Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Germany / Nazism / Jewish Holocaust

"A man walks past a poster advertising the exhibition 'Berlin 1933: The Road to Dictatorship' at the Topography of Terror museum in Berlin. The exhibition coincides with the 80th anniversary of Adolf Hitler's accession to power." (AFP/Getty)
Adolf Hitler's Memory is a "Constant Warning," Merkel Says on 80th Anniversary
Agence France-Presse dispatch in The Telegraph, January 30, 2013
"Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday that Adolf Hitler's rise to power 80 years ago should go on reminding Germans that democracy and freedom cannot be taken for granted. Mrs. Merkel was speaking at the inauguration of an exhibition in Berlin to commemorate eight decades since Hitler became chancellor on January 30, 1933 -- an anniversary which has aroused much interest in Germany. 'Human rights don't assert themselves. Freedom doesn't preserve itself all alone and democracy doesn't succeed by itself,' Mrs. Merkel said. 'That must be a constant warning for us, Germans,' she added referring to Hitler's arrival at the chancellery. The exhibition, 'Berlin 1933. On the Path to Dictatorship', is on a site charged with history as the former headquarters of the Gestapo, the secret police of the Nazi regime. It now houses The Topography of Terror, an open-air documentation centre whose exhibition traces Hitler's first months in power through photos, newspapers and posters. Mrs. Merkel noted that it only took six months for the dictator to 'wipe out all the diversity' of German society. But she also underscored that a large part of society had supported 'or at least acquiesced' to Hitler's regime.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Syria / Gendercide

"Free Syrian Army fighters say they are still recovering bodies at the river, where several people were found dead." (EPA)
Aleppo Executions: 65 Bodies Pulled from Syria River
The Telegraph, January 29, 2013
"The bodies of at least 65 young men and boys, all executed with a single gunshot to the head or neck, were found on Tuesday in a river in the Syrian city of Aleppo, a watchdog and rebels said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 65 bodies were found in the Quweiq River, which separates the Bustan al-Qasr district from Ansari in the southwest of the city, but that the toll could rise significantly. A Free Syrian Army officer at the scene said at least 68 bodies had been recovered and that many more were still being dragged from the water, in a rebel-held area. 'Until now we have recovered 68 bodies, some of them just teens,' said Captain Abu Sada, adding that all of them had been 'executed by the regime.' 'But there must be more than 100. There are still many in the water, and we are trying to recover them.' A senior government security source said many of the victims were from Bustan al-Qasr and had been reported kidnapped earlier. He accused 'terrorists,' the standard regime term for people fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, of carrying out the executions and spreading propaganda to deflect responsibility. 'They were kidnapped by terrorist groups, who some are accusing of being pro-regime, and executed last night in a park in Bustan al-Qasr under their control,' the source told news agency Agence France-Presse by telephone. ... A volunteer said as he helped load one of the bodies on a truck: 'We don't know who they are because there was no ID on them.' At least 15 bodies could already be seen on the truck, an AFP correspondent said, with other[s] continuing to arrive.

Guatemala / Genocide Tribunals

"Former Guatemalan leader Efrain Rios Montt, in glasses, appears at a court hearing in Guatemala City. A judge ordered that Rios Montt, 86, face trial on genocide charges." (Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Guatemalan Dictator to Stand Trial on Genocide Charges
By Richard Fausset
The Los Angeles Times, January 28, 2013
"Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt will stand trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, a Guatemalan judge ruled Monday, in incidents that took place during the height of the Central American nation's brutal civil war in the early 1980s. Judge Miguel Angel Galvez ruled that Rios Montt, who took power in a 1982 coup and ruled for just over a year, must appear at a hearing Thursday, according to the attorney general's office. The 86-year-old former army general had been under house arrest since January, when he was originally charged with the crimes. Before that, he had been immune from prosecution because of his status as a member of congress. Some conservative Guatemalans continue to believe that Rios Montt is a national hero whose 'hard hand' anti-crime strategies and scorched-earth tactics against Marxist rebels and those suspected of supporting them saved the country from ruin. But liberal groups and human rights advocates have long hoped that Rios Montt would be forced to answer in court for the atrocities carried out by security forces during his brief rule. The current charges, which Rios Montt denies, allege that he ordered the killing of more than 1,700 indigenous Mayas in the remote Ixil area.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Jewish Holocaust / Psychology of Genocide / Genocide Prevention

"Dr. Martin Stern believes there is hope humanity can turn away from genocide." (Neville Collins/Redditch Standard)
We Are All Capable of Genocide Says Holocaust Survivor
By Ian Dipple
Redditch Standard, January 28, 2013
"As a five-year-old child, imprisoned in the Nazi prison camp of Westerbork in the Netherlands, Martin Stern watched thousands of people packed like cattle onto trains and rushed to their deaths at Auschwitz or other extermination camps. One thing always bothered him. 'There were a few soldiers and okay they were wearing military uniforms and carrying pistols but I could see their faces and their faces looked ordinary and stupid and ignorant as I was at the age of five, it was a puzzle to me how one set of normal looking people could do that, packing them in like sardines in goods trucks and cattle trucks, to another set of people who I knew were normal.' It is a question that for the last eight years since he retired as an immunologist working in hospitals in Leicester, that has spurred Dr. Stern to talk about his own Holocaust survival story and to look deeper at the reasons why humanity feels the need to inflict such brutality on itself. He vividly recalls the moment he was arrested at his school in Amsterdam because his father was a Jew. 'The door opened at the back of the little hall and two young men walked in. One of them asked is Martin Stern here. And the teacher immediately shot back "No he hasn't come in today" and there I was in the middle of the row with my classmates. I did not understand what was going on and I put my hand up and said "But I am here" and as these two young men were leading me out of that little hall I looked back and I saw her and I will never forget the ashen face of the teacher.' ... Despite having suffered at the hands of the Nazis, Dr. Stern dismisses the theory which became fashionable in the 1950s and 1960s that genocide was something only Germans were capable of or that genocide is the work of a few evil people such as Hitler and Stalin. 'That's absolutely not true. Go out into the street and look around and you will see people capable of it,' he added.

Israel / Prevention of Births within the Group

Israel Admits Ethiopian Jewish Migrants Were Given Birth Control Shots
By Katie McDonough, January 28, 2013
"Israel has admitted that it has been giving Ethiopian Jewish immigrants birth control injections, according to a report in Haaretz. An Israeli investigative journalist also found that a majority of the women given these shots say they were administered without their knowledge or consent. Health Ministry Director General Prof. Ron Gamzu acknowledged the practice -- without directly conceding coercion was involved -- in a letter to Israeli health maintenance organizations, instructing gynecologists in the HMOs 'not to renew prescriptions for Depo-Provera for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment.' Depo-Provera is a hormonal form of birth control that is injected every three months. Gamzu issued the letter in response to a complaint from Sharona Eliahu-Chai of the Association of Civil Rights in Israel. Representing several women's rights and Ethiopian immigrant groups, Eliahu-Chai demanded an immediate end to the injections and that an investigation be launched into the practice. In addition to Eliahu-Chai, Gal Gabbay, an investigative journalist who had interviewed 35 Ethiopian immigrants, found that while the women were still in transit camps in Ethiopia they were sometimes intimidated or threatened into taking the Depo-Provera shot, often being misled about why. 'They told us they are inoculations,' said one of the women interviewed. 'They told us people who frequently give birth suffer. We took it every three months. We said we didn't want to.'

Israel / Palestine

Lobna Hannash, 21, killed by Israeli forces on January 23.
Dead Children and Arrested Babies: Palestinian Life under Israeli Colonialism
By Juan Cole, January 27, 2013
"The Palestinian West Bank has been illegally de facto annexed by Israel. This territory was not awarded to Israel even in the UN General Assembly partition plan of 1947, and indeed Israel’s possession of it is not recognized even by the US, much less the rest of the world. It was conquered by main force in 1967 and has been settled by hundreds of thousands of Israeli colonists, who have encroached on Palestinian orchards and farms, and have diverted Palestinian water. The Palestinians there have been kept stateless and without the rights of citizenship. They are sentenced in Israeli military courts. Israel controls their land, water and air space, and simply takes what land of theirs it wants, at will. Palestinians have been divided by Israeli Apartheid highways, checkpoints and the Apartheid Wall, so that often getting to hospital in an emergency is impossible and a one-hour journey now takes 8 hours. Israel controls the contours of their lives, but they have no vote in Israel. Here are some recent news items about the West Bank Palestinians. It is like this all the time, but Western media almost never report from the West Bank. Since 2000, roughly 6700 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis. About 1100 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians in the same period. Although Israelis have been steadily encroaching on Palestinian territory, Western media almost never categorize Palestinian responses as resistance, using the Israeli propaganda term 'terrorism' instead. Israeli aggression is almost always portrayed as 'retaliation,' even when Israelis initiated the violence. Israelis are depicted as the ones in danger, even though Palestinians are in 7 times more danger.

Italy / Fascism / Jewish Holocaust

"Italy's gaffe-prone former premier Silvio Berlusconi, pictured on January 9, 2013, in Rome, sparked outrage Sunday with remarks praising wartime dictator Benito Mussolini." (AFP)
Outrage as Berlusconi Praises Mussolini on Holocaust Day
By Gildas Le Roux
Agence France-Presse dispatch on Yahoo! News, January 27, 2013
"Italy's gaffe-prone former premier Silvio Berlusconi, pictured on January 9, 2013, in Rome, sparked outrage Sunday with remarks praising wartime dictator Benito Mussolini despite Il Duce's persecution of Jews and allowing thousands to be deported to Auschwitz. 'The racial laws were the worst mistake of a leader, Mussolini, who however did good things in so many other areas,' Berlusconi, who is angling for a return to politics in elections next month, said on the sidelines of a ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day in Milan. Starting in 1938, Mussolini promulgated decrees known collectively as racial laws that barred Jews from the civil service, the armed forces and the National Fascist Party. The laws also banned intermarriage. Mussolini's Italy participated in the deportation of Jews to the Auschwitz death camp, and an estimated 7,500 are estimated to have been victims of the Holocaust. Italy 'does not have the same responsibilities as Germany,' said Berlusconi, a billionaire media tycoon known for ill-considered outbursts. On Saturday, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany had 'an everlasting responsibility for the crimes of (the Nazis)'. The head of Italy's Jewish community, Renzo Gattegna, hit out at Berlusconi's remarks, saying they were 'not only superficial and inopportune, but also ... devoid of any moral meaning or historical foundation.' Gattegna, head of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, added: 'The persecution and the racist anti-Semitic laws of Italy originated well before the war and were applied with full autonomy under the ... fascist regime, later an ally and willing and conscious accomplice of Nazi Germany.' He said the remarks showed 'the extent to which Italy still has trouble seriously accepting its own history and its own responsibilities'. Centre-left politicians also voiced outrage over Berlusconi's comments. [...]"

Argentina / Iran / Terrorism / Anti-Semitism

"Vahidi is understood to have left Bolivia on Tuesday night." (Associated Press)
Iran and Argentina Agree to Commission on 1994 Bombing
The Telegraph, January 27, 2013
"Argentina and Iran have reached an agreement to create an independent commission to investigate the deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires. Argentina has long accused Iran of masterminding the deadly attack and has since 2006 sought the extradition of eight Iranians, inc'uding current Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Iran has always denied any involvement in the bombing, in which 85 people died, and has refused to arrest the suspects. Mrs. Kirchner said the two sides had agreed to create a 'truth commission' with five independent judges -- none of whom can come from either Iran or Argentina. She said the agreement may allow Argentine authorities to finally question those for whom Interpol has issued 'red notices', which alert the international community of arrest warrants. Mrs. Kirchner called the agreement 'historic,' saying 'it guarantees the right to due process of law, a fundamental principle of international criminal law.' The agreement, signed by Argentina's foreign minister and Iranian authorities in Addis Ababa on the sidelines of an African Union summit, must still be ratified by lawmakers in both countries.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Syria / Canada

"A fighter from the Free Syrian Army, walks on the rubble of a damaged house at the front line in Hich village on Jan. 22, 2013." (Reuters)
Why Has Canada Given Up on Justice in Syria?
By David Petrasek
The Globe and Mail, January 23, 2013
"In the past week, amidst the crisis in Mali and the hostage crisis at the gas plant in southern Algeria, the world's attention shifted away from the continuing bloodshed in Syria. This perhaps explains how the Canadian media missed what appears to be a major, and disturbing, shift in our policy towards Syria. Last week, Canada declined to join with dozens of other countries -- and almost all our major allies -- in supporting a call on the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Despite all the energy Foreign Minister John Baird has devoted to denouncing the violence in Syria and the Assad regime's culpability for massacres and the targeting of civilians, Canada refused to endorse a major international effort to hold Mr. Assad and his regime accountable. Only in the past few days, the BBC's Lyse Doucet provided first-hand and gripping evidence of a massacre of up to 100 civilians in Haswiya, on the outskirts of Homs. In recent weeks, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reported that the death toll in the conflict since it began almost two years ago is much higher than previously reported, and that at least 60,000 people have been killed.

Guatemala / Genocide Tribunals

"An indigenous woman passes graffiti depicting former dictator Efrain Rios Montt in Guatemala City." (Daniel Leclair/Reuters)
Ríos Montt Plays a Risky Defense Game
By Natalie Kitroeff
LatIntelligence, January 24, 2013
"Without fanfare, or so much as a public arrest, this weekend Guatemala took another historic step toward justice for a genocidal civil war that took the lives of more than 200,000 innocent, mostly indigenous civilians. Just a week after losing his diplomatic immunity, General (Ret) Efraín Ríos Montt was ordered to testify in court about his role in abuses that occurred between 1982 to 1983, when he was de facto President of Guatemala. If judge Patricia Flores decides there is enough evidence to proceed to trial, Ríos Montt will be prosecuted on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity (including 626 massacres of civilians in Chimaltenango, Quiché, Huehuetenango and Baja Verapaz). Ríos Montt has made his defense quite clear. Over the past month, he has repeatedly said that he can't be tried for any human rights violations because he wasn't in charge of the military's on-the-ground operations as the country's political leader. His lawyer has echoed these claims, telling the press recently, 'We are sure that there is no responsibility, since he was never on the battlefield.' This strategy is a radical new approach in the Guatemalan context. Until now, the military has consistently denied that genocide was ever a part of the civil war. Even the current president, Otto Pérez Molina, said that he doesn't believe the findings of the UN truth commission, and that he could 'prove that [genocide] did not occur,' during the conflict. But Ríos Montt is now arguing not that the atrocities didn’t happen, but that he is not culpable.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Guatemala / Genocide Tribunals

Pre-Trial Hearing Starts for Guatemala Ex-Dictator
Associated Press dispatch in Las Vegas Sun, January 22, 2013
"A judge in Guatemala has begun pre-trial hearings in a genocide case against former dictator Efrain Rios Montt. Rios Montt is accused of overseeing hundreds of killings when he ruled Guatemala from 1982 to 1983, at the height of the country's 36-year civil war. The war ended in peace accords in 1996, after 200,000 deaths. The judge is going to use the hearings to determine whether there is enough evidence to order a trial. The 85-year-old Rios Montt attended the hearing Tuesday accompanied by friends, relatives and at least three lawyers. His lawyers have sought to block the trial, arguing that he is protected by an amnesty law. Relatives of the victims of massacres in western Guatemala also attended. The prosecution case includes forensic reports documenting hundreds of deaths."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

Sunday, January 20, 2013

In Iran: Text & Photos by Adam Jones

In Iran: Text & Photos, the first e-book by Adam Jones, is now published!

Only $5.99. Purchase from, iBookstore, and soon from,, etc.

The preliminary materials and first four chapters of In Iran: Text & Photos are now available for preview!

What is it like to travel in the Islamic Republic of Iran? In June 2012, Canadian scholar Adam Jones and his companion Griselda Ramírez made a 26-day, 7,000-kilometer private tour through the western half of the country, accompanied only by their guide, Mahmood, and driver Samad. They visited most of Iran’s major cities along with many smaller towns, and travelled to remote frontier areas of Iranian Azerbaijan and Kurdistan. In Iran guides us from the suburbs and cemeteries of Tehran to the dizzying vistas of the Zagros and Alborz mountain ranges ... from the salt flats of Lake Orumiyeh to the splendors of ancient Persepolis ... from the wastes of the Central Desert to the cosmopolitan charms and classic architecture of Shiraz and Isfahan. Along the way, the reader absorbs much of Iranian history, politics, culture, and geography; gets to know Mahmood and Samad; and encounters an array of Iran’s dynamic, diverse, and ever-welcoming people. Uniquely, the text of In Iran incorporates links to hundreds of vivid images that Jones, a widely-published photojournalist, captured throughout his Iranian journey. The photos provide a constant and colorful accompaniment to this entertaining, original, and up-to-the-minute account of one of the world’s most controversial and misunderstood countries -- and one of its most historic and enduring civilizations. 

Canada / Gendercide

Serial killer William Pickton
How the Horrific Case of Serial Killer William Pickton, Who May Have Killed Up to 50 Women, Shone Light on Plight of Vancouver's First Nation Women
By David Usborne
The Independent, January 18, 2013
"Women vanish from Vancouver’s grimy Downtown Eastside with numbing regularity. But the fact a disproportionate number are of First Nations origin has plunged Canada into a political crisis. Ernie Crey, an aboriginal Canadian, is angry. It is twelve years since his sister, Dawn, vanished from Vancouver's downtown eastside -- an utterly dismal skid row of slum hotels, pimps, prostitutes, drug addicts, pushers and charities that try to help them -- and nine years since he learned that her DNA had been drawn from a pair of bloody women's knickers on the pig farm of convicted serial-killer William Pickton. It is worse when you have nothing to bury. Remains from the some victims were found at the farm, 40 minutes outside the city, and given to the families, including cleaved skulls. But nothing of Dawn was recovered. Mr. Crey might have ignored the stories of Pickton mincing human flesh with pork meat and selling it to neighbours, or having the victims' bones boiled down for pet food, but he didn't. 'I have gone there, yes, thought about it,' he admits quietly. 'Not knowing what really happened to her bothers me the most,' says Mr. Crey, 63, a member of the Cheam First Nation and a fisheries advisor to the Stolo Tribal Council. 'Barring Pickton coming forward and saying that yes, he was the asshole who killed her and the other women I don't think I will ever know'. But Mr. Crey is not despairing, in part because the pig-farm murders have not faded from the headlines. Though Pickton was convicted of the second-degree murder of six women in 2007 (the true number of his victims may have been closer to fifty or even higher), and he is now serving life in a federal prison with no chance of parole for 25 years, the case continues to shed light on Canada's most shameful secret: how its most ignored underclass -- indigenous women -- is preyed upon by men with impunity, and with terrifying consequences.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

North Korea

Navi Pillay (Denis Balibouse/Reuters)
UN Official Urges Scrutiny of North Korea
By Nick Cumming-Bruce
The New York Times, January 14, 2013
"The chief human rights official at the United Nations, Navi Pillay, called on Monday for an international inquiry into human rights offenses committed by the North Korean government over many decades. Ms. Pillay, the Geneva-based high commissioner for human rights, pointed to North Korea’s 'elaborate network of political prison camps,' believed by human rights organizations to hold 200,000 prisoners. The camps not only punish people for peaceful activities, but also employ 'torture and other forms of cruel and inhumane treatment, summary executions, rape, slave labor and forms of collective punishment that may amount to crimes against humanity,' she said. When Kim Jong-un succeeded his father as the leader of North Korea in December 2011, there was some hope that the change would lead to a relaxation of harsh policies, Ms. Pillay said, but 'we see almost no sign of improvement.' Instead, she said, North Korea's self-imposed isolation had 'allowed the government to mistreat its citizens to a degree that should be unthinkable in the 21st century.'

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Jewish Holocaust

Leon Leyson, Holocaust Survivor on "Schindler's List," Dies at 83
By Kimber Liponi, January 13, 2013
"Leon Leyson, who was among the youngest of the refugees to be saved from the Holocaust by German businessman Oskar Schindler, has died. He was 83. Leyson was 10 years old when Poland was invaded by the Nazis and 13 when he started to work for Schindler, the hero in Steven Spielberg's 1993 Oscar-winning movie, 'Schindler's List.' Many of Leyson's family members died in the Holocaust. Leon, his parents, older brother and sister survived. Leyson and his family moved to the United States in 1949. It wasn't long before he was drafted into the US Army. He often spoke about how grateful he was to serve his new country. A counselor at Los Angeles City College helped him get his education, and he became a teacher at Huntington Park High School. He taught students there for 39 years. He lived in Fullerton with his wife, Liz, and raised two children. For a long time, most people didn't know Leon was a Holocaust survivor. It wasn't until 'Schindler's List' came out that Leyson began talking about what happened to him and his family. He began talking at elementary schools, high schools and college campuses. He told students about losing his freedom, how he was hungry and frightened. He talked about losing family members, including a beloved older brother. 'Five of us survived the war, this is the bottom line, out of everyone who was related to me in Poland. And we survived because we were on Schindler's list,' Leon said during an interview in 2008 when he was the subject of a 30-minute profile with NBC4's Fritz Coleman. Leyson spoke at the the Orange County's Chapman University often. In 2011, he was awarded an honorary doctorate. When he heard about that, he joked, 'I'm really speechless. I'll be a doctor, so if you have a headache, come see me.'"
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

Friday, January 11, 2013

India / Gendercide

The "Genocide" of India's Daughters
Inside Story on, January 11, 2013
"Supreme Court judges in India have summoned the health secretaries in seven states over a worrying fall in the number of young girls in India. They are demanding details about clinics flouting the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act -- to determine the sex of unborn babies -- with potentially fatal consequences. The judges are blaming what they call rampant foeticide and infanticide, and they say the mindset of parents and society need to change. The UN children's charity UNICEF says the culture of favouring males in India is costing the lives of millions of young girls. The agency says more than 2,000 illegal abortions are being carried out every single day, and it is dramatically altering the balance of the population. It warns: 'Decades of sex determination tests and female foeticide that has acquired proportions are finally catching up with states in India. This is only the tip if the demographic and social problems confronting India in the coming years.' Speaking in April 2011, Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, called for a crusade against the widespread practice of foeticide and infanticide. 'The falling child sex ratio is an indictment of our social values. Our girls and women have done us proud in classrooms, in boardrooms and on the sports field. It is a national shame for us that despite this, female foeticide and infanticide continues.'