Sunday, July 30, 2006

From Now On Defending Israel Is Banned Throughout the World!

"I've just seen my cousin's dead body being carried out... I'm heart-broken... I can't take it anymore". This is the way presumably another "terrorist" was born in Qana today. More Israeli and American flags were burnt throughout the world today. More messages of "apology" and condemnation were issued today. But the ugly face of the world stays unchanged. Olmert tried to justify his Qana massacre by stating that "hundreds of rockets were fired" from their. Condy was "deeply sad" and got a bloody nose by Lebanese doors. Emile Lahud told her carelessly that she was not welcome in Lebanon this time. Thus, a friend of the States is slowly joining the huge camp of American adversaries. Neither Rice's "deep sadness" nor Chirak's condemnation deterred Israel from carrying on its bloody massacre in Lebanon. Israeli authorities equipped with enormous shameless impudence blamed the Qana civilian deaths on Hassan Nasrullah, Hizbullah's leader and vowed to continue their "military operation".

Israel remains grateful to the US. Haaretz says, "Rice is the figure leading the strategy of changing the situation in Lebanon, not Prime Minister Ehud Olmert or Defence Minister Amir Peretz. She has so far managed to withstand international pressure in favor of a cease-fire..." The international pressure they are talking about doesn't exist for Israel until America's order on cease-fire is not issued. Perhaps by "international pressure" Haaretz means Israel's astonishing obvious opposition with internationally recognized human principles; thus, Israel admits its increasingly inhumane nature.

19 days of Israeli horror in the Middle East has given some "fruits". First of all, Hizbullah has never been as popular as it is now. You can feel it in CNN & BBC's Talking Point programs. Secondly, anti-israelism (not anti-semitism, since Arabs are Semite too) is growing faster than ever before. Thirdly, America is losing its allies. Lebanon used to be pro-American at least due to a sort of American support for Beirut against Syria. But now all current allies of America are aware of the disproportionate strength of its vested interests. Another "fruit" cited by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan: "Turkey said on 19 July that Israel's action in Lebanon to stop Hezbollah attacks meant it should be allowed to take similar steps against Kurdish guerrilas operating from northern Iraq against its forces" Can you see now how mad the world has gone? How can Bush and Blair keep their faces if tomorrow they'd have to ask Putin to stop its savage massacre in Chechnya?

I'm against all sorts of ban, but we live in a different world. If denying Holocaust is banned in the "civilized" world, defending a rising Nazi regime in the Middle East should be prohibitted too. Just in order to live up to the standards of our "civilized" logic.

By no means I support Hizbollah's actions unconditionally. I support its resistance and its struggle to get back a little Lebanese strip occupied by Israel. They are fighting for their Motherland and that's the duty of any honest person in the world. However, I'm against them if they target Israeli civilians deliberately. As simple as that. Now let's compare Hezbollah with Israel and see who's more successful in the field of terrorism. During last 19 days of madness in the Middle East Hizbollah has succeeded to kill over 50 Israelis, 18 of them civilians killed under missile attacks. While Lebanese casualties reach almost 700 and most of them are civilian and minors. Just in Qana 54 killed, 37 of them are children. Their heart-breaking pictures are still running on TV screens. That's the simplest way to prove that Israel is an uncivilized terrorist government based on racial and religious principles. Any country based on those principles is savage and outcast, illogical and sick. Another example of that sort of states is Pakistan - the tumour in the South East Asia.

History Repeats After 10 Years in Qana

The Qana shelling took place on April 18, 1996 in Qana, a village located southeast of Tyre, Lebanon. Amid heavy fighting between the Israeli Defense Forces and Hezbollah during "Operation Grapes of Wrath", a Fijian UNIFIL compound in the village was shelled by Israeli artillery. Around 800 Lebanese civilians had taken refuge there to escape the fighting, of whom 106 were killed and around 116 others injured. Four UNIFIL soldiers were also seriously injured. [1][2] The event has sometimes been referred to as the Qana massacre, for example by Human Rights Watch[3] and the BBC.[4]

Monday, July 24, 2006

Interview with the Hero of Uzbekistan. Part 1

Finally I found Craig Murray and he kindly gave me a very lengthy but amazing interview. The following is just the first part of it:

D: As far as I know, the book was supposed to be in bookstores on 1 June, but it was released a bit later. Do you know why?

CM: Yes. Unfortunately, the British Government kept issuing legal threats against the publisher and demanding the book not be published. That resulted in a very lengthy and expensive process of legal consultations before it could actually be released.

D: I see. And could they explain why it shouldn’t be published?

CM: The British Government claims the right to approve memoirs by former government employees and says, without that government approval they are not allowed to publish them. And in my case they refused to give approval. In fact, we believe they don’t actually have any legal authority to back the government’s claim. Because this is a country where at least until recently we were supposed to have freedom of speech. So. We’ve gone ahead and we are waiting to see if the government attempts to take legal actions against the…

D: Actually in many parts of your book you note that the British Government has censored a fact. Why and how were they censored, and by whom?

CM: During the process of attempting to get clearance from the British Government to publish the book, the government asked me to make certain changes to the book. I made those changes on the understanding that if I made the changes they would give me a clearance to publish. However, even after I made the changes, they still wouldn’t give a clearance to publish. I have, therefore, taken the step of putting the information that was censored onto the web. Initially, on my web site, but now on many other web sites. There are links given in the book by which you can get the information that was censored out of the book.

D: Now, let’s talk about your mission in Uzbekistan. Before putting your step on the Uzbek soil, did you really know where you were going to and what sort of challenges you’d face?

CM: I didn’t really know a great deal. I only had six months between leaving my job in Ghana and arriving in Uzbekistan. In that time I had to learn Russian. I started then not knowing any Russian at all. You’ll understand to get the not speaking Russian at all to be able to work in the language in six months was quite a task. So, I was concentrating enormously on language training. I had also a week of briefing on Uzbekistan in which I was told essentially that it hadn’t changed much since Soviet times. And I was told about Uzbekistan’s potentials in oil and gas reserves and about possible routes for gas pipelines in Central Asia. And also, of course, about Uzbekistan’s position as a United States’ ally and part of the coalition in the so called War on Terror… but it didn’t actually prepare me at all for the real conditions in the country.

D: Afterwards you faced lots of human rights issues in Uzbekistan, but hadn’t you encountered similar problems in your previous designations in Nigeria, Poland or Ghana?

CM: Ghana is a very free country. It’s a democracy with a good human rights record. Nigeria had a certain amount of problems, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as Uzbekistan. But, you know, Uzbekistan is possibly… Well, in fact, Uzbekistan is certainly one of the five worst regimes in the world. One of the five most totalitarian regimes in the world. So, the chances of encountering anything like it anywhere else are quite unlikely.

D: In a private talk with a former British Ambassador whose name is mentioned actually in your book, he had criticized your way of approach towards human rights issues in Uzbekistan. Indicating difficult diplomacy during the Cold War he had said: “For instance, in Stalin’s Soviet Union British Ambassadors knew that millions of people were vanishing under his oppression, but they didn’t want to risk British-Soviet relationship by raising their concerns and questions publicly. But you didn’t do that in Uzbekistan. Do you think it was a mistake?

CM: I think it was a big mistake not to raise human rights concerns in the Stalin’s Soviet Union. Those were different times. Foreign Office doesn’t move with the time. A lot of old British Ambassadors are very old-fashioned crusty people. The truth is that maybe in 1930s people didn’t care too much about human rights. This is the year 2006, and fortunately, we do care now about human rights.

D: The book is called “Murder in Samarkand” referring to the tragic death of a grandson of Professor Jalal Mirsaidov, who’s a Tajik dissident in Samarkand. His grandson’s dead body was found on the day after you met a group of Tajik dissidents in Samarkand. Did you finally find it out if the 18-year-old guy lost his life because of your visit or was the official version of the incident true? They had said he died of an overdose.

CM: Well, the official version of event definitely wasn’t true, because the guy’s arms and legs had been broken, one hand had been badly burnt and he’d been killed by a blow to the back of the head which smashed his skull. So, plainly the official version that he died of an overdose was a simple lie. I believe in my investigations that he was killed. Although the body was found early the next morning, he was actually killed the same evening that I was meeting with the dissidents. I believe that he was killed because of that. I was told by the Russian Ambassador that he had obtained information from his contacts with the Uzbek security services that that was the case and he had been killed as a warning to dissidents not to meet with foreign embassies. And this was the time when the Uzbek government and the-then-Hakim (Ruslan) Mirzayev were cracking down especially hard on the Tajik community of Samarkand in an attempt to enforce further a kind of Uzbekization of Samarkand.

D: While reading your book I felt that you sound quite sympathetic to ethnic Tajiks in Uzbekistan. Why is that?

CM: Well, I think, everyone in Uzbekistan suffers terribly from the regime. But ethnic Tajiks have particular problems, because they are suffering from an abuse of their minority rights, they are increasingly suffering from linguistic discrimination, closure of Tajik-speaking schools. And so a kind of Uzbek nationalist policy is being pursued by the government.

D: Had you given any particular advice to Tajik dissidents to fight for their rights in a more effective way? Since, as you claim in your book, pressure upon them is increasing and for example, from 80 Tajik schools in Samarkand just 12 have left.

CM: Yes, I think, they have to do everything they can to keep their culture alive. Plainly, at the moment it’s so hard for them to organize any open resistance, because we’ve seen at Andijan and elsewhere, what this Uzbek regime will do to anybody who openly tries to organize any resistance. For the moment, they have to try to keep their culture alive by continuing to speak their language at home, teaching their children, holding cultural events and those things. And then, waiting for better time… One of the things I found very sad is the fact that other communities from the same linguistic group don’t pay any attention. I think Iran should have a responsibility to pay some attention to the plight of Tajik-speaking people. But Iran pays no attention whatsoever. Tajikistan, of course, is a very small, a very weak state and not able to do much, but it would be helpful if Tajikistan would openly express concern at what's happening to the Tajik minority in Uzbekistan.

D: But did you give any particular advice to Tajik dissidents when you met them?

CM: No, I was there really for the purpose of documenting their difficulties and things with their individual cases, in which we could make representations or… But I didn’t expect that individual case to turn out to be the murder of my host’s grandson, of course.

D: As it’s mentioned in your book, Nadira speaks Persian too and she’s from Samarkand’s suburbs. Is she an ethnic Tajik as well?

CM: She’s part-Tajik part-Uzbek.

D: In your book you recall your only direct encounter with Gulnara, Karimov’s daughter. Seemingly, you were pleasantly impressed by her down-to-earth behavior and you notice: “There didn’t seem to be obvious darkness behind her laughing eyes” and you ask yourself: “Was she really behind the corrupt acquisition of all those businesses, the closing down of rival companies, the massive bribes from huge energy deals?” So, did you find an answer to that question finally?

CM: Yes, I think, there is overwhelming evidence that she’s very actively engaged in the acquisition of a huge amount of wealth in the Uzbek state through privatization, monopolies and acquisition of companies. And she’s involved in much shadier activities as well, including involvement in sending young women to the Gulf who end up as prostitutes. So, I think, it’s a paradox. When you meet Karimov, he seems like a dangerous, potentially violent, very strong man. You have no difficulty in believing he has done everything he’s done. Because he comes across as a powerful, potentially vicious person. His daughter doesn’t come across that way at all. She comes across as extremely nice when you meet her.
(to be continued)

Swift Switch or Lesson of Hypocrisy

Before 1979, when the Shah (of Iran) was in power, Washington strongly supported these (nuclear) programmes. Today the standard claim is that Iran has no need for nuclear power, and therefore must be pursuing a secret weapons programme. "For a major oil producer such as Iran, nuclear energy is a wasteful use of resources," Henry Kissinger wrote in the Washington Post last year.

Thirty years ago, however, when Kissinger was secretary of state for President Gerald Ford, he held that "introduction of nuclear power will both provide for the growing needs of Iran’s economy and free remaining oil reserves for export or conversion to petrochemicals". Last year Dafna Linzer of the Washington Post asked Kissinger about his reversal of opinion. Kissinger responded with his usual engaging frankness: "They were an allied country."

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Blair Asks For Directives & I Give Them

Now, Mr Blair, stoop down as you did a couple of days ago for Bush so that you could hear what I’m saying. As a marginalized Annan put it today, ‘as we are speaking now 60 000 people are displaced in the Middle East’ and dozens are dying from both sides and most of “collateral damage” belongs to the oppressed side, read Lebanon. Don’t worry, stoop down and I’m not going to use “s” words as Bush did to you and I’m not going to boss you around as he did in response to your pathetic plea: “Can I go to the region too?” He just waved you away by saying: “Yo! Tony, you keep your ass attached to London. Condy is going there!” To make it worse, it was suddenly broadcast for the entire world and everybody had a good opportunity to empty their lungs with a deepest laughter and refill them with fresh air. We knew how and when you fell in with him, but we had no clue about your Master & Slave role plays. Now we have, and now we know what part you prefer and act so vividly. Let me tell you dude: you have achieved your pink dream to become a historic Prime Minister, since no Premier has abased and defamed the Great Britain as obviously as you did. And you still carry on down the entire humiliation of your own nation. Are you waiting for my directives as well? Huh, it seems that's the way you like to be addressed. I got just one directive for you: get your bony ass away from here. Bye!

Today the world witnessed a very wide range of political forces and ordinary people in different countries coming out to protest against Bush’s policy in the Middle East. Al-Jazeera was the only channel which could give you a deep insight in the demonstrations around the world. I was astonished by a demonstration in Tel-Aviv; Jewish people were chanting slogans like “We love you Lebanon!” and “We don’t want invasion!” I could only praise them for the redemption of their spirits. But Condy’s frowns changed my mood rapidly. She was muttering something like: ‘Ceasefire is a false promise’. Have you ever seen such an impudent spinster before? You, the embodiment of cruelty! Perhaps your brain is too impotent to find necessary gears to make out what’s going on. But try to put your own barbarian self in their places. They can’t take it anymore, therefore they don’t see any other way out of their misery rather than suicide. Are Israeli tanks moving into S. Lebanon to kill hundreds and turn thousands more into suicide bombers? You’ll surely become a lame duck pretty soon, un-pretty lady, with your fatal brain failures…

Monday, July 17, 2006

Laughing With Murray

I knew he was a hero, but I didn't know that he was so perfect a writer! Especially when he depicts the Butcher of Samarkand discouraged and disillusioned by the EBRD criticism in Tashkent, can't help cease laughing:

"Karimov first went ashen faced. Then he ostentatiously removed his earphone and tossed it away. Then he placed his head in his hands, covering his ears before slowly moving his hands round to cover his eyes, then allowing his head to slump forward until it almost rested on the table. He remained in this extraordinary posture for ten minutes. At one stage Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan, put a consolatory arm around him".

Hahahaha... I wish he'd stay in that extraordinary posture for the rest of his life with the consolatory arm of Nazarbayev resting on his bloody shoulder.

Or another witty sally: At one point Clare Short (who I admire for her heroics too) gets tired of stupid sham statistics and rhetoric of the Uzbek Economy Minister and waves him away quite bluntly by saying "Thank you, Minister. That's all very interesting. But it's 2:30 in the morning, we're very tired, and we're going to bed." Then in the car she asks Craig:

"Is he always like that?"
"No, usually he's worse".
"Bloody hell! Was any of it true?"
"No, this year there has been a growth in fake economic statistics of 182.7 per cent."

And one of the most shocking facts of the book to me was the timing of Clare Short's resignation from the post of DFID minister. After all the horror she witnessed in Uzbekistan she returns to London and the next day she resigns from the government. Perhaps Uzbekistan was the last proof of her being associated with a bunch of miserable thugs and she didn't want to be among them.

And there are lots of facts concerning Tajiks and Tajikistan in the book too worthwhile to be translated.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Is It Just Me Or Is the World Going Slightly Mad?

At least 17 civilians die under Israeli missile attack in Southern Lebanon, Israel is expanding its strikes on Lebanon and has taken the war to neighbouring countries and merely less than a dozen of its bombarded targets in Lebanon were somehow related with Hizbullah. Lebanese villagers fleeing away from the area. Hizbullah keeps trying to hit areas inside Israel deeper than Tiberias. 80 Lebanese killed so far. None of the Israeli hostages have been freed yet. It’s actually a real war that has been unleashed mainly by Israel. But did you see the way he reacted to all these appalling news? G.W.B. was leaning over a St-Petersburg tribune beside his Russian adversary and claiming: Hizbullah captured 2 Israeli soldiers and caused a war. So now Hizbullah has to free them and lay down its guns and the war will be over. It sounds sick and sickening at the same time. It seems the world has gone mad and doesn’t recognize who’s who anymore; who’s the oppressor and who’s the oppressed, who’s the attacker and who’s the victim… We are talking about dozens of civilian innocent people dying for something that’s happened beyond their country’s borders and the mightiest beings of the world are sipping their coffees in St-Petersburg in a “friendly” chitter-chatter show. But something is approaching, because something has to happen…

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Murder in Samarkand (Persian)

by Craig Murray
برگردان داريوش

فصل نخست

کريس مات و مبهوت به نظر می رسيد.
"خيلی خوب، برويم".

ظاهرا اين واکنش معمولی يک سفير بريتانيا به خبر برگزاری جلسه محاکمه يک ناراضی نبود. ماشين لند روور دم در سفارتخانه متوقف شد و من بيرون آمدم. هنوز از اين که خدمه سفارت تا مرا می ديدند، صحبتشان را قطع می کردند، و با "سر" خطاب کردن من در را برايم باز و بسته می کردند، حس ناگواری داشتم.

ما در بيرون دادگاه پياده شديم. دروازه کوچک و حقيری از طريق ديوار گلی حقيرتر به سمت محوطه کثيفی باز می شد که چند ساختمان پست و پهن سفيدی را در بر داشت. به مانند بسياری ديگر از ساختمان های بازمانده از شوروی، اين بناها هم ناتمام و تقريبا غير قابل استفاده به نظر می رسيد. برای ورود به محوطه دادگاه ما جزئيات شناسنامه هايمان را به دو مامور پليس دم در داديم که پشت ميزی نشسته بودند. خيلی طول کشيد تا موفق شدند جزئيات ما را با يک مداد سرجويده، روی دفتر پهن کهنه شان پياده کنند. من داشتم در می يافتم که نهفتن واقعيت های زشت و سهمگين به پشت ظاهری صميمانه در ازبکستان يک امر معمولی بوده است.

حدود صد نفر در محوطه دادگاه منتظر آغاز اين يا آن جلسه محاکمه بودند. من به طيف وسيعی از آدمانی با ظاهر ژوليده معرفی شدم که از سازمان های مختلف مدافع حقوق بشر نمايندگی می کردند. عجيب بود که هفت يا هشت نفری که در آن ميان بودند، ظاهرا به گروههای واحدی تعلق داشتند، اما بسياری از آنها با همديگر حرف نمی زدند.

يک مرد قدکوتاه اما متشاخصی با موجی از موی سپيد و عينکی بزرگ به اندازه ای پر از خودش بود که با کسی صحبت نمی کرد. کريس که شديدا مشغول معرفی افراد بود، به او اشاره کرد و گفت: "ميخائيل آردزينف، وی می گويد که شما بايد برای آشنايی با او پيش دستی کنيد. من شگفت زده شدم، چون هر کدام از ما اگر می خواستيم در معرفی پيشدستی کنيم، بايد سراسر عرض و طول محوطه دادگاه را می پيمود. کريس اين موضوع را توضيح داد و گفت که آردزينف خيلی از خودش راضی است، چون گروه وی تنها گروهی است که ثبت نام شده و مشروع محسوب می شود. و همه گروههای ديگر نامشروع بوده اند. جالب اين جاست که عنوان گروه ثبت نام شده آردزينف، "سازمان مستقل دفاع از حقوق بشر ازبکستان" بوده است. آن زمان هيچ کدام از اين جزئيات برای من حاوی معنی خاصی نبود و من هم سابقه طولانی تکيه بر کرسی سفارت را نداشتم که از پيمودن فاصله ای دراز بين من و او پرهيز کنم. در نتيجه رفتم و دستش را فشردم. تلاش من با نگاه سرد و دراز طرف ارج گزاری شد.

(دنباله دارد)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Hero or An Embarrassment?

He is a man called "a hero" by Mohammad Salih, an Uzbek opposition leader, and "an embarrassment" - by Jack Straw. Straw was outraged by his un-diplomatic courage and wailed: "Craig Murray has been a deep embarrassment to the entire Foreign Office". While John Pilger gives an opposite assessment of Muray's bravery: "I thought that diplomats like Craig Murray were an extinct breed. A man of the highest principle". So, whom to believe? The one who deceived his own nation in order to get his teeth deep into Iraqi land (Jack Straw) or the one who predicted the Andijan tragedy and paid with his own blooming diplomatic career for the word of truth (Craig Murray)? I don't know about you, but I prefer the latter one. And no doubt, I would have acted exactly like him if I were Her Majesty's Ambassador in such an appalling land like Uzbekistan. And it will be better understood if you get his long-awaited book "Murder in Samarkand". The Government tried to obstruct its way to our hands and postponed its realease several times. Finally, they agreed to play another act of "democracy" and agreed with its release after trimming Murray's writing with their sharp and dispassionate pen of censorship. Nevertheless, there are still lots of facts they wanted to hide away from our sights that could be found in the book. Some of them are really funny and entertaining, like this one: before flying to Tashkent Murray visits Jack Straw to get his directives for his mission. The talk was short and empty. "As I was walking out, he called after me, 'Oh and, Craig, whenever you get to... wherever it is you're going... tell them I'm thinking about them.' That was the extent of my instructions". Who cared a damn in Uzbekistan if Jackie was thinking of them? They knew it would never change anything in their lives. But their eyes were directed to his Ambassador and he did what he could do for them: he revealed thrilling facts of Karimov regime's savage nature and most importantly, his own governments association in some of the creepiest crimes of the Butcher of Samarqand. I'm thinking about translating it into Persian. Pity, cannot translate it into Karimov's native language.