Monthly Archives: January 2008

Obituary: Sa’adia Marciano, founder of Israel’s Black Panther Party.



The establishment of Israel’s Black Panthers in the early 1970s had a radicalizing effect on Israeli society, its founders were inspired by the US Civil Rights movement and especially the Black Panther Party led by Bobby Seal, Huey Newton and Eldridge
Clever. It was originally formed by young unemployed workers like Sa’adia Marciano and Charlie Biton, when the latter was asked what motivated him he said, “We felt and were being oppression and resented it. We didn’t even know who the oppressors were and how they oppressed us. Only through struggle were we to understood who steps over us and why they do so.” Biton’s words will be recognizable today by millions of young people who live in the worlds economically deprived communities.

Up until that time Israeli politicians claimed it was impossible to fight social oppression as the security of the State had to come before all else. This left a large part of the economically poorest section of the population living in appalling conditions. As Marciano was to later say, “We raised the social struggle flag in spite of the difficult security conditions. Moshe Dayan argued that you can’t wave both flags of security and social affairs simultaneously. But we strongly believed that a weak society could never be strong in it’s security.”

Of course like its US counterpart there were many weaknesses in the Israeli Panthers ideology or what passed for it; and some of them went on to become mainstream politicians, but there is no doubt that like the explosion of US and European left politics that took place in the 1960s early 70s the world is a better place for having had the Israeli Black Panthers.

Sa’adia Marciano

Israeli pioneer of direct action protest movement

By Lawrence Joffe

The Moroccan-born social campaigner Sa’adia Marciano, who has died in a Jerusalem hospital, aged 57, was the founder and public face of Israel’s Black Panthers protest movement, and one of the most charismatic, if tragic, figures in Israeli society. He battled ceaselessly for Israel’s poorer Sephardim and Mizrahim (Jews of Spanish and oriental origin) and at his death was still campaigning to provide food and heating for Jerusalem’s needy.

Sa’adia was a lanky, long-haired 20-year-old when he first galvanized unemployed youths in the rundown Jerusalem neighbourhood of Musrara in 1971. The Panther moniker was an echo of the African-American group: “Golda Meir was aware of [their] reputation, and we wanted to scare her.”

The rebels took to the streets, accusing Israel’s European-origin Ashkenazi establishment of betraying their community. The Sephardim were a small minority when the state of Israel came into being in 1948, but by 1971, after immigration from the Middle East and north Africa, they represented almost 60% of all Israeli Jews. However, only 3% of top official posts and a fifth of parliamentary members were Sephardi.
The Panthers attacked the ruling Labour party for housing Sephardi immigrants in substandard ma’abarot (transit camps) and “development towns”, and denigrating Arabic-Jewish culture. A spontaneous uprising soon turned into protests outside Jerusalem town hall. They bore coffins to symbolise the death of social equality, and stole milk bottles from outside middle-class homes to redistribute in disadvantaged areas.

The Panthers won attention after Marciano’s face, bruised by police batons, appeared on television. In 1971 Golda Meir called them “not nice boys”, and a month later 20 were wounded and 74 arrested when they clashed with police. But they forced her to call an inquiry and increase social budgets.

Marciano’s group challenged two sacrosanct ideas of Israeli society: that Jews constituted one, indivisible bloc, and that social concerns had to wait until peace arrived. They also claimed common cause with Israeli Arabs and Palestinians in the occupied territories, and were among the first Israelis to meet Yasser Arafat in 1972.

In September 1973, the Panthers won several seats in the Histadrut labour federation, but in the wake of the Yom Kippur war that October most Sephardim disagreed when the Panthers blamed Zionism for engendering social rifts.

In 1977 Marciano entered the Knesset (parliament) for the leftwing Sheli party. Three years later he formed the one-man Equality in Israel-Panthers party, but failed to pass the 1% election threshold in 1981. He then founded a drug rehabilitation centre, organised concerts and dabbled in film production. He later joined the Labour party, though he never stood for election again.

Despite their failures, the Panthers set a model for direct action in Israel, which has been followed by the leftwing Peace Now, Yesh Gvul and Four Mothers, and pro-settler rightist groups such as Gush Emunim and Zo Artzeinu. They also put social issues on the national table. The ruling Likud party launched projects to revive development towns; culturally, Mizrahi music has entered mainstream pop; and restaurants sell more bourekas, shwarma and hummus than bagels, schnitzels and gefilte fish. Since 1971 Israel has had two Mizrahi presidents and many government ministers. Sa’adia’s cousin became chief aide to the Moroccan-born Amir Peretz, who was elected Labour’s second Mizrahi leader in late 2005.

Marciano was born the sixth of 11 children in Oujda, a town on the Moroccan-Algerian border. He emigrated to Israel in 1950 after violence between local Arabs and Jews. He is survived by his wife Vicky; they had a son.

· Sa’adia Marciano, campaigner, born May 1 1950; died December 21 2007

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Is it surprising British politicians are becoming increasingly corrupt, when Thatcher and Blair set such an appalling example.



Historically British Prime Ministers have not been know for being economically corrupt, indeed former Labour Prime Ministers Clement Attlee, Harold Wilson and James Callaghan on leaving office lived comparatively modest life styles which would have been recognizable to most middle class English people of the day. If they had no private wealth of their own, Conservative PMs were usually looked after on leaving office by a number of rich businessmen donating a sum of money and setting up some sort of trust fund. Winston Churchill who enjoyed living high on the hog was the beneficiary of such charity on more than one occasion.

This all changed with Margaret Thatcher, who learnt early on in her Prime Ministership that it pays handsomely to become anointed the US President’s most favored foreigner. Once a British Prime Minister was comfortably perched in this position brown envelopes where for lesser mortals, for they could look forward to being looked after on leaving office by Corporate America, in much the same way as US Presidents have been since the beginning of the 20th Century if not before.

Thus on leaving office the retirement pension plan that has been available since the 1970s to all former British PMs was regarded by Thatcher and her successors in 10 Downing St as small change, and in return for acting whilst in office as the US Presidents gofer in Europe, on leaving office the British PM would be placed on to a US Conglomerates executive jet to tour the USA giving the CEO’s of multi national corporations the benefit of their wisdom. Although most CEOs of these multi national corporations have better things to do than spend their time listening to an ex-politico whose power is spent. So these speaking engagements are filled with junior executives sent along to pad the audience to help keep the speakers ego intact. However all concerned are only to well aware the real purpose of these ‘speaking engagements’ is to present the former servant of corporate America with a not inconsiderable supply of executive embossed envelopes stuffed to the gills with greenback bills.

Since he stepped down as Prime Minister and resigned from Parliament, Tony Blair like Margaret Thatcher and John Major before him, has spent his first year on leaving office touring the USA and other far flung countries turning the markers he accumulated whilst in office into hard currency.

Of course unlike a Mafia don Blair cannot simply send a couple of his henchmen down to Wall Street to collect a suitcase stuffed with dollar bills, there are niceties to be observed. First he signed a million dollar plus book contract with Random House, a subsidiary of the multi-national corporation Bertelsmann AG, the outcome of which will be a book that few people will actually read.

Next came an offer from a major US Corporation, best if it is a Bank as there is money to be laundered. In Blair’s case J.P. Morgan stepped into the breach and signed him up for a non existent job; It is entirely a coincidence that this bunch of financial sharks have recently signed a massive and very lucrative contract to run the Trade Bank of Iraq.

This ‘appointment’ was followed by what is called ‘the speaking tour’ which is a peach in itself. According to the Sunday Times Blair has just returned from a trip to North America from which he is likely to have made as much as £500,000 in the US and Canada for making three speeches in four days. One can get an idea of the standard of his scintillating oratory that we in the UK came to hate and despise from the following quote taken from a speech he made in Canada.

“Europe is not a question of Left or Right, but a question of the future or the past, of strength or weakness”

To conclude his first year in office Blair has signed yet another sweetheart contract with a multi national, having become an an expert on creating global warming when he polluted Iraq with weapons tipped uranium, the Zurich Insurance Companies have just made him their expert on Global warming. [I know you could not make this up]

Thus before his first year on leaving office is out, Blair will have received approximately £7 million pounds for doing nowt; and that is without the serialization rights to his memoirs, for it has become a post Thatcher tradition for the British newspaper industry to give former prime ministers a lucrative send off by publishing their appalling ghost written memoirs, despite there not being a single word in them that is not already in the public domain.

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Obituary: George Habash;[Al Hakim] Revolutionary, Palestinian and internationalist.


George Habash, the Palestinian revolutionary and founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has died of heart failure in Beruit. Habash was a firm believer in propaganda by deed; and it could be claimed that he and his comrades in the PFLP, by initiating a series of hijackings of international civil aircraft in the early 1970s put the Palestinian Diaspora and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip firmly on the worlds political and media agenda.

To his credit unlike Arafat, Habash stood firm against the Oslo Accords and refused to give it his blessing. Understanding that like the north of Ireland’s Good Friday Agreement, the Oslo Accords were designed to coral and demoralize revolutionary and progressive movements by gradually forcing them to compromise their core beliefs whilst the governments they had opposed maintain their status-quo.

George Habash died poor and in exile, but his lessons remain vital for Arab unity and liberation

By Karma Nabulsi

‘His very name scatters fire through ice,’ wrote Byron of an 18th-century revolutionary leader, and so it has always been with the name of that extraordinary Palestinian George Habash. For those in anti-colonial movements across the world who learned and trained under him, his name embodies that inextinguishable human demand for justice and freedom. His exhilarating emancipatory model of resistance to injustice, his radical optimism and, above all, his tight political organisation scorched the consciousness of young people across the Arab world, mobilised masses and inspired a huge wave of talented artists and intellectuals.
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One doesn’t have to be a Marxist to appreciate the value of his extraordinary force. For 60 years Habash engaged in a non-stop struggle for Arab unity, human progress, women’s rights, liberation and equality. By founding the anti-colonial Arab Nationalist Movement, he lit a fuse throughout the region, from Yemen, where forces he trained and organised liberated the country from British rule, through the battle for Egyptian-Syrian unity, and Kuwait – which only has a parliament thanks to the movement’s impact – to the founding of trade unions across much of the Gulf.
Habash, who founded the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, died this weekend, an impoverished refugee in enforced exile in Amman. What can this revolutionary of a bygone area, archetype of the heroic medic with the free clinic in the refugee camp, virtuoso intellectual rhetorician, with his charismatic grin, perpetual cigarette and black leather jacket, give us to address today’s bleak geopolitical predicament? His contribution offers powerful solutions in arenas where the collective imagination is in complete disarray. In an era of unprecedented Arab disunity and reactionary conservatism, and at the zenith of what seems to be unstoppable Israeli expansionism and Palestinian political fragmentation, his model of combining universal principles with popular mobilisation remains the key to progress.

Currently portrayed as the architect of the tactic of aeroplane hijackings, which was never his (and over which he expelled Wadie Haddad from the PFLP), Habash was instead responsible for introducing a much bolder blueprint for international action. From the ANC to the Nicaraguans, he was the pivotal internationalist who made the fight for independence possible: training, encouraging and giving material assistance. This most basic of progressive principles – mobilising to assist those who are risking all for their freedom against undemocratic tyranny – is never more relevant than today. Citizens who have obtained their political rights understand well that they are a crucial force in pressuring their own governments to help others to achieve theirs, from Pakistan and Burma to Palestine.

A witness to the ethnic cleansing of his home town in 1948, he was transformed for ever by a determination to serve his people, and the lesson for Palestinians is essential. The flourishing of several political parties in the national arena remains not only the guarantor of democracy, but also the proven engine for achieving independence, as long as parties are driven by principle and not simply by desire for power. Just before his death, Habash was told how young Palestinians from a different political party had audaciously destroyed the walls of Gaza, setting free its people. Habash smiled and said: “You see, the day will come when these borders will fall and Arab unity will be achieved.” Lucretius celebrated these unforgettable “vitai lampada”, the torch-bearers who bring hope in each generation, “like runners passing on the lamp of life”.

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The United States smash and grab raid on Iraq is almost completed.


In the article below, which I republish from the Morning Star,* Liz Davies warns that the withdrawal of US/UK troops from Iraq, whilst vitally important, by itself is not enough, as the purpose of the military occupation of Iraq was to lay the foundations for the long term political and economic control of that Nation by the USA. The Neo-conservatives who originated this wicked war and occupation have demonstrated by building a new US Embassy in Baghdad, [see photo] which will house over 4000 employees, that the USA has long term strategic and economic reasons for remaining in Iraq; and Liz deals with this matter in some detail in this piece, It is well worth a read.

What now for Iraq?
By Liz Davies.

Half the population of Iraq is aged 16 or under. These children have lived their lives experiencing aggressive assaults on their country by the US and Britain. First, economic sanctions and then military invasion and occupation. Their parents grew up during the Iran-Iraq war when the West funded Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons, which he used on the battlefield against Iran and against the Kurds, and lived through the aborted invasion of Iraq following Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. Saddam’s dictatorship was the product of the US-backed Ba’athist coup in 1968. If ever a country were entitled to reparations, Iraq is it.

The US-British occupation is starting to look politically untenable in the US and Britain. Gordon Brown is pulling the troops out of Basra. The Democratic presidential candidates broadly support phased withdrawals. Opinion polls show that a majority of US citizens want a full withdrawal of troops in the next year.

From the occupiers’ point of view, much of their work has been done.

The purpose of the military occupation was to lay the foundations for continued political and economic control of Iraq. The presence of the new US embassy in Baghdad – the world’s largest embassy, costing $600 million (£305m) and housing 4,000 staff, half of whom will be working in the areas of security and intelligence – is a message to the Iraqi people that the US intends long-term political domination of their country.

Multinational corporations are queuing up to rob Iraq of its oil resources through production-sharing agreements. The growth of sectarian conflict, systematically encouraged by the occupiers, has divided the political process along sectarian lines. And the brutality of the occupation, following years of brutal dictatorship, has resulted in a level of eve-ryday violence and criminality that is horrifying and unparalleled.

So it seems that the neocons had a plan for the future of Iraq and are carrying it through. They wouldn’t admit that sectarian conflict and the appalling reality of everyday life for Iraqis was part of the plan, but it sure helps.

It allows the US and Britain to obtain some fat contracts providing weapons and training to the Iraqi government post-withdrawal. It prevents the organisation of grass-roots civil society, stops Iraqis from leading normal lives and thus reduces engagement in the political process, particularly for women. It allows the US and Britain to cherrypick so-called representative political parties, organised along sectarian lines. It reduces the possibility of Iraqis organising against the exploitation of their economic resources, rebuilding their shattered infrastructure or defining their own political priori-ties.

The millions of us who were opposed to the invasion have found thinking about a post-occupation Iraq difficult.

The peace movement has concentrated on the basic point that continued military occupation of Iraq is the problem, not the solution. The first and absolutely necessary solution is to withdraw all occupying troops and privatised military contractors and for Iraqis to rebuild their own country. Rightly, we’ve said this again and again in response to the argument that troops should stay to sort out the mess that the invasion and occupation created. We’ve also been motivated by the principle that the West and, in particular, the US and Britain, should not be telling Iraqis how to rebuild their country.

But the US and Britain are responsible, both in international law and morally.

Sanctions are estimated to have killed around one million Iraqis who would otherwise be alive today. By 2003, child malnutrition rates were 19 per cent and only 50 per cent of Iraqis had access to adequate water supplies. By 2007, the rate for child malnutrition had risen to 28 per cent and 70 per cent of Iraqis had no access to adequate water. Half the population are estimated to be out of work. Some 40 per cent of public servants are thought to have left the country. Two million Iraqis have fled to Syria or Jordan. Another two million are internally displaced.

After the first Gulf war, Iraq was made to pay reparations of $350 billion (£178bn) for Saddam’s invasion of Ku-wait. The money was deducted from the oil-for-food programme, reducing it by one-third. If ordinary Iraqis had to pay for a short-lived military adventure by their unelected leader, shouldn’t the US and British governments start to pay something for the devastation of Iraq carried out by our elected leaders?

In that context, a very useful 10-point plan has been put forward by the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research (TFF), whose board member Hans von Sponeck was UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Iraq before he resigned in protest at the effects of the sanctions.

Its Towards Peace In and With Iraq strategy refers to a similar 12-point plan from Dennis Kucinich, who is a left candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for president. TFF insists first on the withdrawal of foreign troops, mercenaries and bases.

Without withdrawal, nothing can happen. But civil society in Iraq has collapsed so much that concrete actions are needed to help the Iraqi people rebuild their country – a clean-up of military waste, including depleted uranium and cluster bombs which are littering Iraq; political withdrawal, including the closure of the US embassy; cancellation of Saddam Hussein’s debt; compensation and reparations; retention of all oil resources and revenues; a truth and reconciliation process, including a public apology from the US and British governments to the Iraqi people; and assisting civil society exchanges giving opportunities for Iraqi students or allowing Western professionals to work in Iraq under the direction of Iraqi organisations etc.

TFF is very clear that the rebuilding of Iraq has international implications. It calls for the whole Middle East to be-come free of weapons of mass destruction – specifically, that Israel should disarm its nuclear arsenal – and for a long-term regional conference working toward a comprehensive settlement for the entire region, including the two core con-flicts of Iraq/the US-Britain and Palestine/Israel.

The most controversial proposal as far as the left is concerned is for an international peace-building mission for Iraq under UN leadership.

TFF is not calling for continued military occupation under another name. It specifies that no military personnel should be drawn from countries that have been occupiers, that there should be a low percentage of staff from Western-Christian parts of the world, that the UN should be working in partnership with the Arab League and the militarised element should be no more than 15 per cent.

Nevertheless, the UN oversaw sanctions, so even such a carefully designed UN mission would have a lot of bridge-building to do before Iraqis can feel that it is on their side.

Ultimately, whether or not any of these proposals are the right way forward will depend on the views of the Iraqi people. They have voted with their feet – and their lives – against the military occupation. If the Iraqi people oppose a UN-led semi-military mission, it will fail. On the other hand, sectarian conflict once created and encouraged by occupiers acquires a momentum of its own. Many on the left felt that the UN let down the Rwandan people when it refused to intervene in 1994. If the Iraqi people accept such a mission, it might help.

In Britain, Iraq Occupation Focus has been working on similar proposals to help support justice for Iraq. The TFF proposals form a useful discussion point. We need some of the radical NGOs, the peace movement, international soli-darity campaigns, women’s groups etc, to come together to work through what we should be demanding from our gov-ernment.

Hands Off Iraqi Oil is already leading the way in its campaign against the privatisation of Iraq’s resources.

Obviously, the two preconditions for any campaign for justice for Iraq must be that justice will never be achieved under occupation and that it is for the Iraqi people to tell the British people what they require by way of reparation.

But focusing just on withdrawal is not enough. The US and Britain remain responsible for the devastation inflicted on Iraq and cannot be allowed to withdraw and forget.

Liz Davies is a barrister and political activist. She is chairwoman of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers and active in Iraq Occupation Focus. She writes this column in a personal capacity.

Hands Off Iraqi Oil is mounting a day of action to End the Military and Economic Occupation on February 23. Meet at 12.30pm at Bond Street Tube, London.

http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index2.php/ex/examples
http://www.transnational.org
http://www.iraqoccupationfocus.org.uk
http://www.handsoffiraqioil.org.

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Obituary: Jim Reddell, Seaman, soldier, local councillor, trade unionist and community activist.


I have included an obituary of Jim Reddell for a number of reasons, he was a dying breed in the British Labour Party, working class, trade unionist, absolutely loyal to the Party and Country through thick and thin, conservative with a small c, yet well to the left of most of todays Labour MPs. The likes of Jim were to be found in almost every Constituency LP in the land, up until Tony Blair became leader that is. Hard working, first rate local councillors who new the people they represented like the back of their hand, in their time they sorted out more personal problems than the average CAB advisor of today. Yet Blair and his ilk had no use for them and moved them aside to make way for middle class New Labour wide-boys/girls who were passing through and had no interest in the people that Labour had been founded to represent. Indeed alongside the demise of the likes of Jim Reddell came the demise of the British Labour Party as a vehicle for progressive change

I will also admit to a personal connection with Jim in that he lived in a village not far from where I now live and he was a member of the AEU which was the for-runner of my own Trade Union. For many years he was the only LP member of Brentwood Council, which in those days was a bastion of bourgeois snobbishness, and when he was named a Freeman of Brentwood, the first since 1040, we can only imagine the delight this brought to Brother Reddell when he accepted this offer, as he was working class, a trade unionist and proud of it.

Jim Reddell
By
Gordon Reddell

Seaman, soldier, local councillor, trade unionist and community activist Jim Reddell, who has died aged 97, made a difference to many people’s lives. Born north of Oxford Street, London, he was placed in a children’s home when he was 10 because his mother could not afford to keep him. At 12, he was apprenticed at a car factory, leaving to go to sea and qualifying as a ship’s cook. A brief period of civilian employment followed before he joined the Essex regiment in 1932, going with them to the Saar region on the borders of France and Germany to help police the 1935 plebiscite. The following year, he married Edith McMurchie, who supported him in all his activities.

Earning stripes through his ability – and regularly losing them through his rebellious streak – Jim remained in Britain until D-day, when he went ashore with his regiment. After demobilisation, he got a fitter’s job with Howard Rotovators in West Horndon, and joined the AEU.

Then began his activism. He became involved in the British Legion campaign to persuade local councils to rehouse returning soldiers. His love of sport saw him play cricket and football for the works teams, and he became a local councillor in Brentwood, Essex, often its only Labour representative. He was also a governor at Hedley Walter school, all the time assisting people with their problems.

Brentwood made him an honorary freeman in 1999, an honour, he was delighted to tell everyone, that had not been awarded since 1040. He became a Chelsea pensioner, proudly wearing the scarlet, and a visit to Hedley Walter school was a pleasure when they named a new technology block after him. Seeing the old republican squirm with delight in his wheelchair, when meeting the Queen at a Remembrance Day event, was almost embarrassing.

Jim died quickly and quietly, alert to the last. Edith predeceased him, in 1998, as did their daughter Evelyn, in 1997. He is survived by me, his son, six grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and countless friends.

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Operation Gladio and the Turkish deep State: arrests made.


For years Turkish civil liberties groups, writers, journalists, left-wing and islamic political activists and others have demanded of various governments that they expose the ‘deep state’ that at times of crises operates in conjunction with elements within the government bureaucracy, the armed forces, the police and the judiciary. At various time in recent history, when ever the Turkish government have been about to introduce progressive legislation, for example by making concessions to the Kurdish minority which would enable their democratic rights, the country has been rocked by a wave of bombings and/or politically motivated violence which have destabilized the government of the day.

Many Leftists, academics and political analysts have come to believe the membership of this ‘Deep State’ originated in the cold war period when the US security services and military organized ‘stay behind’ units of paramilitary organizations within most Nato countries, under a program called Operation Gladio. There purpose was to attack and work against the occupying forces of the USSR if the Red Army ever overran western Europe and Turkey. The blow back from such stay behind groups originally came to light in Italy, where a scandal erupted over Operation Gladio when it was thought it had been used to undermine Italian democracy in the 1970s when the Italian Communist Party looked like it might gain a share of power.*

Many people believe the Turkish ‘Deep State’ is linked to this clandestine phenomenon and functions similarly to Operation Gladio. In fact, many analysts believe such networks of groups in Turkey, which are referred to as the “deep state,” are remnants of the Turkish arm of the actual Gladio.

After it became pretty clear the ‘Deep State’ in Turkey was working against the present AK Party government led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, he instigated an enquiry into these groups. It came to fruition this week when Erdogan announced the enquiry had resulted in the police arresting dozens of people, including ex senior army officers and lawyers. Only time will tell whether Erdoğan has the determination to flush out the ‘Deep State’ and in the process bring an end the Turkish state being linked to criminal-military gangs.

So far the suspects arrested have not been charged, but most who have knowledge of how the deep state operates agree that the thirty-three people arrested are members of a nationalist group, Ergenekon and are part of a shadowy network that has masterminded many violent attacks in Turkey.

The discovery is not the first of its kind, in the past two years the country’s security forces have unearthed a number of clandestine gangs countrywide. These groups, known to the public by names such as Atabeyler, Sauna and Ümraniye and now Ergenekon, have apparently tried to create chaos in the country at crucial times such as last year’s presidential election. However, despite the fact that all of these organizations were uncovered, with many of their members being publicly named, no significant punishment has yet been imposed on the members of these criminal organizations.

Professor Cengiz Aktar, of İstanbul’s Bahçeşehir University, told Reuters “All democrats in Turkey have been looking forward to this sort of action by the government, Everybody is now hoping something will happen but people remain very suspicious.”
“This is a very important test for the government, they will be judged by this. If these people are guilty and are convicted, it will be very good for Turkish democracy as well as for our efforts to join the European Union.”

Despite İstanbul’s chief prosecutor announcing that earlier bans on reporting about the investigation remained in place, all Turkish newspapers, with the exception of a few ultra-nationalist ones, covered the operation. “Never gone this deep before,” read the newspaper Yeni Şafak’s headline yesterday. “The state takes on the deep state,” Sabah said in one of its headlines. “A deep blow to a deep gang,” said the Star. “Operation against coup supporters,” said Radikal, highlighting the military ties of the group.

The Deep State is also suspected of involvement in a number of violent attacks in recent years, including the killing of an Italian priest in 2006, the assassination a year ago of Armenian political activist and journalist Hrant Dink and the murder of three Christians in the city of Malatya last year.

The suspects were detained in İstanbul and other regions of Turkey in dawn raids on Tuesday, the culmination of an eight-month operation, the police spokesperson said. “The police have been observing the actions of the suspects for over eight months as part of an investigation into a house full of explosives and ammunition found in İstanbul’s Ümraniye district eight months ago.”

Meanwhile, four more people were taken into custody yesterday in the southeastern city of Diyarbakır, as part of the same operation. Among the four, at least two are members of the ultra-nationalist Association for the Union of Patriotic Forces (VKGB), whose leaders are already under arrest facing several charges for crimes ranging from theft, felony, blackmail, and extortion. These arrest’s may be relevant as it is thought some of the recent bombings in Turkey which have been laid at the door of the Kurdish PKK may have been the work of the ‘deep state’.

Amongst the the thirty three people taken into custody are Veli Küçük, a retired major general who is also the alleged founder of an illegal intelligence unit in the Gendarmerie, the existence of which is denied by officials; the controversial ultranationalist lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, who filed countless suits against Turkish writers and intellectuals like Orhan Pamuk; Fikret Karadağ, a retired army colonel; Güler Kömürcü, a columnist for the leading daily newspaper Akşam ; and Sami Hoştan, a key figure in an investigation launched after a notorious car accident in 1996, in which a senior policeman, a convicted hitman who was a fugitive, a member of Parliament and a well-known gangster were all killed whilst traveling in the same car. Ali Yasak, linked to the figures in the Susurluk car crash was also detained in the operation on Tuesday as was Fuat Turgut, the lawyer of a key suspect in the Hrant Dink murder.

The operation also allegedly revealed that the Ergenekon group was preparing for attacks and assassinations directed at political figures. Documents obtained by the police during the raid confirm that in the past two years the group seriously considered assassinating Osman Baydemir, a leading member of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) who is currently mayor of the mainly Kurdish southeastern province Diyarbakır.

The information for this blog came from Radikal, Zaman and Hurriyet.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Gladio

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Israeli State perpetrating grave crimes in Gaza.


It is high time the world woke up to the crimes the Israeli government is committing against the people who live in the blockaded Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank. When those who are party to these crimes are eventually brought to book, none us will be able to say we new nothing about the crimes the Israeli government are perpetrating in Gaza, as they have filled our TV screens nightly and make no mistake crimes they are, as to cut off vital supplies of electricity and fuel (and therefore water, since the pumps cannot work), as well as essential foodstuffs, medicines and other humanitarian supplies amounts to a collective punishment, which under the Fourth Geneva Convention constitutes a clear and unequivocal war crime.*

This situation is made far worse by the fact that the government of the USA has actively encourage Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip and those governments who make up the EU Nations have acquiesced to this war crime, which the Israeli administration has taken as being given a green light.

That some Jewish people are participating in what amounts to having created a massive ghetto for the Palestinians who live in the Gaza Strip cannot but break your heart, for the Jews themselves know more than most the suffering that is inflicted by corralling and containing people by force of arms within a small confined geographical space.** It is time the whole world demanded that this abominable injustice and crime is brought to an end. No matter how small we all have a part we can play in ending a blockade and occupation that shames us all.

Below are three URL’s
1/ The Fourth Geneva Convention that sets out in law that collective punishment is a crime.
2/ A call by a group of Israelis for Urgent Action to be taken to end the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
3/ An article by Karen Koning AbuZayd, commissioner general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, in which she writes about the desperate plight of the people of the Gaza Strip and clearly states that they are victims of a war crime.

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Filed under civil-society., fourth-Geneva-convention, Gaza strip, Israel, justice, Palestine, public-opinion, UK, USA, war-crimes