Saturday, September 29, 2007


"Fear is not in the habit of speaking truth."
~ Publius Cornelius Tacitus.

Once upon a time in an effort to deflect attention away from the Ankara regime's atrocities in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, a Turkish prime minister claimed that the PKK had helicopters

As reported in Cumhuriyet in October 1994, Tansu Çiller stated the following:

"Even if I saw with my own eyes that the state had burned a village, I would not believe it", said the then Prime Minister Tansu Çiller when she was told by a delegation of village leaders that soldiers supported by helicopters had destroyed their villages. As security "embarrassments" must always be justified by referring to Turkey's internal and external enemies, she suggested that the helicopters could belong to the PKK (which does not have an air force), Russia, Afghanistan or Armenia.

That was also at a time when a deputy chief of the Turkish general staff said that the Turkish struggle against "terrorism" was being held back by "democracy and human rights." Strangely enough, that's the very same thing the Turkish general staff said in a post on its website back in June of this year:

It is the time to see the real face of the people and organizations that, domestically and internationally, are acting as fronts for the terrorist organization [sic], by speaking of high values such as peace, freedom, and democracy in every incident.

Again, back in the 1990s, Amnesty International made the following observation:

The Turkish Government routinely denies, covers up or justifies torture, extrajudicial executions and "disappearances" by its security forces. The record shows that ministers will say anything rather than squarely confront the gendarmerie and police commanders with the evidence of their abuses. In 1994, faced with irrefutable reports that soldiers were burning villages in Tunceli province, the Interior Minister first suggested the villagers were torching their own homes and then that PKK were destroying villages while dressed as gendarmes.

On the contrary, just this week a former TSK officer admitted that his soldiers regularly dressed as PKK gerîlas during the Dirty War against the Kurds in the 1990s.

Either Turkey is nothing more than a huge echo chamber or nothing has changed--and given that we have a new OHAL in three Kurdish provinces, my money goes on the latter.

To prove the point, here's something from Yeni Özgür Politika:

On Thursday in New York at the Foreign Relations Council, Erdoğan claimed that the PKK has US-made heavy weapons, such as tanks, besides light weaponry. Erdoğan also accused the US of not being sensitive enough on this issue.

Erdoğan asserted that Turkey hasn't received the expected support from the US yet.

"Unfortunately, there were heavy weapons, such as tanks, in PKK camps," he claimed. Erdoğan continued as such: "Hopefully, in a short time we will have a meeting with the president (Bush) and we will talk in detail about this issue. We have talked to the Secretary of State about it. She said they would show the required sensitivity about this issue."

On the previous day, The US Secretary of State had said to the Turkish delegation that they would erase PKK from the whole world.

In the 1990s, former Turkish prime minister Tansu Çiller had also claimed that the PKK had helicopters.

Of course, Erdoğan doesn't explain how the PKK is supposed to maneuver tanks around in the mountains of Kurdistan, nor does anyone demand an explanation. Let me make it simple: Think Nazi army. Think blitzkrieg. Think Yugoslavia. Think again.

Atma, Recep, din kardeşiyiz! Küçük at da civcivler de yesin!

Go on, Recep, pull the other one.

Friday, September 28, 2007


"Every truth must be accompanied by some corresponding act."
~ George MacDonald.

There's a must-read at AlterNet and here's a teaser:

The terrorist violence of Sept. 11, 2001, provided a spectacular opportunity. In the cacophony of outrage and confusion, the administration could conceal its intentions, disguise the true nature of its premeditated wars, and launch them. The opportunity was exploited in a heartbeat.

Within hours of the attacks, President Bush declared the United States "… would take the fight directly to the terrorists," and "… he announced to the world the United States would make no distinction between the terrorists and the states that harbor them." Thus the "War on Terror" was born.

The fraudulence of the "War on Terror," however, is clearly revealed in the pattern of subsequent facts:

* In Afghanistan the state was overthrown instead of apprehending the terrorist. Offers by the Taliban to surrender Osama bin Laden were ignored, and he remains at large to this day.

* In Iraq, when the United States invaded, there were no al Qaeda terrorists at all.

* Both states have been supplied with puppet governments, and both are dotted with permanent U.S. military bases in strategic proximity to their hydrocarbon assets.

* The U.S. embassy nearing completion in Baghdad is comprised of 21 multistory buildings on 104 acres of land. It will house 5,500 diplomats, staff and families. It is ten times larger than any other U.S. embassy in the world, but we have yet to be told why.

* A 2006 National Intelligence Estimate shows the war in Iraq has exacerbated, not diminished, the threat of terrorism since 9/11. If the "War on Terror" is not a deception, it is a disastrously counterproductive failure.

* Today two American and two British oil companies are poised to claim immense profits from 81 percent of Iraq's undeveloped crude oil reserves. They cannot proceed, however, until the Iraqi Parliament enacts a statute known as the "hydrocarbon framework law."

* The features of postwar oil policy so heavily favoring the oil companies were crafted by the Bush administration State Department in 2002, a year before the invasion.

* Drafting of the law itself was begun during Paul Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority, with the invited participation of a number of major oil companies. The law was written in English and translated into Arabic only when it was due for Iraqi approval.

* President Bush made passage of the hydrocarbon law a mandatory "benchmark" when he announced the troop surge in January of 2007.

When it took office, the Bush administration brushed aside warnings about al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Their anxiety to attack both Afghanistan and Iraq was based on other factors.

The planning for the Iraq war began in 1992. Who were the planners? They have names that should ring familiar: Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Zalmay Khalilzad, among others.

How closely was the Bush administration allied with Big Oil? When did this cabal finally materialize and begin to scrutinize "detailed maps detailed maps of the Iraqi oil fields, pipelines, tanker terminals, refineries and the undeveloped oil exploration blocks"?

Why was Afghanistan a "strategically valuable location" for energy resources? Which oil company tried to massage the Taliban and which prominent Afghanis were consultants for the company?

Take a look at the last message the US State Department gave the Taliban over the question of pipelines and note the date:

At the final meeting with the Taliban, on Aug. 2, 2001, State Department negotiator Christine Rocca, clarified the options: "Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs." With the futility of negotiations apparent, "President Bush promptly informed Pakistan and India the U.S. would launch a military mission into Afghanistan before the end of October."

This was five weeks before the events of 9/11.

Lest anyone think that Big Oil is the only industry to benefit from the Big Lie, I have two words for you: Lockheed Martin. The neoconservatives who've pimped the ideas of global dominance, preemptive war, and the glorious spread of democracy are all linked to Lockheed Martin or the rest of the military-industrial complex.

Go and read "The Mega-Lie Called the 'War on Terror': A Masterpiece of Propaganda".

It may be that Big Oil and all of those who manufactured the Big Lie will be screwed in the end. Why did Talabanî go to China in June? Because Iraq will revive Saddam's old oil contracts with China.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


"The time for North Iraq's independence draws nearer each day, and all we do is try to deal with the PKK. We don't attach enough importance to this issue. Yet, the independence of Northern Iraq could divide Turkey."
~ İlker Başbuğ, Land Forces Commander.

Turkish foreign minister, Ali Babacan, insisted that Condoleezza Rice put a stop to PKK at this very moment. He was also on a tear at the UN about RojTV. Babacan's upset because HPG recently whacked his cousin, who was a member of the terrorist TSK in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan. Now Babacan's probably kicking himself for not getting his cousin out of military service . . . like Erdoğan did for his son.

TNA has sunk to a new low by claiming that PKK plans to assassinate the DTP mayors. Of course, this should serve as a warning to the DTP mayors that they should look out for assassination attempts from the usual suspects--the Turkish state. Remember Musa Anter? Remember Akın Birdal? Hevallo has his take on TNA's propaganda on one of his posts.

While TNA is busy scraping the bottom, there's a fairly accurate article on the anti-PKK agreement between Iraq and Turkey at Eurasia Daily Monitor, a branch of the neoconservative Jamestown Foundation:

. . . [I]t is debatable whether the measures cited by the Turkish media will have a significant impact on the PKK’s ability to infiltrate its militants into Turkey from the organization’s camps in the Qandil Mountains of northern Iraq. Turkey’s border with Iraq is long and mountainous and riddled with age-old smuggling routes. Even though they have installed sensors and night vision equipment on their side of the border, the Turkish security forces are still able to intercept only a small proportion of the militants attempting to enter Turkey. It is difficult to see how a handful of liaison offices will make much difference.

Similarly, the concept of “hot pursuit” is based on operational continuity. If a unit of the Turkish armed forces that is pursuing members of the PKK toward the Iraqi border has to ask Baghdad for permission to cross and then wait for a reply, in most cases the trail will rapidly go cold.

[ . . . ]

On September 26, the Turkish press quoted Iraqi Kurdish officials as telling the local Peyamner News Agency that any agreement on measures to be taken against the PKK would need the approval of the KRG and that none had been forthcoming. Peyamner quoted an Iraqi Kurdish militia spokesperson as warning that the Iraqi Kurds would resist any incursion by the Turkish military, even in hot pursuit of PKK militants. “No one will be allowed to enter the Kurdistan region or violate its sovereignty by crossing the border,” he said (Vatan, September 27).

(There's also something there on Şehîd Nazan Bayram of YJA-STAR, but I will do something more on her in the coming days. Şehîd Namirin!)

South Kurdistan had better pay attention to the real reasons behind Turkish intentions. It may have less to do with PKK than with the perceived threat of the South to Turkish "territorial integrity." Or so claims the next chief of the Turkish general staff. One should be careful in choosing one's "brothers".

For those who have been following the situation with mercenary forces in general, and Blackwater USA in particular, there are two must-read articles that have been published in the last couple of days. The first is from Scott Horton at Harper's. Writing about US military reactions to Blackwater:

A number of officers described the security contractors as a group, and Blackwater in particular, as “cowboys,” and “trigger-happy jackasses.” An account published over the weekend by London’s Independent which drew on interviews with Iraqi eye-witnesses, sharply contradicts Blackwater’s claims and the characterizations put out by the State Department. The Iraqi Interior Ministry has also claimed that it has a video which will conclusively demonstrate that the shootings by Blackwater personnel were unprovoked.

According to Horton, the crux of the problem is described by a State Department official thusly:

“The core of the relationship is simple,” a U.S. diplomat described the State Department’s dealings with Blackwater USA. “They protect us, and we protect them.”

Now there are indications that both the State Department and Blackwater are working together to cover up the whole mess and an investigation by the House Oversight Committee is rumored. I say "rumored" because that committee is headed by Congressman Waxman, the very same congressman who's persistently avoided investigation of the Sibel Edmonds case.

Word of advice: Don't. Hold. Your. Breath.

Finally, the second must-read is from Blackwater expert, Jeremy Scahill at The Nation. Scahill also mentions the allegations that Blackwater weapons ended up in the PKK's possession. However, those who've actually been to Qendil have seen no American weapons there.

Instead of blaming PKK for American weaponry that allegedly made it across the border into Turkey, maybe someone should check out the possible gun-running at the Turkish consulate in Mûsil.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


"[U]p to now we have been drawing attention to the illegality, violations, killings and kidnappings in the region. We said, 'the perpetrators are known.' Now it is being admitted."
~ Sezgin Tanrıkulu, President, Amed (Diyarbakır) Bar Association.

There's more on retired colonel Erdal Sarızeybek's confession from Bianet:

"I thought a lot about how I could prevent the terrorists from entering the district town [of Semdinli]. Finally I decided; it was quite a mad plan, but we had no other choice. I finally made my decision and met with Kaymakam Ahmet Bey and Prosecutor Bülent Bey. I told them:

'Honourable Kaymakam and Prosecutor. The situation is very grave. We are surrounded by PKK militants on three sides. It would only take one night for the terrorists to come here [to Semdinli] from Hakurk in the south, from Jerma in the east and from Basyan in the west. If they enter the town, we are face to face with the people and they will suffer. We do not want this. That is why will take this precaution.'

They both answered, 'Alright, Major. We are behind you to the last.'"

Then a major, Saribeyzek had started his duty as a Gendarmerie Border Batallion Commander in 1992.

Sezgin Tanrıkulu, president of the Amed (Diyarbakır) Bar Association, puts his finger on the possible reason why these old TSK officers are now coming out with the stories of their terrorism:

According to Tanrikulu, "Most probably the events he wrote about would have been investigated within the framework of "abuse of position". It is interesting and important that former soldiers wait for enough time to pass before they make such statements, so that the statute of limitations applies and they can be sure to evade punishment."

It is interesting, because "it is an indication of the future. It shows that those doing duty in that area [in the East and South-East] have got a lot to say."

It is important, because "up to now we have been drawing attention to the illegality, violations, killings and kidnappings in the region. We said, 'the perpetrators are known.' Now it is being admitted."

In the meantime, DTP parliamentarian and former IHD head Akın Birdal will bring the case to the TBMM:

Diyarbakir MP Akin Birdal of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) has announced that the case would be taken to the Human Rights Commission of the Parliament. The commission meets on 1 October, the same day that parliament opens. Birdal, who is a former president of the Human Rights Association (IHD), pointed out that human rights activists had long reported on soldiers pretending to be PKK members:

"There were many claims and indicators. It has been said that PKK uniforms were put on, that soldiers introduced themselves as PKK members and raided houses, that they asked people for support in the disguise. If they received help, people were accused of aiding and abetting. If they did not receive help, people were tortured, maltreated or killed."

And Akın Birdal is the one to know since these same types tried to murder him.

In case you've missed the brouhaha, Bianet also has a report about a Turkish nationalist singer from the Black Sea region, Ismail Türüt, who's taking the heat for a Youtube clip of one of his songs. Not that I could possibly squeeze out a tear for him, since he and his sidekick lyricist are glorified thugs who go around praising other glorified thugs.

Supposedly the person who made the clip of Türüt's song is a university student who had "no political aim." Oh, sure. I know I believe him:

University student Hakan Öztekin said that he had prepared the clip without any political aim: "I saw another clip with this song from Ismail Türüt, whose fan I am, on YouTube. I took random pictures related to Samsun from the Internet and randomly put them together with the song. I did not know that this would make such waves."

This defense seems rather unconvincing, as the "random pictures related to Samsun" were pictures of Hrant Dink's body and the murder suspects.

The Bianet report goes on to say that Öztekin's clip had been yanked from Youtube, but you can still find plenty of others that are similar. If interested in seeing what it's all about, go to Youtube and do a search for "Ismail Türüt".

Uh, but you can't do that from Turkey because Youtube's been banned again.

It's ironic. You can post oodles of video clips with Ismail Türüt's nationalist song accompanied with photos of Hrant Dink's body, and his murderers shown as national heroes. But you can't post videos of Mustafa Kemal, R. Tayyip Erdoğan, or Abdullah Gül wearing pink tutus and lip-synching to "Material Girl."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


"These enemies of humanity who believe that the state authority has weakened and turned their guns on our innocent citizens will definitely drown in the hole that they have fallen into."
~ Turkish PM Tansu Çiller on the Güçlükonak Massacre.

For all those who believe that PKK has been the source of all evil in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan and that PKK has been the source of "terrorism," Milliyet has one for you:

Erdal Sarızeybek, a retired TSK colonel, confessed several military secrets in his latest book called, I Saw the Betrayal.

In the book, Sarızeybek talks about how TSK created a fighting environment with the excuse of protecting the people in 1992, in Semdinli. He confesses "the crazy things we did for the war on terrorism."

"We fired with Rockets":

"My plan was like this: Within two or three nights, 120mm artillery and flares would be shot in the downtown (of Semdinli). We would shoot at the targets that we had installed earlier, and then we started shooting rockets and created a complete fighting environment. On the morning of the next day, we would assemble all the people downtown and warn them about how how wounded the people would get in a possible war and, for that reason, they should not allow "terrorists" to come into the city.

"At least once a week this became routine in Semdinli and for a long time it continued. Maybe you will call this craziness, but we did get results. We prevented the injury of people and the rest is not important."

The retired colonel, Erdal Sarızeybek, also confessed that TSK had formed several teams of soldiers with beards and dressed them like PKK. Sarizeybek says:

"The nation was burning. There wasn't a day without operations. I can confess that, once, we were in a desperate situation. We did several things. For instance, we formed some teams among the soldiers who had beards and we dressed them in PKK clothing. We put them on the roads at night in order to secure the region. For convoy security, we walked hundreds of troops at night in critical places in order to secure the area."

This confession calls to mind the confession last year by Lieutenant General Altay Tokat, when he said he also engaged in terrorism to knock a little nervousness into those who weren't sufficiently so:

"In my time, I also had them throw a few bombs to some critical points. These were empty places! My issue was to give a message. Civil servants, judges that come from the West [of Turkey] don't understand the seriousness of the situation... when things became calmer, they started to take this business nor seriously... One [act of] disaster is better than a thousand words of advice. In consequence I had [bombs] thrown at two places close to their houses. One [act of] disaster is better than a thousand words of advice. After that they understood that they needed to be careful. This way I educated them. You can't immediately evaluate this by saying throwing bombs is illegal. I might have saved the lives of those people. I did not tell them either. Now if you construe this as assassination, I'll laugh at that."

We also have the example of the Güçlükonak massacre and the Hantepe massacre, to name two.

And it was the same ones who murdered Musa Anter that also did the Hantepe massacre.

Now tell me again: Who are the real terrorists?

Monday, September 24, 2007


"The government is primarily responsible for my mother's death.If we had had clean drinking water, my mother would still be alive."
~ Shadan Mohammed, university student, Silêmanî.

The first cases of cholera have appeared in Baghdad and Basra. While Silêmanî, Hewlêr, and Kerkuk have had just over a thousand confirmed cases, there have been almost 25,000 suspected cases in the Kurdish region. The Kurdish minister of health predicts more cases if the KRG does not clean up the water:

"If the government doesn't fix the dirty water problem, the cholera outbreak will continue and a huge disaster will occur," said KRG minister of health Zryan Osman.

Dr. Osman said that 13 people have died of cholera in the northern provinces of Sulaimaniyah, Erbil and Kirkuk. The minister reported that 430 people in Sulaimaniyah and 270 in Erbil have been diagnosed with the disease. And Salah Ahmed Ameen, a senior health official in Kirkuk, said 450 people are infected with cholera there.

[ . . . ]

Osman noted that the spread of the deadly disease appears to be slowing. But he said that health officials are concerned that cholera could emerge in new areas where the water is not clean and basic services are poor.

"The water systems need to be cleaned, and then we can control the disease," agreed Sherko Abdullah, head of healthcare in Sulaimaniyah province. "The problem isn't with the healthcare, it's with the services."

[ . . . ]

People in Iraqi Kurdistan maintain that the government is not providing even basic services despite its relative stability and growing oil revenues. Many argue that the cholera outbreak is an example of how the regional authorities - which have a high level of autonomy from Baghdad - have failed them.

"The government is primarily responsible for my mother's death," said Shadan Mohammed, a 25 year old student at the University of Sulaimaniyah, whose mother recently died of cholera.

"If we had had clean drinking water, my mother would still be alive."

[ . . . ]

[A] video posted on Google that shows a man shovelling large amounts of dirt and sludge out of a huge water tanker in Sulaimaniyah has become popular viewing in the north. Some argue that the video provides evidence that authorities are not properly monitoring and managing the water supply.

"The drinking water sources in the city [of Sulaimaniyah] are so dirty that any disease could come out of them," said Osman. "The drinking water is mixed with sewage."

"The current water system in Sulaimaniyah can provide only 30 percent of residents with water," maintained Abdullah. "The system is old, the tankers are not regularly cleaned, and not enough chlorine is added to the water."

Funny you should mention chlorine. The crowning glory of the spread of this disease throughout Iraq is that a big shipment of chlorine has been held up at the Jordanian border:

A shipment of 100,000 tons of the water purifier has been held up at the Jordanian border over fears the chemical could be used in explosives. Baghdad, which has doubled the amount of chlorine in the drinking water, now has only a week's supply.

So people either die of cholera or of chlorine bombs? Yes, this is what's known as "spreading democracy in the Middle East."

You would think Blackwater could come up with a nice, little, overpriced, no-bid contract to secure the convoy of chlorine and ensure that it didn't fall into the hands of "insurgents." But I guess the mercenaries are too busy protecting American carpetbaggers or the stray US congressman who wanders over to Iraq for a photo-op.

Someone is purposely holding up the chlorine in order to cause more death and destruction in South Kurdistan and Arab Iraq. This by no means lets the KRG--the euphemism of unity for the two main Southern Kurdish parties of the KDP and PUK--off the hook for their own complete disregard of basic services for the Kurdish people. But even they are now hindered by someone higher up the food chain--those who rule this outpost of Empire from inside the Green Zone.

Business as usual.

Meanwhile, in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, HPG released some busy little bees who happened to whack three--count 'em, three--JITEM. See DozaMe on that here, here, and here.

DozaMe also has a post on a mass grave uncovered in a Turkish military compound in the Kurdish capital, Amed (Diyarbakır). As far as I know, the news first appeared in Özgür Gündem last Friday and there are photos accompanying the article.

Hevallo has been keeping up with the Hunt Oil deal, including possible Bush ties and his own poll. Now, apparently, Hunt Oil has taken a sudden interest in Hevallo.

Anyone who's interested in researching global government corruption should check out Transparency International. It's a one-stop shop for everything on who's dirty and who's not.

Friday, September 21, 2007


"Show me the country that has no strikes and I'll show you the country in which there is no liberty."
~ Samuel Gompers.

A brilliant suggestion from Garret Keizer at Harper's:

Specific suggestion: General strike.

1. Of all the various depredations of the Bush regime, none has been so thorough as its plundering of hope. Iraq will recover sooner. What was supposed to have been the crux of our foreign policy—a shock-and-awe tutorial on the utter futility of any opposition to the whims of American power—has achieved its greatest and perhaps its only lasting success in the American soul. You will want to cite the exceptions, the lunch-hour protests against the war, the dinner-party ejaculations of dissent, though you might also want to ask what substantive difference they bear to grousing about the weather or even to raging against the dying of the light—that is, to any ritualized complaint against forces universally acknowledged as unalterable. Bush is no longer the name of a president so much as the abbreviation of a proverb, something between Murphy’s Law and tomorrow’s fatal inducement to drink and be merry today.

If someone were to suggest, for example, that we begin a general strike on Election Day, November 6, 2007, for the sole purpose of removing this regime from power, how readily and with what well-practiced assurance would you find yourself producing the words “It won’t do any good”? Plausible and even courageous in the mouth of a patient who knows he’s going to die, the sentiment fits equally well in the heart of a citizenry that believes it is already dead.

2. Any strike, whether it happens in a factory, a nation, or a marriage, amounts to a reaffirmation of consent. The strikers remind their overlords—and, equally important, themselves—that the seemingly perpetual machinery of daily life has an off switch as well as an on. Camus said that the one serious question of philosophy is whether or not to commit suicide; the one serious question of political philosophy is whether or not to get out of bed. Silly as it may have seemed at the time, John and Yoko’s famous stunt was based on a profound observation. Instant karma is not so instant—we ratify it day by day.

The stream of commuters heading into the city, the caravan of tractor-trailers pulling out of the rest stop into the dawn’s early light, speak a deep-throated Yes to the sum total of what’s going on in our collective life. The poet Richard Wilbur writes of the “ripped mouse” that “cries Concordance” in the talons of the owl; we too cry our daily assent in the grip of the prevailing order— except in those notable instances when, like a donkey or a Buddha, we refuse to budge.

The question we need to ask ourselves at this moment is what further provocations we require to justify digging in our heels. To put the question more pointedly: Are we willing to wait until the next presidential election, or for some interim congressional conversion experience, knowing that if we do wait, hundreds of our sons and daughters will be needlessly destroyed? Another poet, César Vallejo, framed the question like this:

A man shivers with cold, coughs, spits up blood.
Will it ever be fitting to allude to my inner soul? . . .
A cripple sleeps with one foot on his shoulder.
Shall I later on talk about Picasso, of all people?

A young man goes to Walter Reed without a face. Shall I make an appointment with my barber? A female prisoner is sodomized at Abu Ghraib. Shall I send a check to the Clinton campaign?

3. You will recall that a major theme of the Bush Administration’s response to September 11 was that life should go on as usual. We should keep saying that broad consensual Yes as loudly as we dared. We could best express our patriotism by hitting the malls, by booking a flight to Disney World. At the time, the advice seemed prudent enough: avoid hysteria; defy the intimidations of murderers and fanatics.

In hindsight it’s hard not to see the roots of our predicament in the readiness with which we took that advice to heart. We did exactly as we were told, with a net result that is less an implicit defiance of terrorism than a tacit amen to the “war on terror,” including the war in Iraq. Granted, many of us have come to find both those wars unacceptable. But do we find them intolerable? Can you sleep? Yes, doctor, I can sleep. Can you work? Yes, doctor, I can work. Do you get out to the movies, enjoy a good restaurant? Actually, I have a reservation for tonight. Then I’d say you were doing okay, wouldn’t you? I’d say you were tolerating the treatment fairly well.

It is one thing to endure abuses and to carry on in spite of them. It is quite another thing to carry on to the point of abetting the abuse. We need to move the discussion of our nation’s health to the emergency room. We need to tell the doctors of the body politic that the treatment isn’t working—and that until it changes radically for the better, neither are we.

4. No one person, least of all a freelance writer, has the prerogative to call or set the date for a general strike. What do you guys do for a strike, sit on your overdue library books? Still, what day more fitting for a strike than the first Tuesday of November, the Feast of the Hanging Chads? What other day on the national calendar cries so loudly for rededication?

The only date that comes close is September 11. You have to do a bit of soul-searching to see it, but one result of the Bush presidency has been a loss of connection to those who perished that day. Unless they were members of our families, unless we were involved in their rescue, do we think of them? It’s too easy to say that time eases the grief—there’s more to it than that, more even than the natural tendency to shy away from brooding on disasters that might happen again. We avoid thinking of the September 11 victims because to think of them we have to think also of what we have allowed to happen in their names. Or, if we object openly to what has happened, we have to parry the insinuation that we’re unmoved by their loss.

It is time for us to make a public profession of faith that the people who went to work that morning, who caught the cabs and rode the elevators and later jumped to their deaths, were not on the whole people who would sanction extraordinary rendition, preemptive war, and the suspension of habeas corpus; that in their heels and suits they were at least as decent as any sneaker-shod person standing vigil outside a post office with a stop the war sign. That the government workers who died in the Pentagon were not by some strange congenital fluke more obtuse than the high-ranking officers who thought the invasion of Iraq was a bad idea from the get-go. That the passengers who rushed the hijackers on Flight 93 were not repeating the mantra “It won’t do any good” while scratching their heads and their asses in a happy-hour funk.

An Election Day general strike would set our remembrance of those people free from the sarcophagi of rhetoric and rationalization. It would be the political equivalent of raising them from the dead. It would be a clear if sadly delayed message of solidarity to those voters in Ohio and Florida who were pretty much told they could drop dead.

5. But how would it work? A curious question to ask given that not working is most of what it would entail. Not working until the president and the shadow president resigned or were impeached. Never mind what happens next. Rather, let our mandarins ask how this came to happen in the first place. Let them ask in shock and awe.

People who could not, for whatever reason, cease work could at least curtail consumption. In fact, that might prove the more effective action of the two. They could vacate the shopping malls. They could cancel their flights. With the aid of their Higher Power, they could turn off their cell phones. They could unplug their TVs.

The most successful general strike imaginable would require extraordinary measures simply to announce its success. It would require sound trucks going up and down the streets, Rupert Murdoch reduced to croaking through a bullhorn. Bonfires blazing on the hills. Bells tolling till they cracked. (Don’t we have one of those on display somewhere?)

Ironically, the segment of the population most unable to participate would be the troops stationed in the Middle East. Striking in their circumstances would amount to suicide. That distinction alone ought to suffice as a reason to strike, as a reminder of the unconscionable underside of our “normal” existence. We get on with our lives, they get on with their deaths.

As for how the strike would be publicized and organized, these would depend on the willingness to strike itself. The greater the willingness, the fewer the logistical requirements. How many Americans does it take to change a lightbulb? How many Web postings, how many emblazoned bedsheets hung from the upper-story windows? Think of it this way: How many hours does it take to learn the results of last night’s American Idol, even when you don’t want to know?

In 1943 the Danes managed to save 7,200 of their 7,800 Jewish neighbors from the Gestapo. They had no blogs, no television, no text messaging—and very little time to prepare. They passed their apartment keys to the hunted on the streets. They formed convoys to the coast. An ambulance driver set out with a phone book, stopping at any address with a Jewish-sounding name. No GPS for directions. No excuse not to try.

But what if it failed? What if the general strike proved to be anything but general? I thought Bush was supposed to be the one afraid of science. Hypothesis, experiment, analysis, conclusion—are they his hobgoblins or ours? What do we have to fear, except additional evidence that George W. Bush is exactly what he appears to be: the president few of us like and most of us deserve. But science dares to test the obvious. So let us dare.

6. We could hardly be accused of innovation. General strikes have a long and venerable history. They’re as retro as the Bill of Rights. There was one in Great Britain in 1926, in France in 1968, in Ukraine in 2004, in Guinea just this year. Finns do it, Nepalis do it, even people without email do it . . .

But we don’t have to do it, you will say, because “we have a process.” Have or had, the verb remains tentative. In regard to verbs, Dick Cheney showed his superlative talent for le mot juste when in the halls of the U.S. Congress he told Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy to go fuck himself. He has since told congressional investigators to do the same thing. There’s your process. Dick Cheney could lie every day of his life for all the years of Methuselah, and for the sake of that one remark history would still need to remember him as an honest man. In the next world, Diogenes will kneel down before him. In this world, though, and in spite of the invitation tendered to me through my senator, I choose to remain on my feet.

“United we stand,” isn’t that how it goes? But we are not united, not by a long shot. At this juncture we may be able to unite only in what we will not stand for. The justification of torture, the violation of our privacy, the betrayal of our intelligence operatives, the bankrupting of our commonwealth, the besmirching of our country’s name, the feckless response to natural disaster, the dictatorial inflation of executive power, the senseless butchery of our youth—if these do not constitute a common ground for intolerance, what does?

People were indignant at the findings of the 9/11 Commission—it seems there were compelling reasons to believe an attack was imminent!—yet for the attack on our Constitution we have evidence even more compelling. How can we criticize an administration for failing to act in the face of a probable threat given our own refusal to act in the face of a threat already fulfilled? As long as we’re willing to go on with our business, Bush and Cheney will feel free to go on with their coup. As long as we’re willing to continue fucking ourselves, why should they have any scruples about telling us to smile during the act?

Between undertaking the strike and achieving its objective, the latter requires the greater courage. It requires courage simply to admit that this is so. For too many of us, Bush has become a secret craving, an addiction. We loathe Bush the way that Peter Pan loathed Captain Hook; he’s a villain, to be sure, but he’s half the fun of living in Never-Never Land. He has provided us with an inexhaustible supply of editorial copy, partisan rectitude, and every sort of lame excuse for not engaging the system he represents. In that sense, asking “What if the strike were to fail?” is not even honest. On some level we would want it to fail.

Certainly this would be true of those who’ve declared themselves as presidential candidates and for whom the Bush legacy represents an unprecedented windfall of political capital. One need only speak a coherent sentence—one need only breathe from a differently shaped smirk—to seem like a savior. Ding-dong, the Witch is dead. Already I can see the winged monkeys who signed off on the Patriot Act and the Iraq invasion jumping up and down for joy. Already I can hear the nauseating gush: “Such a welcome relief after Bush!” Relief, yes. But relief is not hope.

How much better if we could say to our next administration: Don’t talk about Bush. We dealt with Bush. We dealt with Bush and in so doing we demonstrated our ability to deal with you. You have a mandate more rigorous than looking good beside Bush. You need a program more ambitious than “uniting the country.” We are united—at least we were, if only for a while, if only in our disgust. If only I believed all this would happen.

I wrote this appeal during the days leading up to the Fourth of July. I wrote it because for the past six and a half years I have heard the people I love best—family members, friends, former students and parishioners—saying, “I’m sick over what’s happening to our country, but I just don’t know what to do.” Might I be pardoned if, fearing civil disorder less than I fear civil despair, I said, “Well, we could do this.” It has been done before and we could do this. And I do believe we could. If anyone has a better idea, I’m keen to hear it. Only don’t tell me what some presidential hopeful ought to do someday. Tell me what the people who have nearly lost their hope can do right now.

If there were a general strike throughout the country, it would put the fear not only in the willing tools (i.e. your congressmen) in DC but also in their corporate masters. Think about it: protests don't work, but shut off the spigots so that those US dollars (now at parity with the Canadian dollar, by the way) can't find their way into the deep pockets of the corporate types, and you will have them by the family jewels.

Those who think such an action would be futile were best described by Nâzım Hikmet:


You're like a scorpion, my brother,
you live in cowardly darkness like a scorpion.
You're like a sparrow, my brother,
always in a sparrow's flutter.
You're like a clam, my brother,
closed like a clam, content,
And you're frightening, my brother, like the mouth of an extinct volcano.

Not one,
Not five-
unfortunately, you number millions.
You're like a sheep, my brother:
When the cloaked drover raises his stick,
you quickly join the flock
and run, almost proudly, to the slaughterhouse.
I mean you're strangest creature on earth-
even stranger than the fish
that couldn't see the ocean for the water.
And the oppression in this world
is thanks to you.
And if we're hungry, tired, covered with blood,
and still being crushed like grapes for our wine,
the fault is yours-
I can hardly bring myself to say it,
but most of the fault, my dear brother, is yours.


Akrep gibisin kardeşim,
korkak bir karanlık içindesin akrep gibi.
Serçe gibisin kardeşim,
serçenin telaşı içindesin.
Midye gibisin kardeşim,
midye gibi kapalı, rahat.
Ve sönmüş bir yanardağ ağzı gibi korkunçsun, kardeşim.
Bir değil,
beş değil,
yüz milyonlarlasın maalesef.
Koyun gibisin kardeşim,
gocuklu celep kaldırınca sopasını
sürüye katılıverirsin hemen
ve âdeta mağrur, koşarsın salhaneye.
Dünyanın en tuhaf mahlukusun yani,
hani şu derya içre olup
deryayı bilmiyen balıktan da tuhaf.
Ve bu dünyada, bu zulüm
senin sayende.
Ve açsak, yorgunsak, alkan içindeysek eğer
ve hâlâ şarabımızı vermek için üzüm gibi eziliyorsak
kabahat senin,
— demeğe de dilim varmıyor ama —
kabahatın çoğu senin, canım kardeşim!

Nâzım Hikmet - 1947

If the shoe fits . . .

Thursday, September 20, 2007


"In the spring of 1993, on March 17, at a base in Lebanon with Talabani present, Ocalan announced a cease-fire from March 20 to April 15 and declared that the PKK did not intend "to separate immediately from Turkey."
~ Chris Kutschera.

Something interesting from TDN last Friday:

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has said Turkish democracy offers significant opportunities to Kurds and warned that waging a war against Turkish democracy would amount to waging war against democracy and the rights of Kurdish people.

Newsflash: There is aTurkish democracy like there is South Kurdistani democracy or Iraqi democracy.

Giving excerpts from his dialogue with the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Talabani said he once sent a letter to Abdullah Öcalan before his arrest in 1999.

"I told him (in the letter) to give up guerrilla fighting and to start a political fight by benefiting from the democratic environment in Turkey. Öcalan then accused me of betraying the Kurdish people, whereas I still believe the same thing," he said.

Öcalan attempted to begin a political dialog in the early 1990s with and when he did go to Europe to seek a political solution from the EU, every door was slammed in his face. Of course, Talabanî's role as a go-between for PKK and Turgut Özal, and adding his machinations with the Americans at the same time, is questionable in hindsight.

Talabani stressed that Turkish democracy was offering important opportunities to Kurds, referring to Kurdish deputies having seats in the Turkish Parliament.

"Kurds are sending their own deputies to Parliament," he said. "They have their own (political) parties and press and broadcasting organs. The new Constitution will grant them broader rights. Therefore, waging a war against the AKP government and the Turkish state would amount to waging war against democracy and even the rights of the Kurds."

Kurds have sent their own deputies to the TBMM before and we all know how that went so the Ankara regime is going to have to prove it has given up its inherent racism and act for the benefit of the Kurdish people, and not take Talabanî's word for it. No one should believe it until they see it.

Overlooking the fact that Kurdish-language media in Turkey is highly censored, or that Kurdish newspapers like Özgür Gündem or Azadiya Welat are routinely shut down for reporting news that the Ankara regime doesn't like. The "new constitution" was already decided in secret by AKP and the Paşas, under conditions that resemble the creation of Turkish-Islamic synthesis by Turgut Özal and the Paşas. That, in turn, led to the rapid growth of Turkish Hezbollah as a clandestine armed force of the Turkish government which was turned against the Kurdish people. Given the long history of the Ankara regime in its relationship with Kurds under its occupation, one would have to be a raving idiot, or worse, to believe that a constitution already agreed to by the regime is going to give Kurds any more rights than they already have under the Paşas' current constitution.

Talabani said Kurdish politicians should contribute to the democratic process in Turkey. "I think Kurdish political leaders including Ahmet Türk (leader of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, DTP) understand this very well."

The implication of this is that DTP politicians have contributed nothing so far to the "democratic process" in Turkey, which is highly insulting to say the least.

The Kurds in Turkey are fed up with the armed struggle, said Talabani, because the war only brought migration and death.

"However, AKP policies gave them (Kurds) hope. Prime Minister Erdoğan admitted the presence of the Kurdish problem in the country and pledged a democratic solution. Kurds preferred the AKP even in Diyarbakır and sent eight AKP deputies to parliament, while the DTP sent four," he said.

He underlined that the APK has proved it is not a nationalist or racist party.

AKP has proved nothing of the kind. And let's remember what happened after Erdoğan went to Amed: Şemdinli, death threats to DTP and IHD, the state's murder of Ferhat and Fatma Akgül, continued use of chemical weapons against HPG gerîlas, the Amed Serhildan, the wanton murder of Kurdish protestors and the torture of Kurdish children, the Amed bombing, the attempts to cut DTP out of the electoral process, the attempts to disenfranchise Kurdish voters, the new OHAL (State of Emergency).

All of those things came from AKP and none of them are good. As for Kurds being fed up with armed struggle, while it may be true it is also true that politically nothing has happened without armed struggle. As a result this is a struggle that has been forced on the Kurdish people.

To fight the PKK, Talabani said, they will continue political calls and pressure the outlawed group through the media.

"It should not be forgotten that the Iraqi constitution does not allow terrorist organizations to be harbored within Iraqi territory," he said. "Therefore, the Iraqi government will do what needs to be done in line with the constitution as soon as it gets stronger but unfortunately, we cannot take armed action against the PKK and PEJAK (a wing of the PKK) at this stage. I clearly said this to Prime Minister Erdoğan in Riyadh (on the sidelines of an international meeting)."

Talabanî admits that the leadership of South Kurdistan and Iraq will engage in propaganda efforts against PKK. In other words, they're going to lie. Then he calls "terrorist" those who fight against regimes that engage in brutal repression of Kurds. By his own definition, therefore, Talabanî himself is a terrorist, as the Ankara regime claims. After all, Talabanî fought against Saddam Hussein and the Baghdad government when Saddam was an indespensible regional asset of the US and a good ally of Turkey.

Talabani said he has paid a visit to Syria and Iran since he was elected president. "But I haven't received an invitation from Turkey and I can say in advance that it would be an honor for me to come to Turkey if I am invited after the election of (Abdullah) Gül as president."

Besides, maybe Talabanî can get his Turkish diplomatic passport back in case things don't go well in Baghdad.

Not to leave Barzanî out of it:

We are certainly against the use of the Iraqi territory against neighboring countries and will not allow this, said Barzani.

"We clearly told the PKK our position. It should not be forgotten that the PKK is a problem for us too."

What are we to think of these kinds of statements? Double-speak? Political apple-polishing? Truth? In the meantime, TSK continues to bombard Kurdish civilians in South Kurdistan with cluster bombs without damaging the business interests of the Southern Kurdish leadership.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


"They are targeting the area under the pretext that the PKK and PJAK are there, but they're not hitting the positions. Iran's actual goals, which they will not announce, is to strike the U.S. and destabilize Iraq."
~ Anonymous PKK official.

There's an excellent little article by Betsy Hiel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on PJAK. Even though Ms. Hiel tries to go all mysterious when talking about PJAK's origins, at least she gets the translation of PJAK correct--something not even Michael Totten can do. Also, unlike Michael Totten, she actually went to talk with PJAK.

Without further ado:

QANDIL RANGE, Iraq -- Off a rocky mountain road meandering through creek beds, a small, stone military outpost is hidden near the Iraq-Iran border.

Peach, pomegranate and fig trees tremble in the hot breeze. Under a thatched-roof awning, leafy vines cover the outer walls and offer a little relief from the intense sun. A young Iranian guerrilla listens to music on an iPod as his comrades hang Kalashnikov assault rifles, ammunition belts and walkie-talkies on a beam behind the vines.

Amin Karimi, 34, a soft-spoken, bespectacled man, drinks sweet tea and describes his battle against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

"If they attack us, we will fight," says Karimi, one of nine leaders of the Free Life Party of Kurdistan, or PJAK, an Iranian-Kurdish guerrilla group fighting for Kurdish autonomy in Iran.

That fight has turned more intense in the past month, with almost daily clashes. Except for the rare car-bombing, it is the only warfare in Kurdistan, Iraq's one largely peaceful region, and the only sustained fighting reported inside Iran.

PJAK claims to have destroyed an Iranian helicopter trying to land in Iraq and killed a dozen or more Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers in battles. Iran has shelled the area, forcing villagers to flee and prompting protests by Iraq's foreign minister.

Iran denies launching any attacks. Yet interviews of villagers -- and landscapes littered with twisted metal from artillery or rocket attacks - suggest otherwise.

In nearby Soreguli, a stone-house village of 10 families, Abubakir Khokoresh, 58, stands on ground charred, he says, by Iranian shells and rockets.

"We are afraid," he says. "Some of our livestock were killed and our grain supply for the winter was burned." Asked where the shelling came from, he points toward the border and says, "Iran."

Villagers here and elsewhere accuse Iran and Turkey of coordinating artillery attacks on northern Iraq. Iranian leaflets distributed in border villages warn of more.

[ . . . ]

Meanwhile, Turkey is pressuring Iraq -- including frequent threats to invade -- to rid the mountains of the PKK, a Turkish-Kurdish separatist group. The PKK draws its troops from the 27 million to 35 million Kurds in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey.

PJAK's Karimi is not worried.

"These areas are under our control and there is stability," he says. "They can't make stability and security even in Baghdad, how can you control these areas in the mountains? ... No government can control it -- Saddam couldn't control this area.

"We help the people here."

Most villagers agree, crediting the PKK and PJAK with keeping them safe.

Before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, Islamic groups such as Ansar Al Islam, with links to al-Qaida and Iran, controlled areas along this mountainous border; brutally enforcing its rule on villages. Karimi says his fighters are essential to preventing the Islamists' return, because "if an Islamic group comes to these mountains, nobody can take them out."

PJAK doesn't have much time for the America's Kurdish anti-Iranian party of choice:

Karimi dismisses Komala and other Iranian-Kurdish opposition parties

"Until now, we fight against Iran and they fight each other," he says. "It's terrible."

While denying that PJAK is a PKK offshoot, he admits that "our ideas are the same." Like PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is imprisoned in Turkey, Karimi hopes for a confederation of all Kurds within their national borders instead of a single Kurdish state.

He likens it to the states' rights of America's federal system.

"They have their own rules and they have contacts with foreign countries, but they are American, all of them," he says.

He stresses that PJAK is secular, unlike the ever-growing number of Islamic movements across the Middle East.

[ . . . ]

"Kurdish women have the biggest dynamism ... to make a better life, for democracy and a new system," he says. "They really fight better than us and make politics better than us."

In 2006, Ohio congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, who accuses President Bush of exaggerating Iran's threat to U.S. security, and journalist Seymour Hersh claimed the United States and Israel support and train PJAK.

Karimi calls that Iranian propaganda and flatly denies receiving U.S. support.

"We had some contacts because the Americans are here in Iraq and they are our neighbors now," he says. "Sometimes they want to know who is PJAK and what we are doing here ... but we have no cooperation. We don't need it."

Instead, he says, his force is politically independent and "self-reliant. Our people give us everything. Also, we don't know about American priorities and politics (toward) Iran. ... The American government never speaks about Iranian Kurds."

Still, he won't disclose how PJAK is armed.

"Our weapons are the Kalashnikov," he says, shrugging and holding both hands palms-up. "The Middle East is full of weapons. If you have money, you can buy them.

"Everyone has guns in the Middle East."

The entire article can be found at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, along with some photos.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


"But the flip side of it is you also have guys who are just straight-up thugs who go over there—they’re soldiers of fortune, you know, they’re making six, seven times what a regular U.S. soldier is making. They have much better equipment, much better body armor and they’re simply in it for a buck."
~ Jeremy Scahill on Blackwater USA.

Interesting addenda to the recent Blackwater atrocity:

MediaMatters rightly points out that several major US media have not made so much as a squeak about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's ties to Blackwater:

The article, as well as reports by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, the Associated Press, and an additional segment during a later hour of CNN Newsroom, all failed to note the reported connection between Romney and Blackwater USA. On September 13, The Boston Globe reported that Romney "tapped" Black, "a former CIA official, who is now a top officer in a private security firm with widespread operations in Iraq, to head his counterterrorism policy advisory group."

From the Boston Globe article linked at MediaMatters:

Mitt Romney today tapped a former CIA official, who is now a top officer in a private security firm with widespread operations in Iraq, to head his counterterrorism policy advisory group.

Cofer Black, who also served as a top State Department counter-terrorism official, is now chairman of Total Intelligence Solutions and vice-chairman of Blackwater USA. That firm came to public attention in 2004, when four employees were ambushed, killed, and mutilated in Fallujah.

further notes that TIME only mentions the Romney-Blackwater connection on a blog on its website. The MoJoBlog included the information early yesterday.

Remember, a vote for Romney is a vote for Blackwater!

Wired's national security blog had a very enlightening post on Blackwater by a guy who's really dug into the question of the use of mercenary forces, P.W. Singer, and Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, was interviewed on CNN International for his take on the recent Blackwater atrocities. The interview can be viewed at Crooks and Liars.

The award for the biggest outright lie about the freaks at Blackwater comes from NROnline. Check this:

[T]he American military bureaucracy could learn a lot from Blackwater. Unlike the Pentagon, Blackwater has thought carefully since 2003 about how best to equip and protect its employees in the specific environment of Iraq, and has acted swiftly to buy appropriate vehicles, aircraft and weapons.

Now this makes one want to ask whether or not the author of that propaganda, Jonathan Foreman, is simply a very bad propagandist or if he's just an outright liar because Blackwater, as everyone ought to remember, sent its employees into Fallujah on 31 March, 2004 short the needed number of personnel with the needed amount of equipment. Hell, they didn't even have the proper maps.

After the families of the Blackwater victims brought a lawsuit against the company, Blackwater turned right around and sued the families. Maybe someone can explain to me exactly how those facts square with Foreman's trash talk about Blackwater thinking "carefully since 2003 about how best to equip and protect its employees in the specific environment of Iraq, and has acted swiftly to buy appropriate vehicles, aircraft and weapons."

I wonder if Cofer Black's previous relationship with the State Department had anything to do with Blackwater? I wonder if that might be another dirty little conflict of interest deal of which the State Department is so fond of? Kind of like State's cosy little appointment of Lockheed Martin director, ATC advisory board member, and The Cohen Group lobbyist, Joseph Ralston? From The Nation:

Government records recently obtained by The Nation reveal that the Bush Administration has paid Blackwater more than $320 million since June 2004 to provide "diplomatic security" services globally. The massive contract is the largest known to have been awarded to Blackwater to date and reveals how the Administration has elevated a once-fledgling security firm into a major profiteer in the "war on terror."

Blackwater's highly lucrative "diplomatic security" contract was officially awarded under the State Department's little-known Worldwide Personal Protective Service (WPPS) program, described in State Department documents as a government initiative to protect US officials as well as "certain foreign government high level officials whenever the need arises."

Oh, yeah. Smells like conflict of interest to me.

You gotta know Blackwater and the US Department of State aren't going to do squat for the Iraqis they've murdered. In the meantime, the Iraqi government now says it may back down on the ban of Blackwater, so I guess if you're ordinary folks and not a member of the ruling elites, or their SS-style protectors, you're just plain screwed.

Monday, September 17, 2007


"We will push those crooks, those mercenaries back into the swamp."
~ Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf.

Blackwater USA mercenaries are going to be banned from Iraq following their slaughter of civilians over the weekend. From the Guardian:

The Iraqi government said Monday that it was pulling the license of an American security firm allegedly involved in the fatal shooting of civilians during an attack on a U.S. State Department motorcade in Baghdad.

The Interior Ministry said it would prosecute any foreign contractors found to have used excessive force in the Sunday shooting. It was latest accusation against the U.S.-contracted firms that operate with little or no supervision and are widely disliked by Iraqis who resent their speeding motorcades and forceful behavior.

Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul-Karim Khalaf said eight civilians were killed and 13 were wounded when security contractors believed to be working for Blackwater USA opened fire in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood of western Baghdad.

"We have canceled the license of Blackwater and prevented them from working all over Iraqi territory. We will also refer those involved to Iraqi judicial authorities,'' Khalaf said.

The spokesman said witness reports pointed to Blackwater involvement but said the shooting was still under investigation. It was not immediately clear if the measure against Blackwater was intended to be temporary or permanent.

The Christian Science Monitor has more, including blog reactions to the banning. There's also something at AFP.

Ah! It's going to be a good day.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


"In the course of the last several years, both the Special Rapporteur and her predecessor,
Bacre W. Ndiaye, on numerous occasions approached the Government of Turkey regarding cases of alleged extrajudicial executions and other violation of the right to life. In most of these cases, government forces have been accused in cases of deaths resulting from excessive use of force and deaths in custody, or instances where persons were allegedly found dead after having been abducted by police or security forces."
~ Report of the Special Rapporteur, Ms. Asma Jahangir, submitted pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolution 2001/45.

From Özgür Gündem comes a report on a murder of five Kurdish youths in 2005.

In January 2005, five Kurdish youths were murdered by TSK in Şirnex (Şirnak), with the claim that the youths were HPG gerîlas. However, after an investigation by İnsan Hakları Derneği (IHD--Turkish Human Rights Association), it is clear that the youths were, in fact, civilians and not members of HPG.

The five youths were composed of four females and one male. They were not dressed as HPG gerîlas and IHD determined that the sparse military equipment found on the bodies had been planted after the murders. The one weapon found in the hands of one of the dead was a rusty pistol. The military-style vests and belts found on the bodies appeared to have been put on the bodies by someone other than the wearer. For instance, on one of the female bodies, the belt containing the ammunition pouches was put on backwards. Another of the females had no clothes on whatsoever, save for underclothes, indicating that she had been undressed by someone at some point. The clothes of the dead were civilian clothes, including turtleneck sweaters, which would have been fitting for wear in January. The bodies were not wearing the distinctive HPG uniform.

At the time, HPG made a statement about the murders, saying the victims were civilians and not members of HPG. On the other hand, the official report from Sirnex made the claim that the victims were HPG gerîlas.

Right after the incident occured, IHD chairman Reyhan Yalçındağ, IHD regional representative Mihdi Perinçek, Selahattin Demirtaş (who is now a DTP parliamentarian from Amed/Diyarbakır), and IHD branch chairman Mehmet Bozkurt made a statment in which they noted the following:

1. The incident took place 2 kilometers away from Toptepe village, close to a river bank.

2. The area is very close to numerous military forces, in a well-protected area.

3. The victims were wearing civilian clothes.

4. The prosecutor never went to the scene to investigate the murders, contrary to Turkish law.

5. There was no report from the murder scene and no list of personal effects of the victims, contrary to Turkish law.

4. There were no photos, no coordinates of the murder scene, no videotape recording.

5. Evidence collection was done by the Jandarma forces, who were the main suspects of the murders.

IHD had applied to the Şirnex prosecutor to investigate the case because IHD was highly suspicious that it was an example of a TSK murder of civilians, but the Şirnex prosecutor dismissed the case without any kind of hearing. Following the dismissal, IHD applied to the European Court of Human Rights.

At the time of IHD's 2005 statement, there was no evidence available, but now IHD has come into the possession of video and photos taken of the murder scene and the victims. From these records, it becomes clearer that the victims were civilians and they were murdered by TSK.

The bodies show evidence of torture, such as cigarette burns and other burns. One victim had 11 cigarette burns on the body. The male body shows signs of cutting on the palms of the hands and on the left leg. One of the mothers of the victims could not recognize her daughter's body because of the severe discoloration and bruising. This family had requested the autopsy and ballistics reports, but they were refused the information.

In addition, there are statements from the villagers of Toptepe area:

"Around noontime a group of soldiers came and asked for three donkeys, and we accompanied the group of soldiers with our donkeys. When we got there, five people were there but they were not wearing gerilla clothes. I got the chance to examine the two females that I loaded on my donkey. They had dressed up like we do in daily life. In this region, there is no fighting. Everyone in this village is a witness of this incident, but because of fear of the soldiers, no one can tell about it."

Also there was news last week of TSK's use of cluster bomb munitions in South Kurdistan. TSK fired cluster bombs in the Haftanin region of South Kurdistan, severely injuring three villagers. Near Zaxo, a Turkish helicopter employed cluster bombs, causing severe injuries to a shepherd. Fifteen sheep were killed in the incident.

Unexploded cluster bombs pose a great danger to anyone who handles them, especially to children, as well as causing destruction of livestock property.

The use of cluster bombs is banned by certain international agreements. Israeli use of cluster bombs in Lebanon last year caused an international outcry but, so far, there has been no outcry against TSK's use of cluster bombs against Kurdish civilians.

And don't hold your breath on that.

Friday, September 14, 2007


"What is most troubling to me as a Jew is that the plight of fifteen million Kurds in Turkey most closely parallels the plight of Jews throughout centuries. For unlike the Iraqi Kurds who have always been at liberty to be Kurds, those in Turkey were ruthlessly legislated out of their ethnic identity and have remained so for more than sixty years."
~ Vera Saeedpour.

Rumors seem to be beginning to fly in Middle Eastern media over Israel's recent attack on Syrian targets last week. Apparently, the Paşas gave the Israeli air force a hand in targeting. From YNetNews:

Turkish intelligence provided Israel with information on the Syrian targets allegedly attacked by the Air Force last week without the Turkish government's authorization, Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jareeda reported Thursday.

Al-Jareeda quoted several sources as saying that Israel and senior Turkish military personnel coordinated Israel's invasion of Turkish airspace during the operation to send a message to the ruling Justice and Development party, or AKP. Senior military officials in Turkey, most of whom are secular, oppose the Islamist party's platform.

According to the sources, AKP member and newly-elected President Abdullah Gul is not doing enough to prevent the transfer of arms from Iran to terror groups in Syria and Lebanon via Turkey.

These would be the very same Paşas that permitted news of HPG's derailing of a train carrying weapons from Iran to Syria to flash briefly through the Turkish press at the end of May. As DozaMe reported:

A unit from People’s Defense Forces (HPG) derailed a Turkish cargo train bound to Syria on May 25 near the Suvaran train station in the Genc district of Bingol in northern Kurdistan (southeastern Turkey.) Local authorities discovered rockets, launch pads, sniper rifles, mortar rounds and other ammunitions in the train.

A Turkish prosecutor in Genc has requested a media censor on all news related to the weapons in the cargo, pointing to paragraph 28 in the Turkish Constitution, paragraphs 3 and 25 in the Turkish Media Laws and paragraphs 285 and 286 in the Turkish Penal Code, according to the Turkish newspaper Milliyet. The prosecutor’s request was accepted by the Genc Criminal Court.

Details of the contents of one of the train cars included:

297 rockets

1,032 mortar rounds

762 Dragunov sniper rifles (Kanas)

54 machine guns

135 boxes of "explosive substance" (C4? A4?)

120 boxes of mortar rounds

775 boxes of "military equipment"

Flash back to August 2006 and let's recall how the Turkish Red Crescent was shipping arms to Syria from Iran:

The Turkish Red Crescent was used twice to arm Hezbollah, a Syrian Red Crescent official told the Kurdish news agency ANF yesterday. The Turkish humanitarian organization’s vehicles were loaded with small arms, unidentified electronic gadgets, and ammunition, the Syrian official said.

[ . . . ]

An anonymous Israeli offical told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that Turkey has been used as key transit in Iran’s supply route to Hezbollah. Israel called on Turkey to impose air and ground embargo to prevent Iran from arming Hezbollah.

The Turkish Red Crescent is widely known to be involved in Turkish intelligence operations around the world. In April 2003, Turkish Red Crescent vehicles which were stopped and searched by US forces at a checkpoint in southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq) turned out to be loaded with weapons and explosives believed by US troops to be used to arm Iraqi Turkmen Front militias. The supplies were marked as ‘humanitarian aid’. Turkish Special Forces posing as aid workers were taken into custody and interrogated before being escorted by US troops back to Turkey.

Not only does Gül, as president, do a lousy job of preventing Iranian arms transfers to Syria (not a very neutral thing for a member of NATO to do), but neither does PM Erdoğan. But the Paşas probably figure that if the Fethullahcı can leak information . . . like diaries of Paşas that outline coup plans or who talks about what to whom at the Hudson Institute . . . then the Paşas should leak what they can, too.

The bottom line is that nothing, but NOTHING, is going to move into Turkey, through Turkey, or out of Turkey without the knowledge and consent of the Paşas.

Except, of course, the big, bad PKK.

DTP will be investigated for its calls for investigations into the accusations that the TSK uses chemical weapons against HPG's gerîlas (I can't figure out why they have that stupid picture of Barzanî and al-Maliki to decorate the article). The article also notes that Gül ended his tour of the military in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan on Friday.

Does everyone remember what happened in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan after Erdoğan's visit to Amed in August 2005? Şemdinli. Amed Serhildan. Amed bombing. OHAL.

Don't you wish these SOB's would just stay in Ankara so that they and the Paşas could kill each other?

Thursday, September 13, 2007


"We don't just fight for ourselves."
~ Cemil Bayık.

Oh! Now I get it! The Deep State planted a minibus-bomb in Ankara in order to bait the DTP parliamentarians. It makes perfect sense since they never wanted any smart, identity-aware, politically-savvy Kurds in the grand, old TBMM.

There's a bit of stinging criticism coming from a Kurd in New Zealand. Listen to this:

It is almost impossible to change any element in the Kurdish political culture and makeup without altering many others. The crisis is similar to several countries where institutions, especially federal governing structures tend to be mechanistic, inflexible, disjointed, and corrupt. And corruption does not allow innocent voices from being heard.

Positive ideas addressing the crisis of Kurdish institutions in term of an impending sociopolitical paradigm to a fresh framework may sound an earthquake to our leaders. What the Kurds really need is to wake-up to the many faces of the crisis, which the state is experiencing including institutional arrogance, greed, nepotism, and abuse of power. Taking action to solve the institutional crisis would be reassuring and even educational for them.

It is time the political system in Kurdistan is transformed and not reformed as the Kurdish people are in urgent need of something better and not something more. In other words, the healthier route is to transform leadership as a process of continuous change and growth. However, the majority leaders have arrangements with international companies to receive bribes for protecting their interests in the region. In such a scenario, they are unlikely to espouse positive changes necessary for the good of the country and its people.

[ . . . ]

The leaders of Kurdistan blame the people for their country's woes much in line with the argument of St. Thomas who once said that, those attacked for some fault deserve the attack. The question is what really have the Kurdish people done to deserve being attacked and robbed of their wealth? In addition, are they prepared to take responsibility for their country's future?

Read the rest.

The mullahtocracy's guru, Amir Taheri, has a recent piece in which he mentions PJAK:

The group most active in the recent fighting is a new outfit named Kurdistan Free Life Party, better known under its Kurdish acronym of PJAK. Judging by its literature, PJAK is an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) a guerrilla movement of Turkish Kurds that has been fighting for a Kurdish state in eastern Anatolia since the 1970s.

First of all, PKK has been fighting since 1984, not the 1970s. Secondly, PJAK is not just an "offshoot," but is a part of KCK, which is an umbrella organization containing PKK. If Amir Taheri had ever read "the literature," or had ever done a little research on something as mundane as, say, Google or Yahoo, the facts might be as plain to him as the nose on his face. PJAK is PKK's sister organization, based on PKK's model and, therefore, having both a political wing and an armed wing. PJAK is technically the political wing and, under it, is HRK, the armed wing. PJAK gets its support from PKK.

Ironically, Tehran has given the PKK shelter and support against Turkey for years, as a means of bleeding Nato's lone regional member. Some analysts claim that Ankara may have decided to repay Tehran in its own currency by creating PJAK. Others, however, regard PJAK as an effort by PKK to expand its constituency beyond the Kurdish minority in Turkey.

If "[s]ome analysts claim that Ankara may have decided to repay Tehran in its own currency by creating PJAK," then the only thing it proves that some analysts don't have a clue. It's pretty clueless to state, too, that PKK is trying to "expand its constituency beyond the Kurdish minority in Turkey," when PKK has always had a constituency beyond Turkey . . . Well beyond Turkey. PKK is the biggest transnational Kurdish organization, even attracting members from non-Kurdish populations. PKK never had to create a thorn for the mullah's side in order to "expand its constituency."

What is certain, however, is that most of PJAK's leaders are not Iranian Kurds. Some of the party's key figures are Turkish Kurds who have lived in exile in Germany for at least a quarter of a century. The fact that PJAK has been operating in areas in Iran that are close to PKK strongholds in Turkey and Iraq is another indication that the two parties may well be one with two names.

No, what is certain is that "Turkish" Kurds (i.e. "bad" Kurds), whether they've spent any time in Europe or not, have always been the backbone of the PKK. They've spent the time fighting in the field. They have most of the experience. So if you have a new organization, like PJAK, which also has an armed wing, like PJAK's HRK, you will need commanders with battlefield experience. Coming from PKK, those commanders will most likely be "Turkish" Kurds. Like Cemil Bayık, for example, a founding member of PKK.

None of this is secret so why is Taheri writing as if PJAK were some mysterious organization, possibly from Mars?

Did I mention that PJAK and PKK are members of the same organization, KCK? So they are not "one with two names." But who knows? Maybe all of KCK is from Mars.

As always in the Islamic Republic, however, Tehran's claims of a US-hatched plot to incite the Kurds against the mullahs should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Definitely correct. Kurds don't need the US to incite their hatred against the brutal Teheran regime. Just as Kurds hated the brutal Teheran regime under America's shah, so too they hate it under the mullahs. By the way, Teheran imposed a state of emergency in Iranian-occupied Kurdistan long before PKK ever launched its first attacks against the Ankara regime.

I don't know . . . Amir Taheri should probably stick with what he knows--mullahs--and leave the fighters of the Kurdish freedom movement alone.