Tuesday, February 05, 2008


"Fie, fie, you counterfeit. You puppet, you!"
~ William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has something on the recent arrest of journalists who had visited Qendil to check on the people who'd been forced out of their destroyed homes by joint US-Israel-Turkish bombing of the northern region of South Kurdistan:

Security forces arrested five journalists on 1st February near the Sengeser control post, in Suleimaniyah province, as they returned from the Kandil mountains on the Iraqi-Turkish border. Rahman Gharib was mistreated after he tried to resist the police.

We went there the evening before to meet people who are suffering from Turkish bombing. We saw that much of the infrastructure - including schools and hospitals - has been destroyed. We interviewed the residents of isolated villages and took photos of the damage”, the journalist told Reporters Without Borders.

They were arrested as they tried to rejoin several colleagues who were waiting for them. Rahman Gharib, Bayez Mohammed, of Hawlati, Salam Abdallah, of the website Kurdistan Post, and freelance journalists Kerwan Salar and Mohammed Çawsin were questioned briefly. Surwan Omar, of the news agency Kurdistan News, was beaten by police when he tried to approach the group.

Earlier, in November 2007, IFEX and RSF had called on the KRG to lift the ban on journalists going to Qendil:

"Kurdistan is one of the few regions in Iraq where local and foreign journalists can move about freely without constant risk to their lives," RSF said. "This ban is a serious violation of their ability to report on the clashes in Iraq between the PKK's fighters and the Turkish army. The regional government in Erbil and the national government in Baghdad must stop blaming journalists for crises."

On 19 November, the Kurdish regional government prohibited journalists from going to meet PKK combatants who have found refuge in the Qandil mountains on the border between Iraq and Turkey. Kurdistan Regional Government spokesman Jamal Abdullah said "media reports have led to an acceleration of the crisis with Turkey."

The Iraqi Journalistic Freedoms Observatory said several journalists were arrested near the Turkish border as a result of the regional government's decision.

Jamal Abdullah is wrong, of course. Erdoğan's November 5 meeting with Bush is what really led to an acceleration of the so-called crisis with Turkey. It's been that way all along.

Let's take a stroll down memory lane. In November 2002, the AKP came to power in Turkey. Since Erdoğan, the chairman of the AKP, had been tried and convicted of inciting religious hatred for modifying and reading, in public, a poem by Ziya Gökalp. As a result of his conviction, Erdoğan was forbidden by law from holding any political office, including the office of prime minister.

Naturally, once in power, the AKP government set about immediately changing the law specifically so Erdoğan could take over as prime minister. But who gave the okay for any of that to happen? Think it was the Paşas? Think again:

In December 2002, US President George W. Bush stunned the Turkish political establishment in Ankara by inviting Erdogan to the White House. "You believe in the Almighty, and I believe in the Almighty. That's why we'll be great partners," the American president is said to have told his counterpart.[6] Proceeding on to Europe, Erdogan received assurances that the EU would commence accession negotiations with Ankara in December 2004 if Turkey undertook sufficient political and economic reforms.

In part because of American and European de facto recognition of Erdogan's authority, the Turkish military accepted the new administration's amendment of the constitution to lift the ban on Erdogan's political activity and holding of a by-election to allow for his entry into parliament (a requirement to be prime minister).

Now you know why the neocons went rabid over the TBMM's refusal to allow an American troop deployment from Turkey: The puppets failed to deliver to their masters.

Ironically, it was "a freshly vacated [parliamentary] seat in the province of Siirt" that facilitated Erdoğan's entry into the TBMM, which then catapulted him into the prime minister's office, which was, in turn, dutifully vacated by Abdullah Gül.

In the final analysis, it was the Bush Administration that put Erdoğan into office. What role did Fethullah Gülen, who is sheltered by the US, play in this bit of politics?

It's too bad officials of the KRG, like Jamal Abdullah, don't know much about Turkish history. Or maybe they just look the other way.

Since the Paşas have been broadcasting new airstrikes against PKK in South Kurdistan--according to totally unconfirmed statements on the Paşas' website--and since the KRG assists Ankara in its psychological warfare and Western propaganda operations by forbidding journalists to report from the region . . . and since the Ankara regime uses the US and Israeli examples to justify its aggression . . . and since everyone is preparing for a Turkish land force invasion in the next few months, you might want to check out a guide to US use of aerial warfare to get an idea of what to expect from the Ankara regime. From TomDispatch.com:

One hundred thousand pounds of explosives delivered from the air is now, historically speaking, a relatively modest figure. During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a single air wing from the USS Kitty Hawk, an aircraft carrier stationed in the Persian Gulf, did that sort of damage in less than a day and it was a figure that, as again last week, the military was proud to publicize without fear of international outrage or the possibility that "barbarism" might come to mind:

"From Tuesday afternoon through early Wednesday the air wing flew 69 dedicated strike missions in Basra and in and around Baghdad, involving 27 F/A-18 Hornets and 12 Tomcats. They dropped nearly 100,000 pounds of ordnance, said Lt. Brook DeWalt, Kitty Hawk public affairs officer."

As far as we know, there were no reporters, Iraqi or Western, in Arab Jabour when the bombs fell and, Iraq being Iraq, no American reporters rushed there -- in person or by satellite phone -- to check out the damage. In Iraq and Afghanistan, when it comes to the mainstream media, bombing is generally only significant if it's of the roadside or suicide variety; if, that is, the "bombs" can be produced at approximately "the cost of a pizza" (as IEDs sometimes are), or if the vehicles delivering them are cars or simply fiendishly well-rigged human bodies. From the air, even 100,000 pounds of bombs just doesn't have the ring of something that matters.

[ . . . ]

Who could forget all the attention that went into the President's surge strategy on the ground in the first half of last year? But which media outlet even noticed, until recently, what Bob Deans of Cox News Service has termed the "air surge" that accompanied those 30,000 surging troops into the Iraqi capital and environs? In that same period, air units were increasingly concentrated in and around Iraq. By mid-2007, for instance, the Associated Press was already reporting:

"[S]quadrons of attack planes have been added to the in-country fleet. The air reconnaissance arm has almost doubled since last year. The powerful B1-B bomber has been recalled to action over Iraq… Early this year, with little fanfare, the Air Force sent a squadron of A-10 ‘Warthog' attack planes -- a dozen or more aircraft -- to be based at Al-Asad Air Base in western Iraq. At the same time it added a squadron of F-16C Fighting Falcons… at Balad."

[ . . . ]

American military spokespeople and administration officials have, over the years, decried Iraqi and Afghan insurgents for "hiding" behind civilian populations -- in essence, accusing them of both immorality and cowardice. When such spokespeople do admit to inflicting "collateral damage" on civilian populations, they regularly blame the guerrillas for turning civilians into "shields." And all of this is regularly, dutifully reported in our press. On the other hand, no one in our world considers drone warfare in a similar context, though armed UAVs like the Predators and the newer, even more heavily armed Reapers are generally "flown" by pilots stationed at computer consoles in places like Nellis Air Force Base outside Las Vegas. It is from there that they release their missiles against "anti-Iraqi forces" or the Taliban, causing civilian deaths in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

We know there have already been civilian deaths from the Ankara regime's air war in South Kurdistan. We know that there has been US and Israeli assistance to the Ankara regime. We should, therefore, expect to see the Ankara regime assimilate US tactics to a greater extent in the future.


The Real News transcript.

Don't forget what the results of negotiations, between the puppets and the puppet masters in the months before the Iraq war, were supposed to be:

A veteran diplomat who led a Turkish delegation through tough negotiations with the US over military cooperation on the war in Iraq has revealed details of the talks in a book, which is expected to be published in the upcoming days.

[ . . . ]

If the government motion had been adopted by Parliament at the time, Turkey would have the opportunity to send its troops into the entire area where the PKK members are located; thus it would be able to contain the PKK threat, Bölükbaşı has suggested in his book, excerpts from which were published yesterday in the daily Milliyet.

If the motion had been approved, Turkey's de facto border with Iraq, which is called the "Rain Line," would extend from the south of Habur to the border between Iran and Iraq, Bölükbaşı explained in his book, which contains a map simulating the line on which Turkish troops would be deployed.

According to the map, Turkey's border with Iraq would extend 40 kilometers inside Iraqi soil and would contain the entire zone in northern Iraq which has been used by the PKK.

In other words, the results were invasion and annexation.

Who recognizes his failure and is pushing for these very results right now? Washington's puppet, R. Tayyip Erdoğan.

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