Daily archives: June 3, 2006

Is Haditha just the tip of the mass grave

From The Independent

Robert Fisk: On the shocking truth about the American occupation of Iraq

Could Haditha be just the tip of the mass grave? The corpses we have glimpsed, the grainy footage of the cadavers and the dead children; could these be just a few of many? Does the handiwork of America’s army of the slums go further?

I remember clearly the first suspicions I had that murder most foul might be taking place in our name in Iraq. I was in the Baghdad mortuary, counting corpses, when one of the city’s senior medical officials – an old friend – told me of his fears. “Everyone brings bodies here,” he said. “But when the Americans bring bodies in, we are instructed that under no circumstances are we ever to do post-mortems. We were given to understand that this had already been done. Sometimes we’d get a piece of paper like this one with a body.” And here the man handed me an American military document showing the hand-drawn outline of a man’s body and the words “trauma wounds”.

What kind of trauma? Indeed, what kind of trauma is now being experienced in Iraq? Who is doing the mass killing? Who is dumping so many bodies on garbage heaps? After Haditha, we are going to reshape our suspicions.

See also Iraqi Condemns Probe Clearing U.S. Troops

Update 07.06.06: Sunni party makes new allegations against US forces in Iraq

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Linking hands across the steppes

From The Economist print edition

Turning a Turkic ideal into reality involves hard decisions

SOON after the Soviet empire collapsed, Turkey’s then president Suleyman Demirel had a dream. He spoke of a revived Turkic commonwealth which would stretch from the Adriatic to China. Underpinning this vision was at least one hard fact: five of the new states which emerged from the Soviet wreckage speak languages related to Turkish. But as Turkey has discovered, turning fantasies of post-Soviet brotherhood into reality can involve tough choices’economic, diplomatic or even moral.

This week, at least, one very substantial link with Turkey’s closest linguistic cousin’Azerbaijan’was finally established, after a decade of hard slog by world leaders and captains of the oil industry. On May 28th, the first drop of oil from fields in the Caspian Sea was pumped through a new pipeline running from Baku, via Georgia, to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. The moment was a rare victory for American policy in this part of the world. It clinches Turkey’s role as an energy conduit between east and west and thereby weakens Russia’s hitherto tight grip on exports of gas and oil from the former Soviet south.


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Activists Rally Around ‘Torture Awareness Month’

By Susan Jones in CNSNews.com

June is “Torture Awareness Month,” by declaration of various human rights, civil liberties and (anti-war) faith organizations.

The coalition’s Torture Awareness website says it is responding to “the growing evidence that the United States government is engaging systematically in the use of torture and inhuman treatment as part of the ‘war on terror.'”

Anti-war activists’ have long complained about the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay and the activities of some U.S. troops at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.

More recently, press reports about the alleged massacre of unarmed Iraqi civilians in Haditha appear to have further inflamed anti-war and anti-Bush sentiment in the United States.

“We believe that the use of torture and inhuman treatment must end immediately and everyone involved in committing these abuses or fostering the environment in which they occurred be held accountable,” the Torture Awareness website says.

The coalition said its “month of action and education” in June is intended to “raise awareness in your community about the US government’s use of torture and inhuman treatment.”

The campaign will culminate in Washington on June 26, when activists plan to lobby Members of Congress to pass legislation stopping the use of extraordinary rendition, which it describes as the “outsourcing” of torture.

Extraordinary rendition refers to the practice of detaining terrorism suspects in foreign countries and sending them to countries known to engage in torture.

The Bush administration has rejected criticism that it flouts the Geneva Convention or the laws of the United States. Two years ago, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld complained about the way some people were defining “torture.”

Group sponsoring Torture Awareness month include the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Center for Constitutional Rights, Center for Victims of Torture, Council on American Islamic Relations, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, No2Torture, The Presbyterian Initiative Against Torture, Physicians for Human Rights, and the Torture Abolition Support and Survivors Coalition.

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