Wednesday, February 28, 2007


"We have a hunger of the mind which asks for knowledge of all around us, and the more we gain, the more is our desire; the more we see, the more we are capable of seeing."
~ Maria Mitchell.

Something of importance from my email inbox:

My name is Helene Sairany and I am a first year graduate student pursuing a doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences at Northeastern University. I am currently coordinating a project called, "Together for Pharmacy and Medical Students in Kurdistan." The project’s purpose is to gather textbooks and electronic resources for use in the academic renewal of Universities in Kurdistan.

I am originally from Kurdistan. Over the past decades, students in Kurdistan have suffered greatly and are therefore falling terribly behind academically. This is mainly due to the sanctions that were imposed on Iraq for 15 years, the civil war between Arabs and Kurds, the atrocities committed by the past regime against Kurds in Northern Iraq, and even now that the regime is over, the daily acts of terrorism.

Medical and Pharmacy students in Kurdistan lack books and resources that they need to pursue their education. The aforementioned tragedies are a few examples of the many obstacles that medical students have faced or continue to face in Northern Iraq. The war has impacted many lives and students’ motivation for school. Due to the sanctions, students rely on very worn-out resources; every 2-3 students share one copy of a book.

The point of the project is to make more research resources available for students in Kurdistan. In graduate school in the United States, professors propose a research question for discussion and suggest where and how it can be researched. Based on research, the mind builds up opinions and ideas. There can be up to 10 points of view for the same topic. The mind gets used to dealing with alternatives and respecting other points of view, and condemning discrimination. Yet, how can we expect to learn how to tolerate these differing points of view and conduct thorough research in Kurdistan if we lack legitimate research sites? When you talk about research, students' only electronic resources are GOOGLE or YAHOO. Having said this, it is our ultimate responsibility to provide students in Kurdistan with as many books, electronic resources and journals for their academic use as possible.

Students without access to adequate research materials will naturally be lacking the same level of objectivity as their contemporaries and are more likely to have a more narrow point of view. This is what students are facing in Kurdistan and, as a result, when the student comes across a different point of view, he is unable to understand it or find alternatives and the brain stops.

With science, topical books are flavored with a new scientific discovery everyday. And, as a medical graduate student, I try really hard to keep up with the updates. As a person in the science field, I must state that I am very FORTUNATE to obtain my doctorate in the USA, in a University that is furnished with the latest medical journals and sources in general. Yet, what about those students, (that I like to call my sisters and brothers), in Northern Iraq? What do they rely on? Very old and outdated sources! What do they know about the science today? I am afraid to say, not a lot!

For now, your help is very urgent, so please let me know how you or an agency with which you are affiliated may help. Through your involvement, you can help the people of Kurdistan rebuild one of their nation's premier institutions of higher education, countering the effects of decades of deprivation and intellectual repression. Courses at the Medical Universities are taught in English, but faculty and students have not had access to new texts since 1990.

Specifically, to reduce the costs/logistics of shipping, we are seeking electronic resources or videotapes – journal collections, textbooks, atlases of plant histology or human organs or tissues or other programs on CD or with online access.

We also want to prepare a bibliography of valid, free medical links on the Internet.

In addition, we are looking for textbooks which can be sent to re-stock the medical library. The following list of topics was provided by the President of one of the Medical Universities in Hawler, the capital of Northern Iraq. I studied the list and I was able to come up with the following subjects that the Medical University is in need of:

*Basic textbooks or journals in areas such as pathology, microbiology, pharmacology, biochemistry, anatomy, histology, medicinal chemistry, nuclear pharmacy, herbal medicine, organic chemistry, and molecular biology; clinical textbooks in all areas of medicine, surgery, pediatrics, OB/GYN, and any other basic texts.

*Please consider contributing with current editions (or no more than one edition out of date, published in the last 5 years) and in reasonably good condition. Nursing and pharmacy publications are also needed.

*General, specialty and subspecialty journals published in the last 5 years are in great demand; in particular, those devoted to medicine, surgery, OB/GYN, pediatrics, orthopedics, ophthalmology, plastic surgery and reconstructive surgery, emergency medicine, ENT, nursing, and pharmacy.

In addition, we are kindly asking for:

1. Any textbook, journal, or topic on plant biology, biology of plant cell, medical usage of plant, botany, or plant histology.

2. Any medical encyclopedia or medical dictionary.

3. Any medical atlas on human histology, anatomy, etc.

4. Any textbook or journal on drug interaction and/or natural medicine.

5. Any textbook or journal on liquid chromatography.

6. Any textbook or journal on methods for determining the impurity of drugs.

7. Any encyclopedia of chemicals, drugs, botanicals, etc.

8. Any textbook or journal on medical ethics.

9. Any textbook or journal on NMR or EPR.

10. Any textbook or journal on capillary electrophoresis for food products

11. Any textbook on organic structures

Please feel free to contact me at or

We thank you in advance for your generosity. We plan to publish future updates to let readers know how this effort is progressing.

As a note on textbooks in South Kurdistan in general, in 2003, the CPA ordered Arab Iraq to clean up school textbooks by removing Ba'ath regime propaganda. The CPA did not have to order the same for South Kurdistan because when South Kurdistan was given Iraqi textbooks by the UN in 1992, it saw they were unusable in Kurdistan due to Ba'ath propaganda. That was when the KRG began to start Kurdistan's education system from scratch. While there is still a long way to go, the fact is that Kurds recognize the need for proper education.

So, if anyone can help Helene, please contact her. The future of Kurdistan depends on your efforts now.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo."
~ Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, 1843.

A couple of very interesting incidents today, not particularly related to Kurdistan directly, but interesting. First one from the UK's Independent:

The US Vice-President, Dick Cheney, found himself face to face with the reality of Afghanistan yesterday when a suicide bomber killed up to 20 people outside the base where he was staying, including an American soldier. The Taliban claimed responsibility and said the attack had directly targeted Mr Cheney.

The Vice-President was unhurt, but the attack was a potent symbolic blow. More than five years after the overthrow of the Taliban, the US cannot prevent a suicide attack on its most heavily guarded base when its second most senior leader is inside.

By the way, as of this writing, Google News has just over 2,500 reports on this incident.

The other incident is similar, from the Boston Globe:

Rebels fired on Sri Lankan military helicopters carrying six foreign envoys Tuesday, slightly wounding the U.S. and Italian ambassadors and sending the group screaming and running for cover.

The government said it was a deliberate attack, but the rebels said they did not know diplomats were on board.

Seven Sri Lankan security personnel were also hurt, but the envoys from Canada, France, Germany and Japan escaped without injury.

"We were extremely lucky to be able to escape. I could see the grenades or something like that falling and exploding," German Ambassador Jeurgen Weerth told The Associated Press after returning to Colombo, the capital.

The Tigers regret the attack. I regret that the "diplomats" still haven't bothered to offer solutions to the problems that have caused the LTTE to have to establish itself in the first place. The best thing that could happen might be if these foreign meddlers butted out. Then perhaps a peace could be brokered within Sri Lanka similar to that finally achieved by Nepal.

But the US has "strategic interests" in Sri Lanka. "Strategic interests" always means arms sales and military training, which, in turn, means big bucks for the war industry . . . like Lockheed Martin.

It seems to me that the German ambassador is way out of touch with reality, mistaking mortars for grenades. And that's my point: I find it interesting that the people responsible for the violence in this world are now getting a slight taste of it. Does anyone think that this will be enough for these elites to willingly clear their portfolios of war industry stock or, better, to start addressing the grievances of the people on the ground so that demand for war industry product will slow to a trickle? Especially Daddy Warbucks himself--Dick Cheney?

Did Cheney bother to meet with the relatives of the Afghan civilians killed? Probably not, from AFP:

In his two-hour meeting with Karzai, Cheney pledged continued US support to Afghanistan "in providing security, reconstruction and the war on terror," a statement from the president's office said.

The US vice president left Afghanistan shortly after the meeting.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said Bush had personally asked Cheney to make the lightning visits to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and that there was never any question of abandoning the talks with Karzai.

"He certainly wasn't going to leave before he finished doing his business," Snow told reporters in Washington.

I guess not. Hamid Karzai had something to say about the matter, again from AFP:

Condemning the suicide attack, Karzai said that the struggle against terrorism would be more effective if it were focused on "its roots, the source" -- a likely reference to neighbouring Pakistan.

Too bad Pakistan is such a good ally of the US. How else is it allowed to get away with murder? And in that Pakistan closely resembles another country with which it enjoys a cozy relationship--Turkey.

Does anyone think that these elites will have an idea of what it was like for Kurdish villagers to get bombed by the Turkish army that these guys supported and continue to support? Or will they have a better understanding of what the daily situation for the people is like in Afghanistan, particularly when NATO forces are bombing weddings, or what it's like for many in Baghdad right now?

Does anyone think these elites will stop playing games with the lives of innocent people?

Don't bet on it. By the way, Google News only lists a little over 550 articles on the Sri Lanka incident.

And that reminds me of something I saw last week from the AP, carried on Canada's Globe and Mail:

Some 8,000 hard-line Buddhist monks and lay supporters paraded the streets of Sri Lanka's capital demanding the government scrap a ceasefire with Tamil rebels on Thursday, the fifth anniversary of its signing.

[ . . . ]

The rebels said a series of recent military operations by the Sri Lankan army had pushed back hopes of restarting peace talks.

"We expected the international community to keep the Sri Lankan state on track, but at this moment we are disappointed," rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan said.

The hard-line ethnic Sinhalese monks — a powerful political force in the country urged the government to formally end the ceasefire, saying it favors the Tamil Tiger guerrillas.

"This ceasefire is a serious threat to the country's unitary status," Wakamulle Uditha Thera, a spokesman for the monks, was quoted as saying by The Island newspaper.

What the hell is that about "unitary status" of the country? Who in the hell does the spokesman for the monks sound like? So much for all that religious-sponsored BS about "peace," eh?

I mean when Buddhists start sounding like Buyukanit, then it should be obvious that it's time to shed the illusions.

In Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, it looks like a crackdown is underway against DTP, consistent with the current worldwide US and Turkish-sponsored crackdown against Kurds and in preparation for this year's elections in Turkey. Kurds under Turkish occupation are not represented in the Turkish parliament and the Ankara regime has been working overtime for the last year to make absolutely certain that DTP doesn't come close to the ridiculous 10% threshold.

On Monday, a prison sentence of a year and a half was handed to Aysel Tugluk and Ahmet Turk, leaders of the DTP, for "distributing Kurdish-language party materials praising imprisoned Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan." More at Jurist. Note that a year of the sentence is for distributing materials in Kurdish language while half a year was imposed for "praising" Ocalan. Of course, the word "praising" would have to be defined here because in Turkey, simply referring to Ocalan as "Mr." Ocalan is considered "praise."

Looking at the way the sentence is divided up, it's a greater crime to use Kurdish than to "praise" Ocalan.

In related news, it looks like the wife of Amed's extremely popular mayor, Osman Baydemir, is also facing a prison sentence of two years for the crime of defending underage children, from TNA:

The wife of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party's (DTP) controversial Diyarbakir mayor faces 2 years behind bars following charges filed yesterday of interfering in the judicial process.

The Tarsus Public Prosecutor's Office, in the country's south, completed an indictment against lawyer Reyhan Yalcindag Baydemir, deputy chair of the Human Rights Association (IHD) and wife of Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir, who has gained a profile with several legal challenges over allegations of links to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and several Kurdish figures.

The indictment accuses the lawyer of interfering in the judicial process through remarks defending a group of children who stood trial on charges of burning a Turkish flag during Nevruz celebrations in the southern province of Mersin two years ago.

The indictment said that lawyer Baydemir, making a press statement after a court session, told reporters that these children were not offenders but victims, adding that this was a plot in which these children were used as tools.

Another DTP mayor, Zulkuf Karatekin has to pay YTL3,000 for "helping a group of women who two years ago planted trees to mark the birthday of Abdullah Ocalan, inmate leader of the PKK." Apparently, this DTP Bad Boy allowed a municipality vehicle to be used for the tree planting.

I guess the YTL3,000 is supposed to reimburse for the gas.

In spite of all of this repression by the Ankara regime against Kurdish efforts to participate fully in the political process, the fascist Turkish state remains America's great "Model of Democracy" for the Middle East.


Monday, February 26, 2007


"The greatest menace to freedom is an inert people."
~ Louis Brandeis, US Supreme Court Justice.

The official determination in the retrial application of Ocalan can be found at the Committee of Ministers site, and the examination of the case has been closed.

Basically what this means is that if a country initially violates the rights of a defendant from the moment of remand custody until the completion of trial, then later pays some fines and makes cosmetic changes to its domestic criminal law, that country is free to continue to violate rights.

The system is not working. Or, we might say that the people are not working the system.

However, it also means that we must continue to press the Kurdish cause in as many venues as possible and we must continue to look for new venues through which to do this. Throughout the Diaspora, alliances must be built with other groups who have similar concerns, such as those over freedom of expression rights, minority rights, or opposition to arms sales. These subjects were among those discussed in the UK last week as regards Ocalan's Prison Writings; already a wider discussion is growing on this subject. There is some feedback on the Ocalan book launch from a non-Kurdish academic and community activist. It is published here with permission:

I for one find the Ocalan case fsacinating and thanks for the wealth of info you posted. It raises a host of disturbing questions and one doesn't know where to begin.

You rightly ask: "There needs to be a wide protest over this...many crucially important meetings are likely to be 'cancelled' on 'terrorism' related grounds in the future... Should we allow ourselves to be intimidated when trying to discuss issues academically and on public interest grounds?"

The answers all hinge on the nature of the western state today - serving not the people but big business, which in turn obliges with political funding. The people are allowed to vote once in 4 or 5 years. Thereafter they have no control on politicians or policies. That is called democracy. Parliament is largely a toothless institution. The real decisions are made elsewhere. The few freedoms that remain are gradually being whittled away by the War-on-Terror legislations. Where is the accountability?

Is it any wonder that the state cares little about public protest and the 'public interest' today? Remember that 1.5 million who marched through London against the looming Iraq war? They were ignored both by the state and the media which work hand in hand. It's the 'national interest' that counts - that is, the interests of the rich and powerful. The people may rail against transport plans or upgrading the nuclear deterrent in their millions. Their arguments are ignored.

I think we need to debate propositions like:

- the degradation of the western state and democracy today;

- the double standards used to deal with official friends and enemies (including minorities);

- the selective interpretation of the grand concept of freedom of expression;

- the ineffectiveness of public protest;

- the general decline of a moral culture and of Christianity generally.

You said that "Our best hope for overcoming perpetual fear about both real and imagined threats is to question our leaders and their use of empty slogans that offer little rationale, explanation or historical context..." But where is the media space to question unfair policies? The media are locked in with the state and your views are rarely published. Your article rightly said that dissent and alternative scenarios are unacceptable: "the alleged 'glorification of terrorism' is to stymie creative thinking about alternatives. "

Let me conclude with a view by Anglican activist Kenneth Leech: "Today we live in a society in which the powers that be are beyond rational and moral criticism, beyond shame..." ['Struggle in Babylon, Sheldon Press 1988, p149]

Nevertheless, we must persevere.


So here is a non-Kurd who finds the Ocalan case, and by extension the situation of Kurds under Turkish-occupation, as relevant to wider issues that are crucial to fundamental questions of democracy, human rights, the real state of the media, freedom of expression, political activism, and accountability. Especially concerning the media, Eddie has further noted that it serves the powerful; in fact, it is the stage of the powerful elites, through which their worldview is inculcated in the citizenry. The lack of "media space" for dissenting views is highly indicative of the fact that the major media serve the powerful.

Noam Chomsky has asserted, correctly I believe, that political activism and dissent in the US in the 1960s was very effective, and that it was this activism that forced the US to go "underground" in order to further the interests of its elites. This is why the Kennedy administration was able to send the US military openly into Vietnam in the early 1960s, while the Reagan administration had to engage in covert actions in Central America in the 1980s. It is also the reason why the current Bush administration had to engage in a propaganda campaign to go into Iraq. Extending Chomsky's analysis, I think that is also why excuses for the Iraq invasion were manufactured and why they are now being extremely opaque with regard to Iran. In addition, we have the corporate world, specifically the war industry, as part of the foreign policy process if not acting as the actual impetus behind current events. Corporate/governmental control of a compliant media insures that the media serves as advertising in support of these policies.

Basically, it is propaganda.

Eddie seems to agree:

Yet the major (business-serving) media keeps backing state policies and propaganda in Britain, no matter how repressive. They will not challenge controversial pronouncements by politicians and are happy to impose a blackout on news from war-torn Iraq so as not to embarrass the state. Civilians, on the other hand, have to put up with free speech (spin) from the state but are denied this freedom by the same state through a culture of fear imposed through surveillance measures and increased police powers.

Having looked, on occasion, through other language news media--from France, Germany, Spain, for example--the pattern generally seems to be consistent.

I agree with Eddie that we must persevere; we have no other option. How to do that? By networking and joining with others who have similar concerns, and this is a practical way to go, especially in Diaspora, because other like-minded individuals and groups will boost Kurdish activist numbers. Let's face it, Kurdish Diaspora is small to begin with and, then for various reasons, there's a dearth of Kurdish activists; thus it makes sense to join with others to work toward a common goal and to educate others about the reality that Kurds have faced under occupation, and continue to face. This has been a pet idea of mine for some time and over the weekend, I found validation in an interview with Noam Chomsky, from UC Berkeley:

Go back to '62, there was no feminist movement, there was a very limited human rights movement, extremely limited. There was no environmental movement, meaning rights of our grandchildren. There were no Third World solidarity movements. There was no anti-apartheid movement. There was no anti-sweat shop movement. I mean, all of the things that we take for granted just weren't there. How did they get there? Was it a gift from an angel? No, they got there by struggle, common struggle by people who dedicated themselves with others, because you can't do it alone, and made it a much more civilized country. It was a long way to go, and that's not the first time it happened. And it will continue.

[ . . . ]

Take, say, the Civil Rights movement. When you think of the Civil Rights movement, the first thing you think of is Martin Luther King. King was an important figure. But he would have been the first to tell you, I'm sure, that he was riding the wave of activism, that people who were doing the work, who were in the lead in the Civil Rights movement, were young SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] workers, freedom riders, people out there in the streets every day getting beaten and sometimes killed, working constantly. They created the circumstances in which a Martin Luther King could come in and be a leader. His role was extremely important, I'm not denigrating it, it was very important to have done that. But the people who were really important are the ones whose names are forgotten. And that's true of every movement that ever existed.

The entire transcript of the interview, and links to video, can be found here. A Google Video of the interview can be seen here, and it's definitely worth a watch. As one would expect from one of the world's few activists who remembers Kurds under Turkish occupation, he talks about that, too.

By the way, there's an excellent post on the Ocalan book launch scandal at Lenin's Tomb. Bijî Lenin!

In other news, there's more information on HRK's downing of a pasdaran helicopter over the weekend, with one interesting read from ISN. From that article, note the following:

1. Visitors to Qendîl report seeing only some 1,000 gerîlas in the area. PJAK is larger than it's military wing, HRK, because it is primarily engaged in political work. Same as PKK. Also, it's very bad planning to keep all troops in one area. It also means that HRK and HPG are not located primarily in "Northern Iraq."

2. Iran does not permit the free use of Kurdish language. Go to school and find out for yourself. On second thought, maybe we should scratch that idea about going to school; Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan is reporting that the mullah regime has layed off massive numbers of teachers in Iranian-occupied Kurdistan.

3. Turkey's "limited civil reforms" for Turkish-occupied Kurdistan are so limited they are non-existent. References to Kurdish-language radio and TV broadcasts fail to mention that they must be pre-recorded or otherwise "approved" by RTUK. Meaning: All such broadcasts are heavily censored. This is not acceptable. There's also a huge failure to mention the fact that the Turkish government continues with its absurd campaign against RojTV.

4. Any Turkish invasion of South Kurdistan would effectively screw the "surge" in Baghdad, as Kurdish forces would abandon US interests to protect Kurdistan.

5. Credit is due for an acknowledgement of PKK's attempts at creating a peaceful political solution and dialog over the Kurdish situation in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, but a smack across the head is due for calling the 5-year ceasefire the "second unilateral ceasefire." It was the fourth unilateral ceasefire and it did not end last June, but in 2004.

So much for "experts."

The Times of India is reporting that 13, possibly 14, pasdarans were blown out of the sky by HRK.

Don't forget to take a look at an interesting op-ed on the Kerkuk referendum at Op-Ed News. A teaser:

The prospect for the independence of Kurdistan remains the only bright spot in the future of South West Asia. The fall of Saddam has opened a window of opportunity for the Kurdish people to establish their own state that is secular and democratic. Against them lies the theocratic interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the military dominated Turkey and the Baathist regime of Syria.

[ . . . ]

At the present time there is a coalescing of Kurdish forces as has not been seen before in recent history. The PUK, KDP, PJAK, and Kongra-GEL are working together as never before. The issue of Kirkuk has arisen because of the displacement of Kurds by Saddam and the resettlement by Arabs from other parts of the region. The referendum is significant and worthy of support by the US government.

[ . . . ]

There are many who will oppose it, but they are not voices that deserve any right to have a decisive voice in the matter of the Kurdish right of self-determination. Even Turkmen in Kirkuk recognize the obnoxious role of Turkey in this debate regarding the right of return for Kurds to Kirkuk.

One last item of note: NewrozTV has already begun test broadcasting. For more info, see RojhelatInfo for more. According to Hurriyet, regular broadcasting will begin on Newroz.

Any bets on how long it will take Gul to begin a campaign to shut down NewrozTV? Or will he leave it for Mottaki?

Saturday, February 24, 2007


“The blunting effects of slavery upon the slaveholder's moral perceptions are known and conceded the world over; and a privileged class, an aristocracy, is but a band of slaveholders under another name”
~ Mark Twain.

The big news is that a DTP politician has been arrested and imprisoned for speaking the truth, which in Turkey is referred to as "inciting hatred."

Let me digress for a moment and point out that inciting hatred in Turkey means doing things like broadcasting songs by hateful dissidents like Ahmet Kaya, something which gets you banned in Turkey if you're a radio station. On the other hand, if you have a TV program that glorifies the Deep State mafia and Turkish racism, and has some 30 million viewers, you can broadcast for years . . . Or at least until the Deep State murders an outspoken Armenian newspaper editor and the entire world shines the spotlight on your own incitement to hatred.

When that happens, and the state cancels the TV program in question, reactions include the following:

Professor Melda Şimşek, from the Marmara University Faculty of Communications, is one of those who are against the cancellation of the show. "It is of course censorship to cancel a show that reflects real things," the professor said.

The question today is this: Is it also censorship to arrest and imprison a Kurdish politician for making statements that reflect real things? This is what happened to Hilmi Aydogdu:

A Kurdish politician was charged Friday with inciting hatred and threatening public safety after suggesting that Kurds would rise against the state and fight if Turkey ever attacked their Kurdish brethren across the border in Iraq.

Police detained Hilmi Aydogdu, leader of the Democratic Society Party's branch in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, as he left a conference and questioned him over the remarks, said Nazmi Gur, a party spokesman.

Prosecutors later formally arrested Aydogdu and charged him with threatening public safety by inciting racial enmity and hatred — a charge that carries a maximum three-year prison sentence.

[ . . . ]

"The two sides in this war would be Turkey and the Kurds in Iraq. There are some 20 million Kurds in Turkey, and the 20 million Kurds would regard such a war as an attack against them," newspapers quoted Aydogdu as saying.

"Any attack on Kirkuk would be considered an attack on Diyarbakir," the politician was also quoted as saying.

The deeper analogy at work in a comparison of Kerkuk to Amed (Diyarbakir) is that a Turkish attack against a city that is historically important to the Kurds of South Kurdistan is considered as an attack against the capital city of all Kurds. A Turkish attack against a portion of the Kurdish people is an attack against the Kurdish people as a whole. This idea is not new and it is not shocking, except to certain leaders. After all, PKK has volunteered to fight alongside Başûrî pêsmerge for Kerkuk because PKK doesn't just fight for itself.

Ozgur Gundem reports that some 500 people protested the arrest in Amed (Diyarbakir) yesterday, in front of the Diyarbakir court. Among those present in protest were Osman Baydemir, Zulkuf Karatekin, Yurdusev Ozsokmenler, Abdullah Demirbas, and Amed's DTP provinicial vice-chairman, Musa Farisoglu. Some twenty persons are reported arrested in Wan (Van), among them DTP officials Ibrahim Sunkur and Abdulvahap Turhan. According to ANF, they have been incarcerated in the Van F-type prison.

Hilmi Aydogdu's statements to the effect that Northern Kurds would rise to fight against Turkey in the case of an invasion of South Kurdistan is a fact that is well-known among the Kurdish people; hence Aydogdu is merely stating publicly what everyone else says privately. This is the nightmare that the Turkish general staff has created for all of Turkey, and it has created the nightmare in order to maintain its own position as the true ruling elite of the country. The Turkish general staff has fostered dependency on the part of civilian society--which in any true democracy is supposed to have the upper hand--by creating a permanent climate of fear of "separatism" and encouraging the belief that every other country or ethnicity on the planet is determined to tear Turkey to pieces.

In short, the Turkish general staff lives in a time warp, perpetually in the year 1920, so that it can continue to hold the reins of power with a death grip. To this date, the death grip has insured the strangulation of not only 20 million Kurdish people in "The Southeast" but of Turkish society as a whole. All of this is knowingly aided and abetted by the so-called democratic West, solely for the economic benefit of Western elites, especially the American war industry and the economic club euphemistically referred to as the European Union. The Turkish general staff also benefits financially from this arrangement and is proof positive that corporatism is alive and well in the 21st century.

The corporatism of the Turkish general staff has its cheerleaders, among them the uber-fascist, uber-racist Ilnur Cevik. He calls the Bakûrî "our Kurds," indicating ownership of the Kurdish people, much in the same vein as American slavehholders of the antebellum South spoke of "our niggers" and claimed to be the only ones who really understood them. Cevik takes the lie to the next level by asserting that he and his kind "feel affection" for their niggers--the Bakûrî--as their very own brothers and sisters. What kind of a family is it when your "brothers and sisters" destroy your villages, destroy your lands, ethnically cleanse you, commit the most atrocious human rights abuses against you with impunity, and work diligently to destroy your culture for decades?

What kind of family is that?

What kind of family is it where the only concern is for Turkish sensitivities and never a consideration is given to Kurdish sensitivities? But that's where the idea of privileged understanding of "our niggers" comes into focus for slaveholders like Cevik. The Turkish slaveholder understands that "our niggers" must be tortured, must be driven from their only livelihoods, must endure economic strangulation and stagnation, must have their backward, uncivilized culture completely rooted out in order to substitute superior Turkish culture, thus bringing a minimum level of civilization to mountain-dwelling half-wits.

What kind of family is that?

As for the alleged deep Turkish "sensitivity" for Kerkuk, where was that when Saddam was arabizing Kerkuk? Where were Turkish protests and expressions of "sensitivity" then? Why were Saddam's actions in Kerkuk never understood as belittling or insulting Turkish "sensitivities?" The answer is very simple: Turkey never thought it could ever get away with occupation of a Kurdish city while it's ally, Saddam, was in power. Turkey knew that Saddam would never allow Turkish exploitation of Kerkuk's oil. This is also the reason that Turkey said nothing when Saddam slaughtered Turkmen, along with everyone else who might be a potential threat.

Now that Kerkuk stands a chance of being recognized as a Kurdish city, and Kurds enjoy a measure of autonomy in South Kurdistan, it galls the racist Turkish regime to have to deal with Kurds as equals in the international arena, just as it galled white racists in America's South to have to deal with African Americans as equal citizens when the issue was forced as a result of the civil rights movement. "Our niggers" were "our niggers," no more.

We want to believe that the Kurds of Turkey are Turkey's Kurds. They are not the spokesman for the Iraqi Kurds or their allies. Or are we mistaken? We know we aren't.

Cevik, and all other slaveholders, are horribly mistaken in their beliefs; that is why Aydogdu is imprisoned. Cevik and his friends on the Turkish general staff are beginning to realize their worst nightmare: the spectre of a major Kurdish uprising in the rear areas of the TSK in the case of a Turkish invasion of South Kurdistan and the strengthening of guerrilla warfare in "The Southeast" coupled with guerrilla warfare in the zones of Turkish occupation in South Kurdistan. This is the point at which the policies of the military dictatorship in Ankara has brought us. For this reason, it is time for the rule of the Pashas to end once and for all.

Unfortunately, the Islamist AKP's desires of establishing a new Ottoman empire work hand-in-glove with the aims of the Pashas over the matter of Kerkuk, while the ghosts of the Mosul Vilayet look on.

In the meantime, HRK, the armed wing of PJAK has brought down another Iranian helicopter, as reported by Ozgur Gundem. The news has been picked up by Reuters:

An Iranian military helicopter crashed near the border with Turkey and Iraq on Saturday, killing at least one Revolutionary Guards commander, Iranian news agencies said.

Eight other people were on board the aircraft when it came down, the semi-official Mehr agency said, but it was not immediately clear whether those eight were killed or injured in the crash.

[ . . . ]

An Iranian Kurdish rebel group said it had shot down the aircraft, the Brussels-based Kurdish news agency Firat said.

It said the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), an Iranian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which is fighting Turkey, shot down the helicopter with a shoulder-held missile, killing eight soldiers and capturing one.

Dead pasdarans is always good news. Bijî HRK!

Thursday, February 22, 2007


"The Argument from Intimidation is a confession of intellectual impotence."
~ Ayn Rand.

Well, what do you know? It looks like Taner Akcam, a specialist on the Armenian Genocide who also happens to be of Turkish ethnicity, was detained by Canadian customs officials because persons unknown had contacted them and told them that Professor Akcam was a "terrorist." Here's the story from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune:

What's new: Taner Akçam, an expert on the Armenian genocide and a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota's Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, was detained in Montreal by Canadian customs officials Friday. He was held for more than four hours while officials investigated a charge of terrorism leveled against him by unknown persons.

What happened: Akçam had been invited to speak at a human-rights symposium at McGill University Law School. A Canadian customs officer showed him copies of reviews of his new book on the Armenian tragedy, "A Shameful Act," from and that said Akçam was a member of a terrorist organization.

The outcome: While being questioned, Akçam was contacted on his cell phone by his host, McGill professor Payam Akhavan, when he failed to pass customs. Akhavan called the office of Jason Kenney, secretary of state for multiculturalism, and Stockwell Day, the minister of public safety. Akçam's release followed almost immediately.

Not the first time: Akçam, who is a Turk, believes this was part of "a campaign against me by the Turkish authorities" for speaking out on the Armenian genocide. "When I was at New York University recently as part of my book tour, the autograph session was broken up by Turkish nationalists. They distributed a flier labeling me a terrorist and claiming that I was responsible for the deaths of Americans in Turkey."

The same thing happened in December at the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School in New York, but with a twist. When e-mails suggested the same group was going to break up a conference on genocide and law, the sponsors called the Turkish Consulate in Manhattan to complain. The next day, Akçam said, a consular official called Cardozo to say there would be no demonstration. There wasn't.

The fallout: Akçam said that because of the campaign of intimidation against him he is fearful for his life when he travels outside the United States. "I have been forced to cancel five international appearances at academic conferences," he said. "Under the guise of freedom of speech, certain groups are causing me great physical and material harm. It is very difficult to do my work."

Okay, let's think real hard . . . who could possibly be the "certain groups" behind all this, hmmm?? Could these "certain groups" be anyway related to the murderers of Hrant Dink? Could the sudden and bogus designation of Taner Akcam as "terrorist" be related to Abdullah Gul's and Yasar Buyukanit's recent visits to the US? Could the campaign of intimidation be related to the current US-Turkish joint campaign of intimidation against Kurds?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Let's say that the anonymous tipsters were notifying Canadian authorities about the extremely dangerous "terrorist" Akcam because of Akcam's past affiliation with Dev-Yol, parent organization of Dev-Sol, which eventually became DHKP/C. I find it highly ironic that the anonymous tipsters can clearly recall Dev-Yol, an organization that existed back in the mid-1970's, but they can't recall the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

Well, hooray for long-term memory loss!

The best thing that Taner Akcam could do was to go public with this news because now, if something happens to him, we'll know who did it. You can see some video interviews with Akcam here. Better hurry, though, before YouTube suffers a campaign of intimidation and yanks 'em.

Akcam isn't alone in suffering from intimidation campaigns by the Deep State over the Armenian Genocide. Congress is also under intimidation for the Armenian Genocide resolution, according to Congressman Frank Pallone:

"Madam Speaker, I rise this morning to share my concerns regarding the Turkish government's threats to retaliate against our country if the U.S. Congress adopts a resolution affirming the Armenian Genocide."

"These shocking threats have been issued in response to the recent introduction of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, H.Res.106. This measure seeks to affirm the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide, by recognizing it as a historical fact. It also praises the American record of opposition to this tragedy, which is marked by courageous diplomatic protests and unprecedented American relief efforts for the survivors of this crime."

"Senior Turkish government officials have warned that, if Congress even considers this resolution, they will cut off supply access for our forces serving in Iraq. In fact, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul told Vice President Dick Cheney that the U.S. must (quote) "calculate the costs of losing Turkey."

"Such a brazen threat to interfere in U.S. military operations is absolutely unacceptable. I am outraged that the Turkish government would put the lives of soldiers at risk in the pursuit of its desperate campaign to deny the systematic slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians. This extremist behavior is known as blackmail in my book and it should be publicly and forcefully rejected as such. Clearly, Turkey is no friend of the U.S."

"As an American, I am deeply offended that another country is seeking to dictate where our nation stands on core moral issues. Especially a country that claims to embrace democracy yet has a long-standing history of abusing minorities, intellectuals and the principle of freedom of expression."

"As a Member of Congress, it is extremely troubling that a foreign government is meddling in our nation's legislative process through threats and intimidation. This is the most dramatic intervention of a foreign government in U.S. congressional affairs and it has been going on for much too long."

Read more at the link.

So you see, the US if fully aware of Turkish intimidation campaigns, even in the hallowed halls of Congress. I'd have more sympathy for them if they didn't cooperate with the majority of those intimidation campaigns as well as undermine human rights legislation to turn a buck for the war industry and their lobbyists (hence providing much of those coveted campaign dollars) or to score a few political brownie points.

In other news, in one item from Hurriyet, Abdullah Gul still thinks that Mam Celal has cooties, so he passes information to him through Iraqi Deputy President Adil Abdulmehdi. It sounds to me like Gul thinks that PKK is using television stations in South Kurdistan to "relay their messages." You know, it sounds very ineffient to me to use a television broadcast station to "relay [ ] messages." Besides, cell phones are much cheaper and are easier to carry. In conclusion, Abdulmehdi basically tells Gul to "butt out."

In a second--and even funnier--item, the Ankara regime has just discovered that it was American weapons that were used to murder a priest in Trabzon last year, in the Council of State attack, and in other alleged attacks against "police force members." What this has to do with the availability of American weapons for PKK, I have yet to figure out. Maybe Hurriyet is suggesting that it was PKK instead of the Deep State that murdered the priest in Trabzon or carried out the Council of State attack? More likely the weapons were acquired by MIT and JITEM from their allies, the Sunni insurgents, and that's how they easily made their way over the border and into Deep State's hands in Turkey. It's kind of odd that now, a year after the priest's murder, the Ankara regime has finally figured out where the weapon came from. How's that for police efficiency?

On the other hand, both of these news items may simply indicate that Hurriyet staff is hallucinating again. Good try, guys. Now go take your meds.

Time for boycott! TDN reported today that Turkish organic fruit juices will be making their way to the refrigerated sections of Whole Foods Market, Inc.

Earlier in the week, Whole Foods made the news in reports that it would acquire Wild Oats Markets. Whole Foods is already the world's largest organic food retailer, so the new acquisition will be icing on the cake. More on Whole Foods from the Austin Business Journal:

Whole Foods Market Inc., the world's largest retailer of natural and organic foods, is sowing its wild oats.

The Austin-based company, founded in 1980, currently has 91 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Whole Foods has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire competitor Wild Oats Markets (NASDAQ: OATS).

[ . . . ]

According to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, all of Whole Foods' 11 operating regions will gain stores, with three of its smallest regions gaining critical mass. Additionally, Whole Foods will gain immediate entry into a significant number of new markets.

With annual sales of about $1.2 billion, Wild Oats Markets is one of the leading natural and organic foods retailers in North America. Wild Oats was founded in Boulder, Colo., in 1987 and listed on the NASDAQ National Market in 1996.

The company currently operates 110 stores in 24 states and British Columbia, Canada, under four banners: Wild Oats Marketplace, Henry's Farmers Market, Sun Harvest and Capers Community Market.

We can expect to see the Turkish import, Organic Juice USA, in all of the retail food chains mentioned above. The first order of business is to make Whole Foods Market, Inc. aware of Turkey's human rights record with regard to the Kurdish people.

For that, I'm gonna need a little help from my friends.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


"Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down."
~ Frederick Douglass, American abolitionist, 1860.

On Monday, Hurriyet carried a short item announcing Tuesday's book launch of Abdullah Ocalan's Prison Writings: The Roots of Civilization in the UK. Aside from getting the information about the publishing house completely wrong--a quick check of Amazon correctly lists the publisher as Pluto Press--there is one piece of information of note:

Ankara has reportedly made diplomatic efforts to relay its discomfort over the book to the British government.

And the British government did act to assuage Turkey's "discomfort" by banning the venue of the book launch, which was originally scheduled to take place in the House of Commons. The best that can be said of this banning is that it shows consistency on the part of the British government. After all, it was the same government that silenced Kurdish Med-TV in 1999, shortly after Ocalan's capture.

Why would the Ankara regime suffer a case of "discomfort" over a discussion of Ocalan's writings? The Prison Writings made up a portion of Ocalan's appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), and are therefore official submissions to the court. Why would the British government "acquiesce" to Turkish "discomfort" by banning a portion of a submission to the ECHR?

It's very simple: The Ankara regime fears any discussion that may arise from Prison Writings because that discussion would eventually turn to the wider picture--the brutal repression of the Kurdish people by the Ankara regime. Such a discussion would include official regime policies dating back to the foundation of the Turkish state and the end of the Ottoman Empire, revealing those policies to be genocidal in nature. There was no vacuum separating the end of the Ottoman Empire from the beginning of the Turkish state. There are never such vacuums in history. Instead, there is a transition period, and in the case of Turkey, the transition period was stained by Armenian blood.

Kurds also had a hand in staining this transition, but that is something that has been admitted by Ocalan, the PKK, and the Kurdish Parliament in Exile. For Kurds, the Armenian Genocide is not a subject that has been removed from the table or become an object of denial.

After the Armenians had been ethnically cleansed by the Ottomans, the Kemalists turned their sights to the Kurds and began a bloody repression and campaign of cultural genocide that exists to this day. The Jewish Holocaust of Europe is unique by the manner in which that genocide was commited, with so much efficiency in so short a period of time, but it was an extension of the wholesale slaughter the Ottomans carried out against the Armenians. Today's legal definition of genocide was crafted by a Jew, Raphael Lemkin, whose family fell victim to the Holocaust. Through his contribution to international law, we recognize that the actions of the Ankara regime against the Kurdish people is also genocide.

This is the fact which causes "discomfort" to the Turkish state over any discussion arising from Ocalan's Prison Writings.

Furthermore, according to the legal definition of genocide, it is also a crime to aid and abet genocide: "Criminal acts include conspiracy, direct and public incitement, attempts to commit genocide, and complicity in genocide." The US stood by and did nothing while the Ottomans slaughtered the Armenians--in spite of the all the efforts of its own ambassador, Henry Morgenthau, to warn of the genocide and seek a way of ending it. The US stood by and did nothing while Europe, and Germany in particular, fed its Jewish population and others, to gas chambers and ovens. But with the case of the genocide of Kurds, the US did not simply stand by; it sold, subsidized, and gave to the Ankara regime the very weapons the regime used, and continues to use, against the Kurdish people.

Now, of course, an excuse for the continuation of the Kurdish genocide is concocted in Washington. This excuse is called War on Terror. It also manages to keep profits rolling in for the big war contractors, such as Lockheed Martin, and that is why a member of the board of directors of Lockheed Martin was appointed to "coordinate the PKK" for Turkey. This "coordination" includes rejection of the fifth unilateral ceasefire offered by PKK, as well as rejection of any political solution to the Kurdish situation, a situation which is the direct result of state policies of NATO member Turkey.

The UK is not acting alone when it bans a discussion of Kurdish repression by Turkey from its Parliament. We know this because we have the words of the US State Department's own Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Daniel Fried:

But it is true that the United States and Turkey have been working with our West European friends about the problem of the PKK. And it is true that West European governments understand the nature of the problem, and these arrests have been made. This is good news. These aren't the first arrests; I doubt they will be the last arrests.

The UK has been cooperating with the US and Turkey by threatening to apply the "glorification of terror" clause of the new British anti-terror law in regards to the discussion of Prison Writings. In case you suspect me of making up something as ridiculous as the "glorification of terror" law, peruse the BBC, Article19, and BlairWatch. It should be noted that any similarity between Bush's anti-terror laws (PATRIOT Act, Military Commissions Act) and Blair's anti-terror laws can be attributed to a severe case of Monkey-See-Monkey-Do.

In addition to pumping up the volume on war industry stock values, the War on Terror, Inc. is also a convenient way to hide past and on-going war crimes and acts of genocide by cracking down on those who would speak the truth and dissent from the status quo. Hence the recent wave of arrests of Kurds in Europe, the destruction of a Kurdish cultural center in Paris, the banning of a discussion of the Kurdish situation in Turkey in the House of Commons, and threats against Ocalan's retrial request (Note: There has been no official statement from the Council of Ministers rejecting the retrial request. Turkish media's claims to the contrary may be the result of some very good hash in their nargîles).

The State Department's Fried mentioned the following at the 8 February press conference:

But you are also correct when you suggest that the problem of the PKK is obviously not confined to Western Europe. It's also a problem in Northern Iraq. We are cooperating with Turkey to deal with that problem.

Solving it will require cooperation between Turkey and Iraq, both the Iraqi central government and the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government and I think this cooperation is moving forward.

With that in mind, check a short item from, carried on KurdishAspect:

U.S gives a green light to Turkey to attack PKK in Southern Kurdistan

According to Awene, in the meeting held on January 29th with Masud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, and his vice president Kosrat Rasul, were told by Joseph Ralston the United States' special envoy on countering the PKK that Turkey has been given a green light from the U.S to attack PKK positions on the Qandil Mountains. The source told Awene that the military invasion will start in the beginning of April 2007.

On February 13, Jangawar, a member of the PKK leadership, told Awene that the U.S and Turkish representatives have drawn up a plan against southern Kurdistan. He said “this plan starts with attacking PKK positions on the Qandil Mountains but their goals are to destroy Kirkuk’s referendum and other Kurdish advancements in southern Kurdistan”.

By giving a green light to Turkey to invade the Kurdistan Region the U.S is hoping to deter Turkey from getting closer to Iran.

Try to bear that point about Iran in mind as another aircraft carrier group arrives in the Persian Gulf.

In light of the banning of Ocalan's Prison Writings, which form the basis of his appeal in the ECHR and are, therefore, official documents of the ECHR, what can we say about "free expression" or "free association" or any of those other wonderful fantasies of democracy that we are told are the foundations of "civilized" societies? The meaning that those terms used to have is no longer existent, because the meaning has been destroyed by so-called anti-terror laws which have been put in place by the real terrorists.

How Orwellian.

I am reminded of a talk Noam Chomsky held at MIT in October 2001 on the New War on Terror. He mentioned Turkey's gratitude to the US:

And Turkey is very grateful. Just a few days ago, Prime Minister Ecevit announced that Turkey would join the coalition against terror, very enthusiastically, even more so than others. In fact, he said they would contribute troops which others have not willing to do. And he explained why. He said, We owe a debt of gratitude to the United States because the United States was the only country that was willing to contribute so massively to our own, in his words “counter-terrorist” war, that is to our own massive ethnic cleansing and atrocities and terror. Other countries helped a little, but they stayed back. The United States, on the other hand, contributed enthusiastically and decisively and was able to do so because of the silence, servility might be the right word, of the educated classes who could easily find out about it. It’s a free country after all. You can read human rights reports. You can read all sorts of stuff. But we chose to contribute to the atrocities and Turkey is very happy, they owe us a debt of gratitude for that and therefore will contribute troops just as during the war in Serbia. Turkey was very much praised for using its F-16’s which we supplied it to bomb Serbia exactly as it had been doing with the same planes against its own population up until the time when it finally succeeded in crushing internal terror as they called it. And as usual, as always, resistance does include terror. Its true of the American Revolution. That’s true of every case I know. Just as its true that those who have a monopoly of violence talk about themselves as carrying out counter terror.

Turkey can now extend its gratitude to the UK as well.

What follows are an official press release and statement by the Peace In Kurdistan Campaign, and an excerpt from a speech given at the Prison Writings event by Desmond Fernandes:

Book Launch Goes Ahead

An important new book by Abdullah Ocalan was officially launched at the London headquarters of the National Union of Journalists on 20th February. The event was originally to be held in a House of Commons committee room but organizer Peace in Kurdistan campaign was compelled at the last minute to change of venue as a result of pressure apparently exerted by the Foreign Office. A report had also appeared in a Turkish newspaper that Ankara was seeking to get the book suppressed.

The book, Prison Writings; The Roots of Civilisation, is the first and long awaited English translation of a book produced by the Kurdish leader while held in Imrali Island. It is based on researches undertaken by Ocalan in preparation for his European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) appeal statement.

While the NUJ was thanked for stepping into the breach to offer their venue, speakers at the meeting voiced their concern at the cancellation of the meeting in Westminster. Apparently it was inferred that debating the book amounted to "glorification of terrorism", a stupendously ignorant charge given that the basic arguments of the book are against violence and the stereotyped thinking that leads to conflict. The book has already appeared in print in several languages and received praise from scholars worldwide for its challenging arguments and grasp of the historical dynamics. It is a serious contribution to understanding social change and cultural development over a long expanse of time from the ancient era to the present day with specific reference to both state and society of the Middle East. Several speakers pointed out that his ideas are particularly pertinent to the debates on the peaceful and democratic resolution of the Kurdish question in Turkey and the crisis in the Middle East.

Peace in Kurdistan issued a statement of protest at the decision to cancel the parliamentary meeting, which it called "an affront to democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of association." The full statement appears below.

The meeting at the NUJ was chaired by Elfyn Llwyd Plaid Cymru MP, who had to leave early because of the change of venue and was replaced by Pluto commissioning editor and chair Roger van Zwanenberg. Speakers also included Ibrahim Bilmez, a lawyer who is part of Ocalan’s defence team in Turkey; Reimar Heider, of the International Initiative - Freedom for Ocalan – Peace in Kurdistan in Germany; Alex Fitch, from Peace in Kurdistan Campaign, and Desmond Fernandes from CAMPACC. Apologies were received from Lord Rea, who was unable to attend due to the changed venue.


A planned meeting in a committee room of the House of Commons that was to have debated issues arising from the book Prison Writings: The Roots of Civilisation by imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan has been cancelled on spurious grounds. Reasons include the following: Abdullah Ocalan is the member of a 'proscribed' organisation (the PKK - the Kurdistan Workers’ Party). which constitutes by implication a "glorification of terrorism".

We protest this decision which is an affront to democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of association. The material presented in Prison Writings: The Roots of Civilisation formed part of Abdullah Ocalan's very submission to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). It is a landmark study that has been praised by leading academics in the field who clearly do not view it as "glorifying terrorism". Indeed, leading academics have sought to publicly recommend it on the following grounds: "This is the first truly postcolonial history of Mesopotamia" - Randal McGuire, Professor of Anthropology, Binghamton University. "It's a tour-de-force" - Ghada Talhami, D.K. Pearsons Professor of Politics, Lake Forest College, Illinois.

The book is likely to be placed on a number of university course lists, and is set to be widely cited and read in postcolonial, area studies and social science related circles. Yet, due to pressure from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, we are now informed that the relevant House of Commons officials are seeking to imply that the aforementioned publication - and public debate and meeting about what was Ocalan's ECHR submission - represents "glorification of terrorism" by a representative of a 'proscribed' organisation that, therefore, cannot be allowed in the House. This surely represents a grave breach of freedom of expression and association which members of the public, academics, academic unions, student unions, journalists, public interest, human rights and civil liberties organisations need to protest about. If this book and a public debate and proposed meeting that surrounds it is said to 'glorify terrorism', we need to ask ourselves: What book, and which meeting, will next be subject to a similar ban?

The German translation of this book - and as published and distributed throughout Germany - has not been subjected to any such bans or restrictions. Through this psychological warfare 'action', it is evident that members of the public, journalists, academics, Lords and MP's interested in the issues have effectively been banned - under threat of the "glorification of terrorism" clause – from debating and even hearing the substance of what was an ECHR submission in the Houses of Parliament.

This is a particularly serious given the fact that the book is published by the reputable Pluto Press (London and Ann Arbor) and the author’s arguments have met with praise by a number of academics. That the book has been hailed as a path-breaking contribution to a deeper historical understanding of the roots of human civilization and a work of high academic achievement no doubt irks some quarters who wish to project their view of Ocalan to the public - namely, that of an 'irrational, unintelligent' leader who has absolutely nothing to positively contribute to society at large. This book, and the proposed meeting surrounding it, seems to represent a 'threat' to 'deep political' US-UK-NATO-Turkish circles and arms lobbying firms who would prefer only to discuss Ocalan, Turkey and Kurds within the parameters of 'Kurdish terrorism' and carefully controlled debates.

The contemporary relevance of Ocalan’s new book for the future of the Kurdish people and for resolving the problems that bedevil the Middle East needs to reflected upon and publicly debated. We need not agree with all his views and perspectives in the book – That is how it should be in a democratic society. We may, we may not. The point is: it should hardly be out of place to discuss and reflect upon such ideas in the mother of Parliaments, the supposed champion of free speech and the people’s cherished liberties that are enshrined by tradition in the our "unwritten constitution".

The ideas in Ocalan's book should be studied and debated since they potentially represent a crucial contribution to resolving the conflicts that plague Turkey and the Middle East in a peaceful manner. The publisher Pluto Press should be applauded for bringing out this volume, which allows us to read, critically reflect upon and debate Ocalan's analyses and theses which originally formed part of his appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

The decision to request the cancellation of the meeting discussing Ocalan's prison writings in the House of Commons came during the time in which the lobby group 'Labour Friends of Turkey' was officially launched, and US and Turkish governments orchestrated terrorist operations against the Kurds living in Europe, resulting in the detentions and arrests of Kurdish political leaders, 'immigrants' and intellectuals, and the disruption and 'plunder' of the Ahmet Kaya Kurdish Cultural Center in Paris. That these operations were coordinated by the US and Turkish governments, with the cooperation of European 'friends', is a fact admitted by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried during a press conference in Washington on Thursday, February 8, 2007.

These coordinated 'operations' coincide with the reapplication of Ocalan's case to the European Court of Human Rights which, in 2005, ruled that Ocalan had not received a fair trial from the Turkish government. 'Suppression and silence' have been the consistent approaches of both the US and Turkey as regards the situation of the Kurdish people in Turkey, in order to prevent a wider public discussion in the international community and to preserve a military conflict which has served solely to benefit the elites in control of the worldwide war industry.

Pressure has clearly been exerted upon the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Houses of Parliament officials. This 'operation' - aimed at halting a meeting in the House of Commons that was to be chaired by an MP and hosted by Parliamentarians for National Self-Determination, in cooperation with the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign, the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC) and the Kurdish Federation in the UK - is an 'expression' of that 'pressure'. We oppose this type of 'action' that resulted in the cancellation of the meeting in the House of Commons. It threatens the very foundation of democracy - the right of free expression and association.

20 February 2007

For information:
020 7586 5892 Fax 020 7483 2531

Excerpt from the speech given at the London headquarters of the National Union of Journalists for the book launch of Ocalan's Prison Writings, 20 February 2007, by Desmond Fernandes:

This book, and the proposed meeting surrounding it, seems to represent a 'threat' to 'deep political' US-UK-NATO-Turkish circles and arms lobbying firms who would prefer only to discuss Ocalan, Turkey and Kurds within the parameters of 'Kurdish terrorism' and carefully controlled debates.

By arguing from emotive and superficial "terrorism" linked 'analytical' frameworks, an attempt has been made by these circles to 'colonise the mind' and control, restrict and steer the public, concerned MP's, academics, students, lawyers and human rights activists away from alternative frameworks of reference, of which this book is one. Nancy Snow's (2003: 82, 137) comments on the wider situation need to be reflected upon: "The nation's advantage in declaring a perpetual war on terrorism" - and, one might add, a war against alleged 'glorification of terrorism' - "is to stymie creative thinking about alternatives. The purpose of such propaganda phrases as 'war on terrorism' and attacking 'those who hate freedom' is to paralyse individual thought as well as to condition people to act as one mass. The modern war president" - and his willing ally Blair - "removes the individual nature of those who live in it by forcing us into a uniform state where the complexities of those we fight are erased. The enemy - terrorism, Bin Laden" - Abdullah Ocalan it seems - "Hussein - becomes one threatening category, something to be defeated and destroyed, so that the public response will be one of reaction to fear and threat rather than creatively and independently thinking for oneself. Our best hope for overcoming perpetual thinking" of this kind "about war and perpetual fear about both real and imagined threats is to question our leaders and their use of empty slogans that offer little rationale, explanation or historical context ... 'Where do we draw the line? ... If Bin Laden's words'" - and now, it seems, Ocalan's words and critical debate about them - "'are suppressed, should we then censor the words of anyone who might oppose the Administration or disagrees with a United States policy?' (Besler Heaphy)".

Should we unquestioningly follow the 'guidance' of those who seek to intentionally halt any critical public debate in the House of Commons concerning Ocalan's book and the substance of his appeal to the European Court of Human Rights? ...

Pressure has clearly been exerted upon the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Houses of Parliament administration. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in turn, has exerted its own pressure on others. This 'operation' - aimed at halting a meeting in the House of Commons that was to be chaired by an MP and hosted by Parliamentarians for National Self-Determination, in cooperation with the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign, and the Kurdish Federation in the UK - is an 'expression' of that 'pressure' ... Such an action has the effect of threatening the very foundation of democracy - the right of free expression and association.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


"Once I was making my way across the border when a couple Revolutionary Guards came bearing down on me. I promised to God that I would never smuggle again if I could just escape this one time. I escaped. That was five years and 100 trips ago."
~ Abdul Hamed Sadeq Qader, Kurdish smuggler.

There's a good article on smugglers and others in Rojhelat, from AsiaTimes:

PAVEH, Western Iran - Learning English was a hard struggle for Hassan Arinadi. The thickly bearded son of a respected dervish [1] grew up in an isolated Sunni-dominated Kurdish village that is also a mystical center for Iran's remote and volatile Kordestan province. Long days and nights of study paid off, and now Arinadi is the local English teacher, imparting long strings of grammatically sound if old-fashioned English sentences to his Kurdish pupils.

[ . . . ]

While visually stunning - it ought to be on the tourist trail - the village's position next to civil-war-torn Iraq and restive Sunni Muslim Kurdish inhabitants dictates its isolation. The prevailing government philosophy ever since a Kurdish rebellion soon after the 1979 Iranian revolution was violently suppressed is out of sight, out of mind. During Ashura, Shi'ite Islam's most important festival and the commemoration of the slaying of the Prophet's grandson Hossein by his political opponents, there were none of the black shrouds of mourning, self-flagellating crowds that filled most of Iran's other cities.

It is a time when the struggle by Iraq's already autonomous Kurds for their own state is providing inspiration to Kurds in neighboring countries. In the region, a simmering Sunni-Shi'ite enmity has spilled over into a covert war. So it is unsurprising that Iranian Kordestan's Sunni Kurds inhabit one of the least developed areas of the country and are politically unrepresented in Tehran.

"If there was a Shi'ite shrine here, the government would have built a huge mosque on its site and asphalted all roads leading to it," said Abu Bakr, the driver of an antique Nissan flatbed truck as he negotiated the snowed-in mountain paths connecting far-flung mountain villages.

In Paveh, the biggest city in the area, the state makes its presence felt through the armed guards standing sentry at the fortress-like police station built atop a hill close to the center of town. Most public signs are in Persian and Shi'ite imagery and names are given to schools and hospitals with predominantly Sunni pupils and patients. Many of the Revolutionary Guards entrusted to control the frontier from the rampant smuggling in goods that cuts across Iran and Iraq come from Iran's dominant Persian ethnic majority.

"Guerrillas from the Komala or Democrats [banned anti-Islamic Republic Kurdish secessionist groups] would throw stones at our sentries at night to bait them out in order to shoot at them," said a Kurdish soldier who served in Paveh in the early 1990s ferrying water to the border outposts. He was dismissed from duty after his superiors discovered that he had been selling water to locals whose villages had yet to have piping installed.

Many of the politically active Kurds are forced to lie low or flee across the border to Iraq. There, they can pick up military training and political indoctrination at a camp run by Pejak - the Party of Free Life in Kurdistan - on the inaccessible Mount Qandil. Pejak subscribes to the teachings of now-imprisoned Abdullah Ocalan, the former leader of Turkey's banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Pejak's cadres are mostly educated male and female activists, and it emerged as a force in northern Iraq as a result of the collapse of the Iraqi state. Ever since then, reports have emerged linking US and Israeli covert operations with these anti-Tehran groups.

"If reports are true that we have third-party agents and even a few Special Forces teams of our own inside Iran, why isn't Tehran screaming bloody murder about that?" asked Ray Close, a former US Central Intelligence Agency station chief in Saudi Arabia. "Perhaps in the past this was because they were embarrassed to admit that they had not caught any of our agents. But now that we have done so in Iraq, wouldn't you expect that the Iranians are probably launching a major campaign to grab some American and display him on TV as an infiltrator? Stay tuned."

Last May, a top Kurdish guerrilla threatened to launch hit-and-run attacks on Iran after Iranian artillery shelling of Mount Qandil.

"We have the right to launch attacks against Iranian forces," said Cemil "Cuma" Bayik, the de facto leader of the PKK, a quasi-socialist rebel movement entrenched in a decades-long guerrilla war for independence in the majority-Kurdish southeast of Turkey. In 2005, Pejak killed at least 120 Iranian soldiers in Iran, according to the Jamestown Foundation. In 2006, the guerrilla attacks continued undiminished. Also active is the left-wing Komala (Revolutionary Toilers of Iran) group that was founded in 1969 and was affiliated with the also-banned Communist Party of Iran. Last year, a senior Komala representative, Abdullah Muhtadi, traveled to Washington for a conference of Iranian minority groups amid speculation that the US administration was exploring a way of working with the group against Tehran.

[ . . . ]

With the region kept underdeveloped, smuggling provides a lucrative source of income. The Kurds' unmatched knowledge of the bandit-infested mountain passes connecting Iran with Iraq allows them to feed their neighbor's thirst for gasoline while bringing in Western electrical goods, weapons and alcohol.

If the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are smuggling weapons into Iraq, it is more likely to be happening through the southern border crossing areas of Mehran and Basra, which connect large Revolutionary Guard infrastructure projects with majority-Shi'ite, pro-Tehran southern Iraq. Any arms smuggling happening through the Kurdish areas is more likely to be Kurdish-orchestrated and private, rather than government-led.

"The fact that serial numbers were found [on weapons in Iraq] and that they could be traced to Iran production factories is not completely out of the question," said Paul Sullivan, a professor of economics at National Defense University in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC. "However, this does not necessarily prove Iranian culpability. These could have rather easily been sold on black markets, smuggled etc."

The Iranian government tries to stop the fuel-smuggling by posting armed guards at gasoline stations, noting license plates (a pointless action as the system is not computerized) and rationing fuel to 30 liters (half the full-tank capacity of a Nissan flatbed truck, the smugglers' favorite mode of transport) per day

"You have to get used to sleeping in the snow at night when bringing in a shipment," said Umar, a driver who uses his truck to bring goods into Iraq. "We know where the checkpoints are and carry the goods by hand across mountain paths before depositing them again on the other side of the checkpoint and bringing the empty truck to carry them the rest of the way."

Soldiers are also co-opted, and many look forward to a stint turning a blind eye at mountain checkpoints or gasoline pumps in Kordestan as a lucrative form of income.

"However pure a guard or a fuel attendant is, they become corrupted within a day when they are given the opportunity to make in one month enough money to be able to marry when their duty finishes," said one Kurdish official who requested anonymity.

Many of the most successful Kurdish smugglers are collaborators with the government in Tehran. The state allows them to conduct their own activities unmolested in return for their loyalty. One Kurdish family in the inaccessible village of Oraman has grown wealthy from smuggling but lost one of its sons, who was in the Revolutionary Guard when he was killed in a guerrilla attack.

It should be remembered, too, that last August one Kurdish pasdaran killed his comrades and then escaped to join PJAK.

A good backgrounder on PJAK can be found at MotherJones from last year. Also for those who need it, there's a reminder of what has gone on so far with alleged US support for PJAK. For more on smuggling, there's a pre-war article from The Scotsman.

For what it's worth, Lukery has a round up of news on the recent bombings in Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan region, near Afghanistan. Chinese media has reported that "Iranians have evidence linking the attacks to the United States." I agree with this statement:

Even if the United States were behind the operation, it is unlikely the Iranians would find weapons and materials that would be identifiable as American. US organizations that are involved in covert operations are very good about not leaving signatures that can be traced.

That goes back to the article on smuggling and American accusations that Iranians are supplying weapons to the Iraq insurgency:

"The fact that serial numbers were found [on weapons in Iraq] and that they could be traced to Iran production factories is not completely out of the question," said Paul Sullivan, a professor of economics at National Defense University in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC. "However, this does not necessarily prove Iranian culpability. These could have rather easily been sold on black markets, smuggled etc."

What is noted as significant at Lukery's post is the fact that "[T]he Iranians are choosing to make an issue" of their claim that Americans are behind the Sistan-Baluchestan attacks. What I think is significant is that the Chinese are choosing to make an issue of it as well . . . at least in their media.

Think: Bigger picture.

Monday, February 19, 2007


On Sunday evening, CBS News' 60 Minutes program did a short piece on South Kurdistan, which you can view here.

I have a certain degree of respect for 60 Minutes because it has, in the past, been one of the very few American news programs to present information on the situation of the Bakûrî. It has also broadcast an interview with Sibel Edmonds. In both of those cases, Ed Bradley was the correspondent who brought the stories out.

I'm a bit conflicted on this piece and am thinking through it. But, if you missed it, take a look and see what you think.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


"If there’s protest in a country then there’s going to be repression. Can they get away with it? - it depends a lot on the reaction. In the early 50s in the US, there was what was called Macarthyism and the only reason it succeeded was that there was no resistance to it. When they tried the same thing in the 60s it instantly collapsed because people simply laughed at it so they couldn’t do it."
~ Noam Chomsky, Interview with Mark Thomas.

Here is an item just in, and it should be seen in the wider context of the US and Turkish-backed terror operations against Kurds from Turkish-occupied Kurdistan that have taken place in the last two weeks in Europe, with the collaboration of the EU:

Snatched and bumped in 5 hours

Att: Ms Ceri Williams
UK Immigration Service
Re: Becket House enforcement
15 February 2007.

Dear Ms. Williams,

Thank you for taking my call today in regards to our client - Huseyin KOSE and wife and children.

Your Ref: K1154998

We were instructed this morning in regards to the removal of our client yesterday to Turkey, and the events surrounding the detention and arrest.

We are most concerned that this client and his wife and children, who have been reporting to Becket House on a monthly basis, and who have been cooperating with requests for information (Which we recognise as leading to the issue of travel documents), would be arrested and removed within FIVE HOURS.

The facts of the case are as follows:

o The family were woken at 4-30 AM yesterday (14 February) by at least fifteen officers (We are told 15 to 20)

o The family were given a police search warrant

o At the house, our clients brothers child who is four and half was spending the night.

o Our clients brother was called at 5AM to come to the house and collect his child.

o Each person of the family were allocated three of four officers.

o On entering the house, the officers were shouting at all of our clients, and the one and a half year old child was crying.

o The officers refused to allow the mother to go to the child and to pick up her child. Our client's child (Baby aged one and a half) was carried by officers, and not given to the mother until the mother was put in one of the cars.

o Our client was placed in a van in handcuffs, and separated from his wife and children.

o They were taken to the airport, and were not allowed out of the van, until time to board the plane (They spent FIVE HOURS in the van/cars, separated from each other).

o At the family home, our client's brother who had come to fetch his child, was threatened and told that 'he would be next and they would be coming to knock on his door'. Our client's brother has indefinite leave to remain!

o While in 'detention' (Now that VANS have become detention centres) our client was told:

o Be a good boy

o We will help you to come back to the UK

o You will be given money in Turkey

o There are lots of ways for you to come back to the UK if you are good, and don't make a noise.

(Our client was objecting to being separated from his wife and children, and was allowed to call his brother on his mobile phone. The above statements were repeated to our client's brother, and our client's brother was asked to tell our client to be quiet)

o There was NO TURKISH INTERPRETER in the group of officers that arrived at the house.

( It would appear that the NEW way of being able to transgress the English to Turkish barrier, is…If you don't have an interpreter just shout in English as loud as you can, and then they will understand.)

Now to my concerns:

1. As you have kindly confirmed (And what I had long believed) was that living in the democracy of the United Kingdom, and in the era of Human Rights, that where a person is to be removed to their country of origin, that following detention it would be 'policy' to set that removal 48 Hours after detention.

2. We further are concerned that the officers who had authority to enter the home looking for Huseyin KOSE did NOT have authority to traumatise the family that they were seeking and CERTAINLY did not have authority to traumatise a four and a half year old child who happened to be staying the night with the family.

3. Furthermore, we object in the strongest sense to the fact that our clients were 'detained/incarcerated/whatever you want to call it' within the confines of the vans and cars, parked outside of the airport, waiting for the flight.

We would like answers to the following points:

1. At what stage (If ever) were our clients informed of removal directions.

2. On whose authority were the clients arrested.

3. Why was our clients wife NOT allowed to pick up her crying infant and carry the infant outside.

4. On whose authority were the clients allowed to be kept for five hours in vans and cars. (There are LAWS in this country that do not allow ANIMALS to be left for long periods in cars)

5. On whose authority were our clients kept separated from each other, in the cars.

6. What action (If any) will be taken in respect to the treatment meted out to our clients brother and child (Who are settled in the UK)

7. On whose authority (And which agency) indicated to our clients (When concerns were raised as to their money and clothing) that they would be 'looked after and given money in Turkey'.

8. Why was it necessary that each member of the family had three or four 'Guards'.

9. Why was it required that SEVEN officers accompany our clients on the plane to Turkey.

We ask these questions in the light of the fact that our clients WERE reporting to Becket House, and COULD have simply been detained at Becket House during office hours, without giving the children traumatic memories that will live with them forever.

10. Lastly, and most importantly, WHY, if it is the 'policy' of UK Immigration enforcement, to give a family 48 hours notice of intended removal, would this removal of this client have been handled in such a Brutish, arrogant, and uncivilised manner, by officers who live in a democratic, law abiding country, that praises itself on their Human Rights.

On the facts of the above case, if held out to be an accurate portrayal of events, we would submit that the removal of our clients has not been carried out in a lawful manner.

We urgently request your reply in this matter, and will advise our clients (Client in Turkey, and his brother in the UK) accordingly, once we have your reply.

Yours Sincerely

Allan Van As

Here we have another example of democracy-as-marketing-ploy. Along with it, we may add another branch of the advertising campaign: "human rights."

These are the tools in the service of repression.

What are the odds that the torture of this family, by the Turkish government, has already begun? Is anyone willing to place a bet against it? Remember, it is widely known that Turkey routinely uses torture and security forces enjoy systematic impunity. Every government on the planet knows this very well, including that of the UK.

Assaults have also been launched against dissidents of the Turkish state in Italy, from MLKP.Info:

In the early morning of February 12, the Italian state carried out an attack against the revolutionary forces in Italy.

Police raids took place in the cities of Padua, Milan, Trieste and Turin and 15 revolutionaries of the Paduan Social Centre Gramigna, of Milanese Social Centre La Fucina and of the Paduan Proletarian Committees for Communism have been detained.

This "terrorist" hunt on the eve of the demonstration against the enlargement of the military bases of the USA in Vicenza was a threat in the name of the Italian revolutionaries against the peoples resisting against imperialist war and occupation. But the demonstration from February 17 in Vicenza - with a participation of 200.000 according to the organizers - was an unambiguous and strong answer of the masses shouting "down with the imperialist war".

Attacks of the bourgeoisie similar to this one are increasing in the last years. The attacks in 2000 and 2002 in France and Spain against the PCE (r), the operation in 2004 directed against the DHKP-C of Turkey and Northern Kurdistan carried out in a joint attack of the German, French, Italian, Belgian, and Dutch bourgeoisies together with the colonialist Turkish fascism, the massacre of the 17 revolutionaries of the MKP (Maoist Communist Party) in 2005, the detention and imprisonment attack, supported by CIA and MOSSAD, which started in September 2006 against our party MLCP and which is still going on, the raids and attacks against the Kurdish migrant associations in France under the pretext of drying out the finance sources of the PKK and the attacks of the bourgeoisies of the EU against migrant organisations are all links of the same chain.

MLKP also reports serious unrest at Turkish universities, including the murder of a Kurdish student:

18 February 2007/

In Antakya, the racist members of the Association of Kemalist Thought (ADD) stabbed a young Kurd to the ground.

In the universities, the attacks of the racist fascist gangs, supported by the state, are going on also in this semester. During the last month, the attacks of the MHP-fascists against the progressive, revolutionary students went on at many universities with confrontations and also reprisals of the fascists. In Mersin, 12 students are still in prison because of having protested against the fascist attacks at their university.

Meanwhile fascist parties like the MHP and BBP and fascist organizations linked to them like for instance Ulku Ocaklari, Alperen Ocaklari and racist fascist gangs like ADD, the "Turkish Left", the Associations of "Kuvayi Milliye" ("Kuvayi Milliye" means "National Forces" and it is name of the forces of Turkish liberation struggle lead by M. Kemal Ataturk) are organizing innumerable attacks against the progressive and revolutionary forces, directly supported and initiated by the state, the Kurdish people, the revolutionaries, intellectuals and writers are sentenced because of theirs thoughts and exposed to the lynch attempts provoked by these gangs. It has been revealed that Ogun Samast, the pawn who assassinated Hrant Dink, is also linked to the fascist centre called Alperen Ocaklari.

Last week again, a video of an oath ritual for membership, where people were armed, organized by the Associations of the National Forces has become public and caused a lot of protest among the democratic mass organisations.

Finally, the members of the ADD Antakya attacked the students of the Mustafa Kemal University Metin Kurt, Ferhat Demirtas and Ali Demirkiran with knives. The[y] killed Metin Kurt and hurt the other two young people. In spite of the fact, that the place, where the author of the crimes fled to and hide themselves was shown to the police, the police did not intervene.

Now we see what the employment of democratic methods will earn for us. It should also be noted that these events closely repeat events from the past that have led to military coups within the Turkish state, and that those coups were supported by the international community.


Addendum, from the Black-Operations-Department: Also from last week, and exposing more of the UK's willing cooperation with the US à la Gladio, check out what's been going on in Iraq, by the very people who brought you black operations in Northern Ireland--no, not the IRA, the Joint Support Group--in "Ulster on the Euphrates: The Anglo-American Dirty War in Iraq". Don't forget to take a look at the original article from the Telegraph.

A teaser:

Last week, the right-wing, pro-war paper published an early valentine to the "Joint Support Group," the covert unit whose bland name belies its dramatic role at the center of the Anglo-American "dirty war" in Iraq. In gushing, lavish, uncritical prose that could have been (and perhaps was) scripted by the unit itself, the Telegraph lauded the team of secret warriors as "one of the Coalition's most effective and deadly weapons in the fight against terror," running "dozens of Iraqi double agents," including "members of terrorist groups."

What the story fails to mention is the fact that in its Ulster incarnation, the JSG - then known as the Force Research Unit (FRU) - actively colluded in the murder of at least 15 civilians by Loyalist deaths squads, and an untold number of victims were killed, maimed, and tortured by the many Irish Republican Army double-agents controlled by the unit. What's more, the man who commanded the FRU during the height of its depredations - Lt. Col. Gordon Kerr - is in Baghdad now, heading the hugger-mugger Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR), a large counter-terrorism force made up of unnamed "existing assets" from the glory days in Northern Ireland and elsewhere.

[ . . . ]

The Telegraph puff piece is naturally coy about revealing these methods, beyond the fact that, as in Ireland, the JSG uses "a variety of inducements ranging from blackmail to bribes" to turn Iraqi terrorists into Coalition agents. So, to get a better idea of the techniques employed by the group in Baghdad, we must return to those "mean streets of Ulster" and the unit's reign of terror and collusion there, which has been thoroughly documented not only by the exhaustive Stevens inquiries, but also in a remarkable series of investigative reports by the Sunday Herald's Neil Mackay, and in extensive stories by the BBC, the Guardian, the Independent, the Times and others.

We will also see how the operations of the JSG and "Task Force Black" dovetail with U.S. efforts to apply the lessons of its own dirty wars - such as the "Salvador Option" - to Iraq, as well as long-running Bush Administration initiatives to arm and fund "friendly" militias while infiltrating terrorist groups in order to "provoke them into action." It is indeed a picture painted in black, a glimpse at the dark muck that lies beneath the high-flown rhetoric about freedom and civilization forever issuing from the lips of the war leaders.

[ . . . ]

But as investigative reporter Max Fuller has pointed out in his detailed examination of information buried in reams of mainstream news stories and public Pentagon documents, the vast majority of atrocities then attributed to "rogue" Shiite and Sunni militias were in fact the work of government-controlled commandos and "special forces," trained by Americans, "advised" by Americans and run largely by former CIA agents. As Fuller puts it: "If there are militias in the Ministry of Interior, you can be sure that they are militias that stand to attention whenever a U.S. colonel enters the room." And perhaps a British lieutenant colonel as well

With the Anglo-American coalition so deeply embedded in dirty war - infiltrating terrorist groups, "stimulating" them into action," protecting "crown jewel" double-agents no matter what the cost, "riding with the bad boys," greenlighting the "Salvador Option" - it is simply impossible to determine the genuine origin of almost any particular terrorist outrage or death squad atrocity in Iraq. All of these operations take place in the shadow world, where terrorists are sometimes government operatives and vice versa, and where security agencies and terrorist groups interpenetrate in murky thickets of collusion and duplicity. This moral chaos leaves "a kind of blot/to mark the full-fraught man and best indued/With some suspicion," as Shakespeare's Henry V says.

What's more, the "intelligence" churned out by this system is inevitably tainted by the self-interest, mixed motives, fear and criminality of those who provide it. The ineffectiveness of this approach can be seen in the ever-increasing, many-sided civil war that is tearing Iraq apart. If these covert operations really are intended to quell the violence, they clearly have had the opposite effect. If they have some other intention, the pious defenders of civilization - who approve these activities with promotions, green lights and unlimited budgets - aren't telling.

Are we all having fun yet?