Monthly Archives: October 2007

Is Tony Blair a candidate for a body bag?


On the day of the vote in the UK Parliament which was to endorse Tony Blair decision for the British military to take part in the USA led invasion of Iraq, I told my local MP who had telephoned me to explain why he was voting in favor of this illegal and obscene act, that Tony Blair was either the biggest charlatan to have ever held the office of British Prime Minister [PM] or the stupidest man ever to do so. Since that fateful day which brought untold misery on to the heads of the Iraqi people and not a little to the doors of the families of the dead and wounded UK service personnel. I have reconsidered my assessment of Mr Blair and concluded that far from being a either charlatan or fool, he is in human form an amalgam of these two sorry human traits.

That the MP in question claimed to believe Blair’s nonsense that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction that could strike at the UK or its interests within forty five minutes is for him and his conscience. I for one amongst millions of my fellow citizens new this to be a lie, not least because if Saddam had such a capability President Bush would not have considered going to war with him in the first place. For if Saddam could strike at the UK he could do the same to the USA and even the Thief in Chief in the White House would have been overruled by saner heads, or so I believed/hoped at the time.

One only had to look at the war’s the USA and it’s underling the UK have been involved in post WW2, to understand that they rarely if ever pick on someone of there own size. All the hype about Saddam and WMD’s were yet another example of the beating of the war mongers drum. The Nazi Herman Goering summed up this disgusting behavior on the part of reckless and opportunist politicians perfectly when he said,
“Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a fascist dictatorship, a parliamentary democracy, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.”

So what made me change my mind about Tony Blair being either charlatan or fool, It was when on leaving office he accepted the job of Middle East envoy with special responsibility for Palestine, working on behalf of the USA, Russia, the UN and the EU. Apparently the US President George W Bush had lobbied the EU nations and the UN hard to attain this post for Blair, but more of this later.

It is difficult to come up with a more unsuitable person for this post than Tony Blair, he is hated by the Arab street and treated with contempt by the regions politicos, including the Israelis who understandably prefer to deal with the organ grinder rather than his monkey. As many leading EU politicians have commented since Blair’s appointment, he did nothing to help the Palestinians when as UK PM he possessed real power, thus he is unlikely to achieve anything without such power.

Thus only a very stupid and vain man would have taken this post, someone who truly believes the hype his subordinates placed in the worlds media about his great abilities and charisma. One only has to view the latest TV pictures of Blair floating helplessly around the middle east looking like a grubby women’s underwear traveling salesman to understand the game of playing ‘World Statesman’ is up as far as Blair is concerned. Whereas former leaders like Bill Clinton Nelson Mandela and to a lesser extent that mad old bat Thatcher retained their charisma despite no longer holding office. Blair is stripped bare with out the trappings of Office and revealed in all his nakedness as the flim-flam-man he in reality is.

None of this would have been ignored when the Bush White House decided to lobby on behalf of Blair for the middle east envoy post, for they had used this straw man to front their 21st century military crusade to the middle east, although admittedly with out much success within Europe. He was however party to the Bush White Houses decision making process in the run in to the invasion of Iraq. Did the fact that he was an outsider and not one of the tight clique that micro manages the Bush administration begin to worry them when it first emerged that Blair would be leaving Office as UK PM. After all unlike the majority of the Bush administration’s inner circle, Blair had never run naked in the Californian woods along side Dick Cheney, or pissed on their fellows when they were enrolling in the Skull and Bones fraternity.*

Could Blair’s Palestinian job have been the ultimate poisoned chalice from his right wing pals in the USA, if so he has supped on it greedily, as fools and charlatan’s are apt to do; and when he returns from one of his futile trips to the region in the same type of body bag he sent so many young British squadies to Iraq and Afghanistan to fill, and on a wicked lie at that, few will complain as it will be the justice this man is due.

* An elite Yale University society.

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Filed under body bag, envoy, G W Bush, middle east, neo-conservatives, neo-imperialism, Palestine, Tony Blair, UK, USA, White

A Turkish Kurd speaks out against the use of Turkish military in northern Iraq.


Below is an interview with Kurdish intellectual and veteran political activist Mr Ümit Fırat, it was first published in the Turkish daily newspaper Zaman. As political tensions rise throughout Turkey and northern Iraq due to the possibility of a major incursion into this mainly Kurdish region by the Turkish military, I thought readers might be interested in what Ümit Firat has to say as he looks at the issue from the perspective of a Kurd who is a citizen of the Republic of Turkey. By publishing this interview, Organized Rage is neither endorsing the interviewee’s opinions nor opposing them, simply allowing this democratic space to be used to enhance an understanding about the Kurdish reality in Turkey.

Firat is an author and editorial board member for the Kurdish political magazine Serbestî, published in Turkish in İstanbul, he also writes for the Turkish daily newspapers Zaman and Radikal as well as the Bianet Internet news site. Originally from Bingöl, Turkey, he had a bookstore in Ankara between 1973 and 1979 and was sent to jail for four years by the repressive regime that emerged after the 1980 military coup. An İstanbul resident since 1989, he has been active in the formation of many Kurdish organizations, including the Helsinki Citizens Association and Kurdish Intellectuals Initiative, which organized a sizable conference that was allowed by the Turkish authorities to have “Kurdish” in its name for the first time. [The Necessities of Recognizing the Kurdish Reality] That there was such controversy about the title of a conference show the lengths the State has gone to in the past to deny the Kurdish reality in Turkey. In the early 1990s, he worked actively in the New Democracy Movement (YDH). He was also active in 2004 promoting a signature campaign in Turkey for the text “What Do the Kurds Want in Turkey?” published by the International Herald Tribune, Le Monde and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspapers.

MH

Question/ What would happen if Turkey entered Iraq?

Ümit Fırat replies/ Turkey will have to deal with two actors if it enters Iraq: the autonomous Kurdish administration formed under the Iraqi constitution and the peshmerga units subordinate to this administration. The peshmergas are considered part of the Iraqi army; therefore conflict with them will automatically mean opening war with Iraq, and this inevitably carries with it the possibility of confrontation with the United States. This will all eventually lead to abandonment of Turkey’s six-decade-long international policy.

Q/ But isn’t the region home to the PKK?

ÜF/ The actual sphere of influence of the PKK is in Turkey, and if a solution were sought, measures should be implemented inside the country. Those who are settled on Kandil Mountain in northern Iraq got there through Turkey and return to the same territory. Turkey would not be able to resolve anything in Iraq through a military intervention.
The PKK would fulfill its goal of dragging Turkey into northern Iraq if Turkey launches a military operation. It will not be easy to present a cross-border operation as part of a comprehensive combat against terrorism. Above all, there is a general assumption that combat against terrorism is executed by special forces — not by regular army units. Besides, for such an operation against terrorism [to be successful], the consent of the country where the operation will be carried out is required.
Otherwise, Turkey will be considered an invader. And even though the military and the government seek to present a cross-border operation as a matter of internal security, this action is declaration of war under international law. In that case, it will not be possible for you to call your opponent a terrorist organization as they become the other party of the war. In a possible conflict, international organizations will refer to the terrorist organization as warring party. In that case, calls for cease-fires and calls for implementation of the provisions of the Geneva Conventions might come into consideration.

Q/ Don’t you think that an army operation would have a role in preventing further PKK attacks?

ÜF/ The only benefit of the operation would be proof of military superiority Turkey already has. Besides, it is obvious that no social problem can be resolved through military methods. Attempting to test whether this is the case once more would be too expensive and risky. I want to emphasize that a climate of killing and ending lives has emerged in the region, and attempts should be made to change that and ensure normalization.

Furthermore, a military incursion by Turkey into northern Iraq would possibly de-align the Kurds in the region from the PKK, whereas it would strengthen Barzani’s KDP [Kurdistan Democratic Party]. Turkey should be determined to resolve the Kurdish question if it really seeks to eliminate the PKK terrorism. A Turkey committed to resolving the Kurdish question will have the chance to overcome the obstacles in time.

Q/ What was the difference between the Beytüşşebap and Dağlıca incidents?

[On September the 29th of this year, 12 people, seven of whom were Kurdish village Guards in the pay of the Turkish government, were massacred in the Beytüşşebap district of the southeastern province of Şırnak, and then on October 21st at least 12 Turkish soldiers were killed near the village of Dağlıca in the Hakkari province of south-east Turkey. The Ankara Parliament shortly after passed a motion authorizing a cross-border military operation into northern Iraq to hit the PKK bases there if diplomatic efforts fail.]

ÜF/ There is no similarity between the two. In Beytüşşebap, the victims were working on the construction of a canal to transport water to their village. They were killed on their way home for iftar [fast-breaking meal during Ramadan]. I cannot help but remember a very similar massacre that was committed in Şırnak-Güçlükonak in 1996. In that massacre, 11 villagers, including some village guards, were forced to get off the minibus and were killed at the scene. The terrorists burned the bodies. Despite this, the identification cards were found in good condition. The authorities took journalists to the site, but they were not allowed to talk to the local people, who disagreed with the security forces on who had committed the murders. They thought that the massacre was committed by some State agencies.

Q/ Are you convinced that Beytüşşebap massacre was committed by some clandestine powers in the Turkish State?

ÜF/ We know through our experience that we have no reason to believe the official statements, considering past explanations that followed many similar incidents. It may come as no surprise to see the “good guys” who were behind the Semdinli incidents two months ago. Actually, the conclusion I want to draw here is not to single out who the perpetrators of the incident were — that’s not something I can tackle at any rate. But why aren’t these events being illuminated through official [Turkish] investigations? Why are the people who question these events warned or threatened? Why does Turkey insist on this policy?

Q/ Who do you think are the “good guys”?

ÜF/ The powers organized by the “good guys” might include former PKK informants and village guards who became stronger and then turned into gangs that threatened society. It’s possible to get an idea about this through documents submitted to the courts and the memoirs and interviews with retired military men. In the current environment of violence and conflict, nobody would question why this country has one of the largest armies in the world. While some make calculations to increase the influence of the army in politics considering the consequences of the prevalent environment of violence, others seek an opportunity to establish absolute authority by the PKK in the region through the same environment. An organization whose purpose of existence is war and armed conflict may preserve its political survival through the existence of an environment compatible with its goal.

Q/ And what would you say about the Dağlıca incident?

ÜF/ The military unit attacked in Oremar [Dağlıca] was there for a military operation; the PKK militants, acting based on the intelligence on the presence of the military unit at the site, carried out the assault. The Turkish troops would have done the same if they had similar intelligence. That is, if there is a conflict, it is inevitable for one of the parties to suffer substantial losses. For instance, a few days before the Beytüşşebap incident, nine PKK militants were killed in a conflict. I want to emphasize again that a climate of killing rules, and moves are needed to change that.

Q/ What should be done?

ÜF/ The post-Saddam developments following the US occupation in 2003 seriously damaged the “stability” policies of Turkey to preserve the status quo in the region. The new situation in Iraq was perceived by the status quo actors of Turkey as a threat. These actors never accepted the new state of affairs. Turkey should abandon its policy of rejecting an entity that emerged under Iraqi law and its constitution and instead recognize it under international legal instruments as something generated through the internal developments of Iraq. It should view the northern Iraqi autonomous Kurdish administration as a friend. This is the way to end the current tension — a friendly state would not support hostilities. Increasing the tension will not resolve the problem; quite the contrary, it will make it chronic. Effective measures should be taken immediately before further Beytüşşebap-like incidents are committed. Northern Iraq needs peace, and a strong and stable northwestern border.
But the discourse promoted by Barzani and Talabani does not imply peaceful actions from Turkey’s perspective.
In such delicate times, even ordinary actions may fall outside reason and rationale. Considering that the editor-in-chief of a major daily newspaper in Turkey provokes the nation to exhibit a strong reaction and that Barzani makes provocative statements, it’s only normal if the regular citizens of the country act in accordance with their basic instincts rather than reason. History tells us that such statements are of no use. These remarks and statements usually speak to the excessive sentiments of the masses, and they do not transform into permanent policy. Fortunately the initial outrage is gradually being replaced by reasonable action and words, anyway.

Q/ What would you say about the role of the pro Kurdish DTP [Democratic Society Party] deputies on some vital issues, particularly on the release of the soldiers held captive by the PKK?

ÜF/ There is nothing they can do on their own initiative. If the PKK agrees to make a gesture by handing over the eight hostages to DTP deputies, at that time they may be involved in the process. It does not seem possible for them to assume a role at present to determine the PKK’s actions.

Q/ What would happen if the DTP deputies recognized the PKK as a terrorist organization?

ÜF/ Nothing. Let’s say they did. Would the PKK’s strength decrease? No, on the contrary DTP deputies’ power would decrease because these deputies were elected by those who have an affinity or allegiance with the PKK. The DTP deputies have to consider their demands and political views. The deputies have to be influential within the party in order for them to detach from the PKK. However, they are aware how they have been nominated. It now seems impossible that they will have a proper position to attract the moderates, particularly given the latest developments.

Q/ So you’re saying that the DTP deputies cannot have an independent sphere?

ÜF/ Following the 2004 election, Abdullah Öcalan [the imprisoned leader of the PKK] gave a start for the formation of a new party because he was threatened by the autonomous policies of DEHAP [the Democratic People’s Party] and gave orders for the establishment of the new party, naming it the DTP. I don’t think the DTP could be an address — apart from the PKK — in solving the Kurdish problem in Turkey. And I don’t think the Turkish government needs such an address to solve the Kurdish problem as long as it says this is a problem of Turkey.

end

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Filed under clans, democratic accountability, E U, GW Bush, Iraq, Kurd, Kurdistan, military, military adventures, Neo-cons, PKK, Turkey, USA, war

A Tale of Two Cities and a vicious class divide.




If I were a working class citizen of the United States I would be very angry today, for if ever there were a clear example of the preferential treatment the have’s get in the USA from local and central government and the class war the Bush administration is conducting against a section of its own people, one need look no further than this’ tale of two cities’ San Diego and New Orleans. After the Levees broke when Hurricane Katrina struck, flooding the city of New Orleans, the very first thing the Government did was to send in the National Guard to augment the over-stretched local police force. They did so not to assist the victims of this disaster and provide them with sustenance like food and water, but to protect the property of the have’s, which meant in the main real-estate and the empty premises and department stores of the big US corporations. Never mind there had been no looting beyond thirsty people scavenging for bottled water and the like.

To justify this shameful act the National TV news were full of scurrilous tales about helpless old ladies having their life savings stolen at gun point and young women being raped. National Guard troopers were portrayed on the worlds TV screens dressed in full combat gear, much as they would be had they been about to enter Baghdad’s notorious Sadr City. Orders were given to these troops to shoot looters on sight and thus much as US troops do in Iraq today, people were targeted by there race, age and appearance and woe be tide if a young black man was out and about ipod in hand.

The President G W Bush as is expected on these occasion’s, could hardly deny those suffering in New Orleans a visit, but these were not his people the haves, as 65 percent of the Cities population were working class Afro-American’s. So in his advisors wisdom President Bush deemed a Photo op which portrays him peeping out of Air-Force One’s window whilst the plane sweeps over the devastated city would suffice.

Yet despite the President’s two minute photo op, days went by and still no aid came to the people of the stricken city. It was only after European TV networks began to show the scale of the US governments neglect, which in itself had made a bad situation far worse, that things began to improve. Slowly, very slowly the wheels of civilization turned, but even then people were bussed thousands of miles across country without a say in the matter, to find themselves parked in some god awful trailer park as if they were human garbage. Which in itself was an indictment of just how the Bush administration viewed the good people of New Orleans.

Fast forward to the fires that have cut a blaze across California in the past week or so, no Trailer Parks in the Mid-west for these people but smart conference centers and hotels. No need for the national guard here as the victims of the fire are the middle classes and they do not steal off their own, or so the medias thought process seems to go. Pity no one told Kenneth Lay and his chums at Enron that. Or could it just be as in New Orleans, when people are fleeing for their lives, the last thing on their minds is to loot a DVD player or Plasma TV.

San Diego like New Orleans when the levees broke, has been hit especially hard, with row after row of McDonald’s new builds burnt to the ground. Whilst the working class victims in New Orleans were herded into the Super-Dome football stadium without water, food or adequate sanitation facilities. The affluent citizens of San Diego who have lost their homes are temporally being housed in a Show Events Centre, which has line after lines of portable toilets, TVs situated around the buildings and free internet access, it even has its own prayer chapel. As for the Insurance industry, which in New Orleans bickered over every single item claimed by the minority lucky enough to be able to afford the steep premiums, they have suddenly become Mr Nice Guy. For they know full well that unlike those in New Orleans the victims in San Diego have full cover and can take their business elsewhere; thus according to Dan Glaister writing in the Guardian, the insurance companies have set up rows of company stalls within the Show Events Centre to process claims quickly. As to the President, he has spent hours on the ground pressing the flesh of his fellow have’s, his core constituency after the likes of Blackwater and Halliburton.

There will be those who will claim that the acceptable level of assistance the people of San Diego are receiving from the Bush administration is due to the lessons learned by local and central government from the mistakes made in New Orleans. I hope so but I doubt it myself, as it was not only a question of resources but the attitude coming out of government agencies and the media. It is undoubtedly different this time around, for the powers that be understand only to well that the victims in San Diego are part of their core target base, whether as consumers or voters, whilst the good people of New Orleans were neither. and it is the latter fact that one must visit if one is to understand the contemptible pecking order that local and central government operate when it comes to crises management.

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Filed under class war, crises management, G W Bush, International solidarity/democracy/oppression/neo-cons/, New Orleans, politics, San Diego, USA

The Democratic Deficit which Stunts the Growth of the Left must be Replaced by a Democratic Culture.


Just as the Respect Party, the latest incarnation of a new UK Left Party looks like it is imploding, in the last week or so Ireland has witnessed the loss to local government of yet another three of Sinn Fein’s more able Councilors, Marie McKeegan resigned her seat on Moyle Council and Dublin’s Nicky Kehoe, one of SF’s longest serving public servants announced he was stepping down and would not be contesting his Dublin City Council seat at the next election . Whilst Fermanagh Councillor Bernice Swift has been suspended from the party over making public her belief that the northern Policing Boards are little more than window dressing. No political party can afford to lose able and articulate local councillors such as these three, and there is no doubt in my mind that these resignations are entirely due to the democratic deficit which is at the heart of SF.

When the SF party leadership have had contentious issues that they wish to push as party policy they have a history of steam rolling these unpopular policies through on the bases of a nudge, wink and side of the mouth speak; and whilst doing so hinting that there is more to their support than meets the eye. Time and again the leadership have used this strategy to gain the necessary support from their membership for their proposals to become party policy. Such behavior was especially prevalent when it came to getting the SF membership to support joining the Policing Boards which had been established under the GFA; and which in reality meant SF recognizing the presence of a British police force in Ireland.

Having witnessed this type of strategy being used by the Shiner leadership on a number of occasions, it is difficult not to conclude that the SF Party has no internal management structure beyond nudge, wink and smear; and if this fails to reign in intelligent and talented critics and win them over to the leadership’s strategy, rather than allow their critics to form a minority faction within the party, the Adams leadership brings military type discipline into play. Which treat’s all those who refuse to bend the knee as a threat to the very future of the party; and thus the order goes down the line that these critics must be ruthlessly cut down, expelled and if possible isolated in the process.

This type of ‘democratic centralist’ behavior for obvious reasons is totally counter productive when it is practiced by a progressive party which claims it’s aim is to extend democracy, not restrict it further. It is sold to the membership as the way of world, thus to stay ahead of the game SF must do likewise. Any dissent to party policy is for internal debate and party conferences and not for outside consumption, once the decision is made the matter is closed; and the members of SF must publicly follow the party line religiously .

Which may be true of the Leninist and Stalinist methodology, but it is not how democratic socialist parties worth their salt should act. For example Left wing members of the British Labour Party have regularly voted in the British House of Commons against Labour governments, yet they remain in the party and the same is true of countless political parties throughout the world. Before someone claims I am a mischief maker whose only interest is to attack SF I’m not, for this ‘democratic deficit’ is something that infects left wing political parties beyond Irelands shores and it has become one of the main stumbling blocks which prevents the left making major electoral gains internationally.

In this last week we have seen the differences between George Galloway and his supporters and members of the SWP who are also members of England’s Respect Party, break to the surface and undermine years of hard work. The fact that Respect has a ‘democratic deficit’ at its core makes it all the harder to solve political or strategic differences internally when they arise, as the party appears to have no democratic mechanism bar expulsion or resignation for one or the other of the parties involved.

This democratic deficit within the Left exists due to the fact that far to many leftist fail to recognize that the world has moved on from the days of Storming the Winter Palace and the General Post Office. Today the European working classes have far more choices in their daily lives and we expect to be offered the same in the political arena. It is almost impossible for a member of a Political Party to agree with every single policy of the organization they are a member of; and this is as true for the political Left as it is the Right. For comrades to pretend that they are in total agreement is not only to deny some of their own individual beliefs; but is an act of contempt towards the electorate.

For example in Party’s like Sinn Fein or Respect some will support abortion and some will not. If abortion became party policy should all those who are against abortion suddenly become advocates of a woman’s right to choose or up and leave. Of course not, if that is what they believe there should be enough space within their Party which enables them to stick by there principles and attempt to bring both party and country around to their way of thinking. For if a party cannot contain people with differing social and political principles what is its use. True any party needs a common thread to hold it together, with SF that should be equality based on socialist idea’s, internationalism and the reunification of the Irish nation politically.

The Intellectual life of a political party should not cease between elections or Party conferences as most Democratic Centralists wish. Nor should debate be restricted to the party membership. For it is only with honest and rigorous public debate that a political party becomes comfortable with itself, its platform and gains the respect of the electorate. In todays world to be successful a party must be a broad church. Do not misunderstand my use of this term, I do not mean multi faith but a party that has certain core beliefs, three of which I have aforementioned in the case of SF. Above all else a progressive party must have the mechanism in place that can resolve political deference’s internally by democratic debate and accountability. Sadly it seems both Sinn Fein and the Respect Party have some way to go before they reach that stage.

Never the less no one on the left should feel smug about the two party’s difficulties, for if either or both party’s were to implode that would leave a whole swathe of working class people without adequate representation in the corridors of political power, whether at a local or national level and worse many of them might become disillusioned with progressive politics. Thus it is imperative that the lefts democratic deficit is challenged and replaced with an inner party democracy based on democratic accountability.

If anyone still doubts the viability of a Democratic Left Socialist Party, they need look no further than Germany where Die Linke [The Left] Party was formed out of a left-wing split from the SPD, which then amalgamated in June 07 with the remnants of the Socialist Unity Party and anti capitalist activists to form Die Linke Party. Since its foundation it has created a mini political earthquake in German politics, having become the nations 3rd largest party. With upwards of 14% of the vote and 53 members in the Bundestag and is set to enter a number of the regional parliaments the next time around. Elsewhere in Europe millions of working people are desperate to be represented by a progressive democratic left party, but if they sense any new party is simply more of the same old unaccountable crap, they will desert it at the polls for the devil they know.

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Has the PKK become CIA asset?




We are told upwards of 250 armed PKK combatants crossed the Iraq-Turkey border and killed 12 young Turkish solders and wounded 18, they then return back across the same border with 8 Turkish army conscripts as prisoners, yet not a single US surveillance satellite, spy plane or drone sees a dickie bird. Perhaps it is time to look a little closer at the PKK in Iraq; and consider the possibility whether it might have become an asset of the US intelligence services.

There is a common consensus amongst most military analysts that the The Kurdistan Workers Party, [PKK] which has been engaged in a violent insurgency against the Turkish State since 1984, has become a shadow of its former self. At one time it is thought the PKK had upwards of 50 thousand fighters in the field. Whilst this may have been an exaggeration the PKK did have far more than the current rough estimates of three thousand armed combatants. Thus with its military decline, the PKK has cut its political cloth accordingly; and dropped its demand for an independent Kurdistan in south eastern Turkey and substituted this with a demand for greater autonomy for the Kurdish people within the Republic of Turkey. They seemed to be making political headway in these aims when in the July 07 General Election, for the first time since 1990 23 Kurdish nationalist’s sympathetic to the PKK where returned to the Turkish Parliament.

Yet at a time when logic would have suggested that the PKK would be running down their military side in favor of its political wing, they have gone onto the offensive militarily, operating from safe havens in northern Iraq. Last weekend the PKK once again struck with a vengeance at the Turkish Army when it killed 12 soldiers and wounding 16 in a hit and run raid near Dağlıca Village in the Turkish province of Hakkari. According to news sources the attack was carried out by as many as 250 armed PKK soldiers, something which if verified, would make the attack one of the boldest the PKK has ever launched in its entire history. Shortly after the news of this latest PKK incursion across the Iraq-Turkey border became public, the Turkish military issued a statement that eight of its soldiers involved in the fire-fight are still missing, possibly captured by the PKK.

Which makes it increasingly difficult to believe that this latest burst of PKK activity is taking place without the full knowledge of the US security services in Iraq. Not least because the skies above Iraq are filled with US controlled drones, spy-planes and satellites, all scouring the land for the movement of people hostile to the US occupying forces and their client governments in Baghdad and Erbil, the seat of the regional government of Iraqi Kurdistan. The mountains of northern Iraq are pretty barren, devoid of trees and vegetation and unless there is cloud cover it is difficult to see how the USA’s worldwide security networks would miss 250 armed men crossing the Iraq-Turkish border and returning with Turkish army prisoners.

The US administration have a history in Iraq of using the Kurdish areas as bases to facilitate attack’s against their political enemies, as the Iranian People’s Mujahedeen of Iran have shown. This group moved effortlessly from supporting and being sponsored by Saddam’s bloody Regime, to become a client of the US security services in Iraq. Indeed they simply changed out of the Soviet style uniforms provided by Saddam’s army into the more sleek outfits of the US military, sunglasses and all. They even remained in some of the same military bases which had been provided by Saddam; and whereas in the past they plotted against the Iranian government alongside members of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, (Jihaz Al-Mukhabarat Al-A’ma) they now do much the same today alongside members of the CIA and US Army Intel, with the odd MI6 officer joining them to provide the tea and biscuits.

So what could be motivating the United State’s to turn a blind eye to the PKK if that is what they are doing, or could it be just another example of the cock up mentality of the US army in Iraq. This looks doubtful as the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives recently passed a resolution on the Armenian Genocide of 1915 that was bound to make the average Turk pull their hair out with rage.

Or could it be that it is the Iraqi Kurdish administration which is based in Erbil that is tweaking the Turks tail by allowing the PKK a free reign in their territory, after all they have a history of enjoying such sport. Again this looks unlikely as they are pragmatists to the core and things have been going their way of late and the last thing they would want is for thousands of Turkish troops and tanks to come thundering down main street Erbil and Sulaimaniya, what with the two capo’s of Kurdish politics sitting comfortable within the new Iraqi State. Massoud Barzani as the President of the Kurdistan Region whilst his former foe Jala Talabani is in Baghdad as President of Iraq.

Thus if it is not the Iraqi Kurds who are pulling the PPK’s chain then one must then return to the US administration of GW Bush and its gung-ho but often inept security services, who have never got over Turkey’s refusal to join the coalition of the willing when Bush and his Neo-con pals first decided to invade and occupy Saddam’s Iraq. If the Turks had joined the US and UK in their dirty deed then they would undoubtedly have been given the task of subduing the northern part of Iraq. Could the US administration be covertly encouraging the PKK so as to entice the Turkish armed forces across the Iraqi border in hot pursuit of the PKK. For if there is one lesson from Iraq it is that it is a far easier for a Nato army to get into the place than out. Once in northern Iraq the Turkish military will be reluctant to withdraw; and in all probability will use the age old chestnut that were they to do so their enemies, in this case the PKK will immediately fill the void.

The benefits for the US administration of having a mass of Turkish troops permanently stationed in northern Iraq is obvious, they would have a strong Nato ally in place to police not only Iraqi Kurdistan but also parts of the adjoining areas. Which would enable the Turkish troops to play a role in preventing men and armaments infiltrating the Iran-Iraq Northern border. The Turkish military’s presence in northern Iraq for any length of time might also allow the US to either withdraw troops from this area and re-deploy them elsewhere in Iraq, or maybe even reduce the overall numbers of US military personnel in Iraq. For the US administration having Turkish troops in Iraq is a win win situation.

Whether Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has the will and guile to prevent the Turkish military bringing disaster on itself by invading northern Iraq only time will tell; but he has his work cut out for him as the recent burst of PKK violence has managed to raise the average Turkish person’s temperature to way beyond boiling point.

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Filed under Politics/elections/Turkey/democracy/direct action/Iraq/

First ‘Strike Bikes’ wheeled Out of German Factory occupied by its workforce.



Three months ago, workers at a German bicycle company occupied their factory to protest its closure. Now, they’ve started production of a limited edition “strike bike” to prove the company’s viability and without a boss or manager in sight. The bicycles are being assembled by the 135 former employees of the Bike Systems company in Nordhausen in the German state of Thuringia. Production started on Monday, and by Friday, the group hopes to have the limited run of 1,800 pre-ordered bikes ready for shipping throughout Germany and Europe.

The workers are getting support from the anarcho-syndicalist union FAU and some local organizations as well as from organizations and individuals from across Germany and the EU. “The mood is great,” said one of the occupying workers, “We really hope that we will be able to continue to produce bikes on a permanent basis.”
 
The workers have occupied the Bike Systems factory since July, after the company was asset stripped, closed down and declared insolvent. The workers are looking for investors who are willing to put several million euros into the business and if successful in finding this financial support they hope to run the business as a cooperative.

Offers of support or indeed orders for a Strike Bike can be made here,

http://www.strike-bike.de/1/index.php?&hl=en_US

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Filed under EU/Germany/Politics/Trade Unions/unacceptable face of c

The Armenian Genocide and the ripples of guilt that engulf us all.


The arguments that have fluttered of late out of the worlds media outlets, as to whether or not the Turk’s committed Genocide in 1915 against the Armenian communities who lived within the borders of the Ottoman Empire, brought Stalin’s callous words to mind, “One death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic.” Sadly this statement by the grave digger of the Russian revolution is as true today as when he first uttered these words. The Armenian émigré community in the USA, have long been active lobbying members of the United States Congress and Senate on this issue. At every opportunity they have attempted to brand into the consciousness of the American people that the suffering of the Armenian people in 1915 was a conscious act of Genocide, that today’s Republic of Turkey must accept responsibility for.

Recently they succeeded in getting the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives to pass a motion in support of this proposition and according to the leader of that House, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, she intends to put the proposition to the floor of the House. It should not be over looked that Ms Pelosi represents California’s Eighth District and has a large and vocal Armenian émigré community within her own and neighboring Constituencies. Whether this has any relevancy I know not, but being a very astute politician she is unlikely to over look, nor rile her home base.

Most commentators have concentrated on the damage done to US-Turkish relationships by the passing of this House committee resolution. Undoubtedly the Turk’s who live in the Republic of Turkey have taken great offense, but I feel they would do well to pull back, not least because the criminal Genocide that was committed against these unfortunate Armenians was carried out by the multi-nationality Ottoman Empire, almost seven years before the modern Turkish Republic was brought into being.

When the the modern Turkish Republic was created out of the Anatolian ruins of the Ottoman Empire, its founders made a point of barring all those from citizenship in the new State who had held senior positions in the Empire; and went to the lengths of getting the International community to endorse this act before they signed The Treaty of Lausanne in 1923. Their purpose was to ensure the new Turkish Republic was not a continuation of the old Empire under another name, thus the 600 name list they submitted for approval at Lausanne served as public proof that the administration and ideologists of the Empire were not being transferred to the new Republic.

This is far from a minor debating point, for I doubt many people today would blame the current Russian Federation for the genocide that Stalin’s USSR inflicted on almost a million people from the North Caucasus plus the Crimean Tartars, when the Stalinist bureaucracy had them deported from their ancestral homelands and trekked across thousands of kilometers, much as the Armenians had been by the Ottoman Empire. Indeed Stalin like the bureaucrats of the Ottoman Empire before him when they ordered the deportation of the Armenians, used the same pretext of disloyalty in war time to justify his Genocide.

Yet the Armenian émigré community in the USA and now members of the US Senate are doing just this when they refuse to recognize there are only tenuous links between the modern Turkish Republic and the Ottoman Empire.. It seems now that the Armenian émigré community in the USA has become a powerful force in US politics, when they come knocking on Washington’s door and say jump to the politicos on Capital Hill, the politicians reply how high, without thought or question.

Whilst it is perfectly understandable that the Armenian émigré community want justice and recognition for their forebears suffering, their continuos claims that it is the people of the Republic of Turkey who must shoulder the guilt for this crime is disingenuous and counter-productive. Increasingly Turkish people are coming to terms with the great injustice that was committed against their one time neighbors the Armenian people of the Ottoman Empire, but understandably they believe that the Turkish Republic bears no direct responsibility for this crime. They wonder why their nation has been singled out to shoulder this particular blame when sadly history is littered with such crimes where the antecedent’s can be tracked to a modern State , not least the genocide committed against the Native Americans.

Which was carried out over a century and more by various US administrations. Confiscation of property and land, mass deportations, death marches, concentration camps, shoot on sight, mass starvation, murder and child theft, all were common practices inflicted against native Americans on the orders of the United States government; and these crimes persisted into the early part of the 20th Century. But it seems the members of the House of Representatives are less keen to look into their own Nations history and place blame than they are to look else where.

Perhaps it is time that such crimes came under a new internationally approved Special Commission for Genocide, for it is clear that political motives which have their roots in the present geo-political world lay behind this and other investigations into historical acts of genocide. It is time people stopped scoring political points and centered on the victims. When the Ottoman Empire rounded up its Armenian citizens and sent them on a death march into the deserts of Syria they were committing Genocide by any fair minded persons calculations. The crime was all the greater as these people had lived in comparatively harmony with their Turkish and Greek neighbors for centuries. It was only when the geo-political madness that was World War One seeped across the borders of the Ottoman Empire that this wicked act was brought about.

Thus far from the modern Turkish Republic shouldering the entire guilt of this genocide, all the nations who entered as combatants into that unnecessary and bloody conflagration need to come together and recognize there equal responsibility for the Armenian Genocide. For when our politicians sing the battle anthem to take us to war, we should be aware that the legacy of such stupidity will not only result in death and mayhem for our own generation, but will leave ripples of hate for future generations to endure.

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Filed under Turkey/Armenia/Ottoman Empire/Republic of Turkey/Genoci