Prevent Genocide International 

News Monitor for December 2004 (Last updated 13 December 2004)
Tracking current news on genocide and items related to past and present ethnic, national, racial and religious violence.

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UN Reform: BBC 30 Nov 2004 UN plan demands more intervention By Paul Reynolds World affairs correspondent The UN should be reformed to make intervention in failing states easier, a commission is set to recommend. The panel, which has examined how the UN could respond better to global threats, also calls for the Security Council to be enlarged, the BBC has learned. The report has been called the "biggest make-over" of the UN since 1945. It is thought that if the UN shows greater readiness to act, unilateralism by member states would be less likely. A year ago, in the wake of the international divisions over Iraq, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan warned the UN was at a "fork in the road". He said the organisation had to review its fundamental policies in order to address the increasing threats of global terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and nuclear proliferation. UN operations, finances and spending At-a-glance He asked a panel of 16 veteran diplomats and politicians, chaired by former Thai Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun, to examine ways the UN should be reformed. The route the panel is set to advocate is much more interventionist, moving away from the UN's traditional emphasis that it cannot meddle in the internal affairs of a member state. Pre-emptive The BBC has been told that among the panel's main findings are calls for a peace-building commission to be established to monitor potential trouble spots, offer help and advice, give warnings and prepare the way for armed intervention as a last resort. The panel wants member states to accept a new obligation - a "responsibility to protect" their own citizens. If they failed to do so, then intervention by the Security Council would be much more likely than under current UN procedures. At the moment, the Council can order intervention, and a member state can act in self-defence, if there is an imminent threat. The Council can declare a threat to international security but the definitionis vague and the procedure unwieldy. This report recommends that the Council should be more willing to act pre-emptively, though according to five strict criteria: 1) the threat should be defined, 2) the purpose of intervention should be clear, 3) it should be a last resort, 4) the means should be proportionate, 5) the consequences should be examined Whether the Council would in fact take action would depend on what the crisis was and how it voted. The UN would not have its own peace-keeping force, although several members of the panel wanted this. Broad definition Among the other main findings, the panel suggests threats to international security should be defined widely and should include poverty, pandemics like Aids and environmental disasters, not just threats from weapons of mass destruction, wars and failed states. The Security Council should be enlarged from 15 members to 24 - the five permanent members, the US, Russia, China, the UK and France, should keep their seats and their vetoes (any changes to that would simply not be agreed, it was felt). The panel does not, however, recommend how this should be achieved and simply offers two models. In the first, there would be more permanent members without a veto. In the second there would be some semi-permanent members who must be voted onto the Council every four years. Terrorism would be defined for the first time and should be made part of an international convention. Terrorism would mean any action targeted against non-combatants and civilians. To help stop the spread of nuclear weapons, countries wanting fuel for their nuclear power should have automatic rights to get supplies under the International Atomic Energy Agency so long as they complied with inspection regimes. These inspections should themselves be drastically tightened up. The system would work rather as the International Monetary Fund does where members have drawing rights on currencies. Regional organisations like the African Union should be strengthened. Any peacekeeping operation should be funded by the UN itself and member states should pay automatically. The G8 group of countries should be expanded and changed. One idea put forward is that membership of the G8, which is made up only of the rich, should be widened to 20 bringing in developing countries. The UN Human Rights Commission should be re-invigorated with more human rights activists and fewer diplomats on members' delegations. The report will now be considered by the Secretary General and then by the member states. Any institutional changes are likely to come only slowly but the thrust is clear - the UN must reform or lose its role. Panel's members Anand Panyarachun (Chairman), former Prime Minister of Thailand Robert Badinter (France) Joao Clemente Baena Soares (Brazil) Gro Harlem Brundtland (Norway) Mary Chinery-Hesse (Ghana) Gareth Evans (Australia) Lord David Hannay (United Kingdom) Enrique Iglesias (Uruguay) Amre Moussa (Egypt) Satish Nambiar (India) Sadako Ogata (Japan) Yevgenii Primakov (Russia) Qian Qichen (China) Nafis Sadik (Pakistan) Salim Ahmed Salim (Tanzania) Brent Scowcroft (United States)

www.dw-world.de/dw/ 30 Nov 2004 UN Reform Targets Security Council Reformers offer two paths to reach the goal of a more efficent UN Recommendations for reforming the United Nations are due on Thursday: According to early reports, they include two models to expand the Security Council. Germany remains hopeful it will get permanent membership. Expanding the Council, the UN's central decision-making body, from 15 to 24 members is one of the main suggestions included in the reform recommendations, according to German public broadcaster ARD and Reuters news service. On a more general basis, the high-profile panel charged with drawing up reform plans reportedly suggests that the Council needs to be "more representative of the broader membership, especially of the developing world." It also states that the Council is the UN's body "most capable of organizing action and capable of responding rapidly to new threats." Two competing models While clear on the need to expand the Council, which currently has five permanent members with veto powers and 10 non-permanent members, the reform panel has drawn up two competing models. The first one would add six new permanent members without veto powers -- two from Africa, two from Asia and one each from the Americas and Europe. It would also add three non-permanent members with a two-year term like the ones currently elected to sit on the body. The second option would add eight new seats for semi-permanent members, which would be elected for four years and could have their terms extended. Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas would each get two of these seats and one additional non-permanent member would also be added. Germany's favorite Both versions have backers: The first model is supported by German officials, who hope to secure one of the new permanent seats for the country. According to ARD and Reuters, Germany intends to introduce a resolution in support of this model as soon as possible and is working on securing a two-thirds majority in the 191-member nation general assembly that's needed to get it passed. Japan, Brazil and India support the plan as well as they all hope for permanent seats for themselves. While Britain, France and Russia have indicated support for the aspirations of these four countries, the US has so far refused to give Germany a nod of approval. Bush administration officials have, however, voiced their support for Japan, a supporter of the Iraq war unlike Germany. According to Reuters, Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt would compete for the African seats. The Italian alternative Support for the second version comes from countries such as Italy, a US ally in Iraq and a strong opponent of handing a permanent seat to Germany. Italy, which locked heads with Germany and France over Europe's role in Iraq, worries giving a Council seat to Germany, in addition to the two permanent seats already occupied by France and Britain, would weaken its role in the European Union. Others favoring the plan to introduce eight semi-permanent seats include Pakistan, which rejects India's place on the Council and Mexico and Argentine, which oppose Brazil's claims. The proposed reforms would be the first major revamp of the organization in more than 50 years and would have to be approved by the UN General Assembly next September.


Knight Ridder Newspapers 2 Dec 2004 African Union limitations appear in Darfur conflict Sudarsan Raghavan TAWILLA, Sudan - The war in Sudan's Darfur region is the kind of conflict the African Union was intended to resolve when its 53 member countries created it two years ago. Yet fighting here last week has revealed the group's limitations. A multinational peacekeeping force, drawn from among African Union members, is headquartered at El Fasher, 40 miles from Tawilla. Another 200 African Union troops are based at Kebkabiya, no more than 30 minutes away by helicopter. But no peacekeeping troops were dispatched when fighting broke out in Tawilla between black African rebels and the Arab militia known as the Janjaweed. The first African Union troops came to Tawilla on Saturday, five days after the fighting, on a fact-finding mission. They stayed one night. advertisement "We're not authorized to intervene to stop the fighting," said Jean Baptiste Natama, the African Union's senior political officer. "What happened in Tawilla is because we don't have the mandate." On paper, the African Union has the power to intervene in the nations that belong to it - most in Africa do - in cases of genocide, war crimes or gross human-rights violations. Darfur is the African Union's first real test as to whether it can act on this power. "If we succeed, it means that the international community will take us seriously. They'll say at last the Africans can solve their own problems," Natama said. "If we fail, we'll take a long time to recover our credibility." On the plus side, the African Union sent troops to Sudan when no Western nation or group of nations would. It's opened a dialogue between the rebels and government in Darfur. It's brokered prisoners' release and eased access to war-afflicted areas. It may have saved men's lives. On Monday, the government released 11 prisoners it alleged were rebels into the African Union's custody in El Fasher. The men, who said they were workers returning from Libya, had been held for six days and beaten with rubber tubes and camel whips. Two showed recent scars that crisscrossed their backs. Yet the force is struggling to end the 22-month-old war, which many observers worry is pushing Darfur toward anarchy. Despite the presence of AU peacekeepers and a cease-fire agreement, both sides continue to attack. The violence is choking the flow of humanitarian aid, endangering an already fragile and frightened population.


IRIN 29 Nov 2004 Regional intervention force begins 10-day training in Benin [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © ECOWAS COTONOU, 29 Nov 2004 (IRIN) - A rapid deployment force being groomed by West African countries to intervene in the region’s conflicts began a 10-day training exercise in Benin on Monday. The Defence Ministry said in a statement that up to 2,000 West African, European and North American military personnel were due to take part in the exercise in southern Benin which was organised by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The largest West African troop contingents came from Benin, Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Faso, Mali and Ghana, it added. Military sources said 96 Ivorian troops who were due to take part failed to arrive in time for the start of the exercises and it was unclear whether they were still coming. Cote d'Ivoire suffered a fresh upsurge of internal fighting earlier this month. The ECOWAS secretariat in the Nigerian capital Abuja said in a statement at the weekend that 1,500 troops would take part in the Benin exercise, which would focus on providing humanitarian assistance within the context of managing a regional crisis. The manoeuvres would be conducted with the help of the French armed forces under a French programme to reinforce Africa’s peace-keeping capabilities, it added. Several other Western countries, including the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and Austria are also providing support. ECOWAS said a key aim of the exercise in Benin was to attain the standards required by the United Nations for the provision of humanitarian assistance in peacekeeping operations. The 1,500 ECOWAS troops are due to form the vanguard of a much larger intervention force envisaged by the organisation. The deployment of this Task Force to a conflict hot spot in West Africa would be followed by the dispatch of up to 5,000 more ECOWAS troops within 30 days. West Africa remains one of the world's most conflict-prone areas. The United Nations currently has about 26,000 peace-keeping troops deployed in Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone. While Liberia and Sierra Leone are both emerging from more than a decade of civil wars, Cote d’Ivoire has been sliding deeper into conflict since a failed coup in 2002 split the country into a rebel-held north and a loyalist south. More than one million people have been displaced from their homes by the conflict in Cote d'Ivoire, which was a bastion of stability in the region until it plunged into civil war two years ago. The recent resurgence of this conflict threatens to destabilise the peace process in Liberia and diplomats fear it could also infect neighbouring countries, particularly Guinea. West African defence chiefs announced the creation of the 6,500-strong rapid intervention force at a meeting of the ECOWAS Defence and Security Commission in Abuja in June. They agreed that a Task Force of 1,500 troops would form the spearhead of such operations. A further 3,500 troops would provide a back-up brigade, with 1,500 more ready in reserve if needed. The creation of the Task Force was prompted by the difficulties encountered by ECOWAS in the rapid deployment of peacekeeping tRoops to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire. ECOWAS, which groups 15 West African countries, was founded in 1975 to promote regional economic integration. In recent years it has increasingly assumed a high-profile role in tackling local conflicts. Since 1990, ECOWAS troops have intervened to try and quell conflicts in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and Cote d'Ivoire. Often they have gone in as the precursor of a UN peacekeeping force. France's military presence in its former colonies in West Africa, where it has more than 8,000 troops stationed in four countries, has been back in the spotlight since the latest eruption of violence in Cote d'Ivoire on 4 November. The latest trouble there has involved conflict between France's 5,000 peacekeeping troops in the country and supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo.


Reuters 30 Nov 2004 US accused of delaying Burundi probe November 30, 2004, 05:15 The United States for weeks blocked a UN statement supporting an investigation into a massacre in Burundi because of Washington's disdain for the International Criminal Court, diplomats said yesterday. The council statement, initially drafted by France in mid-November and now transformed into a resolution, is finally expected to come to a vote today after the United States agreed to a compromise, the diplomats said. Based in The Hague in the Netherlands, the court is the first permanent world tribunal set up to prosecute individuals for war crimes, genocide and other gross human rights abuses. It came into being last year under UN auspices, and 97 countries, including the entire European Union, have ratified the 1998 statute creating it. Washington, which fears politically driven prosecutions of its officials serving overseas, calls the court "fatally flawed" and has been campaigning hard in recent weeks to prevent it from becoming a routine part of UN operations. In recent weeks US diplomats campaigned unsuccessfully to have the tribunal taken off the agenda of the UN General Assembly and have fought to prevent the use of UN funds to support it, even trying to bar discussions of it in UN meeting rooms. Burundi's government has been trying for more than three months to fix blame for the August 13 slaughter of more than 160 ethnic Tutsi Congolese in the Gatumba refugee camp. Washington argued the language of the French draft's offer of "international support as appropriate" was a hidden reference to the International Criminal Court and blocked its approval. French Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere complained about the US drive during a November 15 closed-door council meeting after the United States blocked his draft statement on the investigation into the massacre, council diplomats said. A US source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "We were very concerned about having the council expressly announcing the offer of international assistance." In the compromise reached yesterday, the council linked the possibility of international support to a commitment by the Burundian government to quickly wrap up its investigation.

ICG 9 Dec 2004 Elections in Burundi: The Peace Wager After a decade of civil war, Burundi has a chance for real peace but only if it holds to its tight election schedule -- five months with a constitutional referendum, local, national assembly and senate elections, and finally selection of the president by parliament. The sequence is ambitious but necessary to finalise a difficult peace process. Negotiations on power-sharing and a post-transition constitution have been completed, and the remaining rebel force still fighting in the field is too weak to upset arrangements. Still, the process will not be credible without the necessary international help. The UN Operation in Burundi (ONUB) needs continued financial support to assist in organising elections and disarming, demobilising and reintegrating combatants. Crisis Group reports and briefing papers are available on our website: www.icg.org

Côte d’Ivoire

IRIN 29 Nov 2004 Ivorian refugees start trickling home - UNHCR DAKAR, 29 Nov 2004 (IRIN) - The flood of refugees fleeing Cote d’Ivoire into north-eastern Liberia since early November trickled to a halt for the first time this weekend, with a few even returning home as tension eased, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said on Monday. “Today the Cestos river that divides the two West African countries is no longer bustling with canoes carrying Ivorian refugees to Liberia,” UNHCR spokeswoman Francesca Fontanini said in a statement. “Instead, the population movement has been reversed, with small groups of refugees crossing back to their villages in Cote d’Ivoire,” she added. UN officials in Cote d'Ivoire confirmed that small groups of refugees had returned home. A total 10,045 Ivorian refugees have been registered in Nimba county, north-eastern Liberia, by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Liberian National Red Cross Society since the latest round of hostilities erupted between Ivorian government troops and rebels on November 4. Aid workers have estimated that up to 19,000 people may have crossed the border. The refugees being assisted by UN agencies are dotted along a 45-km section of the border near the towns of Butuo and Gporplay. Many refugees are housed in a UNHCR transit center in Butuo, but both UNHCR and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) say it has been extremely difficult to provide food aid and relief items such as soap and blankets to remote areas that are virtually impossible to access by road. Work has begun to recondition roads to allow trucks to pass through, and UNHCR staff based in the town of Saclepea in north central Liberia, have been making daily visits to remote villages and points along the border “often taking narrow roads to the middle of the jungle,” the statement said. Liberia is still struggling to recover from 14 years of brutal civil war, and the WFP estimates that nearly a third of its three million people will need food hand-outs in 2005. The influx of Ivorian refugees consists of people from rural areas of both government and rebel-held areas of western Cote d'Ivoire, where the situation has remained turbulent since West Africa's most prosperous country was split in two by civil war two years in September 2002. Some of the refugees said they were fleeing across the border for the second time in two years. The latest round of fighting began when government troops broke an 18-month ceasfire and bombed the rebel-held north. Despite an easing of tension since then, Moses Okello, the UNHCR representative in Liberia, said his agency “will continue to watch the situation very carefully snd be prepared in the event of any inflow of refugees again from Cote d’Ivoire.” The UNHCR said the arrival of the refugees had not caused problems with the local population. People were working side-by-side on farms and helping each other with child care. “Africans are the same people and the Ivorians helped us during the height of the Liberian crisis. Now it is our turn,” it quoted Albert Fanga, the Liberian government superintendent of Butuo as saying.

IRIN 1 Dec 2004 Row develops over killings by French troops [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © IRIN Should the French troops have used less firepower? DAKAR, 1 Dec 2004 (IRIN) - The French government has admitted that its soldiers in Cote d'Ivoire killed "about 20" people in Abidjan last month when they fired into angry crowds of supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo. The revelation, in a statement by the Defence Ministry on Tuesday, has raised questions within France and furher afield about whether the French troops used an excessive amount of force to control the situation during four days of anti-French rioting in the city. The Paris-based International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) immediately called for a parliamentary investigation of the killings and the opposition Communist and Socialist parties joined forces to demand a commission of enquiry. The FIDH also called for a separate inquiry into the Ivorian government's suspected role in instigating the violence. "The xenophobia shown by the the Young Patriots (pro-Gbagbo militants) with the complicity, possibly even at the instigation of certain Ivorian authorities could only have exacerbated these demonstrations of hatred," it said. Corinne Dufka, the Cote d'Ivoire researcher of New York-based Human Rights Watch, told IRIN she was worried by what appeared to be the French troops' "disproportionate use of firepower," but had not yet been able to speak directly to eyewitnesses of the clashes. The confrontations took place between 6 and 9 November near Abidjan airport and the Hotel Ivoire, a skyscraper luxury hotel situated only 200 metres from Gbagbo's official residence. The hotel was occupied by French forces as they helped to evacuate nearly 9,000 foreigners, mainly French nationals, who had decided to flee the country following a fresh outbreak of fighting with rebels occupying the north of the country. However many Ivorians feared that the French troops were positioning themselves to trap and isolate Gbagbo himself with the intention of backing a military coup against him. Defending the decision of French troops to fire into the crowds, Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie noted on Wednesday that many pro-Gbagbo militants in the crowds had fired into the French lines. "We ourselves suffered a very large number of injuries which shows that they (the French troops) were not confronted by unarmed civilians, but by people, whether they were Ivorian servicemen, Young Patriots or others, who were armed with kalashnikovs, air guns and hand guns," she told reporters Defence Ministry officials told Agence France Presse that about 80 French servicemen were wounded in the clashes and were repatriated to France. The violence in Abidjan erupted after French peacekeeping troops in Cote d'Ivoire destroyed two jet bombers and five attack helicopters on the ground to prevent them from continuing a two-day bombardment of rebel positions in northern Cote d'Ivoire. They moved into action swiftly after a bomb dropped on the rebel capital Bouake killed nine French peacekeepers who were based there. The French government gave its first estimate of Ivorian casualties in the confrontations with French troops shortly before Canal Plus, a French television station aired a graphic documentary about the three days of violence. This included images of French helicopters firing canon rounds to try and clear crowds of anti-French demonstrators from two key bridges that cross the lagoon about which Abidjan is built. "Firing like this upon civilians who are not carrying fire arms far exceeds what is required to maintain order and indeed the mandate of the French armed forces. We cannot remain silent about these events or minimise their importance," FIDH said. The Ivorian government has claimed that 57 people were killed by French forces in Abidjan and more than 2,200 were injured. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported that it assisted nearly 3,000 people in the city during seven days of disturbances in the city. The row over France's alleged heavy handedness in its former colony blew up shortly before South African President Thabo Mbeki was due to return to Cote d'Ivoire to try and persuade Gbagbo and the rebels to resume peace talks on the basis of the January 2003 Linas-Marcoussis peace agreement Mbeki, who was mandated to act as a mediator by the African Union (AU), was due to fly in to Abidjan on Thursday to meet Gbagbo, Prime Minister Seydou Diarra and leaders of the parliamentary opposition before heading for Bouake for talks with the rebel leader, Guillaume Soro. The UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo on Cote d'Ivoire following last month's decision by Gbagbo to break an 18-month ceasefire in the civil war and launch an abortive attack on the north. It has threatened to impose further sanctions on the country unless he resumes peace talks with the rebels by 15 December. This does not give Mbeki, a newcomer to international efforts to resolve the Ivorian conflict, much time to bring the two sides together. The AU has called a summit meeting of its Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa to discuss the situation in Cote d'Ivoire on 10 December, five days before the UN ultimatum runs out. The meeting will be chaired by Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who currently holds the rotating chairmanship of the 15-member AU committee.

AFP 1 Dec 2004 African Union to meet over Ivory Coast Heads of the 15 states that sit on the African Union's (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will hold a summit to discuss the situation in Ivory Coast on December 10, the organisation announced on Wednesday. "The 15 heads of peace and security council member states have been invited to a meeting mainly dedicated to the crisis in Ivory Coast on December 10 in Addis Ababa," said Assane Ba, spokesperson for the AU's conflict management centre. The PSC, a body similar to the UN's Security Council, will meet at ministerial level on December 8 to prepare the summit, which was planned during an AU meeting of heads of state in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on November 14. The aim of the Addis Ababa summit is "to find a political solution to the crisis in Ivory Coast," said Ba, adding that a report on the troubled west African state, the world's largest cocoa producer, would be presented to the heads of state. South African President Thabo Mbeki, whom the AU has appointed to try to end the crisis, is expected to travel to Ivory Coast in the next two or three days, his deputy foreign minister Aziz Pahad said Tuesday. South Africa sits on the PSC. It was not clear Wednesday if all of the body's 15 member states would be represented at the presidential level. The meeting will be chaired by Ethiopia, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the PSC. Since September 2002, Ivory Coast has been a divided country, with the government controlling the south, rebels the north. Foreign peacekeepers monitor the lines betweent the two sides. The Ivorian crisis escalated dramatically when the government launched air strikes on key towns in the north on November 4, in violation of an 18-month-old ceasefire monitored by French and other military peacekeepers. The air strikes killed nine French peacekeepers causing the French to retaliate by destroying the small Ivorian air force. The French retaliation unleashed a torrent of anti-foreigner violence and vandalism and prompted the exodus of more than half of the 14,000-strong French expatriate population from the country. Mbeki went to Abidjan on November 9 for talks with Gbagbo and has since met in Pretoria with opposition leader-in-exile Alassane Ouattara, rebel leader Guillaume Soro and Prime Minister Seydou Diarra. During a first round of talks with Gbagbo, Mbeki said he was "very pleased" with the Ivorian president's commitment to the accords signed in January last year and a ceasefire reached in May 2003. Rebel leader Soro told Mbeki during talks in Pretoria at the weekend that Gbagbo was the problem. "No credible or lasting solution for peace is possible as long as Gbagbo is around," Soro said following the talks. Mbeki has joined a chorus of African leaders in supporting a UN embargo slapped on Ivory Coast on November 15 banning arms sales for the next 13 months. Targeted sanctions such as the freezing of assets and a travel ban could follow on December 15 failing progress towards implementing the peace accord. South Africa has scored some diplomatic successes in its peace efforts elsewhere on the continent, including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi in central Africa.

BBC 6 Dec 2004 Ivorian parties agree Mbeki plan Rebel leader Guillaume Soro held closed-door talks with Thabo Mbeki South African President Thabo Mbeki has reached agreement with all sides in the Ivory Coast conflict to speed up implementation of the peace process. Mr Mbeki - an African Union emissary - extended his peace mission into a fifth day to take part in the talks. "We've agreed with everybody on all these matters and specific programmes must be carried out," he said. Scepticism is likely to greet the plan, the latest attempt to bring peace to the divided country. Mbeki 'certain' Mr Mbeki insisted this peace initiative would produce results. "I'm absolutely certain that as of now all of the parties are indeed committed to the implementation of what they've agreed," he told reporters in the main city Abidjan. He added that the delegation had not tried to produce a new plan but had worked on the basis of the existing Marcoussis peace pact, which was backed by former colonial power France. Mr Mbeki said his delegation had set time frames for implementing the measures, but he would not make them public immediately. The plan focuses on four key areas. The first is the need for legislative reform within the Ivorian constitution. This includes the revision of Article 35, which requires presidential candidates to have both "a father and mother of Ivorian origin" - a stipulation which has previously prevented opposition leader Alassane Ouattara from standing in elections. All sides agreed that a process of disarmament must start and that a functioning government of national reconciliation, "with all ministers returning to their posts" was needed. Lastly, all parties agreed on a need for greater security, with joint patrols of the Ivorian army and the UN forces in the capital Abidjan. Rebel demands On Sunday, Mr Mbeki went to Bouake in the rebel-held north where he was welcomed by tens of thousands of people. President Gbagbo is the problem. He can't resolve the problem Rebel spokesman Sidiki Konate The former rebels are demanding the resignation of President Gbagbo as a first step to ending the rebellion. Meanwhile, the UN secretary general's special envoy to Ivory Coast, Albert Tevoedjre, has resigned, UN officials announced. His relations with President Gbagbo have been tense, with the Ivorian leader accusing the UN envoy of backing the rebels. Unrest flared last month after Mr Gbagbo ordered air strikes on rebel-held areas after a disarmament deadline was not met. Observers say that since then, rebels calling themselves the New Forces have become more focused on getting rid of the president. "President Gbagbo is the problem. He can't resolve the problem," rebel spokesman Sidiki Konate said. Concession? In Bouake, Mr Mbeki told crowds who cheered his arrival that he wanted to "clear the way for a better life for everyone in Ivory Coast". The BBC's James Copnall in Abidjan, says trust between the belligerent parties in Ivory Coast is all but non-existent. Restoring mutual faith might be President Mbeki's biggest challenge as a mediator, he says. A day earlier after talks with Mr Mbeki, Mr Gbagbo announced that he would allow the National Assembly to consider changes to rules governing who may stand for president. The existing law requiring candidates to have two Ivorian parents was used controversially to prevent opposition leader Alassane Ouattara running for president four years ago - a dispute that remains at the heart of the Ivorian crisis, correspondents say. Some observers see Mr Gbagbo's move as a concession, but the rebels said it was just another attempt to stall the peace process in Ivory Coast, the world's largest cocoa-producer and once a stable and prosperous country. "Don't let yourselves be distracted," Mr Konate told reporters on Sunday.

DR Congo

Hirondelle News Agency (Lausanne) 24 Nov 2004 Kinshasa Reported to the UN for not Cooperating in Arrest of Suspects Arusha The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was on Tuesday formally mentioned at the UN Security Council for its lack of cooperation in the arrest of people accused of taking part in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. In a press statement published by the UN, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Hassan Bubacar Jallow from Gambia, told the Security Council that 14 indicted people were still at large and "the bulk of the fugitives continued to be based in the Democratic Republic of Congo". Jallow and the president of the ICTR, Eric Møse from Norway, were presenting their annual reports to the council. Jallow exhorted Member States "to live up to their legal obligations" and cooperate in accordance with the statutes of the tribunal. The prosecutor continued that despite the ICTR's efforts to have suspects arrested, only a former militia leader, Yusuf Munyakazi was arrested from the Congo this year. The first arrest from the DRC was Colonel Tharcisse Renzaho in 2002. The press release continues that the USA representative, John Danforth , called upon the DRC and Kenya to arrest fugitives whom he said were inciting conflicts in the Great Lakes region. Rwanda's Deputy Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga advised the ICTR to inform the Security Council on the level of cooperation of all member states, particularly the DRC. He said that it was regrettable that the prosecutor had drastically reduced the number of people being investigated, known as "Big fish", which was originally estimated at 300. The Rwandan envoy regarded not pursuing certain individuals as "a mockery of justice". He claimed that according to the UN's own figures, only a quarter of all their original suspects will have been brought to court in 10 years. As part of the tribunal's exit strategy, all investigations will come to an end at the end of the year and uncompleted cases to be transferred to national jurisdictions, Rwanda included. On the issue of transfer of trials, Jallow told the Security Council that discussions were going on with Rwanda and other states. He promised to file motions on the transfers at the beginning of 2005. Only judges have the powers to decide on the transfer of cases. "Apart from Rwanda, it was not proving easy to find States ready, able, and willing to take on cases for the prosecution from the Tribunal", the UN press release quoted Jallow as saying.

Reuters 29 Nov 2004 Congo to send troops close to Rwanda Mon 29 November, 2004 18:40 By David Lewis KINSHASA (Reuters) - Congo will send up to 10,000 soldiers over the next two weeks to reinforce the eastern province of North Kivu bordering Rwanda, President Joseph Kabila's spokesman says. Over the last week, Rwanda has repeatedly threatened to send troops into Congo to target Hutu rebels, many of whom took part in Rwanda's 1994 genocide. "We will be sending two or three brigades into North Kivu within two weeks," spokesman Kudura Kasongo said on Monday. A Congolese brigade consists of roughly 3,200 soldiers. "Firstly these people will be there to stop the Hutu rebels from launching an attack on Rwanda from the Congo. But we are also sending them there to contain the Rwandan aggression on our border. This is logical," Kasongo added. Rwanda says neither Congo nor U.N. peacekeepers deployed in Congo have done enough over the past 10 years to deal with the rebels based in the jungles of Africa's third biggest country. Congolese officials have branded Rwanda's threats a declaration of war and said the Kinshasa government might be forced to respond. Rwanda's Foreign Minister, Charles Murigande, told Reuters Kigali was not unduly alarmed by Congo's troop deployment. "It is their sovereign right to deploy their troops in their territory," he said. The rebels are known as the Democratic Forces for Rwandan Liberation (FDLR). They include many members of the former army and Hutu militiamen who took part in the 1994 genocide, killing 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus, before fleeing to Congo after they were defeated. Since Rwanda threatened to attack last week, there have been several reports that hundreds of Rwandan troops have crossed into the former Zaire, although the U.N. mission there says it has no evidence of their presence. Rwanda denies that its troops have moved into Congo. Rwanda has invaded Congo twice over the past eight years. The second invasion, in 1998, was one of the triggers for Congo's five-year civil war, which sucked in five other African neighbours and killed 3 million people, mostly through hunger and disease. The FDLR is thought to number about 10,000 fighters scattered in the dense forests of North and South Kivu. Rwanda officially withdrew all its troops from Congo in 2002 but there have been consistent reports of soldiers moving freely across the border. The area is also under the control of Rwandan-backed former rebel fighters from Congo's war.

Irin 30 Nov 2004 Rise in violence undermines relief efforts in Ituri [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] NAIROBI, 30 Nov 2004 (IRIN) - Armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's northeastern Ituri District are pillaging humanitarian aid, confiscating the vehicles of relief workers and refusing access to vulnerable populations. "Ituri is experiencing a renewed cycle of violence," a statement issued on Thursday by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said. "Humanitarian actors have been strongly advised to avoid the northern axes of Bunia," OCHA said, referring to the main town in Ituri. It said two international NGOs had suspended their activities following "violent attacks" by militias on the roads to the north and south of Bunia. OCHA said armed groups were also targeting MONUC, the UN Mission in the DRC, and that shootings between the militia and MONUC were "becoming a common event". OCHA reported little success in implementing the National Plan of Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration. "Fighters who do want to disarm are being killed or molested if they attempt to go to the transit sites," OCHA said. [Full OCHA report on: www.reliefweb.int ]

BBC 1 Dec 2004 Rwandan troops seen in DR Congo The Congolese are to send thousands more reinforcements to the east A group of about 100 Rwandan troops has been spotted inside the Democratic Republic of Congo in a first sighting by United Nations observers. Thousands of civilians have been fleeing renewed fighting in the east. The Congolese say more than 6,000 Rwandans have crossed the border and are attacking and burning villages. Rwanda's president had threatened to send troops across the border to engage Hutu rebels inside Congolese territory who have not been disarmed. A UN spokesperson said a team of peacekeepers had seen about hundred soldiers, who they thought were Rwandan, near the border town of Goma. "Infiltration is nothing new but this is something else, it has the appearance of an invasion," Monuc's chief in Goma, M'Hand Djalouzi, told journalists. Last week, the UN warned Rwanda not to use military force, saying such a move could undermine international efforts to stabilise the region. Rwanda has consistently warned that it is prepared to take military action because of the threat it says is posed by the group which include fighters who took part in the 1994 genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus. QUICK GUIDE The war in DR Congo But some Congolese analysts say that the real reason behind Rwanda's threats is that President Joseph Kabila has recalled the governor of North Kivu province, based in Goma, who is from the Rwandan-backed RCD former rebel group. They say Rwanda wants to ensure it retains control of the border area. Warnings On Wednesday, from the eastern town of Beni, Congolese regional cooperation minister Mbusa Nyamwisi said villages were being targeted nearby. "We are being attacked by the Rwandan troops," he said Earlier, President Paul Kagame said in a speech that Rwandan troops may already have crossed into DR Congo in pursuit of ethnic Hutu rebels. He told senators attempts to disarm forces across the border "will not take long, or it is even happening now". Rwandan troops were first reported by diplomats to be in the DR Congo on Monday. The DR Congo authorities say they will send more than 6,000 troops to the border area within the next two weeks. Residents of the Congolese border town of Bukavu have reportedly been gathering stones to use to fight off any Rwandan incursion. Slow progress Rwanda has twice invaded its much larger neighbour - in 1996 and 1998 - accusing successive Congolese governments of backing the Hutu rebels. DR Congo's majestic mountains are ideal rebel hide-outs It withdrew its troops in 2002, under a regional deal to end five years of war in DR Congo, in which some three million people died. Under that deal, the Hutu rebels were supposed to have been disarmed but progress has been slow. Rwanda says that the rebels are now attacking its territory under the noses of the international community. Last week, the first of 5,000 extra UN peacekeepers arrived in DR Congo. There are already more than 10,000 UN peacekeepers in DR Congo; troops have been placed on alert and patrols have been despatched to check for any Rwandan incursion.

AFP 1 Dec 2004 100 suspected Rwandan troops spotted in east DRC: UN GOMA, DR Congo, Dec 1 (AFP) - The UN mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) said Wednesday one of its teams had spotted a group of 100 soldiers thought to be Rwandan near the eastern town of Goma. Kigali declined to confirm or deny it had sent troops to DRC. "This morning I received information that has yet to be confirmed that a team we sent to Rutshuru region, in Virunga park, had come across a group of 100 soldiers suspected to be Rwandans," the mission's chief in Goma, M'Hand Djalouzi, told journalists. "How can they say they are Rwandan soldiers? I will neither confirm nor deny it," Richard Sizibera, Rwandan presidential envoy for the Great Lakes region, said in Kigali. Djalouzi's remarks follow days of unconfirmed reports that Rwanda had sent troops across the border to eastern DRC to target Rwandan Hutu extremists who fled there after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and who Kigali says still threaten Rwanda's security. "Infiltration is nothing new but this is something else, it has the appearance of an invasion," said Djalouzi. Rutshuru town lies about 70 kilometres (40 miles) north of Goma, a town on the Rwandan border which was the headquarters of a DRC rebel group Kigali backed militarily and politically during DRC's devastating 1998-2003 war. On Tuesday, DRC President Jospeph Kabila annonced 10,000 extra soldiers would be deployed to the east to maintain security there. Also Tuesday, Rwandan President Paul Kagame reiterated his intention to send troops to eastern DRC to attack the Hutu extremists and suggested such troops might already have beend deployed. "We have said we would do it, but we won't tell you when or how," Sezibera said Wednesday. "As long as MONUC (the UN mission) and the DRC government fail to resolve the problem of the Interahamwe (Hutu extemists) and ex-FAR (soldiers from a defunct Rwandan army) we reserve the right to do what is neccesary to solve this problem alone," he added.

AP 2 Dec 2004 U.N. says its observers encounter 100 suspected Rwandan troops in Congo A U.N. armored vehicle drives through the streets of Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo Wednesday. U.N. observers encountered what they believed to be 100 Rwandan troops in eastern Congo. (AP Photo) GOMA, Congo (AP) -- U.N. observers encountered what they believed to be about 100 Rwandan troops in eastern Congo, a U.N. official said Wednesday, marking the first reported U.N. sightings since Rwanda threatened to send in its forces against Rwanda Hutu rebels sheltering here. The suspected Rwandan forces withdrew toward Rwanda after Tuesday's encounter, said M'hand Ladjouzi, head of the U.N. mission at Goma. He spoke at a news conference in Goma, the largest city of the east. A Rwandan diplomat denied Rwanda had invaded again, after a week of warnings that raised fears of a return to the six-nation war that devastated Congo, Africa's third-largest nation. '); // --> But the denial came even as a Western envoy in Kinshasa, Congo's capital, said Rwandan President Paul Kagame warned that Rwandan troops would carry out "surgical strikes" against rebels in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. In the letter, which circulated among embassies in Congo on Wednesday, Kagame said military operations would last two weeks, according to the envoy, who spoke on condition of anonymity. U.N. officials in Kinshasa said they had no knowledge of the letter. The U.N. Security Council scheduled closed-door consultations Thursday in response to Congo's request for an emergency meeting. Congo has asked the council to condemn Rwanda's threat and impose sanctions finding Kagame "personally responsible for the threat posed to the sovereignty of Congo and to the entire peace process in the region." Kagame told Rwandan lawmakers Tuesday that Rwanda would act against 8,000-10,000 Rwanda Hutu rebels based in east Congo, saying a five-month-old U.N.-led disarmament program had failed to neutralize the Rwandan Hutu rebel forces. In Kinshasa, Congo's capital, U.N. spokeswoman Patricia Tome said Wednesday that Rwanda's threat "astonished" the U.N. mission in Congo, as it came at a time when authorities hoped to speed up the U.N.-led disarmament effort. U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli urged Rwanda and Congo "to solve their differences diplomatically and not militarily, through the exchange of gunfire or the movement of troops in the area." Until Wednesday, U.N. officials said extensive sweeps by their more than 11,000-strong force in Congo had turned up no signs of Rwandan incursions since Rwanda's threat. Small-scale infiltrations by Rwanda since foreign armies formally withdrew from Congo's war "are not new. Of course, it's taking different dimensions now," Ladjouzi said. "But this gives the impression of an act of aggression," he said. A joint patrol with Congolese troops last week arrested nine Rwandan troops who remain in Congolese custody, he said. He did not say what the suspected 100 Rwandan forces were doing when the U.N. observers encountered them, whether they were armed, and how they were traveling. Tome said the sighting was at Rutshuru, a town a few miles inside Congo. Ladjouzi said U.N. forces also were investigating reports of three villages being burned between Rutshuru and Lubero. Large numbers of Rwandan Hutu rebels have begun moving west out of the Rutshuru region, sending civilians fleeing, Ladjouzi said. Rwandan forces did not cause those refugee flights, he said. "If Rwandan forces target the civilian population, MONUC will take action," he said, using the U.N. acronym for its mission in Congo. Rwanda invaded eastern Congo in 1996 and 1998 to hunt down Rwandan Hutu combatants responsible for the 1994 genocide of more than a half-million Tutsis and Hutus. The 1998 invasion sparked a war that drew in four other African nations and split Western Europe-sized Congo. Some 3.2 million people died, most through famine and disease. Peace accords by 2002 saw the withdrawal of foreign armies and establishment of a power-sharing government.

BBC 3 Dec 2004 DR Congo troops 'to repel Rwanda' The Congolese troops are ill-equipped to halt a major invasion Some 10,000 troops are being sent to expel Rwandan forces from the Democratic Republic of Congo, President Joseph Kabila has said. He accused Rwanda of invading to loot DR Congo's natural resources. Rwanda has denied that its forces have entered DR Congo. The UN says there were indications, but "no proof", of Rwanda's presence. Rwanda has twice invaded DR Congo in recent years - it says to attack Rwandan rebels based there. 'False sightings' "Rwanda has goals that are political, economic, exploitative and predatory," Mr Kabila said, in his first public reaction since reports emerged that Rwanda had sent troops into eastern DR Congo. QUICK GUIDE The war in DR Congo Rwandan President Paul Kagame has said that military action against ethnic Hutu rebels was "imminent" but promised not to attack Congolese troops. But the BBC's Mark Doyle, who has just returned from the region, says that any Rwandan military action could unravel tentative moves towards peace throughout central Africa. Following a debate on the crisis at the UN Security Council in New York, Council President Abdallah Baali from Algeria said: "The general sense is that there were Rwandan troops, although nobody can really confirm it in the clearest way." Mamadou Bah, a spokesman for the UN mission in DR Congo (Monuc), said: "Our helicopter reconnaissance patrols have been able to take photos of abandoned bivouacs and well-equipped soldiers who are moving with new uniforms and materials." But Mr Kagame's adviser on DR Congo, Richard Sezibera, insisted that there were no Rwandan troops across the border. "All reported sightings of Rwandan troops in the DRC are false. Rwanda does not have any troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo," he said. The Congolese government said 6,000 Rwandan troops had crossed the border and attacked villages. Some 2,000 people have fled amid reports of the Rwandan advance in North Kivu province, says the UN. The Security Council urged Rwanda not to send troops into DR Congo but did not condemn Rwanda's action or impose sanctions on Mr Kagame, as the Congolese had wanted. 'World war' Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo, chairman of the African Union, has told the BBC that Rwanda has a case in its conflict with DR Congo but that his authority would be undermined if Rwandan troops had entered DR Congo. Rwanda has consistently said it is prepared to take military action because of the threat it says is posed by the group of some 8,000 men, which includes fighters who took part in the 1994 genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Rwanda invaded its much larger neighbour in 1996 and 1998, accusing successive Congolese governments of backing the Hutu rebels. DR Congo's majestic mountains are ideal rebel hide-outs It withdrew its troops in 2002, under a regional deal to end five years of war in DR Congo, in which some three million people died. The armies of at least six foreign nations - and countless rebel groups - were embroiled in "Africa's first world war". These armies were all accused by the UN of exploiting DR Congo's rich natural resources, including gold and diamonds. Under the peace deal, the Hutu rebels were supposed to have been disarmed but progress has been slow. Last week, the first of 5,000 extra UN peacekeepers arrived in DR Congo. There are already more than 10,000 UN peacekeepers in DR Congo; troops have been placed on alert and patrols have been despatched to check for any Rwandan incursion.

Agence France-Presse 6 Dec 2004 Local groups clash in east DR Congo: UN KIGALI, Dec 6 (AFP) - Local groups have been locked in clashes for the past few days near Minova in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the UN mission in the vast country, MONUC, said Monday. "The clashes began a few days ago in Bweremana. They're linked to land rights," MONUC spokeswoman Jacqueline Chenard tolf AFP in Kigali by telephone from Goma, the main city in the province of Nord Kivu. "This prompted people fleeing towards Minova", she added, without putting a figure to the number displaced by the latest clashes in the volatile east of DRC. According to MONUC, the clashes "are in no way linked" to the reported presence of Rwandan soldiers in eastern DRC. Minova lies 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Goma in neighbouring Sud Kivu province. In June, dissident DRC soldiers holed up in Minova after being chased out of another east DRC town, Bukavu, by the army. The dissident soldiers had seized Bukavu to protect fellow ethnic Tutsis who lived there. The latest clashes pitted ethnic Hunde against Congolese who speak neighbouring Rwanda's Kinyarwanda language, corroborating sources said. The same sources have said that tribal militias called Mai-Mai have sided with the Hunde and "aggravated the crisis."

BBC 7 Dec 2004 Mass grave unearthed in DR Congo Jerome Kakwavu's commanders deny committing human rights abuses A grave containing "numerous" bodies allegedly killed by rebels has been found in north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, UN peacekeepers say. An underground jail had also been found in a "torture camp" run by the FAPC rebels, said a UN spokesman. The rebel-run Ndrele camp was on Sunday the scene of clashes between the rebels and the UN after peacekeepers tried to investigate reports of abuses. A senior FAPC commander denied the claims, saying camp inmates were free. Ndrele camp is about 20km from the Ugandan border, close to the town of Mahagi in Ituri province, which has been riven by fighting between rival militia groups. QUICK GUIDE The war in DR Congo The BBC's Mark Doyle, who has just visited Ituri, says there are at least seven militia groups there, which are formed along ethnic lines and present themselves as self-defence groups for their communities. But he says their real purpose is to extract economic rent on behalf of the warlords who control them. The FAPC, headed by Major General Jerome Kakwavu, has long controlled a key gold mine in mineral-rich Ituri. 'Looting, killing' A spokesman for the UN mission in DR Congo (Monuc) said after being denied access to Ndrele on Sunday, the UN troops launched an attack in which two FAPC militiamen were killed. Several Monuc troops were injured but are now safe. These Ituri warlords have even conducted violence against men who wanted to disarm voluntarily Mamadou Bah UN spokesman Meeting General Jerome Monuc spokesman Mamadou Bah says there is no doubt that the FAPC forces have been carrying out human rights violations in the area under its control. "They were looting, killing and raping children," he said. FAPC's chief of operations Colonel Didier Wanican, currently in Kampala, vehemently denies that his militia has carried out any human rights abuses. "This is not true. We are giving security to the people," he said. "They are free to do what they want. They are the ones who asked us to be there." The BBC's Will Ross in Kampala says this claim of popularity contrasts greatly with Monuc's reports that following the operation in Ndrele on Sunday, the local population has celebrated as the militia fled and has welcomed the arrival of the blue helmet troops of the UN. Mamadou Bah said the operation serves as a warning for leaders of other armed groups - such as Thomas Lubanga of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) - which the Monuc spokesman said has been harassing the UN operations. Although Monuc says it has now liberated Ndrele, the problem is clearly not solved as the militia has now scattered - the guns are still out there, our correspondent says. Key challenge Colonel Wanichan claims the FAPC troops are willing to disarm and join the national army but he blamed the Kinshasa government for acting slowly. However, Monuc's Mamadou Blah reports that militia including the FAPC have been sabotaging the disarmament process. "These Ituri warlords have even conducted violence against men who wanted to disarm voluntarily." Mamadou Bah urged the Kinshasa government to offer positions to the warlords in the transitional government. Disarming and forming a national army is one of the key challenges for DR Congo where elections are optimistically due to be held in six months' time.

Reuters 9 Dec 2004 Thousands flee new eastern Congo fighting -official By David Lewis KINSHASA, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Thousands of civilians have fled more fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a local official said on Thursday, highlighting continued instability in the lawless jungle frontier region near Rwanda. Fears of a return to full-scale war in Congo were fuelled last month when Rwanda threatened to attack rebels based there, some of whom took part in its 1994 genocide, and clashes between armed men in Congo were reported earlier this month. "There was fighting yesterday just over the (provincial) border in North Kivu and I heard heavy weapons. As of late last night it has been calm," said Jean Shweka, the administrator of Minova, a town in eastern Congo's South Kivu province. "There are now about 7,000 displaced people here in Minova," he told Reuters by telephone. He had no details on casualties or who was involved in the fighting in three nearby villages. There was no immediate independent confirmation of the violence. Shweka said civilians were reporting that their houses had been burned and looted. Rwanda, which invaded Congo in 1996 and 1998 ostensibly to hunt down the Hutu rebels, has denied sending any troops across the frontier but said on Wednesday it was massing soldiers on the mountainous border with its vast neighbour. Congo said it was accelerating the deployment of 10,000 soldiers to the region to counter any threat, a move which has put the fragile mix of ethnic communities on edge and angered Rwandan-speaking Congolese in the town of Goma. Hundreds marched through the town on Thursday saying they feared soldiers might attack them out of anti-Rwandan prejudice, sparking a rival demonstration by other Congolese residents. SHOOTING IN THE AIR "This resulted in violence with some demonstrators throwing stones at vehicles and shops which forced soldiers to fire in the air to disperse them," said Goma's mayor, Xavier Nzabara Matsetsa. "The reports I have at the moment indicate four people died and two are seriously injured." A United Nations spokeswoman in Goma said two people had been injured after military police shot into the air. Congo's Rwandan-speaking community, made up of both Hutus and Tutsis, says that rising tension between the two countries has led to them increasingly being persecuted by Congolese who see them as stooges of Kigali. Congo's five-year war, which began with Rwanda's 1998 invastion and sucked in five other neighbouring countries at its height, officially ended last year but the International Rescue Committee said thousands of civilians are still perishing. "In a matter of six years, the world lost a population equivalent to the entire country of Ireland or the city of Los Angeles," said Richard Brennan, one of the authors of a report by the private New York-based refugee relief agency. The IRC's mortality study updates a previously widely agreed death toll of 3 million people from the war. It says 3.8 million were killed and 1,000 civilians were still dying each day, nearly all from disease and malnutrition. Peace deals were signed in 2002 and a transitional government set up last year charged with leading the vast central African nation to elections in 2005 but the mineral-rich east remains volatile, home to myriad armed factions which have not been integrated into the national army. "If the effects of insecurity and violence in Congo's eastern provinces were removed entirely, mortality would reduce to almost normal levels," IRC said. (Additional reporting by Arthur Asiimwe in Kigali and Themis Hakizimana in Goma)

International Rescue Committee 9 Dec 2004 Mortality in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Results from a nationwide survey Apr - Jul 2004 Executive Summary The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) is struggling to recover from a devastating six-year conflict that continues to destabilize Central Africa and cause immense suffering to the country's civilian population. The war that commenced in August 1998 and quickly engulfed the country has been characterized by extreme violence, mass population displacements, widespread rape, and a collapse of public health services. The outcome has been a humanitarian disaster unmatched by any other in recent decades. Over the past four years the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has documented the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis in DR Congo through a series of four mortality surveys. The first three surveys, conducted between 2000 and 2002, demonstrated that an estimated 3.3 million people had died as a result of the conflict. The fourth and latest study, covering the period from January 2003 to April 2004, is among the largest ever conducted in a conflict zone. Investigators used a three-stage cluster sampling technique to survey 19,500 households in total, visiting every province in the country, and measuring mortality among nearly 58 million people (over 90% of the Congolese population). An estimated five million people were inaccessible due to security problems. The key findings and conclusions are: 1. The humanitarian crisis in DR Congo remains the world's deadliest: More than 31,000 people die every month as a result of the conflict. Eighteen months after the signing of a formal peace agreement, people in DR Congo continue to die at a rate that is one third higher than the average rate for sub-Saharan Africa. The national crude mortality rate (CMR) of 2.0 deaths per 1,000 per month is 67% higher than that reported for DR Congo prior to the war (1.2). Between January 2003 and April 2004 almost 500,000 deaths occurred beyond what would normally be expected during this period. This is equivalent to over 31,000 lives lost every month and more than 1,000 people dying every day as a result of the conflict. Nearly half of them are children under five years of age. When analyzed in conjunction with the IRC's previous mortality surveys, the findings indicate that from the beginning of the war in August 1998 to the end of April 2004, approximately 3.8 million people have died as a result of the crisis. The survey demonstrates that the Congolese conflict is by far the deadliest war in the world since World War II and the deadliest in Africa ever recorded. 2. Death rates are highest in the unstable eastern provinces. The CMR in the eastern regions of DR Congo (CMR = 2.3) are more than one third higher than those for the West (1.7). The five eastern provinces, where the conflict has been most intense and protracted, have a CMR of 2.7, which is 80% higher than the average rate for sub-Saharan Africa (1.5). The mortality rate for children under five years of age (U5MR) in these provinces is 70% higher than the regional norm. The eastern provinces account for 77% of the excess mortality documented in DR Congo, with 27% of eastern health zones experiencing a CMR that is higher than the accepted emergency threshold of 1 death per 10,000 per day for the entire 16-month recall period. These rates do not include the period since April 2004, during which there have been several violent incidents in the East. 3. The majority of deaths are due to easily preventable and treatable diseases. While security problems continue in the eastern provinces, less than two percent of deaths over the past 16 months have been due to war-related violence. The most devastating byproducts of the conflict have been the disruption of the country's health services and food supplies. As a result, the vast majority of deaths have been among civilians and have been due to easily preventable and treatable illnesses such as fever and malaria, diarrhea, respiratory infections, and malnutrition. Children under five years old are at particular risk from these diseases. They account for 45.4% of the 500,000 deaths documented in this last survey period, even though they represent less than 20% of the total population. 4. Lack of security has a direct effect on the number of deaths from both violent and non-violent causes. Deaths from non-violent causes, such as infectious diseases, are highest in the most conflict-prone regions where security problems continue to impede access to health care and humanitarian assistance. In health zones where violent deaths were reported, CMRs are 75% higher than those of health zones where no violent deaths were reported. If the effects of insecurity and violence in the eastern provinces were removed entirely, it is estimated that mortality rates would reduce to almost normal levels (from 2.7 to 1.6 deaths per 1,000 per month). In the health zone of Kisangani-Ville, for example, fighting stopped in 2002 allowing health, water, and sanitation services to be rehabilitated. Since then, the CMR has declined by 79% and excess mortality has been eliminated. 5. In spite of positive trends, mortality rates in DR Congo have not improved significantly since 2002. During the period of this survey, January 2003 to April 2004, there was a gradual decrease in the total number of deaths in eastern provinces, largely due to improvements in security that allowed for increased humanitarian access. The national CMR has reduced from 2.4 to 2.0 since 2002, but this change was not statistically significant because of overlapping confidence intervals with the previous survey. Similarly, the CMRs for both eastern and western DR Congo have declined, but -- for the same reason - are not significantly different from the survey of 2002. For the fourth time since 2000, data from representative mortality surveys has demonstrated that the conflict in DR Congo dwarfs other emergencies in both its scale and humanitarian impact. No other recent conflict has claimed as many lives as DR Congo and mortality rates remain elevated at an alarming level. In spite of these unambiguous facts, the international community has not yet mobilized the necessary will or resources to effectively address the crisis. The survey's findings provide compelling evidence that improving security and increasing access to simple, cost-effective health interventions such as clean water, immunizations, and basic medical care would dramatically reduce preventable deaths. During the months the survey was undertaken and since its completion, a number of serious security incidents have occurred that threaten to further destabilize the country and the region. The few recent political and humanitarian gains are now in jeopardy and a return to a full-scale war that engulfs the region is a distinct possibility. International engagement is tragically lacking in DR Congo, and hundreds of thousands of innocent people are dying as a result.

IRIN 10 Dec 2004 UN troops break up militia camp in Ituri [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] KINSHASA, 10 Dec 2004 (IRIN) - UN troops shut down a militia camp on Thursday in the embattled northeastern district of Ituri in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a UN official said on Thursday. Christophe Boulierac, a spokesman of the UN Mission in the DRC, known as MONUC, said the militia camp was near a transit demobilisation centre that had been set up in the town of Mahagi, to receive fighters from the Forces armees du peuple Congolais (FAPC) militia group. "The operation aimed to force the militiamen out of the camp because they were a threat to demobilised soldiers whom they threatened with death," Boulierac said. MONUC broke up the camp early on Thursday. It subsequently discovered 15 AK-47 rifles, a rocket, munitions and some documents. "A small number [of militiamen] accepted to leave of the camp and surrender their weapons, the others fled and about ten of them went to the transit camp for demobilised soldiers," Boulierac added. Boulierac said UN Pakistani soldiers were now occupying the militia camp. The Mahagi demobilisation centre was one of five set up to receive soldiers as part of the country’s disarmament, demobilisation and reinsertion programme. MONUC's operation on Thursday came in the wake of allegations on Sunday that child combatants, who had accepted to be demobilised, were executed; that other civilians were also killed; that taxes were being levied illegally; and that there were other violations by FAPC militiamen in another camp in Ndrele, 20 km southeast of Mahagi. It also comes as the public prosecutor is investigating these abuses. According to MONUC, the prosecutor arrived in Ndrele on Wednesday and has begun interviewing some of the accused militiamen. "There are testimonies on executions, on children being used in Ndrele as workers or sexual slaves and the existence of an illegal detention facility," Boulierac said. Boulierac said MONUC had discovered human bones in the dismantled militia camp, but it was unclear if they belonged to one or more persons.

Reuters 11 Dec 2004 Congo Army Factions Clash in Eastern Congo - U.N. By REUTERS Filed at 1:44 p.m. ET KINSHASA (Reuters) - Rival army units in Democratic Republic of Congo clashed on Saturday not far from Rwanda, the United Nations said, in another sign of military and political turmoil in the east of the former Zaire. ``We have heard reports of heavy fighting south of here,'' U.N. spokeswoman Jacqueline Chenard said by telephone from the eastern town of Goma before the 11,000-strong U.N. force in Congo sent up a helicopter to have a look. ``We flew over the area and the situation was calm. Whatever had happened must have finished by the afternoon,'' she said later on Saturday afternoon. Congo's mountainous eastern border region has been on edge since Rwanda threatened in November to send troops into its vast neighbor for the third time since 1996, to hunt down Rwandan Hutu militants it blames for cross-border raids. Chenard said the fighting appeared to have involved two army factions of the 8th military region based in Goma, which is the capital of North Kivu province, and that more government troops had been sent to try and quell the clashes. There were no immediate reports of casualties. Mineral-rich North Kivu province is ostensibly under the command of Congo's new national army, created after a string of peace deals ended a five-year war in the former Belgian colony involving armies from six countries at one point. REMOTE JUNGLE REGION However former foes who are now supposedly on the same side, such as government-backed militias and former Rwandan-backed RCD rebels, are still vying for military and economic control of the remote jungle region. The situation is complicated further by splits within some of these groups. ``The fighting is heavy. It's fighting between a pro-Kinshasa element of the Mai Mai (Congolese militia) and some (Mai Mai) renegades that still back the (RCD) rebels,'' said a Congolese security source in the distant capital Kinshasa. He said the fighting was near a place called Kirotshe, about 35 km (22 miles) southwest of Goma. Congo's war was officially declared over last year but the ensuing humanitarian crisis has been dubbed the world's worst. An international aid agency said in a report this week the war has killed 3.8 million people, mostly from hunger and disease. Kinshasa accuses its tiny neighbor of meddling in Congo's internal affairs to keep influence in the mineral-rich east, a charge supported by a United Nations report in July which said renegade Congolese soldiers had been helped by Rwanda. Rwanda says the U.N.'s 11,000 strong peacekeeping force and Congo's army have failed to disarm the Hutu rebels, some of whom took part in the 1994 genocide, so it has the right to do so. Rwanda denies sending any soldiers into Congo since making the threat, but has massed units on the border. Kinshasa is rapidly deploying 10,000 soldiers to counter the threat.

AFP 13 Dec 2004 DRC churches warn against tribalism Goma 13 December 2004 09:20 Roman Catholic and Protestant religious leaders in the troubled eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Sunday warned their congregations against a "spirit of division and tribalism". "We call on all believers take measures through prayer not to slip into the spirit of division and tribalism but to advance in the [spirit of] welcome and mutual acceptance," the priest at the Holy Spirit church in Goma said. There have been persistent reports that neighbouring Rwanda has sent its soldiers across the border to deal with Hutu extremist rebels in the DRC. The message replaced the traditional sermon and was read in all the churches in Goma, the main town in North Kivu province and close to the border with Rwanda. The government in Kigali has been dominated by the Tutsi minority since current President Paul Kagame defeated and ousted extremist Hutu Rwandan troops and militias who carried out genocide in Rwanda in 1994. - Sapa-AFP

washingtonpost.com 13 Dec 2004 Failure in Congo Monday, December 13, 2004; Page A20 ONE OF THE MOST costly wars of the past half-century is on the brink of resuming: There are reports of heavy fighting around eastern towns in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some say the army of neighboring Rwanda has again invaded, as its government threatened it would do last month. Congo's government is sending its own troops to the area; refugees are once again on the move. Last week the U.N. Security Council issued a stern warning to Rwanda and threatened unspecified "further actions" if it did not withdraw. Yet if Congo once again becomes a regional battleground, the United Nations will have mainly itself to blame. Rwanda has sent its army into Congo twice before, in 1996 and 1998. In both cases, as now, the announced aim was to attack Rwandan Hutu militias based there, including fighters responsible for the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The last incursion led to a five-year war involving at least seven African countries; by common estimates more than 3 million people died, mostly from disease or starvation. A peace agreement 18 months ago was to end the war, and Rwanda and other nations withdrew their troops. But the keys to the accord were that U.N. peacekeeping troops fill the vacuum in eastern Congo, a vast area where the central government and its forces have little presence, and that the militias whose presence ignited the conflict be disarmed. In both these tasks the U.N. peacekeeping mission, known by the acronym MONUC, has failed miserably. Though it is the largest such mission in the world, with more than 10,000 troops, it has failed to keep order or even to prevent massacres in some of the principal towns of the region. In Bukavu and Bunia, it has stood by while local militias have raped and murdered civilians within sight of its bases. Worse, its own troops have raped or sexually exploited women and girls; the practice "appears to be significant, widespread and ongoing," according to a confidential U.N. report described by The Post's Colum Lynch last month. With Rwandan troops massing, the U.N. force finally raided a couple of militia camps in the past few days. But its policy of relying on persuasion rather than force to disarm hard-core Hutu militants has, not surprisingly, achieved next to nothing. Rwanda is wrong to respond to this situation with a new invasion, which may be aimed at Congo's lucrative resources as much as at the Hutu militias. If its troops have crossed the line and are not withdrawn, the Security Council should consider sanctions. But it should also, at the same time, take an honest look at the wreck of its mission in this strategic African country. Perhaps there are mitigating circumstances; it's probably true, for example, that the force has always been too small to do its job. Still, the disastrous performance of U.N. peacekeeping in Congo ought to lead to a broad reconsideration of such missions. Neither Africa nor the rest of the world can afford such failures.


Assyrian International News Agency ^Dec 2004 www.aina.org 3,000 Egyptian Copts Protest Mubarak's Neglect of Coptic Persecution A Coptic priest's wife has been abducted by Muslim extremists, prompting nation-wide demonstrations by more than 3,000 Copts in various parts of Egypt. The demonstrators-including the clergyman and fifty hunger-strikers-have denounced President Hosni Mubarak's neglect of the recent escalation in anti-Coptic hate crimes. 3,000 Coptic demonstrators in Cairo, el-Minia, el-Behara and Assiut provinces gathered on December 5 and 6, 2004 to protest the abduction and forced conversion to Islam of Wafaa Constantine, the wife of a Coptic priest. Demonstrators further protested President Mubarak's inattention to Coptic pleas for protection from government persecution. The on-going two-day protest is a response to the predominantly Muslim Egyptian government's sanction of anti-Coptic hate crimes such as arson, torture, murder, and the abduction, rape, and forced conversion of young Coptic women. Although Egypt's native Christian Copts- numbering between 12-15 million and constituting approximately 15 percent of Egypt's population-have long been targets for Muslim extremists, a recent rise in anti-Coptic sentiment has prompted an escalation in violence against Copts. Recent crimes denounced by demonstrators include mob violence in the village of Mankateen (Samalout province). On Friday, December 3, 2004, 5,000 Muslim villagers stormed and set fire to a building housing a Coptic prayer room. The mob then swept through the village, looting and burning Coptic homes and businesses, destroying a Coptic priest's car, and injuring several Copts in the process. The mob was prompted by the announcement that President Mubarak had once again refused Mankateens' Coptic community their request to build a church. Other crimes protested by the Coptic community include the alarming rise in the kidnapping, rape, and forced conversion of young Coptic women such as 19-year old Manal Gurguis Abd El Malak, whose kidnappers have yet to face justice due to discriminatory police neglect. Even high-ranking officials such as Assiut province's National Democratic Party Leader Mohamed Abd El Mohsen Saleh have been implicated by the national media in the kidnappings and forced conversions of several young Coptic women; President Mubarak has censured neither Saleh nor other officials implicated in similar crimes. In a letter to President Bush, Michael Meunier, president of the U.S. Copts Association, appealed for Bush's immediate intervention with President Mubarak on behalf of Egypt's persecuted Copts. "Mubarak's regime has not only ignored, but in many cases contributed to the alarming increase in anti-Coptic violence," said Meunier. "Only President Bush's personal intervention can help prevent the escalation of these hate crimes into full-fledged cultural genocide." U.S. Copts Association The U.S. Copts Association, founded in 1996 and based in Washington D.C., advocates for democracy, religious freedom, and human rights in Egypt. The Association represents over 700,000 Egyptian Christians in the United States.


AP 26 Nov 2004 Ethiopia Belatedly Accepts Ruling on Eritrea Border ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Nov. 25 -- Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told parliament Thursday that Ethiopia had decided to accept "in principle" a disputed ruling on its border with Eritrea, made as part of peace deal that was reached four years ago. Ethiopia has until now refused to respect the April 2002 ruling by the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission, part of the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague. Meles told lawmakers that Ethiopia still considered the commission's finding "illegal and unjust" but had decided peace was more important. The government will start dialogue with Eritrea immediately, "with a view to implementing the decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission in a manner consistent with the promotion of sustainable peace and brotherly ties between the two peoples," Meles said. But the prime minister said Ethiopia's acceptance of the commission's decision did not mean it would cede any territory. The 547-member parliament voted to endorse Meles's five-point plan by 428 votes to 10, with three abstentions. One hundred and six members were not present when the vote was taken. Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a 2 1/2-year border war between May 1998 and December 2000 in which tens of thousands of people were killed. As part of a deal to end the war, Ethiopia and Eritrea agreed to form an independent boundary commission and that its decision would be final and binding. Eritrea accepted the April 2002 decision, but Ethiopia said it disagreed with some aspects, including the awarding of the disputed town of Badme to Eritrea. Since signing a peace deal in 2000, Ethiopia and Eritrea have had little contact. In January, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed a special envoy to try to get the two countries talking.

AFP 29 Nov 2004 Ethiopia becomes 144th nation to ratify landmine pact at conference NAIROBI, Nov 29 (AFP) - Delegates from 140 countries began a week-long conference Monday to assess progress made in implementing a pact to eliminate landmines, which kill or maim more than 40 people around the world every day. As the conference got under way, Ethiopia -- one of the countries in the world worst affected by mines -- became the 144th nation to ratify the Ottawa Convention, which bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of landmines and calls for a mine-free world in the next 10 years. "I am delighted that on the first day of this historic event, one of the world's most mine-affected states has joined the effort to end the suffering caused by anti-personnel mines," said Wolfgang Petritsch, Austrian diplomat to the United Nations in Geneva, who is presiding over the week-long summit. "Ethiopians can now look forward to a brighter future without the terror of landmines," Petritsch said, noting that "Ethiopia must now destroy its existing stockpiles of anti-personnel mines within four years, clear mined areas within 10 years, and cease any use, production or transfer of the weapon immediately." "Other states must now also rise to the challenge of assisting Ethiopia in fulfilling its obligations," he added. In addition to evaluating progress made in applying the 1997 Ottawa Convention, the conference will discuss how to help up to 400,000 survivors of mine explosions in 121 countries, most of them in Africa. Civilians make up to 86 percent of those killed or wounded by the mines. Between 1999, when the treaty entered into force, and 2003, more than four million anti-personnel mines were destroyed, said a Landmine Monitor Report, prepared by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, a coalition of groups behind the treaty. But Thai Deputy Foreign Minister Sorajak Kasemsuvan lamented that "progress has not been fast enough." "There is still a long road ahead of us, as countries with stockpiles of landmines are still outside the convention," he told the opening session on behalf of his foreign minister, who is the Convention's current president. "There is need to take timely action if we are to eradicate landmines," he added. Organisers of the Nairobi Summit on landmines said 107 states that are party to the Convention and 23 non-parties are attending the week-long conference. The African Union, European Community, Organization of American States, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, are attending as observers. Representatives from China, Iraq, Ukraine and Somalia will also be at the conference, to be addressed later in the week by Presidents Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed of Somalia, and several deputy prime ministers. It will also try to convince China, Russia and the United States to join the treaty.


UN News Service 29 Nov 2004 Over 100,000 Liberians have turned in weapons to UN 29 November 2004 – Over 100,000 Liberians have turned in guns, ammunition, rocket propelled grenades and other weapons to the United Nations peacekeeping force in their country, the head of the mission said today. “We’re now at 96,333 people disarmed, and we have another six or seven thousand in the pipeline,” Jacques Paul Klein, head of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), told the UN News Service. The Mission has already destroyed more than six million rounds of ammunition – a figure Mr. Klein described as “incredible by any measure.” The success of the disarmament push was revealed late last month when disturbances rocked Monrovia and surrounding areas, Mr. Klein said, pointing out that only a handful of the nearly 250 people injured at the time were wounded by firearms. “If [arms] had been here at the time, they would have come out,” he observed. Mr. Klein added that while he is not “naïve enough to think we’ve got them all,” he is confident that during the disturbances there would have been “a lot more shooting” were it not for the comprehensive disarmament effort, which involves not only collecting arms but also retraining and reintegrating former combatants. The UNMIL chief also welcomed the return of normalcy and the Government’s recent decision to lift the country-wide curfew that had been imposed during the disturbances. If the curfew had stayed in effect for too long, it would have proved counterproductive, he noted. Meanwhile, children separated from their families during the country’s conflict have been reuniting with loved ones in large numbers. Of the 7,179 boys and 2,308 girls who have gone through the disarmament process – which involves housing them in separate camps and providing services tailored to their specific needs – 98 per cent have gone back to live with either their parents or other family members. “At first I was very worried that we would have to rely on orphanages and foster homes,” Mr. Klein said. But through persistent efforts to return the children to their homes, the results have been “amazing,” he added. Liberia’s children are also being helped by UN-led efforts to provide immunization against common diseases. Half a million Liberian children have been immunized against measles, 230,000 have been vaccinated against yellow fever, and over 830,000 were immunized against polio, said Mr. Klein, who coordinates the work of all UN operations in Liberia. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has provided Liberia with 10,000 school supply kits, while 13,000 Liberian teachers have been trained in emergency education orientation during two- to three-week courses, the envoy added.

IRIN 6 Dec 2004 National army to get back on its feet after years of civil war [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © MONROVIA, 6 Dec 2004 (IRIN) - Liberia's transitional government has begun paving the way for a new national army to emerge from the ashes of 14 years of civil war, backed by funding from the US government, a top military official said on Monday. Most of the soldiers in the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) defected to rebel factions after civil war broke out in 1989, providing many of the groups' senior commanders. The national army has been in disarray ever since and for the 16 months of peace Liberia has known, the world's biggest UN peacekeeping force -- made up of some 15,000 soldiers -- has been stationed in the country. Now moves are afoot to rebuild the national army. "From October to end of November, we started the restructuring program by re-documenting the present strength of the army," army spokesman Richard Barnah told IRIN. He said the process was designed to work out how many people had reached retiring age or had left the army. The United States' role of training armed forces in Liberia, the country founded by freed American slaves in the early 19th century, would continue in the post-war era, Barnah said. Washington offered a helping hand with army training from the 1950s up to the outbreak of civil war. "There are now negotiations between the transitional government and the US government for the latter to provide training for the army," Barnah said. The US ambassador to Liberia, John Blaney, said last week that his government had already set aside US$ 35 million to carry out the army restructuring before general elections, scheduled for October 2005. "Training the military is a long-term process," Blaney told reporters. "The intention of the US is to start this process in the first half of 2005. We have about 35 million earmarked for this task." Disarmament has now been completed in the heavily-forested West African country, with more than 102,000 men, women and children disarmed and around 27,000 weapons handed in. Rebels and militia groups formally disbanded last month in line with a peace deal signed in August 2003 and now attention is turning to reviving a national force, which has been effectively redundant since 1989. There were attempts to restructure the army during the years of civil war but none of them successful. Under the Abuja peace accord that led to a break in the fighting in 1996 and general elections in 1997, the West African peacekeeping force (ECOMOG) was supposed to retrain a new national army based on fair ethnic and geographical representation. But Charles Taylor, who won the 1997 elections, sidelined the issue, saying the restructuring was solely a matter for the elected government. A year later his government established a commission which recommended a 6,000-strong army but the proposal was never implemented. Then in 1999, civil conflict erupted again and plans for the army fell by the wayside as Taylor favoured his former rebel fighters, who formed militia groups that battled rebel insurgents until 2003 when a peace deal was finally imposed and Taylor fled into exile.


www.vanguardngr.com 30 Nov 2004 Ijaws petition UN over Ojobo crisis ...Accuses Shell, Army of genocide By Emeka Ugwuanyi Tuesday, November 30, 2004 Ijaws of the Niger- Delta have sent a petition to the United Nations as well as all foreign embassies in the country, accusing Shell of conspiring with the Nigerian Army to commit genocide in Ojobo community in Delta State. The petition written by the Ijaw Monitoring Group and signed by Comrade Joseph Evah on behalf of the group, condemned the attack on defenceless citizens of Ijaw at Beneseide Flow Station by the Army which it alleged is being sponsored by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC). "The killing of Ijaws at the aforementioned area, the group said, is on daily basis and has become a daily occurrence in the Niger- Delta region." The group stated that it is the right of the citizens of the community to carry out a peaceful protest against non-implementation of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the oil companies and the communities. The Ijaw Monitoring Group explained that what Shell does is to meet with the community with a promise to undertake a community development project such as construction of water boreholes or electricity project, among others. After the community has signed the MOU with it, Shell would give the contract to a contractor who will either do a substandard job or not do the job at the end of the day. Niger-Delta communities, according to the group, have asked Shell not to give anybody cash to avoid embezzlement, that Shell should rather carry out the projects by itself to ensure standard. But the method Shell adopted is to award such contracts to people who would always do a substandard work and when the people protest such jobs, Shell would set the Army against them. The group said: “Like the Ojobo case where Shell disregarded the MOU, there is no community in the Niger-Delta where Shell religiously respect and follow the conditions stated in the MOUs. Shell prefer to bribe security agents with contract favours and physical cash in order for the soldiers to kill and maim the citizens who may organize themselves to protest Shell's fraudulent activities.” The group also stated that soldiers and officers assigned to oil rigs and platforms in the Niger-Delta area are richer than their counter- parts assigned to other duties in other areas in Nigeria because they are in the pay roll of oil companies who use them to commit inhuman acts in the region. “We wish to inform the international community that all the figures displayed by Shell as money spent on development projects in the Niger-Delta are false because ninety-nine per cent of the money goes into the pockets of security agents and the black managers who Shell use as business front to siphon funds meant for the development of the Niger- Delta region and its people." The Ijaw Monitoring Group also reminded the world body that the Ijaws lost 25 per cent of its population before the of age 50 as a result of the consequences of oil and gas exploration and production. Aside the physical and environmental devastation, there is also the human and material anarchy with accompanying mental depression. The group also alleged that Shell put aside 10 per cent of its yearly budget to bribe government officials in the legislature, judiciary and executive, including security agents, to cover its inhuman acts in the region. "Therefore, we urge the international community to check the activities of multi-national oil companies in the region before a breakdown of law and order which may threaten the lives of foreign nationals working in the oil firms. The petition copied to the embassies in Nigeria warned that the Ijaw will not guarantee the safety of lives of foreign workers in the region because of the genocide committed against the Ojobo community where according to the group over 25 persons are missing apart from countless number of people killed while 50 percent of the community has been destroyed. The Ijaws urged the world body to intervene as quick as possible to prevent unprecedented crisis in the region.

The East African Standard (Nairobi) 5 Dec 2004 Obasanjo View On Genocide By Ken Ramani Nairobi Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo says he's unconvinced genocide is taking place in Darfur, western Sudan. Over the weekend, he dismissed the United State's determination that "genocide" is being inflicted on Darfur's indigenous black Africans. When asked at an interview with CNN if he agreed with the call on Darfur by the US administration, Obasanjo replied: "Now, what I know of Sudan does not fit in all respects of that definition-genocide". "The government of Sudan can be condemned, but it's not as genocide" Obasanjo said hours after meeting President George Bush at the White House. Obasanjo poured cold water on outgoing Secretary of State, Colin Powell who has been lamenting that other nations have not joined the US in declaring genocide is underway in Sudan's troubled western region of Darfur. Obasanjo said he agreed with Bush there is an acute problem in the region that needs to be addressed.


Reuters 30 nov 2004 FEATURE-Opposition militia scars Mozambique's era of peace 30 Nov 2004 02:03:09 GMT Source: Reuters By Manoah Esipisu BEIRA, Mozambique, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Thirty armed men arrive at a police station and demand the release of two fugitives arrested over the assault of a government official. Outnumbered and outgunned, police free the offenders who vanish into the night. The armed men were members of the "Presidential Guard" of the Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo), which is based in northern Mozambique, and its leader Afonso Dhlakama, who is standing for president in Dec. 1 and 2 elections. The militia is a relic of a 1992 deal to end 16 years of civil war in this former Portuguese colony which allowed Renamo, Mozambique's main opposition movement, to contest multi-party elections two years later. The men -- whose numbers have swollen from 150 in 1992 closer to 500 now -- were supposed to keep their weapons only to protect Dhlakama and his key aides until after 1994 elections. Their designated bases were Dhlakama's government-provided villa in the capital Maputo, his home of Maringue and the nearby Cheringoma districts in the central Sofala region. Now the "Presidential Guard" have become Mozambique police's biggest nightmare, blamed for robberies, car-jackings and low-scale political thuggery in Sofala province, a Renamo-leaning region that is seen as one of the key battlegrounds in this week's elections that will lead to the retirement of veteran President Joaquim Chissano. The "Presidential Guard", Mozambican officials say, serve as a warning to Africans negotiating peace that quick demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration are essential in finding a lasting solution to conflicts elsewhere on the continent. Officials say they can understand concerns in the Great Lakes region over the presence of militia linked to Rwanda's 1994 genocide that have not been demobilised. MISTRUST OF POLICE Felicio Zacarias, Sofala's provincial governor, says Renamo's leaders were deeply suspicious about the police department, which they said they could not entrust with Dhlakama's life. Zacarias argues that mistrust of the police was no reason to maintain an illegal militia. He said the Renamo militia were thugs who ordered supporters not to pay taxes, beat up police officers sent to guard Dhlakama during his visits to his native Maringue and attacked anyone who publicly spoke in favour of the government. Zacarias was supported by Frelimo Secretary General Armando Guebuza, who said he supported demobilisation and reintegration of the Renamo men. "They (Renamo) were not allowed to keep arms after the elections (in 1994). They were supposed to keep them between the moment of signing and after the elections -Â… people should be guided by the rule of law," Guebuza told Reuters in Maputo, adding that Renamo's security concerns were no longer valid. Dhlakama told Reuters police blamed his guards for all violence in central and northern Mozambique as part of a government campaign to discredit him and disguise their inability to deal with high rates of crime, the cause of which he blamed on mounting poverty. "They blame everything on Renamo, but it is Frelimo that is in power. They ought to enforce the rule of law," Dhlakama told Reuters on a campaign stop in Beira. "RENAMO MUST AGREE TO DISARM" Mozambique's police chief Miguel dos Santos says Renamo must agree to disarm its men and take a government invitation to integrate them in the police service. "Some of the attacks that have been carried out by this militia, like that on the police station, are plain terrorist acts," he said. Analysts say the Renamo militia poses a threat to Mozambique's stability. Dos Santos and analysts said Dhlakama and his aides were reluctant to allow their militia to be integrated into the police service because they would lose control and the threat of going back to the bush if their interests were not guaranteed. "A police officer takes orders from his superiors in the department and not from a political party. That is why there is resistance to this plan," said dos Santos. Renamo officials admit that their guards have beaten up government officials and gunned down a policeman in August, but say it was self defence. Dhlakama told Reuters that those who say he kept the guards as a threat of war were keen to tarnish his image: "We shall never go back to war. Reintegration is a matter that we have to discuss and agree conditions, it cannot be done by force." Professor Eduardo Sitoe, analyst at Mozambique's Eduardo Mondalane University, said he saw the militia as a limited problem but their activities always sparked excessive reaction by the police special reaction forces. "The police often react against the guards like they were dealing with a war or state of emergency and this is not exactly the case," Sitoe told Reuters. .

Rwanda see Canada

BBC 30 Nov 2004 Rwandans 'making DR Congo raids' Rwandan troops left DR Congo in 2002 Rwandan troops have been accused of carrying out raids inside the Democratic Republic of Congo and attacking and burning villages. From the eastern town of Beni, Congolese regional cooperation minister Mbusa Nyamwisi said: "We are being attacked by the Rwandan troops." United Nations peacekeepers say they cannot confirm the allegations. The UN humanitarian agency (OCHA) says thousands of people are reported to be fleeing their homes. Border control Earlier, President Paul Kagame said in a speech that Rwandan troops may already have crossed into DR Congo in pursuit of ethnic Hutu rebels. QUICK GUIDE The war in DR Congo He told senators attempts to disarm forces across the border "will not take long, or it is even happening now". Rwandan troops were reported in the DR Congo on Monday by diplomats, but UN forces on patrol have not sighted any. The Congolese authorities say they will send more than 6,000 troops to the border area within the next two weeks. Rwanda has consistently warned that it is prepared to take military action because of the threat it says is posed by the group which include fighters who took part in the 1994 genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Some Congolese analysts say that the real reason behind Rwanda's threats is that President Joseph Kabila has recalled the governor of North Kivu province, based in Goma, who is from the Rwandan-backed RCD former rebel group. They say Rwanda wants to ensure it retains control of the border area. Residents of the Congolese border town of Bukavu have reportedly been gathering stones to use to fight off any Rwandan incursion. The rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) says that a brigade of Rwandan soldiers has crossed the border into North Kivu province, reports the AFP news agency. Slow progress The United Nations last week warned Rwanda not to use military force, saying such a move could undermine international efforts to stabilise the region. Rwanda has twice invaded its much larger neighbour - in 1996 and 1998 - accusing the different Congolese governments of backing the Hutu rebels. It withdrew its troops in 2002, under a regional deal to end five years of war in DR Congo, in which some three million people died. Under that deal, the Hutu rebels were supposed to have been disarmed but progress has been slow. Rwanda says that the rebels are now attacking its territory under the noses of the international community. Last week, the first of 5,000 extra UN peacekeepers arrived in DR Congo. There are already more than 10,000 UN peacekeepers in DR Congo and troops have been placed on alert and patrols have been despatched to check for any Rwandan incursion. However, they say they have no knowledge of Rwandan forces having crossed the border. A spokesperson for the UN peacekeeping mission told the BBC's Network Africa that their patrols by air and on the ground have not encountered any Rwandan presence in DR Congo since the threats were made.

Independent OnLine ZA 29 Nov 2004 Survivors of genocide always the first target November 29 2004 at 04:26PM By William Maclean Kigali - Rwanda's threats to send troops into Democratic Republic of Congo to crush Hutu rebels have drawn international condemnation but find support among survivors of Rwanda's 1994 genocide. Francois Ngarambe, who heads a group that assists genocide survivors, has said that attacks by the rebels of the Hutu majority were motivated by the same murderous ethnic ideology that tore the country apart a decade ago. "Survivors of the genocide are always the first target of the genocidal forces," he said in an interview, recalling that survivors had often been the victims of the last regular cross-border raids staged by the rebels in 1997 and 1998. 'They are the living symbol of the killings they wish to finish' "This is because they are the living symbol of the killings they wish to finish. Eradicating them also means in a sense that they delete their guilt and erase their own memory (of 1994)." Rwanda's Tutsi-led government last week threatened to enter Congo for the third time to try to crush the rebels once and for all, in a move that raised tensions in central Africa. Ngarambe is Rwanda's most prominent representative of the victims of the 1994 slaughter, when 800 000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were butchered by Hutu militants in the space of 100 days. He heads Ibuka, a government-funded relief organisation that helps many of the widows, widowers and orphans of the victims of the fastest genocide in modern history. His thinking sheds some light on the motives behind Rewanda's profound sensitivity to the rebels' presence in Congo. 'The hardliners do not want the survivors to testify' He says it is reasonable to suspect the rebels' presence in the former Zaire, where they fled with families after taking part in the genocide, boosts the morale of ethnic extremists in Rwanda, especially those due to go on trial for 1994 killings. He points to the unsolved murders of 20 people this year in what he calls genocidal circumstances. Authorities fear the killers wanted to eliminate people due to testify at genocide trials being held by village-based popular courts. "The hardliners do not want the survivors to testify. We have had people who are threatened daily," he said. "And the rebels are trying to have links or alliances with people inside the country who have this genocidal tendency." The rebels, who nowadays manage only to fire rockets into Rwanda from Congo sporadically, deny they harbour ethnic hatred and say they want only to take part in Rwandan politics. Can the precarious cohesion of Rwandan society survive the strains another war in Congo might bring? Ngarambe sighs. "We still have a long way to go. Genocidal ideology survives in the present day. Many people still live in fear, or are killed, because they are survivors or because their killers fear they would testify against them." The rebels are not particularly popular among the Hutu majority, Rwandans say, but any diversion of state spending from health and education to a fresh war effort could test nerves in a society mired in desperate poverty. Ngarambe hopes any new war effort will leave his funding untouched. The semi-autonomous body is funded by a five percent slice of state tax revenues, spending the bulk of it on education, with the remainder going mainly to health programmes. "The situation will remain sensitive for a long time. But we should be optimistic. I like to compare us to 10 years ago, not to some ideal situation. We have made amazing progress which makes us hope we can achieve miracles," he said. "From hell we have not yet reached heaven, but at least we are alive on earth."


Reuters 6 Dec 2004 About 100 die in spreading Somali clashes - residents MOGADISHU, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Factional fighting in central Somalia killed an estimated 100 people, wounded more than 180 and displaced thousands in the past five days, residents said on Monday. Women and children were among those wounded in the violence, which erupted around Gelinsor town in Mudug region near the Ethiopian border on Wednesday and spread over the weekend to Hobyo town on the Indian Ocean, eyewitnesses said. There has been no firm word on what triggered the initial violence but subsequent killings created a revenge cycle that was fuelling the fighting, residents told Reuters in Mogadishu by radio. Thousands of civilians have fled the affected towns as militiamen battle each other using light artillery, anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft guns fired horizontally and heavy machineguns mounted on pickup trucks. One resident reported that some fighters had also used a number of T-54 tanks, leftovers from the defunct army of the government of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, ousted in 1991. Since his overthrow the country has been a patchwork of fiefdoms run by warlords backed up by heavily armed militias, though a new Somali government formed in neighbouring Kenya aims to go home and reestablish order in the coming months. According to medical sources, some of the wounded were taken to hospitals in Galkayo and Adaado Harardhere towns as well as hospitals in the capital Mogadishu. Elders of the two sides and neighbouring clans in central Somalia did not intervene because of the intensity of the fighting, witnesses say. The clashes pit fighters of the Saad wing of the Habr Gedir subclan of the Hawiye, Somalia's commercially most powerful clan, against the Habr Gedir's Suleiman wing.

South Africa

IRIN 30 Nov 2004 SOUTH AFRICA: Human rights body disappointed with US judgment [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © UN DPI "Multinationals sustained the apartheid system" JOHANNESBURG, 30 Nov 2004 (IRIN) - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has expressed its disappointment with an American court judgment that dismissed claims by victims of apartheid for damages from US corporations because they "bordered on the frivolous". US District Judge John Sprizzo on Monday reportedly ruled that the plaintiffs had not claimed that actions by the US corporations directly caused the alleged murders, torture, crimes against humanity and other heinous acts in South Africa from 1948 until a decade ago. "The judgment reflects a very narrow approach on the issue of causation - the point is, the corporations' support sustained the apartheid system," said Jody Kollapen, SAHRC's national commissioner for civil and political rights. He said the judgment should have addressed the issue of accountability, which was increasingly being reflected in recent human rights cases. The lawsuit sought to hold 23 multinational corporations accountable for their role in supporting an environment in which gross violations of human rights were made possible, and claimed the apartheid government had tracked African individuals on US-made computers, obtained loans from US banks and kept its military machine running with US-supplied oil. Sprizzo said his job was to "apply the law, and not some normative or moral ideal", but reportedly stated, "at most, by engaging in business with the South African regime, defendants benefited from the unlawful state action of the apartheid government." The South Africa-based NGO, Khulumani Support Group, who had instituted the court action on behalf of the apartheid victims, referred IRIN to its legal representative in the US, Michael Hausfeld, who was not available for comment. Khulumani filed their lawsuit in New York in November 2002, using the Alien Tort Claims Act of 1789 - legislation that allows companies to be sued in American courts for breaches of human rights committed anywhere in the world. The South African government did not support the lawsuit.


IRIN 26 Nov 2004 Rising tensions reported in areas of Upper Nile [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © IRIN A burnt-out 'tukul' in Bieh village, Upper Nile, following an earlier clash KHARTOUM, 26 Nov 2004 (IRIN) - A build-up of armed militias, government troops and southern-based Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) fighters in various areas of the Upper Nile region has raised tensions between local civilians and the armed groups, sources in Malakal told IRIN on Thursday. According to the sources, clashes had been reported between armed militias in the area of Gualguk, some 130 km northwest of Nasir town close to the oil area of Adar. One person was killed before government authorities intervened to stop the fighting. Clashes were also reported around Mandeang, across the Sobat River, between 6 and 8 November when armed men believed to be government troops based in Ketbek, near Nasir, shelled villages. The armed men, the sources added, also launched attacks on villages in Duk Padiet, killed a number of people and abducted some children. Along the Sobat River zone, the sources added, rising tensions had been reported following a recent increase in the presence of armed men from the government, the SPLM/A and various militia groups. The militias included the government-allied Janjawid who were reported to be in some garrisons located along the eastern bank of the White Nile south of Malakal, the sources added. "The government of Sudan has been building up its forces substantially in Malakal and the SPLM/A is doing the same in the areas they control in the Sobat-corridor," Paul Foreman, head of mission for the medical charity, MSF-Holland, told IRIN in Khartoum on 17 November. "Given that this region was clearly dealt with in the Naivasha [Kenya] accords, there is no reason for this build-up, but tensions are rising," he added. "There were half a dozen significant clashes over the past month and either side can strike at any time." The USAID-funded Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS-Net) warned in a report entitled "Southern Sudan Food Security Watch", issued on Wednesday, that an increased presence of armed men along the Sobat River zone was likely to threaten dry-season food sourcing in the eastern flood plains. "Insecurity, which limited planting in parts of Shilluk, Latjor, Bieh and Pibor during much of the year, is likely to reduce harvests," FEWS Net said. "Increased militia activities along the Sobat River are raising concerns about heightened tensions between different community groups, especially in Bieh and Latjor areas." According to FEWS Net, the "militias operate from garrison towns controlled by the government [and] past experience has shown that their presence often leads to inter-ethnic fighting, especially during the dry season when exchange opportunities and access to dry-season grazing and fishing areas are at risk of being disrupted". FEWS Net also expressed concern about "the likely insecurity associated with the return of 15,000 – 20,000 people and their cattle from Mundri to Bor areas [in the Greenbelt and the Nile Sobat zones, respectively] as they transit through areas of Yirol, Juba and Terekeka." The returnees fled Bor County in 1991 during inter-factional fighting, which resulted in the displacement and death of thousands of people and cattle, who sought refuge in Western Equatoria state. Those displaced around the Bor area started returning home in July this year, FEWS Net reported. Early this month, at least three people were killed in clashes between armed Sudanese militias and civilians in an area controlled by the SPLM/A near Nasir. The clashes occurred after a disagreement over territory, the sources added. In October, the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team, an organisation affiliated with the US State Department, reported that armed groups, including the Sudanese army, military intelligence and various armed militias - purportedly aligned to the government - mistreated civilians on several occasions in the area, especially in Malakal, the headquarters of Upper Nile, where nearly 35,000 displaced persons live. The Sudanese government and the SPLM/A signed a memorandum of understanding on 19 November in which they agreed to conclude a final peace deal by the close of the year. The agreement was signed during a meeting of the UN Security Council in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. The war in the south erupted in 1983 when the SPLM/A took up arms against authorities based in the north to demand greater autonomy. In May, the government and the SPLM/A signed six key protocols in Naivasha, covering power-sharing arrangements and the administration of three contested areas during a six-year interim period that will precede a referendum to determine whether the south would remain part of Sudan.

news.independent.co.uk 30 Nov 2004 Sudan expels British charity workers for 'supporting outlaws' By Anne Penketh, Diplomatic Editor 30 November 2004 The Sudanese government's dispute with the outside world intensified yesterday when Khartoum threatened to expel the directors of two British relief agencies working in Darfur. The government sent letters to the Sudan directors of Save the Children UK and Oxfam International, accusing them of backing African rebels who have risen up against the Islamic government in Khartoum. The charities had been sending "signals of support to the outlaws and rebels for continuation of the war", it said. The charities confirmed that they had received a letter giving their country directors 48 hours to leave the country. But both were also pursuing the matter with the Sudanese authorities in the hope that the decision could be reversed. Last night, the minister for humanitarian affairs, Mohamed Yousif Abdalla, agreed to a temporary reprieve. But he warned that the organisations were still on notice, because "the government of Sudan has made it clear that they have to work on the basis of humanitarian grounds and not to take sides." Oxfam has more than 500 relief workers in northern Sudan, including in Darfur, where they are providing much-needed supplies to more than a million victims of ethnic cleansing who have fled their homes under attack from Arab militias allied to the government. Save the Children has 70 people in Darfur, a region the size of France. The government complained that Save the Children had breached Sudanese law by issuing a press release saying a government plane had dropped a bomb close to one of its feeding centres last week in Tawila, north Darfur, without waiting for confirmation from African Union ceasefire monitors. In a statement on 22 November, Save the Children accused both sides of "utter disregard" for the ceasefire, saying innocent people were suffering "at the hands of the rebels and their own government". The government accused Oxfam of getting involved in Sudanese politics by criticising the "weakness" of a resolution from the UN Security Council, which met in special session in Nairobi this month. The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs said: "Rejecting the resolutions of the UN Security Council, which calls for peace realisation in Sudan, simply means that organisation wants the continuation of war in Darfur." Juan Mendez, a UN special adviser on the prevention of genocide, said yesterday that behind the reasons given for the expulsion orders, the government might have been angered by the relief agencies' insistence on keeping the displaced Sudanese in camps for their own protection. The government is pressing for the people to be moved out to "safe areas". "All the humanitarian agencies have been very strong about saying that there are no conditions for a safe return," Mr Mendez said. "It could be that they blame the international presence for prolonging the humanitarian crisis." But the killings have continued despite the threat of UN sanctions, which has been gradually watered down amid support for the government from Arab states, Russia and China. The UN World Food Programme announced last week that renewed fighting in the north of Darfur had prompted it to close down operations in the region. The latest violence has centred on Tawila, where skirmishes broke out on 18 and 19 November. The government launched air attacks, dropping at least four bombs, including the one that landed 50 metres away from the Save the Children feeding unit. The rebels withdrew from the town on Tuesday, but tensions are still high.

IRIN 30 Nov 2004 IDPs return to camps in North Darfur as clashes subside [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] © A family from a village that was burnt during previous clashes, sheltering in Tawillah town. NAIROBI, 30 Nov 2004 (IRIN) - Clashes between Sudanese government forces and rebels in North Darfur state have subsided and several thousand internally displaced persons (IDPs) who had fled their camps, have returned over the last few days, the UN said. "The situation is relatively calm now," Radia Achouri, spokesperson for the UN Advance Mission in Sudan, told IRIN on Tuesday. "There has been no fighting for two days now and some IDPs have returned to their camps, although a few hundred want to join other camps." A team of UN and African Union officials, the spokesperson added, had visited Tawillah, where the most intense clashes occured, after government troops took back the town, to assess the situation and try to locate IDPs who had fled their camps, but had not yet returned. In a situation report issued on Sunday, the UN said relief agencies had been concerned about the further displacement of populations during last week's insecurity. Most of the approximately 40,000 residents and IDPs in the Tawillah area and 6,000 IDPs in Thabit had fled to nearby locations. The report said about 3,000 of the IDPs had returned to Tawillah over the last few days. Another 3,000 had reportedly returned to Dali camp south of Tawillah, while some 300 Tawillah IDPs had arrived at Abu Shouk in the last two days. "The location of the rest of the displaced populations is not yet clear," the report said. The report, however, noted that on 25 November, eight IDP children including seven girls and one boy were stopped by men in military uniform approximately 10 km northwest of Abu Shouk near the El Fasher-Mellit checkpoint. Four of the girls were reportedly raped and the other children were physically assaulted. Daniel Augstburger of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) told IRIN on Tuesday the situation in Darfur had remained extremely fluid. "Access for humanitarian relief is much easier than before and many services are being delivered to IDPs," Augstburger, who had just returned from Sudan, said. "There is little full-out fighting, but a lot of violent incidents still occur. "Both the government of Sudan and rebel groups continue to violate the ceasefire agreement," he added. "IDPs are being targeted within IDP camps. It is the responsibility of the government to protect these civilians while the SLA [the rebel Sudan Liberation Army] should stop hiding themselves among innocent civilians." Sudanese troops and SLA fighters clashed days after the UN Security Council, which met in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on 18 and 19 November, adopted a resolution demanding that the government, rebel forces and other armed groups in Darfur cease all violence and ensure that their members comply with international humanitarian law. On 22 November, the humanitarian agency Save the Children (SCF) flew its staff out of Tawillah as a result of the fighting. "Both sides have demonstrated utter disregard for the ceasefire," Toby Porter, director of emergencies at SCF said in a statement. According to relief workers, the SLA launched attacks on government positions, taking control of Tawillah. The rebels had earlier attacked the West Darfur town of El-Geraida, forced the police to leave and raised their flag in the town. Some 50-60 SLA fighters also attacked a police station in a camp for displaced people near Kalma, in South Darfur, killing a policeman. Three SLA fighters also died. The clashes forced the UN World Food Programme to temporarily suspend its operations, except in the state capital El-Fasher, affecting some 300,000 people. The UN condemned escalating violence in the Darfur region of western Sudan, saying it threatened ongoing relief activities, violated recently signed ceasefire accords between the government and rebels, and placed tens of thousands of civilians at risk. Meanwhile, the European Commission (EC) has earmarked €51 million (US $67,697,000) in humanitarian aid for the victims of conflict in Sudan, including €31 million ($41,149,400) for the people affected by the crisis in the Darfur region. "This aid package will help provide the victims with food and nutritional support, shelter, access to clean water and sanitation, emergency health care and protection for vulnerable civilians," the EC said in a statement on Friday. "The aid will be channelled by ECHO, the EC's humanitarian aid department." The statement quoted Louis Michel, the newly appointed Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Development, as saying in Khartoum: "Yesterday I saw for myself the situation on the ground in Darfur - It is high time that the many promises of peace made so far are respected, once and for all. I call upon all armed groups to stop violence against civilians and allow aid workers to do their difficult and vital job as safely as possible." Indigenous communities in Darfur took up arms in February 2003, accusing Khartoum of decades of neglect and oppression. In its efforts to pacify the region, President Omar El-Bashir’s government is widely believed to have backed the Janjawid, an Arab militia accused of committing atrocities against unarmed civilians. About 1.45 million people have been displaced and the Janjawid stand accused of perpetrating atrocities. Another 200,000 people from the region are living as refugees in neighbouring Chad.

AFP 3 Dec 2004 Rebels accuse Sudanese military of massacre of civilians in Darfur Friday December 3rd, 2004. CAIRO, Dec 3 (AFP) -- A rebel group Friday accused the Sudanese military and allied militias of carrying out a massacre of dozens of civilians in the strife-torn Darfur region of western Sudan this week. Sudan Liberation Army rebels gather for a meeting with AU ceasefire monitors at Gellab, a village in the desert east of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state on November 8, 2004. (Reuters). A Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) spokesman told AFP that government forces had killed up to 100 civilians around Adoua, 45 kilometers (30 miles) north of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state, between November 29 and December 2. "They are now trying to conceal the truth about this brutal crime," Mohammed Hamid Ali said by telephone from Darfur, adding the government was using military trucks to remove bodies from the site to undisclosed locations. The fighting broke out when government forces, backed by armored carriers and an Antonov aircraft attacked SLA-controlled Adoua, forcing out the 30 SLA fighters defending the town, according to Ali. "Nearly 600 Arab Janjaweed militias were also involved in the assault," the spokesman added. "Some of our fighters died in the battle and others withdrew from the town." He said that civilians caught up in the fighting were unable to flee and many of them were killed by the Janjaweed, the government proxy militias blamed for many atrocities in the region. There was no independent confirmation of the charges and no immediate comment from the Khartoum government. Ali said the SLA had notified the United Nations and the African Union (AU) observer mission in the area about what he called the latest breach of an April 8 ceasefire agreement with the government. Local authorities refused to allow an AU helicopter to land in the town to investigate, as the military had yet to wipe out the evidence, according to the SLA spokesman. The Darfur conflict erupted in February 2003, when rebels rose up to demand an end to the marginalisation of their region by Khartoum as well as a bigger share of Sudan's mineral and oil resources. The United Nations has described the conflict as the world's worst ongoing humanitarian crisis. More than 70,000 people have been killed or have died from hunger and disease in the Darfur region, according to the United Nations, and another 1.6 million have been displaced by the conflict.

Agence France-Presse 3 Dec 2004 Mass rape, forced relocations continue in Sudan's Darfur: UN GENEVA, Dec 3 (AFP) - Government-backed militia in Sudan's Darfur region continue to rape women refugees with complete impunity, according to a UN report which said the overall humanitarian situation in Darfur was worsening. "Sexual violence and rape continue to be reported in all three regions of Darfur," said Jose Diaz, a spokesman for UN High Commission on Human Rights, based on a report from a team of UN observers in the war-torn western region. "Women and girls are afraid to leave the camps... there is widespread impunity because the police refuse to register complaints by IDPs (internally displaced persons)," he told reporters on Friday. In their November report, the 16 observers also reported attempts by the Sudanese government to forcibly relocate civilians who have sought shelter from the fighting in camps in South Darfur, notably in Al Ger and Otash. Diaz said that the observers had brought all known cases of abuse to the attention of the authorities, to little effect. Concerning the forced displacement of civilians, Diaz said that UN staff were often powerless to act because the relocations were "undertaken by police and law enforcement officials". The spokesman also said the UN had been informed of cases of abduction of civilians by the Sudan Liberation Movement, one of two Darfur rebel movements that rose up against the Khartoum government early last year. "The situation is very complex and continues to deteriorate," he concluded. Hostilities have flared in Darfur in recent weeks, with the government and rebels both refusing to take responsibility for violations of a ceasefire that was signed in April 2004. The Darfur conflict erupted in February 2003, when rebels rose up to demand an end to the marginalisation of their region by Khartoum as well as a bigger share of Sudan's riches. Khartoum, aided by a proxy Arab militia, the Janjaweed, cracked down on the rebels and their perceived supporters, creating what the UN has described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis. More than 70,000 people have been killed or have died from hunger and disease in the area, according to the UN, and another 1.5 million have been displaced.

washingtonpost.com 3 Dec 2004 Darfurians Could Lose Land They Fled Obscure Law, if Applied, Would Let Sudan Seize Acreage Abandoned for a Year By Emily Wax Washington Post Foreign Service Friday, December 3, 2004; Page A16 NYALA, Sudan -- The name "Darfur" comes from the Arabic word "dar," meaning home, and "Fur," the largest African tribe in this war-ravaged region. But more than a million Darfurians, driven from their ancestral homelands by government-backed Arab militias, could lose their land if authorities invoke a little-known law that allows the government to take over land abandoned for one year, relief officials and human rights groups said. For centuries, Darfur residents have been allowed to own and distribute their land according to tribal customs. The rest of Sudan, however, is governed by the 1984 Sudan land tenure law. If imposed on Darfur, it would have dire implications for 1.7 million displaced inhabitants now living in squalid camps in Sudan or neighboring Chad. As tens of thousands of Darfurians approach the anniversary of fleeing their villages, there is growing suspicion among U.N. observers and international human rights groups that the Sudanese government plans to use the obscure law to keep the displaced -- mostly African farmers -- from reclaiming their land. With government and rebel attacks continuing in the countryside, many families in the refugee camps are still afraid to go home. Most are unaware of the law, which states that after one year their land can be immediately taken over by new owners, who could legally claim the property in court after living on it for 10 consecutive years. In recent weeks, tense conversations have been held between the government and U.N. and relief officials, who say they fear the outcome of land seizures could be tragic. International organizations said they would negotiate to have the law suspended. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has called for a forum on the issue, saying that if the law is applied and the international community does not pressure the government to suspend it, the result could be an endless cycle of anger and bloodshed in Darfur, where land is the primary form of wealth. "There has to be a lot of pressure . . . to send a clear message: Don't do this," said Tony Hall, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. World Food Program, who visited Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, last week. "The effects of this could be horrendous. Even if you get the displaced to go home, they would not own their land anymore. They might have to rent it or be forever homeless. I think we would then see a conflict and death toll that would be horrifying." The law cuts to the heart of the conflict in the rugged farm region of Darfur, where increasingly long droughts and the gradual advance of the Sahara Desert over the last two decades -- at six miles a year -- have sent Arab herders south onto largely African tribal land. There have been periodic clashes over land, including a three-year war in the 1990s when the governor in Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, decided to give some land to a group of Arabs. The land belonged to the African Masalit tribe, and the results were violent: 312 Masalits and 220 Arabs dead; 606 Masalit huts and 902 Arab huts burned. As this type of tension continued to grow, farmers, students and political activists from three of Darfur's African tribes started a rebellion in February 2003 against the government, complaining that the Arab ruling elite had failed to develop the area. Arab nomads, called on by the government to help put down the rebellion, responded by burning farms and villages, looting livestock, destroying wells and pillaging stored grain. The government also bombed villages, leaving roofless huts and huge craters along Darfur's shattered landscape. The Bush administration has termed the atrocities genocide, but the Sudanese government insists they are the result of civil war started by rebels. Analysts said official efforts to move populations, part of a plan to solidify power and control resources, have been going on for decades. "Moving people off of land is part of a long pattern on the part of the government of Sudan," said John Prendergast of the nonprofit International Crisis Group. "Let's not forget history. In the south, 2 million people have died due to war -- 30 times as many as have perished in Darfur." In the 1980s, the government forcibly moved the Dinka population from the Bahr al-Ghazal area of southwest Sudan, where slave raiding, mass displacement and bombings became the norm, he said. In the early 1990s, government-backed militias burned huts and seized fertile land in the central Nuba Mountains region. Later in the decade, longtime residents of the Upper Nile oil fields were trucked off their land when the government wanted to start drilling for oil, human rights groups have reported. Now, international observers say, the same thing could easily happen in Darfur. So far, government officials have made varying comments on the land abandonment law, with some saying they have the full right to use it and others saying they are open to suspending it. Hussain Ibrahim Karshoum, a lawyer who directs the government Humanitarian Affairs Commission overseeing refugee camps in South Darfur, said the longer displaced families remain in the camps, the "more complicated" their land situation may become. "It's true, this law is there and we could use it," he said. "But Sudanese law is very flexible. It adopts to the customs of the people. I am going to suggest that in Darfur we make a special enactment to suspend this law. Otherwise, yes, it's true, we will have big problems in Darfur." The Sudanese interior minister, Maj. Gen. Abdul-Rahim Mohammed Hussein, also said that the government had the right to apply the law but that it could also be ignored. "We have the right, but it might cause too much damage," he said in an interview in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital. "We think the people should go back to their homes and they should get their land back." Even so, Darfur is a vast area -- about the size of France -- where local authorities with their own agenda may determine land policies. "In the Darfur context, this law is a huge, dangerous problem," said Ghazi Suleiman, a human rights lawyer and leading opposition figure in Sudan. "And it's not even public knowledge yet. It will be something to watch." Noureen Mohamed Yusif, another lawyer in Nyala, said that if the law was not suspended, "there will be fighting. There will be killing." A scholarly man in a nearly pressed suit, Yusif said he had been arrested twice and imprisoned for two months after discussing the law with concerned tribal leaders. But he said he was determined to inform displaced families about the law and the risks it could represent. On a recent afternoon, he met with another group of camp leaders and explained the legal situation to them. "This can't be," said Mustafa Adam Moussa, 46, whose family had lived on their land for three generations before being driven off in October by a militia attack. "They can't do this to us." "They can," Yusif whispered. "And they might."

Knight Ridder Foreign Service 5 Dec 2004 African Union's hands tied in Darfur- Small force of peacekeepers has minimal impact BY SUDARSAN RAGHAVAN TAWILLA, Sudan — The war in Sudan's Darfur region is the kind of conflict the African Union was intended to resolve when its 53 member countries created it two years ago. Yet recent fighting has revealed the group's limitations. A multinational peacekeeping force, drawn from among African Union members, is headquartered at El Fasher, 40 miles from Tawilla. Another 200 African Union troops are based at Kebkabiya, no more than 30 minutes away by helicopter. But no peacekeeping troops were dispatched when fighting broke out in Tawilla between black African rebels and the Arab militia known as the Janjaweed. The first African Union troops came to Tawilla five days after the fighting, on a fact-finding mission. They stayed one night. "We're not authorized to intervene to stop the fighting," said Jean Baptiste Natama, the African Union's senior political officer. "What happened in Tawilla is because we don't have the mandate." On paper, the African Union has the power to intervene in the nations that belong to it — most in Africa do — in cases of genocide, war crimes or gross human-rights violations. Darfur is the African Union's first real test as to whether it can act on this power. "If we succeed, it means that the international community will take us seriously. They'll say at last the Africans can solve their own problems," Natama said. "If we fail, we'll take a long time to recover our credibility." On the plus side, the African Union sent troops to Sudan when no Western nation or group of nations would. It's opened a dialogue between the rebels and government in Darfur. It's brokered prisoners' release and eased access to war-afflicted areas. It may have saved men's lives. The government released 11 prisoners it alleged were rebels into the African Union's custody in El Fasher. The men, who said they were workers returning from Libya, not rebels, had been held for six days and beaten with rubber tubes and camel whips. Two showed recent scars that crisscrossed their backs. "We would still be beaten and humiliated if the AU wasn't here," said one of the men, Tinal Mahmoud, 44. Yet the force is struggling to end the 22-month-old war, which many observers worry is pushing Darfur toward anarchy. Despite the presence of peacekeepers and a cease-fire agreement, both sides continue to attack. The violence is choking the flow of humanitarian aid, endangering an already fragile and frightened population. One problem is the force's size. There are only 800 soldiers to cover a region the size of France and not enough military vehicles or helicopters. The force is expected to grow to 3,320 by February, but even then it will be woefully small. For comparison, 15,000 U.N. peacekeepers patrol the much smaller, once equally chaotic, country of Liberia in West Africa. "It depends on what mission you want to perform," said Col. George Davoine, the vice chairman of the African Union force. "If it's peacekeeping or peace enforcement, it's not enough." Sudan's government is adamant about not wanting more peacekeepers. But the African Union, in theory, has the power to override concerns of national sovereignty. "If the situation continues we have no choice but to change the mandate," Natama said. "If we don't change it, we have to pack our bags and go home. "We have to be able to bring peace — or impose peace," he said,

NYT December 5, 2004 Leader of Darfur Rebels Resorts to Damage Control By SOMINI SENGUPTA THABIT, Sudan, Dec. 1 - Not long ago, Abdou Ismail, a wiry, tough-talking original member of the rebel group that calls itself the Sudan Liberation Army, was the field commander in charge of this vast valley at the strategic gates of the state capital. Today, he is the rebels' highest-ranking emissary to the African Union Cease-Fire Commission in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur State. He is no longer charged with organizing stealth attacks on government posts across Darfur. His job has become a more delicate one. He is now responsible for explaining, justifying and mopping up the damage done by his fighters in the field. These days, much damage control is needed. Mr. Ismail's group, known here as the S.L.A. and believed to be the largest of the three Darfur insurgent groups, has lately come under criticism for its belligerence on the ground: kidnappings, hit-and-run attacks on soft targets like Sudanese police stations and demands placed on relief workers trying to deliver aid to rebel-held territory. Last week orders came from the rebel camp here for one of the most brazen attacks on Tawila, a nearby government-held town. After nearly 30 police officers were killed in an early morning raid, the government in Khartoum responded swiftly with an airstrike on Tawila, then bombed Thabit, a once bustling market town, to ashes. An incinerated donkey lay among the ruins. To the dismay of rebel leaders, officials from the United Nations and African Union squarely blamed the rebels for breaking a cease-fire with their strike on Tawila. The government, long opposed to any foreign military intervention, coyly suggested that more African Union troops were needed to rein in the insurgents. On this scorching afternoon, as scores of scruffy, yellow-turbaned rebels emerged from the sand, Mr. Ismail, 33, seized upon the presence of the foreign news media to buff his group's reputation. Yes, he acknowledged, the local commander here had ordered the Tawila strike, but only because pro-government militias had harassed local civilians. Yes, kidnappings had been reported, but no more would occur, he said. No more attacks on civilians either, and his field commanders had been ordered not to put up roadblocks against aid workers, he said. As if to drive home the point, his men here presented to the African Union monitors a man whom they accused of a roadside robbery in the name of the rebels. It was not the first time, African Union officials said, that bandits had identified themselves as rebels. On this morning, the robbery suspect, wearing a stained white robe and missing a few front teeth, quietly admitted to the crime but said he had nothing to do with the S.L.A. Mr. Ismail was keen to drive that point home. "I want to tell the international community, all those bandit groups, they don't have any relation to the S.L.A," he said. "We are a movement. We are fighting for our people." Mr. Ismail represents a question that has perplexed outside observers and mediators: just what does his movement want politically and how does it intend to reach its objective through its gunmen? The recent reports of bad behavior by the S.L.A. and confusion over its motivations threaten to complicate peace talks for an insurgency that has enjoyed tacit sympathy from abroad, thanks to the scorched earth policies of its enemy government in Khartoum. "They had a lot of sympathy in the international community," Jan Pronk, the United Nations secretary general's top envoy for Sudan, said in an interview after two surprise attacks by the rebels, one in Tawila, another on a police post in a refugee camp farther south. "They're losing it at the moment." Mr. Pronk described the rebel organization as "loose, differentiated, internally divided." It remains unclear whether the recent attacks were coordinated and ordered from on high to gain political leverage at peace talks next week in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, or whether they reflected the zeal of local commanders operating on their own. Nearly two years after the insurgency began, its political demands remain vague - beyond claims for a greater share of Sudan's economic and political spoils. Moreover, splits are inevitable with its cousin rebel factions - the Justice and Equality Movement, with its Islamist bent, and the National Movement for Reform and Democracy, a new breakaway faction whose ideological motivations remain murky. But the differences among the groups have yet to emerge clearly. The government has been threatened with stiff penalties for its part in the Darfur conflict - namely, economic penalties dangled by the United Nations Security Council. A United Nations Commission of Inquiry is looking into whether the violence in western Sudan constitutes genocide, and there has been continuing criticism of human rights violations against civilians in Darfur. But the options available to the rest of the world to punish an insurrection are far more limited. The S.L.A. has been accused of stalling at the last round of African Union-mediated peace talks in Abuja. Despite promises, it has yet to disclose the location of its fighters, on security grounds. Privately, some aid workers and diplomats accuse the S.L.A. of sowing the seeds of further conflict by acts of provocation. For instance, the rebel group has blocked the seasonal migration routes of a large and powerful nomadic Arab tribe just south of here. To date, the leaders of the tribe have remained neutral in the Darfur conflict, but blocking the movement of their animals and thus threatening their livelihood and their way of life could be disastrous. "You're broadening the conflict base," said one Western diplomat. "The S.L.A. knows what they are doing." Another school of thought suggests that the rebel commanders at the top have no clue what their commanders are doing across the region. "There's an obvious disconnect," said another senior Western diplomat. "This is not a modern military." Mr. Ismail denies that charge. "If we want to attack all towns in one day, we will do that," he said. As for Tawila, Mr. Ismail said his local commander acted on his authority to order the strike. "The leader of a battalion can take a decision," he said. "Afterward he will tell me and I will say, 'Good.' In this case I said, 'Stop and leave this place.' I gave him three hours." He ticked off his instructions: "Withdraw from Tawila, not to attack government of Sudan positions unless they attack. I don't like to hear they capture any civilian trucks. Free movement to international N.G.O.'s," nongovernmental organizations delivering aid. Mr. Ismail was eager to show journalists in Thabit an inventory of government misdeeds. Bombings by the government Antonov warplanes had left seven craters. Four civilians were killed and 17 others hurt. As for the rebel assault on Tawila two days before, the gunmen here said it was justified retaliation for pro-government Arab militia attacks. "I didn't need permission from my superiors because we are defending civilians," the local commander, Ahmed Mur Abdallah, declared. "The government started it first. I did it because of the civilians. I know what I'm doing."

washingtonpost.com 6 Dec 2004 Sudan Calls for Normalized U.S. Ties By Emily Wax Washington Post Foreign Service Monday, December 6, 2004; Page A13 KHARTOUM, Sudan, Dec. 5 -- Sudanese officials said they expected relations with the United States to normalize by the end of the month when they sign a U.S.-backed peace agreement with rebels in the southern part of the country to end 21 years of war. In interviews last week, officials said a separate conflict in the western region of Darfur would not impede progress on improving ties. They emphasized commitments made two years ago by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, who said that after a peace agreement was reached and the government had met other conditions, "a road map" would be designed to move toward lifting economic sanctions and removing Sudan from a list of countries accused of supporting terrorism. Sudan's foreign minister, Mustafa Osman Ismail, said President Bush "is keen on achieving peace and stability in Sudan and normalizing relations between the two countries." He added that he did not think Powell's resignation would set back changes, because "the State Department is fully expected to implement" Bush's policy "and to work in harmony with him." The war in Darfur broke out in February 2003 when two African rebel groups attacked police stations and military outposts to protest what they called regional discrimination by the mostly Arab elite controlling the government. The government responded by arming and supporting a militia, called the Janjaweed, to crush the rebellion, and by bombing villages where they said rebel supporters where hiding, human rights groups and the United Nations have said. The conflict has driven 1.7 million Africans from their homes and left 70,000 people dead, the groups say. The United States has said atrocities in Darfur amounted to genocide. The Sudanese government has said what has happened is simply a war. State Minister Ahmed Haroon said the government was committed to a cease-fire with the Darfur rebels, but he accused them of killing 98 civilians and carrying out dozens of attacks in the eight months since the agreement was signed. Energy and Mining Minister Awad Ahmed Jaz said in a rare interview that the crisis would sort itself out, and he invited U.S. oil companies to Sudan to explore possibilities. "Americans can come," he said. "The business is moving very fast and they are welcome. Bring your expertise and your money and come when you drop your sanctions." Jaz said China and Malaysia were doing oil business with Sudan, and that China "stays out of politics." U.S. officials have said that while normalization was still "on the table," the Darfur crisis has made relations far more complicated. Cease-fire violations by rebels and the government have continued in recent weeks. "Instead of sliding gloriously into the front door of peace, Sudan is backing in with Darfur still on fire," a senior State Department official said on condition of anonymity because he has not spoken to Sudanese officials about normalizing relations. "They will have to show us some goodwill on Darfur."

BBC 8 Dec 2004 'No progress' on Darfur disaster The UN has called Darfur the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe The international community is "getting nowhere" with the crisis in the western Sudanese region of Darfur, the US says. All parties are "complicit in the disaster", US ambassador to the UN John Danforth told journalists. He was speaking following a sobering briefing to the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Darfur. About 70,000 people have been killed and more than two million made homeless as a result of violence between rebels and pro-government militias. The latest report on Darfur, by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, speaks of a "continued breakdown in law and order" with looting and abductions. [The two sides] sign agreements which apparently mean nothing at all John Danforth US ambassador to the UN Some 22% of children under five in the region are malnourished, it said. Commenting on the document, Mr Danforth said: "We're getting nowhere with respect to Darfur. We've tried everything." He added: "The rebels and the government and the militia - all sides - are complicit in the disaster. "They sign agreements which apparently mean nothing at all." The civil war began in early 2003, when rebel groups accusing Khartoum of neglecting the region began attacking government targets. Q&A: Darfur crisis The government responded by mobilising Arab militias, which have been accused of widespread atrocities. The two sides have been engaged in peace talks, which led to a ceasefire agreement last month. Observers say it is not being respected. However on Tuesday, Sudanese Minister for Humanitarian Affairs Mohamed Yusif Abdallah said he expected a peace deal for the region within two months. The UN Security Council has already passed two resolutions urging the government to disarm Arab militias. But aid agencies and human rights groups say they have failed to calm the violence.

IRIN 8 Dec 2004 Security Council concerned over Darfur [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] NAIROBI, 8 Dec 2004 (IRIN) - The UN Security Council expressed deep concern on Tuesday over the recent escalation of violence in the western Sudanese region of Darfur and called on all parties to the conflict to stop renewed clashes. "The members call on all parties to cease all acts of violence and implement provisions of Security Council resolutions," the Council President for December, Algerian Ambassador Abdallah Baali, said in a press statement. The call followed a briefing by the UN under-secretary-general for political affairs, Kieran Prendergast, who said the humanitarian situation in Darfur was "dire". He said the number of people affected by the conflict had risen to almost 2.3 million – more than a third of the total population since the November. Prendergast said November had been characterised by violence and a marked deterioration in the security situation. The percentage of vulnerable people who could be reached, for example, fell from about 90 to 80 percent due to increased insecurity and the onset of the rainy season. In North Darfur, where tens of thousands were cut off from relief aid, the percentage fell to 67 percent. "The SLA [the rebel Sudan Liberation Army] is thought to be responsible for instigating much of the violence, although it has denied this," Prendergast said. Aerial bombings by the government in retaliation, if confirmed, would also be in breach of the humanitarian and security protocols signed by all warring parties in Abuja, Nigeria, on 9 November, Prendergast noted. He added that the Sudanese foreign ministry had continued to deny the reports of aerial bombings, despite the African Union (AU) saying it had evidence to that effect. He said increased activity by Janjawid and other pro-government militias threatened to plunge Darfur into chaos. "The militias have become a destabilising factor, posing a dilemma for existing mechanisms intended to deal with ceasefire violations," Prendergast said. "They are not included in any of the political negotiations, nor are they signatories to the ceasefire agreement. "The international community must send an unequivocal message to all Sudanese parties that violence and hostile military actions are not an acceptable means to achieve political gains," he added. "Regrettably, the government has made no progress in disarming the Janjawid." Prendergast added that the AU Ceasefire Commission had confirmed it had not been invited, so far, to verify any disarmament activities by the government. He praised the efforts of the AU and called upon the international community to provide all the necessary support to enable the AU to increase its capacity in Darfur; so far consisting of only 800 troops and just over 100 military observers for its monitoring and mediating tasks. The war in Darfur is between Sudanese government troops and militias allegedly allied to the government, and rebels fighting to end what they have called marginalisation and discrimination of the region's inhabitants by the state. The conflict has displaced an estimated 1.45 million people and sent another 200,000 fleeing across the border into Chad.

washingtonpost.com 9 Dec 2004 Editorial: Inaction's Consequence Thursday, December 9, 2004; Page A32 LAST MONTH the United States and its allies signaled a change in Sudan policy. Rather than pressuring Sudan's government to halt its genocidal attacks against civilians in the western province of Darfur, they switched to pushing for a peace deal between the government and southern rebels. This change in priorities was a mistake. Although the north-south war has killed an estimated 2 million people over the past two decades, it is now in abeyance; by contrast, Darfur's conflict, pitting the government against three semi-organized rebel factions, is fueling malnutrition, disease and violence that are claiming thousands of lives each month. By emphasizing north-south talks, the United States risked sending a signal that the genocide in Darfur might be tolerated. Sure enough, the violence in Darfur has worsened. According to the latest U.N. assessment, government attacks on civilians continue; the number of people affected by the conflict has risen to about 2.3 million; Western aid workers are being blocked from helping civilians, and the head of Oxfam International's Sudan operations was recently kicked out of the country. On Sunday Sudan's foreign minister brazenly declared that his government was not conducting aerial attacks on civilians, despite evidence to the contrary collected by African Union monitors. The foreign minister also told The Post's Emily Wax that he looked forward to U.S. sanctions being lifted once the north-south deal was completed, as though the atrocities in Darfur would pose no obstacle. The State Department hastened to respond that Darfur's crisis must be "addressed" before relations can be normalized. But it's not clear what this means, if anything, since the international community's pronouncements on Darfur are increasingly prone to criticizing rebel violence as well as official aggression. Darfur's rebels have indeed carried out attacks, perhaps in the hope of provoking government retaliation and, hence, outside intervention. But however bad the rebel violence, it pales next to the government's policy of systematically destroying ethnic African villages, then impeding humanitarian access to displaced civilians so that they die by the thousands. The moral equivalence of some official statements is counterproductive. By blurring the question of responsibility, it encourages the government in its calculation that genocide will go unpunished. If the Bush administration really does want Darfur's crisis to be "addressed," it needs to upset that calculation. It could revert to its earlier strategy of pressing for U.N. sanctions on Darfur, which would require a willingness that's so far been lacking to go to the mat with opponents such as China. Or it could push for a much-expanded foreign troop presence, building on the African Union force of some 3,000 that is being deployed. Neither course would be easy. But the alternative to difficult action is to live with the consequences of inaction. On the best estimates available, about a third of a million people have died so far in Darfur, and unless the violence can be brought under control soon, there will be no spring planting next year and no fall harvest. More than 2 million people will continue to depend on Western food aid, and the lands of the displaced people may be taken by the perpetrators of the genocide. Thousands of dispossessed and desperate victims will sign up to join the rebels, perpetuating the cycle of violence and starvation.

Agence France-Presse 9 Dec 2004 Sudan welcomes US aid for Darfur, slams call for sanctions KHARTOUM, Dec 9 (AFP) - Sudan welcomed Thursday US congressional approval of 200 million dollars in aid for the war-torn Darfur region, but criticised an accompanying resolution imposing sanctions on the country. "There is a certain group within the US Congress that incites hostility against Sudan and seeks to strain bilateral ties between the two countries, and that group is behind the call for sanctions," Foreign Minister Mustafa Osmal Ismail said at a press conference, without giving names. "We welcome this humanitarian assistance... but we do not want this assistance to be used to serve a political agenda. We are aware that Congress has for long been exploiting the Darfur question politically." On Tuesday, the US Senate approved a bill providing the aid, while punishing the government for failing to stop atrocities in the western Darfur region, where an estimated 70,000 people have been killed in almost two years of fighting. The "Comprehensive Peace in Sudan Act of 2004" aims to respond to the US allegations of genocide in Darfur, providing support for the deployment of additional African Union forces to the region. It also sanctions the Sudanese government for its continued failure to intervene to stop the atrocities in Darfur, imposing an asset freeze on senior officials and calling on President George W. Bush to impose a travel ban on them. Ismail said that not a single Sudanese government official or politician has any assets in American banks and defied the Congressmen to prove otherwise. "I challenge the Congress or any other institution to prove that any senior government or ruling party official has a single dollar in any US bank," he said. He said the travel ban is already in effect, as entry visas are now denied except to him and officials traveling to participate in meetings of international bodies, like the World Bank and the United Nations. "If they want to impose the ban on the excepted officials, we are going to reciprocate and will see which side will be harmed," Ismail warned at the press conference, in which a delegation of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries took part. Black Sudanese rebels rose up in Darfur, a vast western area the size of France, in February 2003. The rebellion was put down by the Arab-led government with the help of Arab militias known as Janjaweed which have been blamed for a campaign of ethnic cleansing including murder, rape and pillage. An estimated 70,000 people have died, many of hunger and disease, and another 1.5 million people are believed to have been driven from their homes. On Tuesday, Washington said the international community was "getting nowhere" in easing the crisis in Darfur, as the United Nations warned the troubled Sudan region was headed into chaos. The UN Security Council was briefed on a report by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, which said the Sudan government had "made no progress" in disarming Darfur militias behind the violence. US Ambassador John Danforth, who last month led a council mission to Africa on Sudan, said: "We're getting nowhere with respect to Darfur. We've tried everything. We've tried the carrot approach, we've tried the stick approach and we're getting nowhere."

Reuters 10 Dec 2004 Khartoum, Darfur Rebels Split on Peace Chances By REUTERS Published: December 10, 2004 Filed at 4:06 a.m. ET KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan's government said on Thursday it hoped to reach a deal in talks resuming Friday with rebels in Darfur, which the United Nations says is descending into chaos. Rebels said they would attend the talks in the Nigerian capital Abuja but accused Khartoum of launching fresh attacks in the Darfur region in western Sudan. Advertisement ``This is not a serious round of talks. The government is mobilizing its troops and directly attacking,'' said Khalil Ibrahim, president of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). The Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), the other main Darfur rebel group, has also accused the government of increasing attacks in Darfur ahead of the talks. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said this week Darfur was in chaos, plagued by banditry, rape and village burnings with 2.3 million people in desperate need of aid. The United States said international efforts had failed to stop the violence. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Danforth said on Tuesday all sides were to blame for the crisis. And Thursday, chief U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said the African Union and the U.N. mission in Khartoum had reported renewed fighting between the government and rebels in Darfur. Majzoub al-Khalifa, head of Sudan's delegation to the African Union-sponsored talks in Abuja, said there was ``a lot of common ground for agreement.'' ``We are very much hoping to come to a final peace agreement in this round,'' he told reporters in Khartoum. Khalifa said the government would do its best to reach an agreement ``before the end of this year so that peace in Sudan will be finalized by January in all parts of Sudan.'' Khartoum and rebels from southern Sudan promised the U.N. Security Council last month they would reach a deal to end a separate 21-year-old civil war by Dec. 31. Analysts say the Darfur crisis has slowed progress toward a southern peace deal. Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said the government would also hold talks with a third group from Darfur, the National Movement for Reform and Development (NMRD). The discussions with the group, which had no part in previous talks, would take place in the next few days and cover security and humanitarian issues, he said. Khalifa, head of the government delegation, did not rule out the third group joining the Abuja discussions. But JEM said the NMRD was not a rebel movement, simply a group of outlaws armed by Chad, and it would not accept them as negotiating partners in Abuja. PROTECTING CIVILIANS The Darfur talks in Abuja adjourned in November, when the sides signed agreements on security and humanitarian issues. African Union (AU) monitors have been deployed in Darfur to monitor an April cease-fire between the rebels and the government which both sides accuse the other of breaking. Ibrahim said JEM was losing faith in AU sponsorship of Darfur peace efforts. ``Unless the AU can stop the war on the ground, we will pull out of the peace talks,'' he said. New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a letter to Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, whose country heads the AU, the organization must speed its troop deployment in Darfur and seek to expand its mandate to protect civilians. The AU has pledged 3,300 monitors to Darfur but has only about 900 on the ground. The World Food Program said Thursday it had delivered food to almost 1.3 million people in November, more than in the previous month. It estimated that up to 2.5 million people in Darfur could be in need of food aid in 2005. An estimated 1.6 million Darfuris have fled their homes since February 2003 for fear of attack by Arab militia mobilized by the government as auxiliaries in a campaign to crush a rebellion. Khartoum says the attacks on Darfuris were carried out by ``outlaws'' and it is not responsible for their actions. Washington has called the campaign genocide. The Darfur rebels took up arms in early 2003 in protest at what they said was Khartoum's marginalisation of the region.


Hirondelle News Agency (Lausanne) 25 Nov 2004 International Tribunal Facing Teething Problems - ICC Prosecutor Arusha The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno Ocampo from Argentina, has outlined the challenges faced by the court since beginning its work in July 2003. Moreno was giving the keynote speech during a Prosecutors' colloquium, which opened Thursday at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). He said that the key lay in trying to reconcile both the Civil law and Common law systems to build an international justice system. "We have to learn to be independent and interdependent at the same time", said Moreno, pointing out the difficulties in applying international law to the 97 countries who have ratified the creation of the court. He continued that the court was "trying to test ideas" and had learnt a lot from the ICTR in its investigative and prosecuting methods and exhorted the international community to play its part. "Not arresting criminals is the failure of the international community and not of the tribunals", he said, adding that it was a duty of the international community to investigate crimes and arrest perpetrators. He praised the Rwanda's traditional-based legal system, Gacaca, which was put in place to try hundreds of thousands of suspects languishing in its jails. He referred to Gacaca as "community plea bargaining". On his part, the Prosecutor of the ICTR, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, said international justice should serve to reassure victims of human rights violations. "Can we legitimately implore victims and survivors to be patient and exercise restraint if we are unable to or unwilling to deliver justice to assuage their wounds?" Jallow asked participants of the meeting. He called on them to "be bold and courageous" in identifying their shortcomings and "continued to strive for greater efficiency and expedition in the delivery of justice. Apart from the ICTR and the ICC, the three-day colloquium also brought together prosecutors from other international criminal courts: The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

IRIN 29 Nov 2004 International criminal prosecutors form joint task force [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] ARUSHA, 29 Nov 2004 (IRIN) - Prosecutors of international criminal courts agreed to form a joint task force to exchange information and develop strategies to investigate and prosecute crimes that fall within their respective jurisdictions, an official said on Saturday. "The task force will help to improve and make efficient the work of the prosecutors," Hassan Jallow, the prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), said. He was speaking at a news conference in Arusha, northern Tanzania, at the end of a three-day colloquium. The prosecutors of the International Criminal Court for former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) and International Criminal Court (ICC) also attended. Participants exchanged views on strategies for conducting investigations, protecting witnesses and enforcing sentences. They discussed the particular problems they face in bringing to justice the perpetrators of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in their various jurisdictions. In a joint statement issued at the end of the colloquium, they called on international as well as national authorities to help them in arresting and transferring indicted fugitives. Suspects the ICTY would like to find include Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic and Ante Gotovina. The ICTR’s list includes Felicien Kabuga while Charles Taylor is on the SCSL’s. The prosecutors said the ultimate success of these tribunals depended on the continued political support of the international community. They also acknowledged the role of national jurisdictions, saying that international institutions should only step in where national judiciaries lack the necessary strength or impartiality. They said combined national and international efforts would guarantee impartial justice. The colloquium coincided with the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the ICTR, following the 1994 genocide. The prosecutors agreed to meet in Sierra Leone in six months to evaluate progress in their work.

FT.com 1 Dec 2004 UN panel seeks more use of international court By Mark Turner at the United Nations Published: December 1 2004 02:00 | Last updated: December 1 2004 02:00 All countries should sign and ratify the statute of the International Criminal Court, a high-level United Nations panel will demand later this week, and the UN Security Council should be far more ready to refer wrongdoers to international criminal justice. The call is one of many recommendations by 16 veteran politicians and diplomats on how to meet the greatest threats of the 21st century, including nuclear proliferation. Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, hopes the panel's report will galvanise debate on reforming the 59-year-old United Nations ahead of a summit of world leaders next year. But the advice on the court is likely to infuriate the US, which has opposed it both through the UN and through bilateral agreements. Washington's support is seen as crucial to the success of any UN reform. Making better use of the recently established court is crucial to ensuring the better protection of civilians, according to the panel, which includes Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser under George H.W. Bush but has rocky relations with his son's administration. "In the area of legal mechanisms, there have been few more important recent developments than the Rome statute creating the International Criminal Court," the panel says. "In cases of mounting conflict, early indication by the Security Council that it is willing to use its powers under the Rome statute might deter parties from the gravest violations of the laws of war," it says. "The Security Council should stand ready to refer cases to the International Criminal Court." The only cases formally under investigation by the court have been referred by state parties rather than the Security Council. But the US has consistently resisted any mention of the court in council resolutions. Most recently, the US was reported earlier this week to have blocked a UN statement supporting an investigation into a massacre in Burundi because of fears that it contained a hidden reference to the international criminal court. Supporters of the court warn that Washington is currently pushing through legislation, within its omnibus appropriations bill, that threatens a cut-off in economic aid to countries that do not sign up to a bilateral agreement guaranteeing immunity for US citizens. The US had previously threatened only to withhold military aid, but the new measure would prohibit assistance under a $2.5bn (€1.9bn, £1.3bn) economic support fund (ESF). According to the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, an umbrella group of non-governmental organisations supporting the institution, the measure would cancel $8.5m aimed at promoting peace in Northern Ireland as well as $250m for "healthcare, education, and governance reforms" in Jordan. Cyprus would lose $13.5m to help its peace process. Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela and South Africa could also be affected.


The Monitor (Kampala) NEWS 28 Nov 2004 Army Accused of Torture By Jude Luggya Kampala The UPDF has been cited among groups that are increasingly violating the rights of women and children in war torn northern Uganda. Members of the Women's Initiative For Gender Justice (WIGJ), an independent international women's NGO that monitors the International Criminal Court (ICC) activities from a gender perspective, revealed this to MPs from the region at Parliament on Friday. The Netherlands based women's human rights group, together with the local based women's organisation, ISIS-WICCE have for the past seven days assessed the impact of the conflict in Gulu, Kitgum, Lira and Soroti districts. "It is clear that while the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) commits most of the violations and crimes, the team also heard testimonies of similar violations and crimes by the Uganda's army, the UPDF, and by Karimojong raiders," Brigid Inder, the Executive Director of Women's Initiative for Gender Justice said. "People living in camps continue to live in fear of attacks from the LRA or Karimojong or random attacks by UPDF," she said. Efforts by this reporter to get comments from army spokesman Maj. Shaban Bantariza and one of his assistants, Lt. Paddy Ankunda were futile.


IRIN 29 Nov 2004 NGO de-registration stalls aid for 90,000 kids [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] School feeding programmes sometimes provide children with their only meal of the day JOHANNESBURG, 29 Nov 2004 (IRIN) - An international NGO involved in a school feeding programme has had to leave Zimbabwe because the authorities refused to renew its registration and work permits for expatriate staff. International aid agencies and NGOs must register with the government and have their activities vetted and approved. The NGO Medair, which has its headquarters in Switzerland, told IRIN on Monday that it was "disappointed" at having to leave Zimbabwe last week "at such a critical time". Medair communications officer Severine Flores noted that, as a World Food Programme (WFP) implementing partner, Medair provided up to 90,000 children in 150 schools with at least one daily meal. "Very often it was the only meal they would get that day," added Flores. She said they had received no explanation from the authorities - "we were just not desired to be there, regrettably". The NGO had applied for the renewal of work permits for its expatriate staff six months ago, Flores told IRIN, but the applications were refused. The school feeding programme was suspended in August after its registration was not renewed. Medair's desk officer for Zimbabwe, Mark Screeton, said in a statement that the organisation had hoped it would be able to continue the school feeding programme. "But instead, we found ourselves prevented from distributing, and so the food has sat deteriorating in the warehouses since August. It's been so frustrating - not being free to work - and now we leave, knowing the increasing food insecurity that faces those primary school children and their families," Screeton added. Medair has operated in Zimbabwe for two years and its pull-out followed months "in which we had seen our temporary registration to continue our school feeding programmes in Gokwe North [in Midlands province] and Mudzi [in Mashonoland East province] ... expire and not be renewed, despite our best efforts", the organisation said. It noted that "the timing of this decision is all the more significant because of the deteriorating economic and humanitarian situation within the country". Earlier this month the Famine Early Warning System Network "reasserted their prediction that 2.2 million rural households would require food aid before the end of the year". Medair noted reports of "falling school attendances in Mudzi district as parents took their children out of school to work in the fields or find food". A WFP spokesman told IRIN that "unfortunately, the school feeding programme for some 90,000 children is suspended while we look for another implementing partner. We have some food at a number of the schools to last until the end of term, but since there is no implementing partner there are delays at various schools - there's no monitoring going on and no follow-ups. These delays are affecting the children". "Many of these children ... live in traditionally food-deficit areas, as highlighted by the ZimVAC [Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee] report released by the government in October. For many of them this is the only meal that they have," the spokesman added. WFP was "very concerned that this has happened, when we are now in the traditionally lean season [the between-harvest period when food stocks start to run out], when there is less food available for vulnerable households". Despite this, "we are grateful that we are currently reaching 360,000 school children in Zimbabwe", the WFP spokesman said. The aid agency aims to reach some 500,000 school children in January 2005.

ICG 30 Nv 2004 Zimbabwe: Another Election Chance Zimbabwe's crisis remains severe, with widespread human rights abuse and ever harder lives for citizens. The ruling ZANU-PF party uses repression and manipulates food aid unscrupulously for partisan purposes. A small opportunity exists, however, to return the crisis to legitimate political discourse in the next months. African institutions and especially South Africa need to apply pressure on the regime to live up to its commitment to conduct parliamentary elections scheduled for March under Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol principles. Monitoring teams should be in-country by 1 January and work to level the electoral field by pushing for repeal of repressive legislation and establishment of a truly independent electoral commission. Western countries should tone down rhetoric and get behind African efforts. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change should repair divisions and conduct a full campaign. ICG reports and briefing papers are available on our website: www.icg.org

IRIN 30 Nov 2004 Zimbabwe: WFP to expand targeted feeding [This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] JOHANNESBURG, 30 November (IRIN) - The World Food Programme (WFP) confirmed on Tuesday that it plans to expand its support to 1.6 million Zimbabweans during December via its targeted feeding programme. WFP spokeswoman in Zimbabwe, Makena Walker, told IRIN that about 25,000 mt of food aid, left over from its assistance programme last year, would be distributed next month to vulnerable groups, including the chronically ill, child-headed households and the disabled. "At the request of the government we will go ahead and increase the number of people under WFP's targeted assistance programme. It is a necessary move because it coincides with the upcoming lean period, when vulnerability increases among the population," Walker said. Up to 600,000 beneficiaries received WFP aid between October and November. Earlier this year the government decided not to renew an appeal for international food aid and, controversially, cancelled a crop assessment mission by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and WFP, claiming the country would have a bumper harvest. Walker said: "So far there has been no indication from the government that they would like us to continue with general distributions." A report released by the parliamentary portfolio committee on lands and agriculture last month said the government had seriously miscalculated the size of its grain stocks, and noted that despite a predicted maize production of 2.4 million mt, as of 15 October the state-owned commodity buyer, the Grain Marketing Board, had received only 388,558 mt. The GMB told the committee that farmers prefered to hold onto their grain stocks rather than sell them to the board.

www.newzimbabwe.com 6 Dec 2004 'Man who saved Nkomo's life' dies NKOMO Makhathini Guduza: man who saved Nkomo's life MAKHATHINI Guduza, the brave former PF-Zapu central committee member who helped nationalist leader Joshua Nkomo escape death from then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe's security forces in March 1983, has died. Guduza, simply known as the "man who saved Nkomo's life" died in neighbouring South Africa on Tuesday last week. He was 76. His son, Churchill, reached by mobile phone in Johannesburg, South Africa, was too distraught to talk - only saying a statement would be made before the funeral in Zimbabwe whose date is yet to be announced. It is thought Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu PF party's Bulawayo province will move to get Guduza accorded a national hero's status. In his biography, The Story of My Life, Nkomo writes movingly about the final hours before he fled Zimbabwe, and how Guduza was instrumental in helping him dodge the thousands of soldiers sent out by Mugabe to "have me out of the way". Nkomo's account is reproduced below: "Speaking of my party, he (Mugabe) said: 'Zapu and its leader Dr. Joshua Nkomo are like a cobra in the house. The only way to deal effectively with a snake is to strike and destroy its head.' On Saturday 5 March 1983, his men at last moved against me in person. Despite instructions from the police that I should report to them every time I left my house in Bulawayo, I was taking various precautions: that Friday night I had spent with relatives in the eastern suburbs (the former European area of the town, my own home being in the more crowded western district that was formerly reserved for Africans). On Saturday (5 March 1983) morning came the news that the old African townships were cordoned off by the army and the police, while the men of the notorious Fifth Brigade were conducting searches within the cordon. Early in the afternoon we heard that my own house had been searched, that the Fifth Brigade commander had checked that it was indeed my home, and had left. I was furious at this invasion of my home, and I resolved to go there and check it out. My hosts urged me not to go, but, seeing that I was determined, my wife insisted on coming with me. I told my security man to drive off across the deserted town. As we approached the cordon of soldiers and police, he flatly refused to go on, saying that if by any chance he survived what was bound to happen, he would get the blame for exposing me to danger. About 8pm there was a telephone call. There had been shooting at my home, and sporadic fire was continuing in the neighbourhood. My driver and two other members of my household were known to be dead: there might be more casualties, but nobody was certain. The Fifth Brigaders were still asking the neighbours where I was, but those who knew were not saying. Never before had I wished that I were dead, but I wished it then. I wished I had died when Ian Smith's raiders had attacked my house in Lusaka and missed me by an hour. Then I would have died at the hands of the enemies of my people. But now the attempt on my life was being made on the orders of the African government of Zimbabwe, by people claiming to act on behalf of the nation that I had worked for decades to create. It was the bitterest moment of my life. This was sheer unprovoked murder and hooliganism directed at me, but striking at people whose only offence was to have served me loyally. Robert Mugabe had decided to have me out of the way, and he evidently did not care what method was used. But I hold the legitimate government of Zimbabwe innocent of this atrocity. Mugabe was acting not as prime minister, but as leader of his party Zanu. I had once asked him directly: 'What is the supreme organ in Zimbabwe?' he had answered: 'The supreme body in Zimbabwe is the central committee of Zanu (PF) my party. To leave Zimbabwe was the toughest decision I ever had to take. I knew my enemies would say I had run away, and I expected they would invent stupid stories about my flight. That clown, Herbert Ushewokunze, the minister of home affairs, told the newspapers I had 'escaped' disguised as an old woman. People will believe anything if they will believe that. Whoever saw an old woman of my height and my weight, with a clipped moustache and one of the best-known faces in all Africa? And if the police had information about this old lady, why did they not arrest her? Anyway, I did not escape, I decided to leave, and I left. For a year I had lived the life of a hunted animal. I could hide no longer. On the Monday I had been summoned to report to the police: if I reported the killers would follow me from there, and if I did not report I would be called a fugitive suspect, with every soldier and policeman in the country licensed to shoot me out of hand. Those were the arguments for leaving. I resisted them until my wife's words sank in. Then I said, 'Right, I'll do it.' I did it, and surprised even myself. Once the decision was taken, we sent our people out to reconnoitre the roads, first to the south-west and then southwards, towards the Botswana border fence which is, at its nearest, about a hundred kilometres from Bulawayo. All that Sunday the men kept coming back to report that it was impossible to pass. Every few kilometres there were roadblocks and men with guns, soldiers or police or men from the security service and the Fifth Brigade. As commander-in-chief of the Zipra army during the war against the previous regime, I had acquired some knowledge of military tactics and - more important - of the military mind. I knew that every minor road would be blocked. But something told me that they would never expect me to do the simple thing and drive right down the main highway towards the border. That is just what we did. At half-past midnight we set off down the road to Plumtree, beyond which the main road and railway pass on to the Botswana frontier- post. The timing was chosen to pass through Plumtree at 2.30 or 3 am, when soldiers in any army are inclined to take a nap. That was the chance we took, and it worked. I must add that the only people to know of the plan were my wife and the young men who accompanied me. I deliberately left my son and daughter, and her husband, out of it. It was best they did not know, in case of repercussions later. The leader of our group was Makhathini Guduza, a member of the central committee of Zapu. He drove off first in the truck, a half-ton pick-up with a canopy, together with one man. They were unarmed. I rode behind in the station wagon with Jackson Moyo and three other young men: we had two AK rifles and three pistols ready for use. Guduza's vehicle kept about two hundred metres ahead of ours, so that we could clearly see each other's lights. We had arranged a simple set of signals. If he saw something suspicious on the road, he was to stop and keep on all his lights including the brake light. If he then switched everything off, it meant that all was clear, and we were to pull up to him for a discussion. But if he left all his lights on the four passengers in my car were to get out and move clear of the road with our weapons, and our driver was to move cautiously ahead. If it came to fighting, the plan was that one of the boys would stick by me, and the others were to fan out right and left before opening fire, to give the other side the impression that there were a lot of us. Then I as commander was to shout, "Close up!", and on that word of command we would retreat, join up, and try to work our way forward around the obstacle in the direction of the border. We were perfectly ready to shoot if it came to that: I did not like it, but there it was. So we drove out through the former white suburbs to join up with the main road. In Bellevue, just before we picked up the highway, we passed a single car. Between there and Plumtree, a distance of just under 90 km. we met no others. Ten kilometers short of Plumtree we stopped: Guduza went ahead to scout, and I and my three boys took up defensive positions on the roadside. In Plumtree, we knew, there was a government force of about 2 000 men. Guduza came back and reported that they seemed to be there alright, but asleep: there were no police on the road, and the townships were dead quiet. I said, "Let's go." We sandbagged the pick-up, and I got in the back with three guards and the guns. That was how we drove right into Plumtree, turning left at the township as we entered it, and so on southwards on the Mpandeni road. Now it was only 10km to the border. We knew this was the riskiest part, but our headlights showed nothing but the rabbits jumping around. Next we had to find the place where we knew the border fence was unguarded, and this was where we made our first mistake. We turned down the wrong track, and found ourselves at a dead end by a little country school. I took the risk of waking up the teachers, who directed us back towards the highway - and there once again we took a wrong turning, which we realised when the lights of Plumtree once again came up in front of us. As we turned back the sky was starting to brighten in the east, and we knew there was very little time. But at last we identified the corner, drove down the dust track and came to the village we were looking for. A countrywoman, up early fetching water, pointed to the line of trees and the riverbed just beyond them that marked the border. We drove down and turned left at another track, stopped at the bank of the dry Ramakwabane river, and walked across to the two border fences on the Botswana side. I am no lightweight, but the boys pushed and I climbed the fence, and at last we were over in no-man's land, and up again to the Botswana fence. It was exactly twenty past six in the bright morning when I climbed down the wire onto the safety of Botswana soil. From then on it was all welcomes. The chief of the nearest village had been my pupil for a while back in 1939, when he lived on the Zimbabwe side of the border. He greeted me and sent for the local headmaster, who organised transport to take me to Francistown, where the police took over. By 9 pm that night we were safe in Gaborone, the capital, and lodged on the orders of the president of Botswana in a small house. For the past two days I had barely rested. Now the tension was over, and I fell into the unconsciousness of deep sleep."



Reuters 10 Dec 2004 Argentine "dirty war" figure faces genocide trial 10 Dec 2004 19:09:55 GMT Source: Reuters MADRID, Dec 10 (Reuters) - A Spanish court on Friday convened the country's first ever genocide trial for an Argentine "dirty war" figure who faces charges of pushing drugged political prisoners from airplanes into the sea. Court documents set a date of Jan. 14, when former navy captain Adolfo Scilingo will begin answering charges of genocide, torture, murder and terrorism. Scilingo has told High Court Judge Baltasar Garzon that he participated in the notorious flights in the 1970s during military government repression against suspected leftist insurgents, although he later recanted his testimony. Defence lawyers said he was pressured to lie under oath to help build a case against other dirty war figures. Scilingo had come to Spain voluntarily in 1997 to testify about his involvement in the "death flights", telling Reuters in an interview the following year he was repentant. The Spanish court has jurisdiction on the grounds it can prosecute genocide wherever it occurs, because there may have been Spanish victims and because Scilingo has not been brought to trial in Argentina. Garzon has succeeded in bringing Scilingo to trial even though he failed to do the same with former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, arrested in Britain in 1998 on Garzon's orders but never handed over to Spain for medical reasons. Argentine human rights groups estimate 30,000 suspected leftists were killed from 1976 to 1983, when military governments cracked down on a leftist insurgency.


CP 6 Dec 2004 Sombre ceremonies mark 15th anniversary of Montreal massacre Ross Marowits Canadian Press Monday, December 06, 2004 A group of women hold candles as they listen to a memorial ceremony in Montreal. (CP /Ryan Remiorz) A group of women hold candles as they listen to a memorial ceremony in Montreal. (CP /Ryan Remiorz) MPs in the House of Commons pause for a moment of silence.(CP PHOTO/Fred Chartrand) MONTREAL (CP) - A frosty chill reminiscent of conditions 15 years ago greeted Montrealers on Monday as they solemnly gathered to remember 14 women who were gunned down in Canada's worst mass shooting. One by one, the names of the 14 victims were read aloud at around the same time that Marc Lepine began his hate-fuelled rampage at the University of Montreal's Ecole polytechnique engineering school on Dec. 6, 1989. "Dec. 6 is a day of commemoration to make men, women and children - the adults of tomorrow - aware of non-violence," actress Jacinthe Lague told people gathered for a candlelight vigil at a square near the school. "We believe you are the bearers of hope for the thousands of women who live with this violence." Remembered were: Helene Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Maryse Leclair and Annie St-Arneault, all 23; Genevieve Bergeron, Anne-Marie Edward, Michelle Richard and Annie Turcotte, all 21; Barbara Daigneault and Anne-Marie Lemay, both 22; Maryse Laganiere, 25; Sonia Pelletier, 28; Maud Haviernick, 29; and Barbara Maria Klucznik, 31. Maud Haviernick's sister Sylvie said the day is always very emotional but is made easier by the ongoing support of Canadians. "What I'm happy to see is people across the country organizing the events," she said before presiding over the official ceremony that was carried live by several Quebec television networks. The crowd of a couple of hundred left the small memorial park for a torch-lit procession to St. Joseph's Oratory for a concert by a women's vocal ensemble. The National Day of Remembrance began quietly earlier when a bouquet of 14 white roses was placed at a memorial plaque - each flower symbolizing one of the women killed on the cold afternoon 15 years ago. White ribbons, the symbol of the struggle to stop violence against women, were also distributed at the Ecole polytechnique and at some Montreal subway stations. Some observers said mourning has given way to examinations of violence against women. "The last five years you can see that people are thinking about a shift from a personal tragedy to something more universal," said Rose Marie LeBe, president of a status of women's committee at the University of Montreal. LeBe said she didn't know any of the women who died. But the University of Montreal kinesiologist said she witnessed the haunting aftermath in a student who transferred from engineering after being shot in the face. "Her scar was there but her scar was also inside," she said. LeBe also remembered a male student who committed suicide because he couldn't bear that his friend died and that he couldn't do anything to stop it. Gaelle Babin was just nine when the women were gunned down. The 24-year-old student said she tries not to dwell on the tragedy as she pursues her own dream of an engineering career. "For the people who lived it, the memories must be very hard and it's a great tragedy," she said. "But since I was very young, I try not to think too much about it or I would be afraid of coming here or I would be sad and cry." Canadians across the country also paused to mark the event. In Edmonton, custodial workers at the city's public schools distributed 10,000 white ribbons to staff to raise awareness about violence against women. Doug Luellman, president of the local Canadian Union of Public Employees, said members became more concerned about the issue nine years ago when a female custodial assistant, working alone, was violently attacked. "We promised her we would do what we could so that kind of attack doesn't happen to other women," said Luellman. In Halifax, the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women invited people to send in pink-coloured pledge cards indicating what they'd do to help eliminate violence against women. In addition to a minute of silence, a local jazz singer invited people who gathered in the legislature foyer to "get on the train" with those attempting to end violence against women. "Our dreams have magic because we took a stand to have peace in this land," sang Linda Carvery. "Our day it has come, each step we take shows what a difference we make." In Quebec City, Amnesty International and a Quebec women's group presented a petition to the legislature with 121,000 signatures asking the government to launch a vast education campaign denouncing violence against women. The massacre prompted federal politicians to adopt a gun registry program, which is expected to survive an attempt to strike it down in the Commons later this week. Ontario MP Roger Gallaway, a dissident Liberal, wants the program to be stripped of $96 million this fiscal year but sources say the motion will be defeated Thursday. Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan said Monday she is opposed to any attempt to curtail the registry. "We remember in the most tragic and poignant way the challenge we face as a society as it relates to violence against women," she said in Ottawa. "As a society, it is incumbent on us to do everything that we reasonably can to make sure that those kinds of things never happen again. "And an important part of that is effective, efficient gun control in all its aspects, including licensing and registration."

Reuters 8 Dec 2004 Rwandan accused in genocide asks to stay in Canada 08 Dec 2004 21:27:40 GMT Source: Reuters By Randall Palmer OTTAWA, Dec 8 (Reuters) - A Rwandan accused of inciting murder, extermination and genocide pleaded for the right to stay in Canada on Wednesday lest he be killed or tortured if the Supreme Court of Canada sent him back. In a court hearing that played out the drama of the Rwandan conflict of a decade ago, the lawyer for Leon Mugesera said Mugesera, a Hutu, was a man of integrity who had sheltered ethnic Tutsis during the genocide, and who had Tutsis in his extended family. The Canadian government was appealing a lower court decision that said there was not enough evidence that a speech Mugesera made in Rwanda in 1992 was a crime against humanity by inciting Hutus to kill Tutsis. "All the speech was an incitement to hate," federal attorney Michel Denis told reporters. The government describes Mugesera as a war criminal who was complicit in the genocide of 1994, when hundreds of thousands of Tutsis died in massacres, many of them hacked to death with machetes. But Mugesera's lawyer, Guy Bertrand, said the 1992 speech had been mistranslated and misinterpreted. "There was a false picture painted of Mugesera," Bertrand told the court. Wearing a gray business suit, Mugesera sat with his wife, who wore a colorful African dress, and his five children, with mainly Hutu supporters behind him. Across the courtroom aisle were Tutsi Rwandans who have agitated for Canada to deport him. "I find it unbelievable that that speech can be misinterpreted in any way," said one Tutsi, Juliete Karugahe, who said members of her extended family had been slain. "I think it's really sad that he should be living safely in Canada after making such a speech," she told Reuters. Bertrand argued that Mugesera did not urge his people to go out and kill Tutsis. He said the speech was laden with the conditional tense, in which his hearers were urged to action only if attacked or if threatened. In arguments before the court, government lawyer Denis rejected this. "'If you don't leave, you'll be exterminated' -- I don't think it's a reassuring conditional tense," he said in French. Mugesera fled Rwanda for Canada after giving his speech, leaving the African country well before the the start of the 1994 genocide. He says he fears torture or death if deported back home. But David Matas argued on behalf of Jewish groups that Mugesera should go. "It isn't just about Rwanda," he told reporters after the hearing. "It's about whether Canada can be effective in protecting its borders from genocidal killers, criminals against humanity, mass murderers." The court is not likely to make a decision until next year.


BBC 1 Dec 2004 Chile navy admits torture on ship Pinochet was president of Chile from 1974 to 1990 The Chilean navy has acknowledged for the first time that torture took place on one of its training ships shortly after the military coup in 1973. Navy chief Admiral Miguel Angel Vergara said his service was deeply sorry for the abuses on board the Esmeralda. The ship became a symbol for human rights activists, and protestors often targeted it on its trips abroad. Chile recently published its first official report on torture, which found that nearly 30,000 people were abused. Beatings The report includes testimonies from people who said they were tortured in 1973 on the Esmeralda, Reuters news agency reported. "Men and women were taken to the Esmeralda and from the moment of their arrest they were beaten, mistreated and threatened," the report said. "The beatings continued on board," it added. The report said torture victims gave testimony that they also suffered electric shocks, were threatened by fake firing squads and had their heads held under water. After the report was published, Chile's President Ricardo Lagos said he would ask Congress to approve compensations for the victims, including payments of $190 a month. The military police, or Carabineros, said they condemned any of their members who had been involved in human rights violations during the rule of Gen Augusto Pinochet. Last month, the army issued a strong statement, taking full responsibility for abuses for the first time.

BBC 25 Nov 2004 Condor legacy haunts South America By Robert Plummer BBC News Of all the unresolved issues from the dark days of military rule in Latin America, Operation Condor is among the most sinister. Gen Pinochet faces charges in connection with Operation Condor As many as six South American regimes took part in the joint campaign to hunt down and kill their left-wing opponents. Although the conspiracy now dates back nearly 30 years, the consequences continue to cast a shadow over the present-day governments of the region. Former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet and two other ex-leaders are still being pursued by judges on charges related to the operation, as efforts continue to find out exactly who was responsible. Operation Condor was founded in secret and remained a mystery until after democracy had returned to South America. According to documents later discovered in Paraguay, it was established at a military intelligence meeting in Chile on 25 November 1975 - Gen Pinochet's 60th birthday. Delegates from five other countries were there: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay. Following that meeting, the military governments of those nations agreed to co-operate in sending teams into other countries to track, monitor and kill their political opponents. A joint information centre was established at the headquarters of the Chilean secret police, the Dina, in Santiago. Murder plots As a result, many left-wing opponents of military regimes in the region who had fled to neighbouring countries found themselves hunted down in exile. But this transnational pact apparently went far beyond Latin America, with agents of Operation Condor accused of murder plots in various other countries, including Italy and the United States. One high-profile killing associated with Operation Condor is the assassination of former Chilean Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier, who died in a car bomb explosion in Washington in September 1976, three years after the government in which he served was overthrown by Gen Pinochet. Gen Stroessner remains beyond the reach of Paraguayan justice The head of the Dina at the time, Manuel Contreras, was given a seven-year jail sentence in 1993 by a court in Chile for his role in Mr Letelier's death. Contreras is now back behind bars, after he was sentenced to 15 years in May this year for involvement in another killing. Contreras reported directly to Gen Pinochet for the duration of Chile's military government. However, Gen Pinochet denied all knowledge of Operation Condor when he was questioned by a Chilean judge. "No, I don't remember, because it wasn't my problem," he told Juan Guzman in September. "That was an issue, I imagine, for mid-level officials." Terror archives Operation Condor might never have come to light at all but for a chance discovery in Paraguay in December 1992. A local judge went looking for files on a former political prisoner at a police station in the capital, Asuncion - but instead he found detailed documents that have since been dubbed the Archives of Terror. These contained information on hundreds of Latin Americans who had been secretly kidnapped, tortured and killed by the secret services of the military regimes involved. Paraguay's former military ruler, Gen Alfredo Stroessner, has been charged in connection with disappearances related to Operation Condor. However, he remains in exile in Brazil, where he is safe from prosecution. Gen Videla is facing other charges linked to Argentina's 'dirty war' The former head of the Paraguayan armed forces, Gen Alejandro Fretes Davalos, was charged in September with the same offences. Under questioning, he too denied all knowledge of Operation Condor and said it was purely a police matter. Responsibility for the offences, he said, lay with senior intelligence and police officials in Paraguay - both of whom, conveniently, are now dead. In Argentina, efforts are also continuing to delve into the origins of Operation Condor - so far, with just as little success. Gen Jorge Rafael Videla, who led the country's military junta from 1976 to 1981, is under house arrest in connection with separate inquiries involving accusations of illegal adoptions of children born to women detainees. However, he has refused to give evidence to a judge who is leading investigations into Operation Condor in Argentina, and attempts to try him for involvement have so far come to nothing.

BBC 25 Nov 2004 Asset freeze as Pinochet turns 89 Pinochet's legal team say all his funds are legitimate Chile's former military ruler, Gen Augusto Pinochet, is marking his 89th birthday amid news that more of his assets have been frozen by a judge. Judicial sources say assets worth more than $4m, mainly property, were frozen by Judge Sergio Munoz last week. Gen Pinochet is being sued by Chile's authorities for tax fraud and faces a money-laundering inquiry. He is also under investigation over his alleged role in human rights violations while in power. In particular, he faces possible charges in connection with Operation Condor - a conspiracy by six South American regimes in the 1970s to hunt down and kill their left-wing opponents. Tax evasion Judge Munoz is investigating the source of at least $8m that Gen Pinochet has been holding in secret bank accounts in the US - some of it under false names. The money in those accounts, uncovered in July by a US Senate investigation into the Washington DC-based Riggs Bank, has already been frozen and repatriated to Chile, where it is being held pending the outcome of Judge Munoz's inquiries. Operation Condor's legacy The latest order, covering assets including property in Santiago and other cities, was issued in order to guarantee payments that the general may be ordered to make if found guilty of tax evasion. The order was apparently issued last Friday, but the news did not emerge until the eve of Gen Pinochet's birthday. The BBC's Clinton Porteous in Santiago says the revelation has come as a nasty birthday surprise for the general, who has already had a miserable year as a result of the investigations into his past. 'Figure of fun' In recent days, reports of more bank accounts held by Gen Pinochet in Miami have surfaced, some under false names. Our correspondent says the pseudonyms used have given rise to many jokes - and that the once-feared leader is becoming a figure of fun. Chilean Interior Minister Jose Miguel Insulza, commenting on the controversy, said: "The only reason for using false names was to hide the accounts because the money was not justly obtained, so to speak." However, Gen Pinochet's lawyer, Pablo Rodriguez, denied all such allegations, saying that the general "has not stolen a single peso from anyone". At the same time, Gen Pinochet faces further developments in the Operation Condor investigation, conducted by another judge, Juan Guzman. Judge Guzman is not due to decide whether to charge the general until next week at the earliest. He intends to hold further meetings with court-appointed doctors who diagnosed Gen Pinochet as having "moderate dementia". The former military ruler has denied links to the Operation Condor killings, saying he thought the operation was handled by middle-ranking officers.

HRW 29 Nov 2004 Government Discloses Torture Was State Policy Commission Calls for Reparations for Thousands Tortured During Pinochet Era (Santiago, November 29, 2004) — A Chilean presidential commission has provided an overwhelming indictment of the military dictatorship’s systematic use of torture, Human Rights Watch said today. In a report released last night, the commission collected testimony from thousands of torture victims who had never previously reported the abuse they had suffered. “After years of denial, Chile has finally acknowledged its legacy of torture,” said José Miguel Vivanco, executive director of the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch. “This presidential commission has upheld the right of thousands of victims to reparation and moral recognition.” Among its dramatic findings, the National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture appointed by Chilean President Ricardo Lagos found that 94 percent of the people detained in the aftermath of the coup reported having been tortured. One of the most common methods of torture, reported in more than a third of the cases, was the application of electrical shocks. Of the 3,400 women who testified, nearly all said that they had suffered sexual torture. More than 300 said that they were raped, including 11 who were pregnant when detained. Many of these women said they had never reported their experiences before. The worst period of torture was immediately after the military coup in September 1973. More than 18,000 people — two-thirds of the total number — were tortured during the four months after the coup, the commission said. Detentions were indiscriminate, and most of the victims were innocent civilians. The commission identified more than 1,000 sites used to torture prisoners, including schools and hospitals as well as police stations and military installations. Another 5,266 people were tortured from January 1974 until August 1977, a period during which secret military intelligence agencies, such as the Directorate of National Intelligence (Dirección Nacional de Inteligencia, or DINA) and the Combined Command (Comando Conjunto) took over the repression of left-wing dissidents from other military units. However, the commission is unlikely to have a direct impact on the prosecution of those responsible for torture. It was not mandated to identify perpetrators and will not present its findings to the courts, leaving a decision to do so up to the victims. Although the commission published extracts of testimonies, all personal details will remain confidential for fifty years. Given that this is an extremely long period, Human Rights Watch believes that the government should establish a procedure whereby individual torture victims can have their testimonies declassified and published by the commission. Moreover, the commission should contribute to the judicial investigation of crimes committed by passing information about individual perpetrators confidentially to the courts, as the National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation (Chile’s truth commission) did in 1991. More than 86 percent of the cases documented by the commission occurred during the period covered by an amnesty decree introduced by the military government in 1978. The decree, which exempts perpetrators of human rights violations from punishment, is still in force. Successful prosecution of the crimes would also have to overcome a statute of limitations that could be invoked to prevent judicial investigations. In an address on television last night, President Lagos said that the more than 27,000 victims identified by the commission would receive monthly pensions of slightly over 112,000 pesos (US$ 190). This is somewhat less than the minimum wage and substantially less than the amount received by relatives of victims of forced disappearance or executions. Victims would also receive health, education and housing benefits. President Lagos formed the eight-person commission in August 2003 in response to a campaign by civil society groups that believed that the issue of torture under military rule had been swept under the carpet after the return to democracy in 1990. The commission was headed by Bishop Sergio Valech, a clergyman who defended victims of human rights abuses during the military regime. The chief of the army, Gen. Juan Emilio Cheyre, anticipated the commission’s report in a November 5 article in which he acknowledged for the first time the army’s institutional responsibility for human rights violations. He pointed out that the context of ideological conflict and the Cold War might explain but could never justify human rights violations. Leaders of the other branches of the armed forces and police, all of which the report implicates in torture, have failed to back Cheyre’s forthright statement. They have not yet commented officially on the findings.

BBC 29 Nov 2004 'I told myself I wouldn't be killed' The Chilean government has ordered lifelong pensions to be paid to the more than 28,000 people tortured under the military regime of Gen Augusto Pinochet. Juana Aguilera is a former political prisoner in Chile, held for three years and nine months between 1980 and 1984. She now works for the ministry of education. She told the BBC News website her story: "I was part of an organisation that belonged to the resistance to the dictatorship. I was detained by agents of the political police, the CNI, and they took me to a secret prison, a secret torture centre, which I believe was the Gen Borgono garrison in Santiago. Juana Aguilera: We are the survivors, with faces and names They beat me and used electric cables on me, they gave me injections and shouted insults at me. In fact, they used a series of ritual methods of torture and treated me the way they used to treat political prisoners. Torture is an extreme situation for one human being to impose on another. Under torture, you get to know about horror. At the end of one session of torture, you're afraid that it's going to start all over again. You learn to be terrified of interrogation. You resist it in various ways. Perhaps I resisted it because I told myself I wasn't going to be killed. Maybe that's why I'm still alive. But also there was pressure from human rights organisations in Chile, which were probably the only institutions during the dictatorship that opposed torture and the crimes that the dictatorship was committing and dared to say no. Maybe it's also thanks to them and the pressure that they brought to bear on the courts that my life was saved. It's taken 14 years to talk about torture - it might take as long again to deal with it entirely I'm grateful to the government for creating the commission that addressed the idea of torture. But I think that not all the truth has come out yet. It's only looked at those of us who experienced torture accompanied by political imprisonment, but there are plenty of people who weren't imprisoned and who were tortured in the streets or in their houses. Those people are not considered in this report. I also think it's a mistake for the government not to reveal the names of the torturers. It's a part of the truth that ought not to be hidden. The torturers in this country continue to work for the state and continue to be public servants and public officials. A democracy ought not to accept that torturers continue to work in public service, continue to be free to walk the streets and have not been punished in any way, not even morally. They need to be punished by the courts. It's not possible that they should escape paying their debt to society for their crimes. Many of our comrades who disappeared were tortured beforehand. Torture was the prelude to disappearances and executions. We are the survivors. We have faces and we have names. And we can say that torture existed in Chile and that those who were tortured were men, women and children - and we had no possibility of defending our ideas with our bodies. This is a process of enlightenment that began in 1990. We hope this process will continue. It's taken 14 years to talk about the subject of torture - it might take as long again to deal with it entirely. But we have patience. We've already lived with this struggle for 31 years, since 1973, and we hope to have the strength to carry on.""

Guardian UK 30 Nov 2004 Chile's torture victims to get life pensions Report details 'insanity of intense cruelty' Tom Burgis in Santiago Tuesday November 30, 2004 The Guardian The Chilean government is to compensate 28,000 victims of torture after a comprehensive report published yesterday concluded that Augusto Pinochet's military government had orchestrated a state policy of terror. Addressing the nation, President Ricardo Lagos spoke of "the magnitude of the suffering, the insanity of the intense cruelty, the immensity of the pain" detailed in the findings of the national commission on political detention and torture, led by the archbishop emeritus of Santiago, Sergio Valech. The year-long commission heard testimony from 35,000 people who had been victims of torture during the dictatorship of 1973 to 1990. Mr Lagos revealed that 94% of those detained had been subjected to torture and that, of the 3,400 women who gave evidence, almost all had been victims of sexual violence. "How can we explain such horror?" Mr Lagos asked. "I do not have an answer." He called the report "an experience without precedent in the world" and said it presented Chileans with "an inescapable reality: political detention and torture constituted an institutional practice of the state". He acknowledged that the armed forces had been the instruments of state-sponsored repression. He said the report should "heal the wounds, not reopen them" and concluded with the words nunca más, never again. The phrase has been daubed on walls the length of Chile. The president called on Chileans to unite in a rejection of torture and oppression "in order that we never again live through it, never again deny it." Advertiser links Holiday Activity Cooking Course, Tuscany Enjoy hands-on cooking lessons in Tuscany. A one-week... italiancookerycourse.com Tours in US, Canada and Mexico 67 adventure and active tours. Small international groups.... suntrek.com Save up to 40% with Escorted Tours Our escorted tours will save you up to 40% off the price of... tourvacationstogo.com While he said the principal act of "moral reparation" was the publication of the report itself, Mr Lagos accepted the commission's recommendations of a life pension for every victim of torture. "The state must pay compensation, however austere, as a way of recognising its responsibility," he said. He will send a bill to Congress that will also seek free education and healthcare for victims and their families. The Valech commission believes it heard 28,000 genuine accounts of torture. The pensions would be worth 112,000 Chilean pesos a month, about £100, around half the average income, and would cost the state about £36m a year. There are fears that a glut of claims could be a drain on the budget. The education minister, Sergio Bitar, the youngest member of the Allende government when it fell in the 1973 coup and who was later tortured in a concentration camp, yesterday passed up his pension entitlement and called on others who were financially secure to do the same. The 1,200-page report contains details of torture centres and identifies the 14 main techniques of torture employed, including rape, the use of animals and electric shocks, mock executions and child abuse. It is by far the most exhaustive of the three official studies of the Pinochet human rights legacy compiled to date. Like collective responsibility in post-war Germany or the truth commission in post-apartheid South Africa, the Valech report offers a chance for Chileans to come to terms with the darkest chapter of their recent history. Last month, Chile's most senior soldier, General Juan Emilio Cheyre, issued an "institutional" admission of guilt for offences by the army. That gesture and the Valech report give the lie to what has for 30 years been the line taken by everyone from Gen Pinochet down: that abuses were the work of a handful of renegade officers. Members of the governing centre-left coalition and human rights groups want public apologies from the navy and air force, the judiciary, the civilian members of the junta - and the media, which failed to investigate a single disappearance in 17 years. Jovino Novoa, who served under Gen Pinochet from 1979 to 1982 and is now the leader of the opposition Independent Democratic Union, said yesterday that the civilians who participated in good faith in the military government had nothing to be ashamed of and should not apologise. The report also found that the supreme court had abdicated its responsibility to uphold the constitution and "washed its hands of omissions and abuses committed by military courts", in which opponents of the military government were tried. Since the return to democracy in 1990, many of the military government's senior figures have been convicted of human rights violations. However, the scalp of Gen Pinochet still eludes prosecutors. A judge is due to rule early next month whether Gen Pinochet, 89, is mentally fit to face trial for the murder of 19 dissidents in the 1970s.

BBC 30 Nov 2004 Torture victims slam Chile payout Reaction to the pension plans has been mixed Four groups representing torture victims of General Augusto Pinochet's military government in Chile have rejected a proposed compensation deal. They staged a protest in central Santiago and said a government pension of $190 a month was insufficient. They also said that a new official report on torture should have identified those guilty of crime. Many other groups supported the report and the government proposal, which looks set to be approved by Congress. Gen Pinochet ruled Chile for 17 years and the new study found there are at least 28,000 torture victims. Human rights activist and torture victim Mireya Garcia said the $70m deal was not enough. It's a first act of reparation. little by little it begins to be a healing process Mireya Garcia Torture victim "We also want a memorial to the victims and a monument with the motto 'never again torture in Chile'," she told the Associated Press news agency. However, the publication of the new report on the internet detailing abuses committed between 1973 and 1990 was a positive step, she said. "It's very special for us, who were kept anonymous for almost 31 years, that the state admits that we were tortured. It's a first act of reparation, little by little it begins to be a healing process," she added. 'No justice' Jorge Saez, 51, was a communist activist and university student in northern Chile when he was arrested in 1974. "I feel a tremendous frustration," he told AP. "Not because of the money, but because we heard nothing about justice, about punishing the torturers, about making sure this will never happen in Chile again," he said. The Chilean president, Ricardo Lagos, rejected criticism that the report failed to identify those responsible. He said this was not the role of the government-appointed commission, and that it was a matter for the Chilean courts. KEY DATES IN PINOCHET'S LIFE 1973: Leads coup against President Salvador Allende 1988: Loses plebiscite on rule 1990: Steps down as president 1998: Retires as army commander-in-chief. Arrested in UK at Spain's request 2000: Allowed to return to Chile 2004: Supreme Court strips his legal immunity Profile: Augusto Pinochet Pinochet case: Timeline Mr Lagos said the report, based on survivors' testimonies, proved that torture had been state policy. Gen Pinochet has never faced trial. But a Chilean judge is due to decide in the next two weeks if he is mentally fit to defend himself against allegations of human rights abuses. His former spokesman, Gen Guillermo Garin, told the BBC World Service's World Today programme: "The investigation has failed to prove people were really tortured. "This issue is now being exploited for political purposes, and will simply reopen old wounds that have already healed." The document says many victims were arrested from their homes in the middle of the night and taken to one of 800 detention centres. Earlier this month, the head of the Chilean army, Gen Juan Emilio Cheyre, accepted institutional responsibility for past abuses.

Santiago Times 6 Dec 2004 www.tcgnews.com/santiagotimes PINOCHET AND CIVILIANS OF CHILE’S MILITARY JUNTA TO FACE TORTURE CHARGES Fernández Dismisses Allegations Of Civilian Complicity In Abuses (Dec. 6, 2004) Human rights lawyers say they will launch a number of criminal proceedings this week against the civilians who served in the military government of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Lawyers Hugo Gutiérrez and Julio Urquieta said the actions were in response to “an illicit association of civilians and the military with the objective of committing various crimes.” On Friday, five days after the publication of the Valech torture report, lawyers from the Socialist Party (PS), the Party for Democracy (PPD) and the Communist Party (PC) filed the first motion indicting members of the junta on grounds of torture, including Pinochet and Sergio Fernández, who served as Interior Minister in Pinochet’s cabinet and is now a senator. The Valech torture report heard testimony from 35,000 civilians who were tortured during the 17-year Pinochet regime (1973-1990) and was able to substantiate 27,000 of those claims. “The signatories are all citizens who, during the period from September 1973 to March 1990, were subjected to detention and torture, inhumane treatment and degradation for entirely political reasons, suffering, in consequence, physical, psychological and social ill effects,” the plaintiffs wrote. The suit accuses not only those who carried out torture but those who gave the orders for detention or supplied information on the victims’ whereabouts. It is based on the conclusions of the National Commission on Political Detention and Torture (the Valech Report), as well as President Ricardo Lagos’ acknowledgment that torture was a state policy of the military government (ST, Nov. 29) and Gen. Juan Emilio Cheyre’s assumption of “institutional responsibility” on behalf of the Army (ST, Nov. 8). The lawsuit also makes reference to the Supreme Court’s recent rejection of an appeal by the secret police agents convicted of the kidnapping of a leftist militant, and to international treaties that define torture as a crime against humanity. The lawyers also filed a separate motion requesting that Pinochet and Fernández be stripped of the immunity they enjoy as a former president and a serving senador, respectively. As the armed forces gradually admit their roles in the dictatorship’s terror campaign, attention is turning to the parts played by the judiciary, the press and the civilians who served under Pinochet. After being served with the suit, Fernández, now a senator for the opposition Independent Democratic Union (UDI) said, “I have not put together any statement because we are merely witnessing a political maneuver,” but added he was “absolutely available” to cooperate with the investigation. Fernández vehemently maintains he never sanctioned torture. In a letter of Nov. 20 to La Tercera, he voiced his “total rejection, today as in the past, of every form of illegitimate coercion, including torture.” During his ministerial tenure, he said, “instructions were issued expressly and absolutely forbidding such practices.” Various human rights groups and lawyers said they were astonished by Fernández’s claims at the weekend that he had never heard of Villa Grimaldi, one the dictatorship’s most notorious torture centers. The lawsuit follows an announcement Thursday by a socialist activist who suffered abuses onboard the Esmeralda that he and fellow victims of torture were considering legal action against the ship’s officers and civilians in the military government. Juan Azúa said the names of those responsible were known to victims, and that any lawsuit would be based in part on passages in the Valech report describing offenses committed on the Esmeralda, the Chilean Navy’s flagship, in the aftermath of the 1973 coup. The vice president of the Socialist Party, Jaime Gazmuri, said the victims offer the most conclusive testimony that the Navy was complicit in torture, a charge it has always denied. Eduardo Contreras, a prosecuting lawyer, presented a request to Judge Juan Guzmán on Saturday that Pinochet’s Justice Minister, Mónica Madariaga, be called to give evidence regarding Fernández’s knowledge of abuses being committed on his watch. The move follows revelations by Madariaga in last Monday’s La Nación newspaper that Fernández was aware that agents of the state were torturing detainees. Contreras hopes Madariaga will repeat her claim before Guzmán, who is handling the new cases. “It seems to us that people like Sergio Fernández do not deserve to be in the Senate of the Republic, should be stripped of immunity and, eventually, prosecuted,” Contreras said. Contreras also heads the prosecuting team in the Operation Condor case, in which Guzmán is currently considering expert analysis of Pinochet’s mental health. After the ex-general was stripped of immunity in that case in August (ST, Aug. 27), Guzmán ordered fresh neurological tests in an effort to determine whether Pinochet, who turned 89 last week, is suffering from a subcortical dementia (ST, Nov 24) in such a degree as to preclude any further legal action against him. With respect to Guzmán’s impending decision of Pinochet’s alleged senility, Contreras drew attention to a new book by businessman Hernán Briones, “Ninety Years of History,” published Friday, the prologue to which is signed by Pinochet, adding to the growing body of evidence suggesting the octogenarian is sufficiently ‘compos mentis’ to face a court. The severity of Pinochet’s senility was put in doubt by a lucid interview he gave to a Miami TV station last year (ST, Nov. 26, 2003) and by bank records suggesting he has been competently handling illicit bank accounts (ST, Aug. 19). His defense attorneys say the interview edited out parts of the conversation that showed Pinochet weak-minded, but have not had much to say about the Pinochet’s handling of the illicit bank accounts. The latest suits add to Pinochet’s legal woes. On Friday, the Santiago Court of Appeals stripped him of immunity from prosecution for the 1974 murder of Gen. Carlos Prats in Buenos Aires (ST, Dec. 3). In 2001, his immunity was removed in the Caravan of Death case, though his mental health prevented his facing trial. Fernando Rabat, a member of the ex-Generalissimo’s defense team, announced his client would appeal the decision before the Supreme Court. All eyes will be on the Supreme Court justices, after the Valech report found it had abdicated its responsibility to protect the Constitution and Chile’s citizens while the junta was in power and “washed its hands” of the perversions of justice meted out in military tribunals. SOURCE: LA TERCERA, EL MERCURIO, RADIO COOPERATIVA By Tom Burgis (editor@santiagotimes.cl)

NYT 12 Dec 2004 The Pinochet Money Trail By TIMOTHY L. O'BRIEN and LARRY ROHTER Santiago, Chile GEN. MANUEL CONTRERAS is a religious man. A bas-relief of the Last Supper hangs on his dining room wall, not far from a thick, leather-bound Bible that rests on a table. As the former head of Gen. Augusto Pinochet's secret police in Chile, General Contreras is also a controversial man. A large silver plate, given to him by Argentina's intelligence services, sits on a shelf, a few feet from the Bible. The inscription on the plate reads June 1976, the same month and year that General Contreras and other South American intelligence chiefs, according to declassified United States intelligence documents, authorized assassinations of exiled political dissidents in a wide-ranging conspiracy known as Operation Condor. Although General Contreras denied the existence of such a plan in a recent interview in his hillside home here, the plot has been amply documented in the United States intelligence records. General Contreras's past banking activities have been documented, too. According to a declassified 1979 State Department memo, he opened a "secret bank account" at Riggs Bank in Washington in 1966, when he was a young soldier based in the United States. The State Department report noted that General Contreras's balance at Riggs was as high as $26,000 in the mid-1970's. In the interview, he said he was sure he never kept more than $1,000 at Riggs and that it was common for members of the Chilean army who were based in the United States to have personal accounts at the bank. But General Contreras was less certain about funds Riggs held for his former boss, General Pinochet, whose accounts are among those at the center of a sweeping money-laundering investigation of the bank. The sums involved - as much as $8 million, according to an assessment by the United States Senate - have left even General Pinochet's staunchest allies wondering about their origin. "The problem with Pinochet is that he got quite a lot," General Contreras said. Army wages were very low, he said, even for someone as senior as General Pinochet. Does he believe that the general accumulated his riches fairly? "I don't know," said General Contreras, shaking his head. "I don't know." As Chile's strongman from 1973, when he overthrew Salvador Allende, an elected civilian president, to 1990, General Pinochet presided over a purge of political opponents and the creation of a police state. But he also laid the foundations for what has become Latin America's most stable and promising economy - all, as the general's supporters have claimed, without ever stealing a dime. In the United States, however, Senate investigators published a lengthy report in July that detailed multimillion-dollar accounts that General Pinochet and his wife, Lucia, held at Riggs. The funds were disguised and moved around the globe for years with the cooperation of Riggs officials, said Senate investigators, even after he was detained in London in 1998 and held under house arrest on Spanish court accusations of human rights abuses and genocide. Regulators fined Riggs $25 million earlier this year for failing to comply with bank secrecy laws, and a criminal investigation of the bank and its executives for possible money laundering is under way at the Justice Department. No Riggs officials have been charged with wrongdoing, although a former executive is the subject of a grand jury investigation of possible bank fraud. In Chile, the fact that General Pinochet secreted large sums of money in other countries has forced a reassessment of his legacy and prompted scathing headlines questioning his integrity. The Chilean Congress has established a commission to determine if the Riggs accounts contain stolen government funds, an investigation that is moving apace with a separate judicial inquiry and a tax evasion investigation. "Let's not kid ourselves," said Juan Pablo Letelier, chairman of the Chilean congressional commission and son of Orlando Letelier, a former Chilean foreign minister who was assassinated in Washington as part of Operation Condor. "Obviously, no public servant, even one who is head of state and commander in chief of the army, amasses that kind of wealth in this country, based on public income only." Exactly how the general supplemented his modest salary - never more than about $40,000 a year as president - with foreign bank accounts holding millions of dollars remains unknown. His financial adviser has told the Chilean press that the general's fortune could be as much as $15 million and that all of it was accumulated legally, through shrewd investing. Chilean government officials have openly ridiculed that explanation. The general's own sworn financial statements, released in recent weeks by United States Senate investigators and approved by a senior Riggs executive, indicate that he received large "commissions from service and travel abroad" during his nearly 25 years as Chile's ruler and military chief. The statements are based on documents that Riggs has furnished to federal regulators. They show, for example, that in 1976 General Pinochet received a $3 million payment stemming from official duties involving the United States. And from 1974 to 1997, according to the documents, General Pinochet received payments totaling at least $12.3 million in connection with official duties involving China, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Spain and Britain. It is unclear from those documents exactly what or who were the sources of some of those payments. The Chilean president's office said late last week that the documents were stamped by the Chilean defense ministry but that the government is investigating their origin and authenticity to see if General Pinochet may have forged them. Based on the examination of other documents, Chilean officials said in interviews that General Pinochet, now 89, participated in lucrative real estate deals and may have received some of his biggest riches as a result of a wave of industrial privatizations engineered by his administration. Those transactions benefited numerous members of General Pinochet's government, the Chilean military, a core group of businessmen who were his avid supporters and his former son-in-law. Chilean authorities - like their counterparts in Russia, Argentina and other countries where a select group benefited disproportionately from privatization of formerly state-owned companies - are examining whether the general received kickbacks from insiders involved in the privatizations. "We have not yet uncovered proof" of bribes or kickbacks, in part because of missing records, said Carlos Montes, chairman of a Chilean congressional committee reviewing the privatizations. "But our hypothesis is the same that you hear repeated until exhaustion in the rest of Chilean society: that those who benefited the most from the privatizations were generous with General Pinochet." FOURTEEN years after he stepped down as dictator and six years after he ceded his post as commander in chief of the Chilean military, General Pinochet, still inspires fervent devotion among his loyalists. Three former senior military leaders who strolled into General Contreras's home during the interview agreed that any cash General Pinochet held abroad were emergency reserves, not stolen funds. Other sometime supporters, though, have had their faith in the former dictator shaken. General Contreras's wife complained in the interview that she and her friends sold their jewelry to help raise money for General Pinochet's legal defense in the late 1990's, only to learn through the Riggs investigation that he had much more money than they ever knew or even suspected. General Contreras, who said the secret police kept its own funds at the Bank of New York during the 1970's because "the C.I.A. told us that was a good bank," asserted that his former boss was "just one man" and that the entire Chilean military should not be suspected of financial improprieties simply because General Pinochet was now on the hot seat. According to the 1979 State Department memo, American authorities initially examined General Contreras's account at Riggs Bank as part of their investigation into the murder of Mr. Letelier and his assistant, Ronni Karpen Moffitt, whose car was blown up by a bomb as it approached the Chilean Embassy in Washington. But the memo said that it was impossible to determine the source of General Contreras's funds because officials at Riggs had destroyed all the relevant records. Riggs declined to comment on the Contreras accounts. MORE than two decades after those bank accounts were scrutinized, funds that Riggs maintained for General Pinochet are proving to be equally murky and difficult to trace. That the general held such funds is at odds with the Chilean military's own stated traditions. A 1989 financial disclosure form that General Pinochet gave Riggs said: "The honesty of public servants corresponds to one of the essential principles that applies to all institutions the members of the 'junta' represent." As General Contreras himself said, his former boss's wealth appears to be quite large for a man who spent his entire professional life as a soldier and public official. General Pinochet's financial adviser, Oscar Aitken , said that he believes his client's $15 million fortune is the result of an unusual amount of high-level hand-holding. The general's accounts "were personally managed by Joseph Allbritton" Mr. Aitken told El Mercurio, a Santiago newspaper, in September, referring to Riggs's former chairman and chief executive. Mr. Aitken described Mr. Allbritton, who remains the single largest shareholder of Riggs, as "Pinochet's biggest admirer in the banking world," and Senate investigators in the United States have found numerous examples of his intervening personally on the general's behalf over the years. Mr. Allbritton, Mr. Aitken said, "promised, and delivered, rates of return that doubled General Pinochet's capital every three years." A Riggs spokesman said that Mr. Allbritton did not personally manage the general's accounts and that the two men met in person on only two occasions. "The comments published in the El Mercurio newspaper are fundamentally wrong and materially inaccurate," the spokesman said. Riggs's own records indicate that most of the general's accounts were earning interest of only 2 percent or 3 percent. The general's lawyer, spokesmen for his nonprofit foundation and individual members of the foundation's board either declined interviews or did not respond to repeated requests for interviews about his finances. "If a high-level public servant tells you he is going to accumulate $10 million to $15 million by the time he is 65 years old, you need to denounce him to the authorities, because most likely he is stealing," Nicolas Eyzaguire, Chile's finance minister, told reporters here recently. "The only way to have achieved those high rates of return," he added, would be "if Pinochet himself and his children were financial geniuses, something which is very doubtful." In the United States, federal investigations of Riggs's management of the general's funds suggests that the bank was more interested in masking the existence of his accounts than in producing high-octane financial returns. Riggs, according to American investigators, did not inform regulators, as required, about the existence of the accounts when asked about them four years ago. Moreover, the bank, in a maneuver that it has conceded was improper, changed the names on the accounts of the general and his wife from "Augusto Pinochet Ugarte & Lucia Hiriart de Pinochet" to "L. Hiriart &/or A. Ugarte," ensuring that computer searches for Riggs accounts with the name "Pinochet" would not find them. While banking at Riggs, the general also went by the names Ramon Ugarte and Daniel Lopez, two of the aliases that General Pinochet's financial and legal advisers said he used. General Pinochet became a Riggs client in 1985, according to bank records. Before that, he apparently used Citibank. "In 1964, my father opened an account at Citibank, which was closed in the 1980's," one of the general's sons, Marco Antonio, said in a recent interview with a Chilean newspaper. "In 1984, that bank asked him to close the account, saying that they no longer wanted to have him as a client." Citigroup, Citibank's parent company, declined to comment. Riggs seemed less concerned about doing business with the dictator. When the bank reviewed the propriety of maintaining the general's accounts after his arrest in Chile in 2001, a memo prepared for Steven B. Pfeiffer, a Riggs board member, observed that the general's indictment "describes with excruciating detail in over 270 pages the facts and lists thousands of people who were assassinated, tortured or disappeared during Mr. Pinochet's tenure." Still, Riggs kept the accounts open. Some of the Riggs funds, according to Senate records, were registered in the Bahamas under two corporate shells, the Althorp Investment Company and Ashburton Company Ltd. The mailing address for one of the general's Riggs accounts, it turns out, is a park in downtown Santiago, across the street from military headquarters. WHILE Riggs threw various cloaks around the general's accounts, the spigots filling them have drawn renewed scrutiny in Chile. In addition to the outsized fees and honorariums that General Pinochet may have received from his activities abroad, Chilean officials are now examining whether the general expropriated large sums from government "reserved expenditure" accounts used to carry out covert operations and investigations. General Pinochet's supporters, including members of his own family, have suggested that the reserves may be legitimate sources of the Riggs funds, but others say no. "If, as some have maintained, one source of Pinochet's wealth is reserved expenditure accounts of the army or the presidency, then we are facing an extreme irregularity," said Mr. Letelier, the head of the congressional commission. "Reserved expenditures have to do with policy actions, and in no case can the person in charge of the military or the presidency just stick that money in a drawer or in his own pocket. That is absolutely illegal." The Chilean authorities are also focusing special attention on privatizations of former state-owned companies in sectors like steel, electricity, mining and telecommunications, with an eye to uncovering financial gains the general might have secured through those transactions. The most lucrative privatizations were from 1985 to 1990, when it was clear that the Pinochet government's days were numbered and when even some military officials questioned the wisdom of rapidly selling companies in industries vital to Chile's national security and economic well-being. Privatizations were largely controlled and overseen by a small group of senior Chilean military officials and civilian cabinet members and economic advisers, a number of whom later got shares and high-paying positions at the very companies they helped to privatize. Even the general's family rode the privatization wave. When General Pinochet seized power on Sept. 11, 1973, Julio Cesar Ponce Lerou was just one of many ambitious young Chileans; he had just graduated from forestry school. Today, he is one of Chile's richest people and president of a mining company that controls the some of the world's largest deposits of nitrates, iodine and other minerals and chemicals. Mr. Ponce Lerou's rise to wealth and prominence has all the trappings of a Horatio Alger tale - with cozy family and government connections added to the mix. At the time of the coup, he was married to General Pinochet's daughter, Veronica, and at various times not long after, he was both president of the government agency that supervised the privatization of all state-owned companies and the military dictatorship's representative on the board of the company he now heads, called Soquimich. Mr. Ponce Lerou led a group of investors who acquired Soquimich at what investigators now describe as a rock-bottom price. After the fall of the Pinochet dictatorship and the restoration of democracy in 1990, an inquiry conducted by the comptroller general's office concluded that the state had sold parts of the Soquimich conglomerate for less than a third of their fair market values at the time. "It is obvious that Ponce Lerou's family ties and public posts helped him to put together the prosperous economic state that he enjoys today," said Maria Olivia Monckeberg, author of "The Looting of the Chilean State by the Economic Groups," a book that is a critical history of the Chilean privatizations. "He created a network of relatives and business partners that came to occupy the highest posts in some of the most important state companies, not just Soquimich, but also the state-owned copper and steel companies." As a result, Mr. Ponce Lerou, who did not respond to repeated requests for interviews, is among 38 Pinochet relatives whose business activities are being investigated by Chilean authorities in connection with possible money laundering and tax evasion. Also among those under scrutiny are General Pinochet's five children, who have various business interests of their own; his wife, who controls two important charities; as well as grandchildren, siblings and cousins. Mr. Ponce Lerou was first in the public eye in 1978, when he was 32. Despite his youth and inexperience, he was named president of a state-owned cellulose company that the military government planned to sell to private investors. Mr. Ponce Lerou guided the company through its privatization; thereafter, his rise was meteoric. In short order, he secured the presidency of two other major state-owned enterprises, and by 1983 was the general director of the agency in charge of supervising the privatization program. Later that year, though, Mr. Ponce Lerou resigned from all of his public posts, including the presidency of the board of Soquimich, after Chilean authorities charged him with "illicit enrichment" in connection with the acquisition of ranches and animal herds. He spent the next three years fighting the charges and was eventually acquitted. He then returned to the business world in time to partake in Soquimich's 1988 privatization. As head of Soquimich, Mr. Ponce Lerou has overseen the company's expansion into immensely profitable new lines of business. Other members of the various boards running the conglomerate include Mr. Ponce Lerou's brother; Gen. Guillermo Letelier Skinner, Mr. Ponce Lerou's former deputy at the state development agency; and Hernan Buchi Buc, who, as Chile's economic minister in the late 1980's, played the main role in determining which groups would be awarded control of state companies being privatized, including Soquimich. Today, Soquimich's shareholders include foreign investors like the Bank of New York and Citigroup. But the largest block of stock remains in the hands of a holding company called Pampa Calichera, which Mr. Ponce Lerou controls. Mr. Montes, the Chilean congressman examining irregularities in the privatization process, said Soquimich was only one of several companies being investigated. Another privatization that Mr. Montes is reviewing involves one of Chile's largest companies - an electricity giant called Enersis, on whose board Mr. Ponce Lerou also served. Chile privatized Enersis in 1988; a year later the company snapped up a large stake in another Chilean electricity concern, solidifying its presence in the electricity market. In 1997, a Spanish company, Endesa, paid $1.5 billion for 29 percent of Enersis - a sale that enriched the company's chief executive, Jose Yuraszeck Troncoso, and six other senior Enersis executives who, according to press accounts at the time, were collectively paid about $350 million for a special class of shares they owned. Other Chilean investors complained that Enersis executives ceded too much to Endesa in exchange for a lucrative payoff. El Mercurio labeled the transaction "the scandal of the century." Mr. Yuraszeck had been involved in privatizing Enersis as a member of the Pinochet government before he secured Enersis shares for himself and joined the company. Public disapproval of the Endesa deal forced Mr. Yuraszeck to resign, and Chilean securities regulators initially fined him the modest sum of $34,000 for failing to adequately supervise the transaction. In July, however, he and others were fined $75 million, a penalty he is now appealing. In an interview, Mr. Yuraszeck denied any wrongdoing and said he had made no donations to General Pinochet. His Enersis profits, he said, were entirely proper because the company's management had guided it through a large and successful expansion. "Everyone did well" as a result of the sale to Spanish interests, he said. "Some did better than others, but all shareholders prospered." But Mr. Montes said government examiners believe that Enersis was originally sold to private owners, including Mr. Yuraszeck, at far below its market value and that the transaction was far from transparent. MR. YURASZECK was not the only member of the Pinochet government to join Enersis. Carlos Caceres, a former senior minister in the government whose signature appears as a witness on General Pinochet's 1989 financial statement, served on the Enersis board in the late 1990's. Mr. Caceres, along with two other prominent Chilean businessmen, Hernan Guiloff and Hernan Briones, became important financial supporters of General Pinochet when he was arrested in Britain in 1998, according to The Financial Times. Mr. Caceres, Mr. Guiloff and Mr. Briones declined to comment about their relationship with General Pinochet or the nature of the Chilean privatizations. Mr. Briones is the director of the Pinochet Foundation, a charitable body; Mr. Guiloff and Mr. Caceres are members of its board. On its Web site, the foundation states that its mission is the promotion of the general's legacy and the preservation of Chilean culture and history. When the United States Senate released its report on Riggs in July, spokesmen for the Pinochet Foundation and the general's lawyers said that one source of the former dictator's wealth was "donations" from grateful businessmen. The businessmen's identities were not specified. Mr. Montes said in an interview that he and his investigators face high hurdles in carrying out their examinations of the Pinochet-era privatizations. He and his team would not be the first to have such problems. In the early 1990's, after General Pinochet was forced to step down as president but while he still commanded the armed forces, the Chilean government began an inquiry into the privatization process. But that examination was quietly shelved after some investigators were beaten by assailants who were never identified and other investigators received threats over the telephone. "I can't tell you the magnitude of what went on" in the privatization process, "because we do not yet have all the information we need to be able to determine that," Mr. Montes said. "Just to be able to get an organized investigation going is an achievement," given that vital records of the privatizations have yet to be found, he added. "They should exist," he said. "But if they do, they are scattered all over, so we have not yet been able to do even a basic inventory or a registry of what happened." Whatever the challenges of the past, the scandal has given fresh impetus to those seeking a full accounting of the financial underbelly of the Pinochet era. Even the general's closest family members are not off limits, something that was unthinkable just a few years ago. Some members of the Chilean Congress are calling for an investigation into two charitable groups, the Center for Mothers and the September Foundation. General Pinochet's wife, Lucia Hiriart, has headed both organizations. She also figures prominently in the investigation of possible money laundering at Riggs and is a Pinochet Foundation board member. Other members of Congress are demanding inquiries as to whether one of the general's daughters, also named Lucia, pressured the state insurance agency to steer contracts to companies associated with her and then diverted profits from those deals into an offshore account. Another unresolved financial controversy involving the Pinochet family is known as the "Pinochecks scandal." In the last phase of the dictatorship, General Pinochet authorized government payments totaling more than $3 million to another son, Augusto Jr., to buy him out of a failing arms company - sparing the son from large financial losses. But when the civilian government that later came to power ordered a full investigation of the deal, military troops swarmed the streets and threatened a rebellion. Eventually, the inquiry was shelved and no action was taken against Augusto Jr. Augusto Jr., who at one time trademarked his father's name for use on branded credit cards and wines called "Captain General" and "Don Augusto," was recently convicted of fraud in a case involving stolen cars. For General Pinochet himself, the days when his name might have graced a fine bottle of wine have passed. Instead, his name is now more closely associated with a once prominent United States bank: Riggs. "What's really interesting about it is that Pinochet said that what he did he did to save the country and he said he was not simultaneously looting the treasury; he said he was the honest dictator," said the writer Ariel Dorfman, a Chilean exile who is a professor at Duke University. "But looting, and hiding the loot, is deeply ingrained in dictatorships."


Reuters 9 Dec 2004 Court Orders Record Payout for Guatemala Massacre By REUTERS Filed at 5:57 p.m. ET GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - An international court has ordered Guatemala to pay a record sum of almost $8 million in compensation to survivors of a 1982 army-led massacre of hundreds of civilians in the country's Maya Indian heartland. Troops entered the hilltop hamlet of Plan de Sanchez 22 years ago, raping women before herding the villagers into a building and blowing it up. The Interamerican Court of Human Rights, based in Costa Rica, ordered $7.9 million in compensation payments, its highest ever amount, court officials said on Thursday. ``It sets a precedent for this type of massive violation; we have never before sentenced for so many victims,'' court spokesman Arturo Monje told Reuters in Guatemala. The ruling, announced late Wednesday, requires the government to pay $25,000 to each of 317 massacre survivors, plus legal costs. Lawyers representing the survivors welcomed the ruling but called for the government to try the soldiers responsible for the crime. ``The court has told the government that it must investigate, judge and punish those responsible,'' said lawyer Fernando Lopez. The attack on Plan de Sanchez was among the most vicious of hundreds of state-backed massacres committed during a scorched earth campaign to root out suspected guerrilla sympathizers at the height of Guatemala's 36-year civil war. Soldiers randomly picked their victims, raping and torturing young women before rounding up villagers in a house, throwing in hand grenades and firing machines guns. A total of 268 people, many of them from surrounding areas, were killed. Massacre survivors say that the compensation alone will not erase the past. ``No matter how much money they give us, it will never bring back our relatives,'' said survivor Juan Manuel Jeronimo. The court ruling also requires the government to focus cultural, infrastructure and mental health projects in Plan de Sanchez and surrounding villages. In 1996, the government and leftist guerrillas signed peace agreements ending the war. Three years later a United Nations-backed truth report found the army responsible for the vast majority of 200,000 deaths in the war. .


Deutsche Presse Agentur 2 Dec 2004 14 killed in disturbances in Haiti Port-au-Prince (dpa) - Seven people were killed in a series of shootouts in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, while seven others died when they tried to escape from prison, Radio Metropole reported Thursday. The seven shootout deaths occurred in unrest on Wednesday that accompanied the visit by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to the Haitian capital. Suspected sympathizers of ousted former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide set cars on fire and fired gunshots in different parts of Port-au-Prince. The unrest spilled over to the presidential palace, where an exchange of fire between armed thugs and United Nations peacekeeping forces occurred shortly after Powell entered the palace for meetings with Haitian and U.N. officials. Four people were wounded in the incident, but no one in Powell's entourage was hurt. Another seven people were killed in a riot in the Haitian national prison. Inmates set fire to their cells but their plan to escape in the commotion failed, Radio Metropole said. During the disturbances that led to Aristide's departure in February numerous prisoners fled from the same prison. Haiti has been rocked by political unrest and natural disasters this year. Since late September, some 150 people have been killed in the violence sparked by alleged Aristide supporters. Thousands of people were killed by floods in May and during the hurricane season.


Reuters 1 Dec 2004 Peru will not prosecute ex-president for massacre By Robin Emmott LIMA, Peru, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Peru will not prosecute ex-President Alan Garcia and his ministers on charges of ordering a prison massacre in which 118 people died, thwarting efforts by rights groups to bring them to trial, lawyers said on Wednesday. State lawyer Mario Gonzalez said that too much time had elapsed since the 1986 massacre, which occurred after Peruvian armed forces tried to quell riots stirred up by Shining Path rebels at the El Fronton prison on an island off Lima's coast. State security forces killed 126 inmates at two other prisons on the same day, June 19. But Garcia, now the leader of Peru's biggest opposition party and a likely presidential candidate in 2006, faced a trial threat in the El Fronton case only. He denies any wrongdoing. The region's top human rights court last year ordered Peru to try those responsible. But Peruvian law allows only a 15-year time limit to judge former officials for abuse of authority, government lawyer Julio Quintanilla told Reuters. The prison massacre was one of the darkest points in Garcia's 1985-1990 rule. Rights lawyers say the case has never been properly investigated. Lawyers for victims' families who took their case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights said they would appeal the decision. "The state lawyer has not taken into account the Inter-American Court's ruling that there can be no time limits for trying people for such crimes," said Gloria Cano, a lawyer for victims' families. Rights lawyers also charged state investigators of bowing to political pressure. "There is a wish to protect senior figures and to prevent us from confronting the past," said lawyer Rosa Quedena. Only four victims' families have received compensation after they went to the Inter-American Court. They have won damages of between $45,000 and $125,000 from Peru.

United States

www.emediawire.com 22 Nov 2004 Press Release Blacks Demand Equal Justice From New York Life Insurance Company Outraged over what they call a, "Jim Crow standard for justice,” Black descendants of enslaved Africans launched an online campaign against New York Life Insurance Company entitled, “Justice 4 One – Justice 4 All”. The campaign raises questions about why, on January 26, 2004, New York Life forced Black descendants of African slavery victims out of court with a class action lawsuit for restitution, and three (3) days later settled a similar case for $20 million with White descendants of Armenian genocide victims. The website is located at: www.justice4one-justice4all.com. New York, NY (PRWEB) November 22, 2004 -- Outraged over what they call a “Jim Crow standard for justice,” Black descendants of African slavery victims launched an online campaign against New York Life Insurance Company entitled, “Justice 4 One – Justice 4 All” – at www.justice4one-justice4all.com. The campaign raises questions about why, on January 26, 2004, New York Life forced Blacks out of court with a class action lawsuit for slavery restitution, and three days later settled a similar case for $20 million with White descendants of Armenian genocide victims. The slavery case was filed against New York Life in May of 2002, and is entitled, In Re: African-American Slave Descendants, CV-02-7764(CRN) (United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division). Black plaintiffs claimed that New York Life committed a crime against humanity via its early company that wrote life insurance policies enslaving their African ancestors in mid-1800. Slave owners were the beneficiaries. Over one third of New York Life’s first revenue came from writing slave policies. This practice encouraged the employment of enslaved people in ultra-hazardous capacities, like coal mining or constructing railroads, which sometimes resulted in burning and drowning deaths. The website contains a copy of a company policy enslaving an African named Robert Moody who was employed in a Virginia coal pit. The Armenian genocide case, Marootian v. New York Life Insurance Company, CV-99-12073(CAS),(United States District Court, Central District of California), was filed in November of 1999. The plaintiffs claimed that New York Life wrongfully failed to pay benefits under life insurance policies they issued as far back as the 1870s in the Turkish Ottoman Empire on the lives of their Armenian ancestors. New York Life denies any wrongdoing. Slave descendants say critical factors in the cases were identical and should have resulted in the same outcome: - Both cases involved insurance policies from the 19th century; - Both involved descendants making claims on behalf of themselves and their ancestors; and - Both cases resulted from some of the worst crimes committed against humans in world history -- the enslavement of Africans, and the genocide of Armenians. “Race is the key difference in these cases. This looks like discrimination against African-Americans,” said Deadria Farmer- Paellmann, Executive Director of the Restitution Study Group -- the New York non-profit sponsoring the campaign. The slavery case was amended in the Northern District Federal Court in Chicago, Illinois on April 5, 2004. A decision is pending. Contact: Deadria Farmer-Paellmann Phone: 917-365-3007

Boston Globe 24 Nov 2004 Mayor officially asks Legislature to repeal archaic anti-Indian law November 24, 2004 BOSTON -- Mayor Tom Menino took the first step Wednesday toward repealing an archaic anti-Indian law that has not been enforced for centuries but has been a symbolic black eye for a city trying to shed its racist past. Passed during King Philip's War and never formally wiped from the books, the Boston Indian Imprisonment Act orders the arrest of all American Indians who enter the city. Several tribes have been trying to win a formal repeal for years. The Boston City Council passed a resolution in favor of repeal last year, but the final action must be taken by the state Legislature. It was the colonial Legislature, the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, that approved the statute on Oct. 13, 1675. Menino has filed a home rule petition, setting the legislative process in motion. "It's time to make things right," Menino said in a statement. "Together, we'll send the message that hatred and discrimination have no place in Boston." The announcement, which came the day before Thanksgiving, was made during American Indian History and Heritage Month, noted Mike Graham, founder of United Native America, a group that is working with the mayor's office to repeal the law. "The American Indian community stands united with all Americans today in the defense of our true home land now called America," Graham said. The Falmouth-based Muhheconnew National Confederacy first requested the repeal of the law in 1996, when Congress wanted to designate the Boston Harbor Islands -- the site of Indian internment camps during King Philip's War -- as a unit of the U.S. national park system. King Philip's War, one of the bloodiest conflicts in American history, was a series of guerrilla battles between British colonists and native tribes of southern New England.

Boston Globe 25 Nov 2004 Menino seeks to repeal 1675 law against Native Americans Symbolic act seen as step forward By Yvonne Abraham, Globe Staff It was a symbolic move, but an important one for a city that prides itself on diversity, according to Mayor Thomas M. Menino: Yesterday, the mayor asked the Legislature to repeal the 1675 Indian Imprisonment Act, the Colonial law authorizing the arrest of American Indians who enter the city of Boston. ADVERTISEMENT The law, enacted during the bloody conflict known as King Philip's War, has not been enforced for centuries. Armed guards no longer stand at the outskirts of Boston, as the law has stipulated for nearly 330 years, on the lookout for Native Americans who might seek entry into the city. Indians in Boston are no longer required to be escorted around town by two musketeers. And yet, the Legislature has never gotten around to taking the law off the books. "The Indian Imprisonment Act was made to discriminate, made to intimidate, and this law has no place in Boston," Menino said. "As long as it remains on the books, this law will tarnish our image." Its repeal, the mayor said, "will send the message that hate and discrimination have no place in our city." Menino, who speaks often of his pride in Boston's diversity and tolerance, announced that he had signed a home-rule petition asking to repeal the law the day before Thanksgiving, the holiday honoring cooperation between colonists and Native Americans. "Some of you people have been illegal for a long time," he joked to the dozen or so members of regional tribes on hand for the ceremony. Native Americans who stood behind Menino at a City Hall ceremony yesterday applauded the mayor's effort to remove the archaic legislation. "It really does break down another barrier," said Joanne Dunn, executive director of the North American Indian Center of Boston, and a member of the Nipmuc tribe. "It's one of those things, maybe it's not enforced, but there's always something in the back of your mind that makes you feel unwelcome. It's a reminder of the past. This brings some closure to our people." "This is a great step forward by the mayor's office, to recognize the efforts of Indian tribal governments to address the legacy left over from 350 years ago," said Gary McCann, policy adviser for the Muhheconnew National Confederacy, which represents coastal tribes from Delaware to Maine. The law was enacted during a conflict that began as an Indian uprising in which hundreds of colonists were killed, and ended with the deaths of thousands of American Indians and the virtual elimination of several tribes. Metacomet, chief of the Wampanoag Indians, whom settlers called King Philip, was shot and killed 14 months after the war began, by an American Indian paid by the English. His death effectively ended the war in southern New England, fully opening Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island to colonization, though raids continued elsewhere until the American Revolution. The law reads, in part: "We find that there still remains ground of Fear, that unless more effectual Care be taken, we may be exposed to mischief by some of that Barbarous Crew, or any Strangers not of our Nation, by their coming into, or residing in the Town of Boston." It provided for a guard to be posted "at the end of said Town towards Roxbury, to hinder the coming in of any Indian, until Application be first made to the Governour, or Council if fitting, and then to be admitted with a Guard of two Musqueteers, and to be remanded back with the same Guard, not to be suffered to lodge in Town, unless in Prison." McCann, whose group has been working on a repeal for eight years, applauded the mayor for yesterday's ceremony, saying it helped raise the issue's profile. "One thing we didn't want was to do it in the middle of the night," McCann said. "This allows us to go over the history and have an idea of why this wasn't dealt with before, and it's a way to provide closure, and part of improving the relationship between the Native American Indian and non-Indian communities." For repeal, the home-rule petition must be endorsed by the City Council, then approved by the Legislature. The first part of that process should be easy enough: In April 2003, the 13 council members unanimously passed a resolution calling for the repeal. McCann and others tried to get legislators to take up the matter earlier this year, but the lawmakers didn't get to it. He said he was hopeful the mayor's involvement would make it a higher priority this time.

Banned in Boston: American Indians, but Only for 329 Years NY Times ^ | November 25, 2004 | KATIE ZEZIMA Posted on 11/25/2004 6:34:06 AM PST by Pharmboy BOSTON, Nov. 24 - It is a prejudicial, archaic concept that prohibited Native Americans from entering a city for fear members of their "barbarous crew" would cause residents to be "exposed to mischief." But it is more than notions and phrases in Boston. A ban on Indians entering Boston has been the law since 1675. Mayor Thomas M. Menino took a step toward repealing the ban on Wednesday, filing a home rule petition. Mr. Menino said a repeal would remove the last vestiges of discrimination from a vibrant, diverse city that is looking past old racial conflicts. "This law has no place in Boston," Mr. Menino said. "Fortunately this act is no longer enforced. But as long as it remains on the books, this law will tarnish our image. Hatred and discrimination have no place in Boston. Tolerance, equality and respect - these are the attributes of our city." Joanne Dunn, executive director of the Boston Native American Center, said she laughed a bit as she drove into Boston on Wednesday, realizing that she was, technically, breaking the law (being without benefit of the "two musketeers" required to escort American Indians with business in the city). "For us indigenous people it brings some closure," Ms. Dunn said. "You come into the City of Boston and it crosses your mind that you're not welcome here." The Boston City Council, which in April 2003 unanimously passed a resolution calling for repeal, must now approve the petition to remove the ban. The repeal must then pass the legislature and be signed by Gov. Mitt Romney. A spokeswoman for Robert E. Travaglini, the president of the State Senate, said Mr. Travaglini had not seen the petition and would allow the City Council to act before considering action. A spokeswoman for Mr. Romney, a Republican, said he had not seen the petition either and would be "happy to take a look at it" when it crossed his desk. Felix Arroyo, a city councilman, said he expected the measure to pass unanimously at a council meeting on Dec. 1. "I think all of us will look forward to voting yes on this," Mr. Arroyo said. The Massachusetts General Court enacted the law, called the Indian Imprisonment Act, in 1675. The legislation came at the height of King Philip's War, a conflict between the Wampanoag tribe, led by Metacom, known as Philip, and settlers near Plymouth, Mass. The war began in 1675 with a raid on the town of Swansea and spread across Massachusetts, spilling north to New Hampshire and south to Connecticut. The war, one of the bloodiest on American soil, ended the next year. The law rolled over when the state's Constitution was enacted in 1780 and has lingered for centuries, with no one taking the steps to repeal it. The Muhheconnew National Confederacy, a lobbying group based in Falmouth, Mass., started pushing for repeal in 1996 after working with the city to protect Indian burial grounds on the Boston Harbor islands. The group petitioned the legislature, then the city, and received the necessary resolution last year. It renewed the push in July, before the Democratic National Convention. "It means a great thing," said Sam Sapiel, 73, a member of the Penobscot Nation of Maine who lives in Falmouth and worked with the Muhheconnew Confederacy on the repeal. "It's what we've been striving for." It was little coincidence that Mr. Menino signed the petition the day before Thanksgiving. The podium at the news conference was decorated with a splash of crimson chrysanthemums, and the desk Mr. Menino used to sign the petition was festooned with a pumpkin and other gourds. An Indian leader also invoked the holiday. "Being so close to Thanksgiving, this is a good day for native people," said Beverly Wright, a member of the Wampanoag tribe of Martha's Vineyard, the state's only federally recognized tribe. "It's been on the books for a long time." Ms. Wright believes there might be other, similarly discriminatory laws. Mr. Menino said he would look into the possibility of repealing them.

IPS 29 Nov 2004 UN General Assembly Revolt? ......... by Thalif Deen November 29, 2004 Printer Friendly Version EMail Article to a Friend UNITED NATIONS, Nov 24 (IPS) - The 191-member U.N. General Assembly, the largely ignored policy-making body of the United Nations, is threatening to derail a slew of mostly Western European and U.S.-inspired resolutions condemning human rights violations. A key committee of the assembly, which previously refused to take action on resolutions against Belarus and Sudan, took a similar stance Wednesday on another draft resolution, this time on human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, signalling what some observers call a backlash against U.S. abuse of the world body and international law. The three rejections will be routinely ratified next week by the General Assembly, which represents the views of the overwhelming majority of the member states. On Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador John Danforth lashed out at U.N. member states, and challenged 'the utility of the General Assembly.' 'One wonders if there can't be a clear and direct statement on matters of basic principle, why have this building? And what is it all about?' he asked. The answer came both from U.N. diplomats and U.S. academics, who are blaming the United States for what appears to be a growing revolt at the United Nations on human rights issues. The resolution against Sudan, co-sponsored by the 25-member European Union (EU) and the United States, got only 74 votes compared with 91 votes against. The draft resolution expressed 'grave concern' at some of the continued atrocities in the country's western Darfur region, 'including forced displacement and arbitrary executions, forced disappearances, torture and other degrading punishment.' The United Nations estimates that 70,000 ethnic African villagers in the area have been killed by Arab militias known as "janjaweed" (men on horseback). It says 1.5 million locals have fled the violence, some to neighbouring Chad. The resolution called upon the Government of Sudan as well as other parties to the conflict to stop the atrocities and co- operate fully with the Mission of the African Union and the Mission of the U.N. Special Representative for Sudan. Speaking on behalf of the African Group, the representative of South Africa told delegates Wednesday: 'Our vote is not an attempt to condone human rights violations. It is a vote to counter the double standards (on human rights) by the European Union.' According to Naseer H Aruri, chancellor professor (emeritus) of political science at the University of Massachusetts, ' The United States, it seems, is paying a heavy price for its contemptuous treatment of the United Nations and for its own transgressions of civil liberties, at home and abroad." The rejection of three resolutions condemning human rights violations in Sudan, Belarus and Zimbabwe 'could be the start of a new global challenge to the self-designated U.S. role of chief arbiter and human rights monitor,' Aruri told IPS. Although the General Assembly really represents the will of all 191 member states, the 15-member Security Council has been increasingly taking on the role of final arbiter on issues ranging from war and peace to child soldiers and sexual violence against women. For example, on Monday the United States voted against a resolution condemning mercenaries on the ground that the issue should be within the purview of the Security Council, not a committee of the assembly. But resentment has been growing against this trend because all major decisions at the United Nations are now taken by the five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council: the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia, marginalizing the General Assembly. Danforth told reporters Tuesday the assembly 'is not prepared to speak strongly, not prepared to speak with the same voice that the Security Council had spoken with,' particularly in respect to Sudan. 'And the message from the General Assembly is very simple: 'You may be suffering (in Darfur), but we can't be bothered,' he added. But to Aruri, author of 'Dishonest Broker: The U.S. Role in Israel and Palestine', 'The action by the General Assembly committee highlights a political-cultural divide in a world split between those who insist on the application of the rule of law, peaceful resolution of international disputes and the universality of human rights, on one hand, and those who practise unilateralism, preventive wars and selective standards of human rights, on the other." 'Claims of divine inspiration, reinforced by expansionist designs and driven by an outdated moral mission, are no longer accepted by a broad segment of a divided world that has grown tired of global autocracy and a reincarnation of old-fashioned imperialism,' he added. Francis A. Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law, told IPS, 'Finally, the member states of the U.N. General Assembly are taking a stand against the administration of (U.S. President George W.) Bush and its wanton aggression, war crimes and gross human rights violations all over the world, including here in the United States where they are trying to establish a police state'. The U.N. General Assembly must now invoke its own 'Uniting for Peace Resolution' -- which superseded Security Council action on the crisis in South Korea in 1950 -- against the Bush administration and proceed to sanction it for its international legal nihilism, said Boyle, author of 'Destroying World Order'. 'Otherwise, the United Nations will go the same way the League of Nations did in the late 1930s, when it failed to act against (dictators such as) Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo and Stalin,' he added. But Yvonne Terlingen of rights group Amnesty International said her organisation is 'extremely concerned' that a key committee of the General Assembly should have determined that a human rights situation as grave as that in Sudan 'is not worthy of its consideration.' 'As a global body, the General Assembly must at the very least express its condemnation of human rights abuses committed by all sides to the conflict and make recommendations to stop these abuses,' she added

NYT 30 Nov 2004 Red Cross Finds Detainee Abuse in Guantánamo By NEIL A. LEWIS WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 - The International Committee of the Red Cross has charged in confidential reports to the United States government that the American military has intentionally used psychological and sometimes physical coercion "tantamount to torture" on prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The finding that the handling of prisoners detained and interrogated at Guantánamo amounted to torture came after a visit by a Red Cross inspection team that spent most of last June in Guantánamo. The team of humanitarian workers, which included experienced medical personnel, also asserted that some doctors and other medical workers at Guantánamo were participating in planning for interrogations, in what the report called "a flagrant violation of medical ethics." Doctors and medical personnel conveyed information about prisoners' mental health and vulnerabilities to interrogators, the report said, sometimes directly, but usually through a group called the Behavioral Science Consultation Team, or B.S.C.T. The team, known informally as Biscuit, is composed of psychologists and psychological workers who advise the interrogators, the report said. The United States government, which received the report in July, sharply rejected its charges, administration and military officials said. The report was distributed to lawyers at the White House, Pentagon and State Department and to the commander of the detention facility at Guantánamo, Gen. Jay W. Hood. The New York Times recently obtained a memorandum, based on the report, that quotes from it in detail and lists its major findings. It was the first time that the Red Cross, which has been conducting visits to Guantánamo since January 2002, asserted in such strong terms that the treatment of detainees, both physical and psychological, amounted to torture. The report said that another confidential report in January 2003, which has never been disclosed, raised questions of whether "psychological torture" was taking place. The Red Cross said publicly 13 months ago that the system of keeping detainees indefinitely without allowing them to know their fates was unacceptable and would lead to mental health problems. The report of the June visit said investigators had found a system devised to break the will of the prisoners at Guantánamo, who now number about 550, and make them wholly dependent on their interrogators through "humiliating acts, solitary confinement, temperature extremes, use of forced positions." Investigators said that the methods used were increasingly "more refined and repressive" than learned about on previous visits. "The construction of such a system, whose stated purpose is the production of intelligence, cannot be considered other than an intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form of torture," the report said. It said that in addition to the exposure to loud and persistent noise and music and to prolonged cold, detainees were subjected to "some beatings." The report did not say how many of the detainees were subjected to such treatment. Asked about the accusations in the report, a Pentagon spokesman provided a statement saying, "The United States operates a safe, humane and professional detention operation at Guantánamo that is providing valuable information in the war on terrorism." It continued that personnel assigned to Guantánamo "go through extensive professional and sensitivity training to ensure they understand the procedures for protecting the rights and dignity of detainees." The conclusions by the inspection team, especially the findings involving alleged complicity in mistreatment by medical professionals, have provoked a stormy debate within the Red Cross committee. Some officials have argued that it should make its concerns public or at least aggressively confront the Bush administration. The International Committee of the Red Cross, which is based in Geneva and is separate from the American Red Cross, was founded in 1863 as an independent, neutral organization intended to provide humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war. Its officials are able to visit prisoners at Guantánamo under the kind of arrangement the committee has made with governments for decades. In exchange for exclusive access to the prison camp and meetings with detainees, the committee has agreed to keep its findings confidential. The findings are shared only with the government that is detaining people. Beatricé Mégevand-Roggo, a senior Red Cross official, said in an interview that she could not say anything about information relayed to the United States government because "we do not comment in any way on the substance of the reports we submit to the authorities." Ms. Mégevand-Roggo, the committee's delegate-general for Europe and the Americas, acknowledged that the issue of confidentiality was a chronic and vexing one for the organization. "Many people do not understand why we have these bilateral agreements about confidentiality," she said. "People are led to believe that we are a fig leaf or worse, that we are complicit with the detaining authorities." She added, "It's a daily dilemma for us to put in the balance the positive effects our visits have for detainees against the confidentiality." Antonella Notari, a veteran Red Cross official and spokeswoman, said that the organization frequently complained to the Pentagon and other arms of the American government when government officials cite the Red Cross visits to suggest that there is no abuse at Guantánamo. Most statements from the Pentagon in response to queries about mistreatment at Guantánamo do, in fact, include mention of the visits. In a recent interview with reporters, General Hood, the commander of the detention and interrogation facility at Guantánamo, also cited the committee's visits in response to questions about treatment of detainees. "We take everything the Red Cross gives us and study it very carefully to look for ways to do our job better," he said in his Guantánamo headquarters, adding that he agrees "with some things and not others." "I'm satisfied that the detainees here have not been abused, they've not been mistreated, they've not been tortured in any way," he said. Scott Horton, a New York lawyer, who is familiar with some of the Red Cross's views, said the issue of medical ethics at Guantánamo had produced "a tremendous controversy in the committee." He said that some Red Cross officials believed it was important to maintain confidentiality while others believed the United States government was misrepresenting the inspections and using them to counter criticisms. Mr. Horton, who heads the human rights committee of the Bar Association of the City of New York, said the Red Cross committee was considering whether to bring more senior officials to Washington and whether to make public its criticisms. The report from the June visit said the Red Cross team found a far greater incidence of mental illness produced by stress than did American medical authorities, much of it caused by prolonged solitary confinement. It said the medical files of detainees were "literally open" to interrogators. The report said the Biscuit team met regularly with the medical staff to discuss the medical situations of detainees. At other times, interrogators sometimes went directly to members of the medical staff to learn about detainees' conditions, it said. The report said that such "apparent integration of access to medical care within the system of coercion" meant that inmates were not cooperating with doctors. Inmates learn from their interrogators that they have knowledge of their medical histories and the result is that the prisoners no longer trust the doctors. Asked for a response, the Pentagon issued a statement saying, "The allegation that detainee medical files were used to harm detainees is false." The statement said that the detainees were "enemy combatants who were fighting against U.S. and coalition forces." "It's important to understand that when enemy combatants were first detained on the battlefield, they did not have any medical records in their possession," the statement continued. "The detainees had a wide range of pre-existing health issues including battlefield injuries." The Pentagon also said the medical care given detainees was first-rate. Although the Red Cross criticized the lack of confidentiality, it agreed in the report that the medical care was of high quality. Leonard S. Rubenstein, the executive director of Physicians for Human Rights, was asked to comment on the account of the Red Cross report, and said, "The use of medical personnel to facilitate abusive interrogations places them in an untenable position and violates international ethical standards." Mr. Rubenstein added, "We need to know more about these practices, including whether health professionals engaged in calibrating levels of pain inflicted on detainees." The issue of whether torture at Guantánamo was condoned or encouraged has been a problem before for the Bush administration. In February 2002, President Bush ordered that the prisoners at Guantánamo be treated "humanely and, to the extent appropriate with military necessity, in a manner consistent with" the Geneva Conventions. That statement masked a roiling legal discussion within the administration as government lawyers wrote a series of memorandums, many of which seemed to justify harsh and coercive treatment. A month after Mr. Bush's public statement, a team of administration lawyers accepted a view first advocated by the Justice Department that the president had wide powers in authorizing coercive treatment of detainees. The legal team in a memorandum concluded that Mr. Bush was not bound by either the international Convention Against Torture or a federal antitorture statute because he had the authority to protect the nation from terrorism. That document provides tightly constructed definitions of torture. For example, if an interrogator "knows that severe pain will result from his actions, if causing such harm is not his objective, he lacks the requisite specific intent even though the defendant did not act in good faith," it said. "Instead, a defendant is guilty of torture only if he acts with the express purpose of inflicting severe pain or suffering on a person within his control." When some administration memorandums about coercive treatment or torture were disclosed, the White House said they were only advisory. Last month, military guards, intelligence agents and others described in interviews with The Times a range of procedures that they said were highly abusive occurring over a long period, as well as rewards for prisoners who cooperated with interrogators. The people who worked at Camp Delta, the main prison facility, said that one regular procedure was making uncooperative prisoners strip to their underwear, having them sit in a chair while shackled hand and foot to a bolt in the floor, and forcing them to endure strobe lights and loud rock and rap music played through two close loudspeakers, while the air-conditioning was turned up to maximum levels. Some accounts of techniques at Guantánamo have been easy to dismiss because they seemed so implausible. The most striking of the accusations, which have come mainly from a group of detainees released to their native Britain, has been that the military used prostitutes who made coarse comments and come-ons to taunt some prisoners who are Muslims. But the Red Cross report hints strongly at an explanation of some of those accusations by stating that there were frequent complaints by prisoners in 2003 that some of the female interrogators baited their subjects with sexual overtures. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who commanded the detention and intelligence operation at Guantánamo until April, when he took over prison operations in Iraq, said in an interview early this year about general interrogation procedures that the female interrogators had proved to be among the most effective. General Miller's observation matches common wisdom among experienced intelligence officers that women may be effective as interrogators when seen by their subjects as mothers or sisters. Sexual taunting does not, however, comport with what is often referred to as the "mother-sister syndrome." But the Red Cross report said that complaints about the practice of sexual taunting stopped in the last year. Guantánamo officials have acknowledged that they have improved their techniques and that some earlier methods they tried proved to be ineffective, raising the possibility that the sexual taunting was an experiment that was abandoned.

ICRC 30 Nov 2004 Press Release 04/70 The ICRC's work at Guantanamo Bay Geneva (ICRC) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been regularly visiting the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay since early 2002 for the purpose of monitoring that persons held there are treated in accordance with applicable international laws and standards. It also enables those detained at Guantanamo Bay to remain in contact with their families by means of Red Cross messages. The contents of the ICRC's representations and reports are confidential and for the exclusive attention of the relevant detaining authorities. Therefore, in accordance with its usual policy, the organization will not publicly confirm or deny whether the quotations in the article entitled "Red Cross Finds Detainee Abuse in Guantanamo", which appeared in the New York Times of 30 November, reflect findings reported by the ICRC to the United States authorities regarding the conditions of detention and treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The ICRC uses its exchanges with governments to make clear its concerns and recommendations regarding the situation in places of detention and to demand changes when necessary. Guantanamo Bay is no exception. The ICRC remains convinced that its policy of direct and confidential representations to the detaining authorities best serves the objective of ensuring that the detainees’ treatment meets the standards set by international humanitarian law. This policy has made it possible for the ICRC to have repeated and regular access to those held at Guantanamo Bay and to speak with them in private. The recent creation of the Office of Detainee Affairs in the US Department of Defense has provided a forum in which issues relating to Guantanamo Bay can be discussed in a more timely and systematic manner. Nevertheless, the ICRC remains concerned that significant problems regarding conditions and treatment at Guantanamo Bay have not yet been adequately addressed. The organization will pursue its discussions on these issues with the US authorities. In 2003, the ICRC visited over 2,000 places of detention holding nearly 450,000 persons deprived of their freedom in about 80 countries. For thousands of those detainees, including many at Guantanamo Bay, visits by ICRC delegates constitute their only contact with the outside world.

IPS 29 Nov 2004 U.S.: Neo-Cons Hop On Extreme Right's Anti-UN Drive Jim Lobe WASHINGTON, Nov 29 (IPS) - Daunted by setbacks in Iraq and the prospective difficulties in achieving ''regime change'' in Iran and North Korea, neo-conservative hawks have joined the U.S. extreme right in training their sights on a much weaker target, the United Nations, beginning with its secretary-general, Kofi Annan. Jumping on reports that Annan's son remained on the payroll of a Swiss auditing firm hired by the world body to monitor the implementation of the ''oil-for-food'' programme in Iraq for four years after he left the firm, two prominent neo-conservative voices -- 'New York Times' columnist William Safire and the editorial page of the 'Wall Street Journal' -- called Monday for the secretary-general's resignation. The two columns were immediately seized on by the Rupert Murdoch-owned FoxNews television channel, presumably to draw more attention to the issue. It noted that the 'New York Sun', another Murdoch-owned media outlet, had broken the story about the 2,500-dollar monthly payments by Cotecna Inspections to Kojo Annan that followed his departure from the firm five years ago. Safire, who has been writing for months about alleged U.N. complicity in the skimming by ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein of billions of dollars from Iraqi oil sales under the programme, declared that the latest disclosures marked ''the end of the beginning of the scandal''. ''Its end will not begin until Kofi Annan, even if personally innocent, resigns -- having through initial ineptitude and final obstructionism brought dishonour on the Secretariat of the United Nations'', wrote Safire. At the same time, the Journal's editorial page, which, like Safire, has been playing up the oil-for-food scandal for months, ran a column by right-wing blogger Glenn Harlan Reynolds, publisher of InstaPundit.com, calling for Annan's replacement with the former president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel. Conveniently, Havel now serves as co-chairman of the international wing of the new Committee on the Present Danger (CPD), a neo-conservative-dominated group that believes the Bush administration's ''war on terrorism'' is the equivalent of ''World War IV''. ''The U.N. is losing what shreds of moral legitimacy remain, even among those who were once sympathetic, as the extent of its corruption becomes too obvious to ignore'', wrote Reynolds, noting growing discussion about replacing or supplementing the world body with a ''community of democracies'' ''that would draw its support from legitimate governments, not thugs and kleptocrats''. The two columns appear to be the latest in a campaign to discredit the United Nations that has been building steadily in neo-conservative and far-right circles here since the United States and Britain invaded Iraq in March 2003 without the Security Council's blessing. Indeed, on the day of the invasion Richard Perle, a leading neo-conservative and former chairman of the Pentagon Defence Policy Board (DPB), wrote a column in London's 'The Guardian' that celebrated the death of ''the fantasy of the U.N. as the foundation of a new world order''. Relying on the Security Council to ensure world order and international law, Perle wrote, was a ''dangerously wrong idea that leads inexorably to handing great moral and even existential politico-military decisions, to the likes of Syria, Cameroon, Angola, Russia, China and France''. On just the second day of the invasion, the Journal, which has long espoused the idea of what it calls a ''league of democratic nations'' to replace the U.N., wrote a column entitled ''Au Revoir, Security Council'' that called for the U.S. to leave the body in order to ''strip (it) of the pretence of legality and seriousness and remove it as an obstacle to genuine collective security''. In the same vein, neo-conservatives and the extreme right continued to warn against giving the U.N. any responsibility for running Iraq during and after the occupation, even as it became clear that without greater international participation, the burden on the U.S. military and treasury was fast becoming too much. It was during George W Bush's re-election campaign in September, however, when Annan said in reply to a reporter's question that the invasion had been ''illegal'' under the U.N. Charter, that the anti-U.N. campaign became both more personalised and fiercer. 'Kofi Votes Kerry', ran one column in the Journal by former U.S. Defence Secretary Caspar Weinberger, while another, by the editorial staff, suggested the secretary-general might have been trying to divert attention from the U.S. Congress' probes of the oil-for-food programme. Since then, the op-eds and essays in right wing and neo-conservative media, such as the Murdoch-owned 'Weekly Standard' and the 'National Review', have been coming fast and furious. In addition to the alleged corruption of U.N. officials in the oil-for-food programme, and the refusal to comply with demands to hand over documents on the programme to congressional investigators -- the U.N. is conducting its own investigation headed by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker -- these articles have made much of various issues. They include the world body's failure to intervene forcefully to stop what the U.S. government has called ''genocide'' in Darfur, Sudan; Libya's chairmanship of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights; continuing Security Council resolutions censoring Israel's behaviour in the Palestinian territories as evidence of its moral bankruptcy; and Annan's caution against a major military offensive in Fallujah. The suggested remedies have been varied -- from leaving the U.N. altogether, to creating a community of democracies body as an alternative, to withholding or reducing the U.S. contribution to the U.N. budget -- as Washington did beginning in the late 1980s through much of the 1990s -- in order to impose certain changes to its liking. Washington currently is obliged to contribute 22 percent of U.N. financing. ''President Bush has a mandate to rethink American relations with the United Nations'', wrote Anne Bayefsky, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, another neo-conservative think tank, in the 'National Review' Online just after the election. ''The campaign'', she went on, ''smoked out something more sinister than impotence or ineptitude at Turtle Bay; namely, a U.N. secretariat dedicated to undermining the president's success''. Of course, right-wing hostility to the U.N. is not new. The extreme right in the United States has sought Washington's withdrawal from the world body -- and the U.N.'s departure from U.S. territory -- from its very birth, believing it to have been a plot by communists, socialists, and, in some versions, Jews and Freemasons, to create a world government that would destroy U.S. sovereignty and the freedom of its citizens, beginning with their right to bear arms. Neo-conservatives began moving against the United Nations after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and accelerated that after the 1973 October war, when Israel found itself repeatedly isolated and assailed in the General Assembly and the Security Council by the Soviet bloc and the Third World countries in the Non-Aligned Movement. In reaction, U.N.-bashing became a staple of 'Commentary magazine', a monthly that has been the major exponent of neo-conservative thought, in the late 1960s. Just last month, for example, it published a seven-page essay by Joshua Muravchik, a colleague of Richard Perle's at the American Enterprise Institute, entitled 'The Case Against the U.N'. The article, which castigates the organisation above all for its ''overweening animus toward Israel'' and ''the U.N.'s complicity in legitimising terrorism'', concluded that the threat or use of U.S. military power over the past 60 years has been far more effective at safeguarding ''international peace and security'' than the Security Council.

www.dw-world.de 30 Nov 2004 Rumsfeld Sued for Alleged War Crimes Rumsfeld has not felt a need to take the blame for Abu Ghraib Alleging responsibility for war crimes and torture at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison, a human rights group has filed a criminal complaint in Germany against US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other top US officials. The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and Berlin's Republican Lawyers' Association said they and five Iraqi citizens mistreated by US soldiers were seeking a probe by German federal prosecutors of leading US policymakers. They said they had chosen Germany because of its Code of Crimes Against International Law, introduced in 2002, which grants German courts universal jurisdiction in cases involving war crimes or crimes against humanity. It also makes military or civilian commanders who fail to prevent their subordinates from committing such acts liable. "No other place to go" "We filed these cases here because there is simply no other place to go," CCR vice president Peter Weiss said in a statement, adding that the US Congress had "failed" to seriously investigate the abuses. "It is clear that the US government is not willing to open an investigation into these allegations against these officials." The Center for Constitutional Rights noted that while several US soldiers were facing court martial for the abuse and sexual humiliation of prisoners at the US-run Abu Ghraib detention center in Iraq, their superiors looked set to escape discipline. The complaint names Rumsfeld, former CIA director George Tenet, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Steven Cambone, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, Brigadier General Janis L. Karpinski and other military officers who served in Iraq. Five victims part of the case "From Donald Rumsfeld on down, the political and military leaders in charge of Iraq policy must be investigated and held accountable," CCR president Michael Ratner said in a statement issued in Frankfurt, Germany. The CCR said that the five Iraqis it was representing had been victims of mistreatment including electric shock, severe beatings, sleep and food deprivation and sexual abuse. It noted that Sanchez and other officers involved in the case were based in Germany. Germany's federal prosecutor now has to decide whether the case warrants further investigation. DW staff/AFP (win) Center For Constitutional Rights www.ccr-ny.org

phoenix.swarthmore.edu 2 Dec 2004 ["Swarthmore Collge's Online Student Newspaper"] Students start fund to combat Sudan genocide BY CHRISTINA TEMES As the genocide in Darfur, Sudan rages on, Swarthmore students are raising money for the Genocide Intervention Fund, a private fund that would support peacekeepers in the region, as well as any future costs for genocide intervention. The fund, created by Mark Hanis ’05 and Andrew Sniderman ’06, will provide financial assistance to African Union troops who currently lack the resources to carry out their mandate of protecting civilians, securing delivery of humanitarian aid, and monitoring a tenuous cease-fire in the region. “These soldiers are willing and ready to go but are unable to get to Sudan and be effective without financial and logistical support,” according to “Creating a Genocide Intervention Fund,” an informational pamphlet distributed by the organizers. Organizers hope to raise $4 million by February to meet the budget shortage of the AU, according to the fund’s outreach coordinator Cara Angelotta ’05. Hanis and Sniderman hope to secure an AU endorsement by Friday and to set up a bank account within the next two weeks. Because the details have not been finalized as of press time, organizers did not know how the money will be spent, but emphasized that they will provide donors with details of what their contributions will purchase once more information is available. “We do know it will be spent on helping the AU stop genocide,” Sniderman said. “We do know that Colin Powell has said the single best short-term way to contribute is by supporting the AU.” The fund has already received support from former senior officials, including the former secretary to the National Security Council under Ronald Reagan, seven-term Congressman Howard Wolpe and Gayle Smith, a former director of African affairs on the National Security Council and current senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, according to Hanis. To solicit enough funds, organizers are reaching out to alumni, colleges and universities, faith communities, the media, as well as non-governmental organization such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Other potential sources include philanthropists such as George Soros and Peter Lewis. So far, Hanis and Sniderman have successfully enlisted the college’s help in their outreach efforts. The Alumni Relations Office has agreed to include information about the fund in its e-newsletter, which is sent out to around 10,000 alumni. In addition, it has also put the fund’s organizers in touch with alumni in positions of power, according to Hanis and Sniderman. For the college community, Hanis has set up a genocide information page on Blackboard, and hopes students will help out in any way they can. “We want and need their support,” he said. “Our only real yardstick for measuring success will be effecting real change on the ground,” Sniderman added. Additional reporting by Sue Chen

http://www.kwtx.com/home/headlines/1113762.html 2 Dec 2004 Violent Attacks On Students In Schools Decline, Report Says A report released jointly Tuesday by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice shows a 50 percent decline in violent crime against students in school between 1992 and 2002. The reduction mirrors the trend outside classrooms where overall crime is at a 30-year low nationwide. The report finds that cases of school violence involving students have dropped steadily since the 1999 Columbine High School massacre and other fatal shootings in the late 90s. Experts say that's because schools are focusing more on safety, with metal detectors, security guards and programs to curb bullying. "This report shows that over the past ten years or so that violent incidents among teenagers have declined in our schools, as have the number of students who bring weapons to school,” said Deborah Price, deputy under secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. Click Here For The Full Report KEY FINDINGS: (Source: U.S. Department of Education) Between 1992 and 2002, the total crime rate for students ages 12 to 18, as well as rates of theft, violent crimes (including serious violent crimes and simple assault), and serious violent crimes (including rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault) declined. Between 1993 and 2003, the percentage of students in grades 9-12 who reported being in a fight on school property declined from 16 percent to 13 percent. In 2003, 7 percent of students ages 12 to 18 reported that they had been bullied at school. The percentage of students in this age range who had been bullied increased from 5 percent in 1999 to 8 percent in 2001, but no difference was detected between 2001 and 2003. Between 1993 and 2003, the percentage of students in grades 9-12 who reported carrying a weapon such as a gun, knife, or club on school property within the previous 30 days dropped by half, from 12 percent to 6 percent. In 2003, 12 percent of students ages 12-18 reported that someone at school had used hate-related words against them (i.e., derogatory words related to race, religion, ethnicity, disability, gender, or sexual orientation). During the same period, about 36 percent of students ages 12 and 18 saw hate-related graffiti at school. Twenty-one percent of students ages 12 and 18 reported that street gangs were present at their schools in 2003. Students in urban schools were the most likely to report the presence of street gangs at their school (31 percent), followed by suburban students and rural students (18 and 12 percent, respectively). In 2003, students in grades 9-12 were asked about using drugs on school property. In the 30 days prior to the survey, 5 percent of students reported having at least one drink of alcohol on school property and 6 percent reported using marijuana. Every year from 1998 to 2002, teachers were the victims of approximately 234,000 total nonfatal crimes at school, including 144,000 thefts and 90,000 violent crimes. On average, these figures translate into a rate of 32 thefts, 20 violent crimes, and 2 serious violent crimes per 1,000 teachers annually. Click Here For Department Of Justice Web Site Click Here For Department Of Education Web Site http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2005002

washingtontimes.com/op-ed/ 1 Dec 2004 'Mired in a religious war' By Sam Harris Perhaps it is time we thought the unthinkable about Iraq. Perhaps it is time we considered the possibility that we will break everything we touch in that country — or everything we touch will break itself. However mixed or misguided our intentions were in launching this war, we are attempting, at considerable cost to ourselves, to improve life for the Iraqi people. Despite the numbers of Iraqi dead and the travesty of Abu Ghraib, the Iraqi insurgents know that we did not come to their country to rape their women or to kill innocent civilians. Every thinking person in the Muslim world understands that if our goal had been to kill Iraqis and steal their oil, millions of Iraqis would now be dead and their oil would be flowing. The terrible truth about our predicament in Iraq is that even if we had invaded with no other purpose than to remove Saddam Hussein from power and make Iraq a paradise on Earth, we should still expect tomorrow's paper to reveal that another jihadi has blown himself to bits for the sake of killing scores of innocent men, women and children. The Iraqi people have been traumatized by this war and by decades of repression. But this does not explain the type of violence they wage against us on a daily basis. War and repression do not account for suicidal violence directed against the Red Cross, the United Nations, foreign workers and Iraqi innocents. War and repression would not have attracted an influx of foreign fighters willing to sacrifice their lives merely to sow chaos. We are now mired in a religious war in Iraq, and elsewhere. Our enemies, as witnessed by their astonishing willingness to slaughter themselves, are not principally motivated by political or economic grievances. Anyone who imagines that terrestrial concerns account for terrorism by Muslims must explain why there are no Palestinian Christian suicide bombers. They, too, suffer the ordeal of the Israeli occupation. Where are the Tibetan Buddhist suicide bombers for that matter? The Tibetans have suffered an occupation far more brutal than any we or the Israelis have imposed on the Muslim world. The truth that we must finally confront is that Islam contains specific doctrines about martyrdom and jihad that directly inspire Muslim terrorism. Unless the world's Muslims can find some way of expunging the metaphysics that is fast turning their religion into a cult of death, we will ultimately face the same perversely destructive behavior throughout much of the world. Wherever these events occur, we will find Muslims tending to side with other Muslims, no matter how sociopathic their behavior. It is time we admitted that we are not at war with "terrorism." We are at war with Islam. This is not to say that we are at war with all Muslims, but we are absolutely at war with the vision of life that is prescribed to all Muslims in the Koran. The only reason Muslim fundamentalism is a threat to us is because the fundamentals of Islam are a threat to us. Every American should read the Koran and discover the relentlessness with which non-Muslims are vilified in its pages. The idea that Islam is a "peaceful religion hijacked by extremists" is a dangerous fantasy — and it is now a particularly dangerous fantasy for Muslims to indulge. It should be of particular concern to us that the beliefs of devout Muslims pose a special problem for nuclear deterrence. There is, after all, little possibility of our having a cold war with an Islamist regime armed with long-range nuclear weapons. A cold war requires that the parties be mutually deterred by the threat of death. Notions of martyrdom and jihad run roughshod over the logic that allowed the United States and the Soviet Union to pass half a century perched, more or less stably, on the brink of Armageddon. We must come to terms with the possibility that men who are every bit as zealous to die as the September 11 hijackers may one day get their hands on long-range nuclear weaponry. It is not at all clear how we should proceed in our dialogue with the Muslim world. But deluding ourselves with euphemisms is not the answer. Our press should report on the terrifying state of discourse in the Arab press, exposing the degree to which it is a tissue of lies, conspiracy theories and exhortations to recapture the glories of the 7th century. All civilized nations must unite in condemnation of a theology that now threatens to destabilize much of the Earth. Muslim moderates, wherever they are, must be given every tool necessary to win a war of ideas with their coreligionists. Otherwise, we will have to win some very terrible wars in the future. Sam Harris is the author of "The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason."

www.onthemedia.org 3 Dec 2004 All You Need Is Hate December 3, 2004 BROOKE GLADSTONE: This fall, Panzerfaust Records embarked on a venture called Project Schoolyard. It's basically a distribution effort for hate music. Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, Panzerfaust is, according to Newsweek magazine, "one of the top 'white power' record labels in the country." Through methods as simple as direct mail and handing out CDs to kids filing off the school bus, Project Schoolyard aims to hand out 100,000 CDs to kids who may not even realize what they're being handed. BOB GARFIELD: Or what they are listening to, once they pop it in. The CD, called Sampler Volume 1, purposely contains some of the more tame material that the label offers. This way the kids will be drawn in by the guitar licks and the beat without necessarily hearing what the lyrics are actually saying. The goal? Well, the website says, quote, "We don't just entertain racist kids. We make them." Alana Stern from the Anti-Defamation League says: ALANA STERN: This is the first step in trying to attract young people, and then obviously when they take, when kids take -- if kids take the bait - it'll get deeper and deeper and more hardcore. This is a recruitment tool, but a very well-organized recruitment tool. BROOKE GLADSTONE: According to the Panzerfaust website, Project Schoolyard originated in Germany, where it met with an all out effort by government officials to stop it dead. According to the website, police contacted every single school in Germany, warning them to look out for volunteers passing out the CDs. In the end, Project Schoolyard Germany was basically a failure. But then it hopped the pond, and here its freedom of expression is protected by the First Amendment. BOB GARFIELD: Minnesota Public Radio reporter Jeff Horwich profiled Panzerfaust Records last spring, before Project Schoolyard hit the heartland this fall. JEFF HORWICH: White power music doesn't have its own awards show or an aisle in most record stores. But it's out there. Bands like Brutal Attack, White Wash and Rebel Hell. Some songs celebrate white racial pride. Others glorify beating and killing minorities. Some call for a global war among the races. The industry does not publicize sales figures, but the nation's 50 or so white power music labels will sell hundreds of thousands of CDs this year. St. Paul's Panzerfaust Records is one of the biggest of those labels -- the very biggest, according to the company itself. The label is named after a Nazi anti-tank weapon. It arose in 1997 from an active twin cities skinhead music scene centered around one nationally prominent band called Bound for Glory. BOUND FOR GLORY: [SINGING] TO THE LAND OF THE FREE, TO INSANITY, TO THE HOME OF THE BRAVE, IT'S A [KILLING THAT'S RIGHT] JEFF HORWICH: As it grew, Panzerfaust literally helped to put Minnesota on the map -- the map of national hate groups put out by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The two men who run Panzerfaust make the Center's list of 40 figures who are the future of what it calls the radical right -- a category that spans neo-Nazis, Klansmen and Confederate pride groups. One of those two men is Byron Calvert, who agreed to meet in a St. Paul park while his [CHILDREN PLAYING BACKGROUND] wife watched their three kids on the playground. Calvert has been in and out of Minnesota since falling in with the skinhead scene here 16 years ago. Last year, he left Panzerfaust's major competitor, Resistance Records. Calvert has a history as vivid as the tattoos and scars over his massive upper body. But that image belies what even his enemies say is a genuine talent for business. BYRON CALVERT: Panzerfaust is kind of known more as a skinhead label as far as its run by skinheads, and it runs from country to folk to rock & roll to just traditional British working class type music. We've got everything from the really hardcore, blatantly, openly racist white power type of music. You've got a lot of stuff that's more subtle. ROCK BAND: [SINGING] STAND ONE STAND ALL STAND UP STAND PROUD AND RAISE THE WHITE MAN'S FLAG CAUSE I'M FOR YOU, AND YOU'RE FOR ME, AND UNITY IS WHAT WE HAVE... BYRON CALVERT: These days, the, the people that are moving into our, our circles are so musically talented, and there's literally thousands of pro-white -- what would be considered, loosely, pro-white or white power bands -- on the planet. You know, there's Czech bands, there's Italian bands. You've got Valkyria, and you've got Saga, who are female Swedish folk tunes. [CLIP OF WOMAN SINGING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] DEVON BURKHARDT: Panzerfaust sells a multitude of different musical genres. That's part of the strategy. JEFF HORWICH: This is Devon Burkhardt. He runs Turn It Down, an educational and marketing campaign against white power music. DEVON BURKHARDT: The strategy is to reach in to different youth music subcultures and try to find a base. That's why they have such a wide variety of acts and artists, so they can appeal to a larger group. Listening to this stuff 10, 15 years ago, there has been a pretty marked change, actually, in terms of the quality of production, musicianship and in terms of the variety in which they market it. So, you know, they're definitely learning the craft. Now it can't be easily dismissed as just crappy punk rock. [CLIP OF ROCK MUSIC] BRYON CALVERT: Panzerfaust always had good customer relations. We turn around, and we send orders out the next day. They've always given away tons of free goodies to kids. If there was ever a question with an order, you know, we'd re-send it and that kind of stuff. But, you know, I like to go to the library and read books on marketing, and stickers and literature. You know, we just jam as much stuff into a package as we can. Those kids, they know who in their school or which one of their relatives or you know, their co-workers or whatever, and they actually, you know, spread the word for us. It is growing. We've got thousands of customers in, in over 40 different countries. But as far as what we do on a daily basis, we don't really get into that. But I will say that it's, over the last couple of years, it's probably doubled. DEVON BURKHARDT: White power music has not only become the single number one recruiting tool, bringing people into the movement. It's also become a multi-million dollar a year international enterprise. Panzerfaust in particular spends most of their time funneling the money back into the movement to fund concerts and events and literature. BYRON CALVERT: We're probably the only genre of music that I've heard of that really couldn't give two shi-- couldn't give a damn if somebody came along and wanted to bootleg or, or do free downloads of a million of our songs. It would just save us the time and trouble and hassle, you know? I mean it's going to get the music to more kids. ROCK BAND: [SINGING] NEVER BACK DOWN FROM THE REDS AND THE BLACKS, [INDECIPHERABLE] . . . DEVON BURKHARDT: Many of the folks who helped found Panzerfaust were at one time or continue to be members of the Hammerskin Nation, which is a violent confederation of neo-Nazi skinheads around the country. They have a whole string of murders, assaults and other crimes going back to the 1980s. BYRON CALVERT: When you hear people say well, by, by gosh --you guys are associated with violence. That's just nuts. I can tell you for a fact that I have never once in my life attacked anybody because of their race. I've never done it. Obviously, we don't suggest to kids that they listen to the CD and go out and do the stuff that's on the CD any more than the people that produced Grand Theft Auto III are sued or held responsible for the, the rate of car thefts in the cities in America. You know, it's entertainment. My kid's 4 years old. He watches Three Stooges, and he hasn't yet poked out his brother's eye. You know what I mean? BAND: [SINGING] MUSICIANS READY FOR VIOLENCE, LET'S HEAR A LOUD-- [GROUP SHOUTS] TO ALL DOESN'T SUPPORT US, [INDECIPHERABLE] IN THE ROOM THAT WE PRACTICE, THE PIGS WILL PAY [INDECIPHERABLE]. . . DEVON BURKHARDT: We're talking about lyrics which include things like -- you know, calls for violence against African-Americans, gays and lesbians, Jewish folks and others in explicitly racist and anti-Semitic terms, and it is some of the harshest, most vile language you can imagine. BAND: [SINGING] WE STAND PROUD! BYRON CALVERT: The rap industry is a multi-billion dollar industry where they sing expressly about hurting white people, and, and I don't see anybody calling them to question, making them justify, you know, why. DEVON BURKHARDT: We certainly agree that they've got a free speech right to sing whatever they want to sing. We think it's also therefore important that those of us who are concerned about it, and there are many, use our First resp--Amendment obligation to speak out against it. ROCK BAND: [INDECIPHERABLE SINGING] BYRON CALVERT: Eminem and Kid Rock are not the only working class white kids who ha-- who, whose experience is a story that, that needs to be told, you know, there's a lot of other kids. Our customers here in Minnesota, if you saw 'em, you probably wouldn't know it. I mean it's, it's high school kids. It's girls in the suburb. I probably do over a, a hundred emails a day, and it's just, it's just nuts how many emails I get that are your average 14 or 15 year old kid that came across us by doing a internet search or because he saw a sticker or some friends of his told him about the label. And they go, and they actually read the literature, they read the articles, they listen to the MP3s, they watch the videos, they see what it is we're saying. And it's like they just soak it up. [MUSIC] BROOKE GLADSTONE: Jeff Horwich produced that report for Minnesota Public Radio [MUSIC] BAND: [SINGING] YOUR EYES ARE CRYSTAL BLUE, LIKE THE GREAT OCEAN. SO IMMENSELY DEEP AND TRUE, THAT YOU COULD ALMOST DROWN. AND YOUR HAIR IS GOLDEN BLONDE, LIKE A RIPENED FIELD OF WHEAT SHINING BRIGHTLY PURE AND TRUE, WHEN THE SUN FALLS ON IT. YOU ARE MY ARYAN CHILD [INDECIPHERABLE] YOU ARE MY ARYAN CHILD... BOB GARFIELD: That's it for this week's show. On the Media was directed by Katya Rogers and produced by Megan Ryan, Tony Field, Jamie York, and Mike Vuolo, [MUSIC UNDER] and edited-- by Brooke. Dylan Keefe is our technical director, and Jennifer Munson our engineer. We had help from Anne Kosseff. Our webmaster is Amy Pearl. BROOKE GLADSTONE: Arun Rath is our senior producer and Dean Cappello our executive producer. Bassist/composer Ben Allison wrote our theme. You can listen to the program and get free transcripts and MP3 downloads at onthemedia.org, and email us at onthemedia@WNYC.org. This is On the Media, from NPR. I'm Brooke Gladstone. BOB GARFIELD: And I'm Bob Garfield. [THEME MUSIC TAG] copyright 2004 WNYC Radio

washingtonpost.com 4 Dec 2004 In Brief In Brief Saturday, December 4, 2004; Page B09 Concert to Benefit Darfur Region About 30 Washington area Jewish congregations have joined an Islamic center and a half-dozen churches in sponsoring a benefit concert tonight to raise awareness of the mass killings in Sudan's Darfur region. "Stop the Genocide: Drumming and Voices for Peace and Justice in Darfur, Sudan" is the title of the 8 p.m. concert to be held in the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in Northwest Washington. The program will include performances by the Turner Memorial AME Church Choir, Calliope and Zemer Chai. "The situation in Darfur has resonated deeply with Jews around the world because, given Jewish history and the last 100 years, when we say, 'Never again,' we mean anywhere in the world for any people," said Craig Sumberg, chairman of the social action committee of Bethesda's Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation, a concert organizer. Proceeds will go to American Jewish World Service and Doctors Without Borders. The two organizations are providing relief to victims of the nearly two-year-long conflict in Darfur, where Sudanese government-supported militias have been driving the local population from their villages. Tickets are $18 and will be available at the door. 301-767-3333.

Harvard Crimson, MA 7 Dec 2004 Wiesel Urges Education To Combat Fanaticism By NATALIE L. SHERMAN Contributing Writer Elie Wiesel, who won the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize for his writings on the Holocaust, spoke last night about the need to combat religious fanaticism through education to a packed crowd in Memorial Church. “The threat to the future of the world has a name and it’s fanaticism,” said Wiesel, who is the Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University. In his introductory remarks, University President Lawrence H. Summers said that it was “high time” that Wiesel spoke to the entire Harvard community and praised the author’s writings, which Summers said help individuals “find the courage to stand up for what is right everywhere.” Wiesel is the author of almost three dozen books. His first, Night, was published in English in 1960 and is a fictional story of a young boy suffering in a concentration camp. He has also written two memoirs, All Rivers Run to the Sea and And the Sea is Never Full. Wiesel condemned the rise of religious fanaticism, and said he was an advcate of non-violence. The education of potential radicals, he said, is the best way to fight this threat. But in his opening remarks, Wiesel also questioned the degree to which education alone could fight indifference. He noted that some of his darkest days following World War Two, when he was imprisoned in Buchenwald and Auschwitz, had come when he learned that the majority of killers possessed college degrees. “Wasn’t culture meant to be a shield?” he asked. “What is culture, what is civilization? It’s meant to be a limit.” Opting for a conversational instead of a lecture format, Wiesel only spoke for about 10 minutes before fielding a range of questions from the audience. Many of the questions asked concerned current events, like the crises in Darfur and Chechnya. But Wiesel cautioned the audience against using controversial terms like genocide, Holocaust or anti-Semitic lightly. “I believe in words and not to use them just like that,” he said. “If it’s genocide the whole world has to intervene.” Indeed, while responding to questions about genocides in Sudan, Armenia and Chechnya, Wiesel shied away from the term, preferring to call it “mass murder.” The question and answer session was cut short due to time constraints, but no one raised questions about either the Israel-Palestine conflict or the American occupation of Iraq. Wiesel was questioned, however, about his ability to maintain his faith. “God and I have our problems,” he siad. “In Night I said some harsh things, but I never divorced God. I was ready to be an orphan...but not a divorce.” Wiesel also said that he tried to include at least one element of hope in all his writings. When asked how the lessons of the Holocaust would be maintained in the face of time, Wiesel said that he believed his role was “to be a witness, not a judge, and he who listens to a witness becomes a witness.” After the almost 90-minute talk, Bernard Steinberg, the executive director of Harvard Hillel, which sponsored the event, called Weisel “one of the great moral voices of his generation.” “He is...a man profoundly grounded in the Jewish tradition who is interested in the well-being of the world as a whole,” he said. President of Hillel Anna M. Solomon-Schwartz ’06 said she had been inspired by the author’s remarks. “I think his message of passion and political action is the most important lesson we can learn from him,” she said.

www.newyorker.com/talk 13 Dec 2004 Philip Gourevitch COMMENT POWER PLAYS Issue of 2004-12-13 Posted 2004-12-06 The air of corruption that clouds the United Nations these days cannot simply be fanned away by forcing the resignation of Kofi Annan as Secretary-General, as a growing number of prominent Republicans have been urging. Their pretext is the accumulating allegations of complicity of U.N. officials in scams that transformed the oil-for-food program in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq into a racketeering enterprise whose single greatest beneficiary—to the tune of twenty billion dollars—was the tyrant himself. Last week, Annan was obliged to admit that his son Kojo had “disappointed” him by taking payments from a Swiss firm that the U.N. had hired to monitor Iraq’s imports while under U.N. sanctions. And the Secretary-General has also been called on to answer complaints of widespread sexual abuse by U.N. peacekeepers in the field and accusations from the U.N. employees’ union of a lackadaisical attitude toward sexual harassment by U.N. officials. Annan bristles at the insinuations of corruption in his ranks, but, in truth, his tenure was tainted from the beginning. In the mid-nineties, when he was head of peacekeeping, he presided over catastrophically failed missions in Bosnia and in Rwanda, where he ignored detailed warnings of genocide, then watched them come true, while the world did nothing to stop it. Those world leaders who later hailed him as a moral exemplar at best ignored that history, at worst regarded it as a kind of credential: since Annan was a compromised figure, they did not have to fear his censure. In theory, Annan’s departure at this point could create an opportunity for institutional revival. But the pervasive suspicion at U.N. headquarters is that President Bush, who flaunted his contempt for the Geneva convention by nominating as his attorney general the lawyer he employed to find a legal justification for torture, is looking not to revive the world body but to retire it. In Nova Scotia last week, Bush announced that “building effective multinational and multilateral institutions, and supporting effective multilateral action” would be the foremost foreign-policy goals of his second term. But the olive branch he held out to the Canadians and the rest of America’s erstwhile allies was purely rhetorical. The President made it clear that he still believes that other countries should multilaterally fall in line behind his unilateral decisions. In his view, America didn’t fail to win the U.N.’s support for the war in Iraq; the U.N. failed to support America. And just as Annan calls the war illegal, Bush calls the U.N.’s withholding of support a refusal to enforce the law of its anti-Saddam resolutions. In this respect, the oil-for-food scandal, in which French and Russian notables (as well as some Texans) are also allegedly implicated, serves the Administration’s defensive assault on the U.N. Never mind that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction and posed no threat to us; while Bush was in Nova Scotia, Norm Coleman, Republican of Minnesota, who is in charge of a Senate investigation into the oil-for-food program, called for Annan’s resignation in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, arguing, essentially, that it had been necessary to go to war in Iraq simply to bring an end to the U.N.’s role as Saddam’s enabler. (The war, it now seems, was neither preëmptive nor preventive but punitive, and Annan was among those who needed punishing.) Annan has appointed an independent investigator—the former Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker—but the more the Bush Administration guns for him the more the rest of the U.N.’s member states rally to his side. It is worth remembering that Annan owes his position as Secretary-General to a similar White House power play. In 1996, the Clinton Administration, tired of resistance from Annan’s predecessor, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, maneuvered Annan into the job because, as the first career U.N. bureaucrat ever to rise to the top of the organization, he was assumed to be a company man, not a maverick. That assumption was not wholly mistaken. It took the Bush Administration’s radical hostility to international law and diplomacy to spark an equal animosity in Annan, whose distaste for the continuously escalating war in Iraq is, of course, shared by a majority of the U.N.’s members. Such is the grim state of the international divide: the sole superpower has alienated itself from the rest of the world and made the need for a functional U.N. more apparent than ever, even as the U.N.’s authority has been undermined by the same sort of insularity and lack of accountability that has diminished America’s standing as a world leader. Last week, Annan released a set of proposals, put forward by a commission of senior international statesmen, for a systematic overhaul of the U.N. bureaucracy and an updating of international law—a blueprint for adapting the organization to the new century. The document stirred excitement in U.N. circles, not only because it sharply reproved the Bush Administration’s unilateral use of force but also because it raised the possibility of expanding the Security Council, from fifteen seats to twenty-four, and endorsed redefining the limits of national sovereignty to make international intervention legal in instances of genocide—“the Rwanda never again clause,” a British diplomat called it. Yet nothing in the proposals promises to alter the chronic dysfunctions of the system. The proposed new permanent seats on the Security Council don’t carry the power of veto that gave the victorious Allies of the Second World War the exclusive clout they still enjoy. And the U.N.’s withdrawal from Rwanda during the slaughter was due not to insufficient laws but to a complete lack of will among the member states to deal with it. No law can change that. No reform can create a community of nations where none exists. Just before Thanksgiving, John Danforth, the United States Ambassador to the U.N., expressed his frustration with the organization, but he didn’t talk about Iraq, or oil-for-food, or Security Council politics, or the deployment of force, or institutional reform. Instead, he lamented the General Assembly’s refusal to condemn abuses against the people of the Darfur region of Sudan, where the Bush Administration has determined that genocide is under way. Nobody in the hall wanted to be bothered, and Danforth asked, “Why have this building? What is it all about?” As it happened, Danforth, who has served only six months at the U.N., had sent his letter of resignation to the White House the day before, and his blunt outburst suggested that he knew the answers to his questions all too well. We have the U.N. and keep trying to make it work because we would be even worse off without it. — Philip Gourevitch

www.thenation.com 27 Dec 2004 Kissinger's Shadow Over the Council on Foreign Relations by SCOTT SHERMAN [from the December 27, 2004 issue] Last year Kenneth Maxwell, a soft-spoken 63-year-old historian of Latin America, published a review of Peter Kornbluh's The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability in the November/December 2003 issue of Foreign Affairs, the influential journal of the Council on Foreign Relations. As The Nation reported in June [see Sherman, "The Maxwell Affair," June 21], Maxwell's essay enraged two former statesmen with deep connections to the council--Henry Kissinger and his longtime associate, William Rogers. Indeed, Maxwell was soon confiding to close friends, "I have clearly trodden on the tail of a very nasty snake here." On May 13 Maxwell resigned from the council, where for fifteen years he had served as the chief Latin Americanist, and from Foreign Affairs, where he was the Western Hemisphere book reviewer, a perch from which he had published more than 300 reviews. What triggered Maxwell's resignation was a smoldering exchange with Rogers in Foreign Affairs--an exchange, Maxwell insists, that was abruptly curtailed after Kissinger applied direct and indirect pressure on the editor of the journal, James Hoge. "The Council's current relationship with Mr. Kissinger," Maxwell wrote in his resignation letter to Hoge, "evidently comes at the cost of suppressing debate about his actions as a public figure. This I want no part of." Now, after months of silence about that suppressed debate, Maxwell has emerged with a 13,000-word essay about the affair, "The Case of the Missing Letter in Foreign Affairs." His treatise, which is based on e-mail correspondence and a detailed personal diary he kept throughout the controversy, has been published as a heavily footnoted working paper by the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University, where Maxwell is currently a senior fellow and visiting professor of history. (The paper can be viewed at the center's website, drclas.fas.harvard.edu.) "The Case of the Missing Letter" is a riveting account of a row that has generated headlines throughout Latin America; it is also an unprecedented X-ray of power politics, cronyism and hubris inside the country's pre-eminent foreign policy think tank. That Maxwell's document should carry the imprimatur of the Rockefeller Center at Harvard is an exquisite coincidence, since David Rockefeller himself was chairman of the council's board from 1970 to 1985. Maxwell's review of Kornbluh's book, "The Other 9/11: The United States and Chile, 1973," was not a fiery polemic but a measured assessment of US intervention in Chile in the early 1970s. Leslie Gelb, who was president of the council from 1993 to 2003, told Maxwell that he read it three times and felt that, politically, it was "straight down the middle." Halfway through the piece, Maxwell criticized the Nixon-era policy-makers--primarily Kissinger--who contributed to the toppling of Chilean president Salvador Allende. "What is truly remarkable," he wrote, "is the effort...to bring a Latin American democracy down, and the meager efforts since to build democracy back up." Kissinger, who has been affiliated with the council off and on since 1955, and Rogers, who served three terms on its board of directors, reacted swiftly to an essay that might have otherwise generated little notice on its own. Rogers, who worked with Kissinger at the State Department and is currently vice chair of Kissinger Associates, dispatched a furious letter to Foreign Affairs, which appeared in the January/February 2004 issue. "The myth that the United States toppled President Salvador Allende of Chile in 1973 lives," Rogers wrote. "There is...no smoking gun. Yet the myth persists." Rogers also endeavored to minimize Kissinger's involvement in two highly controversial matters that figure prominently in Kornbluh's book: the murder of Chilean Gen. René Schneider in 1970 and Operation Condor, a state-sponsored terror network set up by General Pinochet that from 1975 to 1977 targeted critics all over the Western Hemisphere and Europe. Among Condor's victims was Orlando Letelier, Pinochet's most prominent opponent in the United States, who was murdered, along with Ronni Moffitt, by a car bomb in Washington, DC, in 1976. Round one of the exchange ended with a rejoinder by Maxwell in the same issue, in which he expressed incredulity at Rogers's assertions and proceeded to interrogate a very delicate matter: Kissinger's response to Operation Condor in general and the murder of Letelier in particular--a tragedy, Maxwell wrote, that might have been prevented had Kissinger maintained a less protective attitude toward General Pinochet. Closing his reply, Maxwell upped the ante and suggested "a way to clear the air" on Chile: "Some countries have established 'truth commissions' to look into such matters. In the United States, however, the record has been extracted painfully, like rotten teeth." Rogers immediately fired off a second letter, which would appear in the March/April issue, in which he accused Maxwell of "bias," denied that Kissinger bore any responsibility for Condor and ominously declared: "One would hope...that Maxwell's views are understood to be his own and not those of the Council on Foreign Relations, where he is a senior fellow." Curiously, Hoge promised Rogers--and not his own book reviewer--the last word in the exchange. (Maxwell writes that in his eleven years at Foreign Affairs, not a single angry author was ever accorded the last word that was given to Rogers.) On February 4 Maxwell delivered to James Hoge a seven-paragraph reply to Rogers's second letter--a reply that effectively rebutted Rogers's accusations and called on Kissinger himself to step forward and "clarify the record" about events in Chile. That document--"the missing letter" of Maxwell's title--never appeared in Foreign Affairs. In a June interview with The Nation, Maxwell insisted that Kissinger and Rogers pressured Hoge to shut down the exchange, but he declined to elaborate on the specific ways in which that pressure was applied: "They know how to act in these matters, and they bring heavy guns to bear." Maxwell has now identified those "heavy guns": Peter "Pete" Peterson, chair of the council's board of directors, and Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, honorary vice chair of the council and chair and chief executive officer of the embattled American International Group (AIG), the world's largest commercial insurer, which recently agreed to pay $126 million in penalties to the US government to settle a fraud case. Peterson and Greenberg are, in Maxwell's view, a formidable pair: "Neither is a man to be crossed lightly." "The Case of the Missing Letter" creates new difficulties for James Hoge, who in June vehemently denied that he had received direct (or indirect) pressure from Kissinger. "Mr. Hoge...denied that Mr. Kissinger had pressured him. He demanded that Mr. Maxwell produce proof of his accusation," Diana Jean Schemo wrote in the New York Times on June 16. Earlier, on June 1, Hoge had told The Nation, "I never talked to Henry Kissinger about this at all, nor has anybody else told me that Henry had a view one way or the other." A few days later Hoge told David Glenn of The Chronicle of Higher Education: "I didn't talk to Henry Kissinger, I didn't talk to anybody...these are editor's decisions, which I made. Period." However, Peterson, contradicting the editor, admitted to Glenn that he did indeed phone Hoge in December to convey Kissinger's unhappiness, but he denied that he trespassed on editorial decision-making at Foreign Affairs: "I have great respect for Hoge and for the independence of that magazine." In late January Maxwell, seeking to insure that he would have the opportunity to rebut Rogers's second missive, left a number of messages for Hoge, who was traveling. Hoge got back to him on January 26. Writes Maxwell: "He did not want to discuss the Kissinger-Rogers matter on the phone, he said, and insisted on a personal meeting." That discussion took place on Friday, January 30, in Hoge's book-lined office overlooking East 68th Street. "We were alone and I was conscious of the fact he wanted it this way." Maxwell offers this description of the meeting: Hoge explained he had been subjected to great pressure from Henry Kissinger. He said that "Henry will not speak to me or shake my hand." He...told me Peterson had called on Kissinger's behalf. He said he was called and "sworn at for half an hour" by [Maurice] Greenberg.... He said of Kissinger: "Henry has a very dark side," and that Kissinger had sought to interfere before in Foreign Affairs during the editorship of his predecessor William ("Bill") Hyland. He said that he did not think that the breach that resulted between Kissinger and Hyland, who were old friends, had "ever been fully repaired." Very much on his mind, it seemed to me, was how far he could go in criticizing Kissinger without having a similar breach. By the time Maxwell resigned on May 13, "Kissinger was...speaking to Hoge again." The leadership of the Council on Foreign Relations has long maintained that a "church-state separation" divides the council from Foreign Affairs, but Maxwell's account turns that assertion on its head. By choosing to exert his influence through two close friends and business associates--Peter Peterson and Maurice Greenberg--Kissinger, Maxwell writes, "had chosen his messengers well." Both Peterson, as chair, and Greenberg, as honorary vice chair, possess gargantuan influence at the council and maintain an active interest in its affairs. On December 18, at the council's holiday staff party, Maxwell learned from Hoge and Peterson that Greenberg, who was not present, was indignant about his review of The Pinochet File. As Maxwell confided to his diary the following morning: "[Greenberg, according to Hoge] claimed KM [Maxwell] accused HK [Kissinger] of 'killing babies'--Jim told him [Greenberg] to read piece!" Maxwell was shaken by the holiday party, for it revealed to him for the first time the full dimensions of the "firestorm Kissinger had initiated." Maxwell has brought the full range of his scholarly abilities to bear on "The Case of the Missing Letter," and the footnotes painstakingly delineate an interlocking web of connections between Kissinger, Peterson and Greenberg. The Kissinger-Peterson relationship began in the Nixon Administration, when Peterson was international economic adviser and later Secretary of Commerce, and carried over into civilian life: The Peterson-led Blackstone Group, according to its website, maintains a "strategic alliance" with Kissinger Associates to provide "financial advisory services to corporations seeking high-level strategic advice." Kissinger, likewise, is no stranger at Greenberg's AIG: In 1987 Greenberg appointed Kissinger chairman of AIG's international advisory group, where, according to Walter Isaacson's Kissinger: A Biography, he assisted the insurance giant with lucrative business deals in Argentina, Peru, Malaysia and South Korea. In turn, Peterson and Greenberg were excellently positioned to assist Kissinger at the Council on Foreign Relations. Both men have been exceedingly generous to the institution--contributing, Maxwell notes, "more than $34 million between them directly in personal donations and indirectly, via the privately-held Blackstone Group in the case of Peterson, and, in the case of Greenberg, via the Starr Foundation, of which he is chairman." Signs of Greenberg's largesse are evident at the council's 68th Street headquarters: there is a Greenberg Reception Room, a Greenberg Chair and a Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies. Greenberg and Peterson also have influence at Foreign Affairs magazine. Maxwell notes that both men have contributed to the endowment of the chair that Hoge holds as editor, which is named for...Peter Peterson. On May 13 Maxwell submitted his letter of resignation to Hoge and to Richard Haass, the president of the council. The next day Hoge replied by e-mail and made this astonishing claim: "Your May 13 letter contains speculation about supposed pressures from Mr. Kissinger. As I have previously told you, Mr. Rogers is the only person involved with whom I have discussed this matter." Repeated efforts by The Nation to reach Hoge were unsuccessful: He did not return phone calls. Likewise, Kissinger, Peterson, Greenberg and Haass all declined to discuss Maxwell's allegations. Only William Rogers made himself available. Asked if Kissinger applied direct pressure on Hoge--or indirect pressure through Peterson and Greenberg--Rogers replied: "Not that I know of. I'm sure not. He would never be so tactless. I believe that he told me that he washed his hands of the whole thing." Maxwell believes that an "official line" on the affair was soon hammered out by Hoge and Haass. At an all-staff meeting on June 15, in front of 200 people, Haass declared that the press accounts about Maxwell's departure were false; that Hoge, an "extraordinary editor," had made an "editorial judgment" to stop the exchange; and that a "church-state separation" existed between the council and Foreign Affairs. Less than an hour before the meeting, Maxwell was confidentially warned that Haass planned to address the controversy. Speaking in his own defense at the meeting, Maxwell, who left the council on July 1, told the staff, "I have had fifteen very happy years at the council. It seems obvious that I would not have resigned at this stage of my career unless I had very good reasons for doing so." The departure of Maxwell, The Nation wrote in June, "raises questions about intellectual freedom at the council; about editorial independence at Foreign Affairs...and about Kissinger's and Rogers's influence" on the institution. Haass, who became president in 2003, has thus far neglected his responsibility to address these matters publicly. But privately he seems to possess a keen understanding of the emotionally charged issues that continue to swirl around Kissinger's Chile policy in the early 1970s. The morning after the holiday party, December 19, 2003, Maxwell ran into Haass at 8 am, when both men were arriving for work. As Maxwell soon confided to his diary: "Haass said: 'this is [an] issue that still gets under everyone's skin 30 years later!'"

washingtontimes.com 13 Dec 2004 Genocide survivors unite against hate By Marion Baillot THE WASHINGTON TIMES They make an odd couple. He is an old man from Europe. She is a young woman from Africa. But they consider themselves bound by a common experience. They both are survivors of genocide. David Gewirtzman, 76, of Great Neck, N.Y., is one of 16 Jews among 8,000 in the small Polish town of Losice who survived the Holocaust. He and other members of his family spent nearly two years burrowed under a pigsty on a farm in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II. Now he volunteers at the Holocaust Memorial and Educational Center of Nassau County in Glen Cove on Long Island, and visits schools, hoping that by speaking about his experience, he can educate students and help to prevent future holocausts. An estimated 6 million Jews were killed throughout Europe during World War II in a Nazi program of extermination. When Mr. Gewirtzman spoke to 10th-graders at a high school in Queens 3½ years ago, Jacqueline Murekatete was in the audience. After the presentation, she wrote him a note, relating her own story of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, when she was 9 years old. Miss Murekatete was visiting her grandmother in a nearby village and was able to escape the start of the genocide in the African country. "It was the most unusual letter that I have ever gotten," Mr. Gewirtzman said in a recent interview with The Washington Times. "It was extremely well-written, very emotional, very mature for a young girl of 16," he went on. "In the letter, she mentioned that ... she lost both her parents and all six of her siblings. She was the only survivor of the whole group," he said. Miss Murekatete's family were Tutsis, an ethnic minority in Rwanda that had formerly ruled the Hutu majority. In April 1994, the news came over the radio that Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, and the president of neighboring Burundi had been killed in a suspicious plane crash. Groups of Hutu men and boys wielding guns, machetes and clubs began descending upon villages, killing Tutsis. Between April and June 1994, more than 800,000 Rwandans were killed in 100 days. Most of the dead were Tutsis, and most of the killers were Hutus. Miss Murekatete said she never expected a response, but Mr. Gewirtzman got in touch with her. "I offered she should come and talk with me, because our stories are so much parallel," he said. Now they regularly speak in public together and have received several awards, the latest being the Humanitarian Award of the Holocaust Memorial and Educational Center of Nassau County on Nov. 15. Miss Murekatete and Mr. Gewirtzman have formed a strong friendship and bring relevance to discussions of hatred, ethnic violence and genocide before high-school audiences and at churches, synagogues and other venues. They have also spoken before groups at Yale, Columbia, Princeton, Brown and Vanderbilt universities. Miss Murekatete addressed the United Nations at an International Day of Peace ceremony in September 2003, where she met human-rights advocate Elie Wiesel. He offered to help her write a book about her recollections of the Rwanda genocide, which is due to be published in April 2005. Asked what leads to genocide in a society, Mr. Gewirtzman said: "Usually, many people are frustrated with life, either for personal reasons or the way they have been brought up, and basically it creates hatred. "If there is no way [for them] to direct that frustration, it is very easy for a person to take advantage of it, by taking away this feeling of guilt or of dissatisfaction, directing it in the form of hatred toward those not able to defend themselves, and blaming them for whatever causes the problem," he added. Mr. Gewirtzman and Miss Murekatete feel the only way to avoid future atrocities such as those they went through is to speak about tolerance and acceptance. "We are so much different. She is female, I am male. She is young and I am not so young. I am white, she is black. She is from Africa, I am from Europe. She is Christian, I am Jewish. But the experiences that we had are so much embedded within us that we feel like brother and sister," Mr. Gewirtzman said. Both went through a traumatic experience, but instead of remaining bitter and angry and seeking revenge, they resolved to spend the anger in a positive manner. "When you see bodies floating down the river, as it happened in Rwanda, you don't become immune to it. You don't say they are just having private problems, and we cannot be the police for the rest of the world," Mr. Gewirtzman said. "I agree, America cannot be the police for the rest of the world, but every citizen in the world should be aware that these things go on, and if we don't take care of it, sooner or later it is going to come to us, as it did in 9/11." Miss Murekatete, now a 20-year-old student at Stony Brook University in New York, said she and Mr. Gewirtzman want to raise consciousness so that people don't ignore atrocities just because they are far away. She said she was particularly concerned about the attitude of the international community during the genocide in Rwanda, because U.N. troops actually withdrew after 10 soldiers were killed. "So many countries had the opportunity to stop the killings and they did not do anything," she said. By sharing her experience with young people, she said she hopes they will make different decisions when they are leading countries. Asked about the unlikely pair she makes with Mr. Gewirtzman, Miss Murekatete said it helps their success, because people realize they are bound by a common trauma and a common history of pain, suffering and persecution. "Usually, students think that the Holocaust belongs to history, that it happened a long time ago, and one should forget about it. But when they see I am their age, they realize it is something that is still happening," she said. "You fix them more." Miss Murekatete was brought to New York in 1995 by an uncle who adopted her legally and applied for political asylum for her. Mr. Gewirtzman and his family, for their part, came to the United States in 1948. He said he owes a lot to a country that allowed him for the first time to put down roots. He has two children and six grandchildren. "I saw a family grow up in normal conditions, and normal circumstances. Nobody has said I am different, or I should be treated in a different manner. I was given all the opportunities that the other citizens were given, and I realized that this is normal life," he said. "Normal life is not the way I had it in Poland during the war, but the way I had it here." Joining forces with Miss Murekatete to describe their experiences escaping mass killings in Rwanda and Poland, Mr. Gewirtzman said he wants to spread the message: "We all have the right to a normal, peaceful life, and when that is disturbed for no other reason but because of a different color or shape of eyes or religion, we should get involved as if ourselves were being attacked, not just they. "We all have to unite, and we'll never re-see something like that," he added. "I am my brothers' keeper. The people in Darfur, in Siberia, in China, and in South Africa are all people who are my brothers and sisters," he said. According to Mr. Gewirtzman, people cannot remain indifferent, "because we are hurt while they are being hurt." "When a child in Darfur cries, I can hear him and I have tears in my eyes," he said.



Australian Broadcasting Corporation 2 Dec 2004 www.abc.net.au UN considers five-step plan to deal with military intervention AM - Thursday, 2 December , 2004 08:08:00 Reporter: Fran Kelly TONY EASTLEY: The United Nations is considering sweeping changes to the way it operates, making it easier to deal with issues like unilateral self defence and pre-emptive strikes. A panel of experts established by UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, last year has come up with a five-step plan for the Security Council to test when military intervention is legal and legitimate. It would be based around questions of the seriousness of the threat, whether the motive is proper and whether the military response proposed is proportional to the threat. The panel also urged a more aggressive approach to UN military intervention. Former Australian Foreign Minister and current Director of the International Crisis Group, Gareth Evans, is a member of the UN panel and he explained the proposed reforms to our Europe Correspondent, Fran Kelly. GARETH EVANS: We say first of all that when the Security Council is deciding whether it makes sense to embark upon a military exercise it should satisfy itself that five separate criteria of legitimacy have been satisfied. And if those criteria are all applied in a systematic way, then I think we really will have had a fundamental sea change in the way the world works, and the way these decisions are made. There'll be much more chance of getting consensus on the Security Council and much less chance of individual countries feeling the need to bypass it. FRAN KELLY: Why do you think it will increase the chance of consensus, though? I mean, in the Iraq debate, which really sparked this whole look at reforming the UN, people were debating one of the key guidelines you've set out there – the seriousness of threat posed. How would your guidelines have helped with this? GARETH EVANS: Well, because we wouldn't have just been debating one issue – the seriousness of the threat and the evidence for it – we would have been debating the question of whether the proposed response was proportional to the nature of the threat, if there indeed was one. We would have been debating and focusing much more sharply on what the likely overall consequences within the country and within the wider region would have been of going to war. There's a better chance of some decency prevailing, some sense prevailing in the way these issues are handled, and it will work also, we hope, not just to stop ill-advised military adventures, but also to encourage the Security Council to actually take military action when circumstances cry out for it – for example in the case of genocide or other human rights atrocities. FRAN KELLY: Well, just on that, we've seen the UN not respond, most notably in Rwanda and then later in Kosovo, we're looking at terrible situations now in Zimbabwe and in Darfur. Why will Security Council members be any more willing to intervene militarily in those states or any states as a result of your recommendations? GARETH EVANS: The whole point of this kind of international exercise is to try and build up new habits of mind, new ways of thinking about these issues so that it becomes harder to duck and weave and hide behind this or that limp and lacklustre response. FRAN KELLY: One of the bigger reforms you advocate is a change to the makeup of the Security Council. There's two options put forward – only one suggests adding to the permanent membership – but you don't recommend giving any new members a power of veto. Wouldn't that make them second class Security Council members with much less clout, and therefore what's the point of that kind of expansion? GARETH EVANS: I think for all the initial response of the Japans and the Germanys and so on that it would be a terrible thing to be second class in that way, they would absolutely love the ascent to heaven that's involved in getting to permanent status, and I think could live very much with not having a veto. The veto is gradually, I think, becoming less salient, less often used, less often even threatened, and I think with a whole bunch of new countries in there – either as permanent members or on this alternative model of recurring four-year membership – I think that the veto will become less relevant over time, and that's a good thing. TONY EASTLEY: Gareth Evans, speaking with our Europe Correspondent Fran Kelly

Australian Broadcasting Corporation 2 Dec 2004 www.abc.net.au Darfur crisis needs urgent international action The World Today - Thursday, 2 December , 2004 12:30:00 Reporter: Eleanor Hall ELEANOR HALL: 70,000 people are now estimated to have died from militia attacks and starvation, with more than one-and-a-half million people forced from their homes, as the humanitarian crisis continues in Darfur, in Western Sudan. The United Nations has called it the world's worst humanitarian crisis and the United States Congress has labelled it genocide, but is the international community doing enough to respond to it? A report released this week by the British organisation, the Aegis Trust, says absolutely not. The report's author, Dr James Smith, who worked in Rwanda after the genocide there, says the international community needs to recognize that the situation in Darfur is also a genocidal crisis, and should be dealt with far more seriously. Dr Smith spoke to me from London a short time ago. JAMES SMITH: What's important is that people are protected in a genocidal situation, so that even if we can't agree – there's not a consensus that there is genocide happening there – what we certainly think and advocate is that we should recognise it as a genocidal situation in that a particular group of people, black Africans in this case, are being targeted because somebody wants to get rid of them. And therefore the way that changes the way in which you view the crisis and the conflict is that they need protection. It's no point just sending food to people that are going to be killed. We can try to find a political settlement, but the political settlement will keep breaking down because there is such insecurity there. And that's why it's important that even if we don't recognise it as genocide, it is genocidal. ELEANOR HALL: So essentially you're saying that it's at the root of all the other problems? JAMES SMITH: Yes it is, because what is happening here is that people are recognised, they're an identified group of people, and basically the central government and through its proxy, the Arab militias, the Janjaweed militias, they want to rid Darfur of Africans. And that is what is at the root of this… the cause is not because the rebels invaded in February 2003. The British Government is increasingly fond of saying that. The root of this is that there's a group of people that are in the way. It is about land in some respects, it is about resources, but it is more than that. It's an ideology. It's a racist ideology that is driving this. There is effectively… the Arab groups in the area see themselves as superior, the black Africans as inferior – they're called Abeed, which means "slave", and it's time, they say, that even Darfur changes its name. Darfur means home of the Fur – the African tribes there. That has to change, they have to go, they can't rule any more, is what the Arab tribes are saying, and they're supported by the central government in this. ELEANOR HALL: So how would you rate the international response to the Darfur crisis so far? JAMES SMITH: I think the international response has been really inadequate. It's been too slow, it's been half-hearted, there's been too much appeasement of the perpetrators. Now, Aegis Trust doesn't advocate that the response to this is that we send lots of troops from wealthy nations there, although that should be reserved as a last resort, but we should take the situation far more seriously than we're doing. We've hidden behind the cloak of humanitarian aid, particularly the British Government – we're sending lots of food, lots of money to provide food and aid. But that's been a way in which to hide behind the real root of the problem, the political problems that are there, the racial problems that are there, and we're not really dealing with that. The UN Security Council resolutions have been half-hearted, they've been very similar to the resolutions that were passed during the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, almost the same kind of wording. It's been really quite… the security, for example, by August of this year 600 troops arrived there, half of them from, in fact 300, half of them from Nigeria, half of them from Rwanda, and they were there to protect observers – nothing about protecting the people, and you know, that's the thing more than a fig leaf for security. It's like a chocolate fireguard, it's hopeless in fact. ELEANOR HALL: Dr James Smith from the Aegis Trust in London.

BBC 26 Nov 2004 Protest rocks Aboriginal island Hundreds of people were involved in the incident Hundreds of protesters on an Aboriginal island off Australia's northern coast have stormed the local police station, after the death of a man in custody. One resident said there was smoke everywhere and that the building had almost been burnt to the ground. Armed police officers are expected to be flown to Palm Island, near Townsville, to try to restore order. There has been rising tension since an indigenous man, Cameron Doomagee, was found dead in a police cell last week. The release of a post-mortem report, which showed he suffered broken ribs and died from a punctured lung, has fuelled the anger. Island resident Nicky Bull told Australian radio that a police residential building had also been torched. "The atmosphere is just anger amongst the residents here, but it's very, very freaky here at the moment because a lot of those people are not used to seeing our people like this," he said. Queensland Premier Peter Beattie appealed for calm. "We are prepared to work with the community but the leaders of Palm Island have got to take charge and act responsibly to restore some order," he said. Extra police officers were flown in from the mainland earlier this week and up to 50 more are preparing to join them. But some residents were reported to be preparing to try and prevent any plane from landing by parking vehicles on the runway. Palm Island is one of Australia's largest Aboriginal communities, and is home to about 3,000 people. As with many other Aboriginal communities, it suffers serious problems of unemployment, domestic violence and alcohol abuse. It was once described by the Guinness Book of Records as the most violent place in the world, outside a combat zone. Friday's violence follows a serious outbreak of racial rioting in Sydney in February, when more than 40 police were injured in a riot sparked by the death of an Aboriginal teenager. Police were cleared of having caused the death of the boy.

4 Dec 2004 Aborigines' dark island home By Phil Mercer BBC correspondent in Sydney Aboriginal residents of Palm Island in northern Australia are preparing for another depressing chapter in the story of their isolated home. The funeral of Cameron Doomagee is expected to take place in the coming days. This history of how white colonisers have treated black people on this island is appalling and we are seeing now the result of that legacy Paul Wilson, Bond University, Australia The death of the 36-year-old Aborigine in police custody last month sparked a violent disturbance. The scars of a rampage by hundreds of islanders stand in vivid contrast to Palm Island's natural beauty, with its sandy beaches and lush tropical vegetation. The police station and the courthouse were burnt to the ground. Their destruction symbolise almost a century of tense relations between the Aborigines and the authorities. Aboriginal enclave The Aboriginal settlement on Palm Island was set up in 1918 by the government in Queensland after a cyclone had devastated another state-run institution near the town of near Innisfail on the mainland. Over the years, hundreds of Aborigines were sent to live on the island, which is part of a small archipelago. The practice continued until the late 1960s. Erykah Kyle was born on the island. She is a member of the local council and is proud of her home. "With its rainforests and sunsets, it's the most beautiful group of islands you could find anywhere," she told the BBC. Her mother was seven years old when she was forcibly taken to the island. Erykah Kyle believes it was part of a plan by the authorities to seize valuable tribal territory across Queensland. "It was a grab for Aboriginal land," she insisted. "They wanted us out of the way." The Palm Island settlement became an all-purpose repository for Aborigines. It served as a detention camp, an old people's home and a centre for the mentally ill. On nearby Fantome Island an infectious diseases hospital was established. Criminologist Professor Paul Wilson from Australia's Bond University, who has closely studied the island, told the BBC that its current problems were caused by the repression of the past. High rates of violence "This history of how white colonisers have treated black people on this island is appalling and we are seeing now the result of that legacy," he said. "The rates of violence on Palm Island are amongst the highest in Australia, and some would argue amongst the highest in the world.¿ Sister Christina McGlynn, a Catholic missionary on Palm Island, recently spent two years working at a refugee camp in Northern Kenya and has seen alarming similarities between her postings in Africa and Australia. "In both cases I've been dealing with very, very traumatised people," she told the BBC from Palm Island. Aborigines across Australia complain of prejudice and lack of opportunity As for its reputation for violence, Sister Christina believes it is undeserved. "I don't believe that it's a violent place," she stressed. "It's a sad place but I wouldn't say that it's an unsafe place for anyone." She hoped the death of Cameron Doomagee would be a "real turning point for Palm Island and an opportunity for the community to come together and look at solutions to the problems". The settlement is home to 3,000 people. Alcohol abuse is an extremely corrosive social problem. Council member Erykah Kyle said the island also suffered high unemployment and a chronic housing crisis. It was not unusual, she said, to have up to 20 people living in a three-bedroom house. The authorities in Queensland have promised to find new ways to address the disadvantage. Mrs Kyle is not convinced it will find them. "The real problem is the state government's view of us as not being capable of making hard decisions for ourselves," she insisted. "That does not make any community anywhere feel pride and dignity."

A Nanjing Massacre survivor dies www.chinaview.cn 2004-12-04 19:57:20 NANJING, Dec. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- Li Xiuying, a survivor of the Nanjing Massacre in World War II, died of illness in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, at 6:10 a.m. Saturday atthe age of 86. Li, who was born on New Year's Day of 1918, fell off at her home on July 26 and had fractures in the left thighbone, which has worsened may of her chronic ailments ever since, according to her relatives. Li, who made her name known throughout China for her courage and perseverance in standing up to battle and win an anti-defamation lawsuit in Tokyo, Japan, early last year, succumbed to respiratory failure despite all efforts to safe her life, her relatives said. In December 1937, some 300,000 Chinese civilians were brutally killed by Japanese invaders after the fall of Nanjing, the then capital of the Kuomintang government. Li Xiuying, who was pregnant at the time, suffered 37 sword wounds from Japanese soldiers during the massacre. Thanks to timely medical treatment by an American doctor named Robert Wilson, Li survived, but lost her baby. The crime perpetrated against Li was recorded at the time in a documentary made by American priest John Magee, as well as in the diaries and letters of some other Western witnesses of the Massacre. However, Li was later discredited by Matsumura Toshio, a right-wing Japanese writer, who called her a "false" witness of the war in his book entitled "The Big Question in the Nanjing Massacre." On Oct. 16, 1999, Li Xiuying initiated legal proceedings in a district court of Tokyo, demanding that Matsumura Toshio, the author, Aisawa Hiroaki, the publisher, and the publishing house issue a public apology and pay 12 million Japanese yen for damage to her reputation. On May 10, 2002, the court issued a guilty verdict and fined the accused 1.5 million yen, but dropped Li's appeal for a public apology. Li then filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of Tokyo, which, after two court hearings, decided in Li's favor on April 10, 2003.


www.arabicnews.com 10 Dec 2004 Bahraini society accuses government of continuing human rights violations Bahrain, Politics, 12/10/2004 Bahrain's human rights society ( independent) expressed regret over the "continued violations of human rights in the Kingdom." This was expressed in a statement issued on the 56 anniversary of the world declaration for human rights which falls today Friday. The society said " it still feels much frustration over not achieving any progress in adapting between current laws and legislations with the Kingdom's obligations resulting from signing international treaties and agreements for human rights." The society stressed "several workers in the field of the press were taken to courts and the freedom of activists and civil society establishments including administrative closure of al-Ouroba ( Arabism) club and desolving Bahrain's human rights center. The society added that some demonstrations and marches were exposed to security and judicial measures which do not only contradict with international treaties and agreements but even with certain items of the constitution of the " Kingdom of Bahrain and the spirit of the national work charter." It continued that "on the other hand, the civil society was shocked by the negative trends aiming at restricting the freedom of political and social activity, reflected in the attempt of imposing laws contradictory with the optimum role of civil societies and political organizations and restrict the freedom of gathering in the attempt to issue the law of political societies and the civil societies law and the mass gathering law." The society expressed regret over what it described as "the notable slowness by the executive committee in ratifying the international treaty on civilian and political rights " despite promises issued to that effect "and abstaining the ratification of the constituent of the International Criminal Court," according to the statement. The society's statement criticized "the limitedness of the freedom of the press" and the harassments journalists exposed to according to laws which do not comply with the requirements of the current phase." The society called on the civil society establishments and official sides to "give more interest to violence issues, woman, the child and home- labor exposed to" and to issue just laws ensuring women their rights in line with Bahrain's commitment to eliminating all forms of discrimination against women ( CEDAW). Bahrain's human rights society was formed by the beginning of 2001 with the beginning of reforms led by King of Bahrain Hamad Bin Issa al-Khaleifa as the first independent human rights society in the Kingdom.


www.abc.net.au 4 Dec 2004 Some progress towards Cambosian genocide trial A UN team will travel to Cambodia next week to finalise budget and security details for the trial of leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime. The visit by the United Nations team had been delayed since August. Cambodia's national assembly ratified a law allowing a UN-backed trial of surviving Khmer Rouge leaders to go ahead in October. An initial UN estimate put the cost of three years of proceedings at 55 million US dollars. Prime Minister Hun Sen says the slow process could mean the former Khmer Rouge leaders will die, before the trial starts. Pol Pot's regime left up to two million people dead.

BBC 8 Dec 2004 Talks due on Khmer Rouge trial By Guy De Launey BBC correspondent in Phnom Penh Khmer Rouge victims have had a long wait for justice A United Nations delegation is in Cambodia to discuss funding for a long-awaited tribunal to bring to justice leaders of the bloody Khmer Rouge. Sceptics had suggested that a tribunal would never be held. It is 25 years since the end of Pol Pot's regime, and seven years since the process to bring about a trial began. But the arrival of the UN delegation shows that the momentum is building - with a real possibility of the tribunal starting next year. KHMER ROUGE TRIBUNAL Will try cases of genocide and crimes against humanity Five judges (three Cambodian) sit in trial court Cases decided by majority Maximum penalty is life imprisonment Key figures facing trial The domestic obstacles to holding the tribunal have already been removed. Just before the coronation of King Sihamoni at the end of October, legislation was ratified to allow foreign judges to preside in Cambodia. Over recent weeks, the Cambodian government has urged the UN to come up with the money to move to the next stage. The tribunal will take around three years - and the estimated total cost is around $60m. There is no question of the UN providing funding directly - it will look to individual countries to contribute. So far, however, only Australia has come up with a firm pledge - worth $3m. And the United States has already said it will not provide any funding at all. The most likely outcome of this week's meeting is that an international appeal will be launched to find the necessary cash.

AFP 13 Dec 2004 Budget for genocide trial can be met PHNOM PENH (AFP) - Cambodia and the United Nations will be able to raise the 56 million dollars budgeted for a genocide trial of surviving Khmer Rouge leaders as early as next year, especially if the private sector contributes, an analyst said Sunday. It has taken the UN and Cambodia five years of tough negotiations to reach an agreement on how the tribunal would be set up. The budget is seen as a crucial hurdle to clear before a trial goes ahead, and Cambodia has agreed to fund about a quarter of the total. "I don't think there will be any problem with the budget because both sides have agreed upon it already," said Chhang Youk, director of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia which compiles evidence of atrocities under the 1975-79 ultra-Maoist regime. "The trial is for everyone and both the UN and the Cambodian government should also find support from private companies," he said. Private firms could contribute by donating furniture, office equipment, or computers, he added. "Finding funds won't be a problem because every country wants the trial (to go ahead), so they have the duty to help with the funding," said Youk.


Xinhua 12 Nov 2004 A Nanjing Massacre survivor dies 2004-12-04 NANJING, Dec. 4(Xinhuanet)-- Li Xiuying, a survivor of the Nanjing Massacre in World War II, died of illness in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, at 6:10 a.m. Saturday atthe age of 86. Li, who was born on New Year's Day of 1918, fell off at her home on July 26 and had fractures in the left thighbone, which has worsened may of her chronic ailments ever since, according to her relatives. Li, who made her name known throughout China for her courage and perseverance in standing up to battle and win an anti-defamation lawsuit in Tokyo, Japan, early last year, succumbed to respiratory failure despite all efforts to safe her life, her relatives said. In December 1937, some 300,000 Chinese civilians were brutally killed by Japanese invaders after the fall of Nanjing, the then capital of the Kuomintang government. Li Xiuying, who was pregnant at the time, suffered 37 sword wounds from Japanese soldiers during the massacre. Thanks to timely medical treatment by an American doctor named Robert Wilson, Li survived, but lost her baby. The crime perpetrated against Li was recorded at the time in a documentary made by American priest John Magee, as well as in the diaries and letters of some other Western witnesses of the Massacre. However, Li was later discredited by Matsumura Toshio, a right-wing Japanese writer, who called her a"false" witness of the war in his book entitled"The Big Question in the Nanjing Massacre." On Oct. 16, 1999, Li Xiuying initiated legal proceedings in a district court of Tokyo, demanding that Matsumura Toshio, the author, Aisawa Hiroaki, the publisher, and the publishing house issue a public apology and pay 12 million Japanese yen for damage to her reputation. On May 10, 2002, the court issued a guilty verdict and fined the accused 1.5 million yen, but dropped Li's appeal for a public apology. Li then filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of Tokyo, which, after two court hearings, decided in Li's favor on April 10, 2003.

People's Daily 13 Dec 2004 english.people.com.cn Survivors of Nanjing Massacre to enjoy social assistance 20 representatives of a group of 179 survivors of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese invading troops in 1937, receive the certificates of Survivor of Nanjing Massacre in the ceremony in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province on Dec. 12, 2004. It is said that the owners of the certificates could enjoy public and social assistance. Dec. 13, 2004 is the 67th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre. After occupied Nanjing, the capital of China at that time on Dec. 13, 1937, Japanese troops started an over 40 days of massacre, killing about 300,000 Chinese civilians and prisoners of war in brutal and ferocious ways. Xia Shuqin (L1), a 76-year-old Chinese survivor of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese invading troops in 1937, looks at her certificate of Survivor of Nanjing Massacre which was just delivered in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province on Dec. 12, 2004. File photo taken on Dec. 13, 2003 shows soldiers of the Chinese People's Armed Police Force laying wreaths to the victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese invading troops in 1937, at the Memorial of the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province. On Dec. 13, 1937, Japanese troops occupied Nanjing, the then capital of China. In more than 40 days following the occupation of Nanjing, the Japanese troops killed 300,000 Chinese civilians and prisoners of war in Nanjing in brutal and ferocious ways. Dec. 13, 2004 is the 67th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre. File photo taken in 1937 shows Japanese invading troops burying Chinese people alive during the Nanjing Massacre. On Dec. 13, 1937, Japanese troops occupied Nanjing, the then capital of China. In more than 40 days following the occupation of Nanjing, the Japanese troops killed 300,000 Chinese civilians and prisoners of war in Nanjing in brutal and ferocious ways. Dec. 13, 2004 is the 67th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre. File photo taken in 1937 shows Japanese invading troops destroying the evidence by burning bodies of people they slaughtered in the Nanjing Massacre. (Xinhua Photo)


www.indianexpress.com 29 Nov 2004 Close this window Front Page SOCIAL INJUSTICE - PART ONE Express looks at Bihar’s massacre cases to find what justice means in Laloo’s lab of ‘social-justice’ 7 yrs ago this week 59 Dalits were killed, charges are yet to be framed Varghese K. George Laxmanpur-Bathe, November 28 When Bihar goes to polls in about three months, slogans of social justice will once again be heard. To the world outside, Laloo Prasad Yadav is the messiah of ‘social justice.’ For his coalition partner Congress, he is the only hope in a state that threatens to fall off the map. In the past 15 years of rule by Laloo, an estimated 1,000 people have been killed by private armies, such as the upper caste Ranbir Sena, in 300 incidents. Left extremists groups have, on their part, perpetrated equally chilling massacres. Spending weeks in dusty, clustered record rooms across 10 courts in five districts — Jehanabad, Bhojpur, Gaya, Aurangabad and Patna — that are, roughly, Bihar’s zone of feudal violence, The Indian Express finds out how the wheels of justice move for the Dalits and the downtrodden in Laloo’s laboratory of social justice. In the final month of 1997, this obscure rural corner in Bihar shook India. On December 1 that year, 59 Dalits were killed here in a massacre that had then president K.R. Narayan exclaiming, ‘‘It is a national shame.’’ On the night of December 1-2, about 250 Ranvir Sena men crossed the Sone river from Bhojpur district to the Subhas Nagar Tola in Laxmanpur-Bathe. They surrounded the hamlet and started firing. It was as simple as that. Of the 59 who died, 26 were women; 19 were children under the age of 10. The victims were all Dalits. The Ranvir Sena assailants had come from Barki Kharaon and Chotki Kharaon villages in Bhojpur. There were two ‘‘provocations’’. First, five people from the upper castes had been gunned down by CPI-ML activists only recently in the area. More immediately, there was a land dispute. Adjoining the Kamta village was a disputed patch cultivated by the upper caste. Landless Dalits, propped up by the Naxalites, had sought to forcibly harvest the crop. In mid-November, these people marched down the village, seeking direct action on what they felt were overdue ‘‘land reforms’’. Among the marchers were some from Subhas Nagar Tola. ‘‘This land belongs to us,’’ they cried. The upper caste groups were alarmed. The ‘‘rebellion’’ had to be put down, quickly. The result was the bloodbath on a dark December night. They came in droves. Rabri Devi, Atal Behari Vajpayee, Ram Vilas Paswan, Mulayam Singh Yadav — Laxmanpur-Bathe hadn’t seen so many VIPs in its history. With the visitors, came the promises. Laloo Yadav, then in jail courtesy the fodder scandal, spoke to his wife, the chief minister Rabri. ‘‘The state government will constitute a SIT (special investigative team) and set up a special court to try the accused,’’ the chief minister said. On December 5, she promised a special fund of Rs 54 crore for road construction in extremist-affected areas. Maqdool Dar, then Union minister of state for home, arrived and said, ‘‘Private armies will be disarmed. Licences for firearms issued to suspected members of such armies will be cancelled.’’ On December 4, Amnesty International called Bihar a ‘‘lawless state’’. It sought the disarming of the Ranvir Sena. Today, the Ranvir Sena continues to be armed, continues to terrorise Dalits. As for Rabri’s Rs 54 crore, nobody knows how it was spent. Laxmanpur-Bathe continues to be as inaccessible as it was in 1997. The roads are still a nightmare. A larger war on terror was also promised. On December 6, 1997, the Justice Amir Das Commission was constituted, to ‘‘probe the nexus between the Ranvir Sena and political elements’’. It had a six month term. Seven years have passed, the commission continues its endless hearings. CASE I: LAXMANPUR-BATHE • The crime: On December 1, 1997, 59 Dalits were killed by suspected Ranvir Sena men in Laxmanpur-Bathe, Jehanabad. • The case: FIR Mehandia 126/97, informant Vinod Paswan. Case pending trial at the Additional Sessions Judge 11 Court, Patna. • The status: After the filing of charge sheets, the case was committed for trial in February 1999. Six years on, even charges have not been framed against the 24 accused. All but two of them are on bail. On December 13, after being released from prison, Laloo got to Laxmanpur- Bathe. Rabri and he arrived by helicopter. Rabri promised a special court for speedy trial. Laloo blamed the Left parties for Bihar’s tardy land reforms. He inspected the poor quality foodgrain supplied as part of the relief material, duly upbraided the district magistrate. ‘‘No one will be spared,’’ he said, ‘‘even the officers who have been helping these forces will be booked ... Give licences to these people.’’ That last reference was to gun licences. When it was pointed out that the Dalits had no money for food, let alone guns, Laloo kept mum. ‘‘I will come again,’’ he said, as he flew off. Laloo has never come back to Laxmanpur-Bathe. The criminal case related to the massacre is a legal slowcoach, still at a very early stage. Even charges against the accused are yet to be framed. No special court has been designated, contrary to Rabri’s promise. Of the 24 accused, all but two are on bail. During the framing of charges all the accused must be present physically in the court. For the past 20 hearings, the line-up has been incomplete. On July 10, 2004, Buxar Jail officials told the court of a Home Department ‘‘administrative decision’’ not to produce accused Pramod Singh in any court. Earlier there were reports that informant Vinod Paswan was being threatened by Birendra Singh, one of the main accused. Neither Paswan nor Singh could be traced in the village. ‘‘Birendra Singh is present in the village and he roams around free with guns. Who will want to testify in this case and die?’’ asks Panchan Paswan, a local in Bathe. Bihar has no answer. SOCIAL INJUSTICE - PART TWO Charges not yet framed in Shanker Bigha massacre because all accused have to be in court Laloo said 6 months, still waiting 6 yrs later Varghese K. George Shanker Bigha, November 29 On January 25, 1999, at the cusp of the 50th year of the Indian Republic, 23 Dalits of village Shanker Bigha met their tryst with destiny. They were killed by a suspected Ranvir Sena squad, ending a chain of violence that had begun two massacres ago. The Shanker Bigha massacre was ‘‘revenge’’ for the killing of Nawal Singh, a few days earlier, by the Maoist Coordination Committee (MCC). Nawal Singh, in turn, had been on the MCC’s hitlist ever since the Mein Bersinha massacre of 1992. In Mein Bersinha, six Dalits had been killed by the Ranvir Sena. The MCC has retaliated by killing 36 upper caste people in the Bara massacre of February 1992. Yet the Naxals’ eye had been on Nawal Singh, said to be a Ranvir Sena terror in the region, commanding 500 armed Bhumihars. Following his elimination, the Ranvir Sena had to hit back. It chose January 25, an otherwise innocuous day that began with a bunch of upper caste men from nearby Dobdigha coming to Shanker Bigha to buy chickens. They bought 30 and, that evening, had a little party with country chicken and country liquor. The locals found the visit to their hamlet amusing, but were glad that it had ended a period of tension. By 8.00 pm, more upper caste men came in, in small batches of seven or eight. Nothing seemed amiss. The women were in the kitchen. The men and children were ambling around. Shanker Bigha was preparing to retire for the night. Then they struck. Quite suddenly, the visitors — invaders, really — were all over the village, just everywhere. They broke down doors, killed anyone they could find. It took only one bullet to rip apart Munna’s body. Not difficult to do, if the target is a 10-month-old baby. Eventually, they killed 23, all from a sharecropper background. The oldest victim was 60, among the younger ones was a four-year-old. Lallan Sao’s house had a door too strong for the marauders. From within his sanctuary, he heard it all, right down to the three whistles that told the Sena men to retreat. He heard them shout ‘‘Ranvir Baba ki jai’’ as they vanished into Dobdigha, Daulatpur and Hardia. The government made its post-event noises. After the massacre, a Rs 5 lakh reward was announced for the head of Parmeshwar Mukhya, Ranvir Sena chief. Case II: Shanker Bigha THE CRIME: On January 25, 1999, 23 Dalits were killed by suspected Ranvir Sena men in Shanker Bigha, Jehanabad. THE CASE: Mehandia PS Case no 5/99. GR 171/99 State Vs Parmeshwar Singh (Ranvir Sena chief and others). There are 24 accused, 76 witnesses. THE STATUS: Two chargesheets so far — 37/03 dated August 15, 2003, and 67/2000 dated February 26, 2000. On November 2, 2003, the case was transferred from the chief judicial magistrate to the sub-divisional judicial magistrate, Jehanabad, for framing of charges. Charges not yet framed. The reason? All accused must be present in court on one day for framing of charges. This has not happened yet. Two accused, Parmeshwar Singh and Kamlesh Bhat, are in jail; the rest are on bail. Witnesses can be called only when charges are framed. By the time Laloo Yadav and Rabri Devi arrived on January 26, one of the accused, Babban Singh, had already been arrested. Shanker Bigha was seething. Its people shouted at Laloo, they wanted Babban handed over to them for mob justice. ‘‘What happened to the killers in Bathe,’’ they asked, referring to a massacre that had taken place in 1997 in the same police station’s jurisdiction. Laloo had an answer. ‘‘The arrested persons in the Bathe case will soon face trial,’’ he said, ‘‘for the Shanker Bigha case, we will constitute special courts for speedy trials, which will be completed within six months.’’ Six years have passed. Twenty-two of the 24 accused are roaming free. Let alone a trial, even the charges have not been framed. The Dalits of Shanker Bigha were promised a school after the massacre. Construction began on the small piece of land that was Madhura Paswan’s only property. The school is still half-built. ‘‘While taking over my land,’’ remembers Paswan, ‘‘I was assured I would get the contract for building the school. But I got only the labour contract. On that account too, the contractor cheated me of Rs 25,000.’’ Within the unfinished school, adults play cards, children sit around and watch. Some of them do go to school, in Rupsagar Bigha, where one teacher grapples with a class of 300. ‘‘We go to villages other than Dobdigha to work in the land of the upper caste,’’ say Paswan and other villagers, ‘‘but we are scared of going to Dobdigha ... And we are not sure if we will testify in court. But if the government and the police give us protection to tell the truth, we will say it ...’’

AP 3 Dec 2004 Thousands Seek Justice for Bhopal Victims By NIRMALA GEORGE Associated Press Writer BHOPAL, India (AP) - Twenty years after a cloud of deadly gas savaged this central Indian city, about 1,500 survivors and their supporters marched to the gates of a former Union Carbide plant on Friday, demanding justice for those still suffering the effects of the world's worst industrial disaster. Another group of protesters staged a mock funeral procession for Warren Anderson, who was Union Carbide's chief executive at the time. A straw-filled effigy of Anderson was later set aflame. ``Never again should a Bhopal happen anywhere in the world,'' Balkrishna Namdev, a rights activist, told the crowd outside the abandoned pesticide plant in Bhopal. ``However long it takes, our struggles to get justice will go on.'' The factory leaked 40 tons of poisonous gas on Dec. 3, 1984, killing at least 10,000 people and affecting more than 555,000 others, although the exact number of victims has never been clear. Many died over the years due to gas-related illnesses, like lung cancer, kidney failure and liver disease. ``Don't forget the victims of the genocide in Bhopal!'' and ``Death to Dow!'' the protesters shouted. Their banners carried similar slogans, accusing Union Carbide and Dow Chemical Co. of inadequate compensation and medical help for the victims. Michigan-based Dow Chemical bought Union Carbide Corp. in 2001. Union Carbide paid $470 million in compensation under a settlement with India's government in 1989. But much of the money has been tied up by bureaucratic and legal issues and many people have received little or nothing. ``For the last 20 years I've been visiting the hospital and government offices, begging for compensation to take care of my two children,'' said Leelaben Aherwar, whose baby girl survived the gas leak but began showing signs of mental and physical retardation soon after. Her son, born a few years later, suffers from similar problems. ``The answer is always the same: 'The court will make a decision.' I don't know what court is this that cannot see our suffering,'' she said Friday. So far, she has received about $360. The protesters also called on Dow Chemical to clean up the plant site, where rusted pipes and pesticide storage tanks have collapsed or ruptured in the years since. Organizers had predicted a turnout of several thousand people, but only about 1,500 came, said Hari Narayan, a local police officer. Few people believed the rally would accomplish much. ``Every year, we march, we shout slogans and we burn an effigy. Nothing comes of it. Our suffering remains the same,'' said Ram Pyari, who lost her husband and two sons in the disaster. Union Carbide insists the disaster was due to sabotage by a disgruntled employee and not shoddy safety standards or faulty plant design, as claimed by many activists. Union Carbide said in a statement that it spent more than $2 million to clean up the plant from 1985 to 1994, when it sold its stake in Union Carbide India Ltd. and the local company was renamed Eveready Industries. The company also says state studies indicated in 1998 that the groundwater around the plant was free of toxins and that any water contamination was due to improper drainage and other pollution, not Union Carbide chemicals. The state government took over legal responsibility of the site in 1998, but it has done little to remove the debris and sacks of chemicals. Dow maintains the legal case was resolved in 1989, when Union Carbide settled with the Indian government. Union Carbide claims that 3,800 people were killed, while Indian officials say up to 15,000 may have died.


Church and Mosque Attacks: Assyrian International News Agency 30 Nov 2004 Appeal for a ChaldoAssyrian Safe Haven in Northern Iraq A November 25 communique entitled "Appeal for a ChaldoAssyrian Safe Haven in Iraq" has once again highlighted growing international alarm over continued attacks targeting Assyrian (also known as Chaldean and Syriac) Christians in Iraq. Signed by 11 organizations spanning several countries in Europe and North America, the Appeal notes that "The systematic and sophisticated Church bombings of August 1, October 16, and November 8 have been supplemented by nearly daily reports of abductions, beheadings, burnings, and killings of innocent ChaldoAssyrian civilians." The Appeal continues "The continuing onslaught against the vulnerable ChaldoAssyrian civilian population is perpetrated with the specific intent of terrorizing the indigenous Christian population into leaving their homes." The Appeal lists three urgent points of action including that the Iraqi government and the international community: Assist ChaldoAssyrians in providing security for all ChaldoAssyrian churches, institutions, towns, and villages throughout Iraq, Establish an interim Safe Haven in the Nineveh Plain (located in the Ninveh and Duhok governerates of Northern Iraq) to be maintained and enforced by ChaldoAssyrians in order to protect and preserve the historic lands of the ChaldoAssyrian people and to serve as a sanctuary for threatened and internally displaced ChaldoAssyrians, Implement Article 53d of the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) and establish an administrative area for ChaldoAssyrians in the Nineveh Plain. The need for a Safe Haven has been described as an "interim" step to counter the current period of general insecurity and the specific targeting of ChaldoAssyrians throughout parts of Iraq. According to one Baghdad resident, "scarcely does a day go by that an Assyrian Christian is not killed in Baghdad for no other reason than that he is an Assyrian Christian." The net result of the ongoing attacks, the terrorizing, and the series of Church bombings has been the oft-reported mass exodus of over 40,000 ChaldoAssyrians from Iraq (story). As one proponent of a Safe Haven noted, "the intention of an interim Safe Haven is to provide those people currently contemplating selling and leaving their homes an opportunity to stay in the country in a secure area defended by ChaldoAssyrians themselves." Failing to establish such a sanctuary as soon as possible will only eliminate the option of staying in the country for tens of thousands more Assyrians. Assyrians have repeatedly noted that Assyrians themselves will guard the Safe Haven. There is concern about outsiders enforcing such an area. For example, there is concern that Kurds may want to use the general insecurity and intimidation felt by Assyrian villagers as a pretext for extending their occupation of non-Kurdish Areas. Other Assyrian leaders remain concerned about the perception that a Safe Haven enforced by foreigners would create animosity and tension with surrounding Iraqi communities. Still other worries include the concern that any other force would not have the commitment or stamina to guard the areas as Assyrians would. "A Safe Haven enforced by ChaldoAssyrians themselves with the legal support of the Iraqi government and the international community would resolve those lingering doubts and fears." The Appeal also calls for the implementation of Article 53d of the Iraqi government's Transitional Administrative Law (TAL, English, Arabic), which calls for an administrative region for ChaldoAssyrians within the Nineveh Plain. The inclusion of ChaldoAssyrian administrative rights in the Nineveh Plain remains the major outcome of the October 2003 Chaldean-Assyrian-Syriac Conference in Baghdad sponsored by the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM) and the Assyrian Democratic Organization (ADO). Although the Iraqi people themselves through the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) as well as the international community through the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) endorsed ChaldoAssyrian aspirations for administrative rights in the TAL, it is widely believed that this will necessarily entail a long-term political process. As one observer noted, "There's already talk about some Iraqi groups wanting a 6 month postponement in the election. Even if the elections proceed later, there will need to be a constitution committee deliberating such agendas." The process, then, may be long and arduous. "We definitely need to remain engaged in the process till the end. However, that long-term political process does not adequately begin to address our immediate security concerns. The Safe Haven does just that." Another analyst added "The Safe Haven and administered area are complementary -- the only difference being one of timing. We need to do something now in order to preserve some 'facts on the ground' for our future administered area. If the territory of the Nineveh Plain is not now secured, it may become a moot point in the future if current trends and our mass exodus continue. Without it, the US and its alies, along with the Iraqi government would be furthering the agenda of the Kurdsih arm of Al-Qaeda, the Ansar Al-Islam." This concern is indeed validated by the Washington Insitute's 2003 Report on Ansar Al-Islam which states: "In August 2001, leaders of several Kurdish Islamist factions reportedly visited the al-Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan with the goal of creating an alternate base for the organization in northern Iraq. Their intentions were echoed in a document found in an al-Qaeda guest house in Afghanistan vowing to "expel those Jews and Christians from Kurdistan and join the way of Jihad, [and] rule every piece of land . . .with the Islamic Shari'a rule." Soon thereafter, Ansar al-Islam was created using $300,000 to $600,000 in al-Qaeda seed money, in addition to funds from Saudi Arabia." The Appeal is also noteworthy because it draws support from Syriac Maronite and Coptic organizations. The joint signing of the Appeal is another in a series signs of closer cooperation amongst communities recognizing that they continue to face similar and growing pressures and circumstances in the Middle East. For Maronites, the reasons run still deeper in that there is a greater recognition that there is a shared ancestry, language, religion, and Syriac heritage as well. For Copts and non-Christian minorities as well, there is recognition that ChaldoAssyrians in Iraq represent the first of a regional test case. A direct overt manifestation of this growing understanding was the participation of hundreds of leaders and activists consisting primarily of Copts, Lebanese Christians, and ChaldoAssyrians in the Middle Eastern American Convention (MEAC) on October 1, 2004 in Washington DC (AINA, 10-07-2004). More recently on November 19 and 20, the Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights under the leadership of Fr. Keith Roderick brought together Maronites, ChaldoAssyrians, and Mandeans for a gathering in Washington DC. At that Conference, Mr. Ashur Yousip of the Assyrian Aid Society argued for greater reconstruction aid to help develop the Nineveh Plain. Mr. Robert Dekelaita of the Assyrian Academic Society outlined the growing pressures faced by ChaldoAssyrians and the need to establish a Safe Haven in the Nineveh plain. Mr. James Rayis, a prominent Atlanta based attorney and member of the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA), likewise emphasized the need for security and administrative rights in the Nineveh plain. Mr. Suhaib Nashi of the Mandean community highlighted the threats to the Mandean community in Iraq as well. Mr. Walid Phares of the World Maronite Union spoke to the general regional pressures impacting minority communities. As one analyst noted, "The entire region is under pressure and yet faces potentially revolutionary transformation. The first test case for greater freedoms, democracy, and pluralism begins in Iraq. If the ChaldoAssyrians who opposed Saddam's regime for decades and cooperated with the overthrow of the regime do not regain their rightful place in the Iraqi mosaic, then that does not bode well for Maronites, Copts, and all other minorities in the future Middle East." It was exactly that sentiment that prompted Mr. Michael Meunier of US Copts and Ms. Nina Shea of Freedom House to call for a concerted effort by all of the communities represented at the MEAC to focus on the ChaldoAssyrian community in Iraq as the most at risk group. The Appeal concludes by noting that "With reports that tens of thousands of ChaldoAssyrians leaving Iraq, there now exists the real possibility of the extinction of the indigenous ChaldoAssyrian people in Iraq for the first time in their 6700 year continuous existence. The final litmus test for the Iraqi government's and the international community's genuine commitment to pluralism and democracy remains the preservation of the indigenous ChaldoAssyrian people of Iraq." The establishment of a Safe Haven patrolled by ChaldoAssyrians will add a valuable option to those unable to safeguard their families but who still yearn to remain in Iraq until a better, brighter future evolves.

Mail & Guardian Online, South Africa 4 Dec 2004 www.mg.co.za Car bomb attack on Baghdad mosque 04 December 2004 09:15 Gunmen stormed a police station and bombed a Shia mosque in two simultaneous dawn attacks in Baghdad on Friday which killed at least 30 Iraqis and injured several. Dozens of prisoners were freed and weapons were looted from the police station, a brazen show of strength by the insurgents. Shortly afterwards guerrillas attacked at least two police stations in the northern city of Mosul. The attacks marked the most serious day of violence in Iraq for some weeks and raised the spectre of sectarian clashes. Although the US has largely completed its operation against guerrillas in Fallujah, west of Baghdad, the insurgency appears to remain a considerable force in large areas of Iraq. The first attack began with a mortar fired at the Hameed al-Najar Shia mosque in Adhamiya, a Sunni district of Baghdad known to be a refuge for many insurgents, towards the end of dawn prayers. A crowd swiftly gathered to help the injured and then a suicide car bomber ploughed into the group, killing 14 and injuring 19. Several cars were destroyed by the blast and shop windows shattered. "The first blast happened just as worshippers were leaving the mosque after dawn prayers," a witness told Reuters. "Everyone in the area rushed to help them. Then a few minutes later a car blew up the whole crowd." US fighter jets and Apache helicopters fired at targets in Adhamiya after the attack. There was no claim of responsibility for the bombing, although a Sunni militant group loyal to the Jordanian extremist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said it had attacked a police station in Adhamiya. Since the invasion last year there have been sectarian attacks on Iraq's Sunni, Shia, Kurdish and Christian populations, but until now they have been limited. Yesterday's bombing was unusually brutal in its sectarian targeting. Many fear that if the Sunni minority boycotts the elections next month, then sectarian tension could raise the violence to a new level. In the second attack yesterday several carloads of gunmen drove in before dawn to the troubled Seydiya district of western Baghdad, near the airport road, on which US military convoys and western contractors are frequent targets They set up checkpoints and then fired mortars into the neighbourhood police station, before storming the building. At least 11 police officers were killed and six injured. The gunmen forced their way into the building, stole weapons, freed 50 prisoners and then set fire to two police trucks parked outside. Lieutenant Colonel Jim Hutton, a US military spokesperson, said the gunmen had arrived in 11 cars to attack the station with rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. The Zarqawi militant group claimed responsibility in a statement posted on the internet. "The lions of al-Qaeda in Iraq attacked the headquarters of the apostates who sold their religion, honour and land, and attacked the Seydiya police station, killing everyone inside except for two who fled," it said. "The destructive effect that such operations has on the morale of the enemy inside and on its countries and people abroad is clear." It was the first time a police station has been stormed in the capital, raising serious concern about security less than two months before the elections. The group has claimed responsibility for similar attacks, and for kidnappings and beheadings, including the murder of the British contract worker Ken Bigley. Further north in Mosul, insurgents fired mortars into a US base and later fought gun battles with US and Iraqi troops. Two police stations were attacked and at least one police officer was killed. Officials said 11 insurgents had died in the fighting. Mosul has had a wave of attacks, the apparent fallout of the US assault on of Falluja. President Bush has asked Donald Rumsfeld to remain defence secretary in his second term. Rumsfeld had come under pressure because of the mounting US deaths in Iraq and the spreading insurgency.

NYT December 7, 2004 Two Churches Bombed as Violence Persists in Iraq By ROBERT F. WORTH BAGHDAD, Iraq, Dec. 7 - Militants detonated bombs in two Christian churches in the northern city of Mosul today, destroying the sanctuaries in the latest of a string of attacks seemingly aimed to stir religious and ethnic divisions here. No one was killed in the attacks, witnesses said. In another attack today, an American soldier was killed just before noon in Baghdad when his patrol came under small-arms fire, military officials said. Another soldier was wounded elsewhere in the city when his convoy struck a roadside bomb, officials said. About 50 miles south of the capital, three Iraqi national guard soldiers were killed and 11 wounded Monday when a roadside bomb exploded near their patrol, said Capt. David E. Nevers, a Marine spokesman. Military officials also said today that they had captured a group of suspected insurgents, including leaders, operatives and financiers, after a raid on a sports complex in eastern Baghdad on Monday. Records and computers were also recovered in the raid, which concluded an operation code named Soprano Sunset, the officials said. Other raids around the country in the last two days netted 18 other suspected insurgents, military officials said. Among them were seven suspected members of a bomb-making cell, captured Monday in the village of As Siniyah, about 150 miles north of Baghdad. In Mosul, where insurgents have waged a brutal campaign against Iraqi security officers over the past month, American and Iraqi soldiers have detained more than 230 suspected insurgents over the past week, military officials said. The detentions are the latest in a stepped-up American campaign to root out insurgents and pacify the country as the January elections approach. That campaign, beginning with the American offensive in Falluja last month, has disrupted the insurgents' ability to mount coordinated attacks, military commanders have said. But major attacks have continued in recent days, including several apparent efforts to sow divisions between religious and ethnic groups here that started with a deadly car bomb outside a Shiite mosque in Baghdad on Friday, and continued with the church bombing in Mosul. The first explosion occurred this afternoon in the northeastern part of the city, when a group of about 20 insurgents planted bombs in the sanctuary, forced three monks to leave, and detonated them from outside, witnesses said. The insurgents shouted "God is great" in Arabic as the bombs shattered the building, witnesses said. A second church was bombed in northern Mosul later in the day. The denominations of the churches were not clear. Most Iraqi Christians are Assyrians, an independent Christian sect, and Chaldeans, Eastern-rite Catholics who recognize papal authority. The bombings were not the first strike at Christians, who constitute less than 5 percent of Iraq's 24 million people. On Nov. 8, car bombs exploded almost simultaneously outside two Christian churches in southern Baghdad. A third bomb exploded that night outside the emergency room where most of the wounded had been taken, killing at least one and wounding dozens. On Aug. 1, militants carried out five coordinated car bombings on Christian churches in Baghdad and Mosul, killing 12 and wounding dozens. Iraqi political figures and Muslim leaders condemned the attacks. But many in Iraq's 2,000-year-old Christian community remain deeply uneasy about the rise of fundamentalist Islam here since the fall of Saddam Hussein, and thousands are believed to have fled the country. Iraq's deputy prime minister, Barham Saleh, voiced frustration with neighboring nations on Monday for not doing more to prevent foreign fighters from getting into the country, The Associated Press reported today. "In my opinion, we have reached a stage in which if we do not see a real response from those countries, then we are obliged to take a decisive stance," Mr. Saleh said, without specifying what such a stance might mean.

American Prospect 30 Nov 2004 www.prospect.org Of Mosul and Men Stop wondering whether civil war will erupt in Iraq. It already has. By Matthew Yglesias For months now, skeptics of George W. Bush’s Iraq policy have been warning that the present path could lead to bloody civil war. More recently, proponents of a continued U.S. military presence have been warning that bloody civil war would be the result of a withdrawal. Both sides can, perhaps, stop warning -- the civil war has already begun. Recent events in Mosul, a multi-ethnic city in northern Iraq that is the country's third-largest after Baghdad and Basra, lack the clear-cut structure of a Fort Sumter but otherwise bear all the markings of ethnic and sectarian warfare. Most news accounts portrayed the fighting in Mosul -- the result of an insurgent counteroffensive in the wake of the American assault on Fallujah -- as part of a conventional narrative of insurgents versus combined U.S. and Interim Government forces. The reality is rather more troubling. The town's 5,000-strong police force, commanded by and largely composed of Sunni Arabs, melted away in the face of the Sunni Arab insurgency, with some policemen going over to the other side. Peter Galbraith, reporting for the December issue of the Prospect before fighting broke out, noted that the leadership of the Mosul police department was widely believed to be collaborating with the insurgency, and that the city's Kurdish community had already for this reason created parallel governance and security institutions for the neighborhoods in which they reside. When American forces entered the city to retake it from the insurgency, the Iraqi forces at their side were, in turn, Kurdish peshmerga fighters brought in from the surrounding area. The fight, in other words, was not between an American-backed government and anti-government rebels. It was, rather, a simple fight between Sunni Arabs and Kurds with ostensible agents of the Interim Government on both sides. Rather than unique to Mosul, the situation seems rather typical of events throughout Iraq. The commander of police in Tikrit, a Sunni Arab town that's been relatively peaceful, recently claimed that Israel and Iran (which is to say the Kurdish and Shiite factions that they have respectively aided) were responsible for the terrorist violence in Iraq when, in fact, his Sunni Arab coreligionists are to blame. American soldiers and junior officers are widely skeptical of the loyalty of Iraqi security forces throughout Sunni-majority areas; though senior commanders don't put it this way, their clear preference for relying on Kurdish troops to do the heavy lifting indicates that they see the same picture. In the north (including Mosul) security is provided by peshmerga currently aligned with the Interim Government but more loyal to Kurdistan than to Iraq as they've been happy to make clear in disputed areas like Kirkuk. In many southern towns, security is effectively in the hands of militias loyal to one or the other Shiite party rather than to the government per se. Last weekend's fracas over whether or not to delay the scheduled January elections for a national assembly confirms the trend. Ostensibly a dispute about whether or not security will be sufficient to permit credible elections, the true dividing lines are rather different. Sunni and secular parties, sure to be worse off after secular and Sunni-friendly (though actually Shiite by heritage) Iyad Allawi is replaced by a government dominated by Shiite Islamists, want a delay. The Shiite parties, in turn, think elections (and the Shiite rise to power) can't come soon enough. The Kurdish parties say they could live with either outcome, but would prefer a delay. Thus, contrary to the Bush administration's hopes, elections themselves will not solve Iraq's problems. The trouble is not merely that some factions within Iraq are opposed to the very idea of democracy (though no doubt some are), but that what's at stake in these sorts of disputes is the very nature of the political community to be governed democratically. A community that might be quite happy to govern itself democratically still has no reason to support a conception of majoritarian democracy that will guarantee its own subordination to a larger community to which it happens to have been yoked by the mapmakers of the British Empire. What elections will do is provide the United States with an opportunity to declare victory and go home. Though it would gall liberals (this one included) to see the administration proclaim its aims accomplished and the war a triumph sometime in early spring 2005, the reality is that the best chance to end American participation in the war is to do so in a way that permits a political win for the administration and some face-saving on the international stage. Leaving before an election that's scheduled to take place in just about 60 days, after having come this far, would be bizarre. Staying much longer would be hopeless. The political problem that underlies the security problem that, in turn, underlies Iraq's economic, public health, and other difficulties can only be resolved by a political agreement among the relevant parties. The United States cannot force anyone to agree, if only because we cannot credibly commit to enforcing any agreement indefinitely. The theoretical basis of such an agreement -- federalism, sharing of oil revenues, etc. -- is easy enough to see; the only question is whether the leaders of Iraq's major groups prefer to make that agreement, or prefer to take their chances with violence. If an agreement can be made, our presence won't have much use and would simply introduce another contentious issue into the mix. If it cannot, then staying in the country will only leave us caught in an increasingly deadly crossfire. Matthew Yglesias is a Prospect staff writer.

KurdistanObserver.com 26 Nov 2004 Of Halabja, the Kurds, and American Politics By: Dr. Sabah Salih November 26, 2004 Each of the many tombstones in this football-size cemetery bears a cluster of names. There are families of three, five, six, or even seven. There are little brothers and sisters, young mothers, grandmothers, and grandfathers. There are the Kawas, Azads, Rizgars, as well as the Sheerns, Chinars, and Ronaks, and many others. These ordinary names address you in silence, bit by bit telling their stories. March was at its peak, having transformed the hilly landscape into a kaleidoscope of translucent greens, reds, yellows, and whites. Snow had melted from the nearby mountain slopes but the peaks were still brilliantly white. Two brothers were playing with a toy car they themselves had fashioned out of scrap metal left behind by the army. A young mother was breastfeeding her three-month-old while her two-year-old slept peacefully at her side. A grandmother was making the rounds in the neighborhood in search of listeners for her usual litany of complaints against old age. A grandfather, bedridden by a stroke, was counting his blessings, having all those obedient grandchildren for company. For these, and for many others, life suddenly stopped. No, nature was not to blame. This was the work of man—an Arab man, a Muslim man too. In fuller detail, a museum near the cemetery tells these people’s stories. The simple mud houses are intact. The occupants’ basic belongings are still there. There are also the animals, the chickens, the ducks, and the geese. There are dozens of cheap rubber shoes strewn around, men’s in black, women’s and children’s in bright blues, reds, and yellows. They had sat down for lunch, a simple meal of yogurt and bread and hot tea. This was to be their last meal. No more laughter, no more cries, no more dreaming. Unknown to them, a silent killer was on the loose—a killer like nothing they had seen before, a killer that even nature did not have anything like it in its arsenal. Some five thousand lives would perish. It would be the end as well for the birds and animals. Brooks and the streams would become deadly. The unspeakable horrors confront you the moment you enter the museum: mothers and children in a tight embrace, fathers desperately trying to shield small children from something they had no idea what it was. It was something so unusual, so unexpected; it was something the world had made a solemn promise after Hiroshima not to use again. But now the world was caught off guard a second time. This time around the culprit was an Arab man, a Muslim man. For his monstrous action he had found justification in the Koran; he even named it after a verse from the book: Anfal. In that year, 1988, Halabja made the headlines. The scenes were too horrific to be ignored. But the spin almost immediately began. Arab League representative at the time, Clovis Maqssoud, briskly made the rounds in Washington and New York, first, denying that the attack had even occurred and, then, when confronted with the evidence, rushed blindly to defend Saddam. The pattern was repeated throughout much of the Arab and Muslim regions, where Israel and the West were, once again, roundly condemned for conspiring to defame an Arab ruler. Elsewhere, the Turks, always at the ready to try and defame anything Kurdish, described the chemical attack as much ado about nothing. Much of Europe didn’t want to be bothered either; everyone was after the mighty dollar and Saddam had plenty to spare. America under Ronald Reagan was in this too. After a gentle slap on the wrist, Iraq’s Tariq Aziz left George Shultz’s State Department a satisfied man. Then came Saddam’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, and, suddenly, Halabja was here, Halabja was there, Halabja was everywhere. Halabja was now repackaged to provide moral justification for London and Washington’s decision to evict Saddam from Kuwait by force. For George Bush senior Halabja was proof that Saddam was worse than Hitler. For Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Halabja was proof why the world needed to keep Saddam in a box and why the world needed to be continuously wary of his intentions. In the end Saddam was cut down to size but was left in power, something the dictator rightly interpreted as a nod from London and Washington that the fuss over Halabja was just a fuss and not much else. Shortly afterwards, when the regime went on a killing spree against the Kurds in the north and the Shiites in the south, both London and Washington kept their distance from Halabja, preferring now to describe events in Iraq as a largely internal affair. Then came Bill Clinton’s turn to have his way with Halabja. Portraying himself as a man of peace, Clinton nonetheless felt a need to periodically bomb Saddam, now openly thumbing his nose at America. Once again, Halabja was conveniently called upon to provide the moral justification. The affable Bill Cohen, Clinton’s second defense secretary, after one such bombing, chose Halabja’s most potent image—a dead man lying face down on the door step of his home holding a baby in his arm—to quash the rising anti-war rhetoric. Halabja, in a classic case of appropriation, was now made to serve a non-Kurdish agenda. More recently, in the run-up for the current war in Iraq, demand for Halabja soared. It now occupied the center stage in the Bush administration’s moral argument for going after Saddam. This was not entirely bad for Halabja. Bush gave it a voice, legitimacy, and recognition. For that the Kurds were understandably grateful. But something big was left out of Halabja: it’s Kurdishness. Halabja was now offered as proof of Saddam’s determination to acquire and use chemical weapons. But sadly Halabja as part of a wounded nation’s struggle against successive Arab tyrannies was largely left out—a strategy Colin Powell repeated at Halabja itself during his September 2003 visit; at the opening of the museum, Powell delivered a speech that was designed to undercut rather than promote Kurdish nationalism. He portrayed Halabja as a largely Iraqi, not a Kurdish, affair. The Turks, the Iranians, and the Syrians, not surprisingly, were gratified. Then, as the American presidential race got into full swing, Halabja was pushed aside. For many in the John Kerry camp, the very mention of Halabja was tantamount to an oath of allegiance to Bush and the Republican Party. In some quarters, Halabja would even get the standard Michael Moore response—a lie, the whole thing was a lie, and you know it,” followed by, “ Who the Kurds? You mean, Bush’s stooges?” If there was one thing the Kerry campaign succeeded in solidifying, it was this willful disregard for Kurdish suffering. Eager to be seen trying to build bridges with the Arab and Islamic worlds, John Kerry felt a need to impose a tight embargo on the Kurdish narrative. The actual villain, indeed, for Kerry was not the man responsible for genocide against the Kurdish people but Bush and his policies. Kerry never got tired of reminding what he called “Middle Class America” that the effort to oust the dictator was “the wrong war at the wrong time.” In doing so, Kerry brought considerable harm to the Kurdish cause. Kerry’s rhetoric, by refusing to make statements about Saddam’s horrendous crimes against the Kurdish people, invalidated the horrors of Halabja for his supporters, turning a killing field into a mere footnote of no significance. To be critical of Bush, for Kerry simply meant to be uncritical of Saddam. For the Kurds, this was like sending icicles down their throat. For their part, the Republicans, forced by circumstance to take up much of the traditionally leftist vocabulary of liberation and democracy and big government, have been a little more forthcoming in giving the Kurdish narrative a hearing—but only when suiting their purposes. And now that the elections are over and Condoleezza Rice is taking over the State Department, there is hardly any mention of the Kurds. The anti-Bush camp, smarting from its defeat, is too busy trying to figure out how to win in 2008 than to worry about the fate of a people it treated with cold indifference. And the administration, buoyed by the Republican victory, is in no mood to listen to anyone but its own voices. The result has been a situation where the majority of pundits and academics who opposed the intervention in Iraq in the first place are now trying to rehabilitate Saddam and portray his regime as the real victim. Fascist butchers are being hailed as the moral equivalent of America’s founding fathers, and as Christopher Hitchens writes in “Bush’s Secularist Triumph” (slate.com, Nov. 9, 2004), “blood-maddened thugs in Iraq” are routinely referred to as “the voice of the oppressed,” which is another way of saying that the real oppressor is Bush, not Saddam. The intellectual atmosphere is such that if you do not revile Bush and condemn the whole foray into Iraq with blind obedience, as America’s greatest current writer, novelist Tom Wolfe, observes in The Guardian (Nov. 1, 2004), you would be considered something like a child molester. For Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, Bush doesn’t just “battle primitivism”; he “courts primitivism” (Nov. 7, 2004). For her colleague, Thomas Friedman, Bush has made it difficult for Americans to agree on “what America is” (Nov. 4, 2004). At one level, such antagonism should not be taken seriously at all, for, as the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek ably demonstrates in “Over the Rainbow” (London Review of Books, Nov. 4, 2004), it is not some benign truth that the anti-Bush rhetoric is registering but rather the usual ideological baggage that comes with preaching at the already converted. Rather than being an example of deep thinking, it is in fact a prohibition against thinking: its aim is totalitarian, promoting one particular point of view—and it is just that—over all the others. One of its ridiculous assumptions is that in reelecting Bush the American people have once again shown themselves to be the bad guys and, by extension, the Europeans to be the good guys, even though the vast majority of the descendents of the Enlightenment opted to side first with tyranny in the run-up to the war and now openly in Hitchens’s words with “theocratic saboteurs in Iraq.” Another is that such rhetoric is a complete misreading of America: the Americans reelected Bush because the majority of them are like Bush. To believe otherwise is to believe in an imaginary America. As Tom Wolfe succinctly puts it, “I think support for Bush is about not wanting to be led by East-coast pretensions.” But at another level, such antagonism has been very damaging to the Kurdish narrative; in the Left’s vocabulary the Kurd is no longer a victim but a collaborator with an imperial power bent on sucking up the last drop of an oppressed people’s oil. As vague and sloppy as this line of thinking is, its emotional impact cannot be ignored: many easily fall for it. Sadly, for them thinking about Iraq remains forever locked within the ideological simplicity of such framework. It is a rhetoric within which the beheaders and silencers of the word are glorified as “nationalist” fighters and those opposing them as misguided colonial servants. To believe in such rhetoric is to be willing to abdicate thinking, or, to paraphrase Jurgen Habermas, to commit oneself to the opposite of truth, reason, and justice. Dogma aside, these days the Kurdish narrative is being harmed in another way. The Bush administration is quietly and not so quietly trying to undercut the Kurdish identity. This is no exaggeration. In all their official and no-so official references to Kurdistan, American officials make the point not to mention the K-word—Kurdistan. Theirs is indeed a vocabulary designed to preserve Iraq as an Arab entity and give the Kurds at best a subordinate role. The administration’s intellectual ally, the Nixon Center, has even gone as far as lecturing the Kurds pompously on why Arabic, rather than English, ought to be their second language; in the words of Damjan De Krenjevic-Miskovic and Nikolas Gvosdev, who probably until very recently couldn’t even locate Kurdistan on a map, for the Kurds not wanting to learn Arabic is tantamount “to embrace their resentments” (Financial Times, Nov. 20, 2004). Writing from the gaudy corridors of the American academy, University of Michigan professor Juan Cole advocates in all serious the scraping of the very idea of Kurdistan as a cultural and geographic entity in favor of an Iraq organized around its 18 provinces, something even Saddam’s pan-Arab agenda never dared to raise. What makes this kind of thinking possible is not the resources of logic and dialect and a willingness to give a story a fair hearing but the willingness to suspend all that, as Paul Bremer was in the habit of sheepishly doing every time the Kurdish situation was on the agenda. The point here is that the Kurdish point of view does not seem to matter anymore, neither to the Bush administration nor to the ever increasing coterie of so-called Middle Experts like Cole and many others—despite the fact that Kurdistan, as a people and a culture and a shared experience, has really no connection to Iraq, as Boston Globe’s Thanassis Cambanis (Nov. 14, 2004) and The Independent’s Charles Glass have recently found out with relative ease (Nov. 23, 2004). Not making an effort to understand the Kurdish reality is to engage in a colonialist enterprise of the worst kind: disregarding a people’s right to be heard. A recent visit to Kurdistan by former U.S. ambassador to Lebanon and Qatar, Mark G. Humbley, confirms much of what I have been saying. Speaking recently at the World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts, Mr. Humbley said, “There is no consular office, no financial help coming from us. We could also support more English language programs. Right now, they are learning English from the French” (moshea@repub.com, Nov. 20, 2004).

The Scotsman, UK 29 Nov 2004 news.scotsman.com Brave Iraqis Determined to Uncover Saddam's Crimes By Emily Pennink, PA A group of courageous Iraqi men and women spoke today of their determination to get justice and peace for the hundreds of thousands of victims of Saddam Hussein’s regime as they prepared to excavate mass graves. Thirty-four Iraqi medics, academics and police officers arrived in Britain in October to study forensic archaeology at Bournemouth University so they could identify their dead and gather evidence of genocide in their homeland. When they return in February they will face the constant threat of being killed by members of the old Baathist regime who may want to stop them uncovering the true extent of mass killings in Iraq. Seven of the group agreed to be interviewed about the project, paid for with nearly £1 million of British Government funds, on condition their identities were protected. Many of them count friends or members of their own families among the estimated 300,000 people who disappeared during Saddam’s reign of terror. Husband-and-wife doctors from Baghdad were among the team members who gathered at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London for a press conference. The husband said: “We are afraid. We must be afraid. There will be a threat from Saddam regime followers. They will be afraid we will have evidence these men did such things. But we should do it.” Everyone in Iraq knew someone who had disappeared during the old regime, said his wife, who is expecting their first child in six months’ time. “They used to go to their houses and get somebody, their son or daughter, and they just got them away. Alive or dead, you do not know.” On their hopes for the future, he said: “First of all, we must have peace. Just one day before we came here there was a bomb on the road and we were driving our car and it blew up. It blew our shirts off. “Secondly, Saddam is a big, big, criminal. You cannot imagine how criminal he is. So if we can participate in his trial we will give good scientific evidence and convince the judge. “I’m sure we will do it. Even if they do not give us payment, we will do it.” Iraqis are the best people to carry out the excavations because they have lived and suffered under the old regime, the group said. Working with local communities anxious to find out what happened to their loved-ones would help provide security for the group, they said. “We are aware it will not be an easy thing and it is dangerous but people are waiting to find out what happened to their relatives and their beloved,” said one of the group. Some of the mass graves have already been dug up by people desperate to find their lost loved ones, making it difficult to gather evidence of genocide, they said. “Our first aim is a humanitarian one. We would like to identify these human remains so their families and loved ones know what happened to them and identify them so they can be buried in a humane and suitable way,” one of the men said. There are believed to be 262 mass graves in Iraq, and an estimated 300,000 missing people including Kurds, Arabs and Egyptians. In Halabja, 5,000 Kurdish people are believed to have been killed in a chemical attack in 1988. Some 182,000 people went missing in Anfal in a campaign against Kurds in Northern Iraq between 1986 and 1988. There were yet more casualties during the suppression of the 1991 uprising of Kurds and Shias in the south of Iraq and the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Saddam is also accused of destroying the community and culture of the marsh Arabs north of Basra from the 1980s. The training project has been organised by the Inforce Foundation, a charity with experience of teaching people how to excavate mass graves in the Balkans. Project co-ordinator Roland Wessling said: “We hope by getting people involved in mass excavation it will help all of Iraq come to terms with its past. “Forensic science is not just about excavating bodies but getting information on when it happened, how it happened and who did it. “It has to be done by the local community because it is their dead, it is their relatives missing for years or even decades.” The team will work under internationally-recognised standards so their evidence can be used in criminal trials. “Mass graves can only be excavated once. You have one chance and one chance only. We are trying to train this team to be able to work to the standard in a theoretical and practical way,” Mr Wessling said Inforce wants forensic archaeologists to learn the lessons from grave excavation in the Balkans where standards varied, making it difficult to present hard evidence in court which could not be challenged. Forensic archaeologists can build up a picture of what happened to people buried in mass graves in several ways. They look at the number of disabled or injured people killed and whether they were shot a few times from behind or riddled with bullets to establish if they were killed in battle or executed. Examination of shell cases and digger tooth marks in the soil can often link more than one burial site to the perpetrators. The clothes and personal effects of the victims can also reveal whether they were soldiers or ordinary members of the public. A representative sample of about 10% of the graves need to be excavated to provide evidence in the trials of Saddam Hussein and other suspected mass murderers. The work will be painstaking, with a team capable of excavating just four or five sites a year. The wider humanitarian task of excavating graves to identify victims will take years.

Reuters 2 Dec 2004 US atrocities: Over 200,000 fled Fallujah More than 200,000 people who fled Fallujah ahead of the US offensive have yet to return and many are in desperate need of aid, with temperatures in Iraq heading toward freezing, a new UN emergency report says. Figures compiled by the International Organization for Migration show that 210,600 people, or more than 35,000 families, took refuge in towns and villages around Fallujah in the build up to the U.S. assault, launched on Nov. 8. Nearly all those people remain outside the city, where the population was estimated at 250,000-300,000 before the attack. U.S. forces are maintaining a cordon around Fallujah as sporadic fighting continues and are preventing refugees from returning, saying they want to stagger the return so that basic facilities can be restored before people go home. Most areas of the city remain without power, water, sewage and other basic services and it is expected to take much longer than previously thought to start reconstruction as hundreds of buildings are completely destroyed. "The return to Fallujah may take a matter of months rather than days, as was previously suggested by multi-national forces," the document entitled "Emergency Working Group -- Fallujah Crisis" and distributed by the United Nations said. The report, compiled by various aid agencies and released this week, says access to the camps for internally-displaced people is sporadic due to insecurity and military operations. "Some sites have received assistance, whereas others...are reportedly difficult to access even by the Iraqi Health Ministry," it said. It described shortages of fresh food and cooking oil and said there was serious concern about the cold. Since October, when families first began fleeing Fallujah, temperatures in central Iraq have fallen from around 85 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) to 35 Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) and sometimes colder overnight. Many families fled with the clothes they were wearing and a few personal items, unprepared for the change in weather. "The temperature has dropped, underscoring an urgent need for winterization items and appropriate shelter," the report said, detailing more than 15,000 families in need of dry food, detergent, winter clothes, blankets, mattresses and heaters. Iraq's Ministry of Industry and Minerals reportedly delivered around 8,000 blankets to refugee camps on Nov. 24, but no further details of the distribution were provided. The only aid agency that has managed to get into Fallujah to help the people who remained during the furious two-week offensive is the Iraqi Red Crescent Society. It arrived with three truck loads of food and medical supplies, eight ambulances and several doctors, about 10 days ago and is working from offices in the city center. The U.S. military is also attempting to provide assistance. At one aid distribution point, it recently delivered a supply of American snack food including frosted flakes, granola bars and bagel chips to needy families, many of whom were left confused by the foreign food and frustrated. The offensive on Fallujah was designed to rid the city of insurgents holed up there for months and put Iraqi security services back in charge in time for elections due on Jan. 30. Despite continued intermittent fighting, U.S. forces crushed Fallujah's insurgency, but there are fears rebels could filter back into the city and there are doubts that the city and it's residents will be ready for January's poll.

Tri-Valley Herald, CA 5 Dec 2004 www.trivalleyherald.com Battle to forget atrocity is lost for guardsman By Rob Dennis, STAFF WRITER Capt. Jarrell Southall still can't shake the nightmares. They intrude on his sleep with military precision at 2 every morning -- horrific visions of starving, beaten, tortured men. Men he tried to help. Men he was ordered to abandon. Southall, a Union City resident who taught history at the Challenger School in Newark before he was called back to uniform and sent to Iraq, gives his nightmares a historical context. "It stank of near-death," he says, his gaze fixed on the desktop in his office at the Camp Parks Reserve Forces Training Area in Dublin. "What I'd compare this to would be witnessing Dachau or Auschwitz before the Final Solution -- 1941 or 1939 in a German concentration camp. Historically speaking, that's how I'd explain what I saw." Southall, 40, a soft-spoken animal lover and former Marine, has served tours of duty in Somalia, the Korean DMZ and other less-than-salubrious locales around the globe. Advertisement Still, nothing had prepared him for that June day in Baghdad when his squad of national guardsmen stumbled upon an atrocity they were told to forget. "We tried to help those people, and we weren't allowed to help them," he says. "It still haunts me. The damage to those prisoners who were abused ... haunts me so much." Everything changes Born in the Mississippi Delta region of Arkansas, Southall was heavily influenced by the World War II veterans he met in his youth. He joined the Marines when he was 17, but he gave up professional soldiering 11 years later to attend the University of Oregon. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in geological sciences, he moved to Stanford with his then-girlfriend, whom he would later marry. He found work as a middle school teacher at the Challenger School, where he was popular and respected, earning a place in "Who's Who Among America's Teachers." "He is an inspiration to everybody," says Debbie Lincavage, the director's assistant at the school. "His students love him. ... He was just an awesome teacher. He truly is one of those amazing individuals who you really don't run into all that often." But the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, brought that world crashing down around him. "Other teachers came in and said, 'Hey, they bombed the Pentagon, they bombed the Towers,'" Southall says. "I thought they were joking. I said, 'Surely no one would attack the U.S.A.'" Two months later, Southall was called back to active duty with the 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry, of the Oregon Army National Guard. "We hated to lose him as a teacher, but on the other hand I couldn't think of a better person to serve overseas and guard our young men over there," Lincavage says. A treacherous road Southall spent seven months of his first year-long deployment in the Sinai Peninsula, where he commanded a company guarding the northernmost sector of the Israeli-Egyptian border. He returned to the United States in February 2003, did some substitute and summer school teaching at Challenger, and waited in limbo. Then in August, he got his orders: Iraq. After training and other preparations at Fort Hood, Texas, his company was shipped overseas in February 2004. They stayed in Kuwait for a time, then set off along the main highway to Baghdad. "That was a very treacherous road," he says. "It was supposed to be secure. What we were told was it would basically be a walk in the park. Iraq was won. The war was over. Mission accomplished. We wouldn't see any combat, basically." It didn't turn out that way. As they traveled along "RPG Alley," the dangerous 10-mile stretch of road linking Baghdad International Airport with the central part of the city, the convoy in front of them was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade. Southall's company was trapped in its soft-skinned Humvees until a tanker truck demolished a guard rail, allowing them to flee the road and regroup. For about a month, Southall was separated from most of his unit, camping with other troops in an old artillery base near al-Taji. "The enemy was all around us," he says. "We had enemy in the wire almost every night. We were mortared every day. Small arms fire all the time. And all the while we had soft-skinned Humvees ... not even regular Humvees." They also lacked food and medical supplies. Temperatures soared to 153 degrees in the chemical toilets. And, of course, soldiers were being killed. "What was appalling was the lack of planning," he says. "It seems like there was no planning for combat operations. ... There was no aggressive way to defeat the enemy. It was almost like we were victims." In April, Southall joined the list of casualties, though he was luckier than most. Between mortar attacks, a heavy trucker's bungee cord they had used to jury-rig armor for the Humvees snapped, whacking him in the temple. The injury might have caused the blood clots that eventually got him shipped back home. But that wouldn't be for another four months. Nightmares It was June 29 when Southall and a dozen or so other guardsmen swept into the walled compound of the Iraqi Interior Ministry in Baghdad, after a scout reported seeing scenes of prisoner abuse so bad he was asking for permission to open fire on the jailers. They found at least 150 detainees who had been rounded up in an east Baghdad neighborhood, in what the new Iraqi administration called a crackdown on crime, according to reports. Most of those arrested were immigrants or poor Iraqis. The youngest was about 14. Southall, a converted Sunni Muslim who speaks some Arabic, was able to get some of the prisoners to open up after he recited the Islamic shahada , or profession of faith. They told him they'd been denied food and water for three days. They'd been beaten. They'd been tortured. The welts and bruises on their bodies bore this out, as did the metal rods, rubber hoses and various other implements found in a nearby building. The prisoners he talked to mostly were Sudanese, Southall says, and he believes this was the main reason for their ill treatment by the Iraqi police. Given the jailers' well-kept appearance, he took them to be former members of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath party. The jailers, though, denied abusing the prisoners, whom they described as "dangerous criminals." The guardsmen called in a military police unit to disarm the more than 60 Iraqi police and interrogators, then waited while Lt. Col. Daniel Hendrickson, the highest-ranking American at the scene, radioed for instructions. In a move that shocked Southall and the rest of the squad, Hendrickson was ordered, over the lieutenant colonel's strong objections, to return the prisoners to their captors and withdraw his troops. In the days that followed, there were reports that many of the prisoners were released. Still, the memory stings for Southall. "I had to leave these guys that were hungry, that needed medical aid," he says. "They were certainly going to die if they were left in that condition." Southall removes his wire-rimmed glasses to rub his eyes, choking back sobs as the memories come flooding back. "I can't shake it, you know, I can't shake it. The nightmares." The Oregonian newspaper reported the abuse in August, using the accounts of several guardsmen, including Southall, the only one who would allow his name to be used. A month later, Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the guardsmen "should be commended for their initiative," the Oregonian reported. However, Myers said, the prisoners had to be returned to their captors to reinforce "the authority and responsibility of the Iraqi government to handle its internal affairs." The abuse had been uncovered the day after Iraq's sovereignty was restored. Coming home As news of the confrontation was about to be made public, Southall was sent home, suffering from blood clots in his head and lungs. In the months that followed, he would be struck repeatedly by headaches, seizures and stroke-like symptoms. Still, he felt bad about leaving his comrades, who were in the middle of a massive fight in Sadr City. "I didn't want to leave my Joes," he says. "I didn't want to leave my friends in the middle of all that." Now, though, his biggest fear is that he will be sent back. "Right now, emotionally, I don't think I'm ready," he says. "Emotionally, I don't think I could handle another combat tour." He enjoys his new assignment with the 91st Division, a training support group based at Camp Parks. He's slowly recuperating, too, though he only recently regained the ability to drive. He wants to get back to teaching, buy a home and return to college to earn his doctorate in paleontology, or perhaps Middle Eastern studies. "It's really hard coming home, trying to start your life," he says. "Even going to my school -- the parents, the kids, the teachers, the principals. You know, they love me, it's just ... I feel like I'm a person out of a body looking down on these people. I don't even feel like a real person anymore." Southall's life has changed immeasurably since 9/11. His wife filed for divorce. He lost buddies in Iraq, including a close friend of 23 years, dating back to his Marine days. He even lost his 19-year-old cat, Bubba, who died before Southall could return. Rufus, a cat he tried to rescue from Iraq, ran off during a stopover in Kuwait. And there are the ever-present nightmares. "I'm still haunted by the memories of the war," he says. "I lost everything. But you've got to carry on. You've got to pick up your pieces and carry on. So that's what I'm doing."

NYT 6 Nov 2004 Iraqi Special Tribunal To the Editor: "Iraq's New Court Finds Itself on Trial," by Michael A. Newton (Op-Ed, Nov. 24), reflects real panic among American advisers at the Iraqi Special Tribunal. From the start, the United States has mishandled the preparation for the trials of Saddam Hussein and others through the so-called "Iraq-led" process. Now, a year and a half later, they find themselves with neither forensic nor documentary evidence, nor many key witnesses, ready for trial. To deflect public blame for this debacle, they assert that Human Rights Watch does not support justice in Iraq. For Colonel Newton to allege that we misled Iraqis who were witnesses to genocide and prevented them from cooperating with the tribunal is ludicrous. We took testimonies from victims back in 1992, before there was any hope of such a tribunal (we asked the United States government to assist us in a genocide case at the time, but it begged off). Colonel Newton ignores the tribunal's real problems: no guarantee against using confessions extracted by torture, no right of access to a lawyer early in the investigation and no requirement that guilt be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. A suspect convicted under these unfair procedures is allowed to face the death penalty. The analysis of what's gone wrong with the Iraqi tribunal must start there. Richard Dicker Dir., Intl. Justice Program Human Rights Watch New York, Nov. 24, 2004

www.ekklesia.co.uk 6 Dec 2004 Anti-Christian Feeling Spreading Due to War on Terror: Vatican Minister Anti-Christian feeling is spreading in Muslim countries and other parts of the world because the war on terrorism is seen as linked to Western political strategy, says the Vatican's foreign minister. Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, in a speech to a conference on religious freedom, was the latest Christian figure to decry what the Church fears will be a difficult future in regions where Christians are in the minority. Last month two senior anglican bishops said that the religious dimension of the conflict in Iraq needed to be recognised and that huge numbers of Muslims "increasingly regard the current military action as a war between religions". "We cannot disentangle the actions of what is perceived to be a Christian government from the backlash against local Christians as seen in the bombing of Christian churches" they said. "It should be recognised that the war against terrorism, even though necessary, had as one of its side-effects the spread of 'Christianophobia' in vast areas of the globe," Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo told the conference. Lajolo, the Vatican's second-ranking diplomat, said anti-Christian feeling existed where political strategies of Western countries were believed to be driven by Christianity. He said this was why the Vatican had insisted that "Christianophobia be condemned together with Islamophobia and anti-Semitism" in recent U.N. human rights documents. After September 11th 2001 President Bush set off alarm bells in the Muslim world by referring to his war against terrorism as a "crusade", recalling the historical trauma for the Muslim world, which was besieged by Christian crusaders from Europe during the Middle Ages. The word resurfaced again in a Bush campaign fund-raising letter earlier this year. While Lajolo did not specifically mention Iraq, his comments appeared to be a reference to it and other Islamic nations where minority Christians have come under attack. A spate of bombs have hit churches and hospitals in the past few months, leaving numerous dead and injured. Iraq's estimated 800,000 Christians, mostly Chaldeans, Assyrians and Catholics, comprise about 3 percent of the population. Many have left Iraq and the Vatican fears more will go if attacks go on. Lajolo later told reporters the perceived dislike of Christians was taking place because "their institutions and their activities are seen as attempts to win converts or interfere in local cultures". John V. Hanford III, U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom, said Washington was concerned about any Christian exodus from Iraq but that the U.S.-led intervention could not be blamed for the religious strife. "

washingtonpost.com 8 Dec 2004 Former Marine Testifies to Atrocities in Iraq Unit Killed Dozens of Unarmed Civilians Last Year, Canadian Refugee Board Is Told By Doug Struck Washington Post Foreign Service Wednesday, December 8, 2004; Page A20 TORONTO, Dec. 7 -- A former U.S. Marine staff sergeant testified at a hearing Tuesday that his unit killed at least 30 unarmed civilians in Iraq during the war in 2003 and that Marines routinely shot and killed wounded Iraqis. Jimmy J. Massey, a 12-year veteran, said he left Iraq in May 2003 after a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress. He said he and his men shot and killed four Iraqis staging a demonstration and a man with his hands up trying to surrender, as well as women and children at roadblocks. Massey said he had complained to his superiors about the "killing of innocent civilians," but that nothing was done. Massey, 33, of Waynesville, N.C., was the chief witness at a refugee board hearing for a U.S. Army deserter, Jeremy Hinzman, who is attempting to win asylum in Canada after he fled from Fort Bragg, N.C., rather than go to Iraq. Hinzman, 25, the first of at least three U.S. military deserters to apply for asylum here, argues that he refused to go to Iraq to avoid committing war crimes. In Washington, a Marine Corps spokesman at the Pentagon said Massey's charges had been investigated and were unproved. "We take such allegations very seriously," said Maj. Douglas Powell. "And Jimmy Massey, who is a former staff sergeant, out of the Corps, has made these statements before in the press. They've been looked into, and nothing has been substantiated." Massey is a former Marine recruiter who served in Iraq as the staff sergeant for a platoon that ranged from 25 to 50 men. He testified that the killings occurred in late March or early April 2003 as his unit, the weapons company of the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, moved northward to Baghdad and then beyond. During one 48-hour period, Massey said under oath, his platoon set up roadblocks and killed "30-plus" civilians. He said his men, fearing suicide bombers, poured massive firepower into cars that did not stop as they approached the roadblocks. In each instance, he said, none of the cars was found to have contained explosives or arms. "Why didn't the Iraqis stop? That is something that has plagued me every waking moment of the day," he said. He said they may have been confused by the Americans' gestures or thought that a warning shot was celebratory gunfire. "I don't know if the Iraqi people thought we were celebrating their newfound freedom. But I do know we killed innocent civilians," Massey said. In one case, the driver of a car leaped out with his hands up. "But we kept firing. We killed him," Massey said. In another case, he and other Marines shot and killed four protesters near a checkpoint after a single incoming gunshot from an unknown source, he said. None of the protesters was found with arms. The testimony of Massey, who was honorably discharged six months after his medical evacuation from Iraq, is the main surviving thrust of the strategy by Hinzman's attorney to put the Iraq war on trial at the refugee hearing. The asylum bids by Hinzman and two other servicemen are a dilemma for the Canadian government, which is seeking to repair relations with the Bush administration. Canada refused to join the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the war remains highly unpopular in Canada. The government won a ruling that the legality of the Iraq war could not be an issue at the refugee hearing. But Hinzman's attorney, Jeffry House, has introduced testimonials and human rights reports to support Hinzman's claim that he would have been forced to violate the Geneva Conventions in Iraq. Some of Hinzman's supporters, including House, are Vietnam-era draft dodgers. They compare Massey's testimony to the disclosure of the My Lai massacre of civilians in Vietnam. Hinzman, who served a tour in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne Division, had applied for a transfer to a noncombat position in the Army. When that was rejected and his division was ordered to Iraq, Hinzman drove from Fort Bragg to Canada in January with his wife and infant son. The family is living in a basement apartment in Toronto while their request is heard. If it is rejected, Hinzman has said, they expect to file appeals in the Canadian courts. Staff writer Christopher Lee in Washington contributed to this report.

washingtonpost.com 8 dEC 2004 Report to Defense Alleged Abuse By Prison Interrogation Teams Intelligence Official Informed Defense Dept. in June By Barton Gellman and R. Jeffrey Smith Washington Post Staff Writers Wednesday, December 8, 2004; Page A01 From a classified report five months ago, one of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's closest advisers learned of allegations that a clandestine military task force in Iraq was beating detainees, ordering Defense Intelligence Agency debriefers out of the room during questioning, confiscating evidence of the abuse and intimidating the debriefers when they complained. The June 25 report -- sent by the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency to Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen A. Cambone -- is among dozens of documents made public yesterday that allege brutal and sometimes illegal military interrogation methods employed against prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In the documents, government witnesses describe the regular use of violence -- much of it inflicted on prisoners by a top-secret task force devoted to capturing "high-value targets" in Iraq -- more than seven months after a fact-finding mission reported to senior defense officials that the unit was beating prisoners. There is no record, among the documents made public yesterday or previously, that makes clear whether the abuses -- separate and apart from the highly publicized incidents at Abu Ghraib -- have stopped or whether anyone has been held responsible for them. The Bush administration, which continues to portray prisoner abuses as isolated events and the Pentagon's response as swift, fought vigorously to keep the new documents from public view. The American Civil Liberties Union released 43 of them after compelling the Bush administration to provide them -- many still heavily censored -- in a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act. The two-page "Info Memo" of the DIA director, Vice Adm. Lowell Jacoby, is the most significant, because he is the highest-ranking official now known to have complained about prisoner mistreatment. His allegations -- both for the intensity of the violence described and the specificity of the evidence of attempted coverup -- are among the most serious levied to date. They are also notable because the agency he runs works closely in the field with the elite Special Operations unit about which he writes. The Washington Post reported last week that a fact-finding mission for Army generals in December 2003 had warned that the same unit -- then called Task Force 121, and more recently renamed Task Force 6-26 -- was beating detainees and using a secret facility to hide its interrogations. The task force, which is still active in Iraq, is commanded by a two-star flag officer. It is made up primarily of soldiers from two Army "special mission units," whose existence is not officially acknowledged by the Pentagon. Several of its members, all of them Navy SEALS, are under criminal investigation for the deaths of two prisoners in their custody. Other documents describe heated battles in which the FBI and some DIA intelligence officers objected to harsh interrogation methods in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. One FBI agent, reporting on May 10 to superiors about an earlier conversation with Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller and Maj. Gen. Michael B. Dunleavey at Guantanamo Bay, said the two men cited Rumsfeld as the source of their authority to use techniques that the FBI regarded as potentially illegal and "not effective or producing intel that was reliable." The author of that report, whose name is redacted, said "both agreed the Bureau has their way of dong[sic] business and DoD has their marching orders from the Sec Def." Miller was commandant at Guantanamo until last spring and, at least four government officials have reported, brought the harsh methods in use there to Iraq last spring. The Associated Press reported that Miller left Iraq yesterday for a new assignment in Washington, with responsibility for Army housing and support operations. Jacoby told Cambone that a supervisor in a secret military unit seized photographic evidence after a civilian DIA intelligence officer watched uniformed task force members "punch [the] prisoner in the face to the point the individual needed medical attention." That DIA officer, and another who worked with him, reported that prisoners taken in the field arrived at the unit's headquarters with "burn marks on their backs," "bruises" and other signs of violence. Jacoby wrote that officers of the elite military unit "threatened" the DIA civilians -- Jacoby did not elaborate -- and warned them not to discuss what they saw. The military officers "informed them that their emails were being screened" and "instructed them not to leave the compound . . . even to get a haircut." Air Force Lt. Col. John A. Skinner, a Pentagon spokesman, said "there have been more than 50,000 detainees and only around 300 or so allegations of abuse," many of which "turn out to be unsubstantiated once investigated." He added that one "incident of abuse is one too many" and that the department is committed to a "transparent investigation" of all allegations. He declined to answer questions on any specific allegation or to say why the government tried to suppress the documents released yesterday. The documents describe FBI agents as witnessing the harsh treatment of prisoners at military prisons in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay without making direct attempts to stop it. Some complained to their superiors, and others said they deliberately absented themselves from abusive interrogations. The documents provide no indication whether these protests provoked any intervention by agency officials in Washington. One special agent, interviewed by FBI Inspection Division officials in May, said he knew as early as November 2003 that the Abu Ghraib prison population included "ghost detainees," a name given to Iraqis imprisoned without being registered according to the requirements of the Geneva Conventions. Several agents who helped conduct interrogations at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 reported seeing naked or nearly naked prisoners in isolation cells; one said he saw a detainee, who was handcuffed to a railing with a nylon sack on his head and a shower curtain draped around him, being slapped by a soldier to keep him awake. Another special agent said he had repeatedly observed detainees who had been stripped naked and placed in isolation at Abu Ghraib -- a practice the military now says is wrong -- but made no protest because it seemed no different from strip searches at prisons in the United States. The agent, whose name was deleted from the FBI investigators' reports, said he was aware that sleep deprivation was used to compel prisoners to talk, but that he "was not aware if it was a permissible tactic or not." Defense Department officials, in interviews, have defended the practice. The State Department's annual accounting of human rights abuses by foreign governments has traditionally described sleep deprivation as a form of torture. The documents can be viewed in full at www.aclu.org/torturefoia/released/.

BBC 10 Dec 2004 US soldier admits murdering Iraqi A US soldier has pleaded guilty to murdering a severely wounded 16-year-old Iraqi, the military says. Staff Sgt Johnny Horne Jr was convicted of unpremeditated murder of the civilian youth in Baghdad's Sadr City suburb on 18 August. His defence said the death of the injured Iraqi was a "mercy killing" in collusion with another soldier. Under a plea bargain deal, Horne faces a maximum sentence of 10 years instead of the possibility of life in prison. Horne also pleaded guilty to a charge of soliciting another soldier to commit murder. His was one of a dozen court martial hearings under way relating to action in Iraq. 'Out of his misery' The charges stem from an incident in Sadr City when coalition forces were locked in fierce fighting with supporters of Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr. The court heard that members of Horne's unit fired on a rubbish truck they suspected of laying roadside bombs. However, inside the lorry was a crew of teenage boys hoping to make some extra money on a night shift. The soldiers, including Horne, tried to rescue one of the injured youths, according to witness testimony. Several witnesses described the injured Iraqi as having severe abdominal wounds and burns. Some thought the casualty was beyond medical help. Witnesses say Horne shot and killed one of the badly injured boys. The US soldiers decided that "the best course of action was to put [the Iraqi] out of his misery", the criminal investigator told the court. Another hearing relating to a separate incident in Sadr City is expected to continue on Friday. Sgt Michael P Williams is charged with murdering an Iraqi as well as obstruction of justice and making false statements.


washingtonpost.com Bin Laden Aide Warns U.S. to Alter Policies Failure to Cooperate With Muslim Nations Will Lead to Conflict, Zawahiri Says By Craig Whitlock Washington Post Foreign Service Tuesday, November 30, 2004; Page A14 BERLIN, Nov. 29 -- Al Qaeda's chief ideologue said in a videotape broadcast on Arab television Monday that the United States needed to change its policies toward Islamic countries or "we will continue fighting you until the last hour." The statement was the third issued since September by Ayman Zawahiri, an Egyptian physician and the top deputy to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. It was aired on al-Jazeera, the Arab satellite television network, one month after bin Laden delivered a similar video message four days before the U.S. presidential election. Zawahiri's message contained references that suggested it was recorded some time ago. In one excerpt shown on al-Jazeera, Zawahiri warned Americans that it did not matter who they chose as president. "Vote for whoever you want: Bush or Kerry or the devil himself," he said on the tape, echoing a line from bin Laden's pre-election speech. "This does not concern us. Our concern is to purify our countries from aggressors and to stand up to whoever attacks us." Al-Jazeera did not disclose how it acquired the video. Although they have been in hiding since al Qaeda carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, Zawahiri and bin Laden have become more vocal in recent months, releasing eight other audio and video tapes this year -- twice as many as in 2003. "Just the fact that we've heard from the both of them in such a short period of time -- that in itself is significant," said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism researcher and director of the Washington office of the Rand Corp.. "They are going out of their way to make their presence known. . . . They are trying to behave as if they are not being hunted or harassed around the world." Wearing glasses and a white turban, Zawahiri could be seen in the video sitting in front of a light-brown background with a blanket draped over his shoulder. A gun was propped next to him. The backdrop was similar to one used by Zawahiri in a video that al-Jazeera broadcast on Sept. 9, just before the third anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Zawahiri addressed his comments to the American people and said he wanted to give them "one last advice" on their dealings with the Muslim world. "You must choose between two methods in dealing with Muslims," he said. "Cooperate with them based on mutual respect and interests, or deal with them as if they are spoils of war. This is your problem, and you must choose. And you should know that we are a nation of patience and we will continue fighting you until the last hour." He made references to the U.S.-sponsored elections held in Afghanistan last month and those scheduled for January in Iraq, as well as to the presidential contest between Bush and Kerry. "These days America is playing the election game in the United States, Afghanistan and Iraq," Zawahiri said. "As for the American elections, the two candidates are competing to win the satisfaction of Israel." Zawahiri has served as bin Laden's top deputy and ideological adviser for nearly a decade. While his past speeches have been filled with quotations from the Koran, the excerpts broadcast Monday were notable for their lack of religious imagery. Bin Laden took the same approach in his video last month. "They don't want any ambiguity," Hoffman said. "Both messages are remarkably clear and to the point. They are stripped of the flowery rhetoric." U.S. officials have said Zawahiri and bin Laden are both believed to be somewhere along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The United States has offered a $25 million reward for each man's capture.

Jerusalem Post 6 Dec 2004 Jewish terrorist sentenced to 8 yrs By ETGAR LEFKOVITS Shahar Dvir-Zeliger Photo: Channel 1 The Jerusalem district court on Monday sentenced an Israeli man to eight years in prison for membership in an underground Jewish terrorist organization believed to be behind the killing of eight Palestinian civilians over the last four years. Shahar Dvir-Zeliger, 29, of the West Bank settlement of Adei Ad, was convicted in the same court in September on charges of belonging to an underground Jewish terrorist organization, the first time in two decades that an Israeli was found guilty on such serious charges. He was also convicted of four lesser charges, including being an accomplice to murder and various weapons-related charges. Dvir-Zeliger - whose brother Shlomo is serving a 15-year sentence for the attempted 2002 bombing of an Arab girl's school in east Jerusalem - was arrested last year. At the time, police found a large cache of weapons hidden in a cave near his West Bank settlement, including M-16 assault rifles, machine-guns, three anti- tank rockets, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and dozens of grenades. Ballistics tests matched some of the seized rifles to those used in the attacks against the Palestinians. Israeli security officials say the group was behind shootings that killed seven Palestinians and four failed bombing attempts, including the thwarted plan to detonate a bomb at an Arab girls' school in east Jerusalem. "The war on terrorism at home, like that against external terrorism requires imposing severe and preventative punishment," Judge Yoram Noam wrote in his sentencing. "The phenomenon of organized Jewish terrorists, of citizens of the State, who aim at hurting Arab residents must be uprooted from its core via severe punishment which will repudiate such actions." "We believe that the sentencing expresses the unequivocal outlook of a society which rejects terror of all kinds and does not differentiate between different types of terror," said the state prosecutor in the case, Dan Eldar. Dvir-Zeliger is the third suspected member of a Jewish terror cell to be convicted, but the first to be directly linked to the group. Two other suspected cell members - Yitzhak Pass and Matityahu Shvu - were convicted of lesser charges of illegally transporting explosives as part of a plea bargain, and are serving two-year jail sentences. Six other suspected cell members fingered by Dvir-Zeliger during his Shin Bet interrogation were released due to lack of evidence.

BBC 7 Dec 2004 Jewish extremist settler jailed Nablus inhabitants say their lives are blighted by settler attacks An Israeli court has sentenced a Jewish settler to eight years imprisonment for membership of an extremist group. Shahar Dvir-Zeliger was handed a lesser sentence after co-operating with investigators and leading them to where a weapons cache used by the group. The cache in a West Bank cave contained guns, anti-tank rockets and ammunition stolen from the Israeli army. Prosecutors said the Dvir-Zeliger was member of the Bat Ayin cell, which has killed eight Palestinians. Three members of the group were convicted in 2003 for a bombing at a Palestinian school in east Jerusalem in 2002 that left a teacher and four children injured. Two were sentenced to 15 years' jail and the third received a 12-year term. In handing down the sentence to Dvir-Zeliger - who lives in an illegal settlement outpost near Nablus - the judge said: "The phenomenon of Jewish citizens of Israel belonging to a terrorist organisation aiming to harm Arab residents needs to be eradicated by severe punishment." The perpetrators of a series of shooting attacks against Palestinian motorists between 2001 and 2002 that killed eight people, including a baby, have yet to be identified.

www.thejewishpress.com 8 Dec 2004 The Banality Of Denial:Israel And The Armenian Genocide Posted 12/8/2004 By Aharon ben Anshel We have an ugly name for people who commit the ugly crime of declaring that The Holocaust never happened — they are called “deniers,” and have been successfully prosecuted both here and abroad. But “our” genocide was not history’s only crime against humanity, and even in our time we have witnessed several other crimes of mass murder, including Rwanda and Biafra, from which the blood of the victims cry out from their graves. No less a personage than the then American diplomat, and Ambassador to Turkey, Henry Morgenthau, kept a diary and eventually wrote a book describing what he observed as a genocide of Armenians then residing in the border area with Russia by “The Young Turks” of the Ottoman Empire in 1915. Under the guise of “relocation” at least three-quarters of a million to as many as one-and-a-half million Armenians — including Armenian members of the Turkish armed forces, were either systematically starved to death or driven in forced marches or simply killed in situ. Prior to the armistice that settled the boundaries of World War I, the Armenian nation had been promised statehood, but the Turkish regime decided that this “Third column” that may have become faithful to their Russian sponsors were a danger to the new nation-state and decisions were made to “deal with them.” In the ensuing years, conflicting opinions even in Turkey resulted in some 1,400 military courts martial, with punishments meted out to the perpetrators — but then “mysteriously” — most of the official records vanished. Yair Auron’s book doesn’t itself delve into the actual facts or issues of the Armenian genocide, but deals with the posturing of historians, both in and outside of Israel, of not wishing to deal with the issue or to even deny that there ever was a genocide. He discusses the uncomfortable position of the government of Israel, which has been pressured by the government of Turkey — Israel’s major trading partner among Muslim countries — to not officially bring up the subject of the Armenian genocide. He bemoans the influence — and interference — of Israel’s foreign ministry on the Israeli Academy, and delves into the delicate governmental “pandering” to the Turks during times when they were the only Muslim nation — with a substantial Jewish community — to maintain friendly relations with the State of Israel. He also bemoans that there is still no current curriculum for the study of the Armenian genocide in Israel’s school systems; that textbooks (including one written by him) on the subject have not been promulgated nor published; that educational television programs produced by Yad Vashem and for an American production have still not been aired in Israel; that Yad Vashem has — unlike New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage and Washington, D.C.’s United States Holocaust Memorial Museum — still not provided recognition that the Armenian genocide “may” have happened (although they have provided recognition to the nazi genocide of Europe’s Roma (“gypsies”). Each time governmental action is called for, in recognition and for educational efforts in Israel, the foreign ministry, and coincidentally, also the Prime Minister’s office, are pressured by Israel’s Turkish allies into quashing the effort. The Turkish position is that such “discussion” is more properly in the academic sector among historians and the like. But — each time the subject comes up the Turks evenly “trounce” the sometime perpetrators of truth. This happened when The First International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide was held in Tel Aviv in 1982. Among over one hundred fifty lectures only six included mention of the Armenian genocide, and through Turkish and Israeli governmental pressures these were neatly excised before the event was even held. Elie Wiesel, who was President of the conference, resigned over the pressure, and Prof. Arthur Hertzberg, who offered his services as Keynote speaker in Wiesel’s stead, also withdrew over the issues after enormous pressure. The resulting colloquium was thus emasculated and muzzled by the Turks who, to this day, deny the event of the Armenian genocide and still hide relevant documents in their governmental archives from all but the friendliest researchers who have been completely “vetted” in advance. Truth, especially so many years after an event, is always elusive, and there may be more than one “correct” version. It has already taken more than half a century for many truths to arrive about the German Nazi experience, with new revelations arising almost weekly, such as that as many as ten-percent of Hitler’s soldiers may have been “Mischlinge” (half or quarter Jews), and even that it was a German officer who rescued The Lubavitcher Rebbe from the Warsaw Ghetto. Post-war Germany, much as post-Apartheid South Africa, has owned up to the nation’s crimes and in each case delivered up the most serious perpetrators either as international criminals or at least for hearings. Turkey, on the other hand, continues to deny all, and modern moralists and humanists wish to assist the efforts of the international Armenian community to resolve the issues to their satisfaction to help heal their communal memory of affliction.

AP 10 Dec 2004 Israeli soldiers kill 7-year-old Palestinian girl while firing after Palestinian mortar fire in Gaza - Friday, December 10, 2004 (12-10) 06:49 PST GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- Israeli troops shot and killed a 7-year-old Palestinian girl on Friday after militants fired mortar rounds at a Gaza Strip settlement, injuring four Israelis, one of them a child, officials said. Palestinian militants fired three mortars at the Neve Dekalim settlement -- which is adjacent to the Khan Younis refugee camp -- seriously wounding three Israelis, one of them a child, the army said. A fourth Israelis was lightly injured. In response, soldiers fired at the refugee camp, where the mortars were apparently fired from, killing 7-year-old Rana Siyam, Palestinian security sources said. The army had no immediate comment. Palestinian militants often fire homemade mortars and missiles into Gaza Strip settlements, but rarely cause injury or damage.

washingtonpost.com 11 Dec 2004 Israeli Soldiers' Testimony Supports Claims of Abuse Top General Vows Probe of Alleged Wrongdoing By Molly Moore Washington Post Foreign Service Saturday, December 11, 2004; Page A16 JERUSALEM, Dec. 10 -- A rash of allegations that Israeli soldiers have killed Palestinians wrongfully and abused corpses in the field has been disclosed by human rights organizations and Palestinians -- but also by soldiers who contend that the long conflict is undermining basic concepts of decency in the Israeli Defense Forces. Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, the military's chief of staff, told foreign reporters this week that the string of recent cases would "seem to call into question the moral standard of IDF soldiers," and said he would initiate investigations of the incidents. Yaalon, the army's top general, said he had spent much of the last two weeks meeting with officers in the field to discuss the allegations. Many troops have been making their concerns known through the news media, Web sites, military courts and soldiers' organizations, according to soldiers, human rights officials and analysts. Critics contend that the Israeli military has a poor record of investigating and prosecuting allegations of wrongdoing by soldiers. "These are not exceptions, but the reality itself," Yehuda Shaul, organizer of a group of soldiers called "Breaking the Silence," wrote on the organization's Web site, which lists dozens of testimonials from soldiers describing abuses they said they had witnessed. "Horrible and shameful as it is, this is the normative situation." In the most recent case, exposed this week, the Israeli military said it was investigating reports that soldiers on a basic training graduation "march" in March were firing a machine gun from a tank, with no threat in sight, when they killed a 15-year-old boy tilling a field with his father in the southern Gaza Strip. According to his father, the youth suffered seven bullet wounds in the head. Also this week, the Israeli military suspended all operations by a naval commando unit during a probe of allegations that some of its members killed a suspected Palestinian militant this month near the West Bank city of Jenin after he had been injured and posed no further threat. The troops were accused of ordering Palestinian civilians, at gunpoint, to move the man before he died and retrieve his wallet. In a statement Thursday, the military said a preliminary investigation had revealed "professional errors," but "no ethical or moral failures," and allowed the unit to resume arrest missions. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, addressing reporters Wednesday as a parliamentary committee debated the reports of abuse, defended the nation's troops. "IDF soldiers are fighting a very difficult war, day and night, against the basest, vilest murderers," Sharon said. "You should admire what the IDF has done and understand the difficulties. IDF soldiers are more moral in their operations than any other army in the world." "They say, 'Don't look at this as deviant behavior that is characteristic of the military, because it's not,' " said Yagil Levy, an author and political sociology professor who studies trends in the Israeli military and society. "They are wrong. They don't understand the occupation has corrupted the soldiers and changed their mode of fighting. It's not fighting against an army, but policing among populations." Since the current conflict began just over four years ago, the Israeli military has opened 92 investigations into allegations of improper conduct by Israeli soldiers in the deaths or injuries of Palestinians, according to a military spokeswoman. She spoke on condition of anonymity, a routine policy at the military's public affairs office. She said the investigations had resulted in the convictions of four soldiers either for wrongful death or injury. She said she did not know how many of those cases involved deaths. According to Jessica Montell, executive director of the Israel-based human rights group B'Tselem, only one of those cases involved a wrongful death. Her group has investigated hundreds of allegations of abuse during the current conflict. "Now we are seeing the floodgates opening in terms of reports about abuses across the spectrum," Montell said. "The IDF is compounding the problem because of the impunity with which soldiers kill Palestinians without proper investigations." Yehuda said that his organization, which collects and exhibits photographs and videotaped testimony from soldiers, had shifted its tactics in recent weeks. "In the beginning we didn't want to bring the real tough cases," Shaul said this week, noting that his group had interviewed 200 soldiers and had another 200 on a waiting list of soldiers volunteering to give their accounts. "We wanted to tell the story of the daily life that brings soldiers to do tough stuff. Now we're publishing everything -- how these moral issues just rip you up inside and tear you apart as a soldier." Soldiers' confessions to "Breaking the Silence" provided the first photographic evidence of allegations that Israeli soldiers routinely abuse the bodies of Palestinians killed during army operations. An Israeli daily newspaper, Yedioth Aharonoth, last month published graphic photographs, including an image of soldiers posing with the severed head of a suicide bomber after placing a cigarette in the charred mouth. Days after that scandal broke, Israel's Channel 2 aired recordings of radio transmissions describing a captain who had fired bullets into the body of a 13-year-old school girl at close range, after she had been shot and was lying in the sand. One group of soldiers had identified the youngster as a potential bomber, while others at a nearby observation post warned she was only a scared child trying to run away from soldiers. The captain has been indicted on charges of misusing a firearm and ordering subordinates to lie about what happened. "This new type of war presents real moral and ethical challenges," Yaalon told foreign reporters this week. "These challenges are as important and as essential a part of the conflict as stopping the suicide bomber. "The IDF's moral standard is essential for society," he continued. "We are the army of the people. The soldier's moral standard is our moral standard."

washingtonpost.com 11 Dec 2004 A Catalogue of Genocide Database- Project Eventually Will Document Most of the 6 Million Jews Killed in the Holocaust By Bill Broadway Washington Post Staff Writer Saturday, December 11, 2004; Page B09 The lives of thousands of Holocaust victims are coming to light in a new database that allows anyone with an Internet connection to research the fate of family members and friends sent to Nazi death camps. More than 3 million names are included in the digital archive, which was launched last month by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust center in Jerusalem. The ultimate goal is to have most or all of the estimated 6 million Jews who were executed, Avner Shalev, chairman of Yad Vashem's directorate, said in a telephone interview from Israel. Until now, family members and friends who contributed the names of victims did so by submitting forms called testimonies and mailing or delivered them to Yad Vashem, which has collected biographies, journals, photographs, letters and other documents since the 1950s. With the introduction of the $22 million database, contributors can sit down at a computer, type the address www.yadvashem.orginto a Web browser, enter the database and click on "submit new pages of testimony." Up comes a form for the victim's name or names, place of birth, profession, wartime "travails" (deportation, ghetto, camp, death march, hiding, escape, resistance), approximate age at death and other details. Those looking for people already on the list use the sophisticated search engine to comb through millions of pages of information by entering the person's first or last name, including hundreds of variants: birth date, country of residence, names of other family members and the submitter's name. Each of the testimonies "stands in lieu of a tombstone that doesn't exist," said Sallyann Sack, a Bethesda psychologist who founded the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington 24 years ago and is editor of Avotaynu, an international journal of Jewish genealogy. Sack said it is the equivalent of giving an identity to thousands of men, women and children who died nameless, often placed in mass graves, or no graves at all, and whose destinies could only be guessed at by relatives who eluded the death trains by hiding or escaping to other countries. Two-thirds of the names were obtained from testimonies submitted to Yad Vashem since the 1950s, most of them scanned into computers and digitally categorized over a six months in 1999, Shalev said. About 1,000 people, most of them college students in Jerusalem, worked in two shifts to record the documents. The remaining 1 million names were gleaned from other computerized lists, including deportation, camp and ghetto records. When possible, biographical information is cross-checked with other documents, including ship registries and postwar accounts written by survivors, Shalev said. Fact-checkers also examine testimonies for historical probability, such as location of execution sites based on a person's country of birth, and look for possible duplications. Although submitters occasionally provide incorrect details because of the complexity of events and circumstances surrounding the Holocaust, Shalev said, he knows of no cases of deliberate misrepresentation. The database, which can be accessed in English or Hebrew and is free of charge, is unprecedented in scope and availability of information, said Barbara Vines Little, president of the Arlington-based National Genealogical Society. "This is a unique collection [of a kind] that does not exist on any other level," she said. "Individuals will be able to use this information to connect to living family members that they did not know existed and to rebuild families about which they knew little or nothing." One of the early users was Jerry Zeisler, a 50-year-old business consultant from Leesburg who logged on within hours of the launch Nov. 22 to search for members of his mother's family. He and his sister, Bonnie Frederics of Tucson, worked simultaneously while e-mailing each other. Among the testimonies they found were those of Zlata Adelson, a great-grandmother of theirs who was born in Butrimantz (Butrimonys), Lithuania, in 1879, and Benzion Adelson, her son born in 1911. Zeisler and Frederics knew that Zlata and Benzion had died in 1941 because they were listed in a postwar account of the Jews of Butrimantz -- one of many such books, called yizkor, written by survivors who wanted to chronicle the lives of those who had died. They also hit upon a surprise: The person who submitted the victims' names, in 1955, was Reuven Adelson, another son whom surviving family members assumed had died in the Shoah with his mother and brother. Reuven was pictured with Benzion in the yizkor book but was not among those listed as killed in 1941. According to the database, Reuven had left Lithuania in 1939, apparently for Palestine. So Zeisler and Frederics got in touch with Elizabeth Levy, a genealogist they met on another Web site who lives in Israel. Levy called the Edelsons listed in the telephone white pages, and one turned out to be Reuven's widow, who told her she has three grown children and a grandchild in Israel. Reuven died in 1975 in an automobile accident, never having again seen his sister -- Zeisler's grandmother -- and other family members who immigrated to the United States, despite having made efforts to do so. "This puts closure on one chapter and opens up another with cousins in Israel we knew nothing about," Zeisler said. "It's been very, very exciting." Shalev, 65, said that most of his family died in Polish death camps and that he has made every effort to ensure that all are included in the database. But there are some holes, including the name of one of his father's nieces who was killed. Those who could have provided her name are dead. That's the biggest challenge the project faces, uncovering more details from Holocaust survivors who have avoided talking about the horror all their lives, he said. Soon the last of the survivors will be gone, and so too the memories of others who were killed. "We know for sure there are still thousands of Jewish families, and some non-Jewish families, who know something about somebody who died in the Shoah," he said. "We must convince them to come forward." Photo of Reuven Adelson reprinted from "If I Forget Thee . . . The destruction of the shtetl Butrimantz" (Remembrance Books, Washington, D.C).

Japan (see China)

Chicago Sun Times 4 Dec 2004 Other Views Japan, media still deny Nanking massacre December 4, 2004 BY ADAM GAMBLE AND TAKESATO WATANABE Here's something compelling to think about on Pearl Harbor Day, Dec. 7: Last month on Veterans Day, the world learned of the tragic death, apparently by suicide, of Iris Chang, the youthful American author of Chinese descent who wrote the 1997 best-selling history The Rape of Nanking. Chang's book did more than any other work to reveal the facts of the 1937-38 Nanking massacre in which the Japanese Empire raped untold thousands and murdered perhaps as many as 300,000 unarmed Chinese civilians and soldiers. Many in Japan still officially deny the massacre took place despite historical evidence and eyewitness accounts establishing it as unimpeachable fact. Outcry among them succeeded in derailing a Japanese edition of Chang's book. Intolerably, official denials of the massacre continue to this day among Japanese government officials and media editors. The same day news of Chang's death broke, the Japanese publisher Shueisha Inc. said that it would bow down to conservative Japanese politicians by censoring material about the massacre in one of its magazines. Forty Japanese assemblymen and others mounted a protest against Shueisha's weekly magazine, Young Jump, over a historical cartoon (a serious and popular adult genre in Japan) titled ''Kuni ga Moeru'' (the country is burning), by artist Hiroshi Motomiya. The cartoon's offense was that it depicted Japanese soldiers brutally killing unarmed people in Nanking as the historical fact that it is. Acquiescing to the protests, the owner of the magazine apologized for running it, promising to censor it out of the book version. Such censorship on behalf of mainstream Japanese media and politicians can be compared to mainstream Germans denying the Holocaust, or mainstream Americans denying slavery. Chang wrote The Rape of Nanking when she was just in her 20s. It enjoyed phenomenal success, but she was widely pilloried in Japan. Some credible scholars (both Western and Japanese) have criticized aspects of Chang's work (especially some of the photos used). But no serious scholar has denied the gist of The Rape of Nanking -- that it was one of the most brutal war crimes in history. When inconvenient historical facts are conveniently denied and censored by power brokers in authoritarian regimes such as North Korea or Iran, we call it despotism, Orwellian, even evil. But what should we call it when such facts are denied by elected leaders and mainstream media in Japan, while journalists who champion the truth experience reprisals? How do we reconcile this with Japan's status as one of the world's leading democracies, the second largest economy, and one of the closest allies and trading partners of the United States, prominent in its support of the Bush administration's war on terror, eager to alter its constitution to allow more aggressive military deployment? As media scholars know, since World War II the Japanese media evolved a plutocratic ownership structure, a cozy, subordinate relationship with the government, and a tendency towards infotainment and sensationalism. It frequently tolerates biased and factually inaccurate reporting extending to casual anti-Semitism, and de facto censorship extending to Holocaust denial. Chang called such silencing a kind of ''second rape'' in the inexorable logic of genocide: First, people are killed, and then the memory of killing itself is killed. ''Media atrocity'' is a strong description but apt in such cases, which strike at the heart of human rights and democratic freedoms that voices like Chang's struggled to uphold. Adam Gamble and Takesato Watanabe are co-authors of A Public Betrayed: An Inside Look at Japanese Media Atrocities and Their Warnings to the West (Regnery Publishing).

BBC 10 Dec 2004 Japan signals key military shift Japan's troop deployment in Iraq has been extended for another year Japan has revised its defence policy to allow for a greater role in global military co-operation. The new guidelines, the first for nine years, re-state Japan's constitutional pledge never to threaten other nations. But the changes also ease some of the restrictions on Japan's military, allowing it to collaborate with the US in areas of missile defence. The report singles out North Korea as a particular area of regional concern, along with China's military build-up. The guidelines were unveiled just a day after Japan extended its troop deployment in Iraq for another year. KEY RECOMMENDATIONS Re-states 1945 pacifist constitution Partially lifts arms sales ban, to allow joint US missile research Highlights N Korea and China as nations to monitor Military spending to be cut, reducing troop levels More emphasis on terrorist and missile threat Signals wider role in global peacekeeping missions Japan extends military reach Press split on Iraq decision The non-combat mission has caused controversy in Japan, being the nation's first mission since 1945 to a country where fighting is under way. Pacifist nation In its new National Defence Outline - covering a period from April 2005 to March 2009 - the cabinet was careful to stress the principle of self-defence which has governed Japan since 1945. "Abiding by the basic principle under Japan's constitution, our country, devoting itself entirely to self-defence, will never threaten other countries or become a military power," the document said. But the plan does allow for certain key changes, in order to reflect what Japan sees as the world's changing security situation. A ban on arms sales will no longer apply in areas like anti-missile defence, where Japan wants to develop new systems jointly with the United States. The new guidelines identify North Korea as an area of concern, describing the Stalinist nation's military moves as "serious, destabilizing factors for regional security". Neighbours like North Korea are making Japan nervous North Korea's possession of missiles which can reach Japan has persuaded many Japanese that their country should rely less on the US - and more on itself - for security, according to the BBC correspondent in Tokyo, Jonathan Head. China's military build-up was also singled out as an area which Japan needed to monitor. "China, which has a great impact on security in this region, is pushing ahead with enhancing its nuclear and missile capabilities... We need to continue to watch these moves in the future," the guidelines stated. The two countries have a prickly relationship, complicated by memories of Japan's occupation of China during World War II, and more recently by rivalry over diplomatic influence and access to natural resources. Overseas missions Under the new guidelines, military spending is due to be cut by more than 3% over the next five years, and troop levels are set to be reduced by 5,000 to 155,000. But Friday's announcement also signalled a move to more mobile and multi-functional military capabilities, and the need for a more proactive contribution to peacekeeping. According to our correspondent, this suggests that in future Japanese forces will be deployed overseas more frequently. But the new policy does not incorporate a controversial suggestion by business leaders and academics that Japan should consider acquiring a pre-emptive strike capability. "We are not in a position to consider having the capability of attacking missile bases in an enemy country," a senior Japanese official told Reuters news agency. None of the changes announced on Friday amount to a revolution, according to our correspondent. But there is little doubt that they set Japan on the path to becoming a nation whose military muscle more closely reflects its economic power, he says.


BBC 29 Nov 2004, 11:10 GMT E-mail this to a friend Printable version Suu Kyi's house arrest 'extended' Aung San Suu Kyi is under house arrest for the third time Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has had her house arrest extended, her party said on Monday. Aung San Suu Kyi has been held since May 2003, after clashes between her supporters and pro-government forces in northern Burma. The reported extension comes after Burma's ruling junta pledged to release 9,000 prisoners and appointed a new Prime Minister, Soe Win. It was not clear how long Aung San Suu Kyi's detention had been extended for. U Lwin, spokesman for Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD), said police had visited her at her home in Rangoon to tell her that her detention had been extended. AUNG SAN SUU KYI 1990: National League for Democracy (NLD) wins general election while Suu Kyi under house arrest; military does not recognise the result 1991: Wins Nobel Peace Prize 1995: Released from house arrest, but movements restricted 2000-02: Second period of house arrest May 2003: Detained after clash between NLD and government forces Sep 2003 Allowed home after operation, but under effective house arrest Junta's moves in doubt Profile of Aung San Suu Kyi U Lwin said the NLD believed this meant she could now be under house arrest until September, 2005. The Nobel Laureate has been detained in her lakeside villa since September 2003. She was first detained in May that year, spending some months in Insein jail, then receiving medical treatment for a gynaecological condition, before being confined to her home. The reported extension follows the appointment of a new Burmese Prime Minister, Soe Win, who is thought to oppose engaging with the NLD. He is also thought by some government critics and diplomats to have been responsible for orchestrating the clashes which led to Aung San Suu Kyi's detention last May. Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest twice before - the first time for six years between 1989 and 1995, and the second time for 20 months until she was freed in May 2002. She has repeatedly said she would be willing to be the last person to be released in order to see all of the other estimated 1,300 political detainees freed. Her party won a landslide victory in 1990 but has never been allowed to govern by the military, which has run the nation since 1962.


BBC 30 Nov 2004 Pakistan 'sees end' to conflict Musharraf hopes relations with Brazil will improve Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf says he sees prospects for resolving all his country's disputes with India through peace talks. "We see a light at the end of the tunnel, now that the process of rapprochement has started," he said during a trip to Brazil. Mr Musharraf is on his first official tour of Latin America. He held talks with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, aimed at improving diplomatic and trade ties. The two leaders signed agreements on fighting drug-trafficking and reducing hunger. Mr Musharraf is also due to visit Argentina and Mexico. 'Extremist minority' Speaking in Brasilia, Mr Musharraf said he was ready to push forward the peace process between his country and historic rival India over the disputed territory of Kashmir. However, he suggested India had to do more. "I would like to say that it needs two hands to clap. So my hand is there, I hope the other hand will also be there and then we will be able to reach peace." The process would not be derailed by "the extremist small minority which is trying, through militancy, to dominate the majority", he added. Historic visit Gen Musharraf's visit to Brazil is the first ever by a Pakistani leader. Before the visit, Gen Musharraf said he saw a "very bright future on the economic, and commercial, and trade ties between Pakistan and Latin American countries, and Brazil in particular". He is the latest in a series of leaders to be welcomed by President Lula as he seeks to raise Brazil's international profile. Mr Lula is also trying to win support for Brazil's bid to win a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. After visiting Argentina and Mexico, the Pakistani leader will go to Washington, where he is expected to hold talks with President George Bush, before travelling home via London and Paris.

BBC 9 Dec 2004 Life sentence for Shia's murder An alleged militant in Pakistan has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of a Shia leader. The court in the north-western city of Peshawar found the man, known as Shakeel, guilty of killing Anwer Ali Akhunzada in November 2002. Mr Akhunzada, a leader of the now banned Shia group, Tehrik-e-Jafria, was shot dead in a busy Peshawar market. The defendant, an alleged member of the banned Sunni group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, was also fined 200,000 rupees ($3,000). Two other defendants were acquitted.

10 Dec 2004 Death sentences for Shia killings Shias attend the funeral of the murdered worshippers in 2002 A court in Pakistan has sentenced four Sunni Muslims to death for killing 14 Shias at a mosque in 2002. The Shia worshippers died when gunmen opened fire during evening prayers in the mosque in the city of Rawalpindi in February 2002. The convicted men are members of the banned Sunni group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Five defendants were acquitted. Pakistan has a long history of sectarian violence between majority Sunni and minority Shia Muslims. Earliest days Hameedullah Mujahid, Fazal Hamid, Hafiz Naseer Akhtar and Tahir Mahmood were sentenced by an anti-terrorism court after a year-long trial. PAKISTAN'S SECTARIAN DIVIDE Shias revere Ali, son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed Pakistan is 20% Shia, 70% Sunni Violence between Sunni and Shia factions began in early 1980s More than 150 people have died in the past year alone About 4,000 people have been killed in total Most violence takes place in Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab Pakistan's schisms Rawalpindi police chief Murrawat Ali Shah told the AFP news agency that the authorities would appeal against the acquittals. It was not immediately known whether the convicted men would also appeal. On Thursday, a court in Peshawar sentenced a man to life imprisonment for the murder of a Shia leader in 2002. There have been a number of deadly sectarian attacks this year. In October, 40 people at a Sunni meeting in Multan were killed by a car bomb. Six days earlier, 30 people and a suicide bomber were killed at a Shia mosque in Sialkot. Since 1980, more than 4,000 people have been killed in Shia-Sunni violence. Differences between the majority Sunni and minority Shia Muslims date back to the very earliest days of Islam. They are directly linked to the issue of succession following the death of Prophet Mohammed. Shias believe his son-in-law, Ali, should have been given the reins of administration and regard him as the first imam or spiritual leader. Sunnis believe the appointment of one of the Prophet's companions, Abu Bakr, as first Caliph was correct.


AFP 1 Dec 2004 Communist rebels kill 10 Philippine soldiers on rescue mission MANILA, Dec 1 (AFP) - Ten soldiers engaged in a rescue mission for victims of a tropical storm just outside the Philippine capital were killed by communist rebels while six others were wounded, the military said Wednesday. President Gloria Arroyo's spokesman angrily condemned Tuesday's attack which came as the military was engaged in urgent rescue efforts following the storm, which left nearly 500 dead or missing. "We condemn the ambuscade as a cowardly and criminal act of the highest order," presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye said. "The soldiers were on their way to conduct a rescue mission when ambushed by the communist rebels," at San Ildefonso town in Bulacan province, said army spokesman Major Bartolome Bacarro. "The clash resulted in the death of 10 soldiers, including a first lieutenant and nine enlisted men, and wounding of six others. Only three soldiers survived unscathed," said Lieutenant Colonel Preme Monta. The military said one rebel was also killed in the clash which resulted in the guerrillas stealing 18 rifles. "It is supposed to be a time for all of us to extend a helping hand to those who were affected by misfortune, not a dark opportunity to commit murder," Bunye added. Rescuers searched for bodies after the tropical storm killed more than 300 people and left at least 150 others missing. The 8,600-strong NPA and its political leadership have been waging a Maoist campaign against the government for 35 years. The communists announced in October that they would step up their attacks. They suspended peace talks with the government in August after failing to persuade the United States and European countries to remove them from their lists of groups considered international terrorists.

Saudi Arabia

Reuters 2 Dec 2004 Twenty-five years on, Mecca siege inspires Saudi militants ADVERTISEMENT By Dominic Evans RIYADH (Reuters) - Just after dawn prayers on the first day of the new Muslim century, rebels stormed the Grand Mosque in Mecca, seizing control of Islam's holiest site and demanding the overthrow Saudi Arabia's monarchy. Fired with religious fervour and armed with rifles smuggled into the mosque in coffins, they launched the biggest uprising since the oil boom transformed Saudi Arabia from an isolated desert kingdom into an affluent petroleum superpower. The repercussions of the two-week rebellion, which ended 25 years ago this month, are still felt in Saudi Arabia where a new generation of al Qaeda linked militants are challenging the House of Saud. Led by the wild-looking, long-haired Juhayman al-Oteibi, hundreds of militants took over the mosque on a November morning in 1979, New Year's Day 1400 by the Muslim calendar. Juhayman declared the pro-Western Saudi rulers corrupt, called for the banning of "evils" such as radio, television and the employment of women, and announced that a new messiah had come. The rebellion, just months after Iran's Islamic Revolution toppled another oil-rich U.S. ally across the Gulf, was put down following heavy fighting in which 117 Juhayman supporters and a similar number of troops died. Juhayman was captured and publicly beheaded within a month, along with 62 captured fighters. A quarter of a century later, his doomed revolution still inspires radicals. "Juhayman is considered a kind of hero for al Qaeda and other mujahideen," said novelist and reform activist Turki al-Hamad. Juhayman's defiance may have owed more to local history, echoing the 1930s uprisings of Ikhwan (Brotherhood) rebels against Saudi Arabia's founder King Abdulaziz, than to the international agenda of Osama bin Laden. But Islamist lawyer Mohsen Awajy said al Qaeda, which has waged an 18-month campaign of violence in Saudi Arabia, was using the same language as Juhayman to rally support against a royal family it portrays as a corrupt agent of the West. "Juhayman took over the mosque saying the government was infidel -- al Qaeda are saying the same," he said. Saud Homoud al-Oteibi, believed to be the latest al Qaeda leader operating in Saudi Arabia, modelled himself on Juhayman in his youth, according to a Saudi with links to the militants. "Saud grew his hair long just like Juhayman, dressed like him and adopted the same nom-de-guerre (Abu Mohammed, or father of Mohammed)," he said. They also have the same family name but are not related. Al Qaeda literature on the Internet is filled with references to the leader of the Mecca rebellion. JUHAYMAN'S AGENDA Some say it wasn't just the militants who were influenced by the upheaval of 1979. When King Fahd succeeded his brother Khaled three years later, he soon adopted a new title -- Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, a reference to Mecca and Medina designed to bolster the monarchy's religious credentials. At the same time Saudi Arabia's deeply conservative Muslim authorities, followers of the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam, strengthened their grip on the country. "Juhayman was a turning point in the history of Saudi Arabia," Hamad said. "It is true the government defeated him and his gang but they could not abolish his deep-rooted thought. "Society started to adopt these ideas in the name of Islamic revival. Before him Saudi Arabia was more open, tolerant. After him society began heading towards fundamentalism". The powerful religious authorities, partners of the House of Saud since the first Saudi kingdom was established in the 18th century, kept a firm control over the judiciary and schools. They also policed cities to ensure strict compliance with demands that shops stayed shut at prayer times and women dressed modestly and did not mix with men. Just as it rode out the Juhayman revolt, Saudi Arabia says it has now defeated the militants, whose last big attack took place six months ago in the Gulf city of al-Khobar. Critics say the crackdown has tackled the symptoms, not the disease which they believe afflicts their country. "The problem is extremist thought and the hatred of others," said Mansour Nogaidan, a writer and former radical who has rejected the violence he once espoused. "They have not struck at the root of it until now. They have even used the extremist thought as a defence against terrorism -- but it is the extremism which gave rise to the terrorism". A government minister who condemned last year's attack on a Riyadh residential compound, which killed Muslims in the holy month of Ramadan, said the suicide bombing was a grave sin. But his condemnation was qualified -- he said the attack was almost as sinful as polytheism. Many Wahhabi Muslims, who believe in the absolute unity of God, consider the Christian doctrine of the Trinity as heresy. One difference stands out between today's al Qaeda and Juhayman -- 25 years ago Saudi Arabia could shut out the world and deal with its problems as it pleased. With the eyes of the world focused on Riyadh since the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on the United States -- carried out by mainly Saudi hijackers -- this is no longer the case. Under pressure from domestic reformers and from allies like the United States, Saudi Arabia has introduced modest reforms including municipal elections -- for men -- and revisions of school texts which critics said preached religious intolerance. The changes may be too little, too slow for many activists but Awajy said Saudi rulers know the world is watching them. "They are not now making concessions like they did after Juhayman," he said. "This time, although they might be thinking about it, they also have to consider external factors."

Sri Lanka

Hirondelle News Agency (Lausanne) 29 Nov 2004 Former ICTR Judge Gunawardana Dies At Age 62 Arusha A former judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Judge Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana from Sri Lanka, has died. Reports from the Sri Lankan capital Colombo say that judge Gunawardana died Friday night "after a short illness". Gunawardana was elected to the ICTR in 1999, but resigned in May this year for health reasons. He has been also a member of the Appeals chamber in The Hague. In the four years that Judge Gunawardana worked at the ICTR, he served on the bench of four major trials of people accused of taking part in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda - one of them ending in an acquittal. Ignace Bagilishema, the former mayor of Mabanza in the western province of Kibuye, was acquitted in July 2000 by a bench composed of the Sri Lankan judge, Judge Erik Møse from Norway and Judge Mehmet Güney of Turkey. A month earlier, he had been instrumental in sentencing the only non-Rwandan suspect accused of taking part in the genocide. Georges Ruggiu from Belgium pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. In December 2003, Gunawardana, this time with Møse and Judge Navanethem Pillay of South Africa, made history when they found three people guilty of using the media to commit genocide. Hassan Ngeze, former owner and editor of "Kangura" newspaper, and Ferdinand Nahimana, a former university professor and member of the steering committee of the extremist Radio télévision libre de mille collines (RTLM), were given life sentences. Another senior government figure who was a founder and director of RTLM, Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, was sentenced to 35 years in jail. Gunawardana resigned from the ICTR at a time when he was the presiding judge in the trial of four senior members of the Rwandan interim government. Before coming to the ICTR, Gunawardana was a member of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. Judge Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana was cremated Monday at the General Cemetery Borella (Buddhist Section) in Colombo.

Agence France-Presse 29 Nov 2004 Sri Lanka mulls Tiger threat to return to war by Amal Jayasinghe COLOMBO, Nov 29 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's president and top aides were Monday studying the latest Tamil Tiger threat to return to war amid mounting tension in embattled northern and eastern regions, officials said. President Chandrika Kumaratunga was with senior advisors mulling the annual policy statement of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) delivered by the group's supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran on Saturday. "We are also looking at the discrepancies in the English translation and Prabhakaran's speech made in Tamil," a top government source said declining to be named. "The Tamil version packs a stronger punch and is more emotional." Officials close to the president said they did not expect an immediate government reaction to Prabhakaran's hard-hitting speech broadcast over rebel radio at the end of ceremonies honouring nearly 17,800 Tiger war dead. More than 60,000 people have lost their lives in the conflict since 1972. Prabhakaran, 50, insisted the government should end the 19-month deadlock in Norwegian-arranged peace talks by agreeing to negotiate on the basis of his blue-print for self-rule. Colombo-based peace monitors said they had no comment on the speech. Tension has been mounting in the island's embattled regions. Police clamped a curfew in the eastern town of Trincomalee after a bus passenger was killed in a grenade attack Monday. "If the government of Sri Lanka rejects our urgent appeal and adopts delaying tactics, perpetuating the suffering of our people, we have no alternative other than to advance the freedom struggle of our nation," Prabhakaran said. In Tamil, he re-iterated his commitment to a separate homeland called Eelam despite the group in November 2002 agreeing during peace talks in Oslo to explore a federal arrangement to address Tamil demands for extensive autonomy. "On this sacred day which commemorates our heroes who got down to the battlefield to liberate our soil and free our people, let us pledge ourselves to realise their dream of national liberation whatever the obstacles we encounter," he said in Tamil. "The thirst of Tigers is Tamil Eelam - the motherland." Former air force chief Harry Gunatillake said he saw the LTTE's statement as a move to prepare the ground to go back to a protracted war and give notice to international backers of the peace process that it was about to collapse. "He has done his home work. He is preparing the international community and his own people for a return to war," Gunatillake said. "He sounds reasonable when he says he is prepared to negotiate what he has already proposed." "That is how he is trying to get the international community on his side. A return to hostilities may not mean immediate open warfare, but the fighting could spread if they are under pressure from the security forces." However, a top military commander in the island's east said he did not expect the Tigers to return to fighting immediately because the rebels had been weakened in the region following an unprecedented split in March. The commander who declined to be named said the Tigers were weak in the east and may not risk losing vast areas in the troubled region which forms vital territory of an area claimed by them as their traditional homeland. Peace broker Norway tried but failed to revive the faltering peace talks process earlier this month, but managed to extract promises from the antagonists that they would honour the ceasefire. The Tigers have not specified a time frame for returning to their "freedom struggle" nor did they set a deadline for the government, but Tamil sources said Colombo had about a "month or two" to respond.

AFP 1 Dec 2004 Fears of more violence as curfew eased in Sri Lanka town TRINCOMALEE, Sri Lanka, Dec 1 (AFP) - Authorities eased a curfew in this northeastern Sri Lanka port Wednesday but security forces kept up patrols to avert new clashes between government supporters and rebels, police said. Shops and offices reopened after two days of tension from separate attacks on a bus and a van that left two people dead and three wounded, police said. A spokesman said there were fears of trouble during the funeral later Wednesday of a bus passenger killed on Monday. The defence ministry blamed the violence on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. There was no immediate reaction from the guerrillas. The Tigers held ceremonies Saturday to honour nearly 17,800 supporters who have died in Sri Lanka's civil war. The commemorations angered pro-government forces and led to clashes with rebel sympathisers. The main opposition United National Party warned that the unrest in Trincomalee could undermine the Norwegian-brokered truce that has been in place since February 2002.


IRIN 29 Nov 2004 Country tops Central Asia infant mortality rate [ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations] ANKARA, 29 Nov 2004 (IRIN) - Tajikistan has the highest rate of under five child mortality among the Central Asian states, with 78 deaths per 1000 live births, according to a survey by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). "Nutrition-related issues and several prenatal diseases [contracted] during delivery are contributing to the high level of infant mortality," Sabir Kurbanov, UNICEF's health and nutrition adviser, told IRIN on Monday from the Tajik capital, Dushanbe. The UNICEF study shows that there are some 170,000 new births in the ex-Soviet republic each year. But 106 out of 1,000 live births do not reach the age of five. "[UNICEF's] statistics are almost three times higher that official [rates]," he noted, explaining that this discrepancy was because of a difference in the definition of live births - the Tajik definition is not in line with international standards. There is also under-reporting of infant mortality cases, given that some families do not register their children's birth or death. The survey results identify acute respiratory infections as one of the main factors increasing the number of deaths among babies - 20 percent of them die of pneumonia. Diarrhoea, caused by the poor quality of the water, kills 12 percent of the children. In addition, the UNICEF official noted that mothers were breastfeeding babies for less than six months, which was causing malnutrition among infants. "UNICEF is fighting for exclusive breastfeeding at least until six to eight months of age, and for proper complementary feeding till the age of two," he added. Another factor contributing to the high level of infant mortality was the poor access to healthcare in several regions of Tajikistan, which forced women to deliver their children at home, causing maternal mortality to remain high in the country, the UNICEF official said. The highest rate of home delivery has been reported in the Khatlon province, the survey said. "Sixty percent of the population in Tajikistan are living below the poverty line and they don't have access to healthcare," Kurbanov said, noting that the government recognised home delivery as a problem and had started to develop new policies. He explained that there were plans to organise training on health issues to ensure that each home birth was attended by health personnel. "The goal is to provide a safe environment for home delivery," he added.


news.scotsman.com 30 Nov 2004 Teacher Killed in Thai Militia Attacks "PA" Suspected militants shot dead an Islamic school teacher and wounded two people in separate attacks today in Thailand. Gunmen on a motorcycle killed Aduenan Salaemeang, 25, while he was driving to work at the Thammawittaya School, Yala province, in Thailand’s Muslim-majority south, where a simmering insurgency has claimed hundreds of lives this year. The attackers had assault rifles and wore long white robes typical of Muslims doing missionary work, he said. Aduenan had taught Thai language at the Thammawittaya School for four years, said Madao Yalapae, the school’s headmaster. Most people in the southern provinces speak an ethnic Malay dialect, Yawi. “I have no clue why he was shot dead. He was a nice guy and everybody loved him,” Madao said. Some officials have accused the school, which has 6,500 students, of being a hotbed for Islamic militancy. Students from the school took part in an attack on police posts in April, which left 107 suspected militants dead. The government earlier threatened to close down the school, but administrators said they would co-operate with officials and get rid of any separatists affiliated with the school. In a separate attack earlier today, assailants on a motorcycle opened fire on Prasert Phao-in, a 45-year-old security guard for Pattani province’s administrative offices, hitting him in the left arm and body as he waited at a taxi stand. His attackers fled after Prasert, who was armed, returned fire. A Muslim motorcycle taxi driver sitting nearby, Arma Haji Lateh, 50, was also wounded. Both men were taken to a hospital and are in stable condition. The incidents were the latest in a spate of violent attacks in Thailand’s southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat – the only Muslim-dominated areas in this predominantly Buddhist kingdom. At least 540 people have been killed since January in attacks officials have blamed mostly on a revived Islamic separatist movement. Muslim guerrillas commanded a sizeable force in the southern provinces near Malaysia for years before largely giving up their struggle after a government amnesty in the 1980s. Southern Thai Muslims have long complained of unfair treatment by the central government, particularly in jobs and education. Relations have deteriorated since October 25, when at least 85 Muslims died at the hands of security forces deployed to break up a protest in Narathiwat province’s Tak Bai district. Most of the victims suffocated or were crushed to death after being loaded into trucks.

BBC 6 Dec 2004 Bomb wrecks Thai 'peace offering' School children spread out nets to catch the falling paper birds Thailand's troubled south has been hit by fresh violence, just hours after army planes dropped 100m origami birds as a peace offering. A bomb exploded in Narathiwat province on Monday morning, injuring at least one soldier, police said. On Sunday, as the 50 planes made their drops, suspected Muslim militants shot dead a former prosecutor in Pattani. The bird drop caught many people's imaginations, but has been criticised by southern leaders as insufficient. Critics said the campaign - devised by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra - would not solve the complex problems that have caused the violence in the south, where more than 500 people have been killed this year. The paper bird drop was arranged to coincide with the 77th birthday of Thailand's revered king, Bhumibol Adulyadej, and ordinary Thais across the country wrote messages on paper birds they had folded. TROUBLED 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 this year, targeting Buddhists Security forces' response criticised by rights groups Restive south In pictures: Daily life As the birds fell to their targets in the provinces of Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani, school children rushed out to collect them and seek the notes inside. Some students constructed giant nets stretched across school yards to capture the paper cranes. Mr Thaksin said the campaign had been a success, and would help persuade people in the south of their fellow Thais' concern. But violence soon returned to the region. Police said Monday's bomb appeared to have targeted police and the military. There were also unconfirmed reports of violence against a teacher and school in Yala province. Protesters' deaths The BBC's Bangkok correspondent says the bird drop idea was an inspired, populist move by a government that has faced severe criticism over its handling of the crisis in the south. Mr Thaksin publicised the idea about two weeks after an incident that shocked the nation. Following demonstrations near the Thai-Malaysian border, close to 80 Muslim protesters died after they were taken into custody and piled one on top of another into army trucks, most of them from suffocation. The government blames insurgents for inciting the violence in the south. But critics blame an over-zealous response by security forces, whom they accuse of fighting a self-appointed war on terror. Our correspondent says the Muslim majority in the south appeared bemused by the idea of the aerial onslaught of paper cranes. But, while reluctant to reject any goodwill, they said a political solution would have more meaning. .


washingtonpost.com 9 Dec 2004 Darfur: Where Is Europe? By Christian W.D. Bock and Leland R. Miller Thursday, December 9, 2004; Page A33 On Nov. 8, a U.N.-appointed commission of inquiry arrived in the Darfur region of western Sudan, to determine whether the slaughter of close to 100,000 people over the past six months constitutes genocide. While this three-month mission slowly goes about its business, Darfur continues to disintegrate into a horror zone of killing fields, mass rapes and ethnic cleansing. For a few brief moments on Sept. 16, the European Union seemed to draw a line in the sand. On that day the European Parliament declared that the actions of the Sudanese government in Darfur were "tantamount to genocide," and E.U. ministers threatened sanctions "if no tangible progress is achieved" in meeting U.N. demands to halt the killings. Yet nearly three months later, two things remain clear: First, Khartoum has done nothing constructive to end the slaughter and, second, neither has the European Union. Tragically, "never again" is happening again. The World Health Organization's latest report states that more than 70,000 displaced people have died since March and that an estimated 10,000 people per month will continue to die if adequate relief does not reach those affected. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, more have been victims of brutal, often organized, gang rapes, and almost a million people have been driven from their homes. Yet on the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, the world community has again chosen to watch, wait and, so far, do nothing. Unsurprisingly, the United Nations has epitomized this paralysis. Although it issued two resolutions ordering Khartoum to disband the Janjaweed militias and halt the killings, the Security Council's demands have been roundly ignored, because they fail to include any penalty for noncompliance. The African Union has played a more active role and has had troops in Darfur since August. But both their numbers (800-plus so far) and their mandate (which does not include the protection of civilians) are glaringly inadequate to stop a genocide. The United States, which in July was the first nation to invoke the term "genocide," has also taken a pass on Darfur. Fresh from its second invasion of a Muslim country in three years, and with little chance of mustering the political capital for leading an intervention into a third, Washington has been distressingly mute in its calls to arms. But with its tarnished image in the Muslim world, and with the Pentagon strained from deploying more than a quarter-million troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout Asia, a bogged-down America is ill-equipped to lead the charge into eastern Africa anyway. Enter the European Union. While the United States is hamstrung militarily and politically by its current global commitments, the same cannot be said for the E.U. nations. Moreover, many have maintained a strong presence in Africa for centuries. Yet Europe's "real commitment" to Africa appears to be a facade. The truth is that not one soldier saluting an E.U. flag is being readied for a trip to the Sudanese desert. With the assets of 25 member states, 450 million people and a quarter of the world's gross national product (over $8 trillion), the European Union does not lack resources, manpower or motive. Rather, the reasons why the European Union has not intervened in Darfur can be boiled down to two. First, because the United Nations has not authorized an intervention, the European Union has not felt inclined to go in "unilaterally." But, ignoring the fact that E.U. support would almost certainly induce a U.N. about-face, military intervention to confront a serious humanitarian crisis -- even without U.N. authorization -- has traditionally been viewed as lawful by most European governments. The second reason the European Union has not intervened is even more inexcusable, precisely because it is of its own making. In 1993 the European Union consolidated its disparate foreign policy arms into a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), pledging to finally "speak with one voice" for a united Europe. But "speaking" appears to be all this body is capable of. Under the Maastricht Treaty, CFSP actions require the unanimity of all E.U. member states, an uber-majority that all but eliminates the possibility of collective armed intervention. By defect or design, this allows member states to voice their concerns -- and then excuse their inaction as bowing to the judgment of the whole. In effect the European Union has fashioned a foreign policy mechanism by which inaction is virtually automatic -- even in the face of genocide. Christian W.D. Bock is a former legal adviser to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. Leland R. Miller, a New York lawyer, is a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies.


NYTimes.com 9 Dec 2004 YEREVAN JOURNAL For Young Armenians, a Promised Land Without Promise By SUSAN SACHS Published: December 9, 2004 EREVAN, Armenia - In a smoky corner of the Red Bull bar, a favorite hangout for university students, Zara Amatuni mulled over the reasons she would leave her homeland. "It's poor, it has no natural resources, it has an undeveloped economy and it's unlikely to be developing in the next 10 years," she said with a small apologetic shrug. Advertisement Ms. Amatuni, 21, imagines herself in London or perhaps Moscow. Her language skills might land her a well-paying job, and plenty of Armenians have marked the trail before her. "We can fit in anywhere," she said. "The only place we can't is Armenia." For young people who have come of age in an independent Armenia, a country the size of Maryland with a population of barely three million people, it is an awkward paradox. Their parents grew up in a captive republic of the Soviet Union. Their grandparents escaped the massacre of Armenians by Turks in the years of World War I. For them, and for the four-million-strong Armenian diaspora, the creation of a sovereign Armenian homeland 13 years ago was the fulfillment of a dream. Yet the promised land has proved too constricting and its promise too distant for the next generation's ambitions. Those who want to leave and those who want to stay are all trying to reconcile what it means to be Armenian. For some, no longer being part of the empire that was the Soviet Union means a loss of significance in the world. Then there were opportunities for well-educated Armenians to work in Moscow and elsewhere. Independence, they had hoped, would propel Armenia into the wider world, important on its own. Instead, they find themselves in a backwater with a double-digit unemployment rate and where most of the decent-paying jobs are with international aid organizations. "Let us build Armenia here," said Artyom Simonian, an acting student in the struggling town of Gyumri, 75 miles northwest of the capital, where residents are still recovering from a devastating 1988 earthquake. He is one of those nostalgic for an imagined past. Like many of his fellow students, Mr. Simonian, 21, was uncomfortable with what seem to be the country's choices, integration with Europe or tighter bonds with Russia. "We are trying to love foreigners too much," he said. He and some other students, gathered around a small table in the chilly cafeteria of the Gyumri Arts School, understand they have fewer opportunities than did their parents, who learned to speak Russian and assimilated Russian culture. So they long for a bigger, more muscular Armenia, a land that would embrace what is now southeastern Turkey where their ancestors lived a century ago. The snowy crest of Mount Ararat, now on the other side of the border, floats on the horizon beyond Gyumri as a reminder of that phantom homeland. "I won't consider myself Armenian until all of sacred Mount Ararat is in Armenia," said Alexan Gevorgian, a theater student. He saw the world as essentially hostile and neighboring Turkey, just 15 miles to the west, as "an animal waiting for its prey to weaken." His bitterness was too much for Ludvig Harutiunian, the student council president. "We young people should leave this hostility behind," he protested. "I'd like Armenia to be known for good things, not genocide and wars and victims and mourning." Mr. Harutiunian had evaluated his prospects. His father was already working in Russia, his brother was working in Spain and he was resigned to finding a chance for artistic expression elsewhere. "Leaving the difficulties aside, Armenian culture is not developing and you have to go out," he said. Mr. Simonian interrupted, chiding, "It's wrong to leave the country." The other students fell silent. The insular views of some of these young people dismay older Armenians who have a sharp sense of how their own horizons have shrunk since independence. "For 70 years we lived in a different country, where we were open to Russian culture and history," said Svetlana Muradian, a mother of six in Gyumri who used to work in Russia but now supports her family with odd jobs. "Kids now see nothing beyond Armenia. My only hope is that my three sons will grow up and leave." The students gathered in the Red Bull bar in Yerevan were struggling with a different facet of the same predicament. Fluent in English and Russian as well as their native Armenian, they were impatient with the growing pains of a post-Soviet state and cynical about politics. To Gevorg Karapetian, a doctoral student in computer engineering, the ideal leader would be a businessman, "someone educated and clever enough to make relationships with the neighboring countries." The present crowd of politicians did not measure up. "Our president and all the presidents before him just want to be president," Mr. Karapetian said. Unlike the less privileged students in Gyumri, he and his friends in the capital have reached out beyond Armenia's borders. They get their news from the Internet and use the Web to chat with English speakers from around the world. They regularly meet Armenians from the United States and Russia who come to visit Armenia, to teach at the universities, plant trees or to set up charities. But their relative sophistication also makes them keenly aware of the contrast between their aspirations and their country's opportunities. Victor Agababov, 22, earns the princely sum of $650 a month working as a computer programmer in Yerevan, making him the best paid member of his university class. Yet he tends to mock his own achievement because his job involves doing outsourced work transferred from the United States and Japan. "We are a cheap work force," he said. "We're cheaper than Indians and probably 10 times cheaper than Americans." Mr. Agababov is considering moving to Moscow to find a technology job that might promise advancement and independence. As far the Armenian-Americans and other diaspora visitors who say they yearn to come to the new Armenia, Mr. Agababov and Zara Amatuni, the linguistics student, have a suggestion. "We can swap," Mr. Agababov said. "Right," said Ms. Amatuni. "They can come back and we can go there."

Reuters 9 Dec 2004 Armenia hopes Turkey in EU will reopen border 09 Dec 2004 19:34:46 GMT Source: Reuters By Sebastian Alison BRUSSELS, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Turkish accession to the EU should lead to a more open society which would open its border with Armenia and recognise a genocide of Armenians early last century, Armenia's foreign minister said on Thursday. Vardan Oskanyan told Reuters in an interview that the European Union should press Turkey "aggressively" to reopen the border. EU leaders decide next week whether to start accession negotiations with Turkey. "Certainly if Turkey becomes an EU member and implements all the requirements, meets the criteria, that would mean Turkey would be a much more open society," he said. "Armenia would like to see the open border issue... be raised by the European Union more assertively, more loudly, even more aggressively, because this is an important issue also for the European Union," Oskanyan added. Armenia says 1.5 million of its people died between 1915 and 1923 in a systematic genocide and says the decision to carry it out was taken by the political party then in power in the Ottoman Empire, popularly known as the Young Turks. Turkey denies genocide and relations with Armenia have been tense ever since. Their border is closed because of Armenia's occupation of part of Azerbaijan including the ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. Oskanyan said recognition of the genocide was still on Yerevan's foreign policy agenda, and he hoped Turkish accession to the EU would help achieve it. "In the case of EU accession we hope it will lead to much freer discourse within the country which eventually may lead to recognition." Oskanyan said if EU membership forced Turkey to open the border, it would facilitate trade and boost the economy in poor eastern regions of Turkey as well as in Armenia. "Turkey's foreign policy should be in line with Brussels," he said. "That means Turkey cannot have closed borders with its neighbours." NEW NEIGHBOURS He added that Armenia had lost an estimated $1 billion in trade over the last 10 to 15 years because of the closure, and the EU needed to push for its reopening. "After all Armenia, along with the other two Caucasus countries (Azerbaijan and Georgia) is a member of the European Neighbourhood Policy," he said, referring to a new EU initiative to boost ties with its closest neighbours. "We have no border with any other EU or prospective EU member state, Turkey is the only one. If they do not take that obligation, do not rise to the occasion, the whole new neighbourhood policy will be rendered obsolete, at least for Armenia." Armenia is also in dispute with its neighbour Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, wholly within Azerbaijan, populated mainly by Christian ethnic Armenians, and which broke away from Azeri rule as the Soviet Union collapsed. The two went to war over it following the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991. Oskanyan said he was cautiously optimistic on progress towards peace with Azerbaijan, after a difficult period when veteran Azeri leader Haydar Aliyev died at the end of 2003 and was replaced by his son, Ilham. "The start was very difficult with the Azeris after the change of players," he said. "I guess both sides are beginning to warm up to each other and that gives us some hope that we will be able to make some progress."


Hirondelle News Agency (Lausanne) 1 Dec 2004 Belgian Killed During the Genocide Still Buried in Kigali Neighbourhood Kigali Albert Craemers, a Belgian national killed in April 1994 during the genocide in Rwanda, is still buried in a compound of a Kigali neighbourhood. According to a senior state counsel, Emmanuel Rukangira, "we are working with the Belgian Embassy on the best possible way of exhuming the body." The Belgian Embassy in Kigali confirmed the existence of the body and promised that a fitting burial place will soon be found for their national. Rukangira added that the principal suspect in the murder, Francois Karikumutima, an employee of UNICEF in Kigali, was arrested a week ago and is still being held. According to a local Rwandan newspaper, Umurage (Heritage), the Belgian lived in one of Karikumutima's houses in Nyamirambo neighbourhood in 1994. On April 7, 1994, Karikumutima is alleged to have called the Presidential Guards unit to kill Craemers, whom he accused of conspiring with Tutsis. After the death of the Belgian, Karikumutima, is alleged to have buried the body with the help of his cook, Eliya, near an avocado tree in the garden of the house. According to the newspaper, Karikumutima managed to buy his Eliya's silence. But the cook revealed everything to the police when the money dried up. Karikumutima was immediately arrested. There were widespread anti-Tutsi sentiments some months before the genocide, which came to a boiling point after the assassination of Hutu President Juvenal Habyarimana. Belgium, Rwanda's former colonial power, was accused of supporting the then rebel Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) currently in power in Kigali. Ten Belgian members of the UN peace keeping mission were killed by Rwandan soldiers in April 1994.


news.independent.co.uk 2 Dec 2004 EU army takes over in Bosnia where hatreds still simmer despite peace By Stephen Castle in Brussels and Vesna Peric Zimonjic in Belgrade 02 December 2004 By the main road near Banja Luka in Bosnia are small charred homes that once belonged to Croats. Nobody lives in them any more. Graffiti on the walls says "Arkan was here" and "here is what Tudjman brought you". Arkan was a notorious Serb warlord. Franjo Tudjman led neighbouring Croatia to independence in 1991. Both are dead now. But enmity lives on. This is the atmosphere into which European troops will march today. For, more than a decade after Europe failed to avert bloody civil war in the Balkans, the EU today takes over peace-keeping duties in Bosnia in a crucial test for the union's defence ambitions. Around 7,000 troops will assume Nato's military role, serving under a British general commanding an EU military mission, EU-For, expected to stay for around three years. Although the EU has undertaken peace-keeping work in Macedonia and Congo, neither mission compared with Bosnia in scale or symbolic importance. Operation Althea gives the EU a chance to atone for its impotence in the 1990s and demonstrate its increased foreign policy clout. "Bosnia will tell us if Europe can deliver on the ground," Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, the international community's high representative in Bosnia, said. "This is also a turning point for Bosnia on its road to the EU," he added. Aware that the EU's failure to intervene in the 1990s has not been forgotten, General Sir John Reith, the EU's operation commander, promised: "The population will see no difference other than the change of badges. It will be entirely seamless. Anybody who was even thinking about testing our mettle would see that it is not worth their while." Today's handover ceremony is being kept deliberately low-key to reinforce the message that this is business as usual. But the operation is very different from that launched in December 1995, when around 60,000 Nato troops were deployed. Now a force of 7,000 soldiers is sufficient as crime and corruption pose bigger threats than ethnic clashes. Yet tension remains. Bosnia is divided along Muslim, Croat and Serb ethnic lines, each group bearing bitter memories. Even so, the prospect of the EU mounting such an operation would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. Today's move underlines the massive progress in creating an EU defence capability since the UK and France agreed to back the idea in 1998. Troops from 22 of the 25 EU nations, along with 11 non-EU nations, will play a part and the force's commander in Bosnia will be another British officer, Major General David Leakey. Analysts say obstacles to the emerging Bosnian state remain huge. The war ended in December 1995, following the internationally-sponsored Dayton Peace agreement, having claimed 250,000 lives and displaced two million out of the country's 4.3 million population. Atrocities included the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica by Bosnian Serbs. Three years of siege of Sarajevo by the Bosnian Serb army left 10,000 dead. Despite $5bn (£2.6m) pumped into the country since 1995, the economy is weak, unemployment is 40 per cent, foreign investment is sparse and corruption endemic. Reconciliation between ethnic groups is far away, analysts say, because of the widespread ethnic cleansing that became a trademark of the war. The handover is unlikely to provoke much celebration. "It's all the same," said Milan Jovicevic, a 52-year-old teacher from Banja Luka. "Things are not improving and no one knows when they will. Yes, there's peace and that is OK. But there's little beside."

BBC 6 Dec 2004 Serb leader apologises in Bosnia Mr Tadic (left) is the first Serb leader to visit Bosnia since the war Serbian President Boris Tadic has made an apology in Bosnia-Hercegovina to all those who suffered crimes committed in the name of the Serb people. Mr Tadic, the first Serbian president in Sarajevo since the war ended in 1995, said war crimes suspects should face justice at The Hague tribunal. But he stressed that individuals, not the Serb nation, committed crimes, and that Serbs too had suffered. The Bosnian Serb Republic has yet to hand over any war crimes suspects. This failure is likely to lead to the entity's continued exclusion from Nato's Partnership for Peace when Nato defence ministers meet on Thursday to discuss Bosnia's proposed admission. We all need to apologise to one another, and if I need to be the first to do so here I am Boris Tadic Serbian president Bosnia is shared between the Serb Republic and a Muslim-Croat federation. Mr Tadic met members of the tripartite Bosnian presidency at the start of a three-day visit. "I apologise to all those who suffered from crimes committed in the name of the Serb people," he said after the meeting. "However, the Serb people did not commit these crimes but rather criminal individuals." He said it was now up to others to apologise. "It is impossible to blame one nation for this because the same crimes had been committed against the Serbs. "In this context we all need to apologise to one another, and if I need to be the first to do so here I am." The president of Serbia-Montenegro - the loose union which replaced Yugoslavia last year - has already apologised in Bosnia. Svetozar Marovic, a Montenegrin, said in November 2003 that both sides should be prepared to forgive and move forward. His predecessor Vojislav Kostunica, a Serb, visited Sarajevo three years earlier but refused to make an apology.

Czech Republic

European Roma Rights Center 10 Dec 2004 errc.org Press Releasefor Justice for Victims of Coercive Sterilisation in the Czech Republic Public Call for Accountability by Czech Authorities Human Rights Day December 10, 2004: Budapest, Hungary; Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic. This year, more than fifty persons have come forward in the Czech Republic to press claims for justice because they have been coercively sterilised by Czech doctors. Sterilisation of individuals, undertaken without their full and informed consent, is a serious breach of international human rights standards ratified by the Czech Republic and binding law in that country. The victims of these practices -- nearly all of them women and nearly all of them Romani -- have overcome the barriers of shame and humiliation -- as well as pressure by the wider society to remain silent -- to demand that Czech authorities recognise finally the following: * That under Communism, Czechoslovak authorities by policy coercively sterilised Romani women; * That following 1989, due to an outbreak of racism in the post-Communist era and because no serious efforts have ever been made to change a rigid and paternalistic culture of patient exclusion from decision-making, these practices have continued; * That as a result, women who enter the Czech system of ob-gyn care remain at risk of a doctor sterilising them without their informed consent; * That these harms require public recognition and redress. The victims of these practices have brought their complaints to the Czech Public Defender of Rights - "the Ombudsman" -- who has in turn begun consultations with the Czech Ministry of Health to review the files of the persons at issue. However: Although the Ministry has established a commission to review files and provide answers to questions submitted by the Ombudsman, this body has apparently not yet convened a single meeting. Although these matters raise fundamental questions about the conduct of public authorities and the safety, dignity and autonomy of all individuals in the Czech Republic, the names of members of the Ministry commission have not yet been made public. Although all individuals have the right of access to their medical files and the information contained in them, it is not at all clear that the Ministry yet recognises this principle, or that it has any intention of conducting proceedings with the transparency due the victims, and indeed owed to the public. The task at hand for the Czech government is manifold: * To provide justice to all victims of coercive sterilisations in the Czech Republic; * To recognise that although both Romani and non-Romani women have fallen victim to practices of coercive sterilisation, race has played a very significant role in the perpetration of these acts; * To ensure that all persons are guaranteed the right of full and informed consent in matters related to all relevant medical procedures, as well as to ensure that all individuals have full rights of access in practice to their medical files; * To foster a culture of patients rights among the Czech medical community; * To promote responsible public debate on these matters. The organisations listed below join in urging members of civil society, the media, and the public to impress upon Czech authorities the urgency of these matters. Communication should be directed to: Dr. Milada Emmerova Minister of Health of the Czech Republic Palackeho Namesti 4 Prague 2, 128 01 Czech Republic Fax: 420 2 24 97 21 11 The European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) is an international public interest law organization engaging in a range of activities aimed at combating anti-Romani racism and human rights abuse of Roma, in particular strategic litigation, international advocacy, research and policy development, and training of Romani activists. For more information about the European Roma Rights Center, visit the ERRC website at http://www.errc.org. European Roma Rights Center


Deutsche Presse Agentur 3 Dec 2004 Germany sending air force transport planes to Darfur Berlin (dpa) - The German parliament Friday approved sending three military transport planes and about 200 soldiers to help airlift African Union peacekeepers serving in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region. The C160 Transall planes will be stationed in Tanzania for flights to Darfur. No German troops will actually be based in Darfur for the mission which is initially limited to six months. The African Union (AU) has asked for aid in deploying peacekeepers to the Darfur region where about 70,000 people have been killed and some 1.8 million have been expelled or fled in fighting since 2003. The U.S., Britain, and the Netherlands have already pledged airlift assistance in Darfur.

Jerusalem Post 7 Dec 2004 JPost.com Poll: Over 50% of Germans equate IDF with Nazi army By ETGAR LEFKOVITS Six decades after the mass extermination of six million Jews in the Holocaust by Nazi Germany, more than 50 percent of Germans believe that Israel's present-day treatment of the Palestinians is similar to what the Nazis did to the Jews during World War II, a German survey released this weekend shows. 51 percent of respondents said that there is not much of a difference between what Israel is doing to the Palestinians today and what the Nazis did to the Jews during the Holocaust, compared to 49% who disagreed with such a comparison, according to the poll carried out by Germany's University of Bielefeld. The survey also found that 68 percent of Germans believe that Israel is waging a "war of extermination" against the Palestinians, while some 32% disagreed with such a statement. In a first reaction, the chairman of Yad Vashem's directorate Avner Shalev said Tuesday that the poll's results, which he termed "very worrisome," were indicative of a long-suppressed felling of anti-Semitism among the mainstream "so-called liberals" population which now, under the coating of anti-Israeli criticism, are becoming legitimate again. He added that the poll's results, which he said any objective person would repudiate, are also the result of the release of pent-up feelings of guilt built up from the Holocaust. "The energies which bring about such answers come to protect feelings of guilt," Shalev said. 62 percent of respondents in the poll said that they were sick of "all this harping" of German crimes against Jews, while 68% said that they found it "annoying" that Germans today are still held to blame for Nazi crimes against Jews. The survey, which aimed to determine what is "the cut off point" between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism, finds that while "classical" anti-Semitism in Germany is on the wane, secondary anti-Semitism, often couched in anti-Israel views are on the rise, especially among the Left. The German researchers who conducted the polls conceded that the results showing a majority of Germans equating Israel's Policy with Nazi Atrocities "may be worrying," but concurred with Yad Vashem's Shalev that the media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinians conflict has made such analogies part of the public discourse. "When you see an image in the newspaper, in a caricature, which is repeated day in and day out that Sharon is equal to Hitler than the image catches in your head because maybe you do not like Jews so much or maybe you hate Jews, and than this works out excellent," Shalev said, stressing that education of the young generation was the key to stemming such a tide. In the survey, 82 percent of the respondents polled said that they are angered by the way Israel is treating the Palestinians, while 45 percent of those polled said that considering Israel's policies it was "no surprise" that people were against them. The telephone poll of 3000 "non-migrant" respondents, which was taken in May and June, did not come with a margin of error. "This is a very sad commentary about what is happening in Europe today which needs to send a very strong warning signal about how much work needed to be done to deal with these attitudes," said, Dr. Ephraim Zuroff, the Israel director of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center. Due in part to its blighted history, Germany is generally considered to be one of the more supportive countries of Israel in Europe. Jerusalem Poer 7 Dec 2004 JPost.com Poll: Over 50% of Germans equate IDF with Nazi army By ETGAR LEFKOVITS Six decades after the mass extermination of six million Jews in the Holocaust by Nazi Germany, more than 50 percent of Germans believe that Israel's present-day treatment of the Palestinians is similar to what the Nazis did to the Jews during World War II, a German survey released this weekend shows. 51 percent of respondents said that there is not much of a difference between what Israel is doing to the Palestinians today and what the Nazis did to the Jews during the Holocaust, compared to 49% who disagreed with such a comparison, according to the poll carried out by Germany's University of Bielefeld. The survey also found that 68 percent of Germans believe that Israel is waging a "war of extermination" against the Palestinians, while some 32% disagreed with such a statement. In a first reaction, the chairman of Yad Vashem's directorate Avner Shalev said Tuesday that the poll's results, which he termed "very worrisome," were indicative of a long-suppressed felling of anti-Semitism among the mainstream "so-called liberals" population which now, under the coating of anti-Israeli criticism, are becoming legitimate again. He added that the poll's results, which he said any objective person would repudiate, are also the result of the release of pent-up feelings of guilt built up from the Holocaust. "The energies which bring about such answers come to protect feelings of guilt," Shalev said. 62 percent of respondents in the poll said that they were sick of "all this harping" of German crimes against Jews, while 68% said that they found it "annoying" that Germans today are still held to blame for Nazi crimes against Jews. The survey, which aimed to determine what is "the cut off point" between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism, finds that while "classical" anti-Semitism in Germany is on the wane, secondary anti-Semitism, often couched in anti-Israel views are on the rise, especially among the Left. The German researchers who conducted the polls conceded that the results showing a majority of Germans equating Israel's Policy with Nazi Atrocities "may be worrying," but concurred with Yad Vashem's Shalev that the media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinians conflict has made such analogies part of the public discourse. "When you see an image in the newspaper, in a caricature, which is repeated day in and day out that Sharon is equal to Hitler than the image catches in your head because maybe you do not like Jews so much or maybe you hate Jews, and than this works out excellent," Shalev said, stressing that education of the young generation was the key to stemming such a tide. In the survey, 82 percent of the respondents polled said that they are angered by the way Israel is treating the Palestinians, while 45 percent of those polled said that considering Israel's policies it was "no surprise" that people were against them. The telephone poll of 3000 "non-migrant" respondents, which was taken in May and June, did not come with a margin of error. "This is a very sad commentary about what is happening in Europe today which needs to send a very strong warning signal about how much work needed to be done to deal with these attitudes," said, Dr. Ephraim Zuroff, the Israel director of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center. Due in part to its blighted history, Germany is generally considered to be one of the more supportive countries of Israel in Europe.


BBC 3 Dec 2004 Italian doctor who fooled Nazis Mr Sacerdoti invented "K Syndrome" to save lives when he was just 28 A retired Italian doctor has revealed for the first time how he invented a fictitious disease which fooled the Nazis during World War II. The trick of prescribing Jews with a mysterious illness terrified the Nazis and saved 45 Roman Jews. Dr Vittorio Sacerdoti has told his remarkable tale on the 60th anniversary of liberation of Rome. He worked from a small and ancient hospital based on an island in the River Tiber. From his flat in the Jewish ghetto where he still lives, he told the BBC's Guto Harri in Rome that he still remembers the day the Nazis turned up at the ghetto to take away his fellow Jews. Just 28 years old at the time, he used courage and ingenuity to save 45 people from certain death. The doctor still lives in the Jewish area of Rome, minutes from the hospital As other Jews were being rounded up, Dr Sacerdoti admitted anyone who could reach the hospital as patients - and diagnosed them with a dangerous disease. "We would write on their medical forms that the patient was suffering from K Syndrome," he said. "We called it K after the German commander Kesserling - the Nazis thought it was cancer or tuberculosis, and they fled like rabbits." K Syndrome saved his cousin, Luciana Sacerdoti, who was just 10 years old. "The day the Nazis came to the hospital, someone came to our room and said: 'You have to cough, you have to cough a lot because they are afraid of the coughing, they don't want to catch an awful disease and they won't enter'." A detailed testimony has now been taken by the Shoah foundation belonging to American film director Steven Spielberg. But there is growing pressure for a larger exhibition closer to home. A small exhibition exists in Rome's synagogue, but there is very little to remind a new generation of the worst ills of the past. As Tulia Zevi told our correspondent: "We are also what we remember. We are made of our memories. "A person who lives only in the present and has not a full consciousness of what lies behind his back is not fully human."

Reuters 11 Dec 2004 Ex - Nazi Officer Acquitted in Italy Massacre Trial By REUTERS Filed at 12:32 p.m. ET ROME (Reuters) - An Italian military court acquitted former Nazi officer Hermann Langer of a 1944 massacre of some 60 people at a Tuscan monastery, where Jews were hiding during World War II, the prosecuting attorney said on Saturday. The ruling, handed down late on Friday, clears perhaps the last surviving member of the Nazi unit behind the killings on Sept. 2, 1944. Several children and members of the church were among the dead. ``We're shocked, because (Langer's) specific responsibility emerges from the hearings and the documentation,'' Enrico Cecchetiti, a regional government official close to the case, told local media. Military prosecutor Marco de Paolis, who is leading Italy's probe into Nazi war crimes, told Reuters he might appeal the case. But De Paolis said he will wait first to read the court's explanation for the ruling, which is due within 90 days. Langer, 85, was tried in absentia and could not be immediately reached for comment. Italian officials had been looking for him since 1948, when Nazi second lieutenant Edoardo Florin, on trial for the massacre, identified Langer as his superior officer but confused authorities by giving Langer's job title with his name. ``Hermann Langer after the war worked as a gardener, which in German, is 'Gartner'. So, for years, they were looking for Herman Langer-Gartner, obviously without any success,'' De Paolis said. Langer was only found a year and a half ago. According to recent historical studies, Allied forces had initially wanted an ``Italian Nuremberg'' after the war, a version of the trials which involved top Nazi officials in 1945-46. But the plans were shelved in 1947, and by the late 1940s only a dozen court martial proceedings were closed. In August, Germany Interior Minister Otto Schily visited Italy to recall one of the country's most horrific Nazi massacres on Aug. 12, 1944 when 560 men, women and children in a Tuscan village were shot dead. Schily called it a ``day of shame in Germany's darkest period.'' The massacre's youngest victim, Anna Pardini, was 20 days old.


Expatica News 1Dec 2004 www.expatica.com Dutch police arrest Afghan war crimes suspect 1 December 2004 AMSTERDAM — Dutch police arrested on Saturday the former chief of the Afghan military intelligence service on charges of war crimes and torture, the public prosecutor's office said on Tuesday. The 56-year-old Hesamuddin H. was arrested Saturday morning and officers of the National Detectives Unit also seized various documents in a raid of his home. An Arnhem Court judge extended his remand detention on Tuesday by 10 days. H. has lived with his family in the western Dutch town of Boskoop since the 1990s, having applied for asylum in the Netherlands in 1992. Despite the fact his request for asylum was refused due to suspicions about his past, H. stayed on in the Netherlands. The former colonel-general had served as the chief of the Afghan military intelligence service KhAD, which is accused of committing crimes of torture during the communist rule in Afghanistan. It is accused of torturing 200,000 people, of which 50,000 people were killed. H. was appointed the chief of the KhAD in 1983. After a reorganisation, he served until the end of 1991 as the State Secretary of State Security. Thereafter he served as a military attaché in Moscow. The criminal investigation into H. has taken statements from various victims, with witnesses both in the Netherlands and Afghanistan declaring that H. was involved in the torture of opponents to the Afghan communist regime.

Expatica News 7 Dec 2004 www.expatica.com Police arrest second Afghan war crimes suspect 7 December 2004 AMSTERDAM — Dutch police have arrested a second Afghan man in relation to war crimes offences and torture committed by Afghanistan's former Communist regime. The public prosecution service (OM) said on Tuesday that Habibullah J., 58, is the former head of the interrogation unit of the KhAD, the military intelligence service operated by the Marxist regime in the 1980s. He was living with his family in the Dutch town of Benschop, near Utrecht and was arrested on 2 December. J. applied for asylum in the Netherlands in 1996, but his request was refused in 2000 on suspicion he was guilty of human rights violations. Witnesses in the Netherlands, Afghanistan and Pakistan have accused J. of involvement in the torture of prisoners. The Dutch authorities seized documents during a raid of his home last week and an judge at Arnhem Court remanded him in custody on Monday for another 10 days. His arrest comes just over a month after Dutch police held the former head of KhAD, also on charges of war crimes and torture. Hesamuddin H., 56, was arrested in Boskoop, near Gouda, on 27 October. He was remanded in custody by Arnhem Court on 30 October. KhAD is accused of torturing 200,000 opponents to the former communist government in Afghanistan. Some 50,000 of them are believed to have been killed. The most common methods of torture were beatings and electric shocks.

BBC 7 Dec 2004 Dutchman held for 'Iraq genocide' The Iraqi regime used chemical bombs against the Kurds Prosecutors in the Netherlands say they will charge a 62-year-old Dutchman suspected of assisting ex-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in genocide. A spokesman for the chief prosecutor's office said the suspect had supplied Saddam Hussein with thousands of tons of base materials for chemical weapons. The chemicals were allegedly used in the 1988 Iraqi bombing of Halabja. It is alleged that suspect Frans van Anraat was aware of the final purpose for the base materials he supplied. "The man is suspected of delivering thousands of tons of raw materials for chemical weapons to the former regime in Baghdad between 1984 and 1988," prosecutors said in a statement. The notorious chemical attack on Kurds in Halabja killed an estimated 5,000 civilians. 'Major supplier' Prosecutors said the Dutchman had been a suspect since 1989, when he was arrested in Milan, Italy, at the request of the US government. But he was later released and fled to Iraq, where he remained until 2003. After the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, he returned to the Netherlands via Syria, the Associated Press reported. The United Nations suspects the man was a major chemical supplier to the former Iraqi regime, having made 36 separate shipments, including mustard gas and nerve gas originating from the United States and Japan. The chemicals where shipped via the Belgian port of Antwerp, through Aqaba in Jordan to Iraq, the prosecution statement said. The man was arrested in Amsterdam on Monday and will be brought before a court in the town of Arnhem later this week.

Expatica News 7 Dec 2004 www.expatica.com Dutchman held for aiding Saddam's genocide 7 December 2004 AMSTERDAM — A Dutchman has been arrested on suspicion he was involved in war crimes and genocide committed by ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. The Dutch public prosecutor's office (OM) said on Tuesday that the man — identified only as 62-year-old Frans van A. — is accused of exporting thousands of tonnes of raw materials used in the production of chemical weapons to Iraq between 1984 and 1998. He was arrested in Amsterdam on Monday, The chemical weapons — mustard gas and other nerve agents — were used by the former Iraqi regime in the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88) and in attacks on Kurds in northern Iraq. Thousands of Iranian soldiers and Iraqi civilians were killed in the attacks. The prosecution said investigations indicate the suspect was involved in 36 shipments to Baghdad, including two shipments of factory components. The United Nations has described the Dutchman as one of the biggest players in Iraq's drive to acquire chemical weapons. It is alleged the man dealt directly with the Iraqi authorities and used various financial covers to conceal Iraq's and his own involvement in the illegal trade. The suspect allegedly operated via a Panamanian company with a Swiss office. US authorities launched an investigation several years ago that indicated the Dutchman was involved in four shipments of Thiodyglycol (TDG), a substance used to manufacture mustard gas. The materials were transported via the US to Europe, and via the harbours of Antwerp and Aqaba in Jordan to Iraq. On request from the US, the man was arrested in January 1989 in Milan, Italy. After two months on remand, he was released pending extradition and fled to Iraq, where he stayed until the US-led invasion in March 2003. He then fled to Syria and subsequently to the Netherlands. The Dutch prosecutor said various sources claim the suspect was aware of the intended use of the shipments. He is also reportedly the first Dutch person to be arrested for complicity in genocide. "One of the most infamous attacks with chemical weapons is the destruction of the Kurdish city Halabja on 16 March 1998. During this attack an estimated 5,000 people were killed," the prosecutor said in a press release. The national prosecution office — which investigates organised crime and terrorism — has co-operated closely with the US, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Belgium and Jordan. The Dutch National Detectives Unit is conducting the investigation in co-operation with the finance investigation service FIOD-ECD. The suspect has been charged with war crimes and complicity to genocide. He is expected to appear before a judge in Arnhem later this week, at which point a decision will be made whether to remand him in custody.

AP 7 Dec 2004 Dutch to prosecute chemical dealer 07/12/2004 Associated Press - By Toby Sterling AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - Prosecutors said on Tuesday they will charge a Dutch chemicals dealer as an accomplice to genocide for supplying Saddam Hussein with lethal chemicals used in the 1988 chemical attack on a Kurdish town that killed an estimated 5,000 civilians. Wim de Bruin of the national prosecutor’s office said the suspect, who was arrested in Amsterdam on Monday, will face charges ``for violating the laws of war and involvement in genocide.’’ Prosecutors said Frans van Anraat, a 62-year-old chemicals dealer, had been a suspect since 1989, when he was arrested in Milan, Italy, at the request of the U.S. government. But he was later released and fled to Iraq, where he remained until 2003. After the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, he returned to the Netherlands via Syria. ``The man is suspected of delivering thousands of tons of raw materials for chemical weapons to the former regime in Baghdad between 1984 and 1988,’’ prosecutors said in a statement. Authorities in the United States, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Jordan helped in the investigation, and witnesses were interviewed in Britain, Denmark, Jordan and the Netherlands, prosecutors said. In a 2003 interview with Dutch television program Netwerk, van Anraat said he had shipped materials to Iraq but denied any wrongdoing. ``This was not my main business, this was something I did in passing,’’ he said. ``Somewhere once back then, I got the request whether I could deliver certain products to them, which they needed,’’ he said. ``And because I had a very good relationship with the (Iraqi) Oil Ministry, and that’s where the request came from, I tried to see if I could do it. And that was successful and we did deliver some materials.’’ An estimated 5,000 people were killed and another 10,000 injured by the poisonous bombs Iraqi forces dropped on the Kurdish city of Halabja on March 16, 1988. The United Nations suspects van Anraat was a major chemical supplier to Saddam’s regime, having made 36 separate shipments, including mustard gas and nerve gas originating from the United States and Japan, prosecutors said. The chemicals where shipped via Antwerp, Belgium, through Aqaba in Jordan before reaching Iraq, the prosecution statement said. The chemicals also have industrial uses in the textile industry - though they are not needed in the volumes van Anraat is accused of shipping. A trial date was not set. Saddam is also awaiting a trial date after being arraigned July 1 in Baghdad on charges including the attack on Halabja; killing rival politicians over 30 years; invading Kuwait in 1990; and ordering the killing of tens of thousands of Shiites and Kurds who rose up against him in 1991 following the Gulf War that liberated Kuwait from Iraqi occupation. ``The (Halabja) attack is an example of Hussein’s policy of systematic destruction of the Kurdish population,’’ prosecutors said in van Anraat’s indictment. ``It appears from official Iraqi documents that the operation was intended by Hussein’s government to wipe out the Kurds."

Background articles and links:

www.cbwinfo.com undated From textile sizing to poisoning: how thiodiglycol was made to lose its way There are two basic routes to manufacture mustard gas, one of which uses the industrial chemical thiodiglycol. As Iraq scaled up its chemical weapons program it found it easier to buy precursors than to make them. The easiest place to do this was in the Far East where export regulations are particularly slack. Iraq and Iran (as it tried to obtain the ability to retaliate in kind) stripped Japan of its stocks of the mustard gas precursor thiodiglycol by 1986. Iran then tried to use the large petrochemical company Phillips Petroleum as a source, but was rebuffed when Phillips became uneasy about the deal. The broker for Iran then picked the small New Jersey-based company Alcolac International as a single source. Morton Thiokol subsequently declined to supply thiodiglycol to Iraq and Alcolac then had the opportunity to also supply Baghdad. Alcolac turned out to be a reliable and compliant source for both sides until the operations were broken up by U.S. Customs in mid-1988. Procurement for Teheran was led by an Iranian diplomat, Karim Ali Sobhani, and a Czech-born German (Peter Walaschek). A Dutch national, Frans van Anraat, and a Japanese national, Charles Tanaka, were responsible obtaining thiodiglycol for Iraq. Export of thiodiglycol from the United States is restricted because of its use in the synthesis of chemical weapons and Tanaka reasoned that having one US company purchase it from another was not going to provoke interest the way a foreign transaction would. Several of the purchases for Iraq started on the road by being sold to US companies that Tanaka had friendly dealings with. The first dealings were with the California company Technalloy Chemical Corp., but transfer of the thiodiglycol across country was time-consuming and expensive. Later shipments used a front company (an empty warehouse in Brooklyn, New York) called Nu Kraft Mercantile that was owned by United Steel and Strip Corp. From Nu Kraft, Iraqi shipments were usually diverted through Europe and Aqaba as the final port before delivery to Baghdad. The Iranians used Singapore and Hong Kong as entrepôts with Pakistan as the last stop before unloading at Bandar Abbas. During one of the Iranian transfers to Singapore, Alcolac had the misfortune to run into a freight forwarder who refused to alter the accurate declarations made on shipping documents to ones that would cover up the shipment and Alcolac was forced to alter the documents itself. A common practice was to replace the previously stated destination on the shipping declaration with the vague “Goods in Transit.” If the freight forwarder had reported the incident to the local customs authorities, Alcolac could have been identified as a supplier sooner than it eventually was. This source was exposed when the paper trail started showing errors that brought it to the attention of the U.S. Customs Service. The Customs Service had had its attention to drawn to chemical weapon precursors by the then-recent Iraqi gas attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja. Two such errors included labeling the material by a trade name (Kromfax) rather than by its chemical name as required, and filling out an order for a European supplier (Walaschek’s West German employer, Colimex GmbH & Co.) with a final destination in Asia (Singapore). Furthermore, the quantities being shipped were enormous. Alcolac sold its thiodiglycol to textile industries and was shipping enough to supply the entire Western European textile industry for years. www.cbwinfo.com : The site for information about chemical and biological weapons for emergency, safety and security personnel

www.nti.org American businessmen Harold Greenburg and Nick Defino made a deal with Alcolac International to broker hundreds of tons (or $1 million worth) of thiodiglycol (a key ingredient in mustard gas) for export to Iran and Iraq. Greenburg and Defino would stand to make 1 cent a pound in profit. Charles Tanaka, an export-import agent in Japan, initiated the deal. Dennis Bass, a special agent for the US Customs Service, intercepts 120 tons of poison gas chemical precursors on their way to Iran from Alcolac International in Baltimore. Bass and his men emptied the chemical drums and filled them with water before sending them on their original intended route to Iran. —Gordon M. Burck and Charles C. Flowerree, International Handbook on Chemical Weapons Proliferation Mr. Ted Turner and Senator Nunn founded the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) in January 2001. www.nti.org

http://www.iraqwatch.org/search/view_record.asp?sc=suppliers&id=269 Supplier: Alcolac International Exporting Country: United States Company/Individual: Alcolac International Program: Chemical Date Occurred: 1988 Activity Memo: Exported over 300 tons of thiodiglycol, a mustard gas precursor, via U.S. firm Nu Kraft Mercantile Corporation and the Iraqi Industrial Procurement Corporation (IPC); believed to have been diverted to Iraq. Date Entered: 5/3/2000 Exporting Country: United States

frontline: the long road to war: transcript - the arming of iraq www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/longroad/etc/arming.html

CNN 17 Jan 2003 Phil Hirschkorn and Richard Roth CNN New York Bureau Gulf War veterans suing companies for chemical exports From Phil Hirschkorn and Richard Roth CNN New York Bureau NEW YORK (CNN) --Twelve years after the Persian Gulf War began, some American veterans of that conflict are finding new ammunition in their fight to find out who supplied Iraq chemicals that might have made them sick. More than 5,000 veterans are plaintiffs in a lawsuit that accuses companies of helping Iraqi President Saddam Hussein build his chemical warfare arsenal. The plaintiffs are among the tens of thousands who came down with "Gulf War Illness," a debilitating series of ailments that can include chronic fatigue, skin rashes, muscle joint pain, memory loss, and brain damage. Now, plaintiffs' attorneys have acquired, for the first time, what they believe is strong evidence of which companies supplied Iraq the chemicals that might have been used to produce mustard gas, sarin nerve gas and VX. The supplier list, shown to CNN, is included in Iraq's 1998 weapons declaration to the United Nations, parts of which were resubmitted to weapons inspectors last month. Sources tell CNN the list is an authentic document, but attorneys for the companies question its accuracy and say the lawsuit is without merit. The Iraqi list names 56 suppliers of chemicals and equipment to process them. A majority are based in Europe. "If they are hit in the pocketbook, if they know the dictator they provide this stuff to is eventually gonna turn them over to the public and they are gonna be held accountable for what they've done, they're less likely to sell these things to Saddam or somebody like [him] in the future," plaintiffs' attorney Gary Pitts said. The lawsuit, originally filed by Pitts in a civil court in Brazoria County, Texas, in 1994, alleges that companies knew "products and/or manufacturing facilities supplied ... were to be used to produce chemical and biological weapons." The suit seeks at least $1 billion in damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Seven companies in the Iraqi weapons declaration have been named defendants. Pitts said the plaintiffs will sue more of the listed companies next. Germany is home to the most major suppliers listed in Iraq's 1998 U.N. declaration. The Netherlands and Switzerland each are home to three companies on the list. France, Austria and the United States each are home to two. The declaration says Singapore was the largest exporter of chemical weapons precursors. Other countries home to alleged chemical exporters to Iraq include India, Egypt, Spain and Luxembourg, with one each. The veterans' lawsuit has moved slowly for eight years. Neither the U.S. government nor the United Nations weapons inspection agency, formerly the U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) and now the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, would share supplier information requested by Pitts. "UNSCOM had a practice of not revealing names of companies of suppliers of equipment to Iraq because they often had the possibility of getting information from these companies, and the best way to get these companies to talk to them was not to publish their names to start with," Hans Blix, the chief weapons inspector, told CNN. Former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter, contacted by Pitts, acquired the list for the veterans during a meeting last year with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz. "I brought out a series of compact discs which contained the totality of the Iraqi declaration," Ritter told CNN. The "full, final and complete" weapons declaration has never been made public. Ritter gave the CDs to Pitts. "I am assisting United States veterans, heroes," Ritter said. "People who put on our uniform, defended our country in time of war, who have been abandoned by their government." About 209,000 Gulf War veterans have filed claims with the Veterans Administration, and 161,000 of them are receiving disability payments. Neither American company listed -- Alcolac International, based in Baltimore, Maryland; and Al-Haddad Trading, based in Nashville, Tennessee -- are still in business. No one from Al-Haddad could be reached. Alcolac paid a fine in 1989 under U.S. law for one charge of exporting thiodiglycol, a chemical that could be used to make mustard gas, but that shipment was destined for another country. "I am unaware of any direct sale from Alcolac to Iraq," says attorney Ron Welsh, who represents Rhodia, which owns the defunct Alcolac's assets. Welsh said the veteran's lawsuit "has no meat." One of the largest alleged suppliers to Iraq's chemical program, according to Iraq's list, was the German company Karl Kolb. A spokesman for the company said it has done business with Iraq for 35 years, but he denied any connection to its weapons programs. The German firm Preussag, since acquired by the travel conglomerate TUI, supplied chemical precursors for sarin nerve gas, according to Iraq's declaration. The firm told CNN that claim is untrue. Several German manufacturers listed -- Schott Glas, Klockner Ina, Ludwig Hammer, Heberger Bau -- denied connections to Iraq's weapons plants and said the lawsuit's accusations are false. "Schott Glas is a manufacturer of glass and glass components, not of weapons," attorney Palmer Hutcheson said. "The plaintiffs don't have a case. They have failed to show evidence that Klockner was involved in any way in helping Iraq produce chemical or biological weapons," attorney Brian Hurst said. The Dutch company Melchemie denied that it supplied "strategic raw materials" to Iraq. It has acknowledged improperly shipping chemicals to an Iraqi agricultural producer once, in 1984. Melchemie paid a fine and says it bought back the containers. The firm said its Iraqi exports are now limited to tomato and cucumber seeds. A Dutch-based subsidiary of Phillips Petroleum exported chemicals to Iraq but nothing illegal, according to Sam Stubbs, an attorney for Phillips. Stubbs said, "Any substance Phillips would have sold to Iraq would have been a useful and beneficial product, if used properly." The Indian company Exomet Plastics, now part of EPC Industrie, said the only chemicals it shipped to Iraq were for pesticides. The firm told CNN that when it was advised of the chemicals' possible misuse, it stopped further shipments. "There were no restrictions for exporting these chemicals at the time the exports were made," said EPC attorney S.R. Mate. Despite their names being listed by Iraq, the French firm De Dietrich and the Portuguese-owned Tafisa denied ever doing business with Iraq. Half of the firms listed by Iraq and now targeted by the lawsuit as "major suppliers" are either defunct or were unreachable. "We have thousands of American veterans who continue to suffer," Ritter said. I don't give a damn about these companies. If they're innocent, they won't pay a price. If they have done something they need to be ashamed of, then let your shame be public." CNN's Claudia Otto in Berlin, Germany; Chris Burns in Frankfurt, Germany; Andrei Braun and Karine Djili-Bienfait in Paris, France; Al Goodman in Madrid, Spain; Ram Ramgopal in New Delhi, India; Maria Ressa in Singapore; and Abighail Brigham, Shira Kavon and Elizabeth Hathway in New York contributed to this report.

crimealert.bizland.com Wanted by FBI Illegal export of dangerous chemicals From: US Customs Country: Germany State: Select State City: Suburb: Street: ZipCode: CrimeType: Robbery TimeCommitted: DateCommitted: Date: 25 May 2000 Time: 18:08:19 Remote Name: Comments Peter WALASCHEK and Frans Van ANRAAT DESCRIPTION: Peter Walaschek is a German citizen born on November 14, 1942, in Brno, the Czech Republic. He is 182 centimeters in height and weighs 82 kilograms. He is a white male with gray hair, brown eyes, and a medium build. He wears eyeglasses and speaks German and English. He may be using the name Peter Loimi. In recent years he has visited Singapore, Iran, and Croatia. Frans Cornelis Andrianus Van Anraat is a citizen of the Netherlands, born in Den Helder on August 9, 1942. He is a white male, 178 centimeters in height, and has graying hair. He wears eyeglasses and may have a full beard. He speaks Dutch, Italian, and English. He has visited Switzerland, Italy, and the Netherlands in recent years. He is now in Baghdad, Iraq. CASE DETAILS: Soldiers in the First World War called mustard gas "the Devil's breath." It is one of the most terrible weapons ever devised. It can leave its victims blind and covered with agonizing blisters. Inhaled, mustard gas can cause a slow, painful death by suffocation. For decades, its use has been banned by international conventions. But illegal trafficking in mustard gas and other deadly chemical weapons continues. Two of the profiteers of this illicit trade are international fugitives. Between October, 1987, and April, 1988, Frans Van Anraat and Peter Walaschek arranged for the illegal export of the chemical thiodiglycol from the United States. Thiodiglycol is a chemical used in the production of mustard gas. On January 26, 1989, Van Anraat was arrested by Italian authorities at the request of the U.S. government. Six months later, an Italian court rejected a U.S. extradition request. In February, 1990, the Italian Supreme Court overturned that decision and ordered Van Anraat's extradition, but he had already fled Italian jurisdiction. Peter Walaschek was arrested in the United States in July, 1988, He pleaded guilty to violating U.S. export laws. But prior to his sentencing he escaped to Germany in December, 1988. If you have any information concerning Frans Van Anraat or Peter Walaschek, you should contact the nearest U. S. embassy or consulate. The U. S. guarantees that all reports will be investigated and all information will be kept confidential. The U.S. may pay a reward for information that leads to the arrest of these fugitives. From: FBI Country: USA State: Select State City: Suburb: Street: ZipCode: CrimeType: Murder TimeCommitted: DateCommitted: Date: 24 May 2000 Time: 19:55:39 Remote Name: Comments GLEN STEWART GODWIN UNLAWFUL FLIGHT TO AVOID CONFINEMENT, MURDER, ESCAPE D.O.B: June 26, 1958 Height: 6'0" Weight: 170 pounds Eye Color: Green Hair Color: Black Sex: Male Race: White Nationality: American Glen Stewart Godwin, who is being sought as a prison escapee, was at the time of his escape serving a lengthy sentence for murder. He is believed to be armed with handguns and a .9 millimeter rifle. He may be a drug user. CONSIDERED ARMED AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND AN ESCAPE RISK. If you have any information concerning this person, please contact your local FBI office or the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading directly to the arrest of Glen Stewart Godwin. Aliases: Michael Carerra, Miguel Carerra, Michael Carmen, Glen Godwin, Glen S. Godwin, Dennis H. McWilliams and Dennis Harold McWilliams. Occupation(s):Self-employed in tool supplies, construction worker Last changed: May 25, 2000 crimealert.bizland.com/_disc6/0000000a.htm

Netherlands - ICTY, ICC, ICJ

BBC 3 Dec 2004 Serb general faces Hague tribunal Mostly civilians were killed during the Sarajevo siege A Bosnian Serb general indicted for war crimes during the 1992-95 Bosnian war is to be handed over to The Hague, the chief UN war crimes prosecutor says. "Dragomir Milosevic... will be transferred today [Friday] from Serbia," Carla Del Ponte said. The suspect is charged with organising the siege and shelling of Sarajevo that left nearly 12,000 people dead. In another development, a UK court has backed the extradition of a Serb to stand trial for war crimes in Croatia. The suspect, Damir Travica, is accused of taking part in arson and the killing of a Croatian family during the Balkan conflict in 1992. He is currently being held at London's Brixton Prison. 'Medieval hell' Ms Del Ponte announced Mr Milosevic's forthcoming handover at a news conference in Sarajevo. Galic was jailed for 20 years in 2003 "I have no other details, it seems that it was a voluntary surrender," she said. Mr Milosevic, who is now a retired general, was a commander of Serb troops deployed around the Bosnian capital in the final year of the war. The UN court charged Mr Milosevic, 62, in 1998 with crimes against humanity and violation of the laws or customs of war, including the shelling of a Sarajevo market in 1995 that killed 43 civilians. "The forces under the command and control of Dragomir Milosevic conducted a campaign of sniping and shelling against the civilian population of Sarajevo," the indictment said. Another Serb commander on the same indictment, Stanislav Galic, was tried at The Hague and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Prosecutors at his trial said Bosnian Serb forces had plunged the city into a "medieval hell" during the 43-month siege.

NYT 7 Dec 2004 A Warmer Tone in Court as Milosevic Pursues His Defense By MARLISE SIMONS After two years at Slobodan Milosevic's trial in The Hague in which the prosecution and its witnesses presented him variously as a brutal dictator and a war criminal, he is now hearing sweeter words from witnesses. The defense for Mr. Milosevic, the former Yugoslav president and Serbian leader, has been repeatedly disrupted since it began in July, both by his health problems and legal wrangling, and has only recently resumed. In November, he won an appeal, regaining the right to lead his own defense after many of his witnesses refused to cooperate with court-appointed lawyers. Now he has called and questioned his first witnesses - three Russians and a Serb, all former officials. With their testimony, the mood in the courtroom at the United Nations tribunal in The Hague has changed remarkably. Instead of Mr. Milosevic routinely exchanging barbs and even insults with witnesses, prosecutors and judges, as he did during the prosecution case, he is addressing the witnesses with respect. In return, the people he has invited to appear on his behalf have been giving him compliments. One of them, Nikolai Ryzhkov, who was a Soviet prime minister until late 1990, repeatedly addressed the man in the dock as "Mr. President," during his testimony in late November. The court, though, evidently remains concerned about how Mr. Milosevic will behave for the remainder of this second phase, for which he has been allotted 150 trial days. As the trial resumed in mid-November, the presiding judge, Patrick Robinson, reminded Mr. Milosevic of the rules. Examining witnesses, the judge said, is very different from cross-examining them, as Mr. Milosevic had done during the prosecution case. "You are not allowed to ask leading questions; the witness must give the evidence," the judge said. "You are not to give evidence and you are not to make speeches." Moreover, the judge said the evidence must be relevant to the indictment. But in dealing with his first four witnesses, Mr. Milosevic has seemed unable or unwilling to follow the guidelines. As he asked leading questions over and over again, he was frequently interrupted by the prosecution and often told by the bench that his questions and his lengthy commentary were not admissible. His line of questioning appears clearly aimed at countering the image presented by the prosecution, which has charged him with 66 war crimes and crimes against humanity, including genocide. The crimes of which he is accused occurred while forces under his command took part in campaigns to drive Croats, Bosnians and Kosovars from their lands in the 1990's during the violent breakup of Yugoslavia. But he has always presented himself and Serbia not as the warmongers, but as the victims of aggression by Serbia's neighbors, which were backed by the West. In the Balkan wars, more than 200,000 people died and several million had to flee their homes. Casting Mr. Milosevic and Serbia as victims and not aggressors was also the principal message of the first four defense witnesses. The first to appear was Mihajlo Markovic, a former close ally of Mr. Milosevic and a major political strategist of his Serbian Socialist Party. Testifying on Nov. 16 and 17, he denied there had ever been a state policy to try to annex the lands inhabited by Serbs and to attach them to Serbia proper in order to create a Greater Serbia. Rather, he said, Mr. Milosevic had played a conciliatory role while Serbia was being "demonized," especially in European - and specifically German - news media. The second witness, Mr. Ryzhkov, now a Russian senator, drew parallels between the current "terrorism in Chechnya" and the actions of the Kosovo Liberation Army, the separatist ethnic Albanian rebels who fought against Mr. Milosevic's rule in Kosovo Province in Serbia. The third witness, a former Russian general, testified that the war over Kosovo in 1999 could have been avoided if a Russian peace plan had been carried out. The general, Leonid Ivashov, who took part in several rounds of peace negotiations at the time, contended in court that NATO had its own plan "to discredit the military and political leadership of Yugoslavia." Similar testimony was given Nov. 30 by Yevgeny Primakov, a former prime minister of Russia, who portrayed Mr. Milosevic as a man who had sought to avoid bloodshed while the United States and Europe depicted the Serbs as "aggressors." "It became ever more apparent that their course was to weaken Serbia, to not allow it to gain strength and possibly even to complete the process of Yugoslavia's complete disintegration," Mr. Primakov told the court. Mr. Primakov also called airstrikes in the region by NATO in 1999 over the Kosovo conflict a precedent for military action without a United Nations mandate, evidently referring to the American-led war in Iraq. Now that the appeals chamber has restored Mr. Milosevic's right to defend himself, there appears to be no role for the two British lawyers imposed on him by the court to act as his defense because of his failing health. The lawyers have asked to withdraw, but the three judges in charge of the Milosevic trial have suggested they want the team to stand by and to take over if Mr. Milosevic calls in sick, as he has done numerous times.

IWPR 3 Dec 2004 Troubled Start to Kosovo Albanian Trial Concerns range from public hostility in Kosovo to witness intimidation. By Michael Farquhar in The Hague (TU No 384, 03-Dec-04) The trial of the first Kosovar Albanians to appear before the Hague tribunal has got off to a difficult start. Their first month in court has been dogged by a series of problems ranging from strong negative reactions in Kosovo and witness intimidation, to translation problems and objections to the way the defendants are transported to and from court. While the individual issues raised are not all new, observers say it is uncommon for so many difficulties to arise in one trial, and at such an early stage. Tribunal officials are keen to play down the situation. "All trials are unique, and set up their own set of challenges and set of circumstances that need to be addressed," spokesman Jim Landale told IWPR. "And in that sense, this is no different." Fatmir Limaj, Isak Musliu and Haradin Bala, who all deny charges that they were involved in torturing and murdering Serbs and suspected Albanian collaborators in and around a prison camp in central Kosovo in 1998, faced prosecutors for the first time on November 15. The start of the trial received wide coverage in the Kosovo press, with reactions in some newspapers mirroring the negative attitudes that have typified the Belgrade media’s view of The Hague in the past. While prosecutor Andrew Cayley was careful to underline in his opening statement that he was mounting a case against individuals, not against a national or political group, some editors appeared unconvinced. The next day's copy of the daily Epoka e Re ran the front page headline "Anti-Albanian Trial", while Zeri quoted senior Kosovar politician Ramadan Avdiu as saying that in an effort to maintain balance by prosecuting different nationalities, the tribunal had become "an instrument of politics instead of justice". The Kosovo government echoed the sentiment in a statement that claimed the prosecution's presentation of the case was "based not on facts or arguments, but on political statements which aim to equalise the war for liberation with the genocidal and occupying army of the Serbian state in Kosovo". Ten thousand people took to the streets of Prishtina towards the end of November in protest against the proceedings. Given this context, it is unsurprising that the issue of witness intimidation has come to the fore. Even before the trial began, prosecutors issued a separate indictment against Beqe Beqaj, a Kosovar Albanian apparently related to Isak Musliu, for attempting to interfere with witnesses in the case. Beqaj had apparently claimed he was in contact with Limaj and Musliu while they were in detention in The Hague, and that he was acting on their behalf to persuade prosecution witnesses to withdraw their testimony. The trial chamber in charge of the case has ruled that 12 witnesses will be allowed to testify under protective measures. The prosecution said some of them had been threatened in connection with the case, and one had faced assassination attempts. The tribunal has also taken the unusual step of distributing an advisory notice to journalists, reminding them of their obligation to respect the privacy of protected witnesses and the possibility of a 100,000 euro fine and seven year jail sentence should they fail to do so. In a further complication, defence lawyers for the three accused have said they face a potentially "serious and ongoing difficulty" in finding Albanian-language interpreters to enable them to communicate with their clients. Speaking at a conference before the start of the trial on November 29, Gregor Guy-Smith, who represents Bala, said the problem stems simply from a scarcity of qualified candidates. He said he had been informed that the tribunal itself faces the same difficulty. He said defence lawyers had found that the limited resources at their disposal exacerbated the problem – each team is allotted 1,000 euro a month to pay for interpreters so that lawyers can communicate with their clients. Guy-Smith said he had conducted interviews in London and Kosovo in an effort to find good interpreters, but had been faced with the fact that the cost of bringing candidates to live in The Hague for the sole purpose of working as an interpreter for the defence is "prohibitive". As a result of the lack of available interpreters, defence lawyer Michael Topolski said he was unable to talk to his client Musliu in the detention unit for an entire week in the run-up to the start of proceedings. And Guy-Smith said he had been forced to cancel two visits for the same reason. Defence lawyers have also objected to the fact that the three defendants had for months been forced to wear blindfolds while being transported between the United Nations detention centre and the tribunal courtrooms. The issue came to a head three days into the trial when a session had to be cancelled, reportedly because the defendants refused to go to court under such conditions. The tribunal had apparently already been involved in a series of exchanges on the matter with the Netherlands justice ministry, which is responsible for detainee transfers. The measure was lifted the next day. The use of blindfolds is sanctioned under Dutch law, and a set of "Instructions for the Transportation of Prisoners" obtained by IWPR from the ministry of justice says that decisions regarding use of the measure should be based on an individual detainee's "risk profile". It is hard to ascertain how widely the measure is used when other tribunal defendants are being moved around, since the court's spokespeople do not discuss security issues as a matter of policy. Michael Farquhar is an IWPR reporter in The Hague.

B92.net 13 Dec 2004 Court to rule on NATO charges this week | 00:59 December 13 | B92 THE HAGUE -- Sunday – The International Court of Justice in The Hague will rule on Wednesday on whether it is competent to hear Serbia-Montenegro’s charges against a number of NATO countries. The charges were raised in 1999, alleging that, by bombing Yugoslavia, eight NATO members had committed the crimes of genocide, illegal use of force and military interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. The countries accused, Canada, France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Austria, Portugal and the Netherlands, claim that Yugoslavia, at the time it laid the charges, was not a member of the United Nations and had not signed the Convention on Genocide which is the basis for the charges. Three rulings are possible, says Belgrade’s senior legal representative in the case, Tibor Varadij. It could rule that it is competent to hear the charges and set a date for the trial, it could rule that it is not competent, upholding the argument of the defendants, or it could rule itself incompetent for other reasons. If the argument that Yugoslavia was not a member of the United Nations, this ruling would contradict an earlier decision in which the court ruled itself competent to hear Bosnia-Hercegovina’s charges against Yugoslavia, although Belgrade’s lawyers used the argument of non-membership in that case.


Poland Opens Probe Into 1940 Massacre UPDATED - Thursday December 02, 2004 12:29am WARSAW, Poland (AP) - Polish war crimes prosecutors have opened an investigation into the 1940 massacre in the Katyn forest of more than 21,000 Polish officers and intellectuals by the Soviet secret police, authorities said Wednesday. Leon Kieres, the head of Poland's National Remembrance Institute, told a news conference that the investigation by 16 of his specialized prosecutors will attempt to add names to the fragmentary records of the Soviet officials and secret police agents who issued, passed on, or carried out the orders to kill the Polish prisoners. Deputy Justice Minister Andrzej Kalwas said the investigation was an act of "delayed redress and justice toward the innocent victims and to their living relatives." Until the fall of communism in 1989, any mention of the massacre was forbidden in Poland. The following year, the Soviet government accepted responsibility for the World War II murders.

www.mosnews.com 2 Dec 2004 Polish Prosecutors Launch Probe Into 1940 Soviet War Crimes MosNews Polish war crimes prosecutors have opened an investigation into the 1940 massacre in the Katyn forest of more than 21,000 Polish officers and intellectuals by the Soviet secret police, the Associated Press news agency reports. Leon Kieres, the head of Poland’s National Remembrance Institute, told a news conference that the investigation by 16 of his specialized prosecutors will attempt to add names to the fragmentary records of the Soviet officials and secret police agents who issued, passed on, or carried out the orders to kill the Polish prisoners. Deputy Justice Minister Andrzej Kalwas said the investigation was an act of “delayed redress and justice toward the innocent victims and to their living relatives”. Until the fall of communism in 1989, any mention of the massacre was forbidden in Poland. The following year, the Soviet government accepted responsibility for the World War II murders. Soviet agents killed 21,768 Polish military officers, intellectuals and priests in the forests of Katyn and other places. They had taken them prisoner when the Soviet Union invaded Poland in 1939. The massacre is still an irritant to relations between Poland and Russia, and topped the agenda when Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski visited Russian President Vladimir Putin in September. After that meeting, Kwasniewski said Russian authorities promised to hand over 96 volumes of documents related to the massacre, which would help the Polish Remembrance Institute conduct its own investigation into the killings. Though a recent Russian investigation into the massacre failed to produce any new names of suspects, Kieres said he was still hopeful of success because the Polish probe would include interviews with thousands of relatives of the victims, as well as a re-examination of the files.

AP 4 Dec 2004 Poland opens probe of 1940 massacre Soviets killed more than 21,000 WWII prisoners By MONIKA SCISLOWSKA Associated Press WARSAW, POLAND - Polish war crimes prosecutors have opened an investigation into the 1940 massacre in the Katyn forest of more than 21,000 Polish officers and intellectuals by the Soviet secret police. Leon Kieres, the head of Poland's National Remembrance Institute, told a news conference last week that the investigation by 16 of his prosecutors will attempt to add names to the fragmentary records of the Soviet officials and secret police agents who issued, passed on, or carried out the orders to kill the Polish prisoners. Deputy Justice Minister Andrzej Kalwas said the investigation was an act of "delayed redress and justice toward the innocent victims and to their living relatives." Until the fall of communism in 1989, any mention of the massacre was forbidden in Poland. In 1990, the Soviet government accepted responsibility for the World War II murders. Soviet agents killed 21,768 Polish military officers, intellectuals and priests in the forests of Katyn and in other places. Those killed had been taken as prisoners when the Soviet Union invaded Poland in 1939. The massacre remains an irritant in relations between Poland and Russia, and topped the agenda when Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski visited Russian President Vladimir Putin in September. After that meeting, Kwasniewski said Russian authorities promised to hand over 96 volumes of documents related to the massacre, which would help the Polish Remembrance Institute conduct an investigation into the killings. Although a recent Russian investigation failed to produce any new names of suspects, Kieres said he is hopeful of success because the Polish probe would include interviews with thousands of relatives of the victims, as well as a re-examination of the files.

Transitions Online 6 Dec 2004 www.tol.cz Poland: An Old Wound Reopened by Wojciech Kosc 6 December 2004 After Moscow ends its Katyn inquiry without naming names, Warsaw launches its own probe. But is there anyone left to take the blame? POZNAN, Poland--In seeking to come to terms with cruel chapters of World War II history, Poland has recently looked mainly to the West, where the question of compensation for Germany's occupation is still not entirely a dead issue. Now the focus is once again on the East and the massacre of thousands of Poles by the Soviet Union in 1940. On 1 December Poland’s National Remembrance Institute (IPN) announced it would open an inquiry into the killings, just over two months after a long-running Russian investigation was closed without any charges being made. NO WAR CRIME? The killings occurred in April and May 1940, when at least 21,000 Polish prisoners of war (mainly officers of the Polish army crushed by the Nazis and the Soviets in September 1939) were executed in the village of Katyn and in the towns of Kalinin (Tver) and Kharkov, in Ukraine. Nearly three years later, when Hitler and Stalin had become bitter foes following Germany's invasion of the USSR in 1941, German forces discovered mass graves where some of the victims had been buried in a forest near Katyn and blamed the atrocity on the Soviet NKVD security police. It was not until 1990, though, that Moscow admitted responsibility--after insisting throughout the postwar years that Germany was to blame--and started its own investigation. Poland won promises of cooperation from Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Russian presidents Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin. In 1996 Yeltsin authorized the establishment of two military cemeteries in Russia for the remains of Polish officers murdered by the Stalinist police, for instance, and in 2000 Putin telephoned his Polish counterpart, Aleksander Kwasniewski, informing him that new mass graves of murdered Poles had been found near Smolensk and inviting Polish authorities "to participate in actions that will lead to uncovering the truth." But in September, after 14 years of inquiry, the Russian prosecutors said they were closing the inquiry because the crimes could not be classified as genocide. While the exact reasons for closing the case have not been revealed, it is clear from previous Russian statements that Moscow considers the Katyn killings as murders, a crime for which the statute of limitations has expired under Russian law. The Russian side did not charge anyone with responsibility for the killings, claiming the law permitted prosecutions to be lodged only against the Soviet leaders who masterminded the killings, all of them long dead. According to the IPN's official justification for launching its inquiry, the first by Polish authorities, Russia also has argued that the massacres happened when the Soviet Union was not at war with Poland and thus cannot be deemed a war crime. The Polish view was put forth by National Remembrance Institute head Leon Kieres, who presented the 35-page justification document at the 1 December news conference. The Katyn killings "were a war crime because the Soviet Union breached the international conventions concerning treatment of prisoners of war. Moreover, the scale of the operation and the mode of executing it allows us to categorize it as genocide,” Kieres said. “We would like to determine a complete list of the perpetrators, beginning with the decision-makers and ending with the people who directly carried out the decisions,” Kieres added. SEARCHING FOR THE GUILTY It is unclear, though, whether any of those who shot the prisoners are still alive. In 1993, Polish authorities announced they had evidence that three then-living former senior NKVD officers had taken part in the executions and requested that Russia open a case against them, Reuters reported last week. Deputy IPN head Witold Kulesza said the Polish inquiry began at the last moment allowed by law, three months after an association of relatives of Katyn victims filed an official request for an investigation with the institute, which is empowered to carry out legal investigations. The IPN waited until the last minute, Kulesza said, hoping the Russians would hand over the documents from their investigation, which concluded two weeks after the Katyn association filed its request. The IPN was also waiting to hear Moscow's official reason for closing the investigation, but despite Putin's personal assurances to Kwasniewski in September, the documents are still to arrive. The Polish investigation will be big. It will involve 16 prosecutors who will take evidence from more than 10,000 relatives and heirs of the Katyn victims. As early as 3 December, the first witness reported to the institute's Wroclaw office. The IPN must not only handle a multifaceted and complicated investigation. It will also have to shoulder some of the political burden, because Poland’s pushing for a complete explanation of the massacres might strain its relationship with Russia. Polish politicians have been restrained in their comments. “The best solution would be a joint Polish-Russian investigation, but since it cannot be that way, we have to deal with this issue ourselves,” Prime Minister Marek Belka told the Polish Press Agency on 2 December. Some observers say Warsaw would be wise not to count on any special cooperation from Moscow, not necessarily due to ill will. In August, when Poland still had hopes of a successful outcome of the Russian inquiry, Anna Wawrzecka, an analyst from the Center for Eastern Studies, suggested why. The Katyn question was nearly nonexistent in Russia, she said, “because of the enormous genocide that Soviet authorities inflicted on their own society." Wojciech Kosc is a TOL correspondent. See Instytut Pamieci Narodowej (IPN) - Komisja Scigania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu.[The Institute of National Remembrance - Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation (IPN) was created on December 18th, 1998.www.ipn.gov.pl


Transitions Online 29 Nov 2004 tol.cz Russia: A Smarting Bear by Sergei Borisov 29 November 2004 How smart has Russia's Ukraine policy been? Moscow doesn't know, but it knows it has a problem. ULYANOVSK, Russia--It seems it's not just Ukraine that's in turmoil. Russia's political elite has been left reeling by the size of opposition demonstrations in Ukraine and the possibility that its preferred candidate, Viktor Yanukovych, might lose out. Consider President Vladimir Putin's statements. Putin immediately congratulated Yanukovych on his victory after the elections on 21 November, but then on 24 November said it was necessary to wait for official results. Then, on 25 November, at a summit with the EU, Putin declared that he did not think "any nation should acknowledge or not acknowledge the results of elections in Ukraine." "This is the Ukrainian people's affair," Putin said, although observers believe that repeated praise for Yanukovych and visits to Kiev were clearly intended to support Yanukovych’s bid to move up from the post of prime minister of Ukraine to president. NEFARIOUS POLAND Russia's role in the elections went far beyond that, particularly in the form of vast sums provided by the state-controlled energy giant Gazprom and political advice. The man at the heart of that operation is generally seen in the Russian media as being Gleb Pavlovsky, the head of the Moscow-based Foundation for Effective Politics. Considered to be a Kremlin spin doctor, Pavlovsky seems reluctant to acknowledge any role in what is widely seen as a failure of Russian policy in Ukraine. He acknowledges that Russian PR men were operating in Ukraine but claims he himself was not involved and that some Russians were working for the opposition candidate, Viktor Yushchenko. Pavlovsky, who sees the root of the crisis in Ukraine as a deep-seated failure of outgoing President Leonid Kuchma's regime, believes outside forces brought the crisis to a head. Pavlovsky has not said who those outside forces are, but Sergei Markov, director of the Political Studies Institute, felt confident enough on 25 November to point the finger at Poland. The crisis in Ukraine "was in fact a Polish conspiracy aimed at imposing Polish patronage over Ukraine and thus raising Polish influence within the European Union," Markov reportedly told Newsru.com. Markov, though, was willing to trace the conspiracy even further, to the Polish diaspora and an influential figure in Washington. "Yushchenko's electoral campaign has been developed within the Polish diaspora abroad," Markov said. "Its ideological basis was prepared by former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and his two sons." In line with the findings of Russian election monitors, Pavlovsky insists the Ukrainian elections were free and fair and that Yanukovych is the legitimate president. He has dismissed the opposition's demonstrations as a "revolution that has the color of children's diarrhea"--a reference to Yushchenko's orange campaign color--and seemed to try to pooh-pooh Yushchenko's power by claiming that Yulia Tymoshenko, one of Yushchenko's strongest allies, would rule instead of Yushchenko if he won. Still, part of his argument for Tymoshenko's role plays on a question that many are asking: He is convinced that Yushchenko is "a sick man," a conclusion easy to reach when one sees the radical transformation of Yushchenko's face from healthy, handsome, and youthful to colorless, old, and covered with lesions. The source of Yushchenko's health problems remains unclear, but he himself believes he was poisoned. Asked by the news agency RIA-Novosti how he sees the crisis playing itself out, Pavlovsky said the "protest's control center is outside Kiev, so the outcome is hard to predict." But he believes there is a possibility that Yanukovych could suffer the fate of Salvador Allende, the president of Chile who died during a coup in 1973. Eastern Ukraine could also, he suggested, "proclaim broad autonomy or even independence if Yushchenko wins," adding that the vast majority of Ukraine's economic wealth is in this Russian-speaking region. But what happens next depends on whether Yanukovych "can put up resistance" and not enter talks with the opposition, the ubiquitous Pavlovsky told NTV. Speaking on a television program unfortunately named Orange Juice (the program was called that long before Yushchenko's orange-clad supporters took to the streets), Pavlovsky said he felt Yanukovych should be taking a tougher line with the opposition. However, his confidence in Yanukovych appears low. Judging by Yanukovych's performance so far, Pavlovsky said he doubted that the prime minister could hit back properly. He also questioned the prime minister's "leadership." Still, even if Yanukovych does not follow his advice, Pavlovsky entertains some hope that "bad clashes" can be averted thanks to what he calls Ukraine's "rather vague" political style. 'EVERY CONCEIVABLE MISTAKE' But is this "vagueness" an indirect admission that Moscow is unable to read clearly the state of affairs in Ukraine? Sergei Karaganov, chairman of the State Duma's Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, told RIA-Novosti that Russia had "the right to prefer one of the candidates," but said "we made almost every conceivable mistake." He particularly criticized Russia's campaigning on Yanukovych's behalf as "a brazen commercial operation" that was bound "to irritate even Russia's supporters in Ukraine." "Political consultants managed to involve in their games even the top Russian leaders, who took a stand and hence weakened their long-term ability to influence the situation in Ukraine," he added. Some in the media are also criticizing Russia's role in the post-election period. Nezavisimaya Gazeta compared Russia’s response unfavorably with what it felt was the swift and unified response of the European Union. In its view, "many observers saw in" Boris Gryzlov, the man dispatched to roundtable talks in Kiev, "neither an authoritative figure nor a professional in solving crises, but only the Kremlin's advocate of Yanukovych." It argued that diplomats should have been more active than Gryzlov, who is the speaker of the Russian parliament and chairman of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party. Since Russian diplomats were absent, "it will be harder for Moscow to predict the next move by its competitor, the European Union, in Ukraine and the nearest abroad as a whole," it concluded. Markov, though, believes the main beneficiary of a Yushchenko victory would be not the European Union but the United States, as Germany and France, perceived as allies of Russia particularly since the war in Iraq, would be weakened on the world stage. SPETSNAZ IN KIEV? The more immediate question, though, is how Russia will play its cards in the days and weeks ahead, a question made all the sharper by allegations that Russian elite troops had arrived in Kiev. According to Tymoshenko and Yushchenko's campaign chairman, Oleksandr Zinchenko, "two Russian aircraft landed at Kiev International Boryspil airport carrying approximately 1,000 members of the Vityaz special forces unit" on 23 November. The claim has become more than just a Ukrainian-Russian affair: According to the Ukrainian news agency UNIAN, the EU's head of foreign policy, Javier Solana, brought the subject up in with Russian officials when he visited Kiev on 26 November. Moscow has vehemently denied the claims. In a response more relaxed than that of other officials, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov dismissed the allegations, saying, "If you follow the latest rumors, special units from the Russian GRU [the armed forces' Main Intelligence Department] have acted in Iraq, Georgia, and have now landed near Kiev." He suggested that such rumors have been spread deliberately "to provoke the two friendly nations into a conflict." That position was echoed by Russia's ambassador in Kiev, Viktor Chernomyrdin, who served as prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin. The aim of this "obvious provocation," he said, was to "stir up anti-Russian feeling." There are already reports of anti-Russian feeling, with supporters picketing Russia's consulate in the western city of Lviv. While it is unclear what role Moscow might play over the coming weeks, it is clear that Russia has been deeply shaken. Some see the events in Ukraine as a harbinger of unrest in Russia. Speaking on television, Dmitry Rogozin, leader of the Motherland faction in the Duma, warned that if there were doubts about the veracity of results in parliamentary elections in 2007, the Russian opposition would "go out onto the streets." Coming from a strong supporter of President Putin, this statement was presumably intended to play on Russian fears of chaos, a fear sharpened by the social crisis of the 1990s. But for Russia's emaciated opposition, now without a seat in the Duma, it must have come as something as a surprise. Still, some commentators believe there is a lesson for the opposition. Novaya Gazeta, which views Yushchenko as corrupt, wrote that a victory for Yushchenko "will answer the question whether, in a Slavic country, a democratic opposition, which used to be part of the elite and made huge fortunes through corruption, can win elections and take power with the support of the enraged masses." Sergei Borisov is a TOL correspondent.

Institute for War and Peace Reporting 9 Dec 2004 Chechnya: Ten years of violence By Umalt Dudayev in Grozny (CRS No. 265, 08-Dec-04) Ten years ago, on December 11, 1994, Russian troops entered Chechnya in what was officially called a campaign for the "restoration of constitutional order". For Chechens, the Russian military intervention a decade ago was the moment their society was plunged into a cycle of violence that continues -- although in reduced form -- today. Until the last minute, few believed that Russian president Boris Yeltsin would resort to a military assault to remove the regime of Jokhar Dudayev, who proclaimed independence from Russia in 1991. "If Yeltsin hadn't sent troops to Chechnya in 1994, things could have evolved according to a very different scenario," said a professor at Grozny State University, who did not want to be quoted by name. "In fact, Dudayev had never said openly that Chechnya wanted to secede from Russia. He wanted more independence for Chechnya as part of the Russian state. No more, no less." Talking about the Russian attack of December 1994, the professor said, "I recall the words of [French diplomat Charles] Talleyrand: 'It was worse than a crime; it was a mistake'." An initial attempt to overthrow Dudayev failed on November 26, 1994, when Chechen opposition fighters with Russian support entered Grozny but were defeated by Dudayev's troops. More than a hundred prisoners were captured, including a dozen Russian army officers. Negotiations followed, but already Moscow was gearing up for a full-scale invasion. On December 11, despite an agreement between Dudayev and Moscow to enter into peace talks scheduled to take place the following day in Mozdok, North Ossetia, Russian federal army divisions poured into Chechnya from three different directions. Hussein Iskhanov, a former aide to rebel president Aslan Maskhadov and member of the Chechen parliament, says the intervention was "highly unnecessary and provocative". "Dudayev was prepared to offer significant concessions to Moscow to avoid bloodshed," said Iskhanov. "Peace talks had been scheduled for December 12 in Mozdok, but Russia instead launched its massive invasion on December 11. Now peace talks were out of the question." A decade on, the nature of the Chechen conflict has changed substantially. One shift is that radical Islamic sentiments are growing amongst Chechen youth. While "Freedom or Death" was a popular slogan among Chechen fighters during the first campaign of 1994-96, you are more likely to hear "Victory or Paradise" now. "Over the past 10 years, Russia has shown that its real aim is the physical elimination of the Chechen people," said Grozny resident Aslanbek, aged 25, who has spent his entire adult life surrounded by conflict. "In 1994, when the Russian army came to Chechnya to 'restore constitutional order', it destroyed half of Grozny, dozens of smaller towns and thousands of civilians. "In 1999, the same army came back to 'fight terrorism' with even more disastrous consequences. Grozny has been annihilated. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and maimed, or have gone missing, and it's not over yet. The Chechens have no choice but to defend themselves." Aslanbek is a member of a Grozny-based "jamaat", a group of radical Islamic militant fighters commonly known here as "Wahhabis". "Russia is fighting us on every level: militarily, in ideology and religion," he said. "All you have to do is turn your TV on to see that this is true. They often show Russian priests blessing the soldiers going to Chechnya, calling them 'Christ's warriors', What else can you call this if not a religious war?" Another change is that the conflict has turned into a civil war within Chechen society. "Security forces are hunting militants and sympathisers, destroying civilians indiscriminately in the process," said the professor in Grozny. "For their part, the militants target law enforcers and government officials. "But behind each dead Chechen, be it a militant or a government employee, stand his family and friends. Our supreme [traditional] law says 'blood for blood'. That means the carnage will go on for years or even decades to come." As well as the immediate violence, warfare has had a massive impact on society and the economy in Chechnya. As the professor said, "No good ever comes out of any war. A war brings devastation, bloodshed and disaster; it degrades morality and destroys the soul. We in Chechnya have suffered all of this. "The republic is decades behind in economic terms. The official unemployment rate is over 70 per cent. More and more young people are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Not to mention the thousands of people dead or missing, disabled and orphaned. That's what this war has cost our people." The conflict has affected the lives of every person in Chechnya -- mainly ordinary civilians like Aminat Aduyeva, a 53-year-old woman from the Kurchaloi region. "During the first war I lost a brother," she said. "In the second war my son died and my nephew disappeared without trace. They weren't fighters or terrorists or Wahhabis.... There are lots of people in Chechnya like me." "As a mother and a woman, I cannot understand why Russian soldiers and Chechen lads should kill one another. Who needs it? If Putin and Russia are so bothered by [rebel leaders Aslan] Maskhadov or [Shamil] Basayev, why do our children have to die?" "When will it all finally end, I want to know. When will they stop destroying us, let us live, give us a chance to live like normal people, bring up and educate our children, and build houses? I no longer have any hope that I will live to see that day." Umalt Dudayev is the pseudonym of a Chechen journalist who is a regular IWPR contributor.

globalpolitician.com 14 Dec 2004 The Circassian Genocide This article was originally published in "Turkistan News" By Antero Leitzinger The genocide committed against the Circassian nation by Czarist Russia in the 1800s was the biggest genocide of the nineteenth century. Yet it has been almost entirely forgotten by later history, while everyone knows the later Jewish Holocaust and many have heard about the Armenian genocide. "Rather than of separate, selectively researched genocides, we should speak of a general genocidal tendency that affected many – both Muslim and Christian – people on a wide scene between 1856 and 1956, continuing in post-Soviet Russia until today", writes Antero Leitzinger. .A professor of the university of Munich (München), Karl Friedrich Neumann (not to be confused with the later Naumann), wrote in 1839 a book titled "Russland und die Tscherkessen" (published in the collection "Reisen und Länderbeschreibungen", vol. 19, in 1840). He describes, how Russia settled Christians to the parts of Armenia gained from Persia in 1828 - actually, Neumann had written about the issue already in 1834. (p. 68-69) Neumann considered this a very sound policy and predicted, that all Caucasus would become under firm Russian rule within the next decades. (p. 125) European powers would not intervene, because it was the destiny of all Europe to rule over the lands of Turks, Persians, and Hindus. (p. 129-130) Neumann was no racist, but he certainly advocated colonialism and was a Russophile in relation to the southern lands. He had a Darwinist approach many years before Charles Darwin or Herbert Spencer presented their ideas. This appears to have been more typical to 19th century German thought than any anti-Armenian sentiments. Neumann makes it clear in his very first words of the preface: "The European humanity is selected by divinity as ruler of the earth." Although Neumann respected the bravery of Circassians, he anticipated their destruction by Russia, because in a modern world, there would be no place for chivalrous "uncivilized" people. Neumann estimated the total number of Circassians, including the Kabardians and Abkhaz, at 1.5 million persons, or 300.000 families. (p. 67) Both the Russian figure of 300.000 persons, and the Circassian figure of four millions, were exaggerated. Neumann divided the Circassians into ten tribes: Notketch, Schapsuch, Abatsech, Pseduch, Ubich, Hatiokech, Kemkuich, Abasech, Lenelnich, Kubertech (in German transliteration). They formed a loose confederation very much like old Switzerland, with democratic majority votes deciding the affairs of villages. Their princes had no privileges, and were regarded only as military commanders. Women were more free than anywhere in the Orient. There was no written law, and death penalties were unknown. Many Circassians were Muslims, but there were also Christians and pagans, all completely tolerated. Russian prisoners-of-war were used as slaves, but if they were of Polish origin, they were regarded as guests. Therefore, Poles recruited in the Russian army, deserted en masse at every opportunity, and even Russians often declared themselves to be Poles. (p. 123) Slavery as such included no shame. Circassians used to sell their own family members as slaves to Turkey and Persia, and many went to slavery voluntarily, returning later on back home as rich and free men. (p. 124) This system could be compared to the Gastarbeiter emigration from Turkey since the 1960s. We should also remember, that in those times, slavery or serfdom existed in Romania and Russia as well. The Circassians had been fighting against Russia already for forty years when appealing to the courts of Europe in a "Declaration of Independence": "But now we hear to our deepest humiliation, that our land counts as a part of the Russian empire on all maps published in Europe... that Russia, finally, declares in the West, that Circassians are their slaves, horrible bandits..." (p. 140-141) The fight continued for two more full decades, until a national Circassian government was set up in Sochi. In 1862, Russia began the final invasion, annihilation and expulsion, as predicted by Neumann well in advance. According to Kemal H. Karpat, "Ottoman population 1830-1914" (Madison 1985), "Beginning in 1862, and continuing through the first decade of the twentieth century, more than 3 million people of Caucasian stock, often referred collectively as Cerkes (Circassians), were forced by the Russians to leave their ancestral lands..." (p. 27) Salaheddin Bey mentioned, in 1867, a total of 1.008.000 refugees from the Caucasus and Crimea, of whom 595.000 were initially settled in the Balkans. (p. 27) Half a million followed by 1879, and another half a million until 1914. (p. 69) Most of them were Circassians, although there were Crimean Tatars, Chechens, and other Muslim people among them. Hundreds of thousands Circassians perished on their way. Neumann’s estimate of 1.5 million Circassians corresponds to 1/30 ethnic Russians, or 1/3 Czechs, or 3/4 Slovaks. (p. 66) According to Neumann, there were over two million Armenians in the world. (p. 69) Now, according to the Soviet census of 1989, the number of Russians has increased to 145 millions, whereof 1/30 would be almost five millions. There are 10 million Czechs and 5 million Slovaks, which would lead us to assume that there should be over 3 million Circassians. Armenia alone has a population of over 3 million Armenians, despite of the past ordeals; 2 million Armenians live elsewhere. The number of Czechs, Slovaks, and Armenians has more than doubled in 150 years, while the number of Russians has tripled; but where are the missing millions of Circassians? "The Encyclopaedia Britannica", 11th edition (Cambridge 1911), divided the Armenian population equally between Russia and Turkey (little over a million in each empire), and numbered 216.950 Circassians (including Abkhaz etc.) in Russia. Again we must conclude, that about 1.5 million Circassians had been massacred or deported. This disaster exceeded both absolutely and proportionally whatever fell upon Armenians in 1915. Was it intentional? Yes. Was it ideological? Yes. The conquest and Christian colonization of the Middle East was expected not only by Germans, but by most Europeans during the 19th century, and the expulsion of Muslims from Europe was considered a historical necessity. Russia had practicized massacres and mass deportations in the Crimea and Caucasus, and "ethnically cleansed" Circassia specially in 1862-1864. During that period, Panslavists like Mikhail Katkov provided the Russian public with nationalistic excuses for what had started as imperial ambition ("Third Rome") and strategic interests ("Access to sea"). A vicious cycle was created and increased the stakes at both frontiers: the Caucasus, and the Balkans. Circassian refugees settled in the Balkans were provoked to commit the "Bulgarian atrocities", that inspired some of the Armenian revolutionaries. After the Balkan Wars, Muslim refugees were roaming in Anatolia, thus spreading terror, and hostility. This was exploited by Russia, at the cost of many innocent Armenians. The massacres of 1915 were a tip of the iceberg - the part best visible for Europeans, who had been actively seeking and expecting horror news to justify anti-Muslim prejudice, and to prevent interventions on behalf of Turkey, as had happened in the Crimean War of the 1850s. Was it a genocide? That depends on the definition. Rather than of separate, selectively researched genocides, we should speak of a general genocidal tendency that affected many - both Muslim and Christian - people on a wide scene between 1856 and 1956, continuing in post-Soviet Russia until today. The article was originally written in October 2000. Antero Leitzinger is a political historian and a researcher for the Finnish Directorate of Immigration. He wrote several books on Turkey, the Middle East and the Caucasus.

Serbia and Montenegro (see Bosnia)

Reuters 6 Dec 2004 U.S. envoy slams Serb PM on war crimes handovers By Paul Gallagher THE HAGUE, Dec 6 (Reuters) - A top U.S. envoy accused Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica of not doing enough to arrest leading war crimes suspects on Monday, saying Belgrade had shown "zero cooperation" with The Hague war crimes tribunal. The U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues, Pierre-Richard Prosper, said Serbia's lack of cooperation with the U.N. court was jeopardising plans to wrap up trials in 2008 and that the court's lifespan might have to be extended. Former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic is among key figures wanted by the international war crimes court along with several Serbian army and police generals accused of crimes against ethnic Albanians in the 1999 Kosovo conflict. "There is zero cooperation and the Prime Minister bears responsibility for this. He is making the situation more difficult for the Serbian people because he is not asking his (security) services or requiring his services to go arrest the fugitives," Prosper said on a visit to The Hague. Kostunica has said he is willing to ask fugitives in Serbia to surrender but not forcibly hand them over to The Hague court. Kostunica has said that extraditing such men, seen by many as national heroes, could threaten the stability of the country. Serbia's pro-Western president Boris Tadic and Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic say that is an empty pretext for his inaction. "The generals now need to come to The Hague," Prosper said after meeting tribunal deputy prosecutor David Tolbert. A recent opinion poll showed most Serbs oppose handing three generals over to The Hague to face Kosovo war crimes charges, even if the country continues to pay a price internationally for its defiance of the United Nations tribunal. WESTERN PRESSURE Serbian local government minister Zoran Loncar said that Serbia's cooperation with the Hague tribunal had made visible progress and that Serbia would fulfil all its commitments to the tribunal in the future. "In the coming period Serbia will continue fulfilment of its obligations towards the Hague tribunal and will fulfil them completely," Loncar told state news agency Tanjug. He noted that two indictees surrendered in the past two months and two were provisionally released by the tribunal pending trial. Belgrade is under intense Western pressure to hand over senior Serbs accused of atrocities during the Balkan wars in the 1990s. Failure to do so would block efforts to build closer ties with the European Union and NATO. Mladic and former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic -- the tribunal's most wanted men -- are accused of genocide linked to the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys and for the siege of Sarajevo. Tribunal Chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte says Mladic is hiding in Serbia. Belgrade has denied this. Karadzic is believed to be somewhere in Bosnia or Montenegro. Del Ponte said a total of around a dozen suspects live freely in Serbia. The court, which plans to end investigations by the end of 2004, finish trials by 2008 and close down in 2010, might have to keep its doors open longer than planned because of lack of Serb cooperation, Prosper said. Washington also no longer supported Serbia holding its own war crimes trials because Belgrade was not cooperating with the court, Prosper said. The United States offered a deal in July to hand over Mladic to the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague in exchange for possibly being allowed to try other key figures at home. (Additional reporting by Beti Bilandzic in Belgrade)

news.scotsman.com 7 Dec 2004 War crimes suspect Mladic 'receiving army pension' MARGARET NEIGHBOUR RATKO Mladic, the Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect and one of the world’s most wanted men, is still receiving his pension from the Serbian and Montenegran military, Serbia’s president told a newspaper yesterday. Boris Tadic said the pension would not stop even if he were convicted. He added that Belgrade had no idea of Mladic’s whereabouts, despite claims by chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte of the UN war crimes tribunal that he was being sheltered by the army in Serbia. Mr Tadic, who has pro- Western views, told the Banja Luka-based Nezavisne Novine daily that Mladic’s pension was being collected "...probably by his son or some other member of his family. "Even if Ratko Mladic were convicted right now for war crimes, members of his family would have the right to the pension," Mr Tadic said. The United Nations court wants Mladic to answer two counts of genocide.

AP 7 Dec 2004 Serbia Rejects Criticism Over Tribunal By MISHA SAVIC Associated Press Writer BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) - Serbia pledged Monday to cooperate with the U.N. war crimes court, and rejected U.S. criticism that it is not meeting demands by the international tribunal to extradite suspects. ``Serbia will meet its obligations toward The Hague tribunal as a stable and democratic state,'' said Zoran Loncar, a member of the Balkan republic's special committee for cooperation with the U.N. court in The Hague, Netherlands. Earlier Monday, the U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes, Pierre-Richard Prosper, met with U.N. war crimes prosecutors in the Netherlands and blasted Serbia's government for failing to extradite more than a dozen suspects indicted by the court. Prosper described Serbia's cooperation with the court as ``zero,'' and singled out Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica as the chief obstacle. Loncar countered by citing two recent cases when Bosnian Serbs, both accused of atrocities during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, surrendered in Belgrade and were sent to the U.N. tribunal. Loncar added that since early 2002 more than 20 suspects have been extradited or persuaded by Serbian authorities to surrender to the international tribunal. Top fugitives include Bosnian Serb wartime commander Gen. Ratko Mladic and four Serbian police and army generals indicted in connection with the 1998-1999 Kosovo war. While Mladic's whereabouts remain a matter of dispute, with Serbia insisting the elusive former commander has gone elsewhere, Kostunica has been reluctant to arrest the army and police generals. He has criticized the court as biased against Serbs in investigating the 1990s conflicts among Serbs, Croats, Bosnian Muslims, Kosovo Albanians and other groups. The U.N. tribunal was set up in 1993, specifically for the former Yugoslavia, and is to complete its work by 2010. Prosper, however, suggested this could be extended because of poor cooperation from Serbia. Loncar insisted that Serbia ``obviously is cooperating,'' and has granted the U.N. prosecutors' demand for access to state archives and classified documents.

BBC 10 Dec 2004 Bosnian Serb army 'helps Mladic' By Nick Hawton, BBC News, Sarajevo Ratko Mladic led Bosnian Serb troops during the 1992-1995 war Evidence has emerged that the former Bosnian Serb military commander, Ratko Mladic, is still receiving protection from the Bosnian Serb military. Mr Mladic, who has been accused of genocide by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague, has been on the run for the past eight years. Diplomatic sources say that as recent as this summer, he was being sheltered at a military centre in eastern Bosnia. They say he was living in Serbia in early June this year. But following the election of a new reformist president in Belgrade, Mr Mladic was brought back to Bosnia fearing arrest. On the books Diplomats in Bosnia say he was taken to a secret Bosnian Serb military complex near the town of Han Pijesak in the east of the country. The well-equipped complex includes tunnels and caves leading to nearby forests. Despite a Nato attempt to arrest him at the time, he managed to slip the net. Documents have also been released showing that Mr Mladic, who is accused of masterminding the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in which nearly 8,000 Muslims were killed, was only officially released from military service in February 2002 - six years after he went on the run. Mr Mladic's military file from the old Yugoslav People's Army shows that he was only removed from the registry of professional soldiers in June 2001. Bosnian Serb politicians and security officials have always denied knowledge of his whereabouts, but these latest revelations are likely to increase calls for more action to be taken against those protecting Mr Mladic.

Serbia - Kosovo

AP 24 Nov 2004 Three ethnic Albanians convicted for burning old Serbian church in Kosovo riots By FISNIK ABRASHI Associated Press Writer PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) - A Kosovo court sentenced three ethnic Albanians for participating in the burning and the looting of a Serb Orthodox church, a U.N. spokesman said Wednesday. The three were part of a crowd that burnt and looted the 14th-century Holy Virgin of Ljevis Church in Prizren, 80 kilometers (50 miles) southwest of Pristina, during anti-Serb riots that rocked Kosovo in March, said Neeraj Singh, a U.N. spokesman. A panel presided by an international judge sentenced Bekim Moskov, Ibrahim Buleci and Talat Pula on Tuesday to two years suspended imprisonment, he said. "This means that the sentence will not be enforced, unless they commit another criminal act in the next five years," Singh said. Kosovo plunged into two days of violence in March, after mobs of ethnic Albanians attacked Serbs and their property in this disputed U.N.-run province. The violence left 19 people dead, and over 4,000 people, mainly Serbs, were forced from their homes. Some 600 homes and several Serbian Orthodox churches were also destroyed. An international prosecutor indicted Friday another ethnic Albanian, Naser Shatri, for his role during the March riots in the western town of Pec, Singh said. The province's U.N. administrators and NATO-led peacekeepers were criticized internationally for failing to predict and quickly quell those riots. Over 200 people, mainly ethnic Albanians, were arrested following the unrest. U.N.-run courts have moved to prosecute those responsible. Kosovo has been administered by the U.N. and NATO since June 1999, following a NATO air war aimed at stopping the crackdown of Serb forces on independence-seeking ethnic Albanians. Serbs want the province to remain part of Serbia-Montenegro, the union that replaced Yugoslavia. Ethnic Albanians want it to become an independent state.

BBC 3 Dec 2004 Ex-rebel leader elected Kosovo PM Ramush Haradinaj led KLA units in the insurgency against Serb rule A former rebel commander who has been questioned by United Nations war crimes investigators has been elected prime minister by Kosovo's parliament. Ramush Haradinaj, an ethnic Albanian who led Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) units, won by a vote of 72 to three. The decision is expected to anger the Serbian government, which wants him to be indicted for war crimes. Mr Haradinaj has twice been questioned over his role in the 1998-1999 rebel insurgency against Serb rule. It is alleged that KLA units under Mr Haradinaj's command murdered moderate Albanians and Serbs living in Kosovo, which is now under international supervision. He denies any wrongdoing. My government in the next term will be engaged in the realisation of the demands of the international community for the implementation of democratic standards in Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj European Union officials had advised against appointing him prime minister. The EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, suggesting someone who may have to go to The Hague "may not be the most appropriate person". But Mr Haradinaj won parliament's approval as part of a coalition deal that secures a second term as president for Ibrahim Rugova. Accepting his appointment, Mr Haradinaj told parliament: "My government in the next term will be engaged in the realisation of the demands of the international community for the implementation of democratic standards in Kosovo." In a statement, he added: "Over the past two decades our country has faced many tragedies and few families - whatever their ethnic origin - have been left unscathed. Personally, I have lost two brothers in the fighting, wounds that are still raw and will never completely heal. "But I am proud of the part that I played in protecting my people... and I am ready to defend my record against criticism and innuendo." Security concerns But his appointment has prompted criticism from Belgrade. "This is confirmation of the fact the UN administration is hostage to the radical elements in Kosovo," said Dusan Prorokovic, a party colleague of Serbia's nationalist Prime Minister, Vojislav Kostunica. Correspondents say his appointment comes at a sensitive time for the province. The recent elections saw a massive boycott by the minority Serb population, who believe their security concerns are being ignored by Albanian leaders and the international community. Most of the Serb representatives elected at the time are now boycotting the assembly. And with final status talks on the future of Kosovo possibly beginning next year, Belgrade was not expected to welcome the appointment of a former Albanian rebel leader in the run-up to such crucial negotiations. Charge threat The BBC's south-east Europe analyst, Gabriel Partos, says the immediate problems Mr Haradinaj faces ahead of these talks would be dwarfed by the difficulties that could arise if he were to be charged by The Hague tribunal. If he went to The Hague voluntarily, it would mean a search for a new prime minister - and the loss of precious time in the run-up to next summer's UN review. If Mr Haradinaj refused to go, attempts by the multinational K-For peacekeepers to apprehend him could lead to potentially serious incidents since Mr Haradinaj has a loyal following, particularly in western Kosovo. Our correspondent says the UN in Kosovo must be hoping that Mr Haradinaj is not charged - but they may have a tense few weeks before UN prosecutor Carla Del Ponte announces her final batch of indictments.

Spain see Argentina


Reuters 26 Nov 2004 Turk lawmaker says US in Iraq worse than Hitler By Gareth Jones ANKARA (Reuters) - The head of Turkey's parliamentary human rights group has accused Washington of genocide in Iraq and behaving worse than Adolf Hitler, in remarks underscoring the depth of opposition in Turkey to U.S. policy in the region. The United Sates embassy said the comments were potentially damaging to Turkish-U.S. relations. "The occupation has turned into barbarism," Friday's Yeni Safak newspaper quoted Mehmet Elkatmis, head of parliament's human rights commission, as saying. "The U.S. administration is committing genocide...in Iraq. "Never in human history have such genocide and cruelty been witnessed. Such a genocide was never seen in the time of the pharoahs (of ancient Egypt), nor of Hitler nor of (Italy's fascist leader Benito) Mussolini," he said. "This occupation has entirely imperialist aims," he was quoted as telling the human rights commission on Thursday. Elkatmis does not speak for Turkey's government but he is a prominent member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), a centre-right grouping with Islamist roots which has become increasingly critical of U.S. actions in Iraq. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul played down Elkatmis's comments but defended Turks' right to speak freely. "In open societies everybody can say what they want," Gul told reporters. "Regarding U.S.-Turkey relations we can comfortably discuss any subject," he added. The U.S. embassy in Ankara rejected Elkatmis's accusations. "EXAGGERATED CLAIMS" "Such unfounded, inaccurate, exaggerated claims are not good for relations, especially at a time of strain when Turkish public opinion is so critical of what the United States is trying to do in Iraq," one U.S. diplomat told Reuters. Tellingly, Elkatmis's comments, which might have sparked outrage in many Western countries, drew barely a flicker of interest in Turkey, where opinion polls point to a growing tide of anti-American sentiment. Turkey has been especially disturbed by the recent U.S. offensive against insurgents in the city of Falluja in which civilians also died and mosques were damaged. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan relayed Turkish concerns over the Falluja offensive in two recent telephone calls to U.S. President George W. Bush and to Vice-President Dick Cheney. Elkatmis accused U.S. forces of deliberately targeting mosques and schools in Falluja. Washington says the Falluja campaign was necessary to bring the Sunni Muslim city back under the control of the central Baghdad government ahead of planned Iraqi elections in January. The U.S. diplomat said Elkatmis had overlooked the fact that Iraqi insurgents like those in Falluja had abducted and beheaded a number of Turkish truck drivers in recent months. Underlying Turkish criticism of U.S. policy in Iraq is the fear that Kurds in the north of the country may use the general turmoil as an excuse to seek independence from Baghdad, a move which could reignite separatism among Turkey's own Kurds. Last year, the Ankara parliament, motivated partly by such fears, refused to allow U.S. troops to cross Turkish territory into Iraq at the start of the campaign to oust Saddam Hussein.

www.turkishpress.com 28 Nov 2004 News Analysis by Ugur Akinci, Ph.D. The Turkish-US Love-Hate Relationship Ugur Akinci: 11/28/2004 Turks have such a love-hate relationship with the United States – and they are by no means alone in this, as the latest anti-American student protest in Greece has demonstrated clearly. Turks know that the US supports Turkey in a number of policy issues ranging from Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline to Turkey`s EU membership. But they are also very wary that the US is doing all that for a "sinister reason." Conspiracy, the danger of being sucked into somebody else`s less-than-noble plans, the danger of losing one`s independence and dignity is always in the foreground of Turkish thinking. The worst scenario is "Americans are trying to split Turkey." When this kind of wariness is coupled with Islamic sensibilities, then it is very easy to portray Washington as the "killer of Muslims in Iraq." However, when such portrayal comes from the prominent members of the AKP government it transforms into a diplomatic problem. Mehmet Elkatmis, the chairman of Turkish parliament`s Human Rights Commission has dropped such a bomb on the US-Turkish relations the other day when he accused US with "genocide" in Iraq and portrayed the Bush administration as "worse than Hitler." "The occupation has turned into barbarism," the daily Yeni Safak (which is known for its special access to the AKP higher ups) newspaper quoted Elkatmis. "The U.S. administration is committing genocide... in Iraq." "Never in human history have such genocide and cruelty been witnessed. Such a genocide was never seen in the time of the pharaohs (of ancient Egypt), nor of Hitler nor of (Italy`s fascist leader Benito) Mussolini." "This occupation has entirely imperialist aims," Elkatmis added. (Then why the Turkish government does not close the Turkish-Iraq border and ban the Turkish drivers deliver goods to the US forces in Iraq? That would have saved the lives of over 60 Turkish civilians who are beheaded or blown to pieces. What did the AKP government do to prevent such deaths or exact justice?) Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul played down the impact of Elkatmis`s comments by noting that "In open societies everybody can say what they want." What the good Mr. Gul does not admit in public is the fact that, yes, in a democracy people can say whatever they want but that does not cancel the law of cause and effect. After such speech, it is impossible not to expect any adverse impact on the Turkish-US relations even though it is true that the overwhelming majority of Turks are definitely against the US occupation of Iraq. If this was not a gaffe, if this was a responsible statement by a Turkish official, then why did Abdullah Gul step in and try to save the day for Elkatmis? Why did Elkatmis need such a rescue operation by the Foreign Minister himself? And why did Turkey need this on the eve of the important EU summit on December 17? Or, would this actually HELP Turkey on December 17 since such vociferous Washington-slamming now pushes Turkey even closer to Paris and Bonn? An interesting chess gambit before the EU end game.

AFP 5 Dec 2004 Turkey's first Armenian museum opens in Istanbul AFP: 12/6/2004 ISTANBUL, Dec 5 (AFP) - Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday opened the first museum in Turkey dedicated to the country's Armenian minority, which he said would help dispel accusations that genocide was committed against Armenians under Ottoman rule. "This museum will throw light on history for current and future generations," Erdogan said at the opening ceremony of the museum inside a 175-year-old Armenian hospital in Istanbul. "Anyone who casts an eye on the pieces in this museum will get a straight look at our common history," he said. Erdogan was referring to Armenian accusations that up to 1.5 million of their kinsmen were massacred in orchestrated killings nine decades ago under the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of modern Turkey. Turkey categorically rejects claims of genocide and says 300,000 Armenians and thousands of Turks were killed in civil strife as the Ottoman Empire fell apart, with Armenian rebels siding with invading Russian troops. "Instead of allowing (museum) pieces such as this to throw light on history, facts are being distorted through speculation and disinformation," Erdogan said. The Turkish leader said Turks and Armenians had lived peacefully in the region for centuries and pledged that his government would watch over the rights of the Armenian minority. "As the prime minister of this country, I deem it a duty to protect the rights of these citizens along with others and to stand by them in good times and bad", Erdogan said. Turkey, an aspiring candidate for membership of the European Union, is under pressure from the 25-nation bloc to enable its recognized minorities and the Kurds to fully exercise their rights. Turkey, basing itself on the terms of the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, recognizes only non-Muslim Turks -- Armenians, Greeks and Jews -- as minorities, but not the more than 13 million Kurds living in the southeast.


news.independent.co.uk 26 Nov 2004 Opposition sets up own 'national guard' By Askold Krushelnycky 26 November 2004 The Ukrainian opposition announced last night that it had set up a "national guard" to co-ordinate members of the army and police who had defected. Moments after the announcement made by Viktor Yushchenko, the opposition leader, to hundreds of thousands of his supporters in the centre of Kiev, a number of military officers stood on stage to declare their loyalty to him. A lieutenant-colonel and a major said that fellow officers and the men they commanded wanted to be placed under Mr Yushchenko's command. The colonel said: "We will not carry out illegal orders to use force against the people. We support president Yushchenko. If he orders, we will come here with a thousand men tomorrow." The officers said that, in the four days of demonstration in the Ukrainian capital, soldiers had been arriving to join the protesters and were ready to help in the event of any attack against them. Yesterday was the first time serving officers of the security forces had emerged alongside opposition politicians to declare their loyalty to Mr Yushchenko. Many local and regional governments across Ukraine have declared loyalty to Mr Yushchenko and members of the security forces have said they will obey the orders of the pro-Yushchenko authorities. Armed forces from some cities have been escorting Yushchenko supporters into Kiev through cordons designed to keep them out. There have been no reports of armed conflict between different forces. Demonstratorssurrounding the presidential administrationhave been exchanging friendly remarks with special police units, armed with helmets and shields, who are guarding the building. Demonstrators were presenting armed men with flowers yesterday and, when the opposition crowd sang the national anthem yesterday, some of them mouthed the words.

The Age 27 Nov 2004 www.theage.com.au Clashing colours of a revolution By Helen Womack Age Correspondent Moscow November 27, 2004 Page Tools Email to a friend Printer format Braving the cold, tens of thousands of supporters of Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko demonstrate in Kiev's main square against the results of the presidential elections. Photo: AFP There is no end in sight to the dispute over Ukraine's presidential election. The blue of its skies and the gold of its wheat fields meet in the simple, symbolic flag of Ukraine. Now this agricultural and industrial giant of eastern Europe is torn in two, bitterly divided between political camps that have each draped themselves in half the flag, one in blue, one in gold shading to orange. Ukraine is split down the middle and, what is more, it has three men who claim the title of president. In the words of one Ukrainian commentator, a Pandora's box has been opened. If a peaceful solution cannot be found, a nightmare scenario threatens of civil conflict that might make Yugoslavia pale by comparison; of a new Cold War in which Russia and the West could confront each other by proxy. It has not come to this yet, but the stakes are potentially that high. And it all seems to have happened out of the blue of cloudless autumn skies. In fact, clouds were visible on the horizon but the world's attention was focused on the great battle between George Bush and John Kerry when Ukraine held its first round of presidential elections on October 31. In retrospect, perhaps the world should have been paying more attention. The first campaign was very dirty. Russia overtly interfered on behalf of the blue establishment candidate Viktor Yanukovich, with Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin making two visits to Ukraine on the eve of voting. The opposition has chosen orange as its colour to be different from the red of the Soviet Union and the blue and white that were the Ukrainian national colours. Orange opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko even claimed he had been poisoned. International monitors said the first round of voting was marred by gross violations. After a delay of 10 days, the Central Elections Commission finally admitted that the orange man, Mr Yushchenko, had won by a whisker. The Kremlin realised that its attempt to export "managed democracy" to Ukraine was backfiring and backed off before the second round on November 21. Ukraine is split down the middle and, what is more, it has three men who claim the title of president.President Putin was in Brazil when it was officially announced that Mr Yanukovich, in the blue corner, had a 3 per cent lead over his opponent after this final round. Prematurely, Mr Putin congratulated the man he had preferred all along. The orange opposition cried foul and took to the streets. In plunging temperatures, they pitched tents on Kiev's Independence Square. The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe said that again the elections had failed to meet international standards. There were reports of disappearing ink being used on ballot papers, of ballot boxes being set on fire, of absentee votes being reused and of intimidation. In parliament, which was supposed to be meeting to examine the opposition's complaints, Mr Yushchenko surprised everyone by taking an oath on the Bible and declaring himself president. Outgoing president Leonid Kuchma said this amounted to a coup. Then the CEC officially declared Mr Yanukovich the winner and new president. Thus Ukraine found itself split in two with three presidents. Speaking for Washington, US Secretary of State Colin Powell refused to recognise the official result. The European Union threatened the withdrawal of aid to Ukraine if the election was not reviewed. Russia reverted to the language of the Cold War in attacking the West's "interference". From Poland, the former president, Lech Walesa, arrived to mediate. By the end of the week, the orange opposition was calling for a national strike and a blockade of government buildings. Industrial workers from eastern Ukraine who had backed Mr Yanukovich descended on Kiev like blue football fans to challenge the orange protesters. Riot police kept them apart. But how had Ukraine come to this? The roots of the crisis lie in the presidency of Leonid Kuchma, who might perhaps be described as the Boris Yeltsin of Ukraine, independent since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. President Kuchma set out with reform intentions but his leadership was stained by crime and corruption. Aware of Ukraine's position between NATO and EU countries on the one hand and Russia on the other, he became skilled at playing Brussels off against Moscow. It is widely believed that President Kuchma was insulted when a top official in Brussels told him that Ukraine's qualifications for joining the EU were no better than those of distant New Zealand. After that, President Kuchma began to seek closer ties with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, which are trying to create a Eurasian economic space to match the EU. When earlier this year the EU expanded to Ukraine's borders, taking in neighbouring Poland and the Czech Republic, many Ukrainians felt cut off by a new, economic Iron Curtain. Those who felt excluded by Europe may well have voted for Mr Yanukovich, the current Prime Minister. Of course, the really big Yanukovich vote was in eastern Ukraine, location of the coalmines and home to a significant population of ethnic Russians. They liked his promises to make Russian the second official language and allow dual Ukrainian-Russian citizenship. Meanwhile, Mr Yushchenko garnered his support in Kiev as well as western Ukraine. Even before this week's dramatic split, the country has always pulled in two directions. Those who supported Mr Yushchenko, an economist, former central banker and ex-premier, felt themselves to be European and still hoped for closer ties to Europe. The orange leader said Brussels was bound to reject Ukraine while it was corrupt and crime-ridden. Mr Yushchenko also argued that Ukraine should adopt a consistent policy towards both Europe and Russia, instead of wooing Brussels when the weather was fine and running to Moscow in winter when it needed fuel for heating. Indeed, many pragmatic Russian businessmen favoured the orange leader, but the Kremlin, as well as Belarus under its pariah dictator Alexander Lukashenko, wanted the blue man for geopolitical reasons. "President Putin does not want a Ukrainian president he can work and do business with if that president can also work and do business with the rest of the world," said The Moscow Times in a scathing editorial. "He wants a Ukrainian Lukashenko, cut off from the West and beholden only to him." Ordinary Russians are watching developments over the border in Ukraine with great interest. If the orange opposition can pull off a peaceful revolution, like the Rose Revolution in Georgia a year ago, then Russians might conclude that they no longer have to accept the Kremlin foisting candidates on them in their own elections. If violence breaks out, however, they may appreciate President Putin all the more as their guarantor of stability. Fully aware of how high the stakes are, the Ukrainians are trying to avoid bloodshed. Mr Yanukovich called on the armed forces to work normally. Orange demonstrators are policing themselves, keeping alert for possible agents provocateurs. The future of a major European country, with a population of nearly 50 million, is hanging in the balance. The outcome could either be joyous or disastrous for the whole continent.

The Observer UK 28 Nov 2004 observer.guardian.co.uk Fears of east-west split in Ukraine Chris Stephen sees history on the point of repeating itself as a country independent for just 13 years threatens to tear itself apart in the wake of a disputed election result Chris Stephen Sunday Anton Agnev, a 24-year-old computer programmer from Donyetsk, is backing Ukraine's Orange Revolution despite the fact that so many of his neighbours voted for old pro-Moscow order represented by Viktor Yanukovich. 'I am from Donyetsk,' he said. 'I grew up there. We belong together. We are one country.' It is a view, however, that is not endorsed by tens of thousands of western Ukrainians who rallied yesterday in Anton's home city to declare that if their candidate - widely suspected of trying to steal the election - does not win, then Donyetsk and south and eastern Ukraine should secede. Suddenly the spectre of Ukraine tearing apart along old east-west fault lines has been revived, raising the prospect of a new statelet that would try to take in the rich industrial powerhouse of the country, together with the Crimean peninsula. Heading the call is Donyetsk mayor Alexander Lukyanchenko. He said the split could begin happening as early as tomorrow unless demonstators cleared the streets of Kiev, adding that the rest of Ukraine could not survive without its industrial east. 'We should, in an orderly, constitutional way, stage a referendum of trust to determine this country's make-up,' he told the Donyestk assembly on Friday night. 'We can live without that half, but can they live without us?' The move touches on a raw nerve in Ukrainian society. This is a country that has spent most of the past centuries split between competing empires, and the fault lines run deep. Historically, the west of the country was governed for more than 300 years by either the Polish or Austro-Hungarian empire. The final parts of western Ukraine were added only in 1939. Meanwhile the east was dominated by Russia. For most of this time, the dividing line was the great Dnipr river. This division is reflected in language, religion and even the name of the country, which means 'frontier'. The east is Russian-speaking and Christian Orthodox. The west is mostly Ukrainian speaking and Greek Catholic, a religion orthodox in character but owing allegiance to the Pope. Last weekend's election only deepened this division with the east voting for Yanukovich and the west for Yuschenko. Now protestors in Kiev fear that, with Russia and the West tugging at their country, the result may be a new version of east and west Germany reminiscent of the old Cold War. At Kiev's School for Policy Analysis, political science expert Olexiy Haran says historic faultlines are being exploited by government leaders to divert attention from their tolerance of corruption. 'Some of the governors are trying to push for the split in the country,' he said. 'I believe it's being done deliberately. The main issue is corrupted power, criminals, and democracy, not language or religion.' If so, it is a pattern familiar to anyone who has watched Eastern Europe's rebellions over the past 14 years. The use of the nationalist card by corrupt politicians to cover up their own corruption has a long and inglorious history. I watched it succeed in Romania in 1990, when security officials of the old regime re-emerged as Romanian nationalists to provoke inter-ethnic riots with Hungarians in Tirgu Mures. And I saw it work most spectacularly a year later in Yugoslavia, where nationalists from all persuasions, but most of all from the Serb camp, stoked up wars that sacrificed an entire nation to preserve their power base. It is working still: Moldova's simmering tensions between Romanians in the west and Russians in the east is once again being inflamed, with a dwindling number of those in the centre arguing that the only war should be one against poverty. Ukraine's opposition has not, however, escaped criticism for its own actions in keeping divisions inflamed. To howls of protests from the Russian-speaking east, Yuschenko has ruled out calls to make Russian an official language of the country, arguing that this could see multinational companies and even newspapers print only in Russian. Given the choice between a split, and the rule of Yanukovich, most opponents in Kiev favour division. Many demonstrators here have another reason for wanting the country to stay together - along with their horror at the prospect its tearing itself apart just 13 years into independence. The ambition for the opposition is for their 'orange revolution' to be equated in Western minds with Czechoslovakia's transition to democracy, the velvet revolution of 1989, not for civil war. 'Until now, when the West thought about Ukraine, it was negative,' said Olexiy Haran.'The great thing about these election falsifications is that the people stood up and the West saw that there is democracy in this grey zone. This is the Orange Revolution. Everyone here is conscious of the legacy.'

United Kingdom

Guardian UK 30 Nov 2004 PR man to Europe's nastiest regimes David Aaronovitch Tuesday November 30, 2004 The Guardian Whenever, as this past week, eastern Europe is on the news, so too is a man called John Laughland. Last Sunday he was playing Ukrainian expert on the BBC's The World This Weekend, the day before he was here in the Guardian defending the Ukrainian election "result", and at the beginning of the month he was writing for the Spectator - also on Ukraine. Laughland's great strength is that he sees what no one else in the west seems to. Where reporters in Kiev, including the Guardian's own Nick Paton-Walsh, encounter a genuine democracy movement, Laughland comes across "neo-Nazis" (Guardian), or "druggy skinheads from Lvov" (Spectator). And where most observers report serious and specific instances of electoral fraud and malpractice on the part of the supporters of the current prime minister, Laughland complains only of a systematic bias against (the presumably innocent) Mr Yanukovich. A quick trawl establishes this to be the Laughland pattern over the past few years and concerning several countries. Laughland has variously queried the idea that human rights are a problem in Belarus, or that the Serbs behaved so very savagely in Kosovo. He has defended Slobodan Milosevic, criticised the International Tribunal in the Hague and generally argued that the problem in countries normally associated with human rights abuses is, in fact, the intervention of western agencies. It was the British Helsinki Human Rights Group hat that he was wearing last Sunday. On its website the BHHRG - of which Laughland is a trustee - describes itself as a non-governmental organisation which monitors human rights in the 57 member states of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Laughland is listed as a trustee, the historian Mark Almond (to be found writing about the Ukraine in last week's New Statesman) is its chairman. Founded in 1992, the BHHRG sends observers to elections and writes reports which - along Laughlandish lines - almost invariably dispute the accounts given by better known human rights organisations. This stance has led to the BHHRG being criticised by the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (established in 1976) as preferring "the role [is to take] PR flak for a new breed of authoritarian rulers in Europe" to the business of actually monitoring abuses. So what on earth is going on here? I know nothing about BHHRG's finances, but the ideological trail is fascinating. Take the co-founder of the group, Christine Stone. She was a lawyer before she helped set up BHHRG. Since then she has "written for a number of publications including the Spectator and Wall Street Journal on eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union". This information comes from a US website called Antiwar.com where, for a while, Stone had a regular Thursday column. But Antiwar.com was not a leftwing site opposing the Iraq war. It was a rightwing site set up to oppose the Kosovo intervention in 1999. Its "editorial director" was a man called Justin Raimondo who was active in the small US Libertarian party before joining the Republican party. In the 1992, 1996 and 2000 elections he supported the campaigns of Pat Buchanan, the far-right isolationist candidate. Raimondo is also an "adjunct scholar" with the Ludwig von Mises Institute. This is a libertarian think-tank in Auburn, Alabama, founded by one Lew Rockwell, who describes himself as "an opponent of the central state, its wars and its socialism". A contributor to Rockwell's own site is Daniel McAdams, who is - in his own words "honoured to be associated" with the British Helsinki Human Rights Group. Trail 2. Laughland is also European Director of the European Foundation (patron, Mrs M Thatcher), which - judging by its website - seems to spend most of its time and energy sending out pamphlets by arch-Europhobe Bill Cash. A synopsis of one of Laughland's own books, however, notes his argument that, "Post-national structures ... and supranational organisations such as the European Union - are ... corrosive of liberal values (and) the author shows the ideology as a crucial core of Nazi economic and political thinking." Beginning to get the picture now? Trail 3 leads us to Sanders Research Associates, a "risk consultancy" for which Laughland is, according to their website, "a regular contributor" and to which companies can subscribe for information and advice. The "principal" is a Chris Sanders. The kind of steer Sanders gives his customers can be adduced from this report on the morning of the US presidential election. "We will be very surprised," he wrote, "if on Wednesday John Kerry has not won a clear majority of electoral college votes and that his supporters are not nursing substantial post vote celebration hangovers, if not still drinking the champagne." Lots of people got that one wrong, and some blamed their own judgment. Not Sanders. "Our bet," he says following the results, "is that we will soon be adding an investigation into the biggest vote fraud in history.'" Sanders, it seems, is not beyond the odd bit of conspiracising. In a bulletin from June 2002 he also has something to suggest about the Twin Towers atrocity. "It was obvious then, and it is obvious now," he writes, "that something besides the brilliance of a band of terrorists or the incompetence of America's security apparatus was responsible for the disaster of 9/11." But he doesn't tell us what that "something" was. Sanders on America and Laughland on Ukraine, however, are not the most amazing features of Sanders Research Associates. That distinction belongs to the report on Rwanda written for Sanders by a Canadian lawyer named Chris Black. Black is the only person I have ever seen putting the word genocide in quotation marks when applied to Rwanda. Rwanda, you see, was all the US's fault, and wasn't carried out by Hutus in any case. It was all got up to justify US intervention in the region. He condemns the "demonising (of) the Hutu leadership". Since 2000 Black has been the lead counsel representing General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, chief of staff of the Rwandan gendarmerie, at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. He is also chair of the legal committee for the international committee for the defence of Slobodan Milosevic. Last year (though not for Sanders) Black went on a delegation to North Korea. The report he wrote on his return is full of references to happy peasants, committed soldiers and delightful guides. The North Korean system, he suggested, being "participatory", was in many ways more democratic than parliamentary systems in the west. This is weird company. And what we seem to have in Laughland and his associates is a group of right-wing anti-state libertarians and isolationists, suspicious of any foreign entanglements, who have somehow morphed into apologists for the worst regimes and most appalling dictators on the planet. And where does it all end up? A couple of weeks ago Sanders commended to his clients "John Laughland's series of articles [showing that] the attack on Iraq is just the southern offensive of a larger campaign to tighten the noose on Russia." And he continued, "What is less well understood are the risks that the unravelling political compact in Israel poses for the United States and Great Britain, whose political processes, intelligence services, military, media and financial establishments are so thoroughly enmeshed with Israel's." Read that last sentence again and then ask yourself: in what way are Britain's media and financial interests "thoroughly enmeshed" with Israel's?

www.ekklesia.co.uk 6 Dec 2004 'Never again' fund launched for genocide victims -6/12/04 A Christian human rights group has launched a "Never Again" fund to provide crucial support for the victims of genocide in countries such as Rwanda, Congo and Sudan. Following an investigative trip to Africa earlier this year, Jubilee Action aims initially to raise £100,000 to give front-line support to re-build shattered communities and provide fresh opportunities for the orphans and widows in the aftermath of ethnic cleansing and war. Jubilee Action’s Assistant Director, Mark Rowland who recently travelled to Africa said; "The Never Again Fund will be a powerful tool to provide opportunities for women and children who have already suffered more than we can imagine." The Never Again Fund will support four specific projects including the construction of a Peace Village - ten urgently needed homes for child-headed families in Rwanda. The fund also aims to establish the Solace Centre which will provide trauma counselling, vocational training and IT skills for hundreds of widows and orphans in Rwanda. The centre which will be used to generate much needed income for the community. Other projects include a drop in centre for children who have escaped the violence in Darfur and a sanctuary for ex-child soldiers in Kinshasa, Congo. A Jubilee team recently visited the genocide site in Murambi where 50,000 people were killed in 1994 while French UN troops stood-by and refused to intervene. They also visited the Nyanza prison where 6,000 genocidaires are being held for their involvement in the genocide when 800,000 mainly Tutsi people were killed in 100 days. The team also met the Rwandan President, Hon Paul Kagame, in Kigali in a bid to support the fledgling peace process between Rwanda and its neighbour, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Donations can be made by calling: 01483 894 787 or via the Jubilee web site www.jubileeaction.co.uk The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia

www.timesonline.co.uk 7 Dec 2004 End of IRA arms must be pictured, says Paisley By Greg Hurst and David Sharrock in Belfast A DISPUTE over demands that the IRA photograph its final acts of decommissioning stood in the way last night of a deal to restore devolved government in Northern Ireland. The Rev Ian Paisley emerged from another lengthy meeting with Tony Blair in Downing Street sticking to his demand that evidence of IRA disarmament be published. The Democratic Unionist Party leader said that he refused to be bound by tomorrow’s deadline, after which London and Dublin intend to publish the plan they put to the parties to win public support for an agreement. Mr Paisley told reporters: “If you sin publicly, you have to repent publicly. There’s nothing wrong with asking a terrorist to surrender his weapon. And there’s nothing wrong with asking a person who has been guilty of organising mass murder through the country, and trying to commit genocide of the whole Protestant population of the border, to say, ‘Give it up’.” Despite the rhetoric used by Mr Paisley, British officials highlighted the importance of his declaration that he would work with Sinn Fein if disarmament could be agreed. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “There is a gap on one particular issue: photographs. We have to try to close that gap before Wednesday.” Mr Paisley left the door open to a deal by confirming he was ready to sanction his party going into government with Sinn Fein provided that the IRA turned its back on terrorism and got rid of all its weapons. Conscious of the blame game that will erupt if the opportunity is missed this week, Mr Paisley made a rare appeal for the moment to be seized by all parties. “I think that the time to take it is when the tide is running . . . I think the tide is running in people’s minds and hearts this week.” Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein president, said last night that he had recommended to his party that the governments’ proposals for a political deal be accepted. The proposals include Mr Paisley’s demand for verification of IRA decommissioning with photographic evidence. It was not clear, however, if that went as far as the DUP would like in terms of their publication before the establishment of a power-sharing executive by the spring. Mr Adams will be back in Downing Street today for talks with Mr Blair.

BBC 8 Dec 2004 Hold Iraq death probe, Blair told The Lancet claimed Iraqis are now 58 times more likely to die a violent death Forty-six eminent figures including military men, ex-diplomats and bishops have written to Tony Blair urging a inquiry into civilian deaths in Iraq. The letter comes after medical journal the Lancet published a study suggesting nearly 100,000 died since March 2003. The study by US and Iraqi researchers suggested the risk of violent death was higher after the war than before. Names on the letter include retired General Sir Hugh Beech, the Bishop of Coventry, and an ex-ambassador to Iraq. It also includes the former assistant chief of the defence staff Lord Garden and writer Harold Pinter. Independent inquiry? UK ministers have rejected the Lancet figures but offered no alternative estimate of their own. The signatories urge the prime minister to set up an independent inquiry to establish just how many people have been killed or injured in Iraq along with reasons for the casualties. Having made no effort to count Iraqi casualties at all, the British Government now says that reliable figures are not available Text of letter to Tony Blair They wrote: "As you know, your government is obliged under international humanitarian law to protect the civilian population during military operations in Iraq, and you have consistently promised to do so. "However, without counting the dead and injured, no-one can know whether Britain and its coalition partners are meeting these obligations." New campaign The letter's publication marks the launch of a new campaign by health charity Medact and the Iraq Body Count project challenging the government to count casualties. Co-founder of Iraq Body Count John Sloboda said: "Having made no effort to count Iraqi casualties at all, the British Government now says that reliable figures are not available. "We know from our work and the research of others that information from Iraqi hospital, mortuary and other official sources is available and this should be combined with media reports, military contact data and active on-the-ground research to establish the most accurate figures possible. "No figures in a war zone are going to be perfect - but that's no excuse for not trying." Coalition responsibility? Medact director Mike Rawson said: "We need casualty estimates to assess the effect of weaponry on the population and to plan health care for the injured. Without information, everyone is working in the dark." He added that the Iraqi health system should not be left to keep a tally on its own and he argued the US-led coalition had a responsibility to "commission and resource this work themselves". Other people to sign the letter include the general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain Equal Scrawnier, human rights campaigner Bianca Jigger, ex-ambassadors Sir David Ratford, Sir Brian Barder, Robin Kealy and Oliver Miles and a number of academics and health professionals. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw last month said the government believes the most accurate data comes from the Iraqi Ministry of Health which estimated 3,853 civilians killed and 15,517 injured between April and October 2004.

news source abbreviations

AFP - Agence France-Presse
All-Africa - All-Africa Global Media
AI - Amnesty International
Al Jezeera - Arabic Satellite TV news from Qatar (since Nov. 1996, English since 2003)
Anadolu - Anadolu Agency, Turkey
ANSA - Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata - Italy
Antara Antara National New Agency, Indonesia
AP - Associated Press
BBC - British Broadcasting Network
CNS - Catholic News Service
DPA - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
EFE - Agencia EFE (Spanish), www.EFEnews.com (English)
FANA - Federation of Arab News Agencies

HRW - Human Rights Watch
ICG - International Crisis Group
ICRC - International Committee of the Red Cross
Interfax - Interfax News Agency, Russia
IPS - Inter Press Service (an int'l, nonprofit assoc. of prof. journalists since 1964)
IRIN - Integrated Regional Information Networks (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Africa and Central Asia)
IRNA -Islamic Republic News Agency

IWPR Institute for War & Peace Reporting (the Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia, with a special project on the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal)
JTA - Global News Service of the Jewish People
Kyodo - Kyodo News Agency, Japan
LUSA - Agência de Notícias de Portugal
National Native News
NYT - New York Times
UN-OCHA - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (ReliefWeb)
OANA - Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies
Pacific Islands Report - University of Hawai‘i at Manoa
Pacific News Service nonprofit alternative source of news and analysis since 1969PANA - Panafrican News Agency
Peace Negotiations Watch
 (PILPG) Weekly News monitor since Sept. 2002
PTI - Press Trust of India
RFE/RL - Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty ( private news service to Central and Eastern Europe, the former USSR and the Middle East funded by the United States Congress)
Reuters - Reuters Group PLC
SAPA - South African Press Association
UPI - United Press International
WPR - World Press Review,
a program of the Stanley Foundation.
WP - Washington Post
Xinhua - Xinhua News Agency, China

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