops for Japanese. Foolishly, no patrols were sent to investigate. Afraid of betrayal, he refused the Indonesian soldiers’ request for ammunition. The next morning, 76 Japanese marines led by Captain Mora Shima attacked with mortars, light machineguns, and rifles. Unable to fight back, the Dutch and Indonesian troops fled helter-skelter to the jungle. Westerhuis waved a white flag but machinegun fire mowed him down. Five men from Macpherson’s party were killed. Mrs Macpherson was wounded with a shot through her thigh. Three Dutch and British soldiers managed to escape; subsequently, Kayans friendly to the Japanese handed them over to Mora. Whilst all the Europeans were rounded up and imprisoned, the Indonesian soldiers were disarmed and allowed to return home to Tarakan. On Aug 26, all the European men were executed. Then, on Sept 23, the remaining five women and four children, including the babies of Mrs Macpherson and Mrs Jackson, were killed. Why the horrendous massacre of Europeans at Long Nawang? Post-war investigations failed to trace the Japanese officers responsible, namely Mora and Lieutenant Okino. But, according to Japanese military regulations, the Europeans who were at Long Nawang had defied their order to surrender and, hence, were rightfully executed.
Tamil Tiger Rebels Warn They Could Resume War By Anjana Pasricha New Delhi 12 July 2005 The Tamil rebels said they are losing patience with the government and could be forced to resume their civil war if attacks on their members continue. The statement followed the killing of two of senior rebel leaders and two civilians by unidentified assailants on Sunday in the northeastern town of Trincomalee. The rebels say military intelligence officials are behind the attack. The army has denied it. Sunday's attack was the latest in a series of killings in the past year of rebels or members of Tamil political parties. The violence escalated after a split in the rebel ranks last year. The Tigers accuse the government of supporting their rivals, and conducting a shadow war against them. The government denies that, and in turn accuses the rebels of killing hundreds of rivals and intelligence operatives. To protest the killings, offices and banks closed in Trincomalee and Tamil Tiger supporters burned tires. Norwegian ceasefire monitors say the growing violence is "worrying." Jehan Perera, head of the National Peace Council in Colombo, echoed their concern. "The situation is not very good. This does not necessarily mean that there will be a breakdown of the ceasefire in the sense of a return to full scale fighting ... but there is an apprehension of localized fighting taking place on a significant level. Up to now what has been happening is targeted assassinations on either side," he said. The Tamil rebels halted their two-decade long civil war for a separate Tamil homeland three-years ago under a Norwegian-monitored ceasefire. But the peace process has been deadlocked for more than two years. Recently the government and the rebels signed an agreement to jointly handle billions of dollars of tsunami aid, raising hopes that the two sides could resume a dialogue. But analysts say that is unlikely to happen soon, because a weak minority government is too preoccupied with its own survival to be able to breathe fresh life into the peace process. The government's difficulties were apparent on Tuesday. Hundreds of thousands of protestors led by the main opposition party demonstrated in the capital Colombo to protest high prices, and the government's failure to end ethnic tensions with Tamil rebels.
14 July, 2005, 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK E-mail this to a friend Printable version Sri Lanka leader appeals for calm President Kumaratunga has called for restraint Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has appealed for calm in the north-east of the country as violence escalates there. The government has accused Tamil Tiger rebels of eight bomb attacks and two shooting incidents over three days. The Tigers in turn accuse the military of an attack on Sunday which killed three of their members and a supporter. On Thursday troops killed a suspected rebel near Trincomalee. International observers say a 2002 truce is at risk. Factional fighting The BBC's Dumeetha Luthra in the capital, Colombo, says a shadow war has been going on in the east since a split in the Tamil Tiger rebels in March 2004. The rebels accuse the government of supporting the breakaway group, a charge the government denies. However, this low-level factional fighting now threatens to explode into a breakdown of the three-year ceasefire, our correspondent says. In the past two weeks five members of the Sri Lankan security forces and at least four Tamil Tiger rebels have been killed. The Tigers, citing security concerns, have now pulled out all their political officers from government areas. They have issued an ultimatum - which expires on Thursday night - for the government to come up with suitable measures to guarantee the safety of rebel officials travelling through government-held areas. Otherwise, they say, they will start using their own armed escorts, a direct violation of the ceasefire. Senior international diplomats say there is a real danger the situation could escalate out of control. One official said that recent violence in the eastern town of Trincomalee appeared to be co-ordinated, leading to direct confrontations between the government and the Tigers, rather than previous low-level factional fighting. Several specific measures and systems have been put in place to arrest and remedy the situation President Kumaratunga The army has increased its presence in the town and in an effort to halt the escalation of violence. President Kumaratunga, has called for restraint and launched an investigation. The stand-off comes just weeks after a joint tsunami aid-sharing deal was signed. Donors had hoped it would bring the two sides closer together, now the fear is that the legacy of mistrust is unbridgeable, our correspondent says.
BBC 15 July, 2005, 06:27 GMT 07:27 UK E-mail this to a friend Printable version Thaksin defiant after Thai raids There have been almost daily attacks in recent months Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has strongly condemned militants a day after a series of co-ordinated attacks in the southern province of Yala. "These people want only violence. It means they do not want to talk," he said before an emergency cabinet meeting on the unrest. Two teachers were killed in the southern province of Narathiwat as the cabinet meeting got under way. Two policemen died and more than 20 civilians were injured on Thursday. Suspected Muslim separatists attacked the town of Yala, the provincial capital about 1,100km (690 miles) from Bangkok, with bombs and guns after plunging it into darkness by bombing a power station. Hundreds of people - including nearly 30 teachers - have died in the Muslim-dominated south since violence flared there a year and a half ago. Highly organised "This is the time of national crisis - I would appeal for all Thai people to be united and join hands to fight against the people who have bad intentions toward the country," said Interior Minister Chitchai Wannasathit - who also is a deputy prime minister. VIOLENCE-HIT SOUTH Home to most of Thailand's 4% Muslim minority Muslim rebels fought the government up to the mid-80s Suspected militants have upped attacks since 2004, targeting Buddhists Security forces' response criticised by rights groups Thailand's restive south He was speaking after hotels, restaurants, a cinema and shops in Yala were targeted by gunfire, more bombs and Molotov cocktails. The attacks were highly co-ordinated, officials say, with the gunmen peppering the roads with spikes to prevent the security forces moving around the town. Electricity has now been restored and police spokesman Gen Sanirot Thammayot said the situation was under control and urged residents "not to panic and to carry on with their lives as normal". Thailand is predominantly Buddhist, with its 4% Muslim population concentrated in the troubled southern provinces - Pattani, Yala, Songkhla and Narathiwat. More than 800 people have been killed in the region since violence erupted around 18 months ago. In recent months, there have been almost daily ambushes and murders of Buddhist monks, teachers, police and soldiers. Government officials have blamed the unrest on Islamic separatists, though criminals are also thought to be involved.
BBC 19 July 2005 Thai editors' alarm over new law Hundreds of southern villagers support the new rule Dozens of newspaper editors in Thailand have vowed to fight the imposition of a new emergency rule in the majority-Muslim south of the country. Fifty editors from the Thai Journalists' Association said in a statement that the Thai media now faced its greatest threat in modern history. The new decree gives the Thai prime minister sweeping powers, including censorship and phone tapping. More than 800 people have died in southern unrest since January 2004. The government has accused Muslim separatists of being behind the violence. Others blame the authorities for alienating the majority Muslim population. VIOLENCE-HIT SOUTH Home to most of Thailand's 4% Muslim minority Muslim rebels fought the government up to the mid-80s Suspected militants have upped attacks since 2004, targeting Buddhists Security forces' response criticised by rights groups Thailand's restive south On Tuesday the Cabinet approved the emergency rule's enactment in three southern provinces - Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala. But it rejected a request from the prime minister that parts of neighbouring Songkhla province be covered by the laws. Analysts say the new legislation, which was first approved by the Thai Cabinet on Friday, is not substantially different from the martial law in the south which it replaces. But they say it does strengthen Mr Thaksin's hand, allowing him to act unilaterally. A respected former prime minister has suggested the emergency laws will be abused by government officials and lead to an increase in violence in the south. "So far the government mechanisms have failed to arrest any culprits and do not know who are responsible [for the unrest]," Anand Panyarachun was quoted as saying by the Bangkok Post. "Government officials are inefficient... If government officials cannot bring in the culprits for punishment and continue to create hatred and mistrust against themselves, there will be serious concern when more sweeping powers are given to the officials. They may exercise the power under the executive decree intentionally or unintentionally in ways that could aggravate the crisis," he said. Wide-ranging powers The emergency measures, which have been criticised as unconstitutional and dictatorial by opposition politicians, journalists and human rights activists, give a range of special powers to the security forces and government officials. They include detention of suspects for seven days and media censorship, and were granted by the Cabinet without judicial approval. It agreed to issue the powerful decree after a series of co-ordinated attacks in the southern city of Yala on Thursday night. Thailand is predominantly Buddhist, with its 4% Muslim population concentrated in the troubled southern provinces - Pattani, Yala, Songkhla and Narathiwat. In recent months, there have been almost daily ambushes and murders of Buddhist monks, teachers, police and soldiers.
Sojourners Aug 2005 www.sojo.net Commentary 'Our' Uzbek Massacre The human cost of the global war on terror. by Ray McGovern "On either side of Chulpon Prospekt, blood flowed freely through the gutters," said a survivor of the May 13 massacre of several hundred demonstrators in the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan. In the wake of the massacre, the Uzbek rulers who ordered the killings have been called "thugs" (and worse) by human rights advocates. Yes, you say, but they are our thugs—and they are letting us use bases in their country for GWOT! What’s GWOT? For you outside-the-beltway-readers, it is the Global War On Terrorism (earlier known as the Cold War against Communism). Whatever it’s called, it requires military bases around the world—and now especially in the oil-rich region where Uzbekistan happens to be located. In his excellent book The Sorrows of Empire, political scientist Chalmers Johnson warns that "the growth of militarism, official secrecy, and a belief that the United States is no longer bound...by ‘a decent respect for the opinions of [humankind]’ is probably irreversible." Johnson adds that a "revolution" (the biblical concept is metanoia) will be required to turn things around. The massacre in Uzbekistan is a particularly gruesome reminder of what so many repressive governments believe they can do with every expectation of "godfather" protection by the United States. Why? Because the Department of Defense, which seems to be running our foreign policy these days, is able to block attempts to rein them in. In fact, Uzbek police and military have for years received training and equipment from counterterrorism programs run by the United States, according to American officials and congressional records. They are, indeed, our thugs. That is why Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld blocked an attempt by NATO countries to call for an independent investigation of the massacre, which the Uzbek rulers have already applied pressure to head off. In reaction to some light implicit criticism from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Uzbek president Islam A. Karimov put restrictions on U.S. military flights into the large airbase at Karshi-Khanabad in southeast Uzbekistan, a base described as a "vital logistics hub" supporting U.S. forces. But it’s not just the bases that tie us to Uzbekistan. It’s also the interrogation of "detainees" of GWOT. The Uzbek leaders reportedly use some of the old tried-and-tested techniques, including boiling limbs and sometimes whole people—something not on the list of techniques approved by U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller which, as he put it, "sets the conditions for successful interrogations and exploitation of the internees/detainees" at Abu Ghraib and other U.S. facilities. When the British ambassador to Uzbekistan had the poor taste to make a stink about this kind of brutality and the dubious validity of information extracted in this fashion, he was removed from his post, reportedly at U.S. insistence. But what about international law, the Geneva Conventions, and all that? Be aware that the nation’s top legal authority, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, wrote that he reserves to the president the right to determine which laws may now be considered "obsolete" or "quaint." Some of British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s legal aides are dyspeptic at Washington’s cavalier attitude toward international law. This shows through in a secret U.K. briefing document of July 2002 (known as the Downing Street Memo) prepared for Blair and his most senior advisers regarding U.S. intentions toward Iraq. With typical British understatement, the document notes "U.S. views of international law vary from that of the U.K. and the international community." As the psalmist put it: "Nations rage, empires fall. Jacob’s God will shield us.... Everywhere stopping wars; smashing, crushing, burning all the weapons of war. An end to your fighting!" (Psalm 46:6-10). Ray McGovern works for Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the Church of the Saviour in Washington, D.C. A veteran of 27 years as a CIA analyst, he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity in January 2003
BBC 20 July 2005 Yemen petrol riots leave 12 dead Troops were sent out onto the streets to help restore order At least 12 Yemenis have been killed when armed men exchanged fire with police during protests over a rise in fuel prices, witnesses have said. Clashes broke out in the capital, Sanaa, and several other towns as marchers attacked government buildings and threw stones at police. Correspondents say the government wants to curb a budget deficit, but delayed the price hike to avoid causing riots. The government says it will offset the rise by lowering tax and raising wages. One witness quoted by AFP said there were five fatalities in the town of Damar about 100km (60 miles) south of the capital. Seven special forces troops were reported wounded. Another five deaths were reported in Dali, 250km south of Sanaa. Barricades Residents in the capital quoted by Associated Press said two people were killed, including a 12-year old, in an exchange of fire between protesters and security forces. Some protesters blocked a road to the airport with makeshift barricades and shouted slogans against the prime minister, Abdul Qadir Bajammal, AP reports. Riot police fired into the air to disperse the crowd. The government says the price rises, in some cases more than doubling the cost of fuel, are in line with the rise in global oil prices. Opposition parties say it will hit the poor and are calling for a crackdown on official corruption. The government is currently implementing harsh economic reforms to address the budget deficit, as well as high unemployment and bureaucracy.
Azerbaijan (Nagorno Karabakh)
Today.Az » Politics » Foreign Affairs Ministry of Romania denounces election held by separatist regime in Nagorno Karabakh 07 July 2005 [09:37] - Today.Az The Foreign Affairs Ministry of Romania (FAM) spread information for the press in connection with the fake elections in Nagorno Karabakh held by the separatist regime occupied the lands of Azerbaijan. This was informed by “AzerTAj” based on the embassy of our country in Bucharest. It is stressed in the information that Romania FAM is troubled with the parliamentary elections held on June 19, 2005 in the separatist “Nagorno Karabakh Republic” – non-state structure which independency is not recognized in the international level: “The “elections process” in Nagorno Karabakh is contrary to intensifying the relations in the highest level including experts level and development of the talks process characterized with the efforts of mollifying the positions of Baku and Yerevan. We consider that such unilateral activity of the separatist authority organs has no real significance for solving process of the conflict which is the focus of attention of the Minsk Conference. At the same time, we also welcome the position of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Russia not approving creating mutual relation between peaceful solution of the conflict and organizing any elections in Nagorno Karabakh”. It is also noted in the information that Romania FAM supported the effort of the co-chairmen of OSCE Minsk Group directed to stimulate the talks process between Armenia and Azerbaijan. /APA/ URL: http://www.today.az/news/politics/19871.html
The Public International Law & Policy Group 19 July 2005 PILPG Update PILPG Delegation Observes Nagorno Karabakh Elections 19 July 2005 On June 19 Nagorno Karabakh held parliamentary elections that were observed by a six-person PILPG delegation. The delegation was among the over 100 persons who monitored the elections. The PILPG delegation visited over 37 polling sites throughout the country on election day and also met with representatives of six major political parties, members of the Central Election Commission, independent civil society representatives, and the president and foreign minister of Nagorno Karabakh on election day and in the days leading up to the vote. The delegation concluded that the elections were conducted freely and transparently and marked a significant step forward for democratic development in Nagorno Karabakh. More information can be found in the PILPG Report, attached. The Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG) is a 501 (c) (3) organization, which operates as a global pro bono law firm, providing free legal assistance to developing states and sub-state entities involved in conflicts. PILPG also provides policy formulation advice and training on matters related to conflict resolution. PILPG, which has recently been nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize, has advised over a dozen countries on the legal aspects of peace negotiations and constitution drafting, and over fifteen countries in Europe, Asia and Africa concerning fundamental questions of public international law and foreign relations. PILPG has also advised four international criminal tribunals. PILPG operates in four practice areas: Peacebuilding, International Justice, Post-Conflict Political Development, and Public International Law For more information on the Public International Law & Policy Group, visit our website at http://www.pilpg.org
Baku Today, Azerbaijan 20 July 2005 www.bakutoday.net OSCE PA Elaborates on Karabakh Conflict Report AssA-Irada 20/07/2005 19:23 The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly has elaborated on the report prepared by its rapporteur on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno Karabakh conflict, Goran Lennmarker. The report, which was discussed in July at the OSCE PA session in the United States, terms some views on the conflict settlement made in Washington as an ‘invaluable opportunity’, the OSCE PA secretariat said. Azerbaijan and Armenia interpret history differently, which necessitates achieving a ‘balanced agreement’, the document said. “Unbiased understanding of the past is particularly important for those who suffered and are now seeking justice.” Lennmarker suggested that European experience should be used in settling the conflict based on several key principles, including assurance that the two countries face no national security threats from each other, observance to high standards on democracy and human rights, and economic integration that would promote multi-faceted development. The citizens of Azerbaijan and Armenian should enjoy living conditions meeting European standards, the report said. The rapporteur also said that Azerbaijan and Armenia could set up a zone of security, democracy and prosperity jointly with Georgia. With regard to the status of Nagorno Karabakh, Lennmarker emphasized that seeking solutions based on economic integration would considerably simplify the issue. If the borders open up and an integrated economy is established, control over the territory will become less important and disputes over the matter will subside, the report said. Lennmarker also recalled that Azerbaijan stated its readiness to provide Karabakh with the highest status.
washingtonpost.com 10 July 2005 Bystanders To a Massacre How the U.N. Failed Srebrenica By Edward P. Joseph Post Sunday, July 10, 2005; B04 In the video, the Serbs take their time, cracking jokes and taunting the Muslim men they've trucked to a field outside a small hamlet in Eastern Bosnia. Then the joking stops. One by one, the victims, their hands tied behind their backs, are shot at close range -- all but two. "You're the winners," the Serbs tell this pair, and order them to carry the bodies of their comrades into a house. Then the Serbs gun them down, too. The recently discovered video, broadcast last month in Serbia, is sickening proof of what happened to the Muslim men of Srebrenica 10 years ago. Tomorrow, world leaders and dignitaries will gather to remember the approximately 7,800 men and boys who were murdered there by Serbian troops in the worst mass killing in Europe since World War II. And once again, they'll be asking themselves why it happened -- and offering incomplete answers. Srebrenica is unforgettable not only for its scale, but because, unlike the present genocide going on in Sudan's Darfur region, it happened while the international community and the world media were deeply engaged in Bosnia. The United Nations had declared Srebrenica a "safe area" -- a specially protected site backed up by U.N. peacekeepers on the ground and NATO strike planes in the air. Yet the Serbs managed to seize it anyway. The question that has haunted Srebrenica ever since -- as it haunts other places where officials watch as victims suffer -- is: Why was there no will to act to prevent the tragedy? Understandably, the blame has focused on high-level organizational and governmental leaders. Kofi Annan, then the head of the U.N.'s Department of Peacekeeping Operations, released a scathing report in 1999 and apologized on behalf of the organization for its failure in Srebrenica. European leaders and officials who will beat the 10th anniversary commemoration will almost certainly acknowledge how much more their countries might have done to avert the tragedy. A chorus of speakers will decry Serbia's failure, even after release of the video, to apologize for the crimes, and NATO's failure to arrest the war-time Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. But preventing another tragedy means understanding where and how not just organizations, but also individuals -- at all levels -- have failed. What about the critical layer of mid-level U.N. officials who helped perpetuate a policy in Bosnia that was steadfast only in its opposition to NATO intervention and culminated in a catastrophe that remains a permanent stain on the institution? Did those officials believe in the policy? Or did many of them just go along? Why have so few expressed regret or shame at what happened on their watch (as the Canadian peacekeeper in Rwanda, Col. Romeo Dallaire, has done)? Given what we saw in Bosnia and Rwanda, can we believe or hope that a U.N. force sent to Darfur would really act to stop the genocide there? I have thought about these questions more than most. I served as a U.N. civil affairs officer in Bosnia for much of the 3 1/2 years of war. My colleagues and I received the waves of women and children expelled from Srebrenica before their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons were executed. About a week later, I found myself in Srebrenica's neighboring enclave of Zepa, face to face with Mladic, an architect of the massacres. While his forces were finishing the slaughter in Srebrenica, he had turned his sights on Zepa's Muslim men. The Muslim commander, Col. Avdo Palic, saved his soldiers by hiding them in the forests while he stayed behind to negotiate with Mladic. A colleague and I watched and protested, vainly, as Palic was seized by Serb troops from our collapsed U.N. compound and taken away (and likely killed). Because of this experience, and my feelings of responsibility toward Palic, I continue to ask why we let Srebrenica happen, and why we don't act to prevent other tragedies. Over time, I've come up with three answers. First, not all those who enter the world of peacekeeping and nation building do so out of noble motives. The U.N. is hardly the only international organization that attracts people (particularly from countries with limited opportunities) who are motivated, instead, by the pay, which is reliable and relatively high. Even Westerners often decide whether to join a U.N. or other mission after checking out the level of the per diem, which is often taken as tax-free income. Someone who is primarily interested in financial or career gains is unlikely to rock the boat, even if it's flagrantly off course. Inevitably, some U.N. staffers who knew, after three years of Serb defiance, that the Bosnia policy was wrong still went along with it. It will always be difficult to find people willing to go to remote and dangerous places. But overdoing the incentives can attract the wrong kind of staff and reinforce the wrong kind of motivations. Second, even the vast majority who are motivated by the desire to do good may still find their principles compromised or confused by organizational loyalty. Many on the staff of the senior U.N. official in the former Yugoslavia, the Japanese diplomat Yasushi Akashi, internalized his overarching priority: to protect the U.N.'s neutrality and "even-handedness" by avoiding the use of force against the Serbs. Consistently, they rebuffed those who did advocate force (like the U.N.'s military commander in Bosnia, Gen. Rupert Smith), and toned down reports sent to New York to maintain the premise that "all sides were equally guilty." In one case, a zealous mid-level U.N. official even tried to block the deployment of peacekeepers to protect a hospital in Bihac, another collapsing "safe area" in which I served. As approaching Serb forces lobbed artillery shells at the hospital, we urged the U.N. mission headquarters to let us send a unit to defend the patients, noting that hospitals were protected areas under the Geneva Conventions. The responding official, scrupulously adhering to policy, argued that we had no basis to deploy because the U.N. itself is not a party to the Geneva Conventions. (Fortunately, the U.N. commander ignored the specious reasoning and dispatched the peacekeepers. The Serbs immediately ceased firing on the hospital.) Like so many on the U.N. staff, the headquarters official had put protecting the organization above protectingcivilians. Ironically, such action instead left the U.N.'s reputation in tatters. Unfortunately, senior U.N. officials still peddle the line that the Secretariat was merely the "servant" of a divided Security Council that failed to provide the U.N. with enough resources in Srebrenica. In fact, the Secretariat independently resisted any use of force in Bosnia, including NATO airpower that could have more than compensated for shortfalls on the ground. For the sake of current and future U.N. missions, it is essential that the organization not turn explanations about Srebrenica into excuses. The third and least understood factor in collective passivity toward evil is the prevalent taboo against "getting emotional" about death and tragedy. While there is always a risk of rushing to judgment or allowing particularly graphic evidence to cloud decision-making, the greater risk is from exaggerated clinical detachment. Without a sense of guided outrage, of empathy for the victims of abuse, organization staff, even human rights workers, are prone to "move on" and accept it when bureaucracies shrug their shoulders. For much of the war in Bosnia, U.N. mission staff were based in the Croatian capital of Zagreb -- physically and emotionally distanced from the suffering of the Bosnian people. From the time I first found myself in the war zone of Sarajevo in the summer of 1992, I was stunned by the bland demurral that headquarters reflexively issued when we sought action from the peacekeepers: "It's not in our mandate." After the war, officials frequently declined to investigate alleged abuses with a new mantra: "We can't deal with individual cases." But mandates (which are often vague and subject to interpretation) or resource limitations (which depend on effort and imagination as much as equipment or staff) rarely impose an absolute bar against getting involved. An egregious example occurred in Macedonia in 2002, after a police death squad gunned down seven Pakistani migrants. Macedonian officials tried to present the victims as international terrorists intercepted on a failed bid to blow up the U.S. Embassy. The case immediately raised suspicion. Yet the lead international entity on police matters in Macedonia, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, declined to investigate, splitting hairs over whether or not it had a human rights mandate. Clearly, it is important to maintain a cool head in a crisis, but excising all emotion leads to bureaucratic disinterest, injustice and tragedy. War-time intervention and postwar nation building can present excruciatingly difficult challenges and choices. Conflicts, even in the same region, can differ greatly and defy categorization, making it hard to transplant lessons and foolhardy to impose doctrine. And it will always be tempting to put protecting the organization ahead of protecting the local populace. But the colossal failure in Srebrenica is a reminder that where lives are in peril, officials, at all levels, must honestly examine their motives and priorities -- and those of their leaders. After Srebrenica, following the company line can never again be an excuse. Author's e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
NYT 12 July 2005 In Bosnia, World Leaders Apologize for Massacre By DAVID ROHDE SREBRENICA, Bosnia and Herzegovina, July 11 - American and European leaders attending a ceremony on Monday marking the 10th anniversary of the execution of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys here during the war in Bosnia promised that two Bosnian Serb leaders indicted for the killings would be brought to justice. But among the 30,000 Bosnian Muslims who gathered here today, relatives of the dead and others dismissed the promises as empty. "I don't believe anymore that anyone loves us," said Zada Pasalic, the 63-year-old sister of a man who was among 610 execution victims buried here on Monday after being identified by DNA testing. "They promised so much and gave so little." During the war in Bosnia, from 1992 to 1995, the United Nations declared Srebrenica the world's first civilian "safe area," stripped its soldiers of their artillery and armored vehicles and promised to protect the enclave. But in July 1995, Bosnian Serb forces overwhelmed 370 lightly armed Dutch peacekeepers here, seized control of the enclave and killed virtually every man and boy they captured. At a somber ceremony under a gray sky that sprinkled rain on diplomats, mourners and graves, British and United Nations officials apologized for the failure of foreign powers to protect the town. The British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, made the most direct statement, saying it was "a shame on the international community that this evil took place under our noses." "I particularly regret this," said Mr. Straw. "And I am deeply sorry for it." Mark Malloch Brown, chief of staff to the secretary general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, echoing an earlier United Nations report, said that United Nations officials made "serious errors of judgment" in Srebrenica that stemmed from a philosophy of "neutrality and nonviolence that was unsuited for the conflict in Bosnia," a brutal war that killed 200,000 people. He said that member countries failed to provide the United Nations with the military forces it needed in Bosnia and that United Nations officials should have been more willing to use the forces they had. The American representative at the ceremony, Pierre-Richard Prosper, the United States ambassador at large for war crimes, said he was attending the ceremony with "deep reflection." But he offered no apologies for the fall of the town. Reading a message from President Bush he said, "we remain committed" to the arrests of Radovan Karadzic, the wartime Bosnian Serb leader, and Ratko Mladic, the military commander, both of whom have been indicted for genocide in the killings. At a later news conference, Mr. Prosper said the United States viewed the fall of the town with "deep regret." But the fall of Srebrenica was the "responsibility of the international community as a whole," he said, and not of the United States alone.
NYT 11 July 2005 OP-ED The Wages of Denial By COURTNEY ANGELA BRKIC Washington TEN years ago this week, Serbian forces slaughtered more than 7,000 Muslim men in the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica. Despite the efforts of a dedicated few in Serbia, and despite the war crimes prosecutions at The Hague, Serbia is no closer today than it was a decade ago to reckoning with its war guilt. For years Belgrade has denied involvement by its citizens in Srebrenica and other massacres of the 1990s. The recent broadcast of a graphic video that showed Serbian paramilitary police executing six young men from Srebrenica should have made it very hard to sustain that revisionism. Amazing as it seems, however, the video was not enough to shatter what Serbian human rights activist Sonja Biserko has described as the country's "state of collective denial." Fewer than half of Serbs polled last spring believed the Srebrenica massacre took place. And while much has been made of the video's effects on a shocked Serbian public, it remains to be seen where that public will stand once the furor recedes. The Radical Party, which won 27 percent of the popular vote in the last national elections, making it the largest party in Parliament, has already criticized what it sees as the anti-Serb hysteria that "wishes at all costs to put the burden of all crimes on Serbia." Graffiti has appeared in several cities praising the "liberation" of Srebrenica. Rumors circulate that the video was doctored, or that the men committing the crimes were acting independently. Instead of coming to terms with its past, Serbia has circumvented the issue with the narrative skills befitting a psychopath. For example, a debate on Srebrenica at the Belgrade Law Faculty earlier this year was initially titled "10 Years After the Liberation of Srebrenica." In response to the video, Serbia's president, Boris Tadic, said, "Serbia is deeply shocked" that "the killers had walked freely among us." But Mr. Tadic's government surely knows that the killers in the video are but a small fraction of the number who continue to walk the streets of Serbia and Montenegro as free men. A fairy tale has passed for public memory until now in Serbia and Montenegro and it is conspicuous in its omission of Serb atrocities in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, which left hundreds of thousands dead. The Serbian version of that history denies the fact that President Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia and those like him enjoyed overwhelming popular support in Serbia during the war, despite the evictions, rapes and unchecked slaughter by Yugoslav troops and irregulars. It suggests that Belgrade today has nothing to do with Belgrade as it was 10 years ago. It aims at an absurd relativism, placing Serbian atrocities within the context of crimes committed by other ethnicities (in fact, the C.I.A. has reported that Serbs were responsible for 90 percent of all atrocities committed in Bosnia). Mr. Tadic was quoted as saying, "Crimes are always individual." All of this is fiction. At the end of the Second World War, Allied troops forced German citizens to walk through Nazi death camps. They were confronted by crimes committed in their name, in order to ensure that those crimes could not be denied or minimized later. The people of Serbia and Montenegro, by contrast, have never been forced to acknowledge the crimes committed in their name. There are those who refuse to whitewash Serbia's recent past. The Helsinki Human Rights Committee in Serbia and the independent broadcaster Radio B92 are admirable examples. People like Natasa Kandic, chairwoman of the Humanitarian Law Center in Belgrade, have spent years fighting for the truth, often at great personal risk. Extremists threatened to lynch Ms. Kandic at the law school debate on Srebrenica, and one of them spat in her face. Eight of Serbia's human rights groups have drafted a declaration on Srebrenica that would obligate the country's government to confess to the massacre and to "expose and punish any ideological justification of crime." But the daily newspaper Blic reported that the majority of parties in Serbia's Parliament refused not only to endorse the declaration but also to debate it. Serbia must relinquish the fairy tale that its own wartime suffering was equivalent to the devastation it visited on others. Adopting an honest declaration on Srebrenica would have been an important first step, and the Serbian Parliament should have taken it. For as long as Serbia's people deny complicity in war crimes, they undercut any hope for justice and cheat their country out of any decent future. The Western aid money that has poured into Serbia may help rebuild the country's infrastructure, but it will do nothing to cut out the cancer that riddles the country's heart. Western governments are anxious for reconciliation in the Balkans, which would ensure future stability in the region. They are pushing hard for the arrests of people like Radovan Karadzic, the architect of the genocide, and Ratko Mladic, who carried it out, and they lauded the speed with which the Serbian government detained those suspected of being the killers shown on the video. But those arrests will not be nearly enough. Such men were not exceptions, nor were they acting independently, and Serbia must acknowledge this truth, rather than denying or minimizing it. That means surrendering all war crimes suspects to The Hague and paying reparations to the victims of war. The West should ask for no less than this when it considers Serbian requests for aid. Courtney Angela Brkic is the author of "Stillness: And Other Stories" and "The Stone Fields," an account of her work excavating mass graves outside Srebrenica.
NYT 14 July 2005 Editorial: Srebrenica, an Obligation Unfulfilled Ten years ago, during the war in Bosnia, ethnic Serb forces murdered more than 7,000 men and boys in Srebrenica, almost every Muslim male in the city. That genocide stands as the worst atrocity against civilians in Europe since World War II, and as a tragic symbol of the inability of United Nations peacekeepers to protect civilian populations. A decade later, the two men with ultimate responsibility for the massacre remain free. And despite the parallel tragedy of Rwanda, the major powers that run the U.N. Security Council have yet to make peacekeeping operations more credible and effective. The survivors of Srebrenica honored the anniversary of the massacre on Monday by burying 610 of their sons and brothers and fathers, the latest to have been identified through DNA tests of bones dug up from mass graves. So far, only 2,000 people have been identified and properly buried. As Muslim children dressed in white stood amid rows of coffins, Serb policemen stood by respectfully. The president of Serbia, Boris Tadic, attended the ceremony. But shovels of dirt will not lay this infamy to rest. The men of Srebrenica were murdered after the world betrayed them in the bloody war that raged in Bosnia, a fragment of the former Yugoslavia. The ethnic Serbs who terrorized the Srebrenica region were bent on killing or driving away every Muslim Bosnian. United Nations commanders, knowing that a Serb assault on Srebrenica was imminent, rejected calls from local peacekeepers for airstrikes on Serb positions. The United Nations disarmed the people of the town and declared it a "safe area." But the 370 Dutch peacekeepers assigned there had only light weapons and orders to use them only in self-defense. The United Nations allowed Serb soldiers to round up the men and boys, and to take them away and kill them. That same year, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, the top political and military leaders of Bosnia's Serbs during the war, were indicted on charges of genocide by the war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. But they remain free, hiding in different parts of the still-divided region. Even when NATO had 60,000 troops in Bosnia supposedly charged with arresting wanted men, the two Bosnian Serbs moved with relative impunity. NATO governments, principally Washington, did not want to risk their troops by trying to arrest either man. Today, 7,000 European Union troops patrol Bosnia, apparently unable to find Mr. Karadzic, who is protected by his followers and is still a hero to many of his fellow Serbs. The European troops patrolling Bosnia must make Mr. Karadzic's capture their top priority, and international pressure to arrest Mr. Mladic must increase on neighboring Serbia, where he has taken refuge and finds great sympathy among members of the army. In the Serb Republic carved out of Bosnia, Mr. Karadzic is still perhaps the most powerful figure in the ruling party. He runs a smuggling network that controls patronage for thousands. As long as Mr. Karadzic is in control, reconciliation among Serbs, Croats and Muslims in Bosnia is a far-off dream. Capturing Mr. Karadzic and Mr. Mladic is not just a way to keep faith with the dead - it is the only way to move these regions into the modern world.
fena.ba 15 July 2005 (14:16) SARAJEVO: INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON GENOCIDE IN SREBRENICA CONCLUDES SARAJEVO, July 15 (FENA) – The four-day International Scientific Conference “Genocide against the Bosniaks of UN safe haven Srebrenica July 1995 – lessons for the future generations” concluded on Thursday evening in Sarajevo. The Conference opened on July 11 in Potocari on the occasion of commemorating the Srebrenica tragedy. Conclusions from this gathering will be presented at a special press conference on basis of numerous proposals by the participants. Authors from BiH and scientists from all continents have submitted 120 papers on the Srebrenica tragedy. Participants of the Conference agree that persons responsible for genocide in Srebrenica, i.e. BiH, must answer for their crimes, and that genocide must never happen again. It is estimated that over 300 people participated in the Conference over the past four fays. This scientific gathering was organized by the Sarajevo Institute for researching crimes against humanity from international law and the University of North Carolina. All papers submitted will be issued in a special publication, in the end of this or beginning of the next year.
washingtonpost.com 19 July 2005 Was Bosnia Worth It? By Richard Holbrooke Post Tuesday, July 19, 2005; A21 If you wonder whether the 1995 American intervention in Bosnia was the right decision, go to a really horrible place, one whose name has become synonymous with genocide and Western failure. Go to Srebrenica. Ten years after Bosnian Serbs under the command of Gen. Ratko Mladic murdered 7,000 Muslims there, I found myself back in that valley of evil as part of the official American delegation representing President Bush and the nation. We walked across muddy fields, under leaden skies, through a vast throng of victim families who were burying more than 600 of their loved ones, their grief and personal hatred of those who had done this undiminished by the passage of a decade. But even in Srebrenica, there has been progress since my last visit, five years ago. Then, only 10 brave -- one might say recklessly brave -- Muslim families had returned to their homes, and they lived in constant fear among 12,000 Serbs. Today 4,000 Muslims have returned, and one-third of the Serbs have already left. This is astonishing, and more of the same seems certain if the international community -- and especially the United States, the most respected nation in the Balkans -- remains involved; in this regard, Bush's strong words of support at the ceremony -- read by the head of his delegation, Ambassador for War Crimes Pierre Prosper -- were welcomed. There was also an important effort at reconciliation: Top leaders from Serbia and the Serb part of Bosnia came to lay wreaths, an important acknowledgment of Serb responsibility for what happened. Things have improved even more in the rest of Bosnia. Above all, there is peace and not simply a cease-fire; this war will not resume. Nor has Bosnia become two separate states, as many critics of the Dayton Peace Agreement predicted. Although many (including in the Pentagon) predicted a Korea-like demilitarized zone between Serbs and Muslims, there are no barriers between the regions, and there are growing economic and political ties between ethnic groups. More than a million refugees have returned to their homes, many, like those in Srebrenica, to areas where they are in a minority. Both the European Union and NATO are beginning talks that could lead to association agreements between Bosnia and Brussels. So there is good news (which often means "no news" to editors) from Bosnia. But not nearly enough. From the beginning, implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement was insufficiently aggressive. The most important failure was not capturing the two most wanted war criminals in Europe, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. This is a story unto itself of missed opportunities and poor intelligence. Mladic is, after all, in Serbia, and has been seen in public. I would guess that Karadzic has trimmed his trademark gray pompadour, grown a beard, and is hiding in some monastery in the deep mountains of eastern Bosnia or Montenegro. If Karadzic and Mladic are not brought to justice, the international security force (now a European Union force, with NATO reduced to a small office and fewer than 200 American troops) will never be able to leave, and Bosnia's return to a multiethnic society (and the institutions of Europe) will be delayed or prevented. It is by now universally understood that a great crime was committed in Srebrenica. As assistant secretary of state for European affairs at the time, I argued, unsuccessfully, that we needed NATO airstrikes to stop the Bosnian Serbs -- bullies who preferred long-range artillery and short-range murder to anything resembling a real military operation. But Britain, France and the Netherlands had troops deployed, as part of the United Nations' peacekeeping force, in three extremely exposed enclaves in eastern Bosnia, including Srebrenica. Facing the brutal threats of Mladic, they refused to consider airstrikes until the Dutch troops were ignominiously escorted out of Srebrenica. By then it was too late. From 1991 to 1995 the United States had been reluctant to act in Bosnia. But after Srebrenica, President Bill Clinton knew that although the American people would not like it, the United States could no longer avoid involvement there. Thus began the diplomatic and military policy that led to the Dayton accords, to peace in Bosnia and, four years later, to the liberation of the Albanian people in Kosovo from Slobodan Milosevic's oppression. Sending 20,000 American troops to Bosnia as part of a NATO-led peacekeeping contingent to enforce Dayton took real political courage. There were widespread predictions that it would fail, and there was opposition from most of Congress and the foreign policy elite. In a poll at the time, Clinton's decision was supported by only 36 percent of the American public, who expected heavy U.S. casualties. As it turned out, that expectation was misplaced; in the 10 years since Dayton, no -- repeat, no -- American or NATO military personnel have been killed by hostile action in Bosnia. It is a mark of the respect in which NATO -- that is, the United States -- is held. This was Clinton's most important action in regard to Europe -- an action opposed, incidentally, by most of his political advisers. It was a classic commander-in-chief decision, made alone, without congressional support and with only reluctant backing from the Pentagon. But it worked: Without those 20,000 troops, Bosnia would not have survived, 2 million refugees would still be wandering the face of Western Europe, a criminal state would be in power in Bosnia itself -- and we would probably have had to pursue Operation Enduring Freedom not only in Afghanistan but also in the deep ravines and dangerous hills of central Bosnia, where a shadowy organization we now know as al Qaeda was putting down roots that were removed by NATO after Dayton. Was Bosnia worth it? As we approach the 10th anniversary of Dayton, there should no longer be any debate. Had we not intervened -- belatedly but decisively -- a disaster would have taken place with serious consequences for our national security and the war on terrorism. Dayton reasserted an American leadership role in Europe after a period of drift and confusion. But the job is not yet finished, and it is encouraging to see President Bush and the new team at State recommit the nation, as they did last week at Srebrenica. Richard Holbrooke was the chief architect of the Dayton Peace Agreement. He writes a monthly column for The Post.
Germany See Turkey
RFE/RL 16 July 2005 Blast Hits Police Station In Macedonian Capital (RFE/RL) 16 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- An explosion rocked a police station in the Macedonian capital Skopje late yesterday. Police said no one was hurt in the blast outside the station in a mainly ethnic Albanian suburb of the city. It follows a machine gun and mortar assault on a police station north of the western city of Tetovo on 12 July. In 2001, Macedonian security forces clashed with ethnic Albanian fighters. An accord brokered by the West eventually ended the violence. The so-called Ohrid accord gave greater rights to Macedonia's 25 percent ethnic Albanian minority. Yesterday, the Macedonian parliament adopted a law giving ethnic Albanians the right to fly the Albanian flag in areas where they make up the majority. Adoption of that law was the final provision of the Ohrid accord.
BBC 19 July 2005 Explosion in Chechnya 'kills 14' Police and civilians died when the vehicle exploded Fourteen people have been killed and more than 20 injured in an explosion in Chechnya, reports from Russia say. Officials said a police car was shot at and blown up in Znamenskoye, 60km (37 miles) north of the capital, Grozny. Chechen President Alu Alkhanov has blamed the attack on separatist rebels led by Shamil Basayev, Russian news agency Itar-Tass reports. Russia's President Vladimir Putin has ordered an acceleration of plans to tighten borders in the region, it adds. Tuesday's incident happened in Chechnya's north western Nadterechny district, usually considered to be under the control of Russian security forces. Police 'ambushed' Mr Putin told his government that plans to reinforce troops along Russia's volatile southern Caucasus border must be implemented "as quickly as possible". Meanwhile, security forces have begun the hunt for those responsible for the explosion at about 1330 (0930 GMT) in Znamenskoye. Local police said attackers in a car had at first opened fire on a police vehicle near a school, then detonated explosives when reinforcements arrived, Itar-Tass reports. Chechnya's Prime Minister Sergei Abramov told the agency 11 police officers and three civilians had been killed, among them two teenagers and a local police chief. About 24 wounded have been flown to the nearest hospitals for treatment - some with serious injuries, Russian news agency Interfax said. 'No escape' The Chechen Interior Ministry told Itar-Tass the attack had been targeted against police officers. Chechen President Alu Alkhanov said he had evidence those involved had been working for Chechen warlord Basayev, who claimed responsibility for last year's Beslan school siege. "No statute of limitations applies to this crime. Its organisers and those who carried it out will not escape retribution," Itar-Tass quotes Mr Alkhanov as saying. Correspondents say that although Russian forces control most of Chechnya, isolated rebel attacks have continued and even spread to neighbouring regions. Mr Putin last week visited the southern Russian region of Dagestan, where he urged ministers and commanders to take action to halt violence. At least 10 people were killed in a bomb attack on a truck carrying security forces near the Dagestani capital, Makhachkala, earlier this month. In 2003, a truck bomb outside a government compound in Znamenskoye killed at least 60 people and injured many more.
Four Serbs May Get 20 Years for Killings By DUSAN STOJANOVIC The Associated Press Friday, July 15, 2005; 11:29 PM BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro -- Four former members of a Serbian paramilitary force were convicted Friday of abducting 16 Muslims from a bus in 1992 and taking them to Bosnia to be tortured and executed. The court said the four former members of the Avengers paramilitary group abducted 15 Muslim men and a woman while they were traveling from Serbia to their work in neighboring Bosnia in October 1992 and took them to a nearby motel where they were tortured with knives and then executed on the banks of the Drina River, on the border between Serbia and Bosnia. Their bodies have not been found. Photographs of the victims, believed to be made by the culprits that night, were used as the main evidence against the four. The high-profile trial was intended to show that the Serbian judiciary can deal with war crimes cases impartially. The two in custody, Djordje Sevic and Dragutin Dragicevic, got 15 and 20 years respectively. Two others, Milan Lukic and Oliver Krsmanovic, are on the run and were tried in absentia, and received 20-year jail terms _ half the maximum sentence. Lukic is among the top war crimes suspects wanted by the U.N. war crimes court in The Hague, Netherlands. The U.N. tribunal has charged him with a similar abduction and the killing of 20 Muslims from Serbia in 1993. Relatives of the victims said the sentences should have been harsher. "If one man kills another, he gets 10 years in jail," said Vula Djodzgic, the sister of one of the victims. "Here we had 16 people killed in an unspeakably brutal way. The trial again failed to reflect the scope of this monstrosity." War crimes trials in Serbia became possible only after the 2000 toppling and subsequent handover to the U.N. war crimes court of the autocratic ex-President Slobodan Milosevic, now on trial for genocide. Milosevic's government is believed to have backed several Serb paramilitary groups during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.
BBC 17 Jul, 2005 PKK blamed for Turkey resort bomb Victims included holiday-makers visiting the popular resort A bomb which exploded on a tourist bus in the Turkish resort of Kusadasi was most likely planted by members of the PKK, the Turkish authorities have said. "They are virtually certain this is the PKK, which is a Kurdish guerrilla group terrorist organisation," UK ambassador Sir Peter Westmacott said. Sir Peter made the comments as he visited the injured in Izmir city. Five people, including one British and one Irish woman, were killed in the blast and at least 13 others injured. UK tour company clients Five Britons were among those injured, three of them seriously. The PKK, considered a terrorist organisation by the US and EU, has been staging a violent campaign against the Turkish government for an independent Kurdish state since 1978. More than 37,000 people have been killed in the campaign. The rebels declared a unilateral truce in 1999, but ended it in 2004, saying Turkey had not done enough to meet their demands. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the blast, which Turkish officials suspect may have been caused by a parcel bomb, not a suicide bomber as first believed. The British woman died of her injuries after having been taken on to the nearest city, Izmir - 90km (56 miles) away - for medical treatment, along with the other wounded Britons. Send us your comments UK tour operator Thomas Cook has confirmed that two of those killed in the attack and the five injured Britons were their customers. The bus was completely destroyed by the blast "One guest was travelling with Thomas Cook Tour Operations, and the other with Thomas Cook UK & Ireland's subsidiary company, Sunworld Ireland," company spokeswoman Faith Wooton said of the dead holidaymakers. "Thomas Cook's first priority is the welfare of its customers, and the company's overseas team is on hand to support the injured guests and their families," she added. Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern have condemned the attack, while UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw called it a "repugnant act". The blast comes six days after a bombing in the nearby town of Cesme, which left at least 20 people injured. Kurdish militants claimed responsibility for that attack, as well as one in Kusadasi in April, in which one policeman was killed and four other people were wounded. Militants both from the far left and from Islamist circles have carried out bombings in Turkey in the past, as have Kurdish rebels.
NYT 17 July 2005 The Reading File In the Matter of the Bulls, Papa Knows Best E-Mail This Printer-Friendly Reprints By THE NEW YORK TIMES Published: July 17, 2005 A Mother's Keening A voice to emerge from the London bombings is that of Marie Fatayi-Williams, who captured Britons with a lament delivered on Monday in Tavistock Square, where her son was among those killed on the bus, according to The Guardian, which published her speech, excerpted here: It's time to stop and think. We cannot live in fear because we are surrounded by hatred. Look around us today. Anthony is a Nigerian, born in London, worked in London, he is a world citizen. Here today we have Christians, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, all of us united in love for Anthony. Hatred begets only hatred. It is time to stop this vicious cycle of killing. We must all stand together, for our common humanity. I need to know what happened to my Anthony. He's the love of my life. My first son, my first son, 26. He tells me one day: "Mummy, I don't want to die, I don't want to die. I want to live, I want to take care of you, I will do great things for you, I will look after you, you will see what I will achieve for you. I will make you happy." And he was making me happy. I am proud of him, I am still very proud of him but I need to now where he is, I need to know what happened to him. I grieve, I am sad, I am distraught, I am destroyed.
Guardian UK 17 July 2005 Mother vows to honour dead son David Smith Sunday July 17, 2005 The Observer Her plea for peace came from the heart and her anguished face became a symbol of grief for the families of innocents killed by the terrorist attacks on London. Marie Fatayi-Williams's impassioned eloquence outside King's Cross station last week paid a moving tribute to her only son, Anthony, a 26-year-old oil executive left dead by the bus suicide bomber. As the official death toll rose to 55 yesterday, Mrs Fatayi-Williams told The Observer she would give Anthony's death meaning by setting up a foundation in his honour. Provisionally named The Peace and Conflict Resolution Foundation, it will have bases in London and Mrs Fatayi-Williams's home country, Nigeria. 'I don't want the spilling of my son's blood to just pass like that,' said the 50-year-old. 'If whatever I do will stop one child, one person, from being brainwashed into becoming a suicide bomber or terrorist from claiming an innocent life, then Anthony's death will not be meaningless. 'We will approach people, we will network, we will speak to those that matter, through whatever means to get the message across. 'I know from the response to the plea I made that there seems to be interest in my speaking from the fullness of my heart. So many people believe exactly what I believe or feel the pain that I felt, but maybe they haven't been able to articulate the way God has allowed me to by making Anthony a sacrificial lamb. That sacrificial lamb is not going to be a lamb that died in vain. I am deeply pained, I am deeply maimed, and I hope it is so others will not go through it.' Mrs Fatayi-Williams, a Catholic, said the foundation would be international in its outlook and, for similar reasons, her son would be buried in London. 'I am not going to bury Anthony at home. He is my firstborn and a sense of Nigerian tradition demands that we take him home. But where is home? He didn't die at home - he died here. So he is a citizen of the world and will be buried in London.' A public Mass is to take place at Westminster Cathedral at noon on Saturday. The family is setting up a website with details which should be accessible via search engines (a web address has not yet been assigned). Mrs Fatayi-Williams's emotional speech epitomised the suffering of the victims' families and dominated media coverage of the bombings around the world. At that time Anthony's death had not yet been confirmed. She recalled: 'To tell you the truth, I didn't see anybody. All I know is that I was going to reach out to my son, wherever he was out there, and I hoped he was going to come back to me or I was going to find out something. I can't tell you where I went and how I got there. If you ask me to describe to you the place now where I was, I can't. My heart was full, and I had to speak, and I spoke, and that was it. 'I look at it on the television and I wonder, "Is that me?" I was moved by my passion and my pain and my hurt. Of course I saw that there were a few heads and microphones but I cannot tell you that I saw one face. 'I could never believe this would happen to my son. He was the love of my life. My son, who so many loved so much. My son, who would stop and drop a pound in a beggar's bowl if it was the last pound he had. He had a bright future ahead of him and didn't deserve to die like that.' She said: 'I haven't gone to see Anthony's body. Others have gone but I haven't gone - I'm not sure I'm able to do it. I can hardly speak of him in the past tense. He was very loving and kind. He doesn't care who you are, where you are, what level you belong to - he will talk to you. He has a kind word for everybody. People who've heard have said, "Oh no, not him, a gentle man, a loving boy, he'd have a joke, he'd have a hug."[He would say] to his sisters: "Oh give me a hug, give me a hug".' Asked about her feelings towards the bombers, she replied: 'Why such hatred? Look at the boy who did this. He was 19. He was hardly grown-up himself. Did he know what he's doing? I don't want to hate them. That would never bring back my son, and hatred begets hatred. Let's look at ourselves and look to our common humanity, what makes us human, what makes us one. Let's look to the bottom line. 'Maybe it's the women of this world who need to do it because we are the ones who feel the pain, who carry the children, who struggle for nine months, who seek the peace first. Men used to say, "To be a man you've got to have gone to war." But who looks after the children? The burden is on the women. Perhaps the burden of peace is now on the women.' Mrs Fatayi-Williams and her husband, Alan, 52, based in Lagos, have two daughters, Ayisha Rose, 21, and 16-yearold Lauretta. She added: 'This was my only son. I'm past the age of having a son, so it's like somebody had ripped my whole world apart. 'It's not that I don't love my daughters - they are very special to me - but it's like when you talk of the monarchy. They always hope they will have a son to continue the family name. It is the same with me. Now my husband is over 50, I am 50, there is nobody to pass on the family name as a legacy to generations to come.'
NYT 17 July 2005 Blair Says 'Evil Ideology' Must Be Faced Directly By ALAN COWELL LONDON, July 16 - In a major speech drawing battle lines for the global response to terrorism, Prime Minister Tony Blair said Saturday that its "evil ideology" could only be beaten by confronting its "symptoms and causes, head-on, without compromise or delusion." Nine days after bombers struck in London, Mr. Blair told Labor Party supporters that security measures alone would not thwart attackers like those responsible for the attacks on three subway trains and a bus in London that claimed at least 55 lives. "In the end it is by the power of argument, debate, true religious faith and true legitimate politics that we will defeat this threat," he said. "What we are confronting here is an evil ideology. It is not a clash of civilizations - all civilized people, Muslim or other, feel revulsion at it. But it is a global struggle and it is a battle of ideas, hearts and minds, both within Islam and outside it. "This is the battle that must be won, a battle not just about the terrorist methods, but their views. Not just about their barbaric acts, but their barbaric ideas. Not only what they do, but what they think and the thinking they would impose on others." Mr. Blair's remarks offered the most extensive outline of his likely political response to the attacks, seeking to enlist British Muslim leaders to "take this common fight forward." The government also plans new laws, outlined Friday, that would criminalize acts like "providing or receiving training in the use of hazardous substances" and indirectly inciting or preparing for terrorism. Mr. Blair's speech came as Britain stepped up its global investigation into the bombings. In a statement published Saturday in the Cairo daily Al Gumhuriya, the Egyptian interior minister, Habib el-Adly, said news reports about Magdy Mahmoud Mustafa el-Nashar, a biochemist arrested in Cairo, were "unfounded and are only hasty deductions." Mr. Adly said Mr. Nashar had "no links with the Al Qaeda network." In an earlier statement, the minister said Mr. Nashar "denied any involvement" in the bombings. Mr. Nashar had studied for a doctorate at the University of Leeds, in the town where three of the four suspected London bombers lived. In Leeds, the police raided a home on Saturday in the same area as earlier searches but did not say why. The bombings stunned the families of several of the suspected bombers, two of whom left behind young children. Samantha Lewthwaite, the wife of a Jamaican-born Briton suspected of one of the subway bombings, insisted that "he wasn't the sort of person who'd do this." "I won't believe it until I see proof," she told The Sun, referring to the allegations against her husband, Lindsey Germaine, whose name has been presented several ways by investigators. "I'm not going to accept it until they have his DNA." The family of Hasib Mir Hussain, 18, who is believed responsible for the bombing aboard a bus, said in a statement on Friday: "We had no knowledge of his activities and, had we done, we would have done everything in our power to stop him." On Saturday, the family of Mohammad Sidique Khan, at 30 the oldest of the suspected bombers, said in a statement, "We are devastated that our son may have been brainwashed into carrying out such an atrocity, since we know him as a kind and caring member of our family." Mr. Blair has been eager to counter assertions that Britain was singled out for attack because of its military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, its alliance with the United States or its Middle East policies. His speech came on a day when three British soldiers were killed in Iraq. To bolster his argument that such attacks long preceded the Iraq war, he has posted on the 10 Downing Street Web site a list of attacks by Al Qaeda dating to the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center in New York. "If it is Iraq that motivates them, why is the same ideology killing Iraqis by terror in defiance of an elected Iraqi government?" he said in his speech on Saturday. "What was Sept. 11 the reprisal for? Why even after the first Madrid bomb and the election of a new Spanish government were they planning another atrocity when caught? Why if it is the cause of Muslims that concerns them do they kill so many with such callous indifference?" "Their cause is not founded on an injustice," he said. "It is founded on a belief, one whose fanaticism is such it can't be moderated. It can't be remedied. It has to be stood up to." Neil MacFarquhar contributed reporting from Cairo for this article
Guardian UK 14 July 2005 English youths beat Muslim man to death HATE: Although they do not connect the killing with a backlash against Muslims after the London bombings, Muslim leaders say it was Islamophobic and people are scared THE GUARDIAN , LONDON Thursday, Jul 14, 2005,Page 6 "You can't class this as racist, there was no racist abuse shouted at him, it was Islamophobic." Azad Ali, Muslim Safety Forum chairman A Muslim man has been beaten to death outside a corner shop by a gang of youths who shouted anti-Islamic abuse at him, the Guardian reported yesterday. The killing comes amid fears of a backlash against British Muslims following the London bombings. Kamal Raza Butt, 48, from Pakistan, was visiting Britain to see friends and family. On Sunday afternoon he went to a shop in Nottingham, northern England, to buy cigarettes and was first called "Taliban" by the youths and then set upon. Nottinghamshire police described the incident as racially aggravated, not as Islamophobic, angering Muslim groups and surprising some senior officers. They say it was not connected to a backlash against Muslims following the London bombings, which has seen mosques firebombed and Muslims attacked in the street. On Monday the case was discussed at the Muslim Safety Forum (MSF), where senior police officers and Muslim community representatives meet. Senior sources who were at the meeting last night said it was the view of all present that the killing was a hate crime triggered by his faith. Muslim leaders on Tuesday night said the killing and the fact that it was Islamophobic would heighten anxiety in their communities, which was already high before the London bombings and which has deepened with every report of attacks. Nine youths, some of them juveniles, have been arrested by police. According to several sources, the man had gone to a shop in the The Leadows area of the city around 4.30pm on Sunday to buy cigarettes when the youths asked him to hand them over. When he refused they shouted that he was Taliban, a reference to the hardline Muslim government that ran Afghanistan and harbored al-Qaeda terrorists. The man was punched and fell to the ground and later died in hospital. Police have yet to officially announce the results of a postmortem examination. Azad Ali, who chairs the MSF, said: "You can't class this as racist, there was no racist abuse shouted at him, it was Islamophobic." "It is good the police have made arrests. We are disappointed that they have misclassified it, especially after all the advice to be more alert to Islamophobic hate crime," he said. Planning for the aftermath of a terrorist attack on Britain has included extensive work on limiting any backlash and assuring Muslims, already distrustful of the police, that they could expect protection from any reprisals. Guidelines from the UK's Association of Chief Police Officers say that forces should identify religious hate crimes and be open about it, because that may help their investigations and reassure the communities affected. Ali added that the murder would stoke fears among Britain's 1.6 million Muslims: "This has sent shivers down the community. People are very worried, if this is the start of an escalation." A police source said there was no clear evidence linking the murder to the backlash against Muslims following the bombings. Superintendent Dave Colbeck, of Nottinghamshire police, said: "It would be inappropriate to comment on the possible motive." "It is a localized incident and we are not looking at it as anything other than an isolated incident," he said.
Independent UK 9 July 2005 Police investigate 'backlash' attacks By Robert Verkaik, Legal Affairs Correspondent Published: 09 July 2005 Police are investigating a number of assaults on Muslims and an arson attack on a Sikh temple which are believed to have been triggered by Thursday's terrorist bombings in London. Muslim leaders, fearing these incidents are part of a "racist backlash", met last night to discuss how best to reassure Islamic communities and deal with any further cases of Islamaphobia. Racist material contained in e-mails sent to the Muslim Council of Great Britain (MCGB) crashed its computer system while racist propaganda has been prominently posted on a number of internet websites. A West Yorkshire police spokeswoman confirmed they were treating as "suspicious" a fire in Armley, Leeds, believed to be at a Sikh temple. Kent Police are also investigating two assaults on Muslim men in Dartford. A spokesman for the MCGB said they were bracing themselves for the worst and there was a real sense of "fear and apprehension" in Muslim communities, particularly in London. But Muslim leaders were heartened by the fact that they had not witnessed the rash of racist abuse that had accompanied the September 11 attacks on America four years ago. Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, leader of the Muslim Parliament, praised Londoners for facing this testing time with great courage. He said: "Many Muslims are quite agitated by what might happen next but we haven't seen the kind of things that happened post 9/11 when people openly spat at Muslims on the streets and vandalised Mosques." He said Muslim leaders had built bridges with other communities so there was a sense that what had happened was an attack on everyone who believes in a free democracy. "I think some of these initiatives have paid dividends, and [on Thursday] there were many Muslims who went to St Mary's Hospital to volunteer to give blood. We are all part of the same country and we feel the suffering." Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary-General of the MCGB said: "Our faith of Islam calls upon us to be upholders of justice. The day after London was bloodied by terrorists finds us determined to help secure this justice for the innocent victims of Thursday's carnage. The terrorists may have thought they could divide us and make us panic. It is our hope that we will all prove them wrong." But a statement posted on the British National Party's website yesterday claimed: "Following the Islamic fundamentalist massacres in London, two tendencies will rapidly become apparent: First the pro-government media will swing into action, bringing out a steady stream of injured ordinary Muslims and a flood of 'moderate' Muslim spokesmen to condemn the extremists. Second, millions of ordinary Brits just won't believe them, with severe extra strain on race relations as a result." One e-mail sent to the MCGB said: "I think that you have to acknowledge the evil which lies at the heart of each and everyone of you. The people you killed were my brothers. I am a black African. I just came here to make a better life for myself. I cannot support you. You are evil beings." A spokesman for the MCGB said: "Senior figures around the country are meeting to discuss a possible backlash. But it is important that Muslims are not cowed by what has happened and ... go about their business." Members of Britain's Sikh communities also fear becoming targets of racist attacks. A spokesman for the Sikh Commission on Racism & Cohesion said: "Following 9/11, visible communities like the Sikhs and Muslims became immediate targets of public racism. Anyone that was considered to be Muslim ... was targeted with vicious verbal racism, taunts and also physical attacks" The Commission for Racial Equality said it was monitoring "community tensions that may arise as a result of the bombings". Islamophobia on the increase By Oliver Duff * The UK's 1.6 million Muslims have suffered from increasing Islamophobia since 11 September, figures show. The first big survey of anti-Muslim discrimination in December revealed long-term prejudice had been "perpetuated and normalised" since the 9/11 attacks. Almost 80 per cent of Muslims felt they had been discriminated against because of their faith, a rise from 45 per cent in 2000. * A study by York academics this year found 43 per cent of non-Muslims admitted they have become noticeably more anti-Islamic since 2001. There was a deepening of anti-Islamic sentiment after the invasion of Iraq: a quarter of young people said they were more prejudiced than before. Hatred of Muslims was particularly prevalent among boys and young men. * Islamic representatives believe police unfairly target their community. Since 9/11, British anti-terrorist officers have arrested more than 700 people, with more than two thirds thought to be Muslim. But only one in six has been charged with terrorist offences. Police are investigating a number of assaults on Muslims and an arson attack on a Sikh temple which are believed to have been triggered by Thursday's terrorist bombings in London. Muslim leaders, fearing these incidents are part of a "racist backlash", met last night to discuss how best to reassure Islamic communities and deal with any further cases of Islamaphobia. Racist material contained in e-mails sent to the Muslim Council of Great Britain (MCGB) crashed its computer system while racist propaganda has been prominently posted on a number of internet websites. A West Yorkshire police spokeswoman confirmed they were treating as "suspicious" a fire in Armley, Leeds, believed to be at a Sikh temple. Kent Police are also investigating two assaults on Muslim men in Dartford. A spokesman for the MCGB said they were bracing themselves for the worst and there was a real sense of "fear and apprehension" in Muslim communities, particularly in London. But Muslim leaders were heartened by the fact that they had not witnessed the rash of racist abuse that had accompanied the September 11 attacks on America four years ago. Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, leader of the Muslim Parliament, praised Londoners for facing this testing time with great courage. He said: "Many Muslims are quite agitated by what might happen next but we haven't seen the kind of things that happened post 9/11 when people openly spat at Muslims on the streets and vandalised Mosques." He said Muslim leaders had built bridges with other communities so there was a sense that what had happened was an attack on everyone who believes in a free democracy. "I think some of these initiatives have paid dividends, and [on Thursday] there were many Muslims who went to St Mary's Hospital to volunteer to give blood. We are all part of the same country and we feel the suffering." Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary-General of the MCGB said: "Our faith of Islam calls upon us to be upholders of justice. The day after London was bloodied by terrorists finds us determined to help secure this justice for the innocent victims of Thursday's carnage. The terrorists may have thought they could divide us and make us panic. It is our hope that we will all prove them wrong." But a statement posted on the British National Party's website yesterday claimed: "Following the Islamic fundamentalist massacres in London, two tendencies will rapidly become apparent: First the pro-government media will swing into action, bringing out a steady stream of injured ordinary Muslims and a flood of 'moderate' Muslim spokesmen to condemn the extremists. Second, millions of ordinary Brits just won't believe them, with severe extra strain on race relations as a result." One e-mail sent to the MCGB said: "I think that you have to acknowledge the evil which lies at the heart of each and everyone of you. The people you killed were my brothers. I am a black African. I just came here to make a better life for myself. I cannot support you. You are evil beings." A spokesman for the MCGB said: "Senior figures around the country are meeting to discuss a possible backlash. But it is important that Muslims are not cowed by what has happened and ... go about their business." Members of Britain's Sikh communities also fear becoming targets of racist attacks. A spokesman for the Sikh Commission on Racism & Cohesion said: "Following 9/11, visible communities like the Sikhs and Muslims became immediate targets of public racism. Anyone that was considered to be Muslim ... was targeted with vicious verbal racism, taunts and also physical attacks" The Commission for Racial Equality said it was monitoring "community tensions that may arise as a result of the bombings". Islamophobia on the increase By Oliver Duff * The UK's 1.6 million Muslims have suffered from increasing Islamophobia since 11 September, figures show. The first big survey of anti-Muslim discrimination in December revealed long-term prejudice had been "perpetuated and normalised" since the 9/11 attacks. Almost 80 per cent of Muslims felt they had been discriminated against because of their faith, a rise from 45 per cent in 2000. * A study by York academics this year found 43 per cent of non-Muslims admitted they have become noticeably more anti-Islamic since 2001. There was a deepening of anti-Islamic sentiment after the invasion of Iraq: a quarter of young people said they were more prejudiced than before. Hatred of Muslims was particularly prevalent among boys and young men. * Islamic representatives believe police unfairly target their community. Since 9/11, British anti-terrorist officers have arrested more than 700 people, with more than two thirds thought to be Muslim. But only one in six has been charged with terrorist offences.
Islamophobia blamed for attack Vikram Dodd Wednesday July 13, 2005 The Guardian A Muslim man has been beaten to death outside a corner shop by a gang of youths who shouted anti-Islamic abuse at him, the Guardian has learned. Kamal Raza Butt, 48, from Pakistan, was visiting Britain to see friends and family. On Sunday afternoon he went to a shop in Nottingham to buy cigarettes and was first called "Taliban" by the youths and then set upon. Nottinghamshire police described the incident as racially aggravated, not as Islamophobic, angering Muslim groups and surprising some senior officers. They say it was not connected to a backlash against Muslims following the London bombings, which has seen mosques firebombed and Muslims attacked in the street. On Monday the case was discussed at the Muslim Safety Forum, where senior police officers and Muslim community representatives meet. Senior sources who were at the meeting last night said it was the view of all present that the killing was a hate crime triggered by his faith. Muslim leaders last night said the killing and the fact that it was Islamophobic would heighten anxiety in their communities, which was already high before the London bombings and which has deepened with every report of attacks. Nine youths, some of them juveniles, have been arrested by police, who are appealing for witnesses. According to several sources, the man had gone to a shop around 4.30pm on Sunday to buy cigarettes, and the youths had asked him to hand them over. When he refused they shouted that he was Taliban, a reference to the hardline Muslim government that ran Afghanistan and harboured al-Qaida terrorists. The man was punched and fell to the ground and later died in hospital. Police have yet to officially announce the results of a postmortem examination. Azad Ali, who chairs the Muslim Safety Forum, said: "You can't class this as racist, there was no racist abuse shouted at him, it was Islamophobic. "It is good the police have made arrests. We are disappointed that they have misclassified it, especially after all the advice to be more alert to Islamophobic hate crime." Planning for the aftermath of a terrorist attack on Britain has included extensive work on limiting any backlash and assuring Muslims, already distrustful of the police, that they could expect protection from any reprisals. Guidelines from the Association of Chief Police Officers say forces should identify religious hate crimes and be open about it, because that may help their investigations and reassure the communities affected. Mr Ali added that the murder would stoke fears among Britain's 1.6 million Muslims: "This has sent shivers down the community. People are very worried, if this is the start of an escalation." A police source said there was no clear evidence linking the murder to the backlash against Muslims after the bombings. Superintendent Dave Colbeck, of Nottinghamshire police, said: "It would be inappropriate to comment on the possible motive. "It is a localised incident and we are not looking at it as anything other than an isolated incident." See Alif Aleph UK Wednesday, 25 May 2005 The Islamophobia Commission and the Jewish Council for Racial Equality Alif-Aleph UK is a group of British Muslims and British Jews brought together by Richard Stone, President of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, in 2003. He was able to build on the many positive contacts in British Muslim communities he had made in five of the previous nine years when he was member of the Runnymede Islamophobia Commission, and Chair of it from 1999 to 2004. www.aauk.org
Guardian 15 July 2005 It's paranoia, not Islamophobia Britain has done much to help integrate Muslims. Now they must rise above their grievance culture David Goodhart Friday July 15, 2005 The Guardian Britain can take pride in how it has been trying to make a reality of political and legal equality for its 1.6 million Muslim citizens over recent years. Some Muslims still face forms of discrimination not faced by most other Britons, but many doors have swung open, especially since 1997. Under Labour the first Muslims were elected to the House of Commons and appointed to the Lords. Muslim organisations lobbied for and won state funds for Muslim schools, a question in the census on religious faith, and criminalisation of religious hate crimes. The huge rise in public spending and focus on improving delivery in the poorest areas will have particularly benefited Muslims alongside other disadvantaged groups. And since 9/11 the government has sought out bright young Muslims for senior civil-service jobs and introduced innovations such as the hajj information unit for those making the pilgrimage to Mecca. Privately, Muslim leaders will acknowledge this progress. But the overwhelming theme of public comment, even after the recent bombings, is one of Muslim grievance. Britain's Muslims are among the richest and freest in the world and most of them are groping successfully towards a hybrid British Muslim identity, but when did you last hear a Muslim leader say so? Iqbal Sacranie is a capable leader who has helped to turn the Muslim Council of Britain into an effective lobbying body, but his organisation's default position remains grievance. Here he is in the introduction to a recent booklet for British Muslims: "The unleashing of a virulent strain of Islamophobia, inflammatory media reporting and the misconceived wars against Afghanistan and Iraq have all contributed to the undoubted increase in prejudice we face." There will, regrettably, be some backlash after the London bombs. But to glorify this with the term Islamophobia is silly. The respected science writer Kenan Malik has elsewhere (see Prospect, February 2005) examined the claims made in the name of Islamophobia (over stop and search, racist attacks and so on) and found them wanting. As for inflammatory media reporting - after 9/11 and even more so after 7/7 - all politicians and mainstream media voices have stressed the unrepresentativeness of the terrorists, and increasingly it is Muslim voices making this point, such as the hijab-wearing Sun columnist Anila Baig. An undifferentiated rhetoric of grievance contributes to alienation, lack of integration and even indirectly to extremism. If you are constantly being told by even moderate Muslim leaders that Britain is a cesspit of Islamophobia and is running a colonial anti-Muslim foreign policy, you might well conclude, like one young Muslim quoted after the bombs: "I would like to give blood but they probably won't want mine." According to an ICM poll in the Guardian last year, 13% of British Muslims thought the 9/11 attacks were justified, and according to other polls as many as 25% do not identify with Britain in any way. It is part of the job of moderate Muslim leaders to help to reduce those numbers as much as possible. To do that requires a change in rhetoric in at least three areas. First, the relatively poor socioeconomic position of most British Muslims has little to do with Islamophobia or racism and a great deal to do with the fact that nearly two-thirds of British Muslims come from Pakistan and Bangladesh, often from these countries' poor, rural areas. (Indian and Arab Muslims do better.) The starting point in terms of education, skills and traditional cultural attitudes is worse for most Muslims than it is for, say, the Hindu or Chinese minorities, both of which outperform white Britons. To expect Muslims to rise to the average level in terms of education and jobs within a generation or two is not realistic, although progress is being made. Second, the economic and political failure of many Muslim states - and subsequent western interventions - poses a challenge to all Muslims living in the west. But the crude "war against Islam" rhetoric of many British Muslims is just a feelgood rallying cry. How often do Muslim leaders point out that Tony Blair favoured ground-troop intervention on behalf of European Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo? And as the Muslim peer Kishwer Falkner points out: "When Muslims are pressed to say what should have been done with a Taliban-run, al-Qaida-embracing Afghanistan, one is met with silence." Finally, how often is it pointed out that many of Britain's Shia Muslims welcomed the overthrow of Saddam, which has replaced secular dictatorship with Islamic democracy. Third, the terrorist threat that Britain faces comes overwhelmingly from British or foreign Muslims; it does not come from Welsh hill farmers or US investment bankers. So it follows that most terror-related investigations will focus on Muslim communities. This isn't picking on Muslims; it is simply a fact of life. A more open acknowledgment of these three points could help to move Muslim debate beyond the paranoia that often seems to characterise it and send an important signal to the rest of Britain that Muslims have risen above their grievance culture. · David Goodhart is the editor of Prospect magazine
BBC 10 July, 2005 Charity cash for Holocaust centre A centre in Nottinghamshire devoted to the study of genocide has been awarded £499,000 to build a new teaching facility for young children. The Beth Shalom Centre near Laxton is spending the Heritage Lottery grant on a project which will tell primary school pupils about the holocaust. It will recreate the journey of Jewish children smuggled out of Nazi-occupied Europe and transported to Britain. The Kindertransports exhibition will include accounts from child survivors. Dr. James Smith, co-founder of the centre, said: "This [involved] over 10,000 children that came to Britain so it's a role that Britain played during the holocaust. "It's a positive story because they were rescued, of course it's a very sad story as well about decisions and about choices that we make."
NYT 20 July 2005 Seeking Moderate Support, Blair Meets Muslim Leaders By ALAN COWELL LONDON, July 19 - Prime Minister Tony Blair met with moderate Muslim leaders on Tuesday, seeking to enlist their support against Islamic extremism and to discount the war in Iraq as the main cause for the London bombings this month. A new opinion survey published in The Guardian on Tuesday said two-thirds of Britons believed there was a direct link between the bombings on July 7 that claimed 56 lives and Mr. Blair's decision to go to war in Iraq as the main ally of the United States. One of the 25 Muslim leaders who met Mr. Blair at 10 Downing Street said the invasion had spawned a "successful recruitment sergeant" for Al Qaeda. The Iraq war has been unpopular with many Britons. Even before a bullet was fired, over one million people marched through London in protest in early 2003. Since then, the decision to side with the White House has haunted Mr. Blair. "The chaos in Iraq today is a direct consequence of the decision to invade it, and the unforgivable failure to plan how to provide security for the country we had taken over," Robin Cook, a former government minister who resigned to protest against the war, wrote in a newspaper column on Tuesday. Earlier this month, as Mr. Blair basked in a series of political and diplomatic triumphs, the Iraq debate seemed to be receding. But it has revived as Britons ponder whether the four British Muslim men aged between 18 and 30 who bombed three subway trains and a bus had been inspired to do so because of their opposition to Mr. Blair's policies in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. One Muslim cleric, Sheik Omar Bakri Mohammad, former head of the radical Al Muhajiroun movement, broke his public silence on Tuesday to denounce the bombings, but blamed British voters for returning Mr. Blair to power in elections last May. "The British people did not make enough effort to stop its own government committing its own atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said in an interview published in The Evening Standard. "They showed Tony Blair full support when they elected him prime minister again even after he waged the latest war in Iraq." Imran Waheed, a spokesman for the radical Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamic group, which was not included in the discussions, said: "The link between British foreign policy in the Muslim world and the resultant radicalization of the entire Muslim people was completely ignored in these discussions. Legitimate political dissent to foreign policy is being portrayed as extremism." Even moderate Muslims - reviled by radicals as tools of government policy - said Mr. Blair should acknowledge the emotions stirred by the Iraq campaign. Discussing the relationship between the war and the London bombings, Ibrahim Mogra, one of the clerics who met Mr. Blair, told reporters: "I believe there was a relationship, but that does not justify what these murderous criminals have done." "As Muslims we feel the pain and suffering of our brothers and sisters around the globe every single day," he said. "It has been a successful recruitment sergeant for people who wish to preach hatred for our country and our government." The authorities have sought to single out firebrand clerics as "preachers of hate," in the words of Sir Ian Blair, the head of Scotland Yard, and government officials are preparing new antiterror legislation to outlaw incendiary sermons. But Sir Ian went further on Tuesday, calling for a law to punish "glorifying terrorism." In the past, he said, the police had sought on 20 occasions to persuade the Crown Prosecution Service to bring charges against radical preachers, but action had been taken only once. He did not give details of the cases. "That is why we need a new offence - 'glorifying terrorism' would do very well," the police commissioner said. The idea of Muslims acting as the eyes and ears of the authorities to police their co-religionists has left many people uneasy and illustrated the gulf between those Prime Minister Blair talked to and those who listen to people like Mr. Bakri. "The young people who believe in him, we do not have access to them," said Zaki Badawi, the head of the Muslim College and one of the best-known British mainstream Muslim leaders. "Now we are going to go out to them." Mr. Badawi was turned back by United States immigration authorities after being held for six hours at an airport in New York days after he had appeared publicly with Christian and Jewish leaders to condemn the July 7 attacks. He was one of the leaders who met Mr. Blair. He said later that he had resolved his problems with the United States immigration services and would be returning to New York. He did not say when. After the meeting, Mr. Blair repeated his assertion that the attackers were inspired by an "evil ideology." But he went some way toward acknowledging that other issues played a part in providing pretexts for terrorism. "We have got to be very careful that we don't enter into a situation where we think if we make some compromise on some aspect of foreign policy, these people are going to change," he told reporters after meeting with the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai. "They are not going to change. They will just say: 'They are on the run, let's step it up.' " "They will use any issue to recruit people," he said. "They will recruit people over Iraq. They were recruited over Afghanistan. They were recruited over Palestine. People can debate these issues about the links and what are the superficial causes and symptoms. The fundamental causes, I'm afraid, I think are a lot deeper, and we need to address those." Mr. Karzai disputed any link between the campaigns in his country or Iraq and the London bombings. "There is no link," he said. "They are simply merchants of death." Since the July 7 bombings, Britain has braced for a further attack. But in an Internet warning posted on July 16, a group that claims affiliation to Al Qaeda said more European nations with troops in Iraq were at risk. "This message is the final warning to European states," the message signed by the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades said. "We want to give you a one-month deadline to bring your soldiers out from the land of Mesopotamia." It specifically mentioned Denmark, the Netherlands, Britain and Italy. The group, which also took responsibility for the July 7 attack in London along with attacks in Madrid and Istanbul, has been treated with some skepticism by counterterrorism experts.
BBC 19 Jul, 2005 UK soldiers face war crimes trial Baha Mousa died in custody after being arrested in Basra Three British soldiers are facing courts martial for charges amounting to war crimes in Iraq in September 2003. The men, from the Queen's Lancashire Regiment, are charged with inhuman treatment of persons under the International Criminal Court Act 2001. They face UK courts martial rather than war crimes trials in The Hague, where the international court is based. They also face criminal charges, as do four other soldiers. A further four face charges in a separate case. The charges were announced by the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, in the House of Lords on Tuesday evening. In the first case, the soldiers are alleged to have committed a number of offences against a group of detainees arrested following a planned operation. Anyone accused is innocent until proved guilty and it is for the courts martial to consider the evidence in any case and reach a verdict John Reid Defence Secretary One of the detainees, Baha Da' oud Salim Mousa, a Basra hotel receptionist, was allegedly killed by one of those charged, Corporal Donald Payne, 34, of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment. Corp Payne is also alleged to have mistreated others and faces charges of manslaughter, inhuman treatment of persons and perverting the course of justice. Two other members of the regiment, Lance Corporal Wayne Crowcroft, 21, and Private Darren Fallon, 22, also face charges under the International Criminal Court Act. A fourth serviceman, Sergeant Kelvin Stacey, 28, also of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment, is alleged to have assaulted a detainee and faces a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm, alternatively common assault. Three other servicemen - Warrant Officer Mark Davies, 36, of the Intelligence Corps, Major Michael Peebles, 34, of the Intelligence Corps, and Colonel Jorge Mendonca, 41, lately of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment, are charged with negligently performing their duties or neglecting to perform a duty, contrary to the Army Act 1955. Colonel Only the charges under the International Criminal Court Act amount to war crimes, the Ministry of Defence says. BBC diplomatic correspondent Paul Adams said the war crimes label was "something of a technicality" as those charges had existed in normal British military law prior to the introduction of the Act in 2001. He said: "No one's going to the Hague, no one's to be tried in ways that different to how British soldiers have been tried in the past." He said the most "disturbing" factor in the case from the Ministry of Defence point of view was the fact the colonel of the regiment, Col Jorge Mendonca was facing charges - the most senior soldier charged over alleged misbehaviour by British troops in Iraq. Canal The second case relates to the death of Iraqi civilian Ahmed Jabber Kareem, who was detained in Basra as part of a group of four suspected looters on 8 May 2003. The men were allegedly punched and kicked before being forced into a canal, where Mr Kareem drowned. Four British soldiers are facing courts martial accused of his manslaughter. They are: Sgt Carle Selman, 38, then of the Coldstream Guards, now serving with the Scots Guards; Guardsman Martin McGing, 21, of the Irish Guards, Guardsman Joseph McCleary, 23, of the Irish Guards; and a 21-year-old lance corporal, also of the Irish Guards, who has not yet been named. Defence Secretary John Reid said in a statement that allegations against British servicemen should be investigated but that the men were innocent until proven guilty. Justice He said: "Today the independent Army Prosecuting Authority has brought charges under British military law that will be heard in a British court-martial." "Anyone accused is innocent until proved guilty and it is for the courts martial to consider the evidence in any case and reach a verdict. "Inhumane treatment of a person protected by the Geneva Conventions has been an offence under English law since 1957." It was vital now that justice was allowed to take its course, he said, adding that he would not comment further on these or any other individual cases.
washingtonpost.com 17 July 2005 Suicide Bombs Potent Tools of Terrorists Deadly Attacks Have Been Increasing and Spreading Since Sept. 11, 2001 By Dan Eggen and Scott Wilson Washington Post Staff Writers Sunday, July 17, 2005; A01 Unheard of only a few decades ago, suicide bombings have rapidly evolved into perhaps the most common method of terrorism in the world, moving west from the civil war in Sri Lanka in the 1980s to the Palestinian intifada of recent years to Iraq today. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, suicide attacks in the United States, suicide bombers have struck from Indonesia to India, from Russia to Morocco. Now governments throughout the West -- including the United States -- are bracing to cope with similar challenges in the wake of the deadly July 7 subway bombings in London, which marked the first time that suicide bombers had successfully mounted an attack in Western Europe. The pace of such attacks is quickening. According to data compiled by the Rand Corp., about three-quarters of all suicide bombings have occurred since the Sept. 11 attacks. The numbers in Iraq alone are breathtaking: About 400 suicide bombings have shaken Iraq since the U.S. invasion in 2003, and suicide now plays a role in two out of every three insurgent bombings. In May, an estimated 90 suicide bombings were carried out in the war-torn country -- nearly as many as the Israeli government has documented in the conflict with Palestinians since 1993. Yesterday, a suicide bomber detonated explosives strapped to his body inside a Shiite mosque south of Baghdad, triggering a huge fuel-tanker explosion that killed at least 54 people, according to police. The bombings in London, which killed 55 people, illustrate the profound difficulty of preventing such attacks, experts say. Intelligence officials believe the bombers, in a common pattern, were foot soldiers recruited for the occasion, young men of Pakistani and Jamaican backgrounds reared in Britain who had recently converted to radical Islam. The four bombings required no exit strategy and were pulled off with devices that apparently were made in a bathtub and were small enough to fit in backpacks. "With the exception of weapons of mass destruction, there is no other type of attack that is more effective than suicide terrorism," said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert who heads the Washington office of Rand, a California think tank. "The perception is that it's impossible to guard against." The motives behind suicide bombings are often mixed. Terrorism experts and intelligence officials disagree on the extent to which political strategy and religious fervor have led to the rising frequency of such attacks. But in addition to the death toll, a key objective of such bombings is clearly to sow terror by violating deeply held cultural and religious taboos against suicide, experts say. Daniel Benjamin, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former Clinton administration counterterrorism official, points to the frequent glorification of death and martyrdom by the leaders of al Qaeda and other extremist groups. In his famous fatwa , or declaration of war, against the United States in 1996, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden told U.S. officials: "These youth love death as you love life." "This is their way of saying they are much more determined than we are," said Benjamin, who co-wrote the 2002 book "The Age of Sacred Terror." "They realize we are very unnerved by this. . . . I see the spread of it as a tactic as an indication of the strength of the ideology for Muslim radicals," Benjamin said. History of Suicide Attacks The use of suicide attacks is not new. Japanese kamikaze pilots in World War II tried to cause maximum damage by crashing their fighter planes into U.S. ships. Walter Laqueur, an expert in the history of terrorism, also says that, for centuries, any attack on military or political leaders was a form of suicide because the act usually occurred at close quarters and brought swift and certain death for the killer. One watershed came in 1983, when a Hezbollah operative drove his truck into the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, killing 241 U.S. service members in an attack that remains the deadliest terrorist strike on Americans overseas. Hezbollah would later carry out several dozen more suicide attacks. Most experts agree that the modern style of suicide bombings first gained its greatest prominence outside the Middle East, in the island nation of Sri Lanka. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, popularly known as the Tamil Tigers, is an avowedly secular rebel movement of the country's Tamil ethnic minority. It carried out scores of suicide bombings from the late 1980s until a cease-fire in 2002. The conflict between the Tigers and the government, which is dominated by members of the Sinhalese majority, began in 1983 and claimed an estimated 65,000 lives. Though dominated by Hindus, the Tigers are predominantly ethnic and nationalist in outlook, with religion not playing a significant role in their actions. The Tigers' early and aggressive use of suicide attacks, analysts say, reflected a pragmatic calculation of the need to level the military playing field against a larger and better-equipped foe. The group created an elite force to carry out such attacks, the Black Tigers, whose members underwent rigorous training and were reportedly treated to dinner with rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran before being sent on their missions. The rebels carried out their first suicide bombing in 1987, when a captain blew himself up along with 40 government troops at an army camp in the northern part of the country. Tamil Tiger spokesmen emphasize the use of suicide attackers against military targets, but the group has also used them against political and economic targets in strikes that have cost hundreds of civilian lives. In 1991, a suspected Tamil Tiger assassinated former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. Two years later, a suicide bomber killed Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa and 23 others in Colombo. Tamil Tiger suicide attackers also staged devastating strikes on the country's central bank, its holiest Buddhist shrine and its international airport. Robert A. Pape, an associate professor of political science at the University of Chicago, calls the group the world's "leading instigator" of suicide attacks. In his recent book "Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism," Pape says that the group accounted for 76 of 315 suicide attacks carried out around the world from 1980 through 2003, compared with 54 for the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, and 27 for Islamic Jihad. Some analysts say the group's strategy, though reprehensible, was effective in pushing the government toward a negotiated settlement. "The suicide bombings in civilian areas, especially outside the conflict zones of the northeast, brought to the people outside the horror of the war and the vulnerability of society, " Jehan Perera of the National Peace Council, an advocacy group in Colombo, said in a telephone interview. Laqueur, the author of "A History of Terrorism" and other books, disagrees, noting that the Tigers' primary goal -- to gain power -- has not been achieved after more than two decades of bloodshed. But he said Sri Lanka does illustrate how religious extremism has not always been central to the tactic. "It's not purely a religious thing; it's fanaticism," Laqueur said in an interview from London. "It just happens that, now, we are seeing the fanaticism primarily with Islam." Iraq Is Now the Focus Even as the Tigers have abandoned suicide attacks, others have adopted the tactic as their own. In Russia, Chechen Muslim radicals have mounted at least 19 suicide operations, according to Pape's statistics, including those in one terribly deadly week last year when hundreds died in a fiery siege at a school, a bombing at a Moscow train station and the downing of two airliners. Al Qaeda has also favored suicide plots on more than 20 occasions since 1996 against the United States and its allies, including the unprecedented Sept. 11, 2001, hijackings that killed nearly 3,000 people. But for sheer volume, Iraq is now the global center of suicide terrorism. In the days before yesterday's bombing, 27 people, mostly children, died in a suicide attack staged as soldiers handed out treats, and at least 25 others were killed when 10 suicide bombers targeted vehicles in coordinated attacks in Baghdad. Though sporadic ambushes and roadside bombings began to plague U.S.-led occupation troops almost immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship in April 2003, the beginning of a full-fledged insurgency is generally traced to the suicide car bombing of the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad on Aug. 7 of that year. The attack, which killed 14, was followed two weeks later by a suicide truck-bomb attack that destroyed the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad and killed at least 20 people. Delivered primarily in vehicles but also by individuals wearing rigged belts or vests, suicide bombs have killed and injured thousands. Vehicular suicide bombs, in particular, are "very lethal precision weapons that . . . have significant effect wherever they're employed," said the U.S. military's chief spokesman in Iraq, Air Force Brig. Gen. Donald Alston. "If we look at what it takes to drive a bomb-laden vehicle into a crowd of people, it is not that challenging to perform that function -- especially if you're willing to give your life," Alston said. Who the suicide bombers are, and what motivates them, remains much less clear in Iraq than in Israel and the occupied territories, where the attackers' identities are quickly and widely disseminated by Palestinian factions and Israeli authorities. Neither side in the Iraqi conflict has been willing or able to release detailed information on suicide bombers. U.S. and Iraqi authorities say they are certain that the vast majority of suicide bombers come from outside Iraq. But gathering forensic evidence is often impossible because of the continuing danger at bombing sites. Pape says that attacks in Iraq and elsewhere show that "the connection between Islamic fundamentalism and suicide bombing is misleading." "The logic driving these attacks is mainly a strategic goal: to compel the U.S. and other countries to remove their forces from the Arabian peninsula," Pape said. "The London attacks are simply the next step in al Qaeda executing its strategic logic." Others disagree, arguing that even if terrorist leaders have strategic reasons for choosing suicide attacks, the bombers and their families are often motivated by religious belief. Hoffman calculates that 31 of 35 groups that have used suicide bombings are Islamic. "To try to reduce it to an agenda that is purely political is to misunderstand religion," Benjamin said. "The reason that bin Laden and his followers want the U.S. out of the Middle East has religious roots." The Cult of Glorification The boys all know the way to Ahmed Abu Khalil's house, tucked along an alley in a neighborhood of the West Bank town of Atil known as Two Martyrs. Abu Khalil, 18, became its third after he blew himself up Tuesday near a shopping mall in the Israeli city of Netanya. It is safe to say Abu Khalil knew how he would be remembered here for his twilight attack outside the HaSharon Mall, which killed five Israelis, including two 16-year-old girls who were lifelong best friends. Scores more were injured in Israel's third suicide bombing this year. The neighborhood is named for two local members of Islamic Jihad, the radical Palestinian group, who died fighting in the West Bank city of Jenin in 2003. The stylized posters of young men, posing with assault rifles and draped with ammunition belts, wallpaper the city. Graffiti urges uprising. "This has given us a lot of pride, what he has done in Netanya," said Ibrahim Shoukri, 14, who used to follow Abu Khalil to prayer at the mosque. "We hope all of us will be like him." The cult of glorification -- a mix of nationalist, personal and religious fervor -- that surrounds suicide bombers has long been one of the most difficult challenges facing Israeli security officials. Religious justification taught in the more radical West Bank mosques and intense familial pride -- at least in the days immediately after the attacks -- often outweigh the Israeli deterrent measures designed to make would-be suicide bombers think twice. Judging by statistics, Israeli officials have made significant progress against suicide attacks since the start of the intifada in September 2000. At the height of the uprising in 2002, 42 suicide bombings killed 228 people. Two years later, the number had dropped to 12 bombings and 55 deaths. Israeli officials say the construction of a concrete barrier that rises 24 feet high in some places and the intensive military operations in the West Bank have helped keep suicide bombers out of Israel. In addition, the Israeli military destroys the family homes of suicide bombers, a practice human rights groups have condemned as an illegal exercise of collective punishment. Dore Gold, an adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said the tactic is designed in part to counter the financial incentives offered by enemy governments -- and some nongovernmental groups in Arab countries -- which encourage the bombings. Hussein's Baath Party, for example, sent $15,000 checks to bombers' families, a lot of money in poor West Bank towns. "If you know your family will be impoverished as a result of your act, then that may affect the calculus," Gold said. In Atil on Tuesday morning, Abu Khalil left his house at 7 a.m., telling his family he was on his way to check his test scores. He never returned. The family found out about his attack from the television news. Within hours, Israeli soldiers arrived at the family home. They arrested Khalil's father, who is now in an Israeli military prison outside the northern West Bank. Why and how Abu Khalil carried out the bombing remains a mystery. "God knows how he got through the wall," said an uncle, Burhan Abu Khalil. "The Islamic Jihad organizes those things." One recent morning, Palestinian television crews filled the family courtyard. As more than a dozen teenage boys looked on, the reporters posed 14-year-old Mahmoud and 4-year-old Othman with their brother's picture, seeking their impressions. They put a black Islamic Jihad cap on Mahmoud's head. "Put the picture here on your chest," the leader of a crew instructed Othman, the videotape rolling. "What did he tell you, what did he tell you?" The boys looked nervous, confused. Finally, Mahmoud said, "He told me to pray." Wilson reported from Atil on the West Bank. Correspondents John Lancaster in New Delhi and Andy Mosher in Baghdad and researcher Robert Thomason in Washington contributed to this report.
- Agence France-Presse
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
(the Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia, with a special project on the Yugoslav
war crimes tribunal)
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