Tuesday, September 30, 2008


"If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost."
~ Aristotle.

Something historic took place in the US yesterday. Democracy happened--real democracy and not the phony shit that's usually passed off as democracy. From Counterpunch:

Incredible! This time, when the People spoke, Congress listened.

At least 228 members of the House listened. They voted early this afternoon to reject the Bush Administration's scaremongering, and the cowardly Democratic Congressional leadership's attempt at ducking and covering by attaching some meaningless verbiage to what remains a case of legalized highway robbery. At least for the moment, the bailout scam is killed.

Earlier in the day, the Congressional switchboard was jammed. You could get through, but it took a dedicated finger on the redial button of your phone. Operators at the Capitol say it's been that way for a week now, as Americans across the country have been flooding their Congressional delegations with phone calls (and emails) urging them to vote "No" on the Bush/Paulson Wall Street bailout.

[ . . . ]

The tsunami of calls and emails to Congress, and last week's nationwide demonstrations against the bailout suggest that the public is waking up to this looming disaster and to the fact that they are being sold a bill of goods.

The thing is that it wasn't just on Monday that the Congressional switchboard was jammed, and it wasn't just the Congressional switchboard that was jammed. Servers for Congressional websites were overwhelmed, too, and this logjam started last week at least by Thursday. I know. It took me quite a while to get into the Congressional sites to get fax numbers for my senators and congressman.

For the record, both candidates of the oligarch party, Obama and McCain, urged a "Yes" vote to save the Wall Street vermin. My suggestion for the November elections? Forget the oligarch party (Republicans + Democrats) and vote Green if that party will be listed on your state's ballots.

For more on the lesson of democracy that the last week has taught, check what Glenn Greenwald has to say at Salon:

For better or worse, yesterday's vote was the rarest event in our political culture: ordinary Americans from all across the political spectrum actually exerting influence over how our Government functions, and trumping the concerted, unified efforts of the entire ruling class to ensure that their desires, as usual, would be ignored.

[ . . . ]

Can anyone even remember the last time this happened, where the nation's corporate interests and their establishment spokespeople were insistently demanding government action but were impeded -- defeated -- by nothing more than popular opinion? Perhaps the failure of George Bush's Social Security schemes in 2005 would be an example, but one is hard-pressed to think of any other meaningful ones. We're a "democracy" in which nothing is less important in how our government functions than public opinion. Yesterday was an exceedingly rare though intense departure from that framework -- the kind of citizen defiance of, an "uprising" against, a rotted ruling elite described by David Sirota in his book, "Uprising." On the citizenry level, the backlash was defined not by "Republican v. Democrat" or "Left v. Right," but by "people v. ruling class." As Johnston argues, yesterday's events should be celebrated for that reason alone.

It's true that we don't live in a direct democracy where every last decision by elected officials must conform to majoritarian desire, nor should we want that. In general, elected officials should exercise judgment independent of -- in ways that deviate from -- majority views. But the opposite extreme is what we have and it is just as bad -- a system where the actions of elected officials are dictated by a tiny cabal of self-interested oligarchs which fund, control and own the branches of government and willfully ignore majority opinion in all cases (except to manipulate it).

This is something that Kurds can learn from, especially when we read some of the recent criticisms of the ruling elites of South Kurdistan:

Kurdish writer Mahmoud 'Othman likewise criticized the corruption in the Kurdish leadership. In a September 23, 2008 interview for the independent Kurdish paper Hawlati, he predicted that "many Kurds will refrain from voting [in the upcoming elections for the parliament] because they think it is useless. People would have preferred a parliament with an opposition to a parliament that is [jointly] controlled by [the two Kurdish parties, namely] the Kurdistan Democratic Party [headed by Mas'oud Barzani] and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan [headed by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani]... There are more freedoms in Baghdad than in the Kurdish region, and much greater freedom of the press..." [1]

Nusherwan Mustafa wrote in a similar vein in the Kurdish paper Roznama: "[The two Kurdish parties] are striving for greater and greater control over all aspects of government and [all aspects of] the people's daily lives... We want justice and [a fair] distribution of the national wealth... [while] they want to use this wealth, and [to exploit] their positions, in order to promote their private affairs and control people... We want transparency and openness in the financial, economic, business and political spheres... while they want to handle everything in [complete] darkness..." [2]

[Dr. Hussein] Sinjari too devoted a large portion of his article to this topic, saying: "[Our leaders] claim that they are sacrificing themselves and giving their very lives for the people - yet [in actuality] they are deceiving the people, usurping their rights, and [violating] their honor."

The problem with democracy is that its success lies with the people and not with the ruling class. Everything else is commentary. Go, and instill fear in the ruling class.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


"Turkey is working in Iraq with 3 major Sunni radical groups: Ansar al-Sunni Army, Iraq Islamic Army, and the 1920 Revolution Battalion, especially within the last 6 months. Turkey is supplying technical and logistic support to them."
~ Özgür Gündem.

Someone else from the US military comes along and tries to spread propaganda for Washington's puppet government in Ankara. Posted over at the MoJo Blog:

Evidence is piling up that the Turkish government will commit its armed forces against the de facto Kurdish state in Northern Iraq sooner rather than later. . .

[ . . . ]

What most Americans don't know is that the Turkish government has tried to negotiate a settlement with the Kurds through its new Special Envoy for Iraq, Murat Ozcelik. People who know Ozcelik insist he is the best person to negotiate Turkey's peace with the Kurds. Unfortunately, his Kurdish counterpart, Massoud Barzani, has turned out to be a fool who thinks he leads a pan-Kurdish movement inside Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey.

What the hell is Murat Özçelik doing "negotiat[ing] Turkey's peace with the Kurds" in South Kurdistan (Northern Iraq)? Turkey needs to negotiate peace with the 20 million Kurds inside Turkey and I've got a news flash for Özçelik and Douglas Macgregor, the author of the piece at the MoJo Blog: Mesûd Barzanî does not speak for the 20 million Kurds of Turkey. There are 20 DTP parliamentarians in the TBMM who were elected by the Kurds of Turkey as their representatives, and they are the ones that Özçelik must begin negotiations with.

Then we have the KCK Executive Council which also represents the Kurds of Turkey. Özçelik must also bring them into negotiations and then we can have a dialog along the lines already proposed by KCK in August 2006 (http://www.kurdish-info.net/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=3467):

The framework for the steps that need to be developed mutually in the second phase for a permanent solution:

1- The acknowledgement of the Kurdish identity and the constitutional guarantee of all identities under the identity of a Citizen of Turkey as the main identity,

2- The lifting of obstacles on the development of the Kurdish language and culture, the acknowledgement of education in the mother tongue and Kurdish acknowledged as the official second language alongside Turkish in the Kurdistan region, and with this to show respect to other minority cultures,

3- The acknowledgement, on the basis of freely practicing politics and organizing, of the right to thought, belief and freedom of expression, the lifting of all social inequalities in the constitution and laws, firstly being those of gender discrimination,

4- A social reconciliation project with the aim of mutual forgiveness of both people’s for the development of a peace and freedom union, on this basis the release of political prisoners including the PKK Leadership, and no obstacles to them participating in politics and social life,

5- The removal of forces in Kurdistan there for the purposes of special war, the abolition of the village guard system and the necessary social and political projects to be developed for the return of displaced villagers,

6- In parallel to the realization of the above articles, the initiation, with a timetable determined by both parties, of the gradual disarmament and legal participation into the democratic social life.

All of this, of course, would take place within the current borders of Turkey:

We would like as a movement to emphasize once again that the right solution is a democratic autonomy within the borders of Turkey. We believe that a solution in the unity of Turkey will be for the benefit of firstly the Kurdish people and all the people of the region.

Contrast that with the propaganda of Macgregor:

. . . the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a militant group that seeks to establish a Kurdish state in the region.

Macgregor actually admits that current tension between Kurds and Sunnis in Iraq is the result of Turkish black operations:

Much of the violence that is picking up between the Kurds and the Sunnis may well be the first sign of a Turkish counter-offensive to punish the Kurds for their continued support of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a militant group that seeks to establish a Kurdish state in the region.

Thanks, pal, for confirming what was reported one year ago by Özgür Gündem and carried on Rastî:

According to Özgür Gündem, a contra-guerrilla base has been founded in Amed (Diyarbakır) by the Ankara regime. These contra-guerrillas not only will operate against Kurds in the region of Amed and North Kurdistan, but also against Kurds in Iraq, Iran, and Syria.

The goal of the contra-guerrillas is to delay the Kerkuk referendum through black operations. Since Turkey cannot conduct a military operation in the South, it's initiating black operations through this contra-guerrilla group, operating in the same way it did in Şemdinli, in the Council of State, and in the Hrant Dink murder. JITEM and the Patriots Movement were behind those operations.

Ostensibly the contra-guerrilla group raised donations from $500,000 per month to $1,000,000 per month for the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF). I say "ostensibly," because it's more likely that the "donations" are coming directly from the Ankara regime. In addition, the contra-guerrillas give rewards for each successful ITF operation.

Turkey is working in Iraq with 3 major Sunni radical groups: Ansar al-Sunni Army, Iraq Islamic Army, and the 1920 Revolution Battalion, especially within the last 6 months. Turkey is supplying technical and logistic support to them.

The contra-guerrillas contacted some Arab tribes in Mosul and promised economic assistance to the tribes if they encourage the Sunnis to attack KDP and PUK offices.

Turkey has also been in contact with Arabs in Kerkuk, who had moved there during Saddam's arabization. Turkey organized these Arabs into death squads and provided them with assassination lists of Kurdish leaders. Attacks against Turkmen leaders, including Iraqi Turkmen Front leaders, would be encouraged in order create chaos.

They have assassination plans for some Arab and Turkmen leaders in order to turn Kurds and other peoples against each other and create a basis for the justification of the assassinations of Kurdish leaders.

The goal is to delay the Kerkuk referendum and not to allow Kerkuk to become part of Kurdistan.

The Ankara regime has invaded South Kurdistan in pursuit of PKK a number of times in the past and the TSK has always left with its tail between its legs. If the Ankara regime thinks it will insert itself in order to save Kerkuk for the ITF, then it had better learn the meaning of the word "quagmire", from Andrew Lee Butters almost one year ago:

So this is going to be a slow motion disaster rather than a spectacular one. Turkey will have to go deeper and deeper into Iraq, committing itself more and more to a course that will at best be ineffectual and at worst drag it and Iraqi Kurdistan into the great sucking sound that is the American project in Iraq. The only way out of this is for the Turkish state to begin political negotiations with the PKK, an internal enemy that it has been unable to defeat for more than 20 years. But the US, which labels the PKK a terrorist group, is hardly in a position to preach to its allies about talking to terrorists.

At the same time, Murat Karayılan confirmed the potential "quagmire":

Speaking to The Associated Press deep in the Qandil mountains straddling the Iraq-Turkish border, some 150 kilometers (94 miles) from the northern Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah, Karayilan warned an incursion would "make Turkey experience a Vietnam war."

[ . . . ]

"Iraq's Kurds will not support the Turkish army," he said. "If Turkey starts its attack, we will swing the Turkish public opinion by political, civil and military struggle."

[ . . . ]

Karayilan said the PKK was only defending itself against attacks by the Turks.

"This was not the first time. It happened many times before and no one talked about it, so why this time," he said, adding the clashes took place at least 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the border, within Turkey, not Iraq.

He said he believes the Turkish attacks are meant to destabilize Iraq, not remove the rebels.

"Turkey is only making pretexts to enter the Kurdistan region in Iraq," he added.

For those hard of understanding: Quagmire = Vietnam.

Not only should we expect meddling by the Ankara regime in the refusal to allow elections in Kerkuk, but we should also consider the recent turmoil in Xanaqîn as the result of Turkish contra-guerrillas, including recent roadside bomb attacks that resulted in the deaths of six peşmêrge.

Furthermore, let's not expect much from the KRG, Barzanî, or Talabanî. They have too much money tied up in business interests with Ankara for them to take a stand against Turkish black operations aimed against Kurdistan.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


"The rich will do anything for the poor but get off their backs."
~ Karl Marx.

The US is imploding. Seriously.

First of all, there has been the attempt by Wall Street vermin Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke to con the US taxpayer into handing welfare to Wall Street so that the financial elites can continue to live in the manner to which they've become accustomed. The problem is, the taxpayers seem to be on the verge of revolution the likes of which hasn't been seen since 1776:

An e-mail that began as a rallying cry from a lone journalist to an influential circle of friends to protest the U.S. government bailout of Wall Street has ignited a national day of street protests. Some demonstrators plan to dump their rubbish in front of the bronze bull sculpture near Wall Street in downtown Manhattan Thursday.

Some photos of the event on Wall Street can be seen at Alternet. My personal favorite:

And there's an article on the same protest, also at Alternet. Note the response by the vermin who need bailing:

Many Wall Street types greeted the protesters with contempt. "Just look at these people," sneered one broker as the march neared the Stock Exchange. Another group held a "Get a Job" sign in an office window, and one man dropped a few dollar bills out of his. They fluttered down short of the marchers, landing in a construction site.

Someone needs to give Wall Street a hard lesson in personal responsibility. TrueMajority.org reports that some 250 emergency protests were held in 41 states on Thursday. On Friday, the labor unions, such as they are in the land of the unfettered free market, protested. Almost 200 economists from the most prestigious American universities are protesting the bailout and the director of the Congressional Budget Office told Congress that the Paulson bailout could make matters so much worse.

Not that anyone in the government of the people, by the people, for the people is bothering to listen to the people. Ain't democracy wonderful?

What's interesting is that the bailout plan proposed by the criminal Paulson was actually put together by the Bush administration months ago:

[White House Deputy Press Secretary Tony] Fratto insisted that the plan was not slapped together and had been drawn up as a contingency over previous months and weeks by administration officials. He acknowledged lawmakers were getting only days to peruse it, but he said this should be enough.

So if this "plan" were "drawn up as a contingency over previous months" then why the rush to get it passed in Congress? Why did Bush harangue the nation for fifteen minutes on Wednesday night with his usual, fear-mongering tactics:

With the situation becoming more precarious by the day, I faced a choice, to step in with dramatic government action or to stand back and allow the irresponsible actions of some to undermine the financial security of all.

I’m a strong believer in free enterprise, so my natural instinct is to oppose government intervention. I believe companies that make bad decisions should be allowed to go out of business.

Under normal circumstances, I would have followed this course. But these are not normal circumstances. The market is not functioning properly. There has been a widespread loss of confidence, and major sectors of America’s financial system are at risk of shutting down.

The government’s top economic experts warn that, without immediate action by Congress, America could slip into a financial panic and a distressing scenario would unfold.

Isn't this the same kind of thing we heard after 9/11? Isn't it the same kind of thing we heard in the run-up to the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq? Who benefited from that fear-mongering? The elites. Instead of addressing economic problems in a way that would benefit the country as a whole, the administration is attempting to railroad everyone into a plan that will only benefit the elites. This is the same tactic used by con artists the world over.

And as all of this was going on, the largest savings and loan in the US, collapsed and was seized by the government, the Congress gave $1 trillion to the Pentagon, and gave a $25 billion bailout to the failing US auto industry.

Oh, did I forget to mention . . . the CEO of WaMu may walk away with more than $13 million in his golden parachute and he's only been on the job for a few weeks.

In the US, socialism for the ordinary people is absolutely forbidden while welfare is handed out with largesse for the elites. The Germans are beginning to see it, too. In fact, the German Finance Minister is beginning to sound like Vladimir Putin by referring to multi-polarity:

"The world will never be as it was before the crisis," Steinbrueck told the Bundestag lower house of parliament.

"The United States will lose its superpower status in the world financial system. The world financial system will become more multi-polar," he said.

Speaking later at a news conference in Berlin, Steinbrueck said he was not predicting an end to the dollar's role as a leading reserve currency, but rather highlighting the rise of other major financial players besides the United States.

[ . . . ]

In the Bundestag, Steinbrueck denounced what he called an Anglo-Saxon drive for double-digit profits and massive bonuses for bankers and company executives.

"Investment bankers and politicians in New York, Washington and London were not willing to give these up," he said.

Other worrying news involves the Republican VP nominee, Sarah Palin and her interview with CBS talking head, Katie Couric. The general consensus is growing that Sarah Palin is dumber than a rock. But, see for yourself:

There were more installments of the interview which can be seen on Youtube if you're not embarrassed by so much stupidity.

Matt Taibbi, journalist for Rolling Stone, makes the case for the fact that Sarah Palin is a symbol of all that is wrong in the US:

Sarah Palin is a symbol of everything that is wrong with the modern United States. As a representative of our political system, she's a new low in reptilian villainy, the ultimate cynical masterwork of puppeteers like Karl Rove. But more than that, she is a horrifying symbol of how little we ask for in return for the total surrender of our political power.

Not only is Sarah Palin a fraud, she's the tawdriest, most half-assed fraud imaginable, 20 floors below the lowest common denominator, a character too dumb even for daytime TV -and this country is going to eat her up, cheering her every step of the way. All because most Americans no longer have the energy to do anything but lie back and allow ourselves to be jacked off by the calculating thieves who run this grasping consumer paradise we call a nation.

[ . . . ]

The great insight of the Palin VP choice is that huge chunks of American voters no longer even demand that their candidates actually have policy positions; they simply consume them as media entertainment, rooting for or against them according to the reflexive prejudices of their demographic, as they would for reality-show contestants or sitcom characters. Hicks root for hicks, moms for moms, born-agains for born-agains. Sure, there was politics in the Palin speech, but it was all either silly lies or merely incidental fluffery buttressing the theatrical performance. A classic example of what was at work here came when Palin proudly introduced her Down syndrome baby, Trig, then stared into the camera and somberly promised parents of special-needs kids that they would "have a friend and advocate in the White House." This was about a half-hour before she raised her hands in triumph with McCain, a man who voted against increasing funding for special-needs education.

[ . . . ]

All of which tells you about what you'd expect from a raise-the-base choice like Palin: She's a puffed-up dimwit with primitive religious beliefs who had to be educated as to the fact that the Constitution did not exactly envision government executives firing librarians. Judging from the importance progressive critics seem to attach to these revelations, you'd think that these were actually negatives in modern American politics. But Americans like politicians who hate books and see the face of Jesus in every tree stump. They like them stupid and mean and ignorant of the rules.

OUCH!! Really, it's worth it to read the whole thing because this is the kind of writing you'd never see about a political candidate in Turkey--or in South Kurdistan--however much they deserve it.

The Palin/Couric interview has also begun to horrify those on the fascist right in the US as it slowly dawns on them that the woman who will be one heart-beat away from the White House is a total and complete moron. From the NRO:

Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.

[ . . . ]

Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage and there’s not much content there. Here’s but one example of many from her interview with Hannity: “Well, there is a danger in allowing some obsessive partisanship to get into the issue that we’re talking about today. And that’s something that John McCain, too, his track record, proving that he can work both sides of the aisle, he can surpass the partisanship that must be surpassed to deal with an issue like this.”

When Couric pointed to polls showing that the financial crisis had boosted Obama’s numbers, Palin blustered wordily: “I’m not looking at poll numbers. What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who’s more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who’s actually done it?”

If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself.

[ . . . ]

Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

Do it for your country.

Hehehe . . . Maybe the fact that the US appears to be reaching critical mass is the reason that the US Army will, for the first time since the Civil War, begin operations within the US itself, to assist with civil disturbances and crowd control. From Glenn Greenwald:

Several bloggers today have pointed to this obviously disturbing article from Army Times, which announces that "beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the [1st Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division] will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North" -- "the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities."

[ . . . ]

For more than 100 years -- since the end of the Civil War -- deployment of the U.S. military inside the U.S. has been prohibited under The Posse Comitatus Act (the only exceptions being that the National Guard and Coast Guard are exempted, and use of the military on an emergency ad hoc basis is permitted, such as what happened after Hurricane Katrina). Though there have been some erosions of this prohibition over the last several decades (most perniciously to allow the use of the military to work with law enforcement agencies in the "War on Drugs"), the bright line ban on using the U.S. military as a standing law enforcement force inside the U.S. has been more or less honored -- until now.

[ . . . ]

It shouldn't take any efforts to explain why the permanent deployment of the U.S. military inside American cities, acting as the President's police force, is so disturbing. Bovard:

"'Martial law' is a euphemism for military dictatorship. When foreign democracies are overthrown and a junta establishes martial law, Americans usually recognize that a fundamental change has occurred. . . . Section 1076 is Enabling Act-type legislation—something that purports to preserve law-and-order while formally empowering the president to rule by decree."

Buckle your seatbelts. It's going to be a wild ride. And now that a multi-polar world is more close, it may be time to look to the East. Seriously.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power."
~ Benito Mussolini.

The best commentary on Führers Hank Paulson (US Treasury Secretary) and Ben Bernanke (US Federal Reserve Chairman) I've seen. From Cryptogon:

In a sane world, these monsters would be torn limb from limb and shredded into maggot food—a role in which they could actually do some good.

Drill holes around the base of a bucket. Place some banker parts in the bucket with a bit of straw and hang it a couple of feet above your chickens. After a few days (during warm weather), the maggots will spill out onto the ground. The chickens will gather below the bucket, waiting for the protein packed morsels to fall from above.

Oh, please; oh, please; oh please. . .

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


"Current conditions in Turkey do not permit the return of internally displaced persons “in safety and with dignity,” in accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement."
~ HRW, "Still critical" Prospects in 2005 for Internally Displaced Kurds in Turkey.

There's a very old neighborhood in Beyoğlu, Istanbul that, once upon a time, was the home of a large Greek population. Nowadays it's home to a lot of Kurdish refugees who were forcibly displaced from their villages by TSK in the 1990s. It's also home to Gypsies, Iraqi Arabs, some other refugees, and transsexuals. The neighborhood is called Tarlabaşı and it's slated for gentrification because it's located on some of Istanbul's prime real estate.

Last year, National Public Radio (NPR) aired a report on Tarlabaşı, which you can listen to at this page:

Waves of migration from the Turkish countryside have swelled Istanbul's population to more than 12 million people, making it one of the world's megacities. Economic migrants have overwhelmed the city's infrastructure and services.

And in what was once the capital of the Ottoman Empire, one of Istanbul's most notorious slums has spung up.

Tarlabasi is a densely populated maze of narrow streets that wend between crumbling Ottoman-era houses built on a hillside.

It's located right next to the commercial and cultural heart of Istanbul and, yet, most Turks consider Tarlabasi a no-go zone.

Not only is it considered a "no-go zone" by Turks, but Turkish police are afraid to go there. Given Tarlabaşı's winding, narrow streets, I'm willing to bet TSK is afraid of it, too. Maybe this is a big part of the reason for their fear:

"When you walk down in Tarlabasi — when you go to the market on a Sunday — you don't hear Turkish spoken at all. It's either Kurdish or Arabic," Pertan says. "And they all wear their own national costumes and sit in the street, so you think, really, that you're in an Anatolian village. Nothing to do with the 19th-century elegant Greeks."

In the weekly outdoor bazaar in Tarlabasi, rural life raucously collides with the modern urban world.

Here, less than a mile from Istanbul's five-star hotels, child shepherds herd flocks of sheep through the streets as Kurdish women in bright floral headscarves shop for fruit and cheap Chinese-made cosmetics alongside trembling, teenage glue-sniffers and illegal African immigrants.

This week, Hürriyet reported that some hitches have appeared in developers' efforts to encourage Tarlabaşı's residents to vacate, via TDN:

. . . [T]he winning bidder on the project, GAP İnşaat, is offering residents a property exchange program that many say is far from just. The company has offered a 50-square-meter house to the owner of a three-story house in which each floor is 50 square meters.

The conditions offered to owners of offices are even worse. The company has offered two stores 25 square meters and 65 square meters in size in a new shopping center to the owner of an eight-story office block located on Tarlabaşı Street.

Being that this is Turkey, it gets worse:

"We own a 75-square-meter house. The authorities told us that they would give us a house that is 40 square meters in size. Later, we asked the authorities how we will manage to live in a such a small house with our four children," said Fatma Yalçın, living in Halepli Bekir Street.

"The authorities told us that they would give us a 84-square-meter house in Küçükçekmece. We told an authority working in the municipality that we would not leave our house in such a valuable region and move to Küçükçekmece," Yalçın said.

"Return to your village, then," was the reaction of the authority, Yalçın added.

For many, if not most, forcibly displaced Kurds, a return to their villages is not possible, as HRW well-documented in 2002. Last year's human rights report on Turkey from the US State Department admitted the following:

In December 2006 Hacettepe University released the results of a study that was commissioned by the government, which concluded that an estimated 953,680 to 1,301,200 persons were displaced by conflict in the southeast between 1986 and 2005. The study found that the main reason for the large discrepancy between government and NGO figures was that the government only included persons evacuated by the security forces from settlements, and not those who were forced to flee because of general violence or for a combination of security and economic reasons.

[ . . . ]

On June 26, Jandarma and village guards forced villagers to leave the Ceme Kare hamlet of Yapraktepe village of Siirt's Pervari district after the Turkish military proclaimed a "special security zone" in portions of Hakkari, Sirnak, and Siirt Provinces. The villagers, members of the nomadic Kican and Batuyan tribes, were evicted for security reasons in 1989 but repatriated to the area in 2003. When villagers protested security forces' orders to evacuate, the troops forcibly loaded their belongings onto trucks and took the belongings to the Pervari Jandarma station. Many villagers remained in Ceme Kare hamlet, although without provisions and with no access to their crops. The following day, after several villagers filed an administrative complaint, security forces blocked the main point of access to the village. Villagers alleged that the action prevented a couple from obtaining treatment for their sick infant, leading to the baby's death. On August 8, a villager filed an administrative complaint with the Siirt governorship. Jandarma officials took the applicant and 15 villagers into custody for questioning and released them the same evening.

Village guards occupied homes abandoned by IDPs and have attacked or intimidated IDPs attempting to return to their homes with official permission. For example, village guards reportedly threatened and beat Hayrettin Yildirim on several occasions since he returned to the village of Kasyayla in Batman Province three years ago. On April 10, village guards opposed to Yildirim and other returnees' attempts to resettle the land beat him to the point where he required medical attention, according to the HRA and an April 23 report in Radikal newspaper.

In 2005, HRW discussed the prospects for the return of Kurdish refugees to their villages:

In place of policy or program achievements for internally displaced people (IDPs), the Turkish government supplied the E.U. with statistics suggesting that returns are proceeding at a regular pace. If a third of the displaced had returned to their homes, as the government claimed, this would be a respectable performance. In fact, progress has been much more limited. Human Rights Watch has compared some of the government statistics with the situation on the ground. Our analysis found that the official statistics are not entirely reliable, and that permanent returns are running at a much lower rate than indicated.

The practical obstacles to return remain: villagers are slow to return because their homes and villages have been destroyed and the security situation in the remote countryside remains precarious. Many of the villagers who return live in primitive shelters located in settlements without electricity, telephone, education, or health facilities. Assistance with reconstruction and support in re-establishing agriculture is minimal or non-existent.

Village guards—paramilitaries, usually Kurdish, armed and paid by the government to fight the PKK (Kurdish Workers’ Party, now known as Kongra Gel)—have not been disarmed, and are implicated in attacks on returning IDPs. Regular security forces have also committed extrajudicial executions of IDPs.

Current conditions in Turkey do not permit the return of internally displaced persons “in safety and with dignity,” in accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (U.N. Guiding Principles).

Tarlabaşı's residents have joined together to fight the developers:

. . . [T]he residents of Tarlabaşı have established the Association of Cooperation and Improvement of Tarlabaşı Property Owners and Tenants in order to raise their voices against an urban regeneration program they say is harming their quality of life.

Developers never want to pay what land or buildings are worth when it comes to gentrification or other development projects, so I hope the residents of Tarlabaşı stick to their guns. If they decide to sell, they need to make sure the developers pay just compensation--down to the very last kuruş--because the Ankara regime's return and compensation programs have never been worth the paper they've been printed on . . . As many residents of Tarlabaşı well know.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


"Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime."
~ Potter Stewart.

Even as Katil Erdoğan has been encouraging the Turkish public to avoid Doğan media because Doğan media published the news uncovered in a German court that linked Katil Erdoğan's government to international corruption, other newspapers in Turkey are being banned for publishing the Kurdish side of the long conflict in The Southeast.

It began at the beginning of August when a Turkish court seized copies of Turkish daily Birgün for its published interview with Murat Karayılan. An investigation was initiated against Birgün journalist Hakan Tahmaz, Birgün's general director İbrahim Çeşmecioğlu, and Birgün's licence holder Bülent Yılmaz for having published the interview.

Near mid-September, Taraf's Ahmet Altan--a venerable Turkish journalist--was charged with Article 301 for "denigrating Turkishness, the Republic, the institutions and organs of the State" for writing about Armenians. Charges were filed by a crackpot of the BBP. Another BBP crackpot, Kemal Kerincsiz, was indicted in the Ergenekon investigation. Previously, he was well-known for filing charges against Hrant Dink and Orhan Pamuk, also for reasons having to do with Armenians.

Then there was the case of Cengiz Kapmaz, who was convicted to ten months in prison for publishing his interview with former DEP parliamentarian Orhan Doğan.

TSK has also begun an "accreditation" process to approve those media outlets it will permit at its press conferences. This is an attempt by TSK to control the media, as described in its Information Support Activity Action Plan.

Most recently, Turkish paper Alternatif has been banned by the Ankara regime for publishing the statements of Öcalan and Karayılan.

In addition, a number of websites are officially banned by the regime: Professor Richard Dawkins' website, Youtube, kliptube, geocities, Yeni Özgür Politika, Özgür Gündem, Fırat News, and Rojaciwan.

You know they're scared shitless when their only response is censorship.

Monday, September 22, 2008


"It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power."
~ David Brin.

It looks like there will be Senate confirmation hearings next Wednesday (24 September) for the next US ambassador to Turkey, James F. Jeffrey, from ANCA:

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has called on members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to closely scrutinize ten serious shortcomings in the Administration’s handling of the U.S. - Turkey relationship, during the September 24th confirmation hearing for James Jeffrey to serve as the next U.S. Ambassador to Turkey.

In letters to panel Chairman Joe Biden (D-DE) and other key Committee members, ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian outlined the Administration’s failings, and encouraged strict scrutiny of the nominee in order to “ensure accountability for past errors, as well as to apply the lessons learned from these setbacks in charting a more productive and principled course for U.S.-Turkey relations.”

Who is James F. Jeffrey? You can get the official rundown of his career from the State Department:

James F. Jeffrey assumed the position of Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs on August 21, 2006.

Ambassador Jeffrey, in collaboration with the Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, will lead the Bureau's Iran Policy Team and coordinate Bureau public diplomacy and internal management, serving as Acting Assistant Secretary when the Assistant Secretary is traveling.

A career member of the U.S. Foreign Service, James Jeffrey served as He served as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State for Iraq from August 2005 to August 2006. Amb. Jeffrey served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Baghdad from June 2004 to March 2005. From March to June 2005 Ambassador Jeffrey was U.S. Charge d'affairs to Iraq. He served as Ambassador to Albania from 2002-2004. Previously he was Deputy Chief of Mission in Turkey and Kuwait. Other assignments have included Deputy Special Representative for Bosnian Implementation, postings in the Department's European and Near Eastern Bureaus, and overseas service in Turkey, Bulgaria, Germany and Tunisia.

But what about his real career? For starters, Jeffrey is involved with the administration's efforts to manufacture consent for a war with Iran, from the Boston Globe:

The existence of ISOG (Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group) reflects an intensification of the Bush administration's planning on Iran. Syria, which has linked itself to Iran through military pacts, is a lesser focus for the group. Its workings have been so secretive that several officials in the State Department's Near Eastern Affairs bureau said they were unaware it existed.

[ . . . ]

ISOG was modeled after the Iraq Policy and Operations Group, set up in 2004 to shepherd information and coordinate US action in Iraq. ISOG has raised eyebrows within the State Department for hiring BearingPoint -- the same Washington-based private contracting firm used by the Iraq group -- to handle its administrative work, rather than State Department employees.

[ . . . ]

ISOG is led by a steering committee with two leading hawks on Middle East policy as chairmen: James F. Jeffrey, prinicipal deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, who once headed Iraq policy, and Elliott Abrams, deputy national security adviser for "Global Democracy Strategy." Michael Doran, a Middle East specialist at the White House, steps in when Abrams is away. Elizabeth Cheney, the vice president's daughter, who was the former deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, served as cochairwoman before she took a maternity leave earlier this year.

Okay, right there we have Jeffrey linked with the Bush administration's efforts for regime change in Iraq, which were based on lies ranging from accusations that Saddam was behind the 9/11 attacks to the WMD lies and the Niger yellow cake forgeries.

We also have Jeffrey linked to BearingPoint which has some very shady history. From Sourcewatch:

* In July of 2003, BearingPoint was awarded a contract by USAID worth $79.5 million to facilitate Iraq's economic recovery with a two-year option worth a total of $240,162,688.[2][3] Responsibilities in this contract include:

1. Creating Iraq's budget

2. Writing business law

3. Setting up tax collection

4. Laying out trade and customs rules

5. Privatize state-owned enterprises by auctioning them off or issuing Iraqis shares in the enterprises.

6. Reopen banks and jump-start the private sector by making small loans of $100 to $10,000.

7. Wean Iraqis from the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program, the main source of food for 60% of the population.

8. Issue a new currency and set exchange rates. [4]

* In January 2003 BearingPoint won a $3.95 million contract financed by the World Bank to aid the Afghanistan government upgrade its accounting system.[5]

* In March of 2003, USAID awarded BearingPoint a $39.9 million contract to help rebuild the economy in Afghanistan.

[6] In November 2005, USAID awarded another contract, this three years and worth $45 million. [7] The overall worth of contracts in Afghanistan could be worth as much as $350 million. [8]

BearingPoint has also been involved in the drafting of the Iraq Oil Law for the benefit of Big Oil:

BearingPoint, a Virginia based contractor is being paid $240m for its work in Iraq, winning an initial contract from the US Agency for International Development (USAid) within weeks of the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. A BearingPoint employee, based in the US embassy in Baghdad, was hired to advise the Iraqi Ministry of Oil on drawing up a new hydrocarbon law.

BearingPoint employees gave $117,000 to the 2000 and 2004 Bush election campaigns, more than any other Iraq contractor.

The process of drafting the oil law has been particularly troubling. The timeline of which entities have seen the draft when suggests that Iraqi interests are not being considered first and foremost:

* Draft shown to US government and major oil companies – July 06

* Draft shown to the International Monetary Fund September 06

* Draft shown to Iraqi Parliament: February 07

The Iraq National Oil Company would have exclusive control of just 17 of Iraq’s 80 known oil fields, leaving two-thirds of known — and all of its as yet undiscovered — reserves open to foreign control.

Not surprisingly, the Iraqi Oil Workers' Union and the Electrical Utility Workers' Union opposed the law and protested BearingPoint's involvement in the drafting of it. Antonia Juhasz also mentioned BearingPoint's role in the drafting of the Iraq oil law at the time of the Baker-Hamilton report:

WHILE THE Bush administration, the media and nearly all the Democrats still refuse to explain the war in Iraq in terms of oil, the ever-pragmatic members of the Iraq Study Group share no such reticence.

Page 1, Chapter 1 of the Iraq Study Group report lays out Iraq's importance to its region, the U.S. and the world with this reminder: "It has the world's second-largest known oil reserves." The group then proceeds to give very specific and radical recommendations as to what the United States should do to secure those reserves. If the proposals are followed, Iraq's national oil industry will be commercialized and opened to foreign firms.

[ . . . ]

For any degree of oil privatization to take place, and for it to apply to all the country's oil fields, Iraq has to amend its constitution and pass a new national oil law. The constitution is ambiguous as to whether control over future revenues from as-yet-undeveloped oil fields should be shared among its provinces or held and distributed by the central government.

This is a crucial issue, with trillions of dollars at stake, because only 17 of Iraq's 80 known oil fields have been developed. Recommendation No. 26 of the Iraq Study Group calls for a review of the constitution to be "pursued on an urgent basis." Recommendation No. 28 calls for putting control of Iraq's oil revenues in the hands of the central government. Recommendation No. 63 also calls on the U.S. government to "provide technical assistance to the Iraqi government to prepare a draft oil law."

This last step is already underway. The Bush administration hired the consultancy firm BearingPoint more than a year ago to advise the Iraqi Oil Ministry on drafting and passing a new national oil law.

Plans for this new law were first made public at a news conference in late 2004 in Washington. Flanked by State Department officials, Iraqi Finance Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi (who is now vice president) explained how this law would open Iraq's oil industry to private foreign investment. This, in turn, would be "very promising to the American investors and to American enterprise, certainly to oil companies." The law would implement production-sharing agreements.

As for BearingPoint's Afghanistan contracts:

USAID’s own March 13, 2007 announcement of the five year $218.6 million contract that will run through January 2012 states that it is for the purpose of: strengthening “the performance of ministries, businesses, non-governmental organizations, universities and local governments; establish(ing) permanent, sustainable capacity in the public, private and high education sectors; and build(ing) the skills of key personnel in the Afghan public and private sectors, through scholarship.”

For a company that is still correcting, according to the Washington Business Journal, its financial reports for accounting errors, whose revenues rose by 10 percent to $2.65 billion in 2006 over the previous year, a contract worth even $218.6 million must seem like a drop in the bucket. Still it adds up for a company which reaches out at every opportunity to take advantage of swelling its bottom line from US government outsourcing as a result of the downsizing of the US Foreign and Civil Service after the Cold War. It doesn’t hurt in filling the company’s coffers that BearingPoint,Inc. is close to the current administration and contributes to the Republican Party particularly in election years.

It's quite obvious that BearingPoint has not accomplished anything in Afghanistan for which it was paid. And what about those "accounting errors"? Would that be "accounting errors" like those of Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Merrel Lynch, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and, perhaps soon to be Washington Mutual and Wachovia? Behold the American way of doing business! Behold the failure of capitalism!

Jeffrey's other interesting link from the Boston Globe article is his close association with Mr. Iran-Contra himself, Elliot Abrams. Abrams' big deal is the promotion of "freedom" and "democracy" abroad, particularly in the Middle East. Of course, "freedom" and "democracy" only apply to American ruling elites. From Sourcewatch:

Hours before Bush's second inauguration in January 2005, the White House announced that Abrams would serve as Bush's deputy assistant and as the deputy national security adviser for global democracy strategy under NSC Adviser Stephen Hadley, who had been Condoleezza Rice's deputy at the NSC when she was adviser. In his announcement of Abrams's new position, Hadley called Abrams one of the administration's strongest and most consistent advocates of American strength and the expansion of freedom worldwide.

Abrams is a key proponent of the "freedom and democracy" policy that Bush highlighted during his 2005 State of the Union Address, and has been an important figure in dealings with Israel. Prior to Rice's first trip to Israel as secretary of state, Abrams met with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's top adviser, Dov Weisglass, to establish the parameters of the Rice-Sharon meetings.

[ . . . ]

While Bush's supporters are generally pleased with the administration's strong backing of Israel, many criticize the State Department and Rice. Leading the attack has been Perle, who along with Feith, a former Pentagon undersecretary for policy, has worked with Abrams since the mid-1970s, when both worked for [Senator Henry "Scoop", D-WA] Jackson. In a Washington Post op-ed that coalesced conservative forces against Rice, Perle wrote that, having moved from the NSC to State, Rice is "now in the midst of—and increasingly represents—a diplomatic establishment that is driven to accommodate its allies even when (or, it seems, especially when) such allies counsel the appeasement of our adversaries" (June 25, 2006).

There we have James F. Jeffrey not far removed at all from the Prince of Darkness and "the stupidest fucking guy on the face of the earth", both of whom are tightly linked to the American Turkish Council (ATC). In turn, the ATC is so tightly linked to AIPAC that it's been referred to as the "mini-AIPAC".

The other person of interest who was involved with Jeffrey's ISOG was Dick Cheney's daughter, Elizabeth. Even now that she's out of public service, she's still doing a lot of footwork for ISOG, from the WaPo:

. . . judging from her remarks at AIPAC, Liz is one Cheney unhappy with key elements of U.S. Mideast policy, from Lebanon and the peace process to how the White House dealt with elections in the Palestinian territories. She was also critical of Israel's performance in the 2006 war in Lebanon, citing "Israel's inability, unwillingness to do what was necessary . . . to fundamentally deal a blow to Hezbollah."

"I think that getting back to a situation where our enemies in the region understand that America will stand up for its friends, that America will stand up for its principles and that we have red lines is critically important," Cheney told the friendly audience at AIPAC. "When those red lines aren't there, when our enemies like Iran and Syria begin to believe that they can act with impunity, you see situations like you have got in Lebanon today -- where Hezbollah now has a veto over that government, where Hezbollah will be able, I fear, to significantly continue its efforts to rearm in southern Lebanon, continue to threaten Israel and allow Iran a real chokehold on the region."

The big problem with Liz Cheney's AIPAC comments is that the US has no friends and fewer principles.

We'll be watching the news for more on Jeffrey and his confirmation hearings, both of which have been flying under the radar of official American state propaganda organs (i.e. the media). That fact alone makes me suspect that Jeffrey's appointment is something the regime doesn't want anyone to pay attention to.

Given the methods of the Washington regime, especially as regards the Middle East, "freedom", and "democracy", we should be prepared to expect the worst out of this appointment.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


"The people who cast the votes don't decide an election, the people who count the votes do."
~ Joseph Stalin.

Since we're just a little over six weeks away from the US presidential elections, you may want to take a look at a video of a C-SPAN press conference with so-called "third party" candidates in the US at Vineyardsaker's blog.

The Saker bills the video as an example of the "real opposition" in the US and I don't like to call them "third parties" because they are really the "second parties", with the Demopublicans and the Republocrats really forming only one political party. The only difference between the US and the former Soviet Union is that the Soviet Union had actual political dissidents.

Are the parties represented in the C-SPAN press conference really dissidents? Maybe. But, as the Saker comments, their biggest weakness is that the lapdog media, also known as "official state propaganda organs" totally ignore alternative parties.

Anyway, take a look at the press conference to get a view of a certain level of American dissent, such as it is. Run time is just over an hour. If you'd like to view the full screen version, check Youtube. For those of you in places where Youtube is banned, like Turkey, you'll be able to watch Vineyardsaker's embedded video because he's got it linked from another video site that may still be accessible from behind the Lokum Curtain.

Listening to some comments of US Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney got me to thinking about the whole hacked election results from the last two US presidential elections. In case you missed it, you may want to take a look at the documentary Hacking Democracy (Run time almost 1 hour, 20 minutes) to find out why it will be a huge waste of your time to go to the polls on 4 November.

You'd think some of those international organizations would come and observe the US elections to ensure that they're done in accordance with "democratic" principles, but I'm not going to hold my breath on that.

One item of interest that is not mentioned in Hacking Democracy is the fact that the Ohio congresswoman interviewed suddenly died recently from what is being called a "brain aneurysm" by state propaganda organs. In fact, state propaganda organs were expecting her to die, as can be seen by the editor's note that heads the article at the link.

Congresswoman Tubbs-Jones lodged a formal objection in the Congress against the electoral votes of 2004 that came from Ohio because of vote-count hacking that took place in the state, and particularly in her congressional district. You can read more about that at Harper's.

I find it very suspicious that Congresswoman Tubbs-Jones died on 20 August as we approach another presidential election scandal because I bet she would have been watching the voter hacking in her district like a hawk. Of course, I don't believe that she just up and died; I'm willing to bet that someone in the American Deep State assassinated her.

Remember--your vote really doesn't count.

From the Update Department: Some of you may remember that I posted a video of plans by former LA County District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi and his campaign to prosecute Bush and his administration for murder. Now he's found someone who will go ahead and do just that:

Lots of political candidates make campaign promises. But not like Charlotte Dennett's.

Dennett, 61, the Progressive Party's candidate for Vermont Attorney General, said Thursday she will prosecute President Bush for murder if she's elected Nov. 4.

Dennett, an attorney and investigative journalist from Cambridge, says Bush must be held accountable for the deaths of thousands of people -- U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians -- in Iraq, and that the Vermont attorney general would have jurisdiction to do so.

She said she would appoint as special prosecutor former Los Angeles prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, the author of "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder," a new book.

"Someone has to step forward," said Dennett, flanked by Bugliosi at a news conference announcing her plan. "Someone has to say we cannot put up with this lack of accountability any more."

In addition:

Dennett said Vermont is the ideal state to bring murder charges against Bush, since the state has carried the country's highest per capita deaths of soldiers in the war. It is also home to nearly 40 communities that moved to impeach the president last year.

"Lots of Vermonters feel very frustrated that the impeachment efforts did not go anywhere," she said. "This is another avenue for us."

Oh, you just know she's begging to have her votes hacked.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


"When a uniform exercise of kindness to prisoners on our part has been returned by as uniform severity on the part of our enemies, you must excuse me for saying it is high time, by other lessons, to teach respect to the dictates of humanity; in such a case, retaliation becomes an act of benevolence."
~ Thomas Jefferson.

War crimes continue in North Kurdistan, from Özgür Gündem:

The moment humanity died

These pictures, which reveal the dirty war in the region with all its clarity, were taken after a clash in Mutki, Bitlis.

This is the dirty war in the region

The practices which were put into use after intensified operations and clashes are not better than the ones of the 1990s. The troops who once became infamous by frequently cutting ears and [committing] beheadings, this time showed up in Mutki. After a clash on 26 August, these troops stepped on the eight corpses of HPG guerrillas and took a military souvenir.

The troops did not settle for poses

These troops did not settle for poses. The bodies that are seen in the pictures are whole, whereas the families of the guerrillas had declared that their bodies were in pieces when they [the families] buried them. In this clash Gülcihan Sönmez and Ümit Yakan were killed. Later on it was revealed that Gülcihan's body was in pieces, while Yakan's skull was crushed.

[1994: He is posing with his hands in his pockets. He extended his leg to the guerrilla's head, which he had crushed with a rock.]

[2008: The mentality did not change. First take a picture while stepping on a guerrilla's chest. After the picture, divide the body into pieces.]

On 16 September, these photos published in the Turkish daily Alternatif caused a tremendous reaction. Fatma Sönmez, the older sister of Gülcihan Sönmez, who was killed in the clash, commented on that treatment of the bodies as the moment when humanity died, from Yeni Özgür Politika:

"Even in Nazi Germany there weren't such things. Humanity must be ashamed of itself because of these incidents. No one is supposed to remain silent to this incident."

Hevals Gülcihan Sönmez and Ümit Yakan in life:

The atrocities and war crimes committed by TSK are typical of the war in North Kurdistan. Earlier this year, other shocking photos of HPG guerrillas captured alive by TSK in 2007 were published.

Such treatment is in violation of the laws of warfare as stipulated in the Geneva Conventions and protocols, as well as being violations of UN Resolution 3103:

3. The armed conflicts involving the struggle of peoples against colonial and alien domination and racist régimes are to be regarded as international armed conflicts in the sense of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, and the legal status envisaged to apply to the combatants in the 1949 Geneva Conventions and other international instruments is to apply to the persons engaged in armed struggle against colonial and alien domination and racist régimes.

4. The combatants struggling against colonial and alien domination and racist régimes captured as prisoners are to be accorded the status of prisoners of war and their treatment should be in accordance with the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, of 12 August 1949.

[ . . . ]

6. The violation of the legal status of the combatants struggling against colonial and alien domination and racist régimes in the course of armed conflicts entails full responsibility in accordance with the norms of international law.

All of this stands in stark contrast to the treatment of TSK prisoners of war by HPG last year in the Dağlıca operation:

Meanwhile, at Kato, a major operation has been ongoing for 12 days, beginning on 6 September and ending today. The results include more than 30 TSK casualties and the retreat of the TSK. Earlier this year in July, HPG Headquarters Command issued a statement of congratulations to guerrilla forces at Kato.

Today's news of TSK's retreat shows that congratulations are in order once again for all of our guerrillas, but especially for those in the Kato resistance.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


"Don't try our patience, don't make us head to the mountains."
~ Pro-DTP protestors in Istanbul.

Ahmet Türk submitted DTP's oral defense against closure today, from Bianet:

Commenting about the defense after its presentation, Türk said, “The decision should be made by taking into consideration the European Human Rights Court (EHRC) and the Venice Convention.”

“In our defense, we told them that there cannot be weapons and violence in a democratic environment, that the weapons cannot be a solution to the pains endured. The DTP is a kind of party that demands democracy and wants people to live together with love. We conveyed these thoughts to the council. We hope that the decision will reflect these thoughts and that it will be positive.”

[ . . . ]

When you close the door to the democratic politics then the people who believe in this will lose all their hope. We are trying to embrace 72 million politically. If a party with 2 million votes is closed then the hopes of those people who believe in it will be shattered.”

About the question if the DTP was established with the order of Abdullah Öcalan, imprisoned leader of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), and if they had an organic connection with this party, his answer was: “The DTP is a platform where every correct thought is evaluated. We have no organic connection with the PKK. But, there is a 25 year old reality and we want this to end. We will take into evaluation every correct method.

Others are gathering signatures to keep DTP open:

Tanbay, the spokesperson of the Initiative, described the risk as “Closing the DTP means destroying the bridge of peace between the peoples.”

She said, “The Kurdish people have formed many parties. Every party that was formed by the Kurds was eventually closed by the Constitutional Court and their deputies were given various sentences. This is injustice. This is destroying the hopes for a peaceful and democratic solution.

Tanbay emphasizes that this is not only a problem of the Kurds, but everyone’s and adds that Turkey should stop being a graveyard for political parties; the pressures on democracy, the right to organize, to demonstrate and to think should end.

Ahmet Türk and the DTP remain optimistic as to the outcome:

The DTP regards the non-closure decisions given by the Constitutional Court in the closure cases against the Rights and Freedoms Party (HAK-PAR) and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) as favorable developments for its case.

I do not share the optimism. For one thing, there's a world of difference between DTP and either AKP or HAK-PAR. For another, since the Amed Serhildan in March 2006, the Ankara regime has not only refused to engage in dialog with DTP but DTP politicians have been under severe persecution from the regime. DTP mayors were convicted for their letter to Danish PM Rasmussen in defense of Roj TV. DTP Diyarbakır mayor Osman Baydemir was convicted for his remarks during the Amed Serhildan. Abdullah Demirbaş came under fire for providing multi-lingual municipal services to his constituents. These are only a few examples of the pressures the fascist regime has brought against Kurdish politicians in Turkey.

Add to all of that the fact that every true Kurdish party in Turkey has been shut down.

Pro-terrorism think-tank Jamestown Foundation doesn't share DTP's optimism either:

Despite the likelihood of the DTP case ending in closure, party officials remain defiant.

“The error lies not with what we do or say but in a system that doesn’t accept but excludes what we do or say,” said DTP Co-Chair Emine Ayna.

They get something else right, too:

Yet the policy of suppression traditionally adopted by the Turkish state toward any expression of Kurdish nationalism, whether it is peaceful or violent, arguably plays into the PKK’s hands, enabling it to claim that the only way for Turkey’s Kurds to try to win greater cultural and political rights is through the use of arms. The concern now is that if, as expected, the DTP is eventually closed down, not only will it be replaced by another pro-Kurdish party with a similar agenda but that Kurdish nationalism will become irretrievably associated with violence both in the eyes of the Turkish state and those of Kurdish nationalists.

In the eyes of the Ankara regime, everything Kurdish is terrorist and it has always been this way. But with every political avenue for the Kurdish people blocked, there is no other way but the way of the mountains.

Amazingly enough, a CHP parliamentarian has argued against DTP's closure:

[Adıyaman CHP parliamentarian Şevket] Köse told bianet that “Basically both parties were charged with the same crime; they were accused of having become the center of activities to annihilate the secular and democratic republic. If the AKP was not closed after it was found guilty then the DTP should not either. There will be discord, if it is closed.”

Although the Constitutional Court had found the AKP guilty of the crime mentioned above, there were not enough votes to close it; its punishment did not go beyond losing its treasury aid.

[ . . . ]

Köse believes that closing of the DTP will not be good for the politics. He wonders if the court will show the same sensitivity it showed to the AKP.

“The law should not be on the side of the strong, the one with the more votes. It should defend those with the one percent of the votes as well. Is not democracy about defending the rights of the minorities, too?”

“It does not matter whether or not I agree with the thoughts of those 21 fellow deputies. They are the representatives of the Kurdish citizens in the Parliament. I will not be pleased to see the DTP closed.” Köse believes even if it is closed, there will be another party to take its place.

Meanwhile, the paşas are asking to extend the parliamentary approval for cross border operations, due to expire in October. I wonder which way Köse will vote?

Monday, September 15, 2008


"The independence of Kosovo is a terrible precedent. . . They have not thought through the results of what they are doing. At the end of the day it is a two-ended stick and the second end will come back and hit them in the face."
~ Vladimir Putin.

Here's an interesting analysis of Turkey's newest dilemma, it's relationship with Russia, from Eurasianet:

"Turkey is torn between the latest developments, not only between Russia and Georgia but mainly between Russia and the United States and NATO as well. Even if we do not go back to the Cold War, at the point that we have arrived to today, Turkey cannot manage this crisis with ’platonic moves,’" said a recent commentary published by the English-language Turkish Daily News.

[ . . . ]

The Turkish-Russian relationship has changed dramatically in recent years, though. Today, Russia is Turkey’s largest trading partner, with trade between the two countries expected to reach $38 billion this year, up from $27 billion the year before. Russia also supplies close to half of Turkey’s crude oil and 65 percent of its natural gas, used both to heat Turkish home and to run many of the country’s power plants.

But following the invasion of Georgia, Turkey is suddenly facing the prospect of a resurgent Russian presence near its border. "There is a dilemma which Turkey faces," says Ihsan Dagi, a professor of international relations at Ankara’s Middle East Technical University. "Georgia is indispensable to Turkey’s overall Caucasian and Central Asian strategy, and is central to its claim to being an energy corridor."

On the other hand, he says, "Russia is mostly indispensable for the Turkish economy. What is at stake is Turkey’s economic stability."

Moscow forcefully reminded Turks of this fact when it imposed new trade restrictions in August on goods coming from Turkey, holding up Turkish trucks at Russian border crossings for lengthy inspections. For many Turkish observers, the new restrictions were a clear warning for Ankara not to pick the wrong side in the Georgia crisis. Turkish trade officials say they may lose roughly $3 billion over the short term due to the new Russian restrictions.

Turkey’s leaders, meanwhile, have been treading carefully around the Georgia issue. Although Turkey has publicly called for Georgia’s territorial integrity to be respected, it has refrained from embracing the stronger rhetoric coming out of Washington and Brussels. . .

And with good reason. Turkey was among the first countries to recognize the independence of Kosovo. It recognized Kosovo independence so quickly, in fact, that the Fethullahcı paper Zaman characterized the recognition as "rushed":

Turkey has become one of the countries that proceeded with quick recognition of Kosovo's independence; the decision was a surprise for at least some, given that Turkish authorities had previously announced that Turkey would not be the initial recognizer, but would ultimately honor the independence.

Skeptics also criticized the decision on the grounds that recognition of Kosovo's independence was inconsistent with Turkey's best interests in the region, further recalling that countries which currently deal with separatist movements opposed Kosovo's recent move.

It appears that the same author made a rush to judgment in defending the rush to recognition:

Most importantly, recognition of Kosovo's independence does not bear serious repercussions for Turkey; it is relatively a risk-free diplomatic move.

It was a rush to judgment that, in its haste, overlooked the fact that "Russia is mostly indispensable for the Turkish economy", as stated by İhsan Dağı. Analysts at the Eurasia Daily Monitor, operated as part of the pro-terrorist thinktank, the Jamestown Foundation, explained away Turkey's rush to recognize Kosovo independence as a mixture of "pragmatism and self-interest":

Turkey’s decision to recognize Kosova stems from a mixture of pragmatism and self-interest. Kosova represents both an opportunity and threat to Turkish policy. On the positive side, Ankara might be able to use the issue as leverage to gain recognition for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). This self-declared state was established after the Turkish military invasion in 1974, but so far the only significant international actor to recognize it is Turkey. On the negative side, if Kosova’s action triggers a burst of unilateral declarations of independence by national minorities clamoring for freedom across Europe or the world, Turkey’s Kurdish minority might join the bandwagon and begin agitating for similar action. Ankara cannot have overlooked the fact that a number of countries with significant minorities, including Spain, Kazakhstan, Russia, and China, have all declined to recognize Kosova’s independence for this very reason.

Let's call to mind a quote from an analysis on the Russia-Georgia-Ossetia situation from Noam Chomsky:

[Former US ambassador to Russia Jack] Matlock is not alone in regarding Kosovo as an important factor. “Recognition of South Ossetia's and Abkhazia's independence was justified on the principle of a mistreated minority's right to secession - the principle Bush had established for Kosovo,” the Boston Globe editors comment.

The oil men of the Bush administration have attempted to explain away the need for Kosovo independence as a principle of human rights and not as a principle of the free-flow of Caspian energy resources. In this respect, these liars are in complete agreement with UN Resolution 3103, which states:

1. The struggle of peoples under colonial and alien domination and racist régimes for the implementation of their right to self-determination and independence is legitimate and in full accordance with the principles of international law.

2. Any attempt to suppress the struggle against colonial and alien domination and racist régimes is incompatible with the Charter of the United Nations, the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and constitutes a threat to international peace and security.

3. The armed conflicts involving the struggle of peoples against colonial and alien domination and racist régimes are to be regarded as international armed conflicts in the sense of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, and the legal status envisaged to apply to the combatants in the 1949 Geneva Conventions and other international instruments is to apply to the persons engaged in armed struggle against colonial and alien domination and racist régimes.

4. The combatants struggling against colonial and alien domination and racist régimes captured as prisoners are to be accorded the status of prisoners of war and their treatment should be in accordance with the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, of 12 August 1949.

5. The use of mercenaries by colonial and racist régimes against national liberation movements struggling for their freedom and independence from the yoke of colonialism and alien domination is considered to be a criminal act and the mercenaries should accordingly be punished as criminals.

6. The violation of the legal status of the combatants struggling against colonial and alien domination and racist régimes in the course of armed conflicts entails full responsibility in accordance with the norms of international law.

Now, the same author who rushed to judgment in defense of Turkey's recognition of Kosovo independence included the following ignorant remarks:

Skeptics refer to Turkey's ongoing problem with regard to Kurdish ethno-nationalism, suggesting that Turkey should not have recognized Kosovo's independence since this would set a precedent for the separatist Kurds. However this allegation is baseless simply because Kurds will not attempt to gain a state of their own unless they have to undergo the same process as the Kosovars did; in other words, if they are not subjected to inequality, repression and persecution, they will not show an ambition toward independence. Even if they did, their quest for creating a separate state would not be honored by the international community. This considerably alleviates Turkey's concerns in regard to the Kurdish problem.

Everyone knows--even if they lie about it or refuse to admit it--that the Kurds of Turkey have been subjected to nothing but "inequality, repression and persecution" since 1923. Everyone also knows--even if they lie about it or refuse to admit it--that the US has been instrumental in helping Turkey carry out "inequality, repression and persecution" against the Kurdish population of Turkey for decades. But now US power is on the decline in the region and will continue to be eclipsed by Russia.

Russia bitterly protested the independence of Kosovo and included a warning from Vladimir Putin:

"Our position is extremely clear. Any resolution on Kosovo should be approved by both sides," Putin said. "It is also clear that any resolution on Kosovo will set a precedent in international practice."

Analysts said the comments could mean that if Kosovo declares unilateral independence, Moscow could support independence for pro-Russian separatists in Georgia.


Russian President Vladimir Putin charges that Western support for the newly declared state, torn from Serbia this week, is "immoral and illegal" behavior that will provoke a global storm of separatism and explode the international order.

Turkey now finds itself in a dilemma of its own making. Russian payback for Turkey's rush to recognize Kosovo independence is upon it, with Turkey's economy and energy needs heavily dependent on Russian whim. When Russia settles the Georgian Question--and it most certainly will settle it according to its own criteria--Turkey can be pressured into settling its own Kurdish Question politically, one which is long bloody with "inequality, repression and persecution".

This is a goal that the PKK has long struggled to achieve, and current restructuring of regional relationships is a moment of opportunity that the Kurds of Turkey cannot let slip by.

In the meantime, Russia has issued warnings to Israel from both PM Medvedev and Foreign Minister Lavrov, as it renovates a Syrian port for use by the Russian navy.

By the way, CNN seems to be in trouble in Russia for not airing its recent interview with Putin in its entirety:

The word on the street here is Putin is out for blood. It's payback time. According to a source with high-level government connections, the Russians are planning punitive actions against CNN. At this point, it is just a rumor, but they are preparing to kick out about half of the half-dozen Western journalists working at CNN's Moscow bureau. Sooner or later they're going to have to apply for a visa renewal and that's when it's gonna go down. They'll be denied, clean and quiet like. We can only pray that the tool Matthew Chance is up for a new visa soon.

Oh, it's definitely time for the media lapdogs to get their well-deserved comeuppance.