Tuesday, April 24, 2007

NOW AVAILABLE: Men of the Global South: A Reader, edited by Adam Jones (Zed Books, 2006; 425 pp., US $29.99 pbk). "This impressive collection is a much-needed contribution to the visibility and understanding of diversity in the lives of men from the South" (Dr. Dubravka Zarkov, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague).

Genocide Studies Media File
April 12-24, 2007

A compendium of news stories, features, and human rights reports pertaining to genocide and crimes against humanity. Compiled by Adam Jones. Please send links and feedback to adamj_jones@hotmail.com.

Consider inviting colleagues and friends to subscribe to Genocide_Studies and the G_S Media File. All it takes is an email to genocide_studies-subscribe@topica.com.


"Argentina Ex-Leader Faces Kidnapping Charges"
Reuters dispatch in The Los Angeles Times, 24 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"The last de facto president of Argentina's 1976-83 military dictatorship must stand trial on charges that he kidnapped children of those killed in the country's 'dirty war,' a judge ruled Monday. Reynaldo Bignone and six other high-ranking officers will face prosecution in a case investigating allegations that some children of slain dissidents were handed over to members of the military, federal Judge Guillermo Montenegro ruled. The charges include 'taking, retaining and hiding minors and changing their identities,' according to the ruling. No formal court date was set. A former army general, Bignone was the last of four de facto presidents and took power in mid-1982 after Argentina's defeat in the Falkland Islands war. Bignone has been under house arrest since March. Many of the junta's other top leaders, including Gen. Jorge Videla and Adm. Emilio Massera, are also facing similar charges. Last year, Bignone told a radio station that the child kidnapping charges are 'an invention.' The human rights group Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo says it has traced about 90 children of missing political prisoners and reunited them with their biological families. The other officers to face trial include former army chief Cristino Nicolaides, former navy chief Ruben Franco and Jorge Acosta, a former marine. A government report says at least 9,000 people died or disappeared during the seven-year crackdown on leftist dissent. Human rights groups say the number is closer to 30,000. [...]"


"Congressional Resolution on Armenian Genocide Remains Uncertain"
By Richard Simon
The Los Angeles Times, 21 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"It was the year 2000, and Rep. George P. Radanovich was on his way to the Capitol, expecting the House to pass a long-debated resolution he was sponsoring to recognize the Armenian genocide almost a century ago. But just as the Republican from Mariposa prepared to step onto the House floor, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) called off the vote because President Clinton personally had warned him that the symbolic but emotion-charged resolution could damage national security. Turkey, an important U.S. ally, long has insisted that the deaths of about 1 million Armenians in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire were not acts of genocide. Seven years later, however, with Congress in the hands of Democrats, the resolution's backers believe they stand their best chance yet of winning passage -- even though the Bush administration, like previous Democratic and Republican administrations, is working hard to kill it. Radanovich is predicting that the resolution's fate once again will come down to a phone call between the president and the House speaker. This time the speaker is Democrat Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, who as a member of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues has been a passionate supporter of the genocide resolution. But there's a rub: During almost 20 years representing the Bay Area, home to thousands of voters of Armenian descent, Pelosi has had a relatively free hand in deciding her position on the volatile issue. But today she comes at it as a leader of the Democratic Party and a high-profile player in the U.S. government. She has shown, by her maneuvering on Iraq war funding and her recent visit to Syria, that she is not reluctant to take on the White House. And she has learned that Republicans will be quick to seize any opportunity to brand her a lightweight in foreign affairs. Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish research program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said Pelosi must now weigh the resolution 'through a perspective she never did before.' [...]"

"Armenian Genocide Sears Survivors' Memories"
By Joseph Ax
Bergen Record, 13 April 2007
"Hagop Bahtiarian was 5 years old when police came to his home near Ankara, Turkey, in 1915 and said the mayor wanted to speak to his father. That would be the last time Bahtiarian saw him. 'My father went and never came back,' the 97-year-old said on a recent afternoon at the Armenian Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Emerson. 'It's impossible to forget. I [was] 5 years old, but my memory is clear. They were selling his clothes at the market the same day.' Bahtiarian is one of a dwindling number of survivors of what is commonly known as the Armenian genocide. Most academics estimate that 1 million to 1.5 million Armenians died in Turkey during World War I and its aftermath, from 1915 to 1923. Armenians commemorate the killings every year on April 24. Like Bahtiarian, Anahid 'Annie' Boghosian, another resident at the Armenian home, was only a child when soldiers forced members of her family to leave their village home and march for days until they reached a Kurdish area, where they were taken in. Boghosian's father had gone to look for work in Istanbul; he was never heard from again. 'I saw on the road, in the field, people lying injured,' the 98-year-old said, her pink-rimmed glasses framing clear blue eyes that occasionally filled with tears as she tried to remember her experiences. Both Bahtiarian, a longtime watchmaker who has lived in several Bergen County towns since the 1960s, and Boghosian, who worked for a rubber company and lived in Cliffside Park, say that Turks and Armenians lived side by side in their communities before the Young Turks government began to persecute Armenians. 'We went to school together,' Boghosian said. 'How can you hate them?' [...]"
[n.b. Thanks to Rick Feingold for forwarding this link.]


"Colombia: Progress at a Price"
By Alice O'Keeffe
New Statesman, 23 April 2007
"[...] In November 2003, after 40 years of a civil war that involved a death toll of tens of thousands, Colombian television broadcast an extraordinary scene: ranks of uniformed troops from one of the country's biggest paramilitary organisations queuing up to hand in their arms in Medellín's central square. It was to be the first in a series of 'demobilisation' ceremonies across the country, and a coup for the right-leaning government of President Álvaro Uribe Vélez, who had opened official negotiations with the paramilitaries following a ceasefire the previous year. ... Since then, more than 30,000 paramilitaries have demobilised, and under the terms of the agreement all of those who were not under investigation for human-rights abuses -- the vast majority -- were channelled straight into the 'reintegration' system. ... The process has, however, been hugely controversial. There have been widespread reports of non-paramilitaries 'demobilising' simply to claim the generous government package, and even of paramilitary groups recruiting civilians to 'demobilise' instead of actual combatants -- it was originally estimated that there were between 10,000 and 20,000 paramilitary troops, and to date 30,000 people have handed themselves in. In many areas, new groups have emerged, with similar structures and aims to the paramilitaries but with names such as 'the Black Eagles.' Colombian human-rights organisations report that the paramilitaries are responsible for up to 2,300 murders and disappearances since the deal was announced (official figures are much lower). Amnesty International has accused the government of promoting a culture of impunity. 'We would argue that the demobilisation process represents a de facto amnesty for paramilitaries, many of whom will have committed war crimes,' says Peter Drury, head of Amnesty's Colombia programme. 'The idea is to remove combatants from the conflict, but if they have not been held to account for their actions, what guarantees that they will not go on to do the same again?' [...]"

"Colombian Senator: Death Squads Met At Uribe's Ranch"
By Juan Forero
The Washington Post, 18 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"An opposition lawmaker on Tuesday alleged that paramilitary death squads met at the ranch of President Álvaro Uribe in the late 1980s and plotted to murder opponents, an explosive charge in a growing scandal that has unearthed ties between the illegal militias and two dozen congressmen. Basing his accusations on government documents and depositions by former paramilitary members and military officers, Sen. Gustavo Petro said the militiamen met at Uribe's Guacharacas farm as well as ranches owned by his brother, Santiago Uribe, and a close associate, Luis Alberto Villegas. 'From there, at night, they would go out and kill people,' Petro said, referring to the sprawling ranch owned by Álvaro Uribe, who served as a senator from 1986 to 1994. The allegations, made at a congressional hearing on the 'para-politics' scandal, were vigorously denied by the government. In a rebuttal, Interior Minister Carlos Holguín said that all manner of rumors have arisen about Uribe's farm. Holguín said Petro had 'abused' his position by using court documents selectively to make his points and was trying to portray Colombia 'as a country of assassins, a country of paramilitaries.' And he wondered aloud why Petro was not so aggressive about unearthing links between politicians and leftist guerrillas, noting that Petro had been a member of the M-19 rebel movement until his election to Congress in 1991. ... Uribe, since he first ran for office, has also been dogged by the fact that paramilitary groups grew dramatically during his term as governor in the northwestern state of Antioquia, from 1995 to 1997. During that time, he helped spearhead the creation of Convivirs, legal vigilante groups. Some were later denounced for having morphed into paramilitary death squads or for serving as fronts for paramilitary warlords. [...]"


"Life after Rape in Congo"
By Stephanie Hanes
The Christian Science Monitor, 25 April 2007
"Eastern Congo has experienced atrocious levels of sexual violence over the past nine years -- first during a five-year war that ended in 2003 and killed 4 million people from violence and hunger, then during continued instability and ethnic fighting. Human Rights Watch, the United Nations, and many other organizations have decried the mass rapes here; most estimates put the number of Congolese rape victims in the tens of thousands. During the war, most women were raped by militia members, who wielded sexual violence as yet another weapon. Today, women and girls are more likely to be assaulted by the low-paid Congolese soldiers, who regularly extort and terrorize local villagers. Scores of aid organizations continue in their efforts to aid rape survivors. But more and more, there are also people like Pacuriema -- local women simply trying to help. They have formed organizations throughout eastern Congo, working with scant resources to arrange housing for survivors, persuade husbands to stay with their raped wives, and to find work for women supporting babies they never wanted. 'The Congolese themselves are really trying to do something,' says Madnodje Mounoubai, spokesman for the UN peacekeeping force in Bunia. 'But most of the time, they only have their goodwill.' [...]"


"Iraqis Turn to Tattoos as Indelible IDs"
By Christian Berthelsen
The Los Angeles Times, 20 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"The ghastly procession of decapitated corpses and mutilated bodies that has defined death in Iraq drove Firas Adil Saadi to do something that was once the province of convicts and degenerates here: He got a tattoo. The 28-year-old Shiite Muslim now has a marking on his right shoulder so his family may avoid the despair of not being able to identify his remains. In ornate Arabic calligraphy, it says 'My brother Husam,' after a cousin who suffered such a fate. Saadi also carries paper identification, but he believes it would be burned beyond recognition in a bombing. 'The idea came to me after seeing these daily incidents during which some corpses are mutilated and distorted, some were even headless, and the fact that the identity cards are either lost or destroyed,' said Saadi, a trader who works in Baghdad's Shorja market, which has suffered numerous bombings. 'Even the water of the firefighting equipment is destroying them, so I thought about an irremovable identity card, which is the tattoo.' In Iraq, it has come to this: Faced with the omnipresent specter of death, an increasing number of people, mainly Shiite men, are willing to contravene social taboo to accommodate it. ... 'I think the resort to using the tattoos by people now from all social classes is something like a return to barbarism, and this is exactly what the Americans want, getting Iraq to the pre-civilization times,' said Hashim Hassan, a Shiite professor at Baghdad University. 'Both the lower and middle classes are taking tattoo drawings on their bodies. It is more among the men than the women because of the feeling that the men are targeted so they do not want to lose the links with their families' even if they are killed, he said. 'I think a time will come when each family will choose a tattoo for itself and get recognized by it.' [...]"


"The Holocaust as Political Asset"
By Amira Hass
Counterpunch.org, 20 April 2007
"[...] The phrase 'security for the Jews' has been consecrated as an exclusive synonym for 'the lessons of the Holocaust.' It is what allows Israel to systematically discriminate against its Arab citizens. For 40 years, 'security' has been justifying control of the West Bank and Gaza and of subjects who have been dispossessed of their rights living alongside Jewish residents, Israeli citizens laden with privileges. Security serves the creation of a regime of separation and discrimination on an ethnic basis, Israeli style, under the auspices of 'peace talks' that go on forever. Turning the Holocaust into an asset allows Israel to present all the methods of the Palestinian struggle (even the unarmed ones) as another link in the anti-Semitic chain whose culmination is Auschwitz. Israel provides itself with the license to come up with more kinds of fences, walls and military guard towers around Palestinian enclaves. Separating the genocide of the Jewish people from the historical context of Nazism and from its aims of murder and subjugation, and its separation from the series of genocides perpetrated by the white man outside of Europe, has created a hierarchy of victims, at whose head we stand. Holocaust and anti-Semitism researchers fumble for words when in Hebron the state carries out ethnic cleansing via its emissaries, the settlers, and ignore the enclaves and regime of separation it is setting up. Whoever criticizes Israel's policies toward the Palestinians is denounced as an anti-Semite, if not a Holocaust denier. Absurdly, the delegitimization of any criticism of Israel only makes it harder to refute the futile equations that are being made between the Nazi murder machine and the Israeli regime of discrimination and occupation. [...]"


"Academics Claim Proof Japan Forced WW2 Sex Slaves"
By George Nishiyama
Reuters dispatch, 17 April 2007
"Japanese academics presented on Tuesday what they said was additional evidence to prove that the military kidnapped women to serve as sex slaves during World War Two, rejecting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's claims. The academics, belonging to a centre looking into Japan's war responsibility, also urged Abe's government to come up with a clearer apology to the women -- mostly from Asia -- and offer them compensation. Abe has come under fire for his remarks last month that there was no proof that the government or the military forced women to work in the wartime brothels as 'comfort women,' as the sex slaves are known in Japan. The Japanese leader has apologized for the sex slaves and has said he stands by a 1993 statement that acknowledged official involvement in the management of the brothels, but has also said he would apologize again even if U.S. lawmakers adopted a resolution seeking one. Hirofumi Hayashi, a professor at Kanto-Gakuin University, presented at a news conference several documents, submitted as evidence to the Tokyo war crimes tribunal, showing that the Japanese military had kidnapped women to work as sex slaves. 'It is a great mystery why the Japanese government ignores these documents,' Hayashi said, pointing out that Japan must acknowledge them as it accepted the rulings of the Allied-run tribunal when it signed peace treaties that ended the war. Hayashi said he had found the documents last year, but decided to disclose them now in response to remarks by Abe and others in government denying military involvement in kidnapping the women. [...]"


"Macedonia Minister 'Watched Police Killings'"
Associated Press dispatch on CNN.com, 16 April 2007
"Macedonia's interior minister watched from behind a wall as police allegedly rampaged through a Macedonian village in 2001, killing seven ethnic Albanian men, abusing dozens more and torching and blowing up houses, U.N. prosecutors said Monday. A video played on the opening day of the war crimes trial of former Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski and police official Johan Tarculovsky showed what prosecutor Dan Saxon described as Boskovski witnessing the attack on Ljuboten from several hundred meters (yards) away. The video, screened for judges at the U.N. Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, showed Boskovski sheltering behind a wall, with a view across several open fields to the rooftops of houses. No people in the village were visible on the video, but gunfire could be heard at times. Both Boskovski and Tarculovsky have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, wanton destruction and cruel treatment. The charges are linked to the brutal Aug. 12, 2001, alleged attack by 100 police on Ljuboten, 10 kilometers (six miles) north of the capital, Skopje. The indictment is the only one filed by the tribunal related to the six-month conflict between Macedonian forces and ethnic Albanians fighting for more political rights in the majority Slavic nation. Boskovski is held responsible for the attack as his ministry controlled all police. The video also appeared to demonstrate that he knew the attack happened. ... Tarculovsky allegedly masterminded the atrocities -- handpicking, arming and personally leading the force. 'The police unit led by the accused Tarculovsky deliberately chose unarmed civilians, wantonly burned and destroyed many homes without justification and cruelly treated a group of residents, seven of whom were killed,' said prosecutor Joanne Motoike. The attack 'clearly had a criminal design as demonstrated by the manner, method and results,' she added. [...]"


"Rwanda: France Promoting 'Double Genocide' Ideology -- Wallis"
By Godwin Agaba
The New Times (Kigali) (on AllAfrica.com), 22 April 2007
"France is continuously denying what happened in Rwanda and promoting the 'double genocide' ideology. The observation was made by Andrew Wallis, a British journalist and author of 'Silent Accomplice: The Untold Story of France's Role in the Rwandan Genocide', during the launch of Rwanda Center for Strategic Studies (RCSS) at Novotel Hotel in Kacyiru, a Kigali suburb. Wallis noted that it is a crime for France to keep on denying its role in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. He said the only way France can redeem its esteem and reinforce its relationship with Rwanda is by first accepting its past mistakes and asking for forgiveness, failure of which there will always be an impasse between the two countries. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Charles Murigande, presided over the launch. He noted that RCSS offers an opportunity to share knowledge and how to foster security in the region and the country. The Rwanda Centre for Strategic Studies was formed on 6th September 2006 at the initiation of African Centre for Strategic Studies (ACSS). The Rwanda Chapter aims at building and maintaining networks and relationships of trust among national, regional and the international community with shared values and a common vision for a stable and peaceful region in particular and the entire continent in general. Wallis said there is need to establish the real motive behind France's unwavering support for the genocidal regime. 'You should consider the major French operations in Rwanda between 1990-94 Operation Noroit, Amaryllis and Turquoise and some of the questions that remain to be answered as to French motivation behind their support of Habyarimana and the interim government,' Wallis said. [...]"

"Rwanda Takes France to UN Court"
BBC Online, 18 April 2007
"Rwanda has asked the International Court of Justice to quash French arrest warrants issued against nine associates of President Paul Kagame. The government cannot function properly, as officials like the army chief-of-staff are unable to travel abroad, says Rwanda's justice minister. The warrants were issued in November after a French judge implicated Mr Kagame in his predecessor's killing. Former President Juvenal Habyarimana's death sparked the 1994 genocide. More than 800,000 people died in the 100-day massacres of Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Mr. Kagame, who under French law has immunity as head of state, has denied involvement in the shooting down of Habyarimana's plane, but has said he does not regret the death. Rwanda broke off diplomatic relations with France after the accusation. French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere is investigating the case because the crew of the plane were French and their families filed a case in France in 1998. Those he wants to arrest include armed forces chief James Kabarebe and army chief-of-staff Charles Kayonga. Judge Bruguiere has said that only Mr. Kagame's Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) forces had missiles capable of downing President Habyarimana's plane. [...]"


"Russia Says UN Plan for Kosovo Independence 'Will Not Pass'"
By Maria Danilova
Associated Press dispatch in The Globe and Mail, 24 April 2007
"A senior Russian diplomat said a UN plan for the eventual independence of Serbia's breakaway province of Kosovo will not pass, giving Moscow's strongest indication yet that it might veto the proposal, local news agencies reported. The proposal, drawn up by UN envoy for Kosovo Martti Ahtisaari, foresees granting Kosovo internationally supervised independence. It needs final approval from the UN Security Council, where Russia holds veto power. While Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority generally supports the plan, Belgrade has rejected it and wants to maintain some control over its southern province. 'We have said that we will not support a decision that will not be supported by both sides in the UN Security Council: a decision based on proposals by M. Ahtisaari will not pass,' Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov said, according to the Interfax news agency. Asked whether Russia could veto the proposal, Mr. Titov said: 'The threat of using a veto must stimulate the sides to come up with mutually accepted compromises,' the ITAR-Tass news agency reported. Kosovo, an impoverished province of two million people -- 90 per cent of them ethnic Albanians -- has been under UN and NATO control since a brief NATO aerial war in 1999 drove Serb forces out of the region after they cracked down on separatist ethnic Albanian rebels. [...]"


"Somalia Facing Humanitarian Crisis as Hundreds of Thousands Flee Capital"
By Salad Duhul and Elizabeth A. Kennedy
The Independent, 25 April 2007
"There are no more hospital beds available in this bloodstained capital, and barely enough bandages to patch up the wounded. Even the bottles of medicine are running dry. But still the patients keep pouring in -- and they are the lucky ones, having survived another day of gunfire and mortar shells as Islamic insurgents battle troops allied to Somalia's fragile government. ... Battles rocked Mogadishu for the sixth straight day Monday as Somalia heads toward one of the worst humanitarian crises in its history, with civilians getting slaughtered in the crossfire. A local human rights group put the death toll at 1,000 over just four days earlier this month, and more than 250 have been killed in the past six days. More than 320,000 of Mogadishu's 2 million residents have fled since heavy fighting started in February. ... The government and its Ethiopian backers have been facing mounting pressure from the US, European Union and United Nations over the mounting civilian death toll and appear determined to bring order to the city before a planned national reconciliation conference in June. But the fighting has decimated Mogadishu, already one of the most violent and gun-infested cities in the world. At least 18 civilians were killed Monday, said Sudan Ali Ahmed, the chairman of the Elman Human Rights Organization group. [...]"
[n.b. Remember a few months ago, when Mogadishu was peaceful and orderly under one of the more sane and moderate Islamist governments in the world? Who undermined that stability, and sparked the current devastating crisis?]

"Ethiopia in Somali 'Genocide' Row"
By Robert Walker
BBC Online, 13 April 2007
"A member of Somalia's transitional government has accused Ethiopian troops in the capital Mogadishu of committing genocide since arriving in December. The accusations came from Hussein Aideed - a former Somali warlord who is the deputy prime minister of the transitional government. Ethiopia dismissed Mr. Aideed's comments as an absolute fabrication. Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands forced to flee since Ethiopian troops arrived in Mogadishu. The Ethiopians arrived at the request of the transitional government, to oust the Islamist militia that was then in control. The comments of Hussein Aideed underline not only the deep divisions within Somalia's transitional government but also the strength of opposition in the Somali capital to the Ethiopian forces backing it. [...]"


"Darfur Peacekeepers Understaffed, Underequipped and Now Under Fire"
By Steve Bloomfield
The Independent, 25 April 2007
"[...] The African Union Mission in Sudan (Amis) was heralded by the international community as an 'African solution to an African problem.' Its role is to protect civilians from attacks by government-backed militia and rebel groups. But Amis is not even able to protect itself. It is under-staffed, underequipped and increasingly under fire from rebel groups which believe it has become little more than an extension of the Sudanese government. Darfurians now refer to Amis as the 'African Mistake in Sudan' and senior Amis officials are openly asking whether they are serving any purpose being here. 'Amis is doing what it can within the limits of its capabilities,' said Brig General E Rurangwa, the deputy commander. 'We don't have enough personnel and we don't have enough equipment. It makes it difficult to intervene. You have to protect yourself.' As the security situation has deteriorated, Amis has been concentrating on protecting itself. Amis is supposed to carry out up to 50 patrols a day, protecting women while they collect firewood and go to markets. But patrols are down to as few as three a day across the whole of Darfur, and are optimistically referred to as 'confidence-building.' While the soldiers stay in their barracks, nearly four million people remain affected by the conflict. More than 100,000 people were displaced in the first three months of the year. Even those patrols Amis does carry out do not prevent violence. Those living in the camps refer to Amis as the 'report writers.' [...]"

"This May Look Like a UN Plane -- But It Was Used by Sudan to Bomb Darfur"
By Richard Beeston
The Times, 19 April 2007
"Britain and America threatened yesterday to impose new sanctions on Khartoum after a United Nations report accused Sudan of disguising its military planes and helicopters as UN aircraft and using them to attack villages in Darfur. The confidential report says that military aircraft were painted white -- a colour usually reserved for the UN -- and used to ferry arms to the janjawid militia, for reconnaissance flights and bombing missions. The 44-page document, prepared by a panel of experts and circulated to UN Security Council members this week, accuses the authorities in Khartoum of flagrant breaches of international law and calls for tougher sanctions. Last night Tony Blair warned the Sudanese authorities that American and British officials at the UN Security Council would begin consultations on a new resolution against Sudan if it did not stop its violations in the war-torn province. 'What is happening is unacceptable. It is appalling,' he said. 'The international community will not allow the scandal that is Darfur to continue.' ... The report's most astonishing revelation was the use by the Sudanese armed forces of white-painted military aircraft in Darfur. On March 7 a photograph was taken of an Antonov AN26 aircraft on the military apron of al-Fasher airport, the Darfuri regional capital. Guarded by soldiers and with bombs piled alongside, the plane was painted white and has the initials 'UN' stencilled on its upper left wing. Another Sudanese military aircraft was disguised in the same manner. The report said that white Antonovs were used to bombard Darfur villages on at least three occasions in January. A similar ploy was employed to conceal the identity of three Mi171 military helicopters which were painted white. The report said that from a distance the aircraft could be mistaken for similar helicopters operated by the UN and peacekeepers. [...]"

"Why Sudan Is Now Allowing UN Troops in Darfur"
By Howard LaFranchi
The Christian Science Monitor, 18 April 2007
"International pressure from the United Nations, Arab leaders, and the United States played a role in Sudan's concession this week to allow 3,000 UN peacekeepers into the country's troubled Darfur region. So, apparently, did the image concerns of China -- both one of Sudan's biggest commercial partners and an increasingly outgoing international power -- as it prepares to host the 2008 Summer Olympics. But while some international leaders are jumping to praise Sudan's uncustomary openness to international intervention in Darfur, the US and Britain are seizing the moment to increase pressure on Sudan. As the conflict that has left more than 200,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced continues unabated, questions are surfacing over which approach is likely to stem the crisis most quickly. Some experts say Sudan simply continues to play the international community by stringing out its concessions to make them appear to be major breakthroughs, even though they are unlikely to get at the heart of Darfur's strife. 'It isn't going to make a huge difference who in the international community has got the approach to this announcement right, or even how quickly the government of Sudan acts on it, because the whole issue of UN troops has been blown out of proportion compared to what they can really do,' says Alex de Waal, a Darfur expert and program director with the Social Science Research Council in New York. 'International troops are ancillary to a peace agreement for Darfur,' he adds. 'They are not going to be the main event of a conflict that requires a political solution.' While that may be true, international leaders -- ranging from Western officials facing domestic pressure to stop what the US has termed a genocide, to Arab and African leaders increasingly fed up with the inaction of a neighboring regime -- are hoping international intervention will help pave the way for a political settlement. [...]"

"Sudan Drops Objections to U.N. Aid in Darfur"
By Warren Hoge
The New York Times, 17 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"Sudan said Monday that it had dropped its objections to large-scale United Nations assistance to the overwhelmed African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur, setting the stage for the possible assignment there of United Nations peacekeepers. President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan has repeatedly defied United Nations requests and pressure from governments elsewhere in Africa and around the world to permit international intervention in Darfur, saying such action would violate his country's sovereignty. But on Monday, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad, Sudan's ambassador to the United Nations, sent a letter to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the 15 member states of the Security Council saying that Sudan would accept what is known as the 'heavy support package' and that it hoped that it would 'proceed expeditiously.' The package calls for sending 3,000 well-equipped military police officers along with six attack helicopters and other aviation and logistics support to Darfur. The steps are the second stage of a much delayed three-stage proposal whose ultimate aim is to create a 21,000-member joint African Union-United Nations force to replace the 7,000-member African Union force there now. It is this force that most observers believe is necessary to curb the continuing violence in Darfur, but whether the agreement on Monday will lead to its creation is far from assured because of Mr. Bashir's record of resistance. More than 200,000 people have died in the Darfur region of western Sudan and 2.3 million have been uprooted from their land and subjected to repeated attacks from Arab janjaweed militias supported and equipped by the Khartoum government. [...]"

"Crisis Creeps Towards Catastrophe as Village after Village is Wiped Out"
By Julian Borger
The Guardian, 16 April 2007
"[...] The massacres in Tiero ... the neighbouring village of Marena, near the Sudanese border, killed about 400 people. The numbers are unclear because many of the bodies are still lying in the bush. The killings are a blood-red signal that the culture of mass murder as a weapon of war has found its way to Chad, after four years in Darfur uninterrupted by the global community. The widening of the conflict threatens, in turn, to trigger a new humanitarian disaster. The shock of the Tiero and Marena attacks sent more than 10,000 villagers from the immediate area fleeing into the bush, bringing to about 140,000 the number of Chadians uprooted by the violence. Many -- particularly women and children -- died of thirst on the road, having left in too much of a hurry to take water. Those that survived will have to share the available food aid with quarter of a million Darfuri refugees, and there may not be enough to go round. Pauline Bellaman, Oxfam's programme manager in the area, described the situation as 'catastrophic,' with barely two months left before the rainy season makes food delivery impossible. 'Even if the international community gets mobilised to provide the funds to bring in the food, it's going to be a logistical nightmare to get it to the right place at the right time,' she said. Oxfam is launching a public appeal today in the race to cope with the crisis, which is growing with every passing day. The massacres at Tiero and Marena took place two weeks ago but there are still stragglers arriving at the relief camps, after days walking in temperatures of 45C (113F). [...]"

"Sudanese Negotiators Back UN Helicopters in Darfur"
By Michael Georgy
Reuters dispatch in The Mail & Guardian, 13 April 2007
"Sudanese officials working to finalise a deal on United Nations support for the African Union (AU) mission in Darfur have recommended Khartoum permit the use of attack helicopters by peacekeepers, the Foreign Ministry said. 'They have made a positive recommendation and it is now up to the leadership. The president must decide,' Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ali al-Sadig told Reuters on Friday. The United Nations is nearing a deal with Khartoum to add 3 000 UN military personnel and equipment to the AU force but Sudan has so far objected to fielding six attack helicopters. Sudan also has not agreed to the next stage of an AU-UN Darfur operation, which would involve 25,000 troops and police. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stressed on Thursday the helicopters would not be used for offensive purposes but rather to help AU peacekeepers protect themselves. Some African countries with troops in Darfur have threatened to withdraw their forces if they are not better equipped. The underfinanced and underequipped AU force has been unable to stop violence in Darfur, where at least 200 000 people have been killed and 2,5-million forced to flee their homes, many to arid refugee camps. ... Signs that the interim plan would be implemented came as United States Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte met with Sudanese officials in Khartoum to make a fresh push for the deployment of UN troops in Darfur, where struggling AU forces have failed to ease violence hampering aid efforts. [...]"

"Darfur Collides With Olympics, and China Yields"
By Helene Cooper
The New York Times, 13 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"For the past two years, China has protected the Sudanese government as the United States and Britain have pushed for United Nations Security Council sanctions against Sudan for the violence in Darfur. But in the past week, strange things have happened. A senior Chinese official, Zhai Jun, traveled to Sudan to push the Sudanese government to accept a United Nations peacekeeping force. Mr. Zhai even went all the way to Darfur and toured three refugee camps, a rare event for a high-ranking official from China, which has extensive business and oil ties to Sudan and generally avoids telling other countries how to conduct their internal affairs. So what gives? Credit goes to Hollywood -- Mia Farrow and Steven Spielberg in particular. Just when it seemed safe to buy a plane ticket to Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games, nongovernmental organizations and other groups appear to have scored a surprising success in an effort to link the Olympics, which the Chinese government holds very dear, to the killings in Darfur, which, until recently, Beijing had not seemed too concerned about. Ms. Farrow, a good-will ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund, has played a crucial role, starting a campaign last month to label the Games in Beijing the 'Genocide Olympics' and calling on corporate sponsors and even Mr. Spielberg, who is an artistic adviser to China for the Games, to publicly exhort China to do something about Darfur. In a March 28 op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal, she warned Mr. Spielberg that he could 'go down in history as the Leni Riefenstahl of the Beijing Games,' a reference to a German filmmaker who made Nazi propaganda films. [...]"


"U.S. Releases Cuban Bombing Suspect, Angering Havana"
By Anthony DePalma
The New York Times, 20 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"A 79-year-old anti-Castro Cuban exile and former C.I.A. operative linked to the bombing of a Cuban airliner was released on bail yesterday and immediately returned to Miami to await trial on immigration fraud charges. The man, Luis Posada Carriles, was released from the Otero County Prison in Chaparral, N.M., after posting a $350,000 bond on the immigration charges. His release infuriated the authorities in Cuba and Venezuela, who have been trying to extradite him to stand trial over the 1976 airliner bombing, which killed 73 people, including several teenage members of Cuba's national fencing team. The United States Justice Department had tried unsuccessfully to prevent his release, arguing that his escape from a Venezuelan prison in 1985 increased the risk that he might flee before the scheduled start of his trial on immigration charges on May 11. The court rejected the Justice Department’s argument, but it increased security measures by ordering Mr. Posada to be fitted with an ankle bracelet to track his whereabouts. He was ordered to remain under house detention with his wife in Miami until the immigration trial begins. ... Cuban officials have accused the United States of hypocrisy in battling terrorists by not prosecuting Mr. Posada or deporting him to stand trial on terrorism charges in another country. They routinely refer to Mr. Posada as 'the bin Laden of the Americas.' Mr. Posada's shadowy past as a Central Intelligence Agency operative put the United States in a politically delicate position. In his early years, he had received military training in the United States and worked for the C.I.A. to bring down the Castro government. He participated in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. Later he was involved in supplying arms to rebels in Nicaragua. The United States has acknowledged his long record of violent acts. In court papers filed in his immigration fraud case, the Justice Department described him as 'an unrepentant criminal and admitted mastermind of terrorist plots.' [...]"
[n.b. Well, I think that makes the parameters of the "war on terror" quite clear. It's worth noting that, proportional to population, the murder of 73 Cubans on the airliner bombed in 1976 was roughly equivalent to those murdered in New York and Washington on 9/11.]


"Korean War Policy Let U.S. Troops Kill Refugees"
By Charles J. Hanley and Martha Mendoza
Associated Press dispatch in The Toronto Star, 15 April 2007
"Six years after declaring the U.S. killing of Korean War refugees at No Gun Ri was 'not deliberate,' the U.S. Army has acknowledged it found -- but did not divulge -- that a high-level document said the U.S. military had a policy of shooting approaching civilians in South Korea. The document, a letter from the U.S. ambassador in South Korea to the State Department in Washington, is dated the same day in 1950 when U.S. troops began the No Gun Ri shootings, in which survivors say hundreds, mostly women and children, were killed. Exclusion of the embassy letter from the army's 2001 investigative report is the most significant among numerous omissions of documents and testimony pointing to a policy of firing on refugee groups -- according to undisclosed evidence uncovered by Associated Press. South Korean petitioners say hundreds more refugees died later in 1950 as a result of the U.S. practice. The Seoul government is investigating one such large-scale killing, of refugees stranded on a beach, newly confirmed via U.S. archives. No Gun Ri survivors, who call the army's 2001 investigation a 'whitewash,' are demanding a reopened investigation, compensation and a U.S. apology. ... When asked last year, the Pentagon didn't say whether U.S. investigators had seen the document before issuing their No Gun Ri report. Former army secretary Louis Caldera suggested researchers may have missed it. After South Korea asked for more information, the Pentagon acknowledged that it examined Muccio's letter in 2000 but dismissed it. It said the letter 'outlined a proposed policy,' not an approved one, army spokesperson Paul Boyce argues in an email to the AP. But Muccio's message to assistant secretary of state Dean Rusk states unambiguously that 'decisions made' at a high-level U.S.-South Korean meeting in Taegu, South Korea, on July 25, 1950, included a policy to shoot approaching refugees. The reason: the Americans feared that disguised North Korean enemy troops were infiltrating their lines via refugee groups. 'If refugees do appear from north of U.S. lines they will receive warning shots, and if they then persist in advancing they will be shot,' the ambassador told Rusk, cautioning that these shootings might cause 'repercussions in the United States.' Deliberately attacking non-combatants is a war crime. ... As 1950 wore on, U.S. commanders repeatedly ordered refugees shot, according to documents obtained by the AP. [...]"


"E.U. Ministers Agree on Rules Against Hate Crimes, Racism"
By Molly Moore
The Washington Post, 20 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"European Union officials agreed Thursday to new regulations for combating hate crimes and racism at a time when xenophobia and concern over immigration have been increasing across the 27-country bloc. ... The proposed regulations are subject to the approval of national parliaments, and they allow individual countries latitude in defining some crimes and penalizing offenders. Even so, E.U. officials said Thursday's agreement represented a major milestone in persuading all member countries to fight incitement to hatred or violence based on skin color, race or national or ethnic origin. 'There are no safe havens in Europe for racist violence, for anti-Semitism, for people concretely inciting xenophobic hatred,' said the E.U. justice commissioner, Franco Frattini. The documents urge E.U. nations to impose prison sentences of up to three years for individuals convicted of denying genocide, such as the mass killing of Jews during World War II or the massacres in Rwanda in 1994.The rules would require countries to prosecute offenders in connection with killings that have been recognized as genocides by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. But some political figures said the regulations could undermine freedom of speech, expression and the press. 'Attempts to harmonize E.U. laws on hate crimes are both illiberal and nonsensical,' Graham Watson, a British member of the European Parliament, said in a statement. 'The proposed list risks opening the floodgates on a plethora of historical controversies -- like the crimes of the Stalinist regime or the alleged Armenian genocide -- whose inclusion could pose a grave threat to freedom of speech,' Watson said. 'The E.U. has no business legislating on history.' E.U. officials said the new regulations include protections for films, theater, art and historical research. [...]"


"Defying a Clan Code of Silence on Unspeakable Crimes"
By Isabel Kershner
The New York Times, 20 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"The Abu Ghanem women are buried just inside the main gate of the old Muslim cemetery, eight in the last seven years. Amama Abu Ghanem says her daughter Hamda had been beaten by her brother and complained to the police months before she was killed. Reem eloped with a lover to escape an arranged marriage. Her brothers, one a pediatrician, are on trial for murder. Sabrin rests under a bare concrete slab with her name roughly scratched on by hand. She is said to have been killed by a cousin whom she refused to marry. Shirihan, 15, the youngest of the dead women, is also said to have rejected a marriage. Her stepbrothers are suspected of having killed her. Others lie in crudely marked graves, covered with plain marble or a mound of earth marked with an oval of stones -- all a few minutes' drive from Israel's gleaming new international airport, here in this hardscrabble town of 64,000 Jews and Arabs. So-called honor killings among Muslims are a phenomenon across the Middle East, including in Israel, where Arabs, most of them Muslim, make up almost 20 percent of the population. The Israeli police and courts have caught and convicted some of the killers; unlike the laws in some Arab societies, Israel's do not make allowances for such acts. Yet among the Abu Ghanem clan here in Ramla -- where family honor can be tainted by a woman's desire to go study at a university or her use of a telephone -- the bloodletting has carried on. Some women's advocates have accused the police of a dismissive attitude toward Arabs, while a Jewish district police official speaks of the 'ambivalence' of Israel's Arab citizens, who do not always want to cooperate with investigations 'for nationalist or local reasons.' So far, the Abu Ghanem cases have ended without convictions, the police say, mainly because relatives maintained a conspiracy of silence and washed all the evidence away. [...]"

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

NOW AVAILABLE: Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction, by Adam Jones (Routledge, 2006; 430 pp., US $33.95 pbk). See www.genocidetext.net. "The best introductory text available to students of genocide studies ... likely to become the gold standard by which all subsequent introductions to this enormously important subject will be measured" (Kenneth J. Campbell).

Genocide Studies Media File
April 2-11, 2007

A compendium of news stories, features, and human rights reports pertaining to genocide and crimes against humanity. Compiled by Adam Jones. Please send links and feedback to adamj_jones@hotmail.com.

Consider inviting colleagues and friends to subscribe to Genocide_Studies and the G_S Media File. All it takes is an email to genocide_studies-subscribe@topica.com.


"Burmese Army Using Rape to Terrorise Villagers, Says Report"
By Randeep Ramesh
The Guardian, 2 April 2007
"Rape is being used as a 'weapon' to terrorise villagers in Burma leading to a refugee influx in neighbouring India, a new report claims. More than 100,000 people -- more than 15% of the population -- have fled Burma's Chin state, a lush thin strip of land the size of Belgium, into north-eastern India in recent years. Campaigners say that a push by the Burmese military rulers to crush a 20-year-old 'Chin' insurgency combined with a recent state-policy to 'Burmanise' the local population has seen soldiers run amok in the state. 'Women are the most vulnerable group and the soldiers rape them to terrorise the local populace. The state encourages this because it wants to abolish other ethnic identities and thinks forced mixing is one way of achieving this,' said Cheery Zahau, author of the report Unsafe State, which chronicles dozens of rape cases. The Chins are an ethnically distinct people who are mostly Christian. Burma -- now officially named Myanmar by the junta -- is a predominately Buddhist country. 'The army used to have just two battalions in Chin state. Now they have eight and another five in surrounding areas. [The soldiers] perpetuate systematic sexual violence.' Ms. Zahau says girls as young as 12 are being raped in their homes and then often conscripted to work as porters in the army. There has not been any prosecution of Burmese soldiers although in rare cases some perpetrators have paid small sums, amounting to a few pounds, to victims' families. [...]"


"Pran Still Just Wants to Know: Why?"
By Tristan J. Schweiger
"Dith Pran doesn't believe in execution for members of the Khmer Rouge. For one thing, Pran said he long ago learned to let go of his anger -- after all, he said, he was the only one it was hurting, and it wouldn't bring back his parents or siblings. But he said he's also much more interested in asking questions than seeking vengeance. He wants to know why, for instance, the radical communist regime thought it was right to kill 2 million of his fellow Cambodians. He wants to know why they thought it was necessary to empty the country's cities, forcing millions out into the rice fields to work 14-hour days on starvation rations. 'I want them to tell the world why (they believed) what they believed, so we make it different in the future,' Pran told an audience at Georgian Court University Tuesday night. Pran, now 64, is perhaps the best-known survivor of the Khmer Rouge genocide, which began in 1975 after the movement led by Pol Pot seized control of the country. He had worked as a war correspondent alongside New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg, and both were arrested by the regime when it seized power. Schanberg was ultimately released, and he received a Pulitzer Prize, which he accepted on behalf of Pran and himself. But Pran disappeared into rice fields as the Khmer Rouge proclaimed 'Year Zero' and sought to completely remake Cambodian society. The educated and professionals such as doctors and teachers were among the most prominent targets of the regime. 'They abolished almost everything,' Pran said. 'Some of you say, "Do you still have hospitals?" No. No schools. (The Khmer Rouge) say, "Maybe in the future. First we have to work to get more rice."' The Khmer Rouge regime ended after neighboring Vietnam invaded in the late 1970s. Pran escaped from Cambodia in October 1979, after enduring four years of starvation and torture. The Academy Award-winning film 'The Killing Fields,' released in 1984, depicts his life. [...]"


"Teachers Drop the Holocaust to Avoid Offending Muslims"
By Laura Clark
Daily Mail, 2 April 2007
"Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, a Governmentbacked study has revealed. It found some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial. There is also resistance to tackling the 11th century Crusades -- where Christians fought Muslim armies for control of Jerusalem -- because lessons often contradict what is taught in local mosques. The findings have prompted claims that some schools are using history 'as a vehicle for promoting political correctness.' The study, funded by the Department for Education and Skills, looked into 'emotive and controversial' history teaching in primary and secondary schools. It found some teachers are dropping courses covering the Holocaust at the earliest opportunity over fears Muslim pupils might express anti-Semitic and anti-Israel reactions in class. The researchers gave the example of a secondary school in an unnamed northern city, which dropped the Holocaust as a subject for GCSE coursework. The report said teachers feared confronting 'anti-Semitic sentiment and Holocaust denial among some Muslim pupils.' It added: 'In another department, the Holocaust was taught despite anti-Semitic sentiment among some pupils. But the same department deliberately avoided teaching the Crusades at Key Stage 3 (11- to 14-year-olds) because their balanced treatment of the topic would have challenged what was taught in some local mosques.' [...]"


"Russia and Poland in Bitter Row over Nationality of Auschwitz's Victims"
By Ian Traynor
The Guardian, 10 April 2007
"The Nazi death camp of Auschwitz is at the centre of a bitter dispute between Russia and Poland, with Moscow accused of seeking to inflate the figures for Soviet wartime victims and Warsaw charged with trying to rewrite the history of the second world war. The authorities -- in charge of the camp where around 1.5 million people, overwhelmingly Jewish, were murdered on an industrial scale -- are blocking the re-opening of the permanent Russian exhibition at the site because it classifies innumerable Polish, Jewish and other Auschwitz victims as 'Soviet citizens.' The row between Russia and Poland over the second world war is also poisoning relations between Moscow and other parts of central Europe previously under Soviet control. Senior Russian politicians are calling for a boycott of Estonia because of plans to remove a memorial to the Red Army troops who routed the Germans in 1945, while a petition movement in Hungary is gaining ground also demanding the demolition of the Soviet war memorial in Budapest. The dispute between Moscow and its former satellite states who are all now members of Nato and the European Union highlight how history is being hijacked to serve current political ends. 'The Russians still think they are a superpower. It's an ego thing,' said Ferenc Hammer, a Hungarian political scientist. 'But in Hungary there is no consensus either on whether 1945 was a liberation or the beginning of a Soviet occupation.' Russia's Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper last week accused the Poles of using Auschwitz 'to blackmail Russia' and to capitalise on the 'tragedy of millions.' Polish experts said the Russians had been given three years to resolve the dispute, but had failed to come up with a version of the history of Auschwitz which would satisfy an international panel of historians and former inmates of the camp near Krakow in what was Nazi-occupied Poland. [...]"


"'Hotel Rwanda' Hero in Bitter Controversy"
By Arthur Asiimwe
Reuters dispatch, 4 April 2007
"To much of the outside world, Paul Rusesabagina is a hero who saved 1,200 people from genocide in events depicted in the Oscar-nominated film 'Hotel Rwanda.' But as the genocide's 13th anniversary approaches in his native Rwanda, a bitter row has erupted between Rusesabagina and critics, including President Paul Kagame, who say he is profiting from the victims' misery and rewriting Rwanda's history for his own gain. Some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were butchered in 100 days in the central African nation from April 6, 1994. Soldiers of the then Hutu-led government and ethnic militia allies orchestrated the genocide in which victims were hacked to death with machetes, burned alive or shot. The 2004 movie depicting Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who used his connections with the Hutu elite to protect Tutsis fleeing militiamen, echoed Steven Spielberg's 'Schindler's List,' the story of a businessman saving 1,100 Jews from the Nazis. Rusesabagina received the United States' highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for heroism during Rwanda's dark days. But back home, he has sparked outrage with warnings of another genocide, this time by Tutsis against Hutus, and for claims that war crimes by Tutsis during the 1994 conflict were being overlooked by biased traditional courts. [...]"


"4 Serb Paramilitary Fighters Sentenced in Srebrenica Area Murders"
By Tracy Wilkinson
The Los Angeles Times, 11 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"Serbs condemned Serbs in a Belgrade courtroom Tuesday, sending to prison four men from a paramilitary unit known as the Scorpions who were videotaped executing unarmed Bosnian Muslim youths as part of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. It was the first time a Serbian court confronted the events in Srebrenica, where nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered in Europe's deadliest atrocity since World War II. Serbia's war crimes court sentenced the four paramilitary fighters to prison terms ranging from five to 20 years for the murder of six Bosnian males, one just 16, in July 1995. In the videotape, which surfaced two years ago, the uniformed men can be seen smoking cigarettes and taunting the Bosnians, some bound and barefoot, as the fighters loaded captives into a truck, then later lined them up in a ditch and shot them in the back. The court's action was a significant step in Serbia's flawed and tortuous attempts to come to terms with its long-denied role in the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a conflict that raged in the first half of the 1990s and helped tear apart the former Yugoslav federation. But the judicial proceeding also fell egregiously short, several human rights activists said, because it did not hold Serbian military and political leaders accountable for the systematic killings, rapes and expulsions that emptied Srebrenica of its population in the final months of the war. ... The trial 'showed, yes, there were crimes, but by individuals and not institutions,' complained Sonja Biserko, head of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia. In the court case, "these crimes were not linked to Belgrade, to the army here ... to the state institutions who were involved in the planning,' she said in a telephone interview from the Serbian capital. 'The verdict fits into the strategy of Belgrade ... to deflect blame.' Establishing Belgrade's responsibility for war crimes in Bosnia has long been a point of heated friction. [...]"

"Genocide Court Ruled for Serbia Without Seeing Full War Archive"
By Marlise Simons
The New York Times, 9 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"In the spring of 2003, during the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, hundreds of documents arrived at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague marked 'Defense. State Secret. Strictly Confidential.' The cache contained minutes of wartime meetings of Yugoslavia's political and military leaders, and promised the best inside view of Serbia's role in the Bosnian war of 1992-1995. But there was a catch. Serbia, the heir to Yugoslavia, obtained the tribunal's permission to keep parts of the archives out of the public eye. Citing national security, its lawyers blacked out many sensitive -- those who have seen them say incriminating -- pages. Judges and lawyers at the war crimes tribunal could see the censored material, but it was barred from the tribunal's public records. Now, lawyers and others who were involved in Serbia's bid for secrecy say that, at the time, Belgrade made its true objective clear: to keep the full military archives from the International Court of Justice, where Bosnia was suing Serbia for genocide. And they say Belgrade’s goal was achieved in February, when the international court, which is also in The Hague, declared Serbia not guilty of genocide, and absolved it from paying potentially enormous damages. Lawyers interviewed in The Hague and Belgrade said that the outcome might well have been different had the International Court of Justice pressed for access to the full archives, and legal scholars and human rights groups said it was deeply troubling that the judges did not subpoena the documents directly from Serbia. ... Lawyers who have seen the archives and further secret personnel files say they address Serbia's control and direction even more directly, revealing in new and vivid detail how Belgrade financed and supplied the war in Bosnia, and how the Bosnian Serb army, though officially separate after 1992, remained virtually an extension of the Yugoslav Army. They said the archives showed in verbatim records and summaries of meetings that Serbian forces, including secret police, played a role in the takeover of Srebrenica and in the preparation of the massacre there. [...]"

"War Crimes Tribunal Sentences Serb"
Reuters dispatch in The Los Angeles Times, 5 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"The U.N. war crimes tribunal on Wednesday sentenced former Bosnian Serb police officer Dragan Zelenovic to 15 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to the rape and torture of Muslims during Bosnia-Herzegovina's 1992-95 war. Zelenovic, a 46-year-old former paramilitary leader, was indicted in 1996 in connection with atrocities committed against non-Serbs in his native Foca region, southeast of Sarajevo, including a gang rape of a 15-year-old girl. After Serb forces took control of Foca, whose population at the time was 52% Muslim and 45% Serb, they unlawfully detained thousands of Muslims and Croats. The United Nations court found Zelenovic guilty of personally committing nine rapes of women or girls in Serb detention, eight of which qualified as both torture and rape, and four of which were gang rapes. 'The victims at the detention centers in Foca suffered the unspeakable pain, indignity and humiliation of being repeatedly violated, without knowing whether they would survive the ordeal,' Judge Alphons Orie said. Last year, Zelenovic pleaded not guilty to 14 counts of rape and torture, but his defense team later reached a plea agreement with prosecutors under which he admitted committing some of the crimes. Zelenovic arrived in the Netherlands to face trial in June 2006. He was arrested 10 months earlier in western Siberia, where Russian media said he had been working on construction sites under an assumed name."


"Kosovo War-Crimes Trial Splits West and Prosecutors"
By Nicholas Wood
The New York Times, 8 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"Ramush Haradinaj, a stocky ethnic Albanian former guerrilla commander and, briefly, Kosovo's prime minister, is either one of the most impressive leaders to emerge in the Balkans in recent years or a vicious war criminal. Or perhaps both. Mr. Haradinaj and two other men began to stand trial at the United Nations tribunal in The Hague in March, charged with killing 40 people in 1998, during the conflict between the Kosovo Liberation Army guerrilla group and Serbian-dominated security forces. But the prosecution's leading witness, Tahir Zemaj, and his son and nephew were shot dead during the investigation. Another witness, Kjutim Berisha, died two weeks before the trial when he was hit by a car in Podgorica, the Montenegrin capital. More than a third of those giving evidence for the prosecution are allowed to conceal their identities, more than in any other case at the tribunal, according to the prosecution. The case has created a stark divide between prosecutors at the tribunal and in Kosovo and diplomats from the United Nations and Western governments. Mr. Haradinaj was a crucial partner in Western efforts to bring peace to the province, so much so that they tried to prevent the case from going to trial, according to a former head of the United Nations mission in Kosovo and the court's chief prosecutor. Once he was indicted, the mission supported his provisional release, which has lasted almost two years; he is the only indicted person that the court, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, has released in order to return to active politics. ... Prosecutors in Kosovo and The Hague say the United Nations and Western governments bent over backward to prevent his prosecution. The tribunal's top prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, has referred to the trial in The Hague as 'a prosecution that some did not want to see brought, and that few supported by their cooperation at both the international and local level.' [...]"


"Somali Battles Bring Charges of War Crimes"
By Jeffrey Gettleman
The New York Times, 6 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"European diplomats said Thursday that they were investigating whether Ethiopian and Somali government forces committed war crimes last week during heavy fighting in Somalia's capital that killed more than 300 civilians. The fighting, some of the bloodiest in Somalia in the past 15 years, pitted Ethiopian and Somali forces against bands of insurgents. It reduced blocks of buildings in Mogadishu, the capital, to smoldering rubble. Many residents have complained to human rights groups, saying the government used excessive force and indiscriminately shelled their neighborhoods. Eric van der Linden, the chief of the European Commission's delegation to Kenya, said he had appointed a team to look into several war crime allegations stemming from the civilian casualties. ... In an e-mail message to Mr. van der Linden marked urgent, a security adviser to the commission wrote that there were 'strong grounds' to believe that Ethiopian and Somali troops had intentionally attacked civilian areas and that Ugandan peacekeepers, who arrived in the country last month, were complicit for standing by. ... A Western official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of diplomatic considerations predicted that even if there was compelling evidence of war crimes, the case would probably never get to court. Another Western official, speaking anonymously for similar reasons, said, 'At the end of the day, no one is going to want to further undermine the transitional government.' ... In the past week, human rights groups have been urging someone to look into the issue of civilian casualties. The Somali Diaspora Network, an American-based advocacy group, accused the transitional government and Ethiopian forces of 'collective punishment' and genocide. The Somali Disapora Network said Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, the transitional president, warned in a recent radio interview that 'any place from which a bullet is fired, we will bombard it, regardless of whoever is there.' [...]"


"Judge Who Hounded Pinochet Inspires Show on Broadway"
By Graham Keeley
The Independent, 3 April 2007
"The Spanish judge who sprang to fame when he tried to extradite the late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet from Britain has become the inspiration for a new Broadway play. Baltasar Garzón's campaigning work for human rights from the benches of Madrid's top court has pitted him against an exotic array of characters from Pinochet to George Bush and Osama bin Laden. Now this crusading work has inspired a new version of a classic Spanish play. La Vida es Sueño, or Life is a Dream, by one of Spain's greatest playwrights, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, has been adapted by two Spaniards for the New York stage. Francisco Reyes and Puy Navarro, an actor and a producer, got their inspiration by attending some of the lectures given by Judge Garzón last year when he took a year off from hunting down human rights abusers to lecture on human rights law at Hudson University, near New York. Judge Garzón became the muse for a modern-day version of this 17th-century classic, whose theme is the battle between free will and fate. The play ran for three nights to full houses, in a performance which has been backed by Amnesty International. In the original play, written by one of the masters of Spain's Golden Age theatre, the king of Poland imprisons his son and lies about his existence, only later revealing he is still alive and letting him free. But once he is allowed freedom, Prince Segismundo abuses his power. The new version depicts a thinly-veiled version of Judge Garzón, who is portrayed as an inspiring hero. The play deals with the experience of the immigrant and, with half an eye on the American audience, the struggle to attain the American dream. The play also depicts prisoners held against their will and makes hints at Judge Garzón's criticism of the American President over the treatment of suspects at Guantanamo Bay. [...]"


"Hundreds Killed in Attacks in Eastern Chad"
Associated Press dispatch in The Washington Post, 11 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"Sudanese Janjaweed militiamen killed as many as 400 people in the volatile eastern border region near Sudan, leaving an "apocalyptic" scene of mass graves and destruction, the U.N. refugee agency said Tuesday. The attacks took place March 31 in the border villages of Tiero and Marena, about 550 miles from Chad's capital, N'Djamena. Chadian officials initially said that 65 people had died but that the toll was certain to rise. 'Estimates of the number of dead have increased substantially and now range between 200 and 400,' the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said. 'Because most of the dead were buried where their bodies were found -- often in common graves owing to their numbers -- we may never know their exact number.' The attackers encircled the villages and opened fire, pursued fleeing villagers, robbed women and shot the men, UNHCR said. Many who survived the initial attack died later from exhaustion and dehydration, often while fleeing. Sudan and Chad repeatedly have traded accusations of backing rebels in each other's countries, and both have denied the allegations. Both countries also have signed peace deals promising to stop the border fighting. U.N. officials have warned of the possibility of increasing violence in the region where Chad, Sudan and the Central African Republic meet. Fighting in Sudan's western Darfur region has left as many as 450,000 dead from violence and disease. [...]"
[n.b. Gendercide, apparently.]

"Google Earth Focuses on Sudan Atrocities"
By Desmond Butler
Associated Press dispatch on MSNBC.com, 10 April 2007
"Google is using its popular online mapping service to call attention to atrocities in the Darfur region of Sudan. In a project with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, inaugurated Tuesday, the Internet search company has updated its Google Earth service with high resolution satellite images of the region to document destroyed villages, displaced people and refugee camps. Google Earth allows those who have downloaded its free software to focus on satellite images and maps of most of the world. When users scan over the Darfur region, where the United Nations estimates that more than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced in four years of carnage, Google Inc. hopes to attract their gaze with icons. The icons represent destroyed villages with flames and refugee camps with tents. When users zoom in to a level of magnification that keeps most of Darfur on a computer screen, the icons seem to indicate that much of the region is on fire. Clicking on flame icons will open windows with the village's name and statistics on the extent of destruction. Google enhanced the resolution for certain areas of the region so that users can zoom in to see the burnt remnants of houses. Google says it will periodically update the images. The online maps of the region also include an icon that links to a presentation by the Holocaust museum on the crisis in the region with photos, video, historical background and testimony on atrocities. Sara Bloomfield, the museum's director, said museum staff members had approached Google about the project as they sought ways to highlight what they believe is genocide to many people who remain unaware. In Google Earth, which the company says has been downloaded by 200 million people worldwide, they found an ideal medium. [...]"

"Sudanese Soldiers Accused of Rape"
BBC Online, 6 April 2007
"Rape is being used as a weapon of war in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region, a United Nations report says. It details numerous cases of rape by government soldiers, including one in which girls as young as 13 and pregnant women were sexually assaulted. The UN's human rights chief called on Sudan's government to investigate and prosecute those responsible. A second UN report details the seizure and disappearance of men in Darfur suspected to be rebel supporters. At least 200,000 people have been killed and 2m displaced during the four year conflict between rebel groups and government-backed militia. The BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Geneva says the new reports released by UN Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour make grim reading. The UN office has a team of human rights monitors in Darfur who report regularly on the situation there. At least 15 women in and around the village of Deribat report being raped by soldiers during an attack last December. In their report the human rights monitors conclude that rape was used as a weapon of war, a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions. [...]"

"Chad: Sudanese Militia Raids Killed Our Civilians"
Reuters dispatch in The Mail & Guardian (South Africa), 3 April 2007
"Chadian civilians were killed and up to 8,000 driven from their homes when Sudanese Janjaweed militia attacked and destroyed two villages in eastern Chad on the weekend, Chad's government said on Tuesday. A government statement said Chadian forces killed 25 of the attackers after the raids on Saturday against the villages of Tiero and Morena in the Wadi-Fira region of the eastern border with Sudan. 'The attackers totally burned down these places and killed several of the civilian population. Between 6,000 and 8,000 people are out in the open, without shelter and deprived of everything,' said the statement, signed by Communication Minister Hourmadji Moussa Doumgor. It added Chadian troops pushed back the raiders, whom it identified as Janjaweed militia allied with Sudan's government. The raids appeared to be the latest spill-over of violence from Sudan's conflict-torn Darfur region, where well over 200,000 people have been killed since 2003 in a war between rebels and Sudanese government forces and their militia allies. Chad President Idriss Itno Déby, who also faces an insurgency in the east, frequently accuses Sudan of sending the Janjaweed -- feared mounted raiders whose name in Arabic means 'devils on horseback' -- across the border to kill and plunder. Sudan's government routinely denies this but has refused to allow the deployment of a strong United Nations force in Darfur to bolster a badly over-stretched African Union peacekeeping contingent on the ground there. [...]"

"Five AU Soldiers Killed in Darfur: Spokesman"
By Michael Georgy
Reuters dispatch, 2 April 2007
"Unidentified gunmen killed five African Union peacekeepers in the Darfur region of western Sudan, the deadliest single attack against the force since late 2004, an AU spokesman said on Monday. The five were guarding a water point near the Sudanese border with Chad when they came under fire on Sunday, Noureddine Mezni said. Four soldiers were killed in the shooting and the fifth died of his wounds on Monday morning. 'We strongly condemn this cowardly attack against the very people who are working hard to achieve peace in Darfur,' Mezni told Reuters. 'It was totally unprovoked.' The new bloodshed came after the new United Nations humanitarian chief, John Holmes, said during a visit to the region last month that aid efforts in Darfur -- the largest in the world -- could collapse if the situation keeps deteriorating. Asked if the assailants' bodies were identified, Mezni said: 'An investigation is under way and there will be a statement with more details.' The killings bring to 15 the number of African Union personnel killed in Darfur since the troops were deployed in late 2004. A senior Nigerian officer working with the mission has been missing since he was kidnapped in December. [...]"


"Objections Lead U.N. to Delay Genocide Exhibit"
By Warren Hoge
The New York Times, 10 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"The United Nations dismantled an exhibit on the Rwandan genocide and postponed its scheduled opening by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday after the Turkish mission objected to references to the Armenian genocide in Turkey at the time of World War I. The panels of graphics, photos and statements had been installed in the visitors lobby on Thursday by the British-based Aegis Trust. The trust campaigns for the prevention of genocide and runs a center in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, memorializing the 500,000 victims of the massacres there 13 years ago. Hours after the show was assembled, however, a Turkish diplomat spotted offending words in a section entitled 'What is genocide?' and raised objections. The passage said that 'following World War I, during which one million Armenians were murdered in Turkey,' Raphael Lemkin, a Polish lawyer credited with coining the word genocide, 'urged the League of Nations to recognize crimes of barbarity as international crimes.' James Smith, the chief executive of Aegis, said he was told by the United Nations on Saturday night that the sentence would have to be eliminated or the exhibition would be struck. Armen Martirosyan, the Armenian ambassador, said he sought out Kiyotaka Akasaka, the United Nations under secretary general for public information, and thought he had reached an agreement to let the show go forward by omitting the words 'in Turkey.' But Mr. Akasaka said, 'That was his suggestion, and I agreed only to take it into account in finding the final wording.' Baki Ilkin, the ambassador of Turkey, said, 'We just expressed our discomfort over the text's making references to the Armenian issue and drawing parallels with the genocide in Rwanda.' [...]"

"'Screamers' Serj Tankian and Carla Garapedian Denounce Cancellation of UN Genocide Exhibition Mentioning Armenians"

Yahoo! Finance, 10 April 2007
"Following the UN Secretary General's request to remove a sentence referring to a million Armenians being murdered during the Ottoman Empire from the Aegis Trust exhibition 'Lessons from Rwanda,' and the exhibition's subsequent cancellation, Serj Tankian and Carla Garapedian have issued the following statement: 'We are very shocked by this decision by the Secretary General to remove mention of a historical event which is well-documented by thousands of official records of the United States and nations around the world, including Turkey's wartime allies, Germany, Austria and Hungary; by Ottoman court martial records; and by eyewitness accounts of missionaries, diplomats and survivors; as well as decades of historical scholarship. In the U.S., President Bush has called the events the "forced exile and annihilation of approximately 1.5 million Armenians." Elie Wiesel says denial is the last stage of genocide -- this act of censorship by the Secretary General is effectively an act of appeasement to the very forces in Turkey that led to the recent death of Hrant Dink and the prosecution of Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk. Other writers and artists in Turkey are facing prison sentences today under Article 301 for wanting to speak openly about this issue. What message does this send to them? The reason why genocides have continued in the last century -- from the Armenian genocide, to the Holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda, to the genocide going on now in Darfur -- is because the international community has not intervened to stop them. Sadly, the Secretary General's decision to stop any mention of the antecedents to the Rwanda genocide is a blow to those who want to stop genocide now.' [...]"


"Rights Groups Hail Arrests of 3 by U.S. in War Crimes"
By Larry Rohter
The New York Times, 5 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"Latin American human rights groups have reacted with satisfaction and muted surprise to the arrest in the United States of three Argentine and Peruvian former military officers accused of human rights abuses who had fled their home countries to avoid prosecution there. Of the three men detained over the weekend in Virginia, Maryland and Florida and charged with violating immigration laws, the most notorious is Ernesto Guillermo Barreiro of Argentina. During the so-called Dirty War of the late 1970s, he was the chief interrogator at La Perla, a clandestine prison in Córdoba, Argentina's second largest city, where more than 2,000 prisoners were tortured or killed. 'This is big news, and deserves to be celebrated both in Argentina and the United States,' said Gastón Chillier, director of the Center for Legal and Social Studies, a leading human rights group in Buenos Aires.' ... The arrests have put the Bush administration in the unaccustomed position of being praised by human rights groups and news organizations in Latin America. The former officers were detained by a unit of the Homeland Security Department, which is traditionally widely criticized in the region for the way it treats illegal immigrants from Latin America. 'This administration has a very poor record as regards international human rights law and the Geneva convention,' José Miguel Vivanco, the director of Human Rights Watch Americas, said in a telephone interview from Washington. 'However, there is nothing on the record that shows that this administration is interested in protecting individuals responsible for gross violations of human rights, unless they have some link with intelligence agencies.' Mr. Vivanco said he was referring to Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban exile and former C.I.A. asset who is wanted in Cuba and Venezuela on charges that he blew up a Cuban airliner in 1976, killing 73 people. The United States has also declined to extradite Emmanuel Constant, former leader of a right-wing Haitian paramilitary group who has been convicted in absentia there of organizing a 1994 massacre. [...]"

"U.S. Holds Suspects In War Crimes"
By Spencer S. Hsu and Nick Miroff
The Washington Post, 4 April 2007 [Registration Required]
"Ernesto Guillermo Barreiro seemed to fit in well with his neighbors in Virginia's placid horse country. The quiet, genteel man from Argentina opened an art and antiques store after moving into a farmhouse last year in The Plains. ... That unassuming life imploded Sunday morning, when U.S. immigration agents bundled the retired Argentine army major into a van to face criminal charges of visa fraud and eventual deportation to his native country, where he is accused of serving as the chief interrogator at a clandestine torture facility known as La Perla during Argentina's Dirty War in the 1970s and 1980s. Barreiro was among three former South American military officers suspected of war crimes whose arrests were announced yesterday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has renewed its efforts to crack down on alleged human rights violators living as fugitives in the United States. The others arrested include Telmo Ricardo Hurtado, a former Peruvian army major who led an attack that killed 69 villagers, many of whom were tortured and raped, in the Peruvian Highlands village of Accomarca on Aug. 14, 1985, during the military's war against the Shining Path guerrilla movement. Hurtado was arrested Friday in Miami. A fellow soldier now living in Gaithersburg, Juan Manuel Rivera-Rondon, was arrested in Baltimore and faces deportation to Peru, where U.S. officials said he and Hurtado will be turned over to local authorities to face charges for their alleged roles in the 1985 killings. [...]"


"House Tackles 'Femicide' in Latin America"
By William Fisher
Truthout.org, 9 April 2007
"While headlines in the mainstream media front-page such controversies as Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Syria and lawmakers' standoff with the White House on timelines for American withdrawal from Iraq, the more mundane -- but arguably no less important -- work of the Congress goes on. Much of it continues under the radar, receiving little or no attention in the press. Some of it is actually bipartisan! One example is an obscure measure known as H. Res. 100. What is House Resolution 100? It is an effort by a large bipartisan group of representatives to try to end a deadly phenomenon known as 'femicide' in Guatemala and elsewhere in Central and South America. Introduced by Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis (D-California) and 84 co-sponsors, and unanimously approved by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the resolution urges the US government to bring pressure on Guatemala to address the unsolved murders of more than 2,000 women and girls since 2001. Representative Solis says, 'Very few of these crimes have been investigated, and even fewer perpetrators have been brought to justice for their crimes. Families of victims deserve honest answers and investigations into the murders of their wives, mothers and daughters, instead of being ignored and intimidated. H.Res. 100 will raise awareness of the growing murder rate of women and girls in Guatemala, and increase the international pressure that is needed to stop the violence against women in that country.' It is not known whether President Bush raised the issue with Guatemalan leaders during his recent trip to Latin America. Efforts to raise awareness of femicide have been spearheaded by numerous immigration and human rights organizations. Chief among them is the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, University of California, Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, working in partnership with Guatemalan groups. ... Femicide is also a problem elsewhere in Latin America. Last year, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Guatemala sent a delegation of activists to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington to focus attention on the murders of innocent women. [...]"


"Guantanamo Conditions 'Worsening'"
BBC Online, 5 April 2007
"Conditions for detainees at the US military jail at Guantanamo Bay are deteriorating, with the majority held in solitary confinement, a report says. Amnesty International said the often harsh and inhumane conditions at the camp were 'pushing people to the edge.' It called for the facility to be closed and for plans for 'unfair' military commission trials to be abandoned. Many of the 385 inmates have been held for five years or more, unable to mount a legal challenge to their detention. 'While the United States has an obligation to protect its citizens ... that does not relieve the United States from its responsibilities to comply with human rights,' the report said. 'Statements by the Bush administration that these men are "enemy combatants," "terrorists" or "very bad people" do not justify the complete lack of due process rights,' the group said. Amnesty reiterated its call for detainees at the prison camp in Cuba -- many of whom are suspected Taleban and al-Qaeda fighters -- to be released or charged and sent to trial. The report, published on Thursday, said about 300 detainees are now being held at a new facility -- known as Camp 5, Camp 6 and Camp Echo -- comparable to 'super-max' high security units in the US. The group said the facility had 'created even harsher and apparently more permanent conditions of extreme isolation and sensory deprivation.' [...]"

"U.S. Agents Visit Ethiopian Secret Jails"
By Anthony Mitchell
Associated Press dispatch on Time.com, 3 April 2007
"CIA and FBI agents hunting for al-Qaeda militants in the Horn of Africa have been interrogating terrorism suspects from 19 countries held at secret prisons in Ethiopia, which is notorious for torture and abuse, according to an investigation by The Associated Press. Human rights groups, lawyers and several Western diplomats assert hundreds of prisoners, who include women and children, have been transferred secretly and illegally in recent months from Kenya and Somalia to Ethiopia, where they are kept without charge or access to lawyers and families. The detainees include at least one U.S. citizen and some are from Canada, Sweden and France, according to a list compiled by a Kenyan Muslim rights group and flight manifests obtained by AP. Some were swept up by Ethiopian troops that drove a radical Islamist government out of neighboring Somalia late last year. Others have been deported from Kenya, where many Somalis have fled the continuing violence in their homeland. Ethiopia, which denies holding secret prisoners, is a country with a long history of human rights abuses. In recent years, it has also been a key U.S. ally in the fight against al-Qaeda, which has been trying to sink roots among Muslims in the Horn of Africa. ... Some U.S. allies have expressed consternation at the transfers to the prisons. One Western diplomat in Nairobi, who agreed to speak to AP only if not quoted to avoid angering U.S. officials, said he sees the United States as playing a guiding role in the operation. John Sifton, a Human Rights Watch expert on counter-terrorism, went further. He said in an e-mail that the United States has acted as 'ringleader' in what he labeled a 'decentralized, outsourced Guantanamo.' [...]"