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8 Sept 2004 - MiddleEast.Org - MER is Free
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Terrible collective torture and
killings in Chechnya
for years
led to lastest Massacre



 "I remember a Chechen female sniper. We just tore her
  apart with two armored personnel carriers, having tied her
  ankles with steel cables. There was a lot of blood,
  but the boys needed it."
  -- Russian soldier
 
  "The Russian war in Chechnya has left 180,000 civilians dead,
17 percent 
of the population and twice as many homeless. Thousands
of innocent 
people kidnapped by Russian soldiers disappeared
without a trace. Some
were ransomed to their families, alive and dead.
Some were found in mass
graves, disfigured by horrible torture...
How can anyone then be surprised 
that our youth a brother
whose sister was raped, a son whose father
was tortured to
death   do not heed our sermons of moderation,

and join the ranks of desperate suicide avengers?
                                                            Akhmed Zakayev
                                                           Exiled deputy prime minister of the Chechen Republic


"The war in Chechyna - it was like nothing I had ever seen before.
In terms of the scale of violence, fear and horror, it left anything in
my experience so far behind as to make it almost insignificant.
You can grade conflicts according to intensity if you desire:
low, medium and high. Chechnya blew the bell off the
end of the gauge, and revealed an extreme of war to me that I
had no conception of. Afterwards my understanding of
conflict was never quite the same again. It was
indeed a glimpse from the edge of hell."
-- Anthony Loyd


"The Russians have managed to defuse Western criticism by designating
the conflict an 'anti-terrorist operation.' They have depicted the Chechen
people as bloodthirsty terrorists who would impose Islamic law on other
Caucasian republics. Today even educated Muscovites commonly say
there is nothing wrong with killing Chechen non-combatants, even babies."
-- Washington Post


MER - Mid-East Realities - MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 8 Sept: hat happened in Beslan in the Russian state bordering Chechnya a few days ago, like what happened on 9/11 in the United States, wasn't a single event happening out of the blue on a single date. It all started a long time ago, grew in intensity, and exploded in an orgy of bloodshed, death, destruction, misery, and recriminations.

Murdering and terrorizing is learned behavior growing from imbedded hatreds and souls warped by horrors singed with seething emotional and psychological pain. Similiar realities have taken hold in Palestine and in Kashmir -- all places where unjust from-the-start historical decisions were taken years ago leading to generations of escalating conflict and to brutal blood-curdling supression of popular yearnings for freedom and independence.

Those who hold power all-too-often are more desperate to cover-up what they and theirs have done in the past that has lead to the latest outrages than to take the difficult decisions required to resolve the embittered conflicts that have resulted.

Not that long ago the senior political and military leaders in Washington and Russia manuevered the 'balance of nuclear terror' prepared to bring horrible death and destruction to tens of millions if their political and strategic calculations went astray. These same groups and parties at various times and in various ways visited terrible suffering in the century now past on the peoples of Europe, Asia, parts of Africa and Latin America and the Middle East.

And now we have all been pushed into this new era of maddening insurgent uprisings and repressions, and the 'terrorism' inherent to such mismatched conflicts. It is a new era that has itself emerged from that earlier era on the terrible nuclear precipice, one which in fact may be returning again in another even more frightening form.

This look at the wreching almost indescribably brutal Russian war in Chechnya to block Chechnyan independence must be understood to be the crucible in which the horrifying events of recent days were brewed.

It is a genocidal war Vladimir Putin is personally responsible for more than any other. But then neither the U.S. nor the European powers nor the U.N. for that matter have had the vision, the determination, and the courage to step in. And thus the fingers of responsibility and blame should be pointing in many simultaneous directions at this time. MER



Torture and rape stalk the
streets of
Chechnya

Polish writer Krystyna Kurczab-Redlich visited the

region where she witnessed the brutal work done
by Russia's soldiers in their fight against separatists


The Observer - UK - Sunday October 27, 2002: At 5am on 14 April 2002, an armoured vehicle moved slowly down Soviet Street. A young brown-haired man, covered in blood, his hands and feet bound, stood onboard. The vehicle stopped and the man was pushed off and brought over to a nearby chain-link fence. The car took off and there was a loud bang. The force of the explosion, caused either by a grenade or dynamite, sent the man's head flying into the neighbouring street, called Lenin's Commandments. 'It was difficult to photograph the moment, though I have grown somewhat accustomed to this,' says a petite greying Chechen woman, who has spent years documenting what Russia calls its 'anti-terrorism campaign'.

Blowing people up, dead or alive, she reports, is the latest tactic introduced by the federal army into the conflict. It was utilised perhaps most effectively on 3 July in the village of Meskyer Yurt, where 21 men, women and children were bound together and blown up, their remains thrown into a ditch.

From the perspective of the perpetrators, this method of killing is highly practical; it prevents the number of bodies from being counted, or possibly from ever being found. It has not always succeeded in this respect, however. Since the spring, dogs have been digging up body parts in various corners of Chechnya, sometimes almost daily.

Meanwhile, the more traditional methods endure. On 9 September the bodies of six men from Krasnostepnovskoye were found, naked, with plastic bags wrapped around their heads. In June, a ditch containing 50 mutilated bodies was discovered near the Russian army post in Chankala. The corpses were missing eyes, ears, limbs and genitals. Since February, mass graves have been found near Grozny, Chechen Yurt, Alkhan-Kala and Argun.

For nearly 10 years, since the beginning of the first war in December 1994, the grey-haired woman has been patrolling with her camera. She shows the gruesome images strewn on her table as if they were relics, or photographs from a family album. She runs her hand over the contours of an actual cracked skull, one of about a dozen found in February between Meskyer Yurt and Chechen Yurt.

'The remains were unearthed not long after they died,' she says. 'The tissue was still in good shape. The torn pieces of flesh suggest that the victims were attacked by dogs. It's difficult to know. People don't want to talk. They are scared that they will be next.'

The Society for Russian-Chechen Relations, in collaboration with Human Rights Watch, reports that in the span of a month between 15 July and 15 August this year, 59 civilians were shot dead, 64 were abducted, 168 were seriously wounded and 298 were tortured. Many men simply disappeared after being detained by Russian soldiers or security police; others were shot outright. During an operation in Chechen Aul between 21 May and 11 June, 22 men were killed. The majority were aged 20 to 26; two were 15.

Since Chechen Aul is considered hostile territory, it has undergone 20 such 'mopping-up operations' this year. Usually the raids are conducted by federal armed forces (particularly OMON, the police special forces, and Spetsnaz, its army equivalent) and occur at any time of day or night. Typically a village will be encircled by tanks, armoured vehicles and army trucks, one of which, known as the purification car, is designated for torture. According to Human Rights Watch in New York, torture is a preferred method of gathering intelligence. Cut off and isolated, Russian troops' best hope of discovering guerrilla activity is by grabbing citizens, almost at random, and coercing from them whatever information they might have.

In its most benign form, such raids are limited to theft of personal property - from cars, refrigerators and television sets to jewellery, clothes, pots and pans, and, of course, money. But they frequently turn ugly. 'They arrived on 23 August at 5am,' says Zuhra from Enikaloi. 'There were about 100 army vehicles, all packed with soldiers. We ran out to meet them with our documents. God forbid you encounter an impatient 'federal'. If you do, then in the best-case scenario you may be tortured or shot dead on the spot. In the worst case, they take you away. About 20 of them, armed to the teeth and wearing masks, climbed into the yard and the house. As always, they were dirty, unshaven and reeking of vodka. They cursed horribly. They shot at our feet. They took my identification papers and started to shred them. I had bought them for 500 roubles. They cost me everything I had. They went to our neighbours' house, the Magomedova family. We heard shots and the screams of 15-year-old Aminat, the sister of Ahmed and Aslanbek. "Let her be!" screamed one of the brothers, "Kill us instead!". Then we heard more shots. Through the window we saw a half-dressed OMON commander lying on top of Aminat. She was covered in blood from the bullet wounds. Another soldier shouted, "Hurry up, Kolya, while she's still warm".'

Sometimes those who survive wish they were dead, as in Zernovodsk this summer, when townspeople say they were chased on to a field and made to watch women being raped. When their men tried to defend them, 68 of them were handcuffed to an armoured truck and raped too. After this episode, 45 of them joined the guerrillas in the mountains. One older man, Nurdi Dayeyev, who was nearly blind, had nails driven through his hands and feet because it was suspected that he was in contact with the fighters. When relatives later retrieved his remains, he was missing a hand. The relatives of another villager, Aldan Manayev, picked up a torso but no head. The families were forced to sign declarations that Dayeyev and Manayev had blown themselves up.

Usually groups of people simply disappear. Shortly thereafter their families begin feverish searches in all the army headquarters and watch posts. If they can track down a missing family member, they might be able to buy him or her back. The going rate for a live person is in the thousands of dollars. For a dead body, the price is not much lower. If they cannot find the person, family members mail letters to Putin (Russia's president) and file petitions with social organisations and rights groups. They post photographs with the caption missing.

And they wait. Most of the abductees never return and the trail grows cold.

Those who do return are often crippled, with bruised kidneys and lungs, damaged hearing or eyesight and broken bones. It is almost certain they will never have children.

The Russians do not deny that these things happen. Indeed, an official order has been issued banning such abuses.

But what most journalistic accounts from the region overlook is the savagery committed by the other side. Anyone considered a 'collaborator' by the guerrillas is subject to abduction for ransom or summary execution. This summer a remote-controlled mine, presumably intended for a Russian military convoy, exploded at a bus stop in the Chechen capital of Grozny, killing 11 civilians, including two children.

Analysts say that guerrilla leader Aslan Maskhadov, once regarded as comparatively secular, has succeeded in consolidating his often fractious forces by welcoming back into his command several rebel commanders regarded as radical Islamists. New rebel videotapes play down nationalist imagery in favour of Islamist symbols.

It all suggests that the brutality of the Russians has also resulted in a growing radicalisation of their opponents.

Krystyna Kurczab-Redlich, a Polish reporter, filed this dispatch for Newsweek's Polish-language edition.







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September 2004


Magazine






Iran and Syria now Targeted
(September 30, 2004)
Now the Americans and Israelis have Iran and Syria in their sights.

MER Warned About Jewish Neocons and Israeli Lobby Years Ago
(September 30, 2004)
Think back now to the days before the Bush/Cheney regime took power in Washington, before the term 'neocon' and the policy of 'pre-emption' were in wide use, and to before 9/11 was even imagined by all but a very few. MER was already long ago raising the warning flags, explaining what was really happening in Washington as well as in the Middle East, previewing what has since come to be; all while so many others were proclaiming the 'peace process is irreversible' and Yasser Arafat was the most frequent foreign guest at the American White House!

MER Articles - Sept 1998
(September 30, 2004)


Intifada II Enters Year Five
(September 28, 2004)
The figures for the Intifada are brutal. Adjusted for the size of the U.S. population, that is if the Israeli occupation were taking place in the U.S., over 300,000 Americans would have been killed in just the past 4 years alone, well over a million seriously injured, many millions imprisoned and tortured, plus considerable land confiscated, homes destroyed, and occupying Jewish 'settlers' taking over.

MER Articles - September 1997
(September 28, 2004)
These MER Articles were published in September 1997. The perspective they offer on events since is crucial.

Maps tell the Real Story 'on the ground' where it counts
(September 26, 2004)
The Israelis now control all Palestinian areas through hundreds of military Checkpoints, No-go zones, By-pass 'Jews only' Roads, Settlements, Outposts, and in recent years Fences, Walls, and Electronic Monitoring systems throughout the West Bank similar to what was done in the past to Gaza. In addition all Palestinians must even receive Israeli military permission to travel from one city and village. The situation is today far worse than Apartheid was in South Africa. As a result, no real, contiguous, and even minimally sovereign Palestinian State is possible any longer in the area that was Palestine in 1947.

Anglican group calls for Israel sanctions
(September 24, 2004)
A few months ago the American Presbyterians officially took the first major Church steps to sanction Israel, recalling how South Africa was treated in the days of Apartheid not that long ago. Now an influential Anglican group is pushing for a combination of boycott and divestment from Israel when their senior Church leaders next meet.

USA at MOMENT of NATIONAL CRISIS
(September 24, 2004)
"Over the last three years, practicing a philosophy of deliberate deception, fear-mongering and abuse of authority, the Bush administration has done more to undermine the republic of Lincoln and Jefferson than the cells of al-Qaida. It has willfully ignored our fundamental laws and squandered the nation's wealth in bloody, open-ended pursuits.... We have arrived at a moment of national crisis."

Sy Hersh - Readers' Comments
(September 23, 2004)
Important articles and exclusive insights like this would not be easily available, or oftentimes available at all, but for MER. These Readers' Comments this week concern the recent MER article about Washington journalist Seymour Hersh and his recent interviews and talks about his new book Chain of Command:

ARAB AMERICANS - REALITIES NOT DECEPTIONS
(September 22, 2004)
The real message to the tough-minded politicos in Washington is this: There's nothing to worry about from Arab Americans...working overtime they can only mobilize quite few in numbers...they are not even protesting against the upcoming agreement itself likely to be soon signed across the street...they know nothing about the power of civil disobedience...they have no powerful or even significant allies...their leadership is naive and oftentimes foolish...and the Arab organizations we work with can be counted on to keep them under control come what may.

IRAN - The U.S. and Israel Prepare to Attack
(September 22, 2004)
The new massive arms sale of 'bunker busting' bombs to Israel has two major purposes at this point in addition to furthering the Bush/Cheney election campaign -- to prepare for real war with Iran sooner rather than later, while at the same time attempting to further intimidate one more time those in Tehran to 'comply, resistance is futile'.

About MER - Please Read and Contribute Today
(September 21, 2004)
Reorganizing and overcoming all the obstacles has come at a considerable price in time, effort, and funds. We have to appeal now for your substantial financial support; for a truly independent and hard-hitting organization must have truly independent funding or it cannot continue and have impact. Please contribute today to make MER possible and of growing impact. Thank you!

Sy Hersh - Israeli Disinformation and Cover-Up?
(September 21, 2004)
In fact, the more one thinks about this, the more one reaches the possible conclusion that while Hersh is on target (though incomplete) when it comes to the torture scandal, when it comes to the geostrategic, especially when it comes to matters relating to Israel, Hersh may well be being used for disinformation and continually engages in a kind of self-censorship and cover-up.

Journalists and Professors With Chilling Warnings
(September 20, 2004)
"Every generation has its test of principle in which people of good faith can no longer remain silent in the face of authoritarian ambition. If we cannot join together to fight the abomination of American camps, we have already lost what we are defending."

The 'Fucking' Crazy and Stupid Washington Neocons
(September 19, 2004)
Of course they only talk this way when they've really had it and when they think the befuddled largely ignorant general public won't hear. But the reality is these two top American Generals who have been saluting to power their whole lives, and who themselves are very much a part of the terrible corrupted system, are known to feel the senior neocons empowered by Bush and Cheney are out of control and sometimes a little fucking out of their minds!

Feith of Israel
(September 18, 2004)
MER 'Washington Scene'EXCLUSIVE: Click to Listen to Douglas Feith at an Israeli lobby White House rally while Bill Clinton was still President, Feith was not yet back in government, and more than a year before 9/11 was to happen. For some time in Washington Feith has been a prominent member of the extended Israeli-Jewish lobby speaking at times as harshly and unrelentingly as any Israeli propagandist. Persons in the media should contact MER for more extensive information and additional audio and video clips of Feith - 202 362-5266 and press@MiddleEast.Org

Crude Politics: How Bush's Oil Cronies Hijacked the War on Terrorism
(September 17, 2004)
But, when writing about the situation in Washington and the linkages between persons and groups that brought about the Iraqi invasion/occupation, Sperry makes significant contributions in his book Crude Policies that need to be understood.

Washington's Pathetic Arabist Hustlers - National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations
(September 16, 2004)
But the most tragic reality of all is that in the process of what they have done for themselves this pathetically incestuous Washington cabal of 'Arabists' has squandered crucial decades, all together more than a hundred million dollars, and even now with the Middle East on fire and Washington gripped by policy warfare very very few even want to bother to come and get their free lunch with them.

Iraqi Debacle, Iraqi Disaster
(September 16, 2004)
Most senior US military officers now believe the war on Iraq has turned into a disaster on an unprecedented scale

EYEWITNESS TO SLAUGHTER IN BAGHDAD
(September 15, 2004)
On Sunday as the details of this murderous U.S. attack on a Baghdad crowd were first being reported, MER asked an officer on Commanding U.S. General Abizaid's staff how could the U.S. be using attack helicopters to fire on crowds in Baghdad and still think Iraqis wouldn't hate the Americans. He suggested it must have been to protect troops still in the damaged vehicle. A few hours later when told that was not the case, that the troops had already been rescued, he suggested maybe there was a need to destroy the vehicle for 'intelligence' reasons. When told the vehicle was already destroyed and on fire he could only shrug... How telling... This unusually gripping first-hand report from the exploding streets of Baghdad:

Bin Laden More Popular Than Bush in Egypt
(September 14, 2004)
With Iraq exploding, the Americans attacking street crowds in Baghdad with bombs and missiles, and the U.S. military already stretched to the breaking point both in terms of manpower and credibility, Washington's propaganda machine is in overdrive both at home and abroad. Even so, even in long-time American ally Egypt, Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda are considerably more popular than George W. Bush and the U.S.

Iraq Exploding in Rebellion and Death
(September 12, 2004)
At least 37 people were killed in Baghdad alone. Many of them died when a U.S. helicopter fired on a disabled U.S. Bradley fighting vehicle as Iraqis swarmed around it, cheering, throwing stones and waving the black and yellow sunburst banner of Iraq's most-feared terror organization.

'Fucking Crazies' Powell Explodes - Withdraw from Iraq Financial Times Editorializes
(September 12, 2004)
The U.S. policy in the Middle East is already a disaster of historical proportions. In a new book being published in a few days no less an authority than U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell himself is quoted describing the top neo-conservatives in the Bush administration as 'fucking crazies' during the build-up to war in Iraq.

9/11 - 'War of the Worlds'
(September 11, 2004)
Immediately when 9/11 occurred the publisher of MER was asked to quickly write about it's meaning and ramifications for the about-to-be-published October issue of a European Edition of Playboy Magazine.

9/11 began a long time ago and for very real reasons
(September 11, 2004)
Those who were reading MER six years ago were giving a prescient foretaste of what has since come, and why. This MER article was originally published on 25 August 1998. Read it now keeping in mind that what has been happening since was being caused and was foreseeable then; just as what is being done now is creating the still bleaker future now ahead if today's course in Washington is not significantly altered...and soon.

Chechnya - Crucible for Hatred and Terrorism
(September 10, 2004)
It is a genocidal war Vladimir Putin is personally responsible for more than any other. But then neither the U.S. nor the European powers nor the U.N. for that matter have had the vision, the determination, and the courage to step in. And thus the fingers of responsibility and blame should be pointing in many simultaneous directions at this time.

Israeli Spying in USA Fox Series Spiked and Covered-Up
(September 10, 2004)
AIPAC and Israel's many official and unofficial lobbyists are now mounting a major campaign to bring the FBI investigation to an end with only minor charges involving 'mishandling' of classified documents. The pressures on everyone in Washington are no doubt intense; especially in this election year. And so what happened in November 2002 should be especially instructive; and in view of the most recent charges and investigations should be resurrected:

Chechnya - Crucible for Hatred and Terrorism
(September 8, 2004)
This look back on the terribly brutal Russian war in Chechnya to prevent Chechnyan independence must be understood to be the crucible in which the horrifying events of recent days were brewed. It is a genocidal war Vladimir Putin is personally responsible for more than any other; but then neither the U.S. nor the European powers nor the U.N. for that matter have had the vision, the determination, and the courage to step in. And thus the fingers of responsibility and blame should be pointing in many simultaneous directions.

Aljazeera Caves Again
(September 8, 2004)
Coerced self-censorship and forcing the media to constantly be wary of offending the powers that be is a long-time hallmark not only in the Middle East, Russia, and China, but also in the West and the United States. The techniques and methods are different, especially when it comes to the American scene, but in many cases the results are similar.

Chechnya, Palestine, Iraq, Kashmir - Occupations All
(September 7, 2004)
Brutal occupations all -- Palestine, Chechnya, Iraq, Kashmir. All examples of when overwhelming military force is used by a major power to put down popular resistance to historical subjugation and injustice.

IsraelGate +
(September 6, 2004)
Major efforts are now underway in Washington to head off, cover up, derail, what we earlier today for the first time called ISRAELGATE. IsraelGate is potentially the most significant scandal to rock relations between the U.S. and Israel ever -- since the Lavon Affair and 1956 war when President Eisenhower faced down the Israelis, then 1967 with the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, and then the Pollard spy affair nearly twenty years ago now. But now the stakes are much much higher than ever for the following three reasons:

ISRAELGATE!
(September 5, 2004)
Now that the new Israeli spy scandal has broken into public view, the top-level connections between the Jewish neocons at the Pentagon and the National Security Council -- among them Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, and Elliott Abrams -- the following and associated stories first published earlier this year deserve much more than a second look. They should in fact be the basis for a full-fledged journalistic investigation into what could yet be called ISRAELGATE.

Israel, Neocons, Lobby, and Spying
(September 4, 2004)
For there are those in Washington and in the media who know very well that it was the Israelis and the Jewish neocons, working in tandem, who worked relentlessly to push the U.S. into the invasion and occupation of Iraq. And there are those who are well aware that the Israelis and the Jewish neocons are now working in tandem to push and cajole the U.S. to take on Iran, Syria, and all who stand in the way of their plans for the U.S. and Israel in partnership to control the Middle East strategically, politically, and economically.

Revered Muslim Cleric Calls On Muslims To Fight The U.S.Occupier
(September 3, 2004)
"Al-Qaradawi was one of 93 prominent Muslim figures who in August called on Muslims around the world to support resistance against US forces in Iraq and its apppointed interim Iraqi government."

Bush Speaks, Eocons (Christian Evangelicals + Jewish Neocons) Rule
(September 2, 2004)
As George W. Bush prepares to outline his 'vision' and 'agenda' to the American nation tonight from besieged New York City he today published the following appeal to American Jews in The Forward newspaper. Ironically, in the same issue of The Forward, the latest Israeli and Jewish Lobby spy scandal gets much play including the additional article below:




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