Monday, June 30, 2008


"Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse — an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks."
~ David Barstow, the "Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand".

Over the weekend, Turkish propagandist Seymour Hersh came out with a new article on US plans for Iran in The New Yorker. The relevant part, for our purposes, is as follows:

The C.I.A. and Special Operations communities also have long-standing ties to two other dissident groups in Iran: the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, known in the West as the M.E.K., and a Kurdish separatist group, the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan, or PJAK.

[ . . . ]

The Kurdish party, PJAK, which has also been reported to be covertly supported by the United States, has been operating against Iran from bases in northern Iraq for at least three years. (Iran, like Iraq and Turkey, has a Kurdish minority, and PJAK and other groups have sought self-rule in territory that is now part of each of those countries.) In recent weeks, according to Sam Gardiner, the military strategist, there has been a marked increase in the number of PJAK armed engagements with Iranians and terrorist attacks on Iranian targets. In early June, the news agency Fars reported that a dozen PJAK members and four Iranian border guards were killed in a clash near the Iraq border; a similar attack in May killed three Revolutionary Guards and nine PJAK fighters. PJAK has also subjected Turkey, a member of NATO, to repeated terrorist attacks, and reports of American support for the group have been a source of friction between the two governments.

First of all, PJAK has not and does not operate in Turkey, so the statement that "PJAK has also subjected Turkey, a member of NATO, to repeated terrorist attacks" is a bald-faced lie. PJAK operates in Iranian-occupied Kurdistan, not in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan. Hersh must have gotten this nugget from his buddies in the Turkish general staff or, if he's using Pentagon "expert" Gardiner as his source, then Gardiner got it from his buddies in the Turkish general staff. Either way, it's an example of how TSK's Information Support Activity Action Plan is being implemented in the US.

Think about it: Gardiner quotes Iranian Fars News Agency for some alleged skirmishes but fails to mention the joint US-Turkey-Iran-Iraq military operations against PJAK. He fails to mention that the US is supplying intelligence to Iran, via Turkey or directly, against PJAK. He fails to mention the 92 pasdars that PJAK sent to hell in early June or the 51 pasdars that PJAK sent packing after their 92 comrades in mid-June . . . all without the support of anyone save the Kurdish people themselves.

Retired US Air Force Colonel Gardiner is enough of an expert in psychological warfare to write a 56-page analysis titled, "Truth from These Podia. Summary of a Study of Strategic Influence, Perception Management, Strategic Information Warfare and Strategic Psychological Operations in Gulf II," links to which are available through Sourcewatch. Gardiner's been pushing the potential Iran war thing in earnest on worthless American TV since at least September 2006, although he'd been working at it for several months before, as this Socialist Worker article shows. As he was making the worthless American TV rounds in September, though, he was certain that the US would begin a war with Iran in 18 months and he was playing back-up for the moronic Hersh even then. Unfortunately for Gardiner's credibility, the 18-month guess was a milestone passed with not even a whimper in March 2008.

In September 2004, Gardiner war-gamed a strike against Iran with players from the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institute, among others. Naturally the game was one of Gardiner's own making. The game was commissioned by a member of the worthless American media--The Atlantic Monthly. In April 2008, Gardiner feigned outrage over the report in the NY Times that explained the obvious: The Pentagon was paying retired military "experts" to propagandize the Iraq war. A month previously, Wired News carried an item about Pentagon plans to co-opt or even hire bloggers to work its propaganda.

Naturally Gardiner is johnny-on-the-spot to feign outrage over the Pentagon's own version of the TSK's Information Support Activity Action Plan, since Gardiner's one of the Pentagon's propagandists, and that's why you won't hear anything about the joint US-Turkey-Iran-Iraq military operation against PJAK and PKK--not from the moronic Hersh, not from the professional propagandist Gardiner, and not from the worthless American media. After all, if Gardiner is so smart, so in-the-loop, so concerned about "truth" then why doesn't he mention the joint ops against PJAK or why doesn't he mention PJAK's big, recent body counts? Simple: The truth would expose him for what he is.

As a friend's mom in Amed always says when she hears bullshit: "Befr, befr, befr."

The whole thing is funny in a sick sort of way because everyone in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan knows that the US is providing intelligence to both Turkey and Iran, and none of them are stupid enough to fall for a couple of glorified bullshitters like Hersh and Gardiner.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


"You get to a point where it gets very complex, where you have money laundering activities, drug related activities, and terrorist support activities converging at certain points and becoming one."
~ Sibel Edmonds.

The other day Milliyet published news of Fethullah Gülen's petition for a permanent I-140 visa (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker). Portions of the article are translated here:

CIA Suspicion in Gulen's Refusal

Among the reasons given by the US State Department's attorneys as to why Gülen's permanent residence application was refused, is the suspicion of CIA financing of his movement.

The reasons for refusal of Fethullah Gülen's I-140 visa application have been revealed. According to US laws, every year a limited visa is given to extraordinary people in business, science, art, education, and sport, for permanent residency and work. Among the reasons for his application refusal, even though Gülen applied for the educational field, it turned out that he has neither any direct activity nor could he support his claim with any documentation to show he had extraordinary skills in this area. The I-140 application that Gulen made on 21 November 2006 has been denied after one year. Gülen, however, reapplied on 18 December 2007. Along with this application, Gülen presented reference letters to the court that had been written by 26 academicians and religious scholars. Some of these are Morton Abramovitz, Graham Fuller, and Mehmet Sağlam. In March 2008, Gülen's appeal was rejected. The court demanded recent information and documentation from the petitioner Gülen and the State Department.

The attorneys for the State Department, Patrick Meehan and Mary Catherine Frye, in their documents stated that "The petitioner indicates that he is a religious scholar and he has activities in the educational field. However, he presented, in addition to the absence of any documentation that proves he is an educator, he surrounds himself with academicians and pays them for speaking and criticizing his ideas in conferences that he organizes." They continued, "The documents that the petitioner presented show that he manages an effective movement in politics and religious issues. However, this special skill is not a field that the I-140 visa requires." The attorneys' defense has been accepted by the court.

Gülen's attorneys petitioned for an interim decision from the court in order to change the decision. As an answer to this petition, the state attorneys stated the following: "The petitioner claims that he has international appeal in the educational field, however not only is he not among extraordinarily skilled educators, he is not even an educator. As he presented, with evidence, he is the leader of a movement that has enormous financial sources and is effective in politics and religious issues. Interfaith dialog and tolerance are not among the requirements for the visa."

[ . . . ]

"There is even CIA suspicion"

"Because of the large amount of money that Gülen's movement uses to finance his projects, there are claims that he has secret agreements with Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Turkic governments. There are suspicions that the CIA is a co-payer in financing these projects," claimed the attorneys.

[ . . . ]

Among the documents that the state attorneys presented, there are claims about the Gülen movement's financial structure and it was emphasized that the movement's economic power reached $25 billion. "Schools, newspapers, universities, unions, television channels . . . The relationship among these are being debated. There is no transparency in their work," claimed the attorneys. They continued, "Gülen's own statements indicate that he is a religious man who spreads his philosophy through education; however, he is not an educator."

The main points appear to be that Gülen is not an educator. As a matter of fact, he has no education at all. More interestingly, it would appear that Gülen receives money from the CIA. The names of the 26 persons who wrote reference letters for Gülen's petition are given at the end of the Milliyet article. Since there's some suspicion on the part of the DHS as to CIA funding of the Fethullahcı, then there's a very high possibility that the 26 persons listed by Milliyet have received CIA funds through Gülen.

Let's note right now, too, that the most interesting of those 26 persons are the first three: George Fidas, Graham Fuller, and Morton Abramowitz.

George Fidas worked at the CIA for thirty-one years. Nowadays, he likes to write about the effects of global infectious diseases on US national security. He probably knows all about the AIDS virus that was created by the US government in a little lab outside of New Orleans. Frighteningly enough, the guy also teaches international relations at Washington University.

Graham Fuller is another ex-spook who was deeply involved in Afghanistan in the 1980s, encouraged the Reagan administration to begin arming Iran against Iraq during their slugfest, and suggested to the Clinton administration that it use Muslims to further US interests in Central Asia. Fuller also seems to have gone "native" on the Islam thing, as he's written a number of articles and books on political Islam. He's also written of his love affair with that most high-profile of Gülen's gangs, the AKP, and he's co-authored a book on Turkish Kurds with Henri J. Barkey, Turkey's Kurdish Question. It's always nice to know that something is a shameless piece of propaganda, which is exactly what Turkey's Kurdish Question is.

On a more ominous note, Graham Fuller was listed as one of the American Deep State rogues on Sibel Edmonds' State Secrets Privilege Gallery, and if Sibel's nailed him, the dude's guilty.

Just to cement the idea that Turkey's Kurdish Question is a piece of anti-Kurd propaganda, the third person on Milliyet's list of those who wrote reference letters for Gülen is Morton Abramowitz, who wrote the forward to Turkey's Kurdish Question for Barkey and Fuller. I guess he figures he's an expert, given that he was the US ambassador to Turkey from 1989 to 1991. But Abramowitz was also deeply involved with Afghan mujahedin and Kosovo rebels. And if you ever wondered about the colossal ineffectiveness of Human Rights Watch, well, it may be because scumbags like Abramowitz are affiliated with it.

Not only do these guys make their money pontificating at universities and think-tanks, my money says they're all deeply involved with Turkey's heroin industry, the raw material for which comes from Afghanistan.

Oh, Hoca's in a world of trouble! BOO-HOO-HOOO!

While Gülen does his Hollywood best to bawl his eyes out over DHS's refusal to grant him an I-140, I think it's time for Sibel to add his name, and Fidas', Fuller's, and Abramowitz's, to her gallery of Deep State dirtbags.

Friday, June 27, 2008


"In our country, Kurdistan, one of the most fertile regions of the earth, humanity for the first time in its history began to cultivate agriculture, have a settled life, and to raise livestock. Various tribes have lived in this region since long, long ago, and they began a specific development towards culture. For these reasons, this region has played the role of the cradle of civilization for a long time."
~ PKK Party Program (1998), Kurdish Society.

It's amazing . . . there's almost nothing on the Internet about Cizîr (Cizre) in English anyway, but at one time, Cizîr was a cultural and intellectual capital of the Kurdish people. Today, Cizîr is a bustling little town near the Syrian Kurdish border.

It may be, however, that the people of Cizîr are slightly more crazy than your average Kurd, or at least that's the idea you get driving through the town. Everyone is in the road and, while that's not so unusual for Kurdistan, people will stand safely in or near the road's median watching you approach by car. At the last moment, as you see them beginning to loom in the windshield, they will dart right in front of you and stop . . . because they're not sure if you're going to stop. You do, and they continue across the road. Cars, cargo bikes, animal-pulled carts, people-pushed carts--everything, in other words--pulls out in front of you from the right-hand curb going in the opposite direction.

And I thought Urfa was bad.

Cizîr has a number of important historical sights for the visitor, which means it's definitely worth a stop even if for only one day. Stop and get some lahmacun after you see the sights.

Perhaps the most famous place in Cizîr is the resting place of Mem and Zîn.

The wooden structure in this photo shades the steps that lead to Mem and Zîn's grave.

And here's the grave; they are buried together. Until recently, the public was not allowed to visit the grave but the complex that houses the grave is now receiving funds for restoration from the EU, so I guess part of the deal was to open this particular area to the public.

The entire complex in which you find Mem and Zîn is called the Abdaliye Medrese. Above is the door to the mosque. The medrese was built in 1437 by Emir Abdal. As in other medrese/mosque complexes in Cizîr, the rooms surrounding the central courtyard served as classrooms, dormitories, and dining halls. Dr. Van Bruinessen has more information on education in the medreses of North Kurdistan.

Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of this mosque complex, but this is part of the area surrounding the courtyard. Classes would have been conducted here.

The carpets were placed outside so the faithful could pray in more comfort, or that's what I was told. This place gets hot in the summer, but the walls are fairly thick and the inside rooms were refreshingly cool when I was there. Notice the water coolers in the background.

These jars are found in a "room" at the Red Medrese (Kırmızı Medrese), constructed in the 16th Century by Emir Şeref ıbn Bedreddın. This particular "room" was the medical school. The school also taught astronomy, in addition to religious subjects.

The photo above was taken in one of the inside rooms, which served as the director's office. The brown furry things in the middle of the photo are bats, taking their afternoon siesta. They will leave at night and return to their resting place in the morning.

Here is the door to the mosque at the Red Medrese. The mosque is still in use.

Cizîr is not only the final resting place of Mem and Zîn, or the temporary resting place for bats, but it's also the final resting place for Noah. In Kurdish tradition, taken from the Quran, it is believed that Noah's ark came to its final resting place on Mount Cudî (Cudi Dağ). At one time there was a kind of shrine for Noah on the top of Mount Cudî, but I imagine that the TSK has pretty well bombed it into dust by now.

This is the entrance to Noah's Tomb. The entire building is covered with the tile work you see here. It's really quite beautiful.

This is the dome inside Noah's Tomb. Again, the tile work is spectacular. I didn't see any signs about the EU funding this.

Here's Noah the old boy himself. Given the size of the coffin, I suspect they actually buried him in the ark. When I remarked on this, I was told that people in those days were much bigger than they are now. Yeah . . . right.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


"The quickest way to know a woman is to go shopping with her."
~ Marcelene Cox.

We stayed overnight in South Kurdistan on a shopping trip to stock up on necessities. In this case, necessities consisted of tea and fabric for the traditional women's dress of North Kurdistan, the kras û fîstan. Bakûrî Kurds will go to the South for shopping because it's generally cheaper there.

I confess: I'm not a shopper. I become very impatient after about fifteen minutes of looking at clothes or shoes . . . or fabric. In the West, I have to know what I want, know where it is in the store, find it, pay for it, and leave. After a certain period of time, a panic reaction sets in and I feel compelled to leave. My eyes begin to anxiously search for the nearest exit while my heart rate increases and my palms become sweaty. The reaction doesn't end until I'm on the road for home.

I did not inherit the female gene for shopping, the same one that generally instills women with a stamina unknown to triathletes or marathon runners.

On the other hand, I love going to the bazaars in Kurdistan simply because there is a lot to see and they are usually colorful. I could wander through the alleyways of a bazaar for hours, looking at the people and the colors and listening to the sounds.

Below are some photos from the Hewlêr and Duhok bazaars:

The Hewlêr Citadel in South Kurdistan's capital city. Behind the camera view is the Hewlêr bazaar.

Here's a butcher, preparing an order for a customer.

These were the biggest radishes I'd ever seen. I don't know how they tasted, but they were certainly big. Personally, I'm a radish fan as long as the radishes are succulent.

Here's a scene from one of the alleyways in the bazaar.

Sacks of henna.

Here are some spices and you can see my favorite seasoning in the foreground--the red pepper flakes. There was quite a bit of, ahem, discussion with the shopkeeper over the price of something that someone was buying, so I had plenty of time to linger around here, inspecting everything. The spice shops always have amazing aromas.

Speaking of amazing aromas, here's a pickle shop. These places smell somewhat like curry and it can be off-putting for some people, but I love pickles, and the curry smell makes them all the more interesting! They have much more in these places than simply pickled cucumbers. There are all kinds of pickled vegetables here, as well as olives. My favorite are the pickled beets.

Here's the Duhok bazaar. It looks pretty clean and organized here, but in the food sections it can be just as seemingly chaotic as the Hewlêr bazaar.

This is a general store kind of place. Notice the big bag on the right with the ear of corn printed on it? That was a bag of popcorn.

One of my favorites! These kinds of shops sell nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. They always have the most interesting and tasty treats.

These were the most fabulous grapes I'd ever seen. Absolutely amazing!

Here's where I found the grapes. Everything was so colorful and neatly piled up that I had to take a picture.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


"There is no love sincerer than the love of food."
~ George Bernard Shaw.

I was going to post some pictures of Cizîr, but after getting sidetracked by food pictures, I decided to post some of them instead. We can do Cizîr later.

As far as I'm concerned, grilled food with flat bread and a side of shepherd's salad (çoban salatası in Turkish) is the best kind of food in Kurdistan, or in the whole world, for that matter. It's simple, primal, delicious and the spices on the meat are always just right. Everyone else can have their haute cuisine or nouvelle cuisine or whatever . . . give me something like this every day and I'll be happy.

This was the ambience accompanying the grilled meal above. Near Nisêbîn (Nusaybin).

Dolma for lunch at home. Perfect.

Evening spread at a relative's home. The lamb in broth was the best because, in this case, a liberal hand was used with the dried red pepper flakes.

If you have to eat, you have to shop. Here are large bags full of eggplant and cucumbers. Naturally I prefer my eggplant grilled on coals, skinned, and mashed with garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. In the vegetable world, nothing beats that smoky, eggplant flavor.

Peppers for grilling and peppers for stuffing. For some reason, I'm drawn to the vegetables in the markets. Maybe it's the fabulous variety of bright colors and textures of the vegetables that attract me.

A selection of poğaça for breakfast wıth a nice, big glass of hot tea! The spicy meat filling was the best. The texture of the bread is incredibly tender and I don't know of anything else quite like it. I prefer poğaça even more than börek. I haven't seen anything like this in South Kurdistan. Too bad. They don't know what they're missing. The tea here was Kurdish tea, not Turkish tea. Turkish tea is grown in the Black Sea region and is bitter--no matter how much you water it down. Kurdish tea generally comes from India, or tea-growing regions near India and is not at all bitter.

More vegetables. Notice at the top left there are grape leaves for making into delectable sarma.

Dinner at home, waiting for the fried chicken . . .

. . . And there it is! Crispy! Spicy! Delicious! Ax! I could go back just to eat.

Monday, June 23, 2008


"PRC [Population & Resources Control] measures can also include curfews or blackouts, travel restrictions, and restricted residential areas such as protected villages or resettlement areas. Registration and pass systems and control of sensitive items (resources control) and critical supplies such as weapons, food, and fuel are other PRC measures. Checkpoints, searches, roadblocks; surveillance, censorship, and press control; and restriction of activity that applies to selected groups (labor unions, political groups and the like) are further PRC measures."
~ Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces.

Last Friday, a story broke in Turkish daily Taraf on a plan by the general saff plan to reshape Turkey. It strikes me, however, as an effort to maintain the status quo.

Zaman explains the background to the plan:

According to the document, the military's "Information Support Activity Action Plan" went into force in September 2007 and is composed of a series of "measures" against the government, which the military deems the source of a "religious reactionary movement." Taraf's story comes at a time when the Constitutional Court is at loggerheads with the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government; last month the court annulled a bill sponsored by the AK Party that would have allowed the Muslim headscarf to be worn on university campuses. The Turkish General Staff released a statement on Friday afternoon denying Taraf's report. "There is no such official document approved by the commanding ranks in General Staff records," the statement said. The military document Taraf published defines the plan's goals as "bringing public opinion into line with the TSK on issues the TSK is sensitive about, preventing the development of incorrect opinions about the TSK, ensuring the unity and solidarity of opinions and actions within the TSK." The same introductory chapter issues a caveat, stressing the need to avoid "conflict with other state agencies" and also avoid "the image of intervening in daily politics."

Well, of course, there is no such official document "approved by the commanding ranks" of the general staff: Even in Turkey, such a document would not be legal, so who would sign it? Illegal documents like this one are always unofficial.

What the Islamist Zaman purposely omitted in its version of the story was a more detailed explanation of the entire plan, including the general staff's plans for the Kurdish people and the Kurdish party, DTP. In this they are not much different than other Turkish dailies, who have reported on Taraf's publication of the general staff's plan, but have not reported any of the details. Taraf itself comments that the general staff's plan bears similarity to psychological warfare. Taraf is being cautious; the plan is, in fact, psychological warfare.

Here are some excerpts from the Information Support Activity Action Plan, from Taraf:

1. JUDGES WILL BE BROUGHT INTO LINE WITH TSK: The General Staff headquarters Information Support Activity Action Plan aims to bring higher judiciary chiefs into line with the TSK.

According to the plan, primarily the judiciary and media, which have influence on society, will be gathered under so-called "working meals".

People to be contacted: The plan calls for "bringing institutions which have the ability to form public opinion, such as universities, the judiciary, journalists, artists, to bring into the military's line by keeping close contact with them. Available times and locations will be created; for this purpose meetings under the label "working meals" will be held. These "working meals" will be held at the levels of the general staff, its vice-chiefs, forces commanders, and the general secretary of the general staff. The selection of people who will be contacted [for these working meals] requires extreme care. Those people must be the ones who defend the TC's and the TSK's values and "red lines"."

2. JOURNALISTS WILL BE USED: According to the documents that Taraf revealed, TSK intends to direct media and press members regularly and bring them on TSK's side.

The media must be used intensely: The plan calls for "using suitable media channels to demonize TSK's opposition in the eyes of the public. To inform people, suitable media will be used with suitable and effective methods . . . For this purpose, a team of civilian personnel who share TSK's main values and has the same qualifications must be hired under contract."

3. TSK OPPOSITION WILL BE DEMONIZED: TSK's plan says:"Some artists and authors will be supported and will be brought to the front; anti-TSK activities and people will be targeted to be demonized."

The document that Taraf has revealed, and it has been officially approved as coming from the general staff headquarters, has suggestions that will be criticized largely in the public, has the following suggestions, that seem like psychological warfare methods:

* Using people in important [influential] positions to counterattack the campaigns and people who endeavor to show TSK as anti-religion and aim to demonize it.

* Those influential people will emphasis that TSK is not anti-religion, it respects the people's national values and religion, TSK is a guide for modernity, and for scientific and social enhancement; It is an institution that makes democratic values live on a modern level, it is on the level of civilized societies' armies, it is the people's army and it is the institution that receives the most support from the people and that "Mehmetciks" and higher ranking personnel come from the people.

* To support the fragmentation of the targeted political and ethnic groups and in order to divide them, TSK should support and contact some people, thus to diminish the targets' power and disable their attempts to demonize TSK.

* Artists and authors that are known to be in line with TSK will be prioritized to create works on pre-selected themes to inform the targeted people. For this purpose, some artists and authors will be supported and will be brought to the fore while the anti-TSK ideas, activities, and authors will be targeted for demonization.

4. REDIRECTING THE INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE: According to the framework in the plan, article 12 calls for the influential people to be used to keep anti-TSK campaigns ineffective. For this purpose, the costs for these activities will be reimbursed directly or indirectly.

5. IT WILL BE EMPHASIZED THAT DTP IS A "TERRORIST" PARTY: Because of DTP's attitudes and statements, it will be emphasized that DTP has been recognized as "terrorist" and will not be accepted, except as a nonentity.

The region will be disturbed. In the plan, there are some suggestions and implementations about the Kurdish question and DTP. There are some remarkable strategies about the relationship with DTP, in addition to the strategies to cut down support for the PKK:

* In order to cut down support in Northern Iraq, the people in the region will be disturbed under the label of "war against terrorism" and people will be convinced that this disturbance will continue unless they end their support.

* People in the region will be convinced that support for "terrorism" will not be without cost, with frequent checkpoints, intensified operations, and similar activities.

* A similar message will be delivered to the Kurdish people living in Northern Iraq close to the Turkish border, by heavy weapons shelling. In this way, it will be hinted that if they continue to support PKK the disturbance will continue with increasing intensity.

Precautions against DTP's activities: In a high-level press conference, it will be explicitly declared that DTP is seen as a "terrorist" party by TSK because of its statements and activities that it had in various places and locations. For this purpose, following the general staff headquarters' statements, which elaborate in detail why DTP is a "terrorist" party, this approach will be declared again in a seminar or conference related to PKK.


Taraf reports the following as additional parts of the TSK's plan of psychological warfare:

* National security classes in the high schools will be taught by TSK members and textbooks will be reviewed by TSK. The curriculum will be decided by TSK.

* For those classes, CDs and DVDs will be delivered by the TSK class instructor.

* Using suitable NGOs covertly and indirectly, through trustworthy people in order not to risk the NGO as a target for the opposition.

* "Conversation meetings": To avoid the creation of an unsatisfied group within TSK, "conversation meetings" will be held at the level of general, admiral, and similar high-ranking officers. Thus, the feelings and ideas of military personnel can be monitored.

* Enlightenment (Propaganda) Teams: to use experts and experienced staff to make propaganda and impose TSK's views within the military.

* Cyberworld: In order to state TSK's views related to ongoing news in public media, and to inform and direct people, the internet will be used more effectively.

* Accroding to social enhancement support activities in big cities, TSK will go into pilot regions in ghettos to change the people's view about TSK (i.e. the Kurdish people).

* In order to impress the public, scientific seminars, conferences, and similar activities will be supported, and TSK will attend such activities. Activities that promote suitable strategies for TSK will be covertly supported and the activities' costs must be reimbursed.

* Visits from high-ranking officers to martyr or veteran families will be monitored in order to grab media attention. Military spouses will organize the collection and delivery of donations.

After Taraf published its news about the Information Support Activity Action Plan, Büyükanıt made a statement in which he said that this kind of news was "cheap propaganda" and was not to be believed, and he hinted that there was something sinister about the financial backer of the paper.

In Turkey, the media is broadly divided into two camps: the pro-AKP, Islamist camp and the pro-military camp. When Taraf publishes news critical of AKP, the pro-Islamist press accuses Taraf of having George Soros as a financial backer. If Taraf publishes news critical of the military, the pro-military press accuses it of being funded by AKP supporters. Büyükanıt has his panties in knots because Taraf had previously published embarrassing reports on the Dağlica commander--you remember Onur Dirik, don't you--and his New Year's Eve bellydancing show for his officers. This occurred just a few short months after TSK lost a number of troops as targets-of-opportunity to PKK. In addition, Taraf's very recent reporting on the rather inconvenient secret meetings between between a senior judge in the Constitutional Court (Osman Paksüt) and the next chief of general staff (İlker Başbuğ). Check Zaman for an English-language reference to Taraf's report on the Paksüt-Başbuğ meetings. The significance here being that AKP is facing a closure case by the very same Constitutional Court on which sits Sayın Paksüt. This is another embarrassing strike against Büyükanıt's gang.

To suggest that Taraf is funded by either the Fethullacı or George Soros--considered a very suspicious character in Turkey--is utterly laughable. I don't believe for a moment that Taraf has ties to either because the paper was founded by Ahmet Altan, who comes from a family of highly educated journalists who've repeatedly been in trouble with the Ankara regime and happen to favor politics of the Left.

As promised in Taraf's publishing of Büyükanıt's statement, today Ahmet Altan published an open letter to Büyükanıt in which he throws down the guantlet and challenges the Turkish chief of general staff to come forth with his evidence against Taraf's financial backers, saying that it is the responsibility of the chief of staff to provide the evidence for his claims. Altan says Taraf is ready for an open inspection of its finances and if it is proved that Taraf is financed by questionable sources, he will close down the daily.

What does all this mean? It means that when some of us say there is psychological warfare being conducted against the Kurdish people, their freedom movement, and DTP, we are absolutely correct. When people like Bülent Ersoy are prosecuted for saying they would not send their sons to fight PKK, that's part of TSK's Plan. When TSK forbids Turkish media to report on the warfare in North Kurdistan, as Hevallo notes today, that's part of TSK's Plan. When Erdoğan insists that DTP must call PKK "terrorist", that's part of TSK's Plan. When Turkey claims to ban Youtube because of some bullshit videos about Atatürk (when it's really all about banning embarrassing videos like the Newroz violence, or the Dağlica commander's stupidity, or reporting of PKK operations by Roj TV), that's part of TSK's plan.

Remember FM 31-20-3.

Friday, June 20, 2008


"Van in this world, paradise in the next."
~ Old Armenian proverb.

On the way back from Doğubayazıt, my traveling companions and I stopped in Wan (Van). Although the city is larger than Doğubayazıt, I didn't find it as picturesque. It was overrun with tourists from Teheran, all of them in Western clothes and some of them were perturbed that no one in Wan spoke English. I wondered what the Iranian women must think of the AKP girls and their voluntary adoption of the AK uniform--headscarves and long coats. The Iranians must have ditched their chadors at the airport, and they seemed happy to walk around in a relatively free environment unencumbered by volumes of black fabric. But more on the AKP girls later.

On the surface, everything seemed calm, especially after the Newroz violence perpetrated against the people of Wan by the Ankara regime. The TSK has a large presence here, too, but in the city tends to be hidden by high walls topped with concertina wire, such as it is in some areas of Amed.

As we headed back towards Tatvan, we stopped at Akdamar Island. The sky was absolutely clear and deep blue, the sun brilliant, the water of Lake Wan cold and clear.

We stopped in Gevaş to pick up provisions for a picnic in the mountains, and we almost shared the picnic with a mother fox and her two young kits.

It's always good to know where you are.

Wan's fortress.

Wan's most famous resident: the Wan cat, at an entrance to the bazaar.

One of the things that makes Wan wonderful: its cheese. I have yet to come across anything like it. Wan cheese is flavored with garlic and herbs, including rosemary and thyme.

A view of Lake Wan from the fortress at Adilcevaz.

Lake Wan from Akdamar Island.

The Armenian church on Akdamar. Someone really should spend some money to restore this building. The carvings on the outside are fabulous but the painted walls on the inside appear as though they may soon be lost.

A gravestone in Armenian, from the church yard.

Waterfall at Muradiye.

Wildflowers at Muradiye.

Commemorated in Gevaş, Kurdistan's answer to the Loch Ness Monster: Van Gölü Canavarı--Lake Wan Monster

Thursday, June 19, 2008


"The document, which is official US Special Forces policy, directly advocates training paramilitaries, pervasive surveillance, censorship, press control, restrictions on labor unions & political parties, suspending habeas corpus, warrantless searches, detainment without charge, bribery, employing terrorists, false flag operations, concealing human rights abuses from journalists, and extensive use of 'psychological operations' (propaganda) to make these and other "population & resource control" measures palatable."
~ Wikileaks on FM 31-20-3.

Today the court in Amed (Diyarbakır) acquitted the older members of Koma Dengê Zarokên Amedê of "spreading propaganda" for singing "Ey Raqîb" while they were in the US. Younger members of the choir are due to have their day in court on 3 July and the choirmaster is still under investigation. For more, see the story at the IHT.

Bülent Ersoy also went on trial this week for her comments during Turkey's February land invasion of South Kurdistan that she would not send her children into the Turkish army to fight the PKK. A video of Ersoy's remarks can be seen here. At the BBC, Mehmet Ali Birand makes some of his usual stupid comments:

"Most people are fed up of the Kurdish problem, and want a solution. You could hear their voices more three years ago when there was a ceasefire," explains respected newspaper columnist Mehmet Ali Birand.

"But when the PKK started to kill again, the mood changed. People are dying every day. It's a very sensitive issue."

Whose fault is that, Mehmet? If you had taken up the offer of a democratic resolution and the ceasefire from 2006, instead of rejecting them both for the sake of a few Lockheed Martin F-35s, people wouldn't be dying every day and this wouldn't be such a "sensitive" issue. As it is, the Ankara regime is directly responsible for all these deaths--on both sides.

Bianet has a report on the ongoing trial of the Trabzon police and their negligence in the Hrant Dink murder. Surprise, surprise, surprise! The police knew about the planned murder a year ahead of time and did absolutely nothing about it. I wouldn't call that negligence, however; I'd call it a conspiracy.

Before you get the idea that Americans are the most naive people on the planet, let the recent Pew Global Attitudes survey set you straight:

Majorities in 39% of nations polled believe that whoever replaces Bush will change U.S. foreign policy for the better, though in 20 out of 23 nations surveyed, more people have confidence in Sen. Barack Obama than in Sen. John McCain.

Let there be no mistake: There will be no change in US foreign policy anytime in the near future, no matter which nincompoop is elected in November. In the US, politicians do not represent power. They do not have any power. They are a facade.

Wikileaks has also published portions of the infamous US Special Forces Counter-Insurgency Manual (FM 31-20-3) on its website. This army manual is the blueprint for the kinds of atrocities that the US inflicted on Central America and then exported to Turkey. FM 31-20 was one of the US military manuals to be translated into Turkish, adopted by Turkish security forces, and applied against the Kurdish people by the Turkish Special Warfare Department (Özel Harp Dairesi):

Textbooks by American contra-guerrilla experts were translated into Turkish, and these special war methods were thus introduced into Turkey. Some of the textbooks written by American experts are: "U.S. Army FM 31/16" (contra-guerrilla operations), "U.S. Army Special Warfare School" (contra-guerrilla tactics and techniques), "FM 31/20" (special forces operational techniques), "FM 31/21 Special Forces Operations" (ST urban assignments, 31/21 guerrilla warfare and special forces operations ), "FM 31/21 A. Special Forces Operations (U)" (special forces secret operations). (6)

More at Information Clearing House. If this is merely "sensitive" stuff, it's hard to imagine how bad the classified information on counter-insurgency operations is.

Now you know where Turkish death squads got their training.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


"Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral."
~ Paulo Freire.

Iranian pasdars are dropping like flies thanks to HRK as reported by Firat News via Özgür Gündem:

İran'da çatışmalar şiddetlendi: Üç günde 51 pasdar öldü


Doğu Kürdistan'da HRK gerillaları ile İran ordusu arasında çatışmalar şiddetlendi. Son üç günde 50'ye yakın İran Devrim Muhafızı öldüğünü açıkladı.

Çatışmalarla ilişkin PJAK Basın ve İrtibat Merkezi yaptığı açıklamada, son üç günde İran askerleri ile HRK gerillaları arasında yaşanan çatışmalar şiddetlenirken, İran sivil köyleri top atışına tutu.

PJAK, gerillaların dün Hewraman bölgesinin Nızare ve Newsud köyleri arasında bir askeri aracı pusuya düşürdü. Buradaki eylemde aralarında subayların da bulunduğu 18 pasdar ölürken 4'ü de yaralandı. Aynı bölgede yaşanan başka bir çatışmada da 4 pasdar öldü.

Bir diğer kapsamlı çatışma da aynı gün Salmast kırsalında yaşandı. Açıklamaya göre Şpiran bölgesinde operasyona çıkan askerlerle gerillalar arasında akşama kadar çatışma yaşandı. PJAK, bu çatışmada 19 pasdar ve 5 korucunun öldüğünü duyurdu. Aynı çatışmada Şoreş Amed kod adlı bir gerilla da yaşamını yitirdi.

Bu çatışma ardından İran topçularının, bölgeyi top atışına tutması üzerine Storeş ve Şerwani köyleri önemli oranda zarar gördü.

15 Haziran akşamı Meriwan kentine bağlı Gagil köyü yakınlarında çıkan çatışmada 2, Serdeşt yakınlarında çıkan başka bir çatışmada da 3 pasdar öldü.

PJAK Basın ve İrtibat Merkezi, çok sayıda kayıp veren İran ordusunun bazı bölgelere ağır silah ve asker yığınağı yaptığını da duyurdu.

Buna göre Kirmanşah ve Sine kırsalına 3 gündür sevkiyat yapılıyor. Bunun yanısıra Şaho kenti civarına da top ve katyuşa atışları yapılıyor.

Bölgedeki Reşmelekani, Pirxıdır, Şımşer, Cımlixan, Sinekon, Celawe, Gozeban, Heware Berze, Heware Hecice, Şeliban köyleri, İran topçularının hedefi durumunda olduğu bildirildi.


Clashes intensified in Iran: 51 pasdars killed.

Clashes between the Iranian army and HRK (Hêzên Rojhilata Kurdistan) guerrillas in East Kurdistan have intensified. In the last three days, almost 50 Iranian revolutionary guards have been killed.

In its statement regarding the intensified clashes between Iranian troops and HRK guerrillas, PJAK's press and communications center stated that Iran shelled civilian villages.

Yesterday, PJAK guerrillas ambushed a military vehicle between Nızare and Newsud villages in the Hewraman region. In this operation, 18 pasdars were killed, some of whom were lieutenants, and four were wounded. In the same region, four more pasdars were killed in another clash.

Another comprehensive clash occured on the same day in the Salmast area. According to PJAK's statement, the clash between the troops and guerrillas lasted until the night. PJAK declared that 19 pasdars and five village guards were killed in the clash. In the same clash, guerrilla Şoreş Amed was martyred.

After this clash Iranian artillery shelled the region, therefore Storeş and Şerwani were damaged extensively.

On the evening of 15 June, two pasdars in Gagil village of Meriwan were killed in addition to three pasdars killed in another clash that occured close to Serdeşt.

PJAK press and communications center announced that the Iranian army, that had several casualties, deployed heavy weapons and troops.

According to the statement, the build-up of reinforcements to Kirmanşah and Sine has been ongoing during the last three days. In addition, artillery and rockets are being fired close to Şaho province.

It was stated that Reşmelekani, Pirxıdır, Şımşer, Cımlixan, Sinekon, Celawe, Gozeban, Heware Berze, Heware Hecice, and Şeliban villages are the targets of Iranian artillery in the region.

I'm quite happy to hear that so many pasdars have been whacked, including those whacked in the last few weeks. Bijî HRK! Let's not forget why PJAK fights.

Meanwhile, back in Dersim and Şırnak:

Dersim ve Şırnak'ta 6 asker yaşamını yitirdi


Halk Savunma Güçleri (HPG) Dersim ve Şırnak'ta HPG gerillaları ile Türk ordu güçleri arasında yaşanan çatışmalarda 6 askerin öldüğü bildirildi.

HPG Basın İrtibat Merkezi tarafından yapılan açıklamada dün Türk ordusunun Nazmiye kırsalında başlattığı operasyona karşı HPG gerillalarının gece saat 23:30'da bir birliğe karşı Güneycik boğazında pusu eylemi gerçekleştirdiği belirtildi.

Olayda 5 askerin öldüğü bildirilirken bölgedeki operasyonun devam ettiği haber verildi.

HPG 16 Haziran günü ise Şırnak kırsalındaki Gabar dağının Meyzin sırtlarında Türk ordusu ile gerilla güçleri arasında yaşanan çatışmada 1 askerin öldüğünü 1 askerin de yaralandığını duyurdu.

Gabar bölgesinde 15 Haziran günü ise Çiyaye Findike alanındaki ormanlık alanların Türk ordusu tarafından ateşe verildiği haber veriliyor.

Öte yandan dün Ağrı'ya bağlı Doğubayazıt ilçesi kırsalında başlatılan operasyonun bugün geri çekildiği bildirildi.


Six soldiers lose their lives in Dersim and Şırnak

HPG stated that six Turkish soldiers died in clashes between the Turkish army and HPG guerrillas in Dersim and Şırnak.

According to HPG's press and communications center statement, HPG guerrillas implemented an ambush at Güneycik mountain pass at 23:30 hours against the TSK that started in the Nazmiye area.

It was stated that five troops were killed and the operation has been ongoing.

HPG announced that on 16 June in Meyzin ridge of Gabar in Şırnak a Turkish troop was killed and one wounded in a clash between TSK and guerrilla forces.

It has been reported that on 15 June in the Gabar region, Çiyaye Findike area, the forests in the area were set on fire by TSK.

In addition, TSK retreated today from the operation that was started in Doğubayazıt of Ağrı.

Bijî HPG! Bijî Serok Apo!


From a friend, a Public Statement from Amnesty International:

Turkey: Three children on trial in case over freedom of expression

June 18, 2008 - Amnesty International Public Statement
Tomorrow, 19 June, three boys, aged 15, 15 and 17 at the time that the alleged offence was committed, will go on trial in Diyarbakır in the south east of Turkey accused of violating Article 7/2 of the anti-terror law that criminalizes "making propaganda for a terrorist organisation or its aims". The article carries a maximum sentence of five years' imprisonment.
The prosecution was brought after the children, who are all members of the Diyarbakır Yenişehir Municipality Children's Choir, sang a Kurdish language anthem Ey Raqip (Hey Enemy) at a world music festival in San Francisco in October 2007. The choir sang songs in a total of nine different languages including a Turkish patriotic song (Çanakkale Marşı). Six other members of the choir who are under 15 years of age are being prosecuted for the same offence at a Children's Court.
While international human rights law permits states to impose certain limitations on freedom of expression, these can only be such as are necessary and proportionate for certain purposes - protecting the rights and freedoms of others, public health or morals, or national security or public order. The singing of Ey Raqıp, a historical anthem, cannot be regarded as a threat to public order, and the prosecution threatens the right to freedom of expression. If these children are convicted and imprisoned, Amnesty International would consider them to be prisoners of conscience.
AI is also concerned that those between the ages of 15 and 17 are being tried in an adult court. Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which applies to everyone under 18, states should aim to establish laws, procedures, authorities and institutions specifically applicable to children accused of infringing the penal law. The UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice ("The Beijing Rules"), adopted by the UN General Assembly in November 1985, stipulate in particular that proceedings for children should be conducive to the best interests of the child and shall be conducted in an atmosphere of understanding allowing them to participate and to express themselves freely, and that the well-being of the child should be the guiding factor in the consideration of the case.

UPDATE: The friend has forwarded the link to the statement at Amnesty International.

Goran at Zanetî has updated his original post on the children singers.

Hevallo also has the statement with link.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


"A strong woman is a woman determined to do something others are determined not be done."
~ Marge Piercy.

I had gone to Doğubeyazıt to meet the city's DTP mayor, Mukaddes Kubilay, and speak to her about her work on behalf of the women of her city. Unfortunately, she was in Ankara for several days while I was in the area so I will have to save a meeting with her for my next trip.

Mukaddes is an unsung hero of the Kurdish people. She single-handedly began a women's restaurant collective and carpet-making collective for the support of unemployed Kurdish women. She also managed to arrange funding to build and fully equip a six-floor women's hospital, complete with elevator, equipment, and medical staff.

In addition to her concrete good works, she's also established herself as the enemy of corruption in all its forms, which is a feat in itself given the notorious corruption in the Middle East in general and Turkey in particular. Mukaddes has fought like a lion for everything she has gained for her city and, for this reason alone, she should go down in history as a truly great Kurdish woman.

Above is a photo of the Doğubeyazıt municipality offices--or the city hall, as Americans would call it. It's the red-faced building in the center of the photo. The photo is a representation of the situation in Doğubeyazıt, however, because in the upper right corner, you will notice a military installation seeming to overlook the city hall. Doğubeyazıt is positively crawling with Turkish military to the point that it resembles nothing so much as a very bad infestation of head lice. Below is a close-up of the installation:

Doğubeyazıt is not only home to Mukaddes Kubilay, but also to the magnificent İshak Paşa Sarayı and the tomb of famous Kurdish intellectual and author of Mem û Zîn, Ehmedê Xanî. For me, however, the most awesome aspect of Doğubeyazıt is its view of Ağrı Dağı, familiar in English as Mount Ararat:

At an elevation of almost 17,000 ft. (approx. 5,140 m), the mountain dominates the landscape throughout the region. The Turkish name of the mountain naturally reminds one of the Ağrı Dağ rebellion of the 1930s, led by the Xoybûn party. More can be read about the movement and its rebellion in Paul White's book, Primitive Rebels or Revolutionary Modernizers? The Kurdish National Movement in Turkey.

Puppy on the streets of Doğubeyazıt.

The region around Doğubeyazıt and Lake Van is prime grazing land, as evidenced by the many large flocks of sheep and goats, and herds of cattle that I saw from the roads. The people here are, as throughout North Kurdistan, friendly and helpful to travelers. I and my traveling companions stopped in one village outside of Doğubeyazıt to get some water to make tea for our thermos, in preparation for a picnic. Below are photos of the women and children who helped us make our tea:

If you ever decide to go visit Doğubeyazıt, note that certain businesses, such as restaurants and stores, are approved by the local jandarma command as "friendly" places for the Turkish military to do business. Such establishments will have certificates displayed in their front windows. Do the right thing and avoid a possible head lice problem: choose to patronize those businesses that are friendly to the Kurdish freedom movement.