Wednesday, May 31, 2006


"Both a good woman and a bad woman need the stick." ~ Italian proverb.

Over the last weekend, an article came out in Britain's Telegraph about the detention of Dr. Roya Tolouee, a Kurdish human rights activist from Iranian-occupied Kurdistan. We all remember when she was arrested, at the beginning of last August during the uprising sparked by the Iranian state's murder of another Kurdish activist, Shivane Qadri. Amnesty International has a decent synopsis of the uprising, an event the international community seems to have missed.

Dr. Roya escaped to Turkey, but since Iranian agents run wild and free in Turkey--in a way reminiscent of how they used to run wild and free in Berlin and Vienna--Dr. Roya was finally accepted into the US under asylum status at the end of April, 2006, thanks to the help of an Iranian opposition group, Alliance of Iranian Women. Dr. Roya has begun to speak a little about her ordeal as a prisoner of the evil mullahs and, as the Telegraph reports:

Miss Tolouee's account of her ordeal confirms recent reports from opposition groups that Iranian intelligence officials use sexual abuse against female prisoners as an interrogation technique and even rape young women before execution so that they cannot reach heaven as virgins.

Few women from the Islamic world are willing to discuss such matters, even with each other, but Miss Tolouee said that the regime routinely committed sexual attacks against female detainees.

But we all knew this, didn't we, even as we first read the news of Dr. Roya's arrest.

The agents of the evil mullah regime may be unique in their zealousness for making sure women stay out of paradise, but they are not the only ones to routinely and systematically use rape as a means of physical and psychological torture. Now, if you are under 18, or you are squeamish, please leave Rastî and go read something else, play online poker, or get a snack, because the next part of this post is something you don't want to read.

To give everyone an idea of what happens to Kurdish women in prison, I have something from a veteran Kurdish campaigner of the IHD, Eren Keskin. She quotes a portion of the statement of a Kurdish woman to her lawyer, about her time in detention:

"On 21 November RK and I were arrested in Izmir. We were in a car belonging to a relative of mine. I was put onto the back seat of another car and immediately the first sexual interference began. They then drove to a very isolated, winding road, where they stopped the car and made me get out. They fired twice into the air and said "We've killed him", meaning RK. They then forcibly stripped me naked and the sexual assault began again.

"From there they took me to the police station. They forced a kind of wet sponge under my body and attached me to an electrical frame. I was tortured intermittently with electric shocks for several hours. All the while I could hear the screams of my companion.

"Then I was put on a table. Not long before my arrest I had been operated on for a cyst. I felt an object touch the place where the operation had been carried out. I believe that it was a pistol. Then they brought a stick. They forced me onto my knees and slowly began to push the stick into me from behind. Suddenly they pulled me down sharply so the whole stick went into me. I began to bleed. Then I was given more electric shocks. They were making comments like ìThat tastes goodî. Then one of them got on top of me and raped me. I felt myself begin to bleed. Then they gave me more electric shocks; this time without interruption."

After long discussions with her solicitor, the press were informed and what had happened was made public. Zeynep Avci made a statement through her lawyer, demanding that those who were responsible be imprisoned. She gave a description of the officer who raped her. However there has still been no official inquiry. No official medical evidence has been sought and, despite several applications, a gynaecological examination was refused. The only request for such an examination which was successful was to a medical practice in Istanbul and an examination was carried out there. As the internal judicial process seems hopeless, Zeynep's solicitor has taken her case to the European Court of Human Rights.

[ . . . ]

Overlong time in police custody plus the use of torture (rape) In the meantime, using a confession forced out of her by means of torture, Zeynep Avci has been charged under section 125 of Turkish criminal law. This charge carries the death penalty.

[Note: Article 125 of the old TCK stated: “It shall be an offence, punishable by the death penalty, to commit any act aimed at subjecting the State or any part of the State to domination by a foreign State, diminishing the State's independence or removing part of the national territory from the State's control.”]

The case of Zeynep comes from 1997, but the problems still persist as recently as 2004 and 2005, according to Human Rights Watch. The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) indicated concern at the presence of Turkish troops in Afghanistan in 2002, because of the Turkish state's permissiveness regarding impunity of its security forces with regard to Kurdish women. They also seemed to be pretty pissed off that the Turkish government's special envoy to Afghanistan characterized charges against the Taliban as "baseless."

We know that these things happened in Iraq as well. In fact, Saddam's Iraq maintained professional "violators of women's honor" on the state's payroll. Neither have we forgotten the Kurdish women and girls of Anfal, who were sold to Egypt.

No, indeed, we have not forgotten any of these atrocities.

An interesting, and extremely accurate, characterization is made by Eren Keskin in the statement containing Zeynep's testimony. Keskin states that the violence that permits torture and impunity of those who commit torture as "our reality." Sadly, the situation has become "normal." She further mentions "patriarchal structures" that, in conjunction with the Turkish government, continues to maintain a status quo of discrimination against women.

A discussion of the problem of patriarchy can be found from another Kurd, a more religious Kurd, Edip Yuksel. In an article discussing women's rights, he makes the argument that patriarchy, priesthood and preceptors (education systems) have created an environment conducive to the severe oppression and discrimination against women. He calls for reformation in Islam, supported by human rights organizations, in order to undo the damage done by the three "P's" and establish a foundation for a just status quo. Give Edip a read. He's not always easy, but he is always great. His website is here. Under his Law & Politics link, make sure you read "Cannibal Democracies" and the commentary on the same.

It is Kurds like Eren Keskin and Edip Yuksel, and organizations like IHD and KWAHK, among others, who have been at the forefront of an extremely difficult battle against a regional status quo which encourages violence against Kurdish women. Friends and allies are always good to have in the battle, but Kurds, themselves, must be the root of changing the status quo that permits violence against women as "normal."

Besides, precious few are going to help Kurds anyway.

Where, oh, where are the fat, feminist cows of the West on this? Has anyone heard them call for an end to any of these atrocities? Has anyone heard them call for an end to any of this, not only for Kurds, but for the entire Middle East? Have they ever condemned honor murders or the trafficking of women (a specialty these days, it appears, of the evil mullahs as well as their surrogates in Iraq) or female genital mutilation? We hear nothing from them, do we, and why is that?

For one thing, they've gone whoring after totalitarian political Islam. They prefer sleeping with Ahmedinejad or al-Zarqawi or bin Laden--at least ideologically--and to condemn anything that these guys enforce, attempt to enforce, or hope to enforce, is anathema because it might violate multiculturalism. This is a code word that permits moral cowards to scurry away from actually having to confront ugly little issues like systematic rape-in-detention, honor murders, or cocooning a woman in miles of black fabric because she is wicked in nature. In their book, to speak or work against any of these evils, would be equal to passing judgement against them, and that would be racism. To demand an accounting of the mullahs because their official state "violators of women's honor," would be to pass judgement on the religion of the mullahs, and these feminists would label any attempt to do so as religious discrimination.

Another reason they won't criticize any of these evil doings is because the guys who enforce, attempt to enforce, or hope to enforce them are all anti-American. The enemy of my enemy is my friend--this is the moral gutter in which these feminist vermin thrive. Deep inside, they probably whisper to themselves that "those" people have been doing "those" things for thousands of years. "Those" people don't know any better and they can't know any better, so let them continue to do "those" things.

Besides, the Americans are "persecuting" poor, helpless Ahmedinejad, al-Zarqawi and bin Laden, so to hell with those who are really oppressed. Remember, it's not about women like Zeynep, Dr. Roya or hundreds of thousands--if not millions--of others; it's all about US hegemony.

We might consider too, that since these feminist cows are so far removed from their heydays of heady street activism, in which they protested every injustice that came their way, they have forgotten what it's all about. It doesn't hurt that they've finally made tenure in some pasture of Western academe, where they can comfortably munch the sweet green grass and become mesmerized by the sounds of their own cowbells, clanging out a tune from the Lunatic Fringe. In other words, they've reached their comfort level.

Finally, these feminist cows simply don't give a damn what happens to Kurdish women or others. If they did, they'd be all over Turkey because it's an ally of the US. As such, it is a perfect target. Instead, they are silent for the sake of bringing a fascist country into the economic arrangement known as the European Union. The fact that everyone forges ahead with this little charade, even as the whip comes down more viciously on Kurds, is a certain indication that more comfort, more ease, more pampering, and more money will be on the way for everyone.

They will keep their eyes tightly closed and dream their fantasies so that they won't have to see that their comfort is derived from the rape of Kurdistan.

UPDATE: There is an update on the Harrisonburg Kurds at Max Speak, You Listen!

Monday, May 29, 2006


“People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.” ~ Dave Barry.

I wonder, sometimes, why certain things make it into the media, while more important things don't. I saw just such an article last week. I didn't think it was important enough to write about but I suspected certain quarters would definitely comment on it, and they have started to do so.

I am referring to an article from The Washington Times, titled "'Good news' from northern Iraq".

About the whole question of Saddam's WMDs being sent to Syria, speculation about that was going around in Kurdish circles way back in 2003, so it's not news. About Georges Sada, who knows and does it matter? The guy claims to have said the things he said to the Ba'athi, and to Saddam and to Qusay, and he survived? That's one for Ripley's Believe It Or Not. I have only two words about this: Khidir Hamza.

Enough said.

On to the part of this that really concerns me, and that is the subject of Christians, and other minorities, in Kurdistan. The subject of Christians in Kurdistan is not new. Neçirvan Barzanî had an interview with Michael Rubin in the autumn of 2002, before the war, when no one was too concerned about Christians or anybody else in the region. In a reply to a question about Turkmen, Assyrian, Chaldean and Armenian status in South Kurdistan, this is what Neçirvan said in reply:

There is no thought of or need for reconciliation as there is no dispute between the communities. The great majority of Turkmen here support and participate in the democratic experiment of the people of Iraqi Kurdistan. That support and participation is evident through their involvement in all areas of the Kurdistan Regional Government and in the local community. Turkmen practice the freedoms that are afforded the people of the region in general. Furthermore, the region's efforts to establish a civil society in which Turkmen as well as Kurds, Assyrians, and Chaldeans participate are actively supported by all communities. This is a willing and voluntary participation by the great majority of the people in the region with the aim of creating a better future for all.

As with any other group of people on earth, including Christians, there are idiots who engage in individual acts of discrimination, and Neçirvan admits that, too, in the interview. More recently, there was an article on KurdishMedia by a Christian from South Kurdistan, in which he remembers that under the Ba'ath regime, Kurds and Christians fought together against a common enemy, from before the time of the Ba'ath. Actually, none of that is news either, but it is common knowledge among Kurds and Christians in South Kurdistan.

Michael Totten recently completed a visit to South Kurdistan, and he mentioned the subject of Christians:

Arab Christians from the south and the center of Iraq are actually given money and housing by the KRG if they move north. Insisting on a purely Kurdish region or a purely Muslim one is the last thing on the establishment’s mind. What they want is geographic federalism or sovereignty. And they need as many well-educated, competent, and trustworthy people as they can find. They don’t care about race, and they don’t care about religion. They are concerned strictly with numbers and security. It's just that some groups are more trusted than others. Arab Christians will never join an Islamist jihad, as everyone knows. And the Kurds trust Arab Christians not to join the Baath either. Arab Muslims can and do move north to Kurdistan as well, but they need approval from the KRG and they are not given incentives.

I can confirm Totten's information myself. Last year, I happened to visit the Christian (Catholic) church in Ainkawa a couple of days after the election of the new pope. I was curious about the opinions of the Ainkawa Christians on this matter, as well as their general opinions about life in Kurdistan after the war. I was fortunate enough to arrive at the church while one of their charitible organizations was arriving for a meeting, and they were gracious enough to talk to me over tea. What Michael Totten wrote is the truth. The KRG does subsidize Christian refugees from Arab Iraq, while the Christians of Ainkawa help to find housing for newly arrived families--no easy task in a place where housing is at a critical shortage for everyone, including Muslim Kurds. The Christians of Ainkawa also check up on the refugee families to make sure they are all right, are settling in and are not cheating the charitible organization or the KRG.

The church runs its own school and is free to teach any subjects unique to the Christian community, which is a good thing because the town is teeming with young people. They have the freedom to preserve their unique culture and religion, something which, for example, Muslim Turks deny Muslim Kurds.

On one of my road trips with friends, we had the pleasure of the company of a Berwarî tribesman, who wanted to act as our guide through his tribal area. I'll call him, Azad. Azad also happened to be a veteran KDP pêşmerge, who had spent most of his life fighting the Ba'ath. We went through many tiny villages in the northern part of Dohuk governorate. Some of the villages happened to be Muslim, some happened to be Christian, some happened to be mixed, where one could view both mosque and church only a few hundred yards away from each other. All of these villages are now quiet and peaceful, far more so than anything I have encountered in the States, or anywhere else for that matter.

In one Christian village, as we stopped to take in the view and listen to Azad reminisce, children brought us glasses of cold water to drink, no different than the Muslim Kurdish children who immediately appeared with cold water from Shanadar Cave, after a friend and I made the hike up the mountain to see the cave.

Going through another village, an Armenian village, on the way to visit some old friends of Azad, we had to stop the car numerous times because the villagers saw Azad, and had to have a moment to chat with him. He had been a familiar face in the area for many years, fighting to protect everyone from a common enemy, regardless of whether they were Christians or Muslims, Armenians, Chaldeans or Kurds. The relationships between Azad and the people of the area were born during times of violence, when life or death loomed large for everyone, and everyone helped everyone else to survive. Nothing about these relationships is superficial, and that is, perhaps, the greatest thing about Kurdistan.

Another religious group can be added to the Muslim/Christian mix: the Yezidis. The holiest site of the Yezidis, Laliş, where Şêx Adî is buried, is not far from Dohuk. We decided to go to Laliş one day. We took off our shoes and socks before getting out of the car, as the Yezidis require that one go barefoot on their sacred grounds. We went freely through the temple, we inquired about the large, outdoor vats for storing olive oil, which is used to burn lamps, we drank the water as we exited the temple. Again, it was quiet, peaceful and beautiful.

Throughout the area, there are Yezidi villages and mixed villages. Dohuk itself is mixed and the next largest mixed town is Ain Sifne. As you come down into the town from the north, you can see mosques, churches and Yezidi temples, as their profiles reach into the sky above the town's other buildings. After a day on the road, this is a good place to stop and buy a beer and a few bags of pistachios, as I and my friends, a carload of Muslim Kurds, did. This will help to tide you over until you get to the little restaurant on the road between Baadre and Dohuk, and your kebabs are served to you with plenty of warm nan.

The only thing lacking, which would make South Kurdistan complete, are the Kurdish Jews.

We spent a few days in Silêmanî, to see the sights and visit an old friend of one of my Dohukî friends. We had the honor of hearing his father, a tribal chief from Xanaqîn, speak about his history. He is a great one, who began to resist the Baghdad government in the 1950's, fought under Barzanî Namirî, and later became a distinguished pêşmerge of the PUK. One of the things this great one wished to do, was to be reunited with his boyhood friends, friends who had left Kurdistan in 1948 to go to Israel. After so many decades, so many battles, so many hardships, this man fondly remembered the Jewish neighbors he grew up with, and longed to see them again.

What was that that Michael Totten said? "They don’t care about race, and they don’t care about religion. They are concerned strictly with numbers and security."

Uh, yep. That's about the size of it.

It seems that Masud Barzanî has no objection to a political relationship with the Israelis. Last June, UPI reported Barzanî saying that when an Israeli embassy would open in Baghdad, he would invite the Israelis to open a consulate in Hewlêr. More recently, Barzanî reiterated that sentiment, from the Hewlêr Globe:

“I wonder why we are always obsessed with this. The Israelis are present in all Arab countries and it is regarded as normal... We are a part of Iraq. We will let an Israeli consulate open in Erbil whenever an Israeli embassy opens in Baghdad,” Kurdish President Massoud Barzani commenting on possible Israeli-Kurdish relations during his visit to Kuwait.

From that same page, an editorial on the matter states:

It is almost a common agenda of those leftists of regional countries and Europe as well as radical Islamic groups to accuse southern Kurds of being puppets of Israel.

[ . . . ]

There is neither any logic nor any sense behind this shallow indictment. The Kurds as an oppressed nation have all the right to enter into relations with any regional or international powers. As long as these relations are based on Kurdish national interests, nobody has the right to accuse the Kurds for being pawns of those powers.

[ . . . ]

The KRG not only has the right to do so, but it should also have relations with Israel as long as this relation serves the Kurdish interests. If the Muslim Clerics, or other groups are sensitive towards Israel, they should also question the other Arab countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel. It would be advisable for the Kurdish leadership not to bind themselves with Baghdad on this issue. Baghdad may or may not have relations with Israel, but the Kurds should look for their own interests first.

Hypothetically, should Iraq declare war on Israel, would the Kurds have to follow the Arabs? The Israeli-Arab conflict is primarily an issue between the Arabs and Israelis; the Kurds do not have to take part in this conflict. The Muslim Clerics’ sensitivity on Israel is hypocrisy. Should they worry about their Muslim brothers’ treatment by Israel, why have they never displayed the same sensitivity over the Muslim Kurds’ treatment by other fellow Muslim countries like Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq?

Exactly so. And let me say that the words applied here to the Muslim Clerics, also apply to any and all non-Kurdistani Christians as well. To get an idea of what I mean, you can check some of the comments posted here. I really think there's whole lot of that "white man's burden" kind of thing going on with some of those people, which is too bad, especially considering that Western Christians didn't care what happened to Christians under Saddam. Think about it, does anyone remember hearing anything in the West about Christians under Saddam while Saddam was still in power?

Whether anyone likes it or not, it's long past time that Kurds considered Kurdish interests. That's called "politics." In the meantime, we should all think long and hard about who really needs whom in the Middle East [Hint: Who was the second most numerous ally in the Operation Iraqi Freedom coalition? And they weren't Christians.].

There's one other little item that I want to add before I forget. And it would be very easy to forget this because I have only seen one little AP report on it:

Report: Missile Parts, 'Dual-Use' Materials Illegally Shipped to Iran Through Turkey

Friday , May 26, 2006

ANKARA, Turkey — An Iranian-owned company, based in Turkey, has illegally shipped alleged guided missile parts as well as "dual use" nuclear-related material to Iran, including high-strength aluminum tubes, according to a recent Turkish government report obtained by The Associated Press on Friday.

The company imported the material to Turkey, the supposed end-user, from dozens of firms around the world, including the United States, and then shipped them to Iran apparently after falsifying documents to hide the nature of the material, customs inspectors said in the report dated May 12.

Turkish authorities would not comment on the report, which was first published by Cumhuriyet and Milliyet newspapers Friday. A government official provided a copy of the report to the AP.

The rest of the report is here.

The silence over this little nugget is deafening, isn't it? But I am not at all surprised that Turkey is playing this little game with the US and Iran. Count Pakistan in on these kinds of arrangements too. In 2005, the Prime Ministers of both countries met in order to discuss, among other things, defence industy cooperation. Apparently both countries were unhappy with their relationships with the US, and were failing in other alliances. Some analysts seemed to believe that joint defence cooperation would allow Pakistan to access NATO technology through Turkey. If Pakistan can do that, and has a history of selling nuclear information to Iran, what's to stop them, and Turkey, from cooperating with Iran on further nuclear developments? Both Turkey and Iran claim they only want peaceful, energy-related nuclear technology.

With allies like that, who needs enemies?

Sunday, May 28, 2006


"With more than 350,000 Turkish troops and security personnel in southeastern Turkey, you'd have thought that they might be able to keep a lid on it all. To a certain extent they have, but only just. Not too cool on the old human rights bit, though. Always a fourth force in Turkish politics, the military has staged three coups in modern Turkish history. There are two things the military hate: Kurds and Islamists. In 1997 it forced Necmettin Erbakan and his Islamist-led government to resign without actually leaving their barracks. Turkish intelligence (known as MIT) also operates out of Sulymanya, where it has an office dedicated to monitoring the PKK, which has an office a little further down the road. DP wonders what happens if they ever get stuck in a traffic jam together. A couple of icy smiles, perhaps?" ~

George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," but in the case of the recent Council of State attack, it doesn't appear that anyone has forgotten Susurluk. On the other hand, it may be that too many people have forgotten the details of the Susurluk Affair, and subsequent events.

For those who don't know--or don't remember--the Susurluk incident occured on November 3, 1996, when a Mercedes-Benz crashed into a truck on a highway in Susurluk. All but one of the passengers in the Mercedes died at the scene, but they were no ordinary passengers. Sedat Bucak, the only survivor, was a Kurdish feudal landlord with thousands of village guards under his command, as well as being a former True Path Party (DYP) Member of Parliament. Coincidentally, Tansu Ciller was not only the leader of DYP at the time, but also Turkey's Prime Minister.

But Sedat Bucak was a relative small fry. The stunning discovery in the overturned Mercedes, and the thing that turned a traffic accident into a national scandal, was the body of Abdullah Catli, in the car with a dead former Istanbul police chief and the erstwhile DYP parliamentarian. Abdullah Catli was on the lam from police (from Interpol, to be exact), had been a convicted international drug-trafficker, and was head of the Gray Wolves. More detail on the accident can be read here. The Susurluk Affair briefly pulled back the curtain to reveal Turkish government and military involvement with the international drug trade and other Turkish mafia activities, Gladio operations, the dirty war in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, and numerous extrajudicial murders. Abdullah Catli was the pivot around which all of this dirty business turned.

After all the initial fuss and bluster, the Susurluk Affair was concluded with the conviction of two, low-ranking police officers--and that's something to remember about the current bluster surrounding the Council of State attack.

In March, 1997, the MGK began its "soft coup" to remove Tansu Ciller's government from power. The MGK was less interested in Ciller's corruption--legendary even by Turkish standards--than it was in her political partner's version of Turkish political Islam, as articulated by the Refah Party, the precursor to Erdogan's AKP. Necmettin Erbakan had forged a coalition government with Ciller in July, 1996, only a few short months before the Susurluk Affair threatened to blow the lid off the Turkish pressure cooker. One could say that the pashas wasted no time in shifting focus away from the military's involvement in the dirty dealings that Susurluk was poised to reveal:

In early June 1997, the latter phase of the "soft coup" occurred, and that was the ousting of Erbakan from his office with the charges of "undermining the secular basis of Turkey's modern republic and its pro-Western stance in foreign and military affairs." In May, fifty-eight members of the armed forces were dismissed for being "involved in illegal activities with fundamentalist organizations" ("Turkish Generals Purge Pro-Islamic Officers," 1997, p.A4). Before resorting to this action, the generals had been deciding on defense matters such as the attack against the Kurds in Iraq. They were also infuriated when Erbakan would not reduce the number of religious schools and private Koran schools (Kinzer, 1997).

In November 1997 Turkey's public prosecutor brought Refah to the Constitutional Court on the charges of being "a rallying point for antisecular activities." Although the evidence presented was criticized as "pretty thin," on January 16, 1997 Erbakan, five of his cabinet members and one mayor were removed from politics for the next five years. The Turkish High Court banned Erbakan's party on the basis that it promoted a "subversive agenda," and was ultimately aiming at overturning secularism and introducing Islam, thus going "against the principles of the secular republic" ("What's the Turkish Struggle?", 1997, p.62).

Note that the public prosecutor brought charges in November, 1997, the first anniversary of the Susurluk accident. 1997 is a significant year for another reason. The Susurluk Affair not only held the promise of revealing the extent of the pashas' engineering of the dirty war against the Kurdish people, but it would have initiated a bit of a domino effect, also revealing the extent of US involvement. Thus, in October, 1997, then Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, approved the creation of the list of foreign terrorist organizations, also known as The List®. Among the thirty organizations included on The List® was the PKK. As the pashas shifted the focus, so did the US State Department, only two years after the same department officially admitted, for the first time, that Turkey had engaged in gross human rights abuses against Kurds.

The pashas have, on the other hand, found Islamists useful for certain purposes, such as described in this article from 2004:

The [Turkish] Hezbollah originated in southeastern Turkey, the poorest part of the country, in the 1980s and spread its tentacles to the major urban centers farther west where it fought running battles with leftist political factions. Southeastern Turkey is also the area where the Kurdish population is concentrated and where the Marxist Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) was waging its secessionist insurgency against the Turkish state during the same period. The strongly Islamist Hezbollah, presumably drawn largely from ethnic Turks, was ideologically and politically opposed to the PKK's Marxist and separatist agenda.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Hezbollah adherents, armed and trained by the military, and acting as vigilantes and death squads, were responsible for killing as many as 500 PKK cadres and members of the Kurdish intelligentsia. However, with the winding down of the Kurdish insurgency and the capture of its leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999, the PKK threat has all but evaporated in the predominantly Kurdish areas in southeastern Turkey. This has meant that armed Islamist cadres were left without a job to do and were subsequently targeted by security agencies. Consequently, they have reverted to their original extremist agenda and have turned against the establishment that had fostered them earlier. In this sense, the Turkish Hezbollah bear an uncanny resemblance to the CIA-created and supported mujahedin in Afghanistan who were left without a cause after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989. The former have come to haunt the Turkish secular establishment just as the latter came to haunt the American establishment.

It would seem that the words of Mark Twain appear to apply to the PKK: "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. "

Turkish propaganda likes to blame the training of Turkish Hezbollah on PKK, but there are a few difficulties with that claim. One is that the more savy journalists, like Stephen Kinzer and Jonathan Randall, make no mention of a Hezbollah connection with PKK. Neither does Professor Paul White, who has done some excellent scholarly work on the PKK. Another one is that, during the 1980's, the entire political milieu in which PKK received its initial training was not conducive to cooperation with Islamists. Neither did PKK's Marxist-flavored ideology tend to lead to cooperation; it wasn't until the 1990's that PKK began to make concessions to religion. A third reason is that it was during the 1980's that the Special Teams (Ozel Timler) were set up with US assistance. Since the US was used to the idea of working with Islamist elements in Afghanistan, there is no reason to think that they would not have encouraged Turkey to do the same.

Turkish Hezbollah burst onto the public scene in much more dramatic way than the Susurluk Affair, in a four-hour shootout with police in Istanbul, in January, 2000. The shootout was carried live on TV. When the dust had settled, the leader of the more extreme faction of Turkish Hezbollah was dead, but far more disturbing was the discovery of a mass grave on the grounds of the house that Turkish Hezbollah had been using. As it turned out, the mass graves were not an aberration:

The captured individuals soon turned informant and the incident was followed by a year-long series of police raids throughout Turkey (from Istanbul to as far east as Van, near the border with Iran), during which the mutilated bodies of dozens of Turkish Hezbollah’s victims were discovered. These individuals had been kidnapped, tortured, and buried alive, as was shown on video recordings made by the group. State security forces confiscated the tapes, and the government refused to release them to the public due to the brutality of their content. During the raids, more than 60 victims were found and hundreds of suspects arrested.

Elsewhere in that reference, it is mentioned that most of the victims of Turkish Hezbollah were Kurds and moderate Muslims, something which Stephen Kinzer also notes in his book, Crescent and Star. Stephen Kinzer further notes Tansu Ciller's connection with Turkish Hezbollah, in the form of state-supplied weapons, from page 100, Crescent and Star:

When newspapers reported that weapons found at Hizbullah hideouts had come from a military arsenal in the southeast, Tansu Çiller, who had been prime minister when most of the "mystery killings" were committed, proudly admitted her responsibility. "Yes, it was my signature on the order to deliver those weapons," she said. "We met and made a decision. We decided that terror was the main issue and that whatever was necessary to stop it would be done." To the suggestion that she might have exceeded her authority by hiring one terror gang to fight another, she replied simply and no doubt accurately: "The military chief of staff, the governors, the police--everyone worked together on it."

How much more deeply was Ciller's government, with MGK approval, involved with Turkish Hezbollah? We may never see actual evidence, since evidence has a funny way of mysteriously vanishing into thin air in Turkey. Or, failing that, it's simply ignored. Still, inquiring minds want to know.

So, what do we have here and what can it tell us about the future?

We have the initial incident in 1996, which came to be known as the Susurluk Affair, an event that threatened to expose the Deep State with all its vile connections among the Turkish military, civilian government and mafia. At the same time, the same forces harnassed the Islamist element, trained and employed it against the Kurdish people and national movement. The pashas used the more mainstream Turkish Muslim party (Refah) as the excuse to conduct a soft coup, in order to deflect attention from the exposure that the Susurluk Affair threatened and to reassert the MGK as the real ruling body of the state. While the pashas tried to deflect attention with the Islamists, the US backed their decision by shifting focus to the PKK by including it on The List®.

Since then, the radical Islamists got out of control and, by doing so, proved their intimate relationship with the Deep State.

Names that were prominent in the news in 1996 are making their way back into the news again, with the Council of State attack, from TDN:

Retired army Captain Muzaffer Tekin, who has links with both Arslan and many individuals who were part of the Susurluk scandal, was taken to the prosecutor's office on Friday for interrogation.

Tekin, who is suspected of being the leader of the gang that orchestrated the attack on the court, is reported to have had close relations with former Special Forces chief İbrahim Şahin and retired Major Gen. Veli Küçük, both of whom were key names in the Susurluk scandal.

Everyone seems to be skeptical as to the sincerity of those vowing to get to the bottom of the Council of State Attack, including Fikri Saglar, a former member of the parliamentary commission charged with investigating the Susurluk Affair, and Akin Birdal, former head of IHD and survivor of an attack ordered by one of the state's assassins, Yesil aka Mahmut Yildirim aka Ahmet Demir. Bianet interviewed both men about the connections between the recent Council of State Attack and Susurluk. Saglar stated: "To open the Susurluk file means challenging the system. Neither Erdogan nor Baykal have such a concern". Birdal: "Agar and the National Security Council should be put on the agenda... Without Susurluk and its continuation unveiled, there can't be democratization."

"The file known as the Susurluk file is related to the system. Because of this Erdogan does not have the strength. The only thing he has his mind set on is changing the secular democratic republic to moderate Islam. As for Deniz Baykal [the oppositional CHP leader], when he remembered that the soldiers are also in the Susurluk file, he said nonsense. Much too distant from what the opposition should be doing. They have no concern in changing the system" Saglar said.

Another blast from the past mentioned in the Bianet article is one Mehmet Agar, another former DYP parliamentarian, Interior Minister and security director. Huseyin Baybasin fingered him in a 1997 interview, as being heavily involved with Abdullah Catli. Huseyin ought to know, since he had run with the same crowd.

The next thing to watch for is a soft coup attempt. It may be that Ozkok has already initiated that, when he called for more pro-secular protests following the Ankara funeral and demonstrations. Buyukanit will seal the coup by finishing off the AKP after August, in a similar way that Refah was finished off. To deflect attention from the military's involvement with the Council of State Attack, we should also watch for increasing activity against the Kurdish people, the groundwork of which began to be set into place last December, with official visits of US officials to Ankara and Buyukanit's visit to Washington, followed by the springtime visit of General Peter Pace. All of this activity was capped off with Condoleeza Rice's official visit, at the end of April. That was when Turkish troops deployed along the border with South Kurdistan, something that may indicate the US has given its blessing to the pashas' aims, perhaps in exchange for cooperation on Iran. But then, the pashas like to burn those kinds of candles from both ends, don't they?

We can also be fairly certain that there will be no serious investigation into the Council of State Attack. It will be shelved just like the Susurluk Affair and just like the Semdinli bombing. Any convictions made will be for image, and these will inconvenience only those at the bottom of the food chain.

And so it goes . . .

For those interested in more information, there is a press release from DHKC, from January, 1997, containing information gleaned from the Turkish media at the time. There is a NYT article from the time, by Stephen Kinzer, and an article discussing Ciller's corruption.

Friday, May 26, 2006


"The Emperor himself had the uncomfortable feeling that what they were whispering was only too true. "But I will have to go through with the procession," he said to himself. So he drew himself up and walked boldly on, holding his head higher than before, and the courtiers held on to the train that wasn't there at all." ~ Hans Christian Anderson, The Emperor's New Clothes.

Things are really going to hell in Turkey. For the majority of Kurds (those who refuse to assimilate), Turkey has been hell for a long time, but the Turkish state seems intent on outdoing itself lately.

Bianet has the Turkey section of Amnesty International's 2006 report available. In general, AI seems to be in agreement that things are really going to hell in Turkey. After the events of the first half of this year, I predict AI's 2007 report is going to be a lot more intense. Give that report a read so that you can make your own comparison of how bad things have gotten.

Ever since the attack on the judges, the battle-cry has been "Secularism!" However, I am reminded of the story of The Emperor's New Clothes, because Turkey is anything but secular. Women are forbidden from wearing the headscarf in schools, state buildings and at state functions but, at the same time, religious education (Sunni Islam religious education) is a mandatory subject in the schools--even for those students who are not Sunni Muslims. Check out what the leader of Diyanet has to say about this, from The Washington Times:

"Every belief group is our partner," said Diyanet leader Ali Bardakoglu, who is responsible for maintaining Turkey's 80,000 mosques and monitoring their state-employed preachers.
But then he argues that Alevis are actually Sunni. "It's not that we are opposed to cemevis," he said, "but they are not an alternative to mosques. Alevis can have their semah [ritual dances], but they should fast, too."

The article refers to "Tunceli," which was the name the Kemalists forced on the city and region that are really known as Dersim, after the Turkish army slaughtered almost 40,000 of the locals. The position of the Diyanet is that Alevis are Sunni Muslims and, therefore, they are not a minority. A similar argument is used against Kurds: Kurds are Sunni Muslim, therefore they are not a minority. In both cases, for Alevis and for Kurds, this ideologically-based argument is the justification for the destruction of both cultures. It permits both to be forcibly assimilated, at least on the official level, even though in reality, both groups resist.

Turkey's answer for every problem is to apply force, to crush, to destroy, whatever it perceives as different, even while it loudly and belligerently proclaims, "Alevis are Sunnis," or "Mountain Turks live in the East," or "No woman can wear a headscarf at a state function." All of these statements can be summed up in one, simple statement that expresses the essence of the fascist ideology at work here: "Ne mutlu Turk'um diyene!" And in spite of the fact that this ideology, and all of the attitudes and actions that derive from it, has not worked for the past 83 years, this abject failure of a state is still touted as a model of "secular democracy" by a lot of people, many of whom really know better.

Yet we have opinon writers, like Gunduz Aktan at TDN, who tell us:

In the 83rd year of the Turkish Republic we are still grappling with crises due to the fact that we have not rendered the two founding principles of the republic as firmly entrenched. The recent statements made by the prime minister and the parliament speaker have made it all too obvious why exactly we cannot reach a national consensus on the principle of secularism. Meanwhile, our unitary structure is faced with a major threat in that the Democratic Society Party (DTP) has demanded a change in the structure of the republic with the support of terrorism that has begun anew in Turkey in parallel with the Kurdish independence movement in northern Iraq.

The fact is that the two founding principles--secularism and "unitary structure"--are lies. If the state were secular, why state control of religion? As for "unitary structure," it might have worked had the Ankara regime not resolved to slaughter or, failing that, deny the existence of the Kurdish people. This regime nullified all arguments of its right to rule over Kurds by its violent oppression; it is not legitimate.

To link the Southern Kurds with some so-called terrorism is a flimsy pretext to justify invasion of South Kurdistan. How quickly the Turks forget who has helped them in the South. The reality is that even if only one Kurd remained alive on the earth, anywhere on the earth, that one Kurd would be a threat to the "unitary structure" of the fascist Turkish state. Why? Because that one Kurd would stand as proof that "Ne mutlu Turk'um diyene" is a lie, and it doesn't matter how many mountains in North Kurdistan are defaced with this lie--it is still a lie. For another hint, check the title of this opinion article: Let us finish off this job. It sounds like a call for a final solution.

While Turkey's real problems such as underdevelopment, poverty and unemployment remain unsolved, we expend our intellectual energy -- of which we have a limited amount, anyway -- on these regime problems. Like gangrenous wounds, these problems prevent us from achieving economic development and consolidating the democratic system.

Underdevelopment, poverty and unemployment are most rampant in North Kurdistan and these are Ataturk's legacy to the people he wished to genocide. The reason for the intensity of these secondary problems among the Kurdish population under Turkish occupation is a result of Turkey's real problem: Fascism. Good, old-fashioned European fascism, because it is no secret that the ideological founders of the TC based their ideology on Mussolini's fascism. Turkey, as it exists today, is a dinosaur among nation-states. Until there is a constitution written by civilians who are knowledgeable in human rights, political science and democracy as it is actually practiced in real democracies, Turkey's real problem will remain, along with the attendant secondary problems.

If there is any doubt about the fascist nature of the Turkish state and the excellence of the system that perpetuates fascism, let's take an example from last week. On the day of the judge's funeral in Ankara the following was reported by the Associated Press, carried on the Washington Post:

"This is the Sept. 11 of the Turkish Republic," wrote Ertugrul Ozkok, chief columnist of Turkey's leading newspaper Hurriyet on Thursday.

How can a columnist write something like this, comparing the murder of one person and the shooting of four others, to the murder of some 3,000? From the same ideology which has as a slogan, "Bir Turk dunyaya bedeldir" (One Turk is worth all the world). He should have called it their Helebce; it would have been far more dramatic.

Let's not overlook this lie: "[U]nder Atatürk's leadership the groups created by these reforms fought and won a war of life-and-death and founded the Turkish Republic," because the fact is that Kurds also fought in that foundational war and the moment it was over, the Turkish army was deployed against the Kurds. Dersim itself is a prime example of that. Turkish injustice was not satisfied until everyone, even those who had no part whatsoever in the rebellion, was dead. The TC was established on the blood and bones of the innocent, something no doubt inherited from the Ottomans with their genocide of Armenians.

Aktan claims that "The young republic adopted a rhetoric of endless self-praise." Indeed it did, but not for the reason Aktan gives. The TC immediately began with "endless self-praise," a fancy phrase for what is referred to in real democracies as propaganda. The TC had to impose its ideology on the people, make it part of the education system, reinforce it at every turn and by every means, so that what we have today in the TC is a population, the vast majority of which is brainwashed. The modern Turkish media is part of the system, and it reinforces the brainwashing that officially began in kindergarten.

If, as Aktan states, the Turkish state "made great progress on the path of nation-building, state-building and economic development," and if the "drive continued after the country adopted a democratic system," then why does Aktan state that Turkey's real problems are "underdevelopment, poverty and unemployment?" If there is a democratic system, then why is AI documenting a slide backwards in freedom of expression, fair trials, impunity, torture, and human rights protections? If the Turkish state has made such great strides, why does it have a constitution that was written by generals in order to protect the state from the citizens. In a real democracy, constitutions, and the laws derived therefrom, exist to guarantee and protect the rights of the citizens from the state.

The fact of the total insufficiency of the Turkish constitution and all, lesser laws, Aktan's two recommendations for solving Turkey's problems are totally inadequate. In a democracy, no one and no political party is closed down for violating principles. In fascist states, yes, political parties can, and are, closed down for violating "principles," but real democracy is strong enough to bear any "violation" or challenge of its principles. The second recommendation is derived from the first, and so is its insufficiency, because if the foundational law is flawed, so is everything that derives from it.

Lest anyone think I am picking too much on Turkey, here's a little reminder: The entire international community has aided and abetted Turkey in its brutality. It has armed Turkey and has stood by silently as Turkey attempted to destroy the Kurdish people, severely persecuted religious minorities, and invaded and occupied other, sovereign nations. The entire international community continues to remain silent on these atrocities, while continuing to perpetuate the myth of a "secular democracy," or a "moderate Islamic state." The entire international community continues to coddle Turkey's fascist belligerence as it renews its dirty war against the Kurdish people (a type of warfare the entire international community was all too eager to train Turkish security forces in), and threatens invasion of South Kurdistan.

By the way, Kurds are not leaving Kurdistan. If anyone doesn't love Kurdistan, let them leave it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


A little item from Reuters reports of a natural gas pipeline getting blown near Dogubayazit, and you-know-who is getting the blame. No, not the Armenians--the PKK! You gotta admire those Turks though. They are Johnny-on-the-spot with that pipeline repair crew, aren't they? But if--oh, I don't know--Kurdish kids were dying of bird flu, it would be a bit of a different story, wouldn't it?

Oh, yeah, they also "stepped up security measures in the area." What does that mean, that they now have 400,000 Mehmetcik's in the area, instead of the recent 250,000 to 300,000?

In the meantime, on the opposite side of Turkey, there seems to have been a slight problem at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport. As Bloomberg reports that Lufthansa's cargo offices and handling facilities were destroyed. Zaman reported that airport officials are blaming the blaze on a faulty electrical circuit. VOA News reports something similar, saying that officials are putting the blame on an electrical circuit or a welder's torch. A Reuters reports Turkish television as noting that the airport's electrical system was affected in passenger terminals as well.

VOA News also cites the claim that TAK started the fire. The New Zealand Herald, carrying another Reuters report, states that TAK issued it's claim through Firat news agency. At this point, I haven't seen anything on TDN or The New Anatolian. I guess they're waiting for the government to tell them what to report.

Who is messing with whom here? Is TAK messing with the government? Are airport officials messing with TAK? No doubt Lufthansa is going to demand someone get to the bottom of this.

From the News-of-the-Weird file, TDN, is reporting that the Beyoglu municipality insists that traffic accidents are "God's will":

'Traffic accidents God's will':

ANK - Turkish Daily News

Traffic guides distributed to students by Istanbul's Beyoğlu Municipality describe traffic accidents as God's will, reports said on Wednesday.

The booklets were produced by the municipality to provide information to students about traffic rules.

The introduction was written by Beyoğlu Mayor Ahmet Misbah Demircan and the book was compiled by Halis Ece.

Page 59 of the book says, Due to centrifugal forces, when one turns the wheel, the vehicle is pushed towards the outside. If the centrifugal force overcomes the resistance provided by the tires, vehicles overturn. Without doubt, traffic accidents, just like all other small or large incidents, are God's will. That's why claims made by some that traffic accidents have nothing to do with fate are a violation of our beliefs.

Uh, yeah. Make sure you notify your claims adjustor of this fact, will you?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


"The Stooges have landed and have the situation well in hand!" ~ Moe, Out West, 1947.

Ever hear of Rasheed Qadir Qambari, Amir Rashid, Ahmed Haji Abdullah or Fadhil Noroly? Do they sound like they might be terrorists? Well, the US government thinks so, specifically, US Attorney John L. Brownlee, the FBI, and a host of other courageous law enforcement types. What did the four blow up? Nothing, they just happened to care enough about Kurdish families in South Kurdistan, including their own, to send them money.

According to the press release of the indictment, over a period of six years they spirited nearly $3 million out of the country and into Kurdistan. They even made a business of this, providing the service to the Kurdish community of Harrisonburg, Virginia. The problem is, calling their "business" a business was a mere formality. None of the men made any money on the transactions. They simply wanted to help other Kurds in the US and their families back in Kurdistan. Of course, there was one small catch here, and that was that the Patriot Act requires anyone doing this to obtain a license.

When these men started their "business," transferring money out of the country wasn't illegal, as reported by a local Harrisonburg lawyer:

What did these men do to make the FBI think they were bad guys? Actually nothing different from what they had been doing -- perfectly legally -- for several years: supporting their families here and back home. With no functioning banking system in Iraq, sending money home was complicated. So Rasheed and several other trusted men helped transfer money for other Kurds here. They deposited the money in their Harrisonburg banks, with assurances the procedures were proper, and had the banks wire it to bank accounts of friends in neighboring countries or the U.S.-funded NGO they'd worked for before, which distributed it.

Then everything changed. The Patriot Act, enacted a month after 9/11, made a simple transfer of someone's money a felony regardless of knowledge or intent, a radical shift in law governing money transfers. Rasheed and the others had neither knowledge of this draconian provision nor any wrongful intent. But under the Patriot Act provision, that didn't matter. A score of FBI agents raided the four families' homes, taking belongings, financial records, even one family's cash down-payment for a house that Hope Community Builders had built them.

The investigation revealed that what the men said they were doing was, in fact, the truth. They were sending money home to Kurdish families who needed it. Anyone who is familiar with the situation in South Kurdistan knows darned good and well that the banking system is virtually non-existent, in spite of the efforts of the KRG to create one.

You can read the complete story from the, and I urge you to do so. Another article can be found from a local university paper and one carried on Kurdish Aspect.

One blogger in particular has been keeping pace with developments, so here are links to his posts, in chronological order:





Please note also, that sentencing is now scheduled for June 26, and I'm sure it will be something to watch for. In the meantime, lets talk about the Patriot Act.

What does a judge and professor of constitutional law have to say about the Patriot Act? I found something from Judge Andrew Napolitano, and if you're familiar with the US, you will recognize the judge as a regular on the ultra-conservative, ultra-Republican FOX News channel. But Judge Napolitano is not at all ultra-conservative or ultra-Republican when it comes to law. He might be described as more of a Jeffersonian. Here's what he has to say about the Patriot Act:

It is a direct assault on at least three amendments to the Constitution: the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, and the Fifth Amendment. The PATRIOT Act legitimates the notion that if we give up certain freedoms, the government will keep us safer. I reject that notion from a moral and legal point of view. I also reject it from a practical point of view. It doesn’t work. The government doesn’t need our freedoms to keep us safer. No one—no lawyer, judge, or historian—can point to a single incident in American history where national security was impaired because someone insisted on their right to free speech or their right to privacy or their right to due process.

[ . . . ]

[T]he government cannot point to a single successful prosecution for terrorist activity where the evidence obtained was under the PATRIOT Act—at least a successful prosecution that wasn’t overturned eventually. The PATRIOT Act creates one new independent crime, the crime of speaking. The rest of the PATRIOT Act does not create substantive crimes. It gives tools, unconstitutional tools, to law enforcers. They have used those tools, but they haven’t gotten a single prosecution for terrorist acts on the basis of it. They’ve gotten five prosecutions having to do with political corruption and drugs. One of the things that John Ashcroft gave to Congress in return for no debate was the sunset clause. The other was that the PATRIOT Act would only be used in the war on terror.

Both of those promises have been violated. We know from newspaper accounts that the PATRIOT Act was used to gather information on political corruption in Las Vegas and against drug dealers elsewhere. The Intelligence Reform Act of ’04 gets rid of one of the sunset clauses.

In a segment from FOX News, as quoted here, Judge Napolitano has the following discussion with talking head, Shepard Smith:

Napolitano: The Patriot Act, with a search warrant, allows Federal agents to break into your house, make it look like a burglary, steal your checkbook and leave and they don't have to tell you about it for a year. Now, you may say, well, why?

Smith: They would only do that for terrorism, though. Isn't that what they're supposed to do?

Napolitano: That's what they're supposed to do, however, they have used this power to fight organized crime, drug dealing, pornography and political corruption. The last in the city of Las Vegas.

Smith: But surely they've gotten some terrorist convictions out of this?

Napolitano: They've gotten no terrorist convictions out of any of this.....

Smith: None?

Napolitano: ...evidence they've obtained out of the Patriot Act. Zero, never. They've gotten a series of guilty pleas, they've gotten convictions on these other crimes......

Smith: But not on terror?

Napolitano: But not on terror. They have done their best to keep evidence obtained under the Patriot Act from being introduced into Federal court because they don't want a Federal Judge to find the Patriot Act unconstitutional. Now, five Federal Judges have ruled on it so far, two appointed by President George H.W. Bush. All five have found it unconstitutional. They've found the self written search warrant aspect unconstitutional. They found the part that says 'thou shall not speak' unconstitutional. It violates the first amendment.

But the Justice Department keeps enforcing it and the Congress has just made it stronger, made it more difficult for people targeted under the Patriot Act, whether it's acts of terror or whatever to challenge the government's behavior.

Smith: What's the fear?

Napolitano: The fear is that Government Agents, without the restraint of a judge, will have too much power and will violate the rights that the Constitution guarantees us. Remember, we wrote the 4th Amendment because British soldiers had the right to write their own search warrants, we didn't want any of that. 200 years later we're back where we started.

Let's see, what kind of tally do we have from the Patriot Act? Drug busts? Check. Political corruption stings? Check. Mafiosi? Check. Pornography? Check. Kurds wiring money to family in the mother country? Check.

Terrorists? Zip. Zilch. Zero. NADA!

As we see in the example of the Harrisonburg Kurds, the Patriot Act also insinuates itself into the financial world where the subject of wire transfers comes up, but "financial institutions" are also defined as "auto dealers, jewelry stores, travel agencies, and financial service providers, as well as any other type of business the Treasury Department regulators deem to have a connection to money laundering." In other words, whatever the federal government defines as a "financial institution" is a financial institution, even if it's the neighbor's kid's lemonade stand on the corner.

But there is a slight problem with this, as the 9/11 Commission found out, quoted from the Reason article in the previous paragraph:

In a press release, Rep. Mike Oxley (R-OH), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee (which has not responded to requests for comment), cited the 9/11 Commission report as justification for the sunset repeal and other measures. But that report actually casts a skeptical eye on whether a broad-brush approach such as that contained in the PATRIOT Act would ever be able to find the terrorist money trail. For the 9/11 attacks, "Al Qaeda had many avenues of funding. If a particular funding source dried up, al Qaeda could have easily tapped a different of diverted funds from another project to fund an operation that cost $400,000 to $500,000 over nearly two years," the report notes in Chapter 5. And in a stunning statement in footnote 90 of Chapter 6, the Commission stated with regard to the reporting rules for wire transfer businesses that went into effect shortly after 9/11 and other anti-money laundering regulations, "It is an open question whether such legislative or regulatory initiatives would have significantly harmed al Qaeda, which generally made little use of the U.S. financial system to move or store its money."


Amazingly enough, the US had laws in place before the September 11 attacks. Federal laws, things like immigration laws and anti-terror laws, which were supposed to be enforced by federal law enforcement. The odd thing was that no one bothered to do their job and enforce these laws. So you get a bunch of Arabs who had a few visa irregularities, coupled with the fact that there were known al-Qaeda operatives among them, but why should federal government workers be bothered with this? It's only their job.

So we have a pack of baboons, known collectively as the FBI, along with a pack of chimpanzees, known as the old Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), who were too lazy, too stupid and too incompetent to enforce the law. What's the answer? Build another law, a "better" law, one with more "tools" so that the same pack of baboons and chimpanzees can, in turn, go around terrorizing innocent, hardworking citizens or legal immigrants, like the Harrisonburg Kurds. I mean, come on! These primates still won't bother with illegal immigrants and that's why everyone seems to have their panties in knots over illegal immigration.

We won't even go into the subject of NSA wiretapping. Did anyone check items number 7 and 12 on our list of characteristics of a fascist state?

What's a far better line of attack? Human intelligence (HUMINT). But HUMINT is hard, you have to learn a foreign language and culture, or you have to trust a native, plus it takes time and patience. Time and patience remind me of another problem with the Patriot Act. As Judge Napolitano repeatedly remarks, there was no debate on the Act before it was passed. Even if anyone in Congress had paid attention to the findings of the 9/11 Commission, there could have been a serious overhaul of the Patriot Act. It looks like now there are only two avenues of hope against it, the dissenters and the federal judges.

The reason for lack of debate, I believe, is that the Act was passed in a rush in order to help insure incumbent re-election. It was a way of proving that your local congressperson was actually doing something about terrorism. It was a way of proving that the White House was doing something about terrorism. It had the added bonus of covering federal primate ass--you know, the ones who weren't doing their jobs.

Besides, the Patriot Act helps US Attorneys, like John L. Brownlee, rack up the necessary brownie points to catapault them to ever more powerful jobs in the federal government. He might even become US Attorney General one day, or--Ya Allah!--Chief Justice of the Supreme Court! It's irrelevant that these brownie points were made at the expense of innocent people, both here and in Kurdistan. That's why Justice is always depicted as blindfolded, right?

As we await the sentencing of Rasheed Qadir Qambari, Amir Rashid, Ahmed Haji Abdullah and Fadhil Noroly, can we say that anything good has come of this federally-wrought mess? Believe it or not, the answer is yes. The greater community of Harrisonburg, composed of ordinary American citizens, have rallied behind the Kurds in their community. They have learned about Kurds and Kurdistan. They believe that the four Kurds should be exonerated and not punished, and have created a petition to that effect. Local university students created a documentary about the Kurds of Harrisonburg.

Additionally, letters of support have appeared in the local papers, one of which you can read here and another here.

So tell me, really, who are the terrorists?

Sunday, May 21, 2006


"I predict hot developments in the region. In such a case, Turkey will suffer greatly. " ~ Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The latest news is that four people have been charged in the judge-shooting incident, and the earlier bombing attempts of the Cumhuriyet office. In addition, the Financial Times reports a widening rift between the AK government and the pashas.

I kind of wonder myself if Ozkok's calls for more protests isn't the start of a soft coup. More about all the players can be read in this TDN article, including the case of the missing, mysterious leader of the "gang." I wonder how convenient that will turn out to be.

There was something from the other day, on The New Anatolian about the ultra-nationalist connection in the judge shooting. Since those charged are also being charged with the Cumhuriyet bombings, we can assume there's an ultra-nationalist connection with that, too. Pay attention to this quote:

Claims that Arslan is connected with nationalist circles, above all with Nizam-i Alem -- an ultra-religious-nationalist organization affiliated to the Grand Unity Party (BBP) -- were denied both by Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli and BBP leader Muhsin Yazicioglu.

There was something about the mention of these groups (Nizanm-i Alem, BBP, MHP) that reminded me of something. They had been involved with sending fighters to Chechnya a while back. You can find our Gray Wolf-Islamists referenced in a couple of old CNN reports on Russia, Istanbul: Gateway to a holy war and A Mujahedeen speaks: "Why I fought at Grozny". In that second one, you can get a pretty good idea of the opinion of these types for Kurds and PKK.

If we do a little free association exercise with all this, the truck accident in Turkey this weekend might come to mind. The LATimes carried an AP report, which mentions that the truck was carrying illegal Afghani and Bangladeshi immigrants. There is a more complete AP report carried on TDN, but the odd thing about it is that it doesn't mention the origin of the immigrants. Other news agencies seem to agree that the immigrants were, in fact, Afghanis and Bangladeshis. The AP report on TDN did, however, mention that the immigrants came through Iran. Heroin, jihadis and terrorism--Iran's three main exports.

So I wonder, were these immigrants simply illegal immigrants, on their way to Europe for a chance at work. Or were they jihadis?

Finally, let's remember what EU accession is really all about. Turkey's exploitation of the Central Asian and Caucasian oil fields in order to bring fuel to Western markets is certainly a good enough reason to overlook continuing human rights violations.

Remember that the next time you think about Kerkuk.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


“If you ever see me being beaten up by the cops, put down the video camera and come help me, alright?” ~ Bobcat Goldthwaite.

Someone else has made some comments on the PKK/HPG video, for which I posted a link earlier in the week (Note: The video appears to be no longer available, so I will have to think about uploading it somewhere, in order to keep it available).

The other comments on the PKK/HPG video are found at Atlas Shrugs. Although I think I understand the general drift of the comments, I'm a bit confused about their details.

For instance, I don't understand how PKK could have started out "wrong." What, exactly, does that mean? If it is in reference to the Marxist origins of PKK, I really don't know what else one would expect, given the Turkish political milieu of the 1960's and '70's, about which more information is found here. At the time, the left, particularly the Marxist left, was where one would find the main opposition to the state. The development of industrialization and modernization, the inability of the Turkish left to fully comprehend the repression of Kurds, and the Algiers Accord of 1975, were developments that lent fuel to the Kurdish nationalist fire in the North.

Then came the 1980 coup, backed by the US, which was the torch that lit the flame, and in 1984, the first PKK operations were engaged. More info on that can be found here:

In fact, behind the left-wing rhetoric, the PKK had always been a nationalist movement. Its promise to save the exploited of Turkey and the rest of the Middle East notwithstanding, its very formation represented a break with the Turkish Left and abandonment of the ‘‘common struggle.’’9 To be sure, this may have been directly and indirectly caused by a Turkish Left that sought recruits from the east and southeast as cannon fodder in its own particularistic struggle of the 1970s. Hence, its assumption of a nationalistic image is in fact not just in keeping with the times but also a return to its real self. Although a product of the doctrinaire Turkish leftwing movements, the PKK watched from close these groups’ destruction by the military in 1980. The radical and violent Left failed to succeed anywhere in Europe or the Middle East. By contrast, nationalist groups proved to have much longer shelf life. Nationalism has proven to have no equal in mobilizing them.

(Note: The two sources titled "Origins of the Problem: The Roots of Kurdish Nationalism " and "Enter the PKK" are from the late 1990's, but are very useful as historical reference to the Kurdish national movement in North Kurdistan.)

Is the reference to PKK starting out "wrong" a reference to the conduct of PKK's resistance? If so, then PKK itself has admitted that there were mistakes made in the past, especially during its 5th Congress, and later with the ideological changes it made that resulted in the creation of KADEK, KONGRA-GEL, and most recently by the establishment of the Koma Komalên Kurdistan (KKK). The idea of confederalism, the basis of KKK, is one that is already underway, as symbolized most recently by the DTP presence at the KRG unification ceremony in Hewlêr. Practically speaking, all Kurds have been looking to South Kurdistan since 2003, seeing it as an inspiration for other parts of occupied Kurdistan.

The Kurdish Diaspora has also had a huge role to play in the idea of confederalism, which ignores the borders that artificially divide Kurdistan, and which has been described as "transnationalism" by Martin van Bruinessen. It is Kurdish transnationalism that very well may be the root of confederalism and, given that the enemies of Kurdistan have attempted to destroy the wider transnationalism (i.e. through attacks against Roj TV, Kurdish publishing and print journalism, murders of Kurdish leaders in diaspora, to name a few instances), it is clear that confederalism is seen as a threat. Hence the massing of enemy troops, their attacks, the refusal to deal with legal Kurdish parties, and the targeting of Kurdish civilians.

As to a "complete end to all terrorist activities," I agree. The TSK and all covert Turkish security operatives must be removed from Kurdistan immediately. They have conducted terror operations against the Kurdish people for decades. The same holds true for Iranian and Syrian security forces. Until these hostilities against the Kurdish people end, there is a continuing need for Kurds to exercise the right of self-defence against these genocidal regimes. As Cemil Bayik recently stated:

We have no other option but to resist such attacks. Resistance is our legitimate right. Resistance is a right enshrined under international law. As long as the Kurdish Question remains unresolved we will resort to our legitimate right to resistance. We will not accept surrender or death.

What is certain is that US accommodation of its Turkish ally means that Kurds cannot look to the US for justice, so abandonment of self-defense would be more than foolhardy; it would be suicide. Neither can Kurds look to the EU for justice. Everyone can search in vain for an EU statement against the Turkish and Iranian attacks against Kurds. Such a statement would go against the EU's policy of support for the Ankara and Teheran regimes.

As for ceasefires, well, PKK has tried that a number of times, most recently from 1999 to 2004, although fighting on the part of HPG didn't really resume until last year. For all intents and purposes, the ceasefires have been completely useless because there is only one side engaged in ceasefire. Certainly, either the US or the EU could have encouraged the Ankara regime to negotiate. They could have ceased business deals, particularly on the American side, with all the military assistance they have given to Turkey.

But that didn't happen, so we can relegate those ideas to the "What if" file.

Let me also make clear that the Turkish, Iranian and Syrian regimes have used their own internal propaganda to foster hatred of Kurds. One example, from an Iranian, can be seen at comments on this DozaMe post, and another, from Turkey, can be seen in this video. Pay attention to the comments posted on that page in order to get an idea of the anti-Kurdish racism which is totally acceptable in Turkey. This is something that is almost impossible to explain to someone who has not encountered it, but it does not happen that people are born with this hatred in them; it is taught and reinforced, first by the family and then by society. There is a problem, too, in that Kurds do not discuss this racism enough, especially with outsiders. Is that because the problem is ubiquitous or because of the suspicion that no one will believe it?

Let's not be naive here and fall for the lies. Turkish, Syrian and Iranian "democrats" are dead set against extending "democracy" to the Kurdish people. Even Iraq has continued to insist on its "Arab character," thus, once again, disenfranchising the 4 to 5 million Kurds who are trapped within its borders. All of these "democrats" wax eloquent on the subject of "democracy" and "equality" and "brotherhood" within their respective regimes, but mention the K-word and the fantasies they attempt to pass off to ignorant Westerners vanish like smoke on a windy day.

Wrap your brain around all of that and then come and tell me who the terrorists are.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


"Damn everything but the circus." ~ Corita Kent.

Bianet has reported that there is a serious wolf problem in Istanbul, a Gray Wolf problem, that is.

It seems that a pretty big pack had managed to congregate at the court entrance, throughout the hallways of the building and in the courtroom itself, for the hearing of journalists Hrant Dink, Serkis Seropyan and Aydin Engin. They are the editor, editor-in-chief, and columnist, respectively, of the Armenian Agos newspaper, and previously they were up on charges of "insulting Turkishness," something that you can read about from the Jurist. This, by the way, is an Article 301 charge of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

There is another backgrounder on the legal hassles of Hrant Dink at IHD.

In this, their most recent legal adventure, the three are facing the charge of "attempting to influence the judiciary" (Article 288 of the TCK), because they wrote and published opinions critical of Article 301, and that is the rub.

Let me see if I can make sense of all this. We have three journalists who are accused of "attempting to influence the judiciary" because they wrote something critical of that article of the TCK which makes "insulting Turkishness" a crime, meanwhile, a few hundred Gray Wolves are allowed to present themselves en pack in order to attempt to lynch the defendants, verbally and physically attacked them in the halls of Turkish justice and the courtroom itself. Not only that, the defense lawyers were also threatened and abused in the same manner. The judge had to issue a warning to the Gray Wolves for "repeatedly interfering with the case."

So why weren't all of their sorry asses rounded up and remanded into custody pending their trial for "attempting to influence the judiciary" under Article 288 of the TCK?!

Today Ankara witnessed a big turn out for "secularism" in the wake of the shooting of five judges in Ankara yesterday, which resulted in the death of one of them. The shooter allegedly did the dirty deed because he opposed the judges' stand on the headscarf issue. Apparently the shooter had never given any indication of being strongly religious, and while being interrogated by an anti-terror unit, identified himself as having ultra-nationalist tendencies.

Kind of odd, isn't it, that the AKP ministers who showed up for the funeral had to make entrances and exits just like Hrant Dink, Serkis Seropyan and Aydin Engin had to during their day in court? From The Times link above:

Later, some 40,000 people marched to the city’s main mosque to attend memorial services for Ozbilgin, many of them chanting slogans calling for the government’s resignation.

They also booed when Abdulkadir Aksu, the Interior Minister, Cemil Cicek, the Justice Minister, and Abdullatif Sener, the Deputy Prime Minister, arrived at the mosque and chanted "Murderers out".

Police were forced to escort Mr Aksu into the memorial service, and Mr Cicek had to use a back entrance to flee a group of protesters who threw a bottle of water at him, private CNN-Turk television reported.

The biggest scandal here appears to be Mr. Erdogan's absence from the funeral. He must have been off working on his lawsuit against the old man who called him a traitor. Now, don't laugh! This is serious. This old guy hurt Erdogan's feelings, and it isn't fair to pressure Erdogan about his loyalty to the Republic with all the stress he's been facing lately.

You have to wonder about the so-called secularism of a state that makes a headscarf illegal, while at the same time enshrines a god in the preamble to its constitution and then, at a time of apparent national crisis, has worshippers kissing the god's temple. Well, mausoleum, in this case.

Is it just me, or is there something not quite right with these scenarios? Did everybody check items 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 12 and 13 on the fascist characteristics list?

Then we are expected to believe the Turkish state when they say that the only problem in Turkey is the "separatist problem" or the "terrorist problem" (for both, read: Kurdish problem)? The one little report on the misadventures of Hrant Dink and companions should put in perspective, for even the most feeble-minded, exactly where the real problem in Turkey lies.

As for the judge-shooting fiasco, here we have a guy, a lawyer, who is not outwardly religious, who shoots judges over a religious issue and then says he is sympathetic to the bozkurtlar. The leading political party sees its ministers booed and threatened by a 40,000-strong mob, so that the police have to escort them to safety. Not only that, but the mob also calls for an end to the government. I'm wondering how much of this spectacle was staged by the same people who brought us the dirty war and Semdinli.

I'm starting to think "coup." Does anyone remember 1980? Does anyone remember Diyarbakir Military Prison?

We shall see. After August, we shall see.

PLEASE NOTE: Another traveling blogger has written something about Amed, the fabulous capital of Greater Kurdistan, and the legendary Kurdish hospitality, in a post called Ode to the Kurds. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds. " ~ Samuel Adams.

From the Great-Minds-Think-Alike Department:

flash bulletin has posted an interview with Cemil Bayik of the Kurdistan Democratic Confederation's (Koma Komalên Kurdistan-KKK) Executive Council. The interview touches on such subjects as the EU reaction to the new dirty war, pressures against DTP, Semdinli, and what the rest of the year may bring.

On the subject of the EU, including Joost Lagendijk's recent comments, it appears to Cemil that the EU is not concerned with finding a solution to the situation of Kurds under Turkish-occupation because the EU has no Kurdish policy per se. We are reminded not only of EU inaction, but of actions which assisted the Turkish state to capture Abdullah Ocalan in 1999.

It is my suspicion that the reason we have seen no EU Kurdish policy is that the nature of the relationship that binds EU countries together is strictly economic. This relationship has nothing whatsoever to do with human rights, political rights, cultural rights--all the rights that Western peoples take for granted. I am willing to bet that if Europeans were questioned enough on the matter, we would find that the reluctance some EU countries have expressed over Turkey's accession has much more to do with the economic situation in "The Southeast," than any fears of being overrun by Islam or Turks, or whatever the hell excuse the EU is using today. We might consider the potential economic situation of "The Southeast" as a factor that would encourage the EU to engage in an effective policy to bring relief to the Kurdish people. However, Turkey's resumption of war is not conducive to investment on the scale that Kurdistan would need. In fact, there was another report today on TDN that told us about another drop for the Turkish lira:

The lira slid almost 8 percent on Monday to its weakest level since 2004 as capital flight gained momentum among investors spooked by Turkey's economic prospects and political jitters, and unease about emerging markets.

"Capital flight" means that people aren't walking, but they are running, away with their investment monies, investment monies that they were going to put into Turkey proper, and not "The Southeast." Somehow, the phrase "shooting oneself in the foot" comes to mind here, because that's exactly what the Turkish government and its renewed repression has done. This is not the way to make friends and influence people.

Cemil Bayik had this to say about the EU's attitude toward Kurds:

The EU is now calling on the Kurds to renounce their support for the PKK and Ocalan by talking about a solution "without the PKK and Ocalan". The EU knows very well that the Kurdish Question in Turkey can not be resolved without the involvement of the PKK and Ocalan. Thus through these statements the EU is strengthening Turkey's policy of denial and annihilation. The EU's attitude is feeding Turkey's violence and the continuation of war. If the EU wanted to resolve the Question it would not have supported Turkey, then Turkey would have been forced to take steps to resolve the Question.

The idea of renouncing the PKK or Ocalan is not likely to happen, and there was a post about that on Rastî back in December, 2005. The PKK and Ocalan have been a very strong influence in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan. That influence, and the ideas it has created, are not likely to be removed from the situation because nothing happens in a vacuum. Everything has a context, and all that went before influences what happens now. There is no getting rid of the influence or the organization because both will adapt and survive, as both have done so for thirty years. I agree with Cemil that to ride roughshod over Kurdish wishes in this matter is "smearing the Kurds based on biased information he [Lagendijk] receives from Turkish circles."

"Smearing Kurds" in this way is antithetical to the idea of democracy, a point which Cemil makes in the interview, and it's a point that was made on Rastî shortly after the serhildan in response to some of Lagendijk's remarks:

Well, well, well. . . the EU speaks out again. To be specific, the AKP's representative in the European Parliament, Joost Lagendijk, has spoken out against the right of the Kurdish people to back their own political parties. Shame, shame, Mr. Lagendijk, the right of the people to choose their own political parties and to support them is one of the bases of democracy.

[ . . . ]

Thousands of people turned out to accompany HPG gerîlas to their final rest. With which political organization does Mr. Lagendijk think the sympathies of these Kurds lie? If their preference is with PKK, then Mr. Lagendijk and Mr. Ozdemir, you have no place to deny them their political preference.

What does Cemil have to say about it?

We expect Lagendijk and the EU to respect the choice and the will of the Kurdish people. On 15 February (the anniversary of the abduction of Ocalan), 8 March (International Women's Day) and during Newroz people demonstrated their support for the PKK and Ocalan by chanting "PKK is the people". The Kurds carried posters of Ocalan everywhere and stated that Ocalan is the representative of their political will. Mr Lagendijk who talks about democracy does not recognize that and insists to the people that "Ocalan does not represent you". I do not think that this attitude reflects a commitment to democracy.

This leads into the interviewer's next question, and if you have a perverse sense of humor--similar to mine--you can find it somewhat amusing that the EU regards the Kurdish movement as "not being democratic." Let's go with Cemil Bayik's proposition that Joost Lagendijk, as chairman of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, gets told lies and propaganda about the Kurdish movement from "Turkish circles." Since when does a country that is run by its military get off making decisions about who or what is democratic, and what kind of idiot is going to pay any attention to that country's information? We might as well listen to Pol Pot expound on the virtues of democracy, if that's the case.

Certainly the opinions of "Turkish circles" are not based on experience in the matter of democracy, and therein lies the amusement. As for the answer to which is anti-democratic, the EU or the Kurdish movement, Cemil answers well, citing the facts of the situation which Kurds have faced under Turkish occupation, as well as recent events and those that are scheduled to take place in the near future. These clearly tell us there is a difficult year ahead.

By the way, pay attention to what Cemil says about homeless children in Amed.

Cemil's comments about Turkey's interaction, or lack thereof, with legal Kurdish parties in Turkey, i.e. the DTP, are on target and are in agreement with comments made on Rastî last week. It may only be a matter of time before DTP goes the way of every other legal, pro-Kurdish political party in Turkey. At the same time we are subjected to the commentary of Turkish propagandists, like Ilnur Cevik, by which they publicly moan about how Kurdish politicians in Turkey are "confused." It is the pashas and their lapdogs, the Turkish politicians, who are confused because they cannot comprehend the persistence of the Kurdish people in the matter of identity and basic human rights. They cannot comprehend the Kurdish willingness to continue the struggle.

The Turkish state does not want any Kurdish leadership whatsoever, so that it can avoid having to make the hard decisions it must make to solve the Kurdish problem it has created by means of severe repression. The state is using every fascist means to destroy pro-Kurdish political parties, to include imprisonment, death threats, harassment, and murder. Then they proclaim loudly that the Kurds are "confused," and that there is no one to talk to on the Kurdish side.


The dissolution of the PKK is not a call the EU is in any position to make. Neither Turkey nor the US is in that position. No one but the Kurdish people can make that decision. Such a call for dissolution, in concert with Turkey's attempts to destroy Kurdish political efforts in "The Southeast," is a two-pronged attack designed to pacify the Kurdish people and their movement. This is as dangerous to the Kurdish people as the demand that they abandon legitimate armed resistance. This is what Cemil Bayik makes clear toward the end of the interview, and he refers to these kinds of efforts as a "game." Absolutely, it is a game, a very old game with the very old name of Divide and Conquer. The danger here, as Cemil notes, is the object of the game: "[T]o break the willpower of the Kurdish people." This is something that cannot and must not happen--ever. Hence the awesome value of Kurdish stubborness.

Instead of demanding that that Kurds submit to oppression, why does no one hold the Turkish state responsible for its own actions? What responsibility does a state have to those over whom it exercises control? The question is a moral one, calling for a moral judgement and leading to moral action. The fact is that neither the broader Kurdish movement nor the PKK are fighting, whether politically or militarily, for any privilege. The fight is for the most basic of human rights, and the right to wage a war of resistance against oppressors, is the very heart and soul of those rights:

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufference of this people.

Everyone say, "Inshallah!"