Sunday, March 15, 2009

Genocide Studies Media File
March 8-15, 2009

A compendium of news stories, features, and human rights reports pertaining to genocide and crimes against humanity. Compiled by Adam Jones. Please send links and feedback to

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"Killing Fields Executioner Faces Justice"
By Miriama Kamo
The Independent, 13 March 2009
"He may be the most prolific torturer and executioner the modern world has known. Kaing Guek Eav, otherwise known as Duch, sits behind a wall of bullet-proof glass, headphones on, listening to the court's proceedings. The 66-year-old has a choice of three languages to choose from: Khmer, English and French. He's a wiry, compact man, expressionless, his silver hair combed tidily to the side. Today he is wearing small, neat glasses and all the markers of advancing years -- his impressively large teeth have degenerated into tombstones, his long face emphasised by the loose skin of his neck pouching into the collar of his light blue shirt. It's been at least 30 years since Duch committed the last of the many acts which see him here today. He has confessed to atrocities, but insists he was acting under orders. Upon this trial, the first of five for former Khmer Rouge leaders, lies the hopes of millions that justice might finally be found. But there remain serious doubts whether this can be achieved. The Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia lies on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, about 25 minutes by taxi. When my partner Mike, a former refugee laywer, and I first came last July, it took 24 hours to find a driver who knew where the courts were. No one seemed to know anything about the war crimes trials of the Khmer Rouge leadership. But by February this year, as the world's media descended upon Phnom Penh, tuktuk, taxi, and bus drivers were confidently touting for business. The long, hot drive is distinguished by kilometres of building sites, elaborate mansions soaring from rickety bamboo scaffolding, sprouting between the shacks, dust and roadside waste. Somewhere among the poverty is money; cynics say war crimes trials are big business, as diplomats flood into town. The court is a military base specially converted to host the trials. The impressively appointed courtroom is ordered and organised. A wall of attack-proof glass separates the court officials from the 500-seat gallery. Security is paramount. Outside, some 50 metres from the courthouse, is a benign cream and yellow villa which houses the cadres who will stand trial. These five defendants are deemed the most responsible for crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge regime, and have been charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes: Nuon Chea 'Brother No. 2,' Ieng Sary, 'Brother No. 3' and the former Minister for Foreign Affairs, his wife Ieng Thirith the former Minister of Social Affairs, Khieu Samphan, the former President of Democratic Kampuchea, and Kaing Guek Eav. [...]"


"UN Court To Hear Belgian Case Against Senegal Over Chad's Habre"
Agence France-Presse dispatch on, 12 March 2009
"The U.N.'s highest court will hear arguments put forward by Belgium next month to secure the prosecution of Chad's former president Hissene Habre for torture, a court statement said Thursday. Last month, Belgium filed a case against Senegal in the International Court of Justice to compel it to prosecute Habre, who is living on its soil, or to extradite him for trial. It also asked the court, based in The Hague, for an interim ruling on measures to stop Habre from fleeing -- the matter on which public hearings will be held from April 6-8. 'The hearings will be devoted to the request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by Belgium,' the court said. Belgium had argued in documents filed with the court that Senegal's failure to prosecute Habre or to extradite him to Belgium for trial violated the U.N. convention against torture. Habre was toppled from power in 1990 and fled to Senegal after an eight-year reign during which thousands of Chadians were allegedly tortured. An official truth commission report in 1992 accused Habre's regime of committing 40,000 political murders. He was charged in Senegal in February 2000 but the indictment was dismissed by the Dakar Court of Appeal five months later on the grounds that crimes against humanity were not part of Senegalese criminal law. Between November 2000 and December 2001, a Belgian national of Chadian origin and several Chadian nationals filed complaints in Belgian courts, and in September 2005, Belgium issued an international warrant for Habre's arrest. In July 2006, the African Union gave Senegal the green light to prosecute Habre for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The country has since amended its penal code to include the offenses of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity but no trial has started as Dakar claims it needs EUR27 million -- a sum international donors say is excessive."


"Tibet Official Slashes Dalai Lama Clique's 'Tibetan Genocide' Fabrication"
People's Daily Online, 10 March 2009
"A senior official of Tibet said here Tuesday the 'Tibetan genocide' by which the Dalai Lama and his secessionist group claimed more than 1 million Tibetans had been killed in the past 50 years was merely fabrication and vilification. The population of Tibet increased from 1.2 million in 1959 to 2.87 million in 2008, and the 50 years was a period during which the population there grew the most fast in the past several centuries, said Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the Tibet regional government on Tuesday. Of the total population, Tibetans and people from other ethnic minorities account for more than 95 percent, he said."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch. Provided so readers can gain a sense of China's denialist propaganda on this front.]

"Explosives and Anger on Eve of 50th Anniversary of Dalai Lama's Exile"
By Tania Branigan
The Guardian, 10 March 2009
"China's president, Hu Jintao, called yesterday for a 'great wall' of stability in Tibet on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the failed anti-Chinese uprising which led to the Dalai Lama's flight into exile. Angry crowds had earlier hurled homemade explosives in a Tibetan area of Qinghai province, damaging police cars, state media reported. The unrest broke out after police stopped a truck at a checkpoint during a clampdown across Tibet and areas of western China with large Tibetan communities. It is not known who threw the devices, which are fairly common in China. This month is doubly sensitive, given last year's riots in Lhasa and the subsequent disturbances. Increased numbers of armed police are patrolling Tibetan areas and extra troops are guarding Tibet's borders. 'We should build a solid great wall to oppose the separatists, uphold the unity of the motherland and advance Tibet from basic stability to lasting stability,' Hu said in comments played on state television. He served as the Communist party's secretary in the region during protests in 1989. Anti-Chinese riots broke out in Lhasa last March, apparently after peaceful protests to mark the 1959 rebellion were suppressed. Officials say 22 people, mostly Chinese, were killed, while the Tibetan government in exile claims that scores died in the crackdown which ensued as unrest rippled across Tibetan areas. Human rights and exile groups said yesterday that hundreds of people detained during the disturbances were still unaccounted for. [...]"

"The World Is No Longer Looking -- But Tibet's Plight Isn't Over"
By Isabel Hilton
The Independent, 10 March 2009
"A year after the biggest uprising against Chinese rule in half a century, Tibet is under military lockdown, foreign tourists and reporters are banned and an increasingly intransigent Beijing has ratcheted up its war of words. It seems that few lessons have been learned from the 2008 protests, which came as China was polishing its image for the Olympics and which gave fresh impetus to international supporters of Tibet to disrupt Beijing's grandiose Olympic torch relay. It's 50 years since the people of Lhasa rose against Chinese rule, precipitating the flight into exile of the Dalai Lama, and 20 years since the imposition of martial law following the death of the 10th Panchen Lama, Tibet's second most important religious figure. In this month of anniversaries, Beijing is busy rewriting history to insist, against the evidence of repeated rebellions, that Tibetans are content, or, in the words of a government official last year, 'most Tibetans are humble people who know how to be grateful.' In a White Paper issued for the occasion, China congratulates itself on half a century of material progress in Tibet. In another, published late last year, Beijing described a Tibetan cultural flowering and wide religious freedoms, positioning China as the protector of Tibetan culture. The destruction of 90 per cent of Tibet's monasteries and temples on Beijing's orders in the early Sixties, the looting of Tibet's cultural treasures by China or the continuing intensity in Tibet of 'patriotic education' did not merit even a footnote. In a state with only one political authority, everything is the Party's responsibility unless the blame can be shifted on to somebody else. Against this background, truculent nationalism can thrive. In the case of Tibet, unidentified 'foreigners' and the increasingly demonised Dalai Lama are the problem, rather than decades of bungled Chinese colonialism. [...]"


"Has Time Run Out for Nazi-hunters?"
By David Cesarani
The Guardian, 14 March 2009
"There is a peculiar air of irrelevance around the news that a prosecutor in Munich has issued an arrest warrant against John Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian, now a US citizen, who is charged with complicity in the deaths of 29,000 Jews at the Sobibor death camp in Poland during 1943. The time that has elapsed since the crimes of the second world war makes the work of 'Nazi hunters' seem slightly absurd and trials almost a mockery of the law. Yet it is important to remember what is at stake here. Ivan Demjanjuk, now 88, was captured by the German army during fighting in the Soviet Union in 1942. Like many other Ukrainians in the Red Army, he took the option to work for the Germans as a way to escape the appalling conditions in the POW camps in Russia in which over 2 million Soviet soldiers perished from wilful neglect. But he was trained at the Trawniki camp set up by the Germans in 1942 specifically to provide guards for ghettos, concentration camps and death camps in Poland. Trawninki men received ideological instruction and if they failed to meet the standards of the SS they were transferred elsewhere. Demjanjuk proved a willing instrument. At least 167,000 Jews were killed at Sobibor, mostly from Poland, the Netherlands, and France. The figure of 29,000 victims attributed to John Demjanjuk is an estimate based on the lists of Jews sent to the camp between March and September 1943, while he served as a guard. John Demjanjuk's son has told the US press that his father never killed anyone, which may well be true. But in serving as a guard he made the work of the gas chambers possible. [...]"

"Former Nazi Camp Guard Charged 29,000 Times"
Associated Press dispatch in The Los Angeles Times, 11 March 2009
"German prosecutors said today they have charged retired Ohio auto worker John Demjanjuk with more than 29,000 counts of accessory to murder for his time as a guard at the Nazis' Sobibor death camp, and will seek his extradition from the U.S. Demjanjuk (dem-YAHN'-yuk) is accused of participating in the murders while he was a guard at the Nazi camp in occupied Poland between March and September 1943. 'In this capacity, he participated in the accessory to murder of at least 29,000 people of the Jewish faith,' Munich prosecutors said in a statement. The 88-year-old Demjanjuk, who lives in a Cleveland suburb, denies involvement. Demjanjuk's son, John Demjanjuk Jr., said in an e-mailed statement to the AP in Cleveland that his father is suffering from a blood disorder and acute kidney failure, and is not fit for international travel. 'Whatever the Germans decide to do, we will continue to fight for justice in this sad case as there has never been any credible evidence of his personal involvement in even one murder, let alone thousands,' Demjanjuk Jr. said. 'He has never hurt anyone -- before, during or after the war. He is a good person as his family, grandchildren, friends and neighbors have always maintained.' Efraim Zuroff, the top Nazi hunter at Israel's Simon Wiesenthal Center, said he was 'very pleased that the German authorities have taken this step.' 'We hope that the process can be expedited to ensure that this Holocaust perpetrator will finally be appropriately punished,' Zuroff told the AP in a telephone interview from Jerusalem. 'We're on our way to a victory for justice today.' A native of Ukraine, Demjanjuk emigrated to the U.S. in 1952 and gained citizenship in 1958. In denying involvement in war crimes, he has said he served in the Soviet army and became a prisoner of war when he was captured by Germany in 1942. Demjanjuk was extradited to Israel in 1986, when the U.S. Justice Department believed he was the sadistic Nazi guard known as Ivan the Terrible from the Treblinka death camp. He spent seven years in custody before the Israeli high court freed him after receiving evidence that another Ukrainian was that Nazi guard. [...]"


"Bin Laden: Gaza Offensive is a 'Holocaust'"
Associated Press dispatch in The Los Angeles Times, 14 March 2009
"Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has called Israel's offensive on Gaza a 'holocaust' and blamed Arab leaders for not doing enough to stop the fighting in his latest audio recording aired on Al-Jazeera. Bin Laden accused some Arab countries of 'collaborating' with Israel on the offensive earlier this year that killed about 1,300 Palestinians in Gaza. He did not name any specific Arab countries in the brief audio recording played on Al-Jazeera today. The Arabic satellite network did not say how it obtained the recording, and the authenticity of the tape could not be verified. It was the latest message from the terror leader since an audio message on Gaza in January. In that message, he urged Muslims to launch a jihad against Israel."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

"It's Genocide. Full Stop"
By Michael Gillespie, 11 March 2009
"Stunned and outraged, the world watched as Israeli air and ground forces ushered in the new year by slaughtering defenseless, captive Palestinians in Gaza. From the surprise air attack that caught children on their way home from school, through the repeated targeting of unarmed families, women, children, and United Nations personnel, to the last hours before Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced a unilateral ceasefire so the bloody massacre would not distract from news coverage of the inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama, the wildly disproportionate violence of the Israeli military campaign revealed the hideous reality of the world's most heinous crime, genocide. Hundreds of thousands protested Israel's attack on Gaza in cities and towns around the world. Many spoke the name of the crime, among them the world's highest ranking elected official, the President of the 63rd General Assembly of the United Nations, H. E. Father Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, M.M. 'The number of victims in Gaza is increasing by the day ... The situation is untenable. It's genocide,' d'Escoto said at the U.N. in New York. ... In the aftermath of the Israeli attack on Gaza, unsurprisingly, Israel, its operatives, supporters, and useful idiots are reacting to widespread public expressions of anger and indignation by denying that genocide occurred. ... The most obvious and glaring flaw in the argument of those who insist on defining genocide by relying on huge numbers of dead and on numbers of dead compared to the total numbers in targeted groups is that they are useful only after the worst has occurred and the numbers of the dead, in their millions, can be estimated -- when it is too late for the law to serve a prevention function. Reliance upon such definitions robs the Convention of its intended prevention function. [...]"

"Memoricide in the West Bank"
By Jonathan Cook, 10 March 2009
"As spring sets in early, Israelis have been pouring into one of the country’s most popular leisure spots. Visitors to Canada Park, a few kilometres north-west of Jerusalem, enjoy its spectacular panaromas, woodland paths, mountain-bike trails, caves and idyllic picnic areas. A series of signs describe the historical significance of the landscape, as well as that of a handful of ancient buildings, in terms of their Biblical, Roman, Hellenic and Ottoman pasts. Few, if any, visitors take notice of the stone blocks that litter sections of the park. But Eitan Bronstein, director of Zochrot (Remembering), is committed to educating Israelis and foreign visitors about the park’s hidden past – its Palestinian history. 'In fact, though you would never realise it, none of this park is even in Israel,' he told a group of 40 Italians on a guided tour this past weekend. 'This is part of the West Bank captured by Israel during the 1967 war. But the presence of Palestinians here -- and their expulsion -- is entirely missing from the signs.' Zochrot also seeks to remind Israelis of the Nakba, the uprooting of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during Israel's creation in 1948. Its tours are not popular with most Israelis, suggesting, he says, how far they still are from understanding the territorial compromises needed to reach the kind of peace agreement with the Palestinians currently being promoted by the new US administration. An impressive building a short way into the park, signposted as a Roman bathhouse, is all that is recognisably left of a Palestinian village once known as Imwas, itself built on the ruins of the biblical village of Emmaus. There are traces of a cemetery, as well as scattered rubble from the village's houses, a coffee shop, a church, two mosques and a school. The 2,000 Palestinians living there, along with the 3,500 inhabitants of two other villages, Yalu and Beit Nuba, were expelled as the Israeli army captured this area of the West Bank from Jordan. Today, they and their descendants live as refugees, mostly in East Jerusalem and near Ramallah. In place of the three villages, a park was created by an international Zionist organisation, the Jewish National Fund, paid for with $15 million in charitable donations from Canadian Jews. The park entrance is only a minute's drive from the busiest motorway in the country, linking Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. [...]"


"Italian Prosecutors to Pursue Case over CIA Rendition"
By Sebastian Rotella and Maria de Cristofaro
The Irish Times, 15 March 2009
"Italian prosecutors have insisted that they will continue to pursue a high-stakes case against US and Italian intelligence agents despite a high court ruling that the prosecution broke state secrecy laws while investigating the abduction of an Egyptian extremist in Milan in 2003. The ruling on Wednesday by the 15-judge Constitutional Court, Italy’s highest court, gave a partial victory to the government of prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. The government has tried to block the trial of 26 Americans and seven Italians accused in the abduction of Abu Omar, a Milan imam who allegedly was flown to Egypt at the behest of the CIA and was tortured. In its ruling, the court appeared to exclude the evidence of an Italian military police officer that was 'fundamental' to the prosecution’s case, said Alessia Sorgato, a lawyer defending some of the US agents being tried in absentia. The court also found that prosecutors should not have used classified documents found in the search of a headquarters of an operative of the SISMI, the military intelligence service. But Sorgato said that evidence centred on the accused Italian accomplices, making it possible that the Americans' trial could continue. Prosecutors in Milan declared on Thursday that the ruling did not substantively harm their case, the most dramatic prosecution of a clandestine 'rendition' by the CIA to date. The high court rejected the government’s attempt to quash evidence obtained through wiretaps and interrogations of Italian intelligence officials, prosecutors said. More than half of the trial had been completed last autumn before it was suspended by the government's appeal to the Constitutional Court. Testimony is due to resume on March 18th. [...]"


"Always Look on the Bright Side of Genocide"
By Michael Atkinson
In These Times, 5 March 2009
"It's been virtually impossible not to notice the surge in Holocaust movies that have come rampaging at us recently, even in addition to the requisite battery of Oscar-aimed documentaries. We've all been head-thumped by the publicity for Defiance, The Reader and Valkyrie, while moviegoers in urban areas also could choose from The Counterfeiters, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Good and Adam Resurrected for their glum genocidal-drama fix. Soon to come in 2009: Truth & Treason (starring Haley Joel Osment as anti-Nazi rebel Helmuth Hüberner), the Danish film Flammen & Citronen, the French Les Femmes de l'ombre, and so on. Even the hoax memoir Angel at the Fence, with its publication shamefacedly cancelled, is headed into production as a feature. The why now of it all is, as usual in pop culture arenas, impossible to deduct with certainty. Is it a subliminal answer to the Third Reich tactics of the Bush administration, or nostalgia for a less 'asymmetrical' wartime scenario? Or both? What's more pressing is the upshot: Can the Holocaust be turned into popcorn? ... How is it suddenly that the measure of a Holocaust tale is the degree of sympathy allotted to the Germans? This is almost certainly, six solid decades from the end of the Final Solution, an effort by Hollywood producers to depart from the Manichean cultural stereotypes of Nazi and victim, and appear more enlightened and fair-minded—to see the gray areas on the ethical checkerboard. Time has let it happen, to a degree. Today, all individuals must decide for themselves how much 'gray' they can accept in memorializing the Third Reich. But it seems that accepting little or no gray, for history's sake, is hardly a questionable position. Indulging in Nazi empathy is. [...]"


"Ethnic Violence in Russia: A Scourge Flares Anew"
By Alex Rodriguez
Chicago Tribune dispatch in The Los Angeles Times, 9 March 2009
"As soon as Dzhomi Kukanshoyev stepped into the Moscow subway car, three young Russian toughs in tracksuits stopped talking and swung their gazes toward him. 'You're not a Russian -- why are you here?' one of the men shouted at Kukanshoyev, one of legions of migrants who have left impoverished Tajikistan to make a living at Moscow construction sites. 'There's no place for you here.' In seconds, the three pounced on Kukanshoyev with a barrage of punches and kicks. The 25-year-old Tajik was lucky, escaping the October attack with a broken nose and finger. His first encounter with angry Russians in 2004 also could have turned out much worse; a group of men threw him off a Moscow bridge into a stream. 'They thought I was dead,' Kukanshoyev said, 'so they left me.' As the Kremlin copes with a financial crisis steadily eroding the Russian economy, a second crisis threatens to make a difficult 2009 even more challenging. Ethnic violence, particularly crimes directed at migrant workers from poverty-stricken former Soviet republics in Central Asia, has reached new heights. In 2008, Russia logged 97 murders and 428 assaults categorized as hate crimes, nearly double the number recorded in 2004. Already in 2009, ethnic violence has claimed 14 lives and left 33 people injured as of mid-February. Xenophobia has been a scourge in Russia for years, but human-rights activists worry that the ongoing economic crisis will fan the flames. As times get tougher, nationalist-minded Russians look for scapegoats -- and the millions of migrant workers pouring into Russia in search of a better life are an obvious target. 'The kinds of attacks that will go up because of the crisis will be committed by average Russians who harbor the same anti-migrant feelings nationalists do,' said Galina Kozhevnikova, an analyst with Sova Center, a Moscow think tank that studies ethnic violence. 'There will be people angry at being laid off, who will attack those that they believe are responsible for their misfortune.' Experts say the Kremlin needs to act fast to crack down on ethnic violence before it seeds widespread unrest. [...]"


"Rwanda: Gacaca Judge Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison"
Hirondelle News Agency dispatch on, 9 March 2009
"Aboubakar Karemera, President of Gacaca Court of Kigali, accused of complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity, was last Saturday sentenced to 30 years imprisonment. The defendant was tried by the gacaca court of Kanombe, neighbouring district of Kigali. According to the verdict, the president of the gacaca court of the Munanira cell of the Nyakabanda sector in the Rwandan capital, Karemera was found guilty and sentenced for 'illegal possession of a firearm and having held a road block, in the same cell during the genocide.' He was also found guilty of complicity in the murder of a Tutsi woman near the said road block. On March 1, witnesses had reported that a pregnant Tutsi woman, unknown in the Munanira cell, was savagely killed and cut into pieces, before being exposed at the road block, during the genocide. Karemera was tried alongside four other defendants, including the singer Sudi Mavenge Ngabiganje, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison, and Marie Nyiramitero, who was acquitted. The gacacas (pronounced gatchatchas) courts are charged with trying the majority of the alleged authors of the 1994 genocide, which resulted, according to the UN, in nearly 800 000 people killed, primarily Tutsis and moderate Hutus. They are presided [over], not by professional magistrates, but by 'just people' elected from among the community. However, some of 'these just people' themselves have been accused of having taken part in the genocide and yet others were arrested for corruption."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"Raped and Killed for Being a Lesbian: South Africa Ignores 'Corrective' Attacks"
By Annie Kelly
The Guardian, 12 March 2009
"The partially clothed body of Eudy Simelane, former star of South Africa's acclaimed Banyana Banyana national female football squad, was found in a creek in a park in Kwa Thema, on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Simelane had been gang-raped and brutally beaten before being stabbed 25 times in the face, chest and legs. As well as being one of South Africa's best-known female footballers, Simelane was a voracious equality rights campaigner and one of the first women to live openly as a lesbian in Kwa Thema. Her brutal murder took place last April, and since then a tide of violence against lesbian women in South Africa has continued to rise. Human rights campaigners say it is characterised by what they call 'corrective rape' committed by men behind the guise of trying to 'cure' lesbian women of their sexual orientation. Now, a report by the international NGO ActionAid, backed by the South African Human Rights Commission, condemns the culture of impunity around these crimes, which it says are going unrecognised by the state and unpunished by the legal system. The report calls for South Africa's criminal justice system to recognise hate crimes, including corrective rape, as a separate crime category. It argues this will force police to take action over the rising violence and ensure the resources and support is provided to those trying to bring perpetrators to justice. The ferocity and brutality of Simelane's murder sent shockwaves through Kwa Thema, where she was much known and loved for bringing sports fame to the sprawling township. Her mother, Mally Simelane, said she always feared for her daughter's safety but never imagined her life would be taken in such a way. [...]"


"Evacuation Would Constitute U.S. 'Complicity in Genocide' -- Prof. Boyle"
TamilNet, 10 March 2009
"For the United States government to 'evacuate' Tamils from Vanni and then turn them over to the genocidal Government of Sri Lanka would constitute 'Complicity in genocide' by the United States to the genocide that GOSL is currently inflicting on the Tamils in violation of Genocide Convention Article III (e) and the United States's own Genocide Convention Implementation Act as amended. Such a turn-over could very well create personal criminal responsibility for United States government officials involved in this process under both international criminal law and United States domestic criminal law,' warns Prof. Boyle, an expert in international law and a professor at University of Illinois College of Law. In a note sent to TamilNet, Prof Boyle adds: 'The United States government is a party to the 1948 Genocide Convention, which has been implemented as internal United States domestic criminal law by means of the Genocide Convention Implementation Act as currently amended. Article III (e) of the Genocide Convention prohibited, criminalized and requires the punishment of "Complicity in genocide."' Note that the 2007 Genocide Accountability Act (GAA) amended the Genocide Convention Implementation Act of 1987 signed by President Ronald Reagan. An article that appeared in Telegraph edition of 8th March said that '[t]he Obama administration will sound out foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon on Monday on India's support for a US-led invasion of Sri Lanka to evacuate nearly 200,000 Tamil civilians trapped inside territory controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam with precariously declining stocks of food or medicine.['] 'We had some people there to look at the situation to identify what the possibilities might be. We would do whatever we can to help these people,' assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs Richard Boucher told a group of South Asian journalists yesterday,' the Telegraph report added. [...]"
[n.b. What's quoted and what's paraphrased here is a bit hard to tease out -- I'm not sure whether the opening passage is a direct quote from Prof. Boyle -- so handle with care.]


"Doctors Without Borders Exit Darfur"
By Shashank Bengali
McClatchy Newspapers dispatch in The Christian Science Monitor, 14 March 2009
"On her last day in the war-torn Darfur region of western Sudan, Gemma Davies, a British staffer with Doctors Without Borders, helped arrange for a gunshot victim to be transferred from the charity group's remote mountain clinic to a faraway state hospital. She watched as doctors discharged a young mother a day after a difficult delivery. Then she and about a dozen colleagues lifted off in a helicopter, leaving behind a small local staff, a few weeks' worth of supplies, and a promise to make radio contact twice a day. Their departure, three days before the International Criminal Court was due to issue an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al Bashir in connection with atrocities in Darfur, was a security precaution. Ms. Davies figured she'd return to the clinic in a couple of weeks. Now, however, Davies and her team, part of the Dutch arm of Doctors Without Borders, are banned from Darfur after Sudan expelled 13 international humanitarian agencies and three domestic groups last week who were working in the troubled region. Soon after the warrant was announced, Mr. Bashir accused the foreign agencies of collaborating with the court -- which they deny -- and Sudanese authorities began freezing their bank accounts and confiscating computers, telephones and radios. ... The future of the clinic where Davies worked -- and that of scores of programs throughout Darfur that provided clean drinking water, sturdy latrines, prenatal care, vaccinations, schooling, and emergency food for malnourished children -- is in doubt. The clinic and many other sites are cut off from communication and supply lines, reduced to islands in a harsh, sprawling scrubland the size of Texas. Relief groups are scrambling to shutter their offices, pay off local staff members and vacate the country, with no idea how -- or whether -- their programs will continue. The United Nations estimates that the expulsions will affect 1.1 million people. [...]"

"World Court Prosecutor to Appeal Bashir Genocide Ruling"
By Aaron Gray-Block
Yahoo! News, 13 March 2009
"Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court plan to appeal against a decision by judges not to include the charge of genocide when issuing an arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Judges indicted Bashir last week on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur, but stopped short of including a count of genocide over a conflict that United Nations officials say has killed as many as 300,000 people since 2003. 'The prosecution intends to request again that a warrant be issued for the arrest of al-Bashir for genocide,' the prosecutor said in documents seen on Friday, and requested the court allow it to appeal. Bashir, 65, the most senior figure pursued by the court since it was set up in 2002, has dismissed the allegations of war crimes made by the ICC, the world's first permanent war crimes court, as part of a Western conspiracy. Sudan shut down 16 humanitarian aid organizations after the ICC issued its arrest warrant, saying they had helped the international court in The Hague. In the prosecution's documents, dated March 10, the prosecutor said the three-judge panel applied an incorrect standard of proof in its decision determining the basis of 'reasonable grounds' of genocide. It added that as this was the first time the court has dealt with charges of genocide and questions regarding the assessment of the nature of evidence, intervention by the appeals chamber will provide critical guidance for the court in future. [...]"

"President Obama's Genocide Test"
By Nat Hentoff
Jewish World Review, 11 March 2009
"Since the early 1990s, I have been reporting about the monstrous abuses and genocide in Sudan -- first in the South against black Christians and animists, and then in Darfur against black African Muslims. In December 2005, I saw a flicker of hope that, despite the uselessness of the United Nations, this modern holocaust might be stopped. That hope sprang from an article I read in the Washington Post by two senators: Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Sam Brownback. In 'Policy Adrift in Darfur,' the senators (Brownback has actually gone to Darfur) wrote: 'If the United States does not change its approach to Darfur, an already grim situation is likely to spiral out of control. ... When the history of this tragedy is written, nobody will remember how many times officials visited the region or how much humanitarian aid was delivered. They will only remember the death toll.' As the death toll continued to mount, there was hope again on March 4 last week when the International Criminal Court at last issued an arrest warrant for Africa's Hitler, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. He is charged with five crimes against humanity: murder, extermination, forcible transfer (of civilian populations), torture and rape. ... In further strutting his contempt of the ICC, al-Bashir commanded 13 foreign humanitarian organizations to get out of the country within 24 hours as his thugs ransacked their offices, taking computers and whatever cash they could find. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, at last summoning what appeared to be real clear anger at the bloodthirsty head of this sovereign state, emphasized that 4.7 million of al-Bashir's people are in need of aid. These are such basic needs as food, drinking water and medical care. Amid the closing of clinics and deteriorating sanitation, such infectious diseases as cholera will spread. On March 6, the Washington Times and the Associated Press quoted World Health Organization spokeswoman Fadela Chaib on an outbreak of meningitis in Nyala, south of Darfur. It was precisely in that area that the Holland branch of Doctors Without Borders was carrying out meningitis vaccinations. But this indispensable humanitarian organization was one of the 13 expelled by al-Bashir. Said one of its ousted workers (Washington Post, March 5), who had been assigned to one of Darfur's largest refugee camps, 'People have nothing there. The meningitis outbreak alone could lead to thousands of deaths.' [...]"


"Hundreds Killed in Raids on Sudan Villages"
The Irish Times, 15 March 2009
"Heavily armed fighters have killed more than 200 people in raids on villages in South Sudan, where bloody tribal disputes over cattle are jeopardising peace efforts in the oil-rich region, officials said today. The commissioner of Pibor County, Akot M. Adikiu, said he had seen more than 200 bodies, but had heard reports that hundreds more may have been killed in a string of attacks over the past two weeks. The surrounding Jonglei State, where Malaysia's Petronas is searching for oil and France's Total owns a huge concession, has long been plagued by tribal violence, often sparked by disputes over livestock. But ethnic fighting has escalated, fuelled by the huge supply of weapons left over from Sudan's two-decade north-south war that ended with a 2005 peace deal. Africa's longest civil war left painful divisions between ethnic communities that have frustrated efforts to bring peace to South Sudan, in the run up to elections and a referendum on southern independence, both promised under the 2005 accord. Scores of people have been killed at a time in one-off cattle attacks in South Sudan. But officials said the number of reported deaths in Pibor and the appearance of a coordinated campaign against a series of villages was unusual. 'We believe about 453 people have been killed, based on the bodies and information from chiefs and members from villages,' Adikiu said. 'Many of the deaths are women and children.' He said at least 17 villages controlled by the Murle tribe were attacked from March 5th to 13th by armed members of the Lou Nuer tribe. He said the attacks were in retaliation for the theft of around 20,000 Lou Nuer cattle in January."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"Turkey Begins Dig for Missing Kurds In Push for New State Accountability"
By Nicholas Birch
The Wall Street Journal, 10 March 2009
"Excavators dug up bone fragments and clothing Monday from a field here that prosecutors say may hold Kurdish victims of state death squads from the 1980s and '90s, a step ahead in efforts to force the country's security establishment to come clean about past abuses. State prosecutors have ordered the excavation of five sites in Silopi and elsewhere in this mountainous region near the border with Iraq, in a search for those who went missing during Turkey's 25-year conflict with the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK. Families who have long sought to find missing relatives and see the prosecution of those responsible gained new hope in recent months after the unprecedented arrests of current and former members of Turkey's security services accused of attempting to force military intervention in the government. Several of the leading suspects in the case are believed to be former members of Jitem, an arm of Turkey's military police that local residents in southeastern Turkey blame for many of the killings of Kurds. A trial is now under way in Istanbul of 68 suspects who prosecutors say were part of an ultranationalist network known as Ergenekon that attempted to overthrow the West-leaning government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey's ultranationalists oppose efforts by Mr. Erdogan and his government to pursue membership of the European Union. To join the bloc, Turkey is expected to revamp its legal system and make its once-untouchable security forces more accountable, lending impetus to government efforts to resolve claims relating to Kurdish disappearances. Official statistics show 1,412 unsolved murders in 1991 to 1995 as part of the Kurdish conflict. A representative of the Turkish Human Rights Foundation estimates at least 5,000 people were killed, of which 1,000 are missing and presumed dead. The Turkish military denies the existence of Jitem, or any role related to the disappearance and extrajudicial murder of Kurds. [...]"


"Could Churchill Have Stopped 'Bestial Policy'?"
By Ben Macintyre
The Times, 12 March 2009
"The new evidence suggesting that Britain was aware of Witold Pilecki's plans to liberate Auschwitz will reignite the long-running debate over how much Winston Churchill knew about the death camp and whether he did enough to prevent the genocide taking place there. There is little doubt that Churchill, in contrast to many of his contemporaries, was a staunch defender of the Jews and one of the few statesmen to grasp the enormity of the Holocaust. As early as 1941 the code-breakers at Bletchley Park had furnished Churchill with ample evidence of the systematic mass murder of Jews. By 1942 he was condemning what he called 'a bestial policy of cold-blooded extermination.' More specifically, he knew that a train containing 4,000 Jewish children had left Lyon for 'somewhere in Poland.' 'There is no doubt,' he wrote to Anthony Eden, 'that this is probably the greatest and most horrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world, and has been done by scientific machinery by nominally civilised men in the name of a great State and one of the leading races in Europe.' Sir Martin Gilbert, Churchill's official biographer, argues that it was not until July 1944 that Churchill learnt of Auschwitz, when he was also informed that Hungarian Jews were being transported there at the rate of 12,000 a day. Responding to a plan to bomb Auschwitz from the air, he told Eden: 'Get anything out of the Air Force you can, and invoke me if necessary.' The camp was within range of US bombers and several nearby military targets were destroyed from the air. Yet the rail lines to Auschwitz were never bombed. Churchill's defenders insist that his orders became bogged down in the Whitehall machinery, which was desperately focused on winning the war by military means. The decision not to bomb was apparently taken for 'operational reasons' that have never been fully explained. Churchill would claim that the full extent of the horror was not appreciated until much later ... Churchill's detractors insist that, for all his vocal support of the Jews, his practical assistance was strictly limited. [...]"


"UN Report Condemns Britain over Torture Cases"
By Richard Norton-Taylor
The Guardian, 9 March 2009
"Britain is condemned today in a highly critical UN report for breaching basic human rights and 'trying to conceal illegal acts' in the fight against terrorism. The report is sharply critical of British co-operation in the transfer of detainees to places where they are likely to be tortured as part of the US rendition programme. It accuses British intelligence officers of interviewing detainees held incommunicado in Pakistan in 'so-called safe houses where they were being tortured.' It adds that Britain, and a number of other countries, sent interrogators to Guantánamo Bay in a further example of what 'can be reasonably understood as implicitly condoning' torture and ill-treatment. It said the US was able to create its system for moving terror suspects around foreign jails only with the support of its allies. Some individuals faced 'prolonged and secret detention' and practices that breached bans on torture and other forms of ill-treatment, the report says. The document, drawn up for the UN general assembly by Martin Scheinen, the organisation's special rapporteur on the 'promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism,' is likely to add pressure on the government, which is facing demands from human rights groups and frontbench opposition MPs for an inquiry into the role of UK security and intelligence officials in the CIA's secret transfer of detainees to 'dark prisons.' The UN report comes days after fresh disclosures about MI5 co-operation in the secret interrogation and torture of Binyam Mohamed, the UK resident recently released from Guantánamo Bay. While the practice of extraordinary rendition was put in place by the US, it was only possible through collaboration from other countries, the report says. It identifies the UK, with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Georgia, Indonesia, Kenya, Macedonia and Pakistan, as countries that provided 'intelligence or have conducted the initial seizure of an individual before he was transferred to (mostly unacknowledged) detention centres in Afghanistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Jordan, Pakistan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Thailand, Uzbekistan ... or to one of the CIA covert detention centres, often referred to as "black sites".' [...]"


"Morgenthaus vs. Genocide"
By Rafael Medoff, 13 March 2009
"Robert Morgenthau’s announcement that he will retire after more than three decades as Manhattan’s district attorney caps an impressive career in law enforcement. With his latest case, against banks illegally aiding the governments of Iran and Sudan, three generations of Morgenthaus have now confronted perpetrators of genocide -- which is as tragic a commentary on the persistence of human rights abuses in modern times as it is a tribute to a remarkable family that has fought those abuses. It began with Robert Morgenthau's grandfather. A lawyer and realtor in turn-of-the-century Manhattan, Henry Morgenthau Sr. was an unlikely crusader for human rights. His life took a surprising turn when his support for the long-shot presidential candidacy of Woodrow Wilson was rewarded with the post of American ambassador to Turkey. Under the cover of World War I, the Turkish authorities embarked on a campaign of mass murder against their Armenian citizens. Morgenthau's desperate cables to Washington about this 'attempt to exterminate a race' -- relaying details of the wholesale deportations, massacres and rapes -- are among the most important evidence of the atrocities. ... Morgenthau resigned in frustration in early 1916. ... Two decades after Henry Morgenthau Sr. resigned his post as ambassador, a twist of fate put his son in a position to act against genocide. ... Like his father and grandfather, Robert Morgenthau chose a career path that one would not expect to embroil him in international affairs. As Manhattan's district attorney since 1975, Morgenthau prosecuted the usual array of criminals, from muggers to Mafia bosses to white-collar swindlers. Last month, however, Morgenthau announced the results of what is perhaps his most important investigation: His office caught 10 major international banks laundering 'billions of dollars' for Iran and Sudan. Part of the money purchased goods that international sanctions prevent Tehran and Khartoum from acquiring. Some of the money was channeled to terrorist groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah. ... Three generations of Morgenthaus were unexpectedly thrust into the international arena and rose to the challenge. Henry Sr. exposed the perpetrators of the Armenian genocide. Henry Jr. helped interrupt the Nazi genocide. Now the Sudanese regime that is carrying out genocide in Darfur and the Iranian regime that dreams of genocide against Israel are facing their own Morgenthau. The family's legacy has come full circle."


"'Israel Lobby' Blamed as Obama's Choice for Intelligence Chief Quits"
By Rupert Cornwell
The Independent, 13 March 2009
"Fears over the Jewish lobby's excess influence on US foreign policy flared anew yesterday after a former diplomat and strong critic of Israel backed out of a key national intelligence post, saying his appointment by President Barack Obama had been torpedoed by a campaign of lies against him. Charles Freeman, a veteran diplomat hugely experienced in Middle Eastern affairs, had been chosen to head the National Intelligence Council, the body that delivers to the White House influential and highly sensitive reports synthesising the views of the country's 16 intelligence agencies. But, on Wednesday, he withdrew his name from consideration, declaring he had fallen victim to what he called the 'Israel lobby.' Its campaign, he charged, had 'plumbed the depths of dishonour and indecency,' including 'wilful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth.' ... The loss of Mr Freeman, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia under the first president Bush, suggests that Mr Obama's ability to make significant changes in US policy in the Middle East will be severely limited by domestic political reality. As such, it raises the question of how far Mr Obama will be able -- or willing -- to stand up to Benjamin Netanyahu, the hardline Likud party leader who is all but certain to become Israel's next prime minister. Their relationship will be crucial for the important decisions looming over the Palestinian conflict and Iran's suspected nuclear weapons programme. ... A trenchant critic of the harsh Israeli responses to attacks from Hizbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, Mr. Freeman has long maintained that the Jewish state's policies were self-defeating. Yesterday, he repeated that charge in an interview with The New York Times, saying Israel was 'driving itself towards a cliff.' It was 'irresponsible to not question Israeli policy and to decide what is best for the American people,' he said. Those words exactly reflect the thesis of the 2007 book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy that generated huge controversy by asserting that American policy was slavishly aligned to Israel thanks to the efforts of the Jewish state's supporters, to the detriment of underlying US interests. [...]"
[n.b. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss -- the Israel lobby.]


"US Lawmakers Press Obama on Armenian 'Genocide'"
Agence France-Presse dispatch on Yahoo! News, 12 March 2009
"US President Barack Obama should label Ottoman World War I-era mass killings of Armenians as 'genocide,' even though such a step would anger US ally Turkey, US lawmakers said in a letter to him. 'We do not minimize Ankara's threats of adverse action when you recognize the genocide, or when Congress takes action to formally recognize the genocide, but we believe that our alliance is strong enough to withstand the truth,' they wrote Obama on Tuesday. Obama, who is expected to visit Turkey next month, repeatedly pledged during his 2008 White House run that he would recognize the 1915-1917 massacres as genocide and has strongly backed US congressional resolutions to that effect. 'No president in the postwar era has come into office with a stronger understanding of the historic facts of the genocide, or with a greater track record of speaking plainly on this terrible chapter,' wrote the lawmakers. US presidents commemorate the killings every year, but Ronald Reagan was the only one to label them genocide. The 94th anniversary of the slaughters is April 24. The letter was signed by Democratic Representatives Frank Pallone and Adam Schiff and Republican Representatives Mark Kirk and George Radanovich. Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their people were systematically killed by Ottoman Turks in an act of genocide between 1915 and 1917 as their empire fell apart -- a claim supported by several other countries. [...]"
[n.b. The quotes around "genocide" in the headline are notable in themselves.]


"Closing America's Torture Chambers"
By Eric Lewis
In These Times, 12 March 2009
"President Obama was courageous to issue an executive order to close Guantánamo by next January. Having litigated on behalf of Guantánamo detainees for the last five years, I am delighted that this ugly symbol of the cruelty of the Bush years will be shut down. Its closing not only fulfills Obama's promise to obey the rule of law at home, but also demonstrates to the world that the casual torture and humiliation of foreign Muslim men -- in the illusory pursuit of safety -- is over. But while closing Guantánamo is a critical step, it is not an end in itself. To mark a true break from the policies of the Bush years, the Obama administration must resolve some lingering questions. First, what will happen to the detainees who cannot be returned to their home countries? There are about 65 to 85 detainees now held at Guantánamo who have been 'cleared for release.' That is, they have been found not to have committed crimes and not to pose a threat of future danger. Military officials now concede that many of these men were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. As a first priority, the Obama administration should work with allies to get these men -- some of whom have been incarcerated for nearly seven years -- out of jail and resettled, and accept some of these detainees into the United States. Second, what will happen to the detainees who cannot be charged with crimes but have been viewed as 'too dangerous to release'? No doubt there are dangerous men at Guantánamo. Yet only 21 have been charged with crimes. The Pentagon is holding the rest -- about 70 to 80 detainees -- in preventive detention, which means a special court may have to consider whether they should be held. But a preventive detention court is fundamentally incompatible with our criminal justice system, which adjudicates the culpability of past acts rather than predictions of future dangerousness. These men should be put on trial in our criminal courts. [...]"

"What's Law Got to Do With It?"
By Reza Fiyouzat
Online Journal, 12 March 2009
"In an article titled, Memos Provide Blueprint for Police State, Marjorie Cohn, sets out clearly the role of two key figures in the drafting of a set of memoranda that overturned the most basic protections American citizens had against arbitrary state harassment and violence, effectively turning the U.S. into a police state. Cohn has consistently recorded former administration of George W. Bush’s violations of some of the most fundamental laws protecting civil liberties. She, along with Michael Ratner and Center for Constitutional Rights and others, have been vocal advocates of bringing key Bush administration officials to justice, for their willful violations of the U.S. laws, as well as international laws, for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, and for their torture policies, as well as illegal spying on American citizens. All of which came about with the helpful signatures on official memoranda shot off from the desks of legal advisors such as John Yoo and Jay Bybee. As she describes, 'In one memo, Yoo said the Justice Department would not enforce U.S. laws against torture, assault, maiming and stalking, in the detention and interrogation of enemy combatants.' In her opening paragraph, Cohn states, 'The memos provide "legal" rationales for the president to suspend freedom of speech and press; order warrantless searches and seizures, including wiretaps of U.S. citizens; lock up U.S. citizens indefinitely in the United States without criminal charges; send suspected terrorists to other countries where they will likely be tortured; and unilaterally abrogate treaties. According to the reasoning in the memos, Congress has no role to check and balance the executive. That is the definition of a police state.' [...]"

"Hersh: 'Executive Assassination Ring' Reported Directly to Cheney"
By Muriel Kane, 11 March 2009
"Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh dropped a bombshell on Tuesday when he told an audience at the University of Minnesota that the military was running an 'executive assassination ring' throughout the Bush years which reported directly to former Vice President Dick Cheney. The remark came out seemingly inadvertently when Hersh was asked by the moderator of a public discussion of 'America's Constitutional Crisis' whether abuses of executive power, like those which occurred under Richard Nixon, continue to this day. Hersh replied, 'After 9/11, I haven’t written about this yet, but the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it. They haven’t been called on it yet.' Hersh then went on to describe a second area of extra-legal operations: the Joint Special Operations Command. 'It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently,' he explained. 'They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. ... Congress has no oversight of it. It's an executive assassination ring essentially, and it's been going on and on and on,' Hersh stated. 'Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That's been going on, in the name of all of us.' Hersh told blogger Eric Black in an email exchange after the event that the subject was 'not something I wanted to dwell about in public.' He is looking into it for a book, but he believes it may be a year or two before he has enough evidence 'for even the most skeptical.' [...]"


"Pope Acknowledges Problems in Holocaust Denial Controversy"
By Peter Wensierski
Spiegel Online, 12 March 2009
"Pope Benedict XVI has made a rare admission of a 'mishap' in the Vatican's handling of Holocaust denier Bishop Richard Williamson. A cardinal partly to blame for the debacle has been stripped of his power, and the pope says the Vatican ought to make better use of the Internet -- to inform itself about crises more quickly. An unswerving principle of infallibility has traditionally applied at the Vatican, in particular when it comes to questions of doctrine: Popes don't make mistakes. Benedict XVI has shattered this principle with a letter dated March 10, addressed to his 'dear brethren in the Episcopal ministry.' He mentions a 'mishap which I sincerely regret.' And he mentions the consequences -- a reorganization of decision-making bodies that will end the career of a powerful cardinal. The Ecclesia Dei Pontifical Commission, which was responsible for the Richard Williamson case, is being dissolved and will be merged with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a control authority headed for years by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger -- before he became Pope Benedict XVI. Now the pope believes it should take on more authority. As a result, Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, who triggered the Williamson debacle in mid-January, has been deprived of his power and, at almost 80, will slip into a well-earned retirement. 'Now that was quite a crash,' a prelate who witnessed the events said on Wednesday afternoon. So much self-criticism is rare from a pope. [...]"


"Witch Hunt: Africa's Hidden War on Women"
By Johann Hari
The Independent, 12 March 2009
"Across Africa, a war is being waged on women -- but we are refusing to hear the screams. Over the past fortnight, I have travelled into the secretive shadow world that mutilates millions of African women at the beginning of their lives, and at the end. As girls, they face having their genitalia sliced out with razors, to destroy their 'filthy' sexuality and keep them 'pure.' As old women, they face being hacked to death as 'witches,' blamed for every virus and sickness blowing across the savannah. For decades, we have not wanted to know, because it sounded too much like the old colonialist claims of African 'primitivism,' used as an excuse by our ancestors to pillage the continent's resources. Our bad memories stop us hearing their bad experiences. But today, a rebellion of African women has begun, in defence of their own bodies, and their own freedom. They are asking for our support, and receiving it from Comic Relief and the tens of thousands of people raising money for them tomorrow. This is the story of the great African feminist fightback -- and how you can be part of it. ... Witch killings are a daily event in Sukumaland. The victims are almost invariably old women, living alone. These women are frightening anomalies here: they have a flicker of financial independence denied to all other females. It has to be stopped. 'Of course witches must be killed!,' Emanuel Swayer tells me, leaning forward. 'They are witches!' We are sitting in the nearby town of Nasa-Gin now, in the soft breeze by Emanuel's fields. A skinny dog is lolling at Emanuel's feet. He is regarded as a local expert on witches -- and how to dispose of them. [...]"

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