Monday, December 17, 2007


"We have not approved any decision, it is not for us to approve. However, we were informed before the event."
~ US Embassy official, Ankara.

Some of you may remember Ken Silverstein at Harper's as one of the journalists who questioned the conflict of interest that Lockheed Martin's Joseph Ralston brought to his appointment as "PKK coordinator" for Turkey.

Now, Silverstein has something significant to add to this weekend's bombing of Kurdish civilians by the Ankara regime--an email from a "insightful and well-connected former US government official working in Kurdistan":

The blowback here in Kurdistan is building against the U.S. government because of its help with the Turkish air strikes. The theme is shock and betrayal. The Kurds see themselves as the only true friend of the Americans in the region, and the only part of Iraq that is working, and are especially hurt by the attack.

The Turks are of course emphasizing that the U.S. Air Force was heavily involved in the attack. They are reveling in this turn of events. They have tried since the first Gulf War to impede or rupture the U.S. relationship with the Kurds. Since March of 2003, they have redoubled their efforts. The key factor in the air strike is what they hit–it wasn’t a collection of PKK fighters, it was a series of small mountain villages, widely disbursed, some as far as 70 kilometers inside of Kurdistan. The people killed and wounded were villagers, not PKK fighters or support people.

The initial explanation from Washington that the United States did not authorize the Turkish strike is bullshit, and every Kurd here knows it. The U.S. Air Force controls and authorizes the movement of every aircraft in, through, or around here. For Washington to say they didn’t authorize the strike, or to use some other doublespeak bullshit Washington term, just makes people here more angry.

Aside from the fact that there were PKK casualties, here's the doublespeak bullshit the guy's talking about:

A U.S. embassy official said: "We have not approved any decision, it is not for us to approve. However, we were informed before the event."

More doublespeak bullshit, this time in Turkish:

"I can categorically state that not a single civilian target, not a single village was hit. Previously identified PKK camps were hit. There is no question of any accident," Anatolian news agency quoted Buyukanit as saying.

From the IHT, more doublespeak bullshit:

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Monday that the Iraqi government had expected Turkey to coordinate with it before striking the rebels inside Iraq. He also indicated that the fact Iraqi civilians were killed showed Turkey had not hit the right target.

"What happened yesterday was based maybe on misinformation," he said.

Jamal Abdullah, a spokesman for the regional government of Iraqi Kurdistan, told AP Television News: "We call on the Turkish army to differentiate between the PKK and the ordinary people. We don't want the conflict between the Turkish troops and the PKK to turn into a conflict between the Turkish forces and the people of Kurdistan."

[ . . . ]

"This operation, which was carried out under night conditions, was a success," Erdogan said Sunday. "Our struggle (against the PKK) will continue inside and outside Turkey with the same determination."

And more on the doublespeak bullshit of the fascists from the BBC.

So Erdoğan contradicts Jamal Abdullah, and confirms that this is, in fact, "a conflict between the Turkish forces and the people of Kurdistan."

Check out more doublespeak bullshit and denial, from Al-Jazeera:

Ankara denied that civilian areas had been hit in the attacks.

"Warplanes of the Turkish air force conducted a comprehensive air campaign against targets belonging to the terrorist PKK-Kongra Gel organisation in the Qandil mountains from 0100 this morning," a Turkish military statement said.

"The operations solely target the ... terrorist movement. They are not conducted against people living in northern Iraq or local groups not engaged in enemy activity."

[ . . . ]

Buyukanit said that Sunday's attacks had been successful and all targets destroyed.

"No civilian targets or villages were hit even accidentally," he said.

Let's hear that doublespeak bullshit again:

Dismissing reports the raids hit villages, Turkey's General Staff said its targets were fixed "after it was established that they were definitely not civilian residential areas."

[ . . ]

"According to initial valuations, all the planned targets were hit accurately," the General Staff said on its Web site.

There you have it. The Paşas admit that their attack was planned to target the Kurdish people--civilians. Therefore, no matter the doublespeak bullshit of KRG spokesman, there is a war between the Turkish military and the Kurdish people. And the Pentagon wants a piece of this war, too:

A Pentagon spokesman also said Washington had given Turkey intelligence to track Kurdish fighters hiding in Iraq, but would not say whether it gave precise targets used in the raids.

Really? But the Americans have lied about the fact that they opened Iraqi airspace to the Turks, so they must be lying about providing specific targets, too. Maybe now is the right time to give them a piece of what they long for, and that was one of the topics mentioned on NPR's report on the bombing this morning. Bearing in mind, of course, that not even the southern peşmêrge want to fight PKK gerîlas. Listen to it here.

The same conclusion is starting to be drawn in the blogosphere:

The risk, of course, is that the PKK has a wide base of support among the Kurds. If the Kurds conclude that the TAF wouldn't have bombed without the permission, whether overt or tacit, of the Americans, then you have to wonder if the PKK will decide that Americans are now legitimate targets.

Even Mesûd Barzanî recognizes doublespeak bullshit when he hears it:

Massoud Barzani, leader of the autonomous Kurdish region in the north, condemned the assaults as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty that had undermined months of diplomacy. “These attacks hinder the political efforts exerted to find a peaceful solution based on mutual respect,” he said in a statement.

At a news conference in Najaf, he went further, declaring that “the Americans are responsible because the Iraqi sky is under their full control.

In contrast to the all the doublespeak bullshit of the fascists, here are some of the words from the ground:

Mukhlis Khadar, 44, said he and his family were woken by the raids and fled their home as soon as the school was hit.

"We left an unbelievable scene behind us," Khadar said. "When we climbed the rocks of the nearby mountain ... we saw flames of fire burning our village. ... Our house disappeared."

Saoqo Mohammad, a 30-year-old woman said: "We are civilians, with no arms or any relation to the PKK, why do they allow such horrible acts against civilians?"

More words from the ground, from The Boston Globe:

The targeted towns included Suradeh, a hamlet of about 30 homes nestled in the Qandil Mountains more than 50 miles from the Turkish border. Yesterday afternoon, residents who had sought shelter in frigid mountain caves during the overnight bombardment returned to a scene of damaged homes and dead livestock. Many were packing up and leaving in fear of additional attacks. As they bundled blankets, dishes, food, and clothes in vehicles or on the backs of mules, they spoke of the overnight terror.

"My youngest daughter is still crying and saying, 'Mama, I'm scared,' " said Muneera Khalid, who sought shelter in a cave with her husband and three children, ages 7, 10, and 14. It took them a half-hour to reach the cave, going by foot in the dark after the first air strikes began at about 2 a.m.

"Why is the Turkish Army bombing our village?" she said, breaking down in tears.

[ . . . ]

. . . [L]ocal residents insisted that civilians bore the brunt of the attacks. Musheer Ahmed said his daughter lost a leg in the bombing and his home was destroyed. Nashneel Bayz, a schoolteacher, said she was sleeping in her bedroom when the windows were shattered by bombs.

"I ran like a crazy person. I saw the others running in panic and terror. It was chaos," said Bayz. "We are non-armed people, we have nothing, and they send modern airplanes to bomb us."

She said those who suffered were civilians, not PKK fighters.

"The PKK positions are still intact," she said. "We even had some PKK fighters with us in the cave, in addition to women, children."

This is the operation that Erdoğan is celebrating as a success.

Meanwhile, Aleksu at Eusko Blog opines on the situation of all oppressed peoples:

When will the nations without statehood get some respect?

When will the colonialist powers evolve and leave behind their blood lust and greed?

When will the mega-nations understand that they need a more organic approach towards their view of the world?

When will the occupying armies stop labeling resistance fighters as "terrorists"?

When will humankind put the crimes committed by the colonialist powers into the correct perspective?

Well said, heval. Read the rest.

By the way, another, similar email--perhaps from the same "former US official"--made it's way to David Corn at the MoJo Blog. Go on over and have a read, bearing in mind that the first news from HPG-BIM clearly stated there were seven şehîds as a result of the attacks, five of whom were gerîlas. The contradiction on this point in the email may mean that the censored South Kurdistani media is not mentioning HPG casualties. There is also the detail of initial aerial attacks, a deliberate break in the attacks, and then, when the villagers returned to their villages, the Turks attacked again. This is clearly an attempt by the Turks to kill as many civilians as possible.

Yessiree, Yaşar! Mission accomplished!

Note also that the email claims the US supported Turkish F-16 with AWACS, which means that there was a lot more American military assistance in targeting Kurdish civilians than merely "opening Iraqi air space." American troops should start watching their backs as they walk around in Hewlêr.


Anonymous said...

If the Turkish military really wanted to kill as much civilians as possible, there would be a lot more casualties. But they don't want that, because there is a lot of international press in Kurdistan.

"The PKK positions are still intact," she said. "We even had some PKK fighters with us in the cave, in addition to women, children."

This indicates that the PKK-fighters were near these civilians.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute--so you are saying that because some civilians were in a cave that also had PKK members in it it is OKAY continue bombing civilians? Does that mean then that if I am walking by someone who is an insurgent it is okay to shoot me too?

And, does that mean if I buy a book on Kurdistan then I'm obviously a PKK member so I should go to jail?

That's like what the Americans were saying years ago---if I read the Qoran then obviously I was an Islamic terrorist... Has the world come no further in the past 10 years that we still automatically assume guilt by geographic/cultural association?

If it is okay to target civilians because the are "near" a terrorist, that makes the military no better than the terrorists who claim their real targets are military and its the civilians who become collateral damage. So, who are the real terrorists? Shouldn't the greater power also have the greater responsibility for moral judgement?

Mizgîn said...

Your logic is fallacious, Serbest. How far was the cave from the village? The cave can be used by anyone near enough to get to it . . . in the dark, on foot. That doesn't mean that gerilas are in the village or even close enough to justify bombing the village, which is what DeeplySaddened mentions.

And let me tell you something, if not for the gerilas in the area during the summer, there would have been NO ONE to warn the villagers about the cluster bombs that were dropped in the area by TSK.

But, hey, no one gave a damn about TSK's use of cluster munitions. I suppose if South Kurdistan were Lebanon and those employing cluster munitions were Israelis, then we'd never hear the end of it, would we? Same thing with the use of Turkish F-16s.

I guess you missed the part about American AWACS flying with Turkish F-16s. So guess who was picking out the targets and giving them to the Turks?

Then we have the fact that KCK offered a democratic resolution in August 2006 and a ceasefire in October 2006. KCK reiterated the points of the democratic resolution just a few weeks ago. So who is holding out the olive branch here and who is chopping away at it?

Who encouraged KCK to call for a democratic resolution and a ceasefire? Again, you don't hear those filthy hypocrites pressing for those issues in the media anywhere, do you? But the same filthy hypocrites turn right around and make statements in the media praising AKP for being so civilized, even as they call our gerilas "terrorists."

DeeplySaddened is absolutely correct: the greater power has the greater responsibility for moral judgement.

Of course, expecting ANY sense of moral judgement from either Turkey or the US would be WILDLY optimistic.

Samson said...

Anyone got a Google earth location on the site?

Typically, in mountain areas, the 'villages' tend to be located on the valley floor. And typically, if you are preparing military positions to fight on an invading army, you want to be up on the slopes.

Most likely, the guerrillas were up in the hills in caves and emplacements watching the destruction of the village below them. Wouldn't be surprised if when the villagers were running for their lives from the explosions that they ran to the caves the guerrillas were in for cover.