Daily archives: June 2, 2006

The Professor of Repression

From Harpers Magazine

S. Frederick Starr, Uzbekistan’s friend in Washington (May 24, 2006).

A year ago this month, security forces in Uzbekistan killed hundreds of protesters in the town of Andijan. Human rights groups and journalists reported that the crowd was overwhelmingly unarmed and had come out to protest corruption and poor economic conditions. ‘The scale of this killing was so extensive, and its nature was so indiscriminate and disproportionate, that it can best be described as a massacre,’ Human Rights Watch said in a study of the events at Andijan.

The regime of Islam Karimov sought to justify the carnage by saying that the demonstration was organized by Islamic militants seeking to overthrow the government (an argument the Uzbek government knows is music to the ears of the Bush Administration). Last week the Karimov regime sought to prove its case by staging the U.S. debut of a short video on the Andijan crackdown. The event was sponsored by the Hudson Institute and the Central Asia Caucasus Institute (CACI) at Johns Hopkins University, and co-hosted by CACI director Professor S. Frederick Starr. An account at EurasiaNet.org said that Starr ‘sought to undermine the credibility of several independent news accounts . . . alleging journalists deliberately falsified their stories. ‘I think they were lying . . . of course they had an anti-government agenda,” he said.

It was all in a day’s work for Starr, who is perhaps the Karimov regime’s most outspoken advocate in Washington’a regime that once tortured a political prisoner to death with methods that included the use of boiling water and then arrested his elderly mother when she complained. He also speaks fondly of several other despotic governments in central Asia, a region he views almost exclusively through the prism of American geopolitical interests and with little interest in issues like human rights and corruption.


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Another massacre of civillians by US troops

The dam appears to now have burst as, following on the heels of the Haditha massacre, stories of more US atrocities start to flood out from Iraq and the mainstream media becomes willing to give them air time. This one is from the town of Ishaqi in March of this year.

US probes new Iraq massacre claim

From BBC Online

New footage is included by the BBC in their video report

The US military has told the BBC it is investigating an incident in which 11 Iraqi civilians may have been deliberately killed by US troops. Video footage obtained by the BBC appears to challenge the US account of events in the town of Ishaqi in March.

The US said at the time that four people died during a raid, but Iraqi police said 11 were shot by US troops.

The video evidence comes in the wake of the alleged massacre by US marines of up to 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha. The troops are also suspected of covering up the deaths in November 2005. The Haditha incident and several others are being investigated by the Pentagon, according to US military sources.

The US army has also announced that coalition troops in Iraq are to have ethical training following the alleged incident in Haditha.

However, the BBC’s Ian Pannell in Baghdad says the move is likely to be greeted with cynicism by many Iraqis, as the troops have long been accused of deliberately targeting civilians.

‘Massacre’ video

The video pictures obtained by the BBC appear to contradict the US account of the events in Ishaqi, about 100km (60 miles) north of Baghdad, on 15 March 2006.

The US authorities said they were involved in a firefight after a tip-off that an al-Qaeda supporter was visiting the house.

According to the Americans, the building collapsed under heavy fire killing four people – a suspect, two women and a child. But a report filed by Iraqi police accused US troops of rounding up and deliberately shooting 11 people in the house, including five children and four women, before blowing up the building.

The video tape obtained by the BBC shows a number of dead adults and children at the site with what our world affairs editor John Simpson says were clearly gunshot wounds. The pictures came from a hardline Sunni group opposed to coalition forces.

It has been cross-checked with other images taken at the time of events and is believed to be genuine.

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Germany admits rendition gaffe

From Aljazeera.net

Germany’s foreign spy agency has admitted that one of its staff knew that a German had been arrested abroad and given to the US as a terrorist suspect, but did not report it.

The Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) said on Thursday that the employee was told in Macedonia in January 2004 that authorities there had arrested Khaled el-Masri, and handed him over to American authorities. The German government has previously said it learnt only in May 2004 about the case.

Masri says he was held by the United States for months in an Afghan jail before being released without charge and dumped in Albania. He is seeking compensation for alleged abduction and torture. His case provoked criticism of the secret transfer of terrorist suspects between countries used by the US known as “extraordinary rendition”.

The office of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said in a statement it “regretted” that the information had not previously come to light and would pass it on to prosecutors in Munich who are investigating Masri’s alleged abduction.

“We are clearly in a rather embarrassing situation now… It is highly regrettable but it can’t be changed”


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