jeudi 29 mars 2012

Turkmens commemorate the 21st anniversary of the Altunköprü Massacre on 28th March

Today marks the 21st anniversary of the Altunköprü Massacre, during which more than a hundred Iraqi Turkmen were shot by the forces of Saddam Hussein.

Below is an article published by The Iraqi Turkmen Front:
Exactly 21 years ago on the 28th of March 1991 security forces affiliated with Saddam’s army organized an armed attack against unarmed innocent Iraqi Turkmen in the Turkmen town of Altunköprü affiliated with Kirkuk.

In this act of genocide which is known as the ‘’Altunköprü Massacre’’ over 100 Iraqi Turkmen achieved martyrdom by being shot to death in the town of Altunköprü.

This great tragedy, the Genocide of the Turkmen of Altunköprü, which took place on the 28th of March 1991 has left a dark stain on the calendar of our honorable Turkish history. The martyrdom of innocent people living their ordinary lives is a terrible example of the dimension of the cruel acts directed at the Turkmen in Iraq. This disaster which displayed Saddam’s violence and in which over 100 Iraqi Turkmen youth were shot to death also included the lives of innocent Iraqi Turkmen children. This massacre which took place in Altunköprü due to the authority gap in Iraq is a great source of sorrow for all Iraqi Turkmen.

We bow in the spiritual presence of the Altunköprü martyrs as well as all our martyrs who have given their lives for this cause and beseech the compassion of the Almighty Allah.

dimanche 25 mars 2012

SYRIAN TURKMEN, Hasan Kanbolat

Syrian Turkmen
Hasan Kanbolat, ORSAM Director

When the Arab Spring leapt into Syria in March 2011, it
caused social dynamics that had been covered up for a long
time to really start emerging. One of these dynamics concerns
the Syrian Turkmen, a group that is especially
significant for Turkey, as they are a related society.

Syrian Turkmen are trying to distinguish themselves these
days as a group that will be an influential actor in whatever
new political structures emerge in Syria. But the fact that
they have not been organized for years and years, and that
they live separated and broken off from Turkey, means
that they face the risks of not only losing their language,
but their identity as well.

There are around 1.5 million Turkmen who speak
a Turkic language living in Syria today, and about
2 million more who have forgotten their native tongue.
When one considers the heterogeneous character of
Syria’s social fabric, these numbers are quite significant,
especially when you think about their potential effect
on national politics. The Turkmen who have forgotten
their original language live quite aware of their identities,
but have also embraced and become one with the
language and culture of the region in which they
live. Those Turkmen who tend to live in smaller social
groups have largely become Arab, culturally speaking.

Most Syrian Turkmen are members of the Sunni Hanefi sect.
There are very few who are Alevi. Linguistically, the
language spoken by Syrian Turkmen is very close
to Turkey’s Turkish.
Most Syrian Turkmen live in Lazkiye (these are the
Bayır-Bucak Turkmen), Humus, Hama, Halepo
and outside of Damascus. There are also the Golan
Turkmen, who used to live in and around Kuneytra.
Because of the Israeli invasion, this group had to spread
all over the country. There are also very limited numbers
of Syrian Turkmen living in and around Tartus, Rakka,
Idlib and Dera.

Though there have been fluctuations from time to time,
in general, there has never really been any consistent
 sense of political nationalism among the Syrian Turkmen.
There is, on the other hand, a reactionary and cultural
sense of nationalism among them. The strict structure
of the Syrian system has generally prevented any
politicization of Turkmen movements. Despite this,
this most recent uprisings in Syria have also seen a rising
Turkmen nationalist movement. They appear to be not
only trying to obtain their own rights, but also discover
where their identities lie within the framework of Syria,
as well as prove their very existence to the rest of society.

The national uprising in Syria provides an important
opportunity for Syrian Turkmen.

If the move towards a revolution in Syria turns out to be
successful, a civil democratic system may emerge.
In such an atmosphere, the greatest expectation of Syrian
Turkmen is to be counted in a new constitution as
one of the important groups making up Syrian society.
In addition to this, other expectations include things
like political and constitutional reforms, a transition
to a multi-party system, the inclusion of Turkmen in the
process of producing a new constitution and
recognition of Turkmen as an official language in
regions where there are heavy Turkmen populations.

Turkmen are present in some of the opposition movements
in Syria these days. Since March 2011 there have
been many Turkmen who have lost their lives in the
clashes that have marked all of Syria. There are also
hundreds of Turkmen who have either disappeared
or been arrested. The Turkmen do expect that Turkey
will help bring the world’s attention to not only Syria,
but their community within Syria. As such, they do
want to see support expressed for the protection of
their identity and rights within the framework of
any new state system that we see emerge in Syria.
19 March 2012

vendredi 23 mars 2012

Syrian Turkmens in Istanbul (video)

Syrian Turkmens form new opposition front

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

Syrian Turkmens announce the formation of a new movement titled ‘the Syrian Democratic Turkmen Movement’ at a press conference in Istanbul. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

İpek Yezdani

Syria’s Turkmens have created a new opposition front, the Syrian Democratic Turkmen Movement, with the support of Turkish nationalist groups in Istanbul amid plans by the Syrian National Council to also meet next week in Istanbul to bring other dissident groups under its umbrella.

“Even though there are 3.5 million Turkmens in Syria, no one has paid attention to our rights. We plan to cooperate with all the various actors of the Syrian opposition to achieve a democratic and civilized Syria, and to take an active role in Syrian politics,” said the leader of the Syrian Democratic Turkmen Movement, Abdulkerim Ağa. The leader of the Islamist Great Unity Party (BBP), Mustafa Destici, as well as representatives of the Iraqi Turkmen front and the “Ülkü Ocakları” (Idealist Hearths), the “Gray Wolf” branch of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), also attended the meeting in support of the Syrian Turkmens.

The Syrian National Council is set to meet next week in Istanbul with other Syrian opposition groups with the aim of integrating them into the council ahead of the Friends of Syria meeting April 1 in Istanbul. The group’s Turkey representative, Khaled Khoja, said the national council would be inviting all the other Syrian opposition groups to the meeting in order to unite them under one roof.


samedi 10 mars 2012

Syria and “Conspiracy Theories”: It is a Conspiracy, by Felicity Arbuthnot

Global Research, March 3, 2012

“We have met the enemy and he is us.” (Walt Kelly, 1913-1973.)

It was political analyst Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, in November 2006, who wrote in detail (1) of US plans for the Middle East:

“The term ‘New Middle East’, was introduced to the world in June 2006, in Tel Aviv, by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who was credited by the Western media for coining the term) in replacement of the older and more imposing term, the “Greater Middle East’ “, he wrote.

Sanity dictated that this would be a U.S. fantasy rampage too far and vast – until realization hit that the author of the map of this New World, planned in the New World’s “New World Order”, was Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters, who, in one of the most terrifying articles ever published, wrote in 1997:

“There will be no peace. At any given moment for the rest of our lifetimes, there will be multiple conflicts in mutating forms around the globe. Violent conflict will dominate the headlines …The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing.”(2) (My emphasis.)

At the time, Peters was assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, where he was responsible: “for future warfare.” His plans for Iraq worked out just fine – unless you are an Iraqi.

A month after Nazemroaya’s article was published, William Roebuck, Director for the Office of the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, was composing an end of year strategy for Syria(3) from his study in the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, where he had been based between 2004-2007, rising to Deputy Chief of Mission.

The subject title was: “Influencing the SARG (Syrian Arab Regime Government) in the end of 2006.”

“The SARG ends 2006 in a much stronger position domestically and internationally (than in) 2005.” Talking of President Assad’s: “growing self-confidence”, he felt that this might lead to: “mistakes and ill-judged … decisions … providing us with new opportunities.” Whilst: “additional bilateral or multilateral pressure can impact on Syria”, clearly he had even more ambitious plans:

“This cable summarizes our assessment of … vulnerabilities, and suggests that there may be actions, statements and signals, that the USG (US Government) can send that will improve the likelihood of such opportunities arising .”

The proposals would need to be: “fleshed out and converted into real actions and we need to be ready to move quickly to take advantage of such opportunities.” (no, not a Le Carré, Forsyth, or Fleming, “diplomat” in Damascus.)

“As the end of 2006 approaches” wrote Roebuck, “Bashar appears … stronger than he has done in two years. The country is economically stable …regional issues seem to be going Syria’s way.”

However: “vulnerabilities and looming issues may provide opportunities to up the pressure on Bashar … some of these vulnerabilities “(including the complexities with Lebanon)"... "can be exploited to put pressure on the regime. Actions that cause Bashar to lose balance, and increase his insecurity, are in our interest.”

The President’s: “ mistakes are hard to predict and benefits may vary, if we are prepared to move quickly and take advantage of opportunities …”

A “vulnerability”, wrote Roebuck, was Bashar al Assad’s protection of: “Syria’s dignity and international reputation.” Pride and “protection”, clearly a shocking concept.

In the light of the proposed Tribunal in to the assassination of Lebanon’s former`Prime Minister, Rafick Hariri (14th February 2005) killed with his friend, former Minister of Economy Bassel Fleihan and twenty colleagues and bodyguards, in a huge bomb, detonated under his motorcade, this “vulnerability” could be exploited.

Unproven allegations have pointed the finger at Israel, Syria, Hezbollah and myriad others, as behind another Middle East tragedy, but Roebuck regarded it as an: “opportunity to exploit this raw nerve, without waiting for the formation of the Tribunal.”

Another idea outlined under a further “vulnerability” heading, was the growing alliance between Syria and Iran. “Possible action”, was to: “play on Sunni fears of Iranian influence.” Although these were: “often exaggerated”, they were there to be exploited:

“Both the local Egyptian and Saudi missions here … are giving increasing attention to the matter and we should co-ordinate more closely with their governments on ways to better publicize and focus regional attention to the issue.” Concerned Sunni religious leaders should also be worked on. Iraq-style divide and rule model, writ large.

The “divide” strategy, of course, should also focus on the first family and legislating circle, with: “ targeted sanctions (which) must exploit fissures and render the inner circle weaker, rather the drive its members closer together.”

The public should also be subject to: “continual reminders of corruption … we should look for ways to remind …”

Another aspect to be exploited was: “The Khaddam factor.”

Abdul Halim Khaddam, was Vice President,1984-2005, and acting President in 2000, during the months beween Bashir al Assad’s accession and his father’s death.

Thought to have Presidential ambitions himself, there was a bitter split between Khaddam and al Assad after Hariri’s death. Allegations of treasonous betrayal by Khaddam have validity.

The ruling party, writes Roebuck: “…follow every news item involving Khaddam, with tremendous emotional interest. We should continue to encourage the Saudis and others to allow Khaddam access to their media … providing him with venues for airing the SARG’s dirty laundry.”

Morever, it was anticipated that: “an over reaction by the regime [would] add to its isolation and alienation from its Arab neighbours.”

On January 14th 2006, Khaddam had formed a government in exile, and had predicted the end of the al-Assad government by the year’s end.

He is currently regarded as an opposition leader, and has claimed, on Israel’s Channel 2 TV.(4) receiving money from the US and the EU to help overthrow the Syrian government.

The ever creative Mr Roebuck’s further plans included: “Encouraging rumours and signals of external plotting.” To this end: “Regional allies like Egypt and Saudi Arabia should be encouraged to meet with figures like Kaddam and Rifat (sic) al Assad, with appropriate leaking of the meetings afterwards. This … increases the possibility of a self-defeating over-reaction.”

Rifaat al Assad, Bashar’s uncle, was in charge of the Defence Brigade, who killed up to thirty thousand people in, and flattened much of, the city of Hama, in February 1982. So much for endlessly trumpeted concerns for: “human rights violations.” Rifaat al Assad lives in exile and safety, in London. Khaddam lives in Paris.(5)

Here is a serious cause for concern for the overthrow-bent: “Bashar keeps unveiling a steady stream of initiatives on reform and it is certainly possible he believes this is his legacy to Syria …. These steps have brought back Syrian expats to invest … (and) increasing openness.”

Solution? “Finding ways to publicly call into question Bashar’s reform efforts.” Indeed, moving heaven and earth to undercut them, is made clear.

Further: “Syria has enjoyed a considerable up-tick in foreign direct investment”; it follows: foreign investment is to be: “discouraged.”

In May of 2006, complains Roebuck, Syrian Military Intelligence protested: “what they believed were U.S. efforts to provide military training and equipment to Syria’s Kurds.” The Iraq model, yet again.

The answer was to: “Highlight Kurdish complaints.” This, however: “would need to be handled carefully, since giving the wrong kind of prominence to Kurdish issues in Syria, could be a liability for our efforts … given Syrian … civil society’s skepticism of Kurdish objectives.”

In “Conclusion”, this shaming, shoddy document states: “The bottom line is that Bashar is entering the New Year in a stronger position than he has been, in several years”, meaning “vulnerabilities” must be sought out. “If we are ready to capitalize, they will offer us opportunities to disrupt his decision-making, keep him off balance – and make him pay a premium for his mistakes.”

The cable is copied to: The White House, U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. Treasury, U.S. Mission at the UN, U.S. National Security Council, CENTCOM, all Arab League and EU countries.

The only U.S. Embassy which recieved a copy is that in Tel Aviv. William Roebuck worked at the Embassy in Tel Aviv (2000-2003) embracing the invasion of Iraq year.

In 2009, he was Deputy Political Consul In Baghdad: “leading efforts to support the critical 2009 Iraqi elections.” The “free and fair, democratic” ones, where people were threatened with the deaths of their children even, if they did not vote the “right” way.

The result was Nuri al Maliki’s premiership, complete with his murderous militias. The man under whose Ministry of the Interior, U.S. soldiers discovered tortured, starving prisoners.

The Damascus cable comes courtesy Wikileaks. Lt. Colonel Peters called, on Fox News, for founder, Julian Assange, to be assassinated. The forty second clip(6) is worth the listen.

The Colonel also writes fiction and thrillers under the name Owen Patterson. Perhaps he is living the dream.

Felicity Arbutnot is Global Research's Human Rights Correspondent based in London







vendredi 9 mars 2012

Iraq: Twenty One Years of Crimes Against Humanity by Felicity Arbuthnot

“These diaries are dedicated to the people of Iraq and to all others who have suffered the crippling effect of sanctions.” (Nuha al-Radi, 1941-2004)

With current US-led plans to remodel (read annihilate) the remaining Middle East, the 1991, twenty eight country attack on Iraq’s just 27 million people, where, arguably it all started, has largely dropped from Western consciousness, though certainly not that of Iraqis.

As the first wave of missiles erased thirty years of a progress, which had made Iraq a largely modern, prosperous nation – and Cruise missiles rained down from US war ships in the Indian Ocean – on16th January 1991, President George H.W. Bush told America: “We have no argument with the people of Iraq. Indeed, for the innocents caught in this conflict, we pray for their safety … But even as planes of the multinational forces attack Iraq, I prefer to think of peace, not war.”

March, marks the twenty first anniversary of the end of the forty two day, apocalyptic pulverization, in which over eighty million pounds of explosives were dropped. The: “whole country became collateral damage.”(i)

The ceasefire was signed 28th February – after which the US 24th Light Infantry Brigade celebrated the cessation of hostilities, by massacring retreating Iraqi soldiers and fleeing families, in their “turkey shoot” on the Basra Road, beginning 2nd March.

“We can see a new world order coming in to view … a very real prospect of a new world order …”, was the response of President George H.W. Bush to Congress, on 6th March 1991.

It was indeed a sign of things to come – and an Iraq war which was unending for just under twenty one years. Decimating sanctions, ceaseless bombings, invasion, occupation, torture, mass murders, destruction – and a further eight years of bombing.

Surviving babies, born in 1990, the year of the embargo’s imposition, turn the milestone twenty one this year, have known nothing but deprivation and constant terror throughout their entire lives, from US-led malevolence.

As George H.W. Bush was praying for innocents and thinking of “peace”, ninety percent of Iraq’s electricity was destroyed, in the first hours, along with the water supply – deliberately targeted, with, it transpired.(ii) the intention of never allowing replacement of either,

In Baghdad, Nuha al-Radi decided to keep a diary. As “Desert Storm” engulfed the nation, she recorded the horror, the humour, some extraordinary, accurate premonitions, the indomitable, and the inventive ingenuity with which every Iraqi seems to be born.

Nuha al-Radi, painter, ceramist and sculptor, was a true internationalist, as at home in the US, UK, Beirut, across Europe and much of the world, as in her beloved home in Baghdad. Trained at London’s Byam Shaw School of Art, her work was exhibited across the Arab world, in Berlin, London and Washington.

As the bombs fell, she wrote: “I’ve always wanted to write a book starting with this sentence: ‘I live in an orchard with 66 palm trees and 161 orange trees. Three male palms face my bedroom window, reminding me of their potency – the only males in residence.”

Then: “My first anemones have come out. I bought the seeds last year in the US. They are white. Could it be a sign of peace? Anyway, something good from the US has grown here.” That was: “Day 36.”

For the six months prior to the war she was one of the few who reassured all that it could not happen: “Perhaps I couldn’t believe, in this day and age, leaders could be so childish and/or plain stupid as to think war could solve any issue. I underestimated the destructive instincts of man and the agenda of the forces allied against us. Not that we are angels, we did the first wrong. But one cannot rectify one wrong by another of even bigger proportions.”

On the first day, she woke to: “… the sky lit up – the noise beyond description”, the electricity and the ‘phone went off, and for the forty two days: “days and nights became one long day.”

Sanity became clinging to normality. The second day, risking the bombs, a friend drove her and her sister to a lunch party: “Kebab and beer, delicious.” Government trucks were driving Baghdad’s streets: “throwing bread to the thronging crowds”, the majority for whom the embargo had already impoverished to breaking point.

The following day Nuha and her sister Suha, painted her studio, with the: “war going on full blast outside.”A SAM missile exploded nearby, and a dear friend, Mundher Beig, rode his grandchild’s tricycle: “his legs all scrunched up … he misses his grandchildren and is convinced he won’t see them again.”

The last of the water ran out.

Four days in: “ … mod cons seem alien … cooked potatoes in the fireplace … continuous explosions … made a dynamic punch, Aquavit, vodka and fresh orange juice.” They are: “going to the loo in the orchard … fertilizing it”, and figuring ways to: “haul water from the river (Tigris.)”

By day six: “The entire country has collapsed and disintegrated … I wonder how long we can survive this kind of bombardment.” On day seven: “The worst has happened – beer without ice …rumour has it we are going to have a difficult night … the seventh night, maybe Bush thinks he is God.”

“I finished Mundher (Beig’s) painting …We opened a bottle of champagne.”
The following day: “Depression has hit me (realizing) that the whole world hates us and is really glad to ruin us.” She dreamed that Americans in battle fatigues were jogging down central Baghdad’s Haifa Street – as they now have – and that she was alone, with dry earth, which would not grow anything (which happened after the war, near nothing began to grow for over five years.)

She determined to: “build and plant the most beautiful garden. Am I going to be the only survivor?”

Day ten: “I don’t think I could set foot in the West again. If someone like myself, who is Western educated, feels like this, how do the rest of the country feel?”
Three days later, the great Southgate Bridge was bombed and the nearby beautiful, golden, ancient buildings were damaged, all the windows blown out. Mundher Beig went to check the damage and: “just stood there and cried.” The country would be rebuilt, he was reassured: “I’ll not see it”, he said.

“I could understand Kuwait doing this, but not the whole world. Why do they hate us so much?” ponders Nuha

Day fourteen: “Mundher Beig died in his sleep early this morning … he really died of sorrow. He could not comprehend that they world wanted to destroy us – the people. The city. (Yesterday) he kept asking; ‘ why are they doing this to us?’ “

Nuha had hurried to finish his painting, unable to dismiss a feeling of dread and :”unveiled it in my house, even before the paint was dry. He was not made for dying, so full of laughter, kindness …”

The house was full of people, staying in mutual support, until the bombardment ended. With: “Sirens, going off, rockets and bombs falling”, they divided the city and drove to tell friends and relatives of the death and arrangements. Mundher, they learned, had spent the previous week, traveling the city, had visited them all as the bombs fell. His “goodbye” at the end of each visit, now seemed like another premonition.

Day eighteen: “All the caged love-birds have died from the shock of the blasts, wild birds fly upside down and do crazy somersaults. Hundreds, if not thousands, have died in the orchard.” The neighbourhood dogs: “ … actually cry with fear, making the most awful and pathetic sounds. (They) pile up together for comfort”, during air raids. Chickens stopped laying.

Day twenty two: “I saw the Jumhuriya Bridge today. It is very sad to see a bombed bridge … (people) cram along the sides, peering in to the craters and crying.” Two more landmark bridges were hit: “I feel very bitter towards the West.”

Day twenty nine: “They hit a shelter, the one in Ameriyah, whole families were wiped out. The Americans insist that women and children were put there on purpose … is that logical (a conversation) and Command Headquarters deciding: ‘Well, I think the Americans will hit the Ameriyah Shelter next, lets fill it with women and children.’.”

“I wish I could see in to the future.- what is in store for us?”

Day thirty one: “The score today is 76,000 Allied air raids, versus sixty seven Scuds.”

Day thirty four: “Mr Bush said ‘no’ to the overtures of (former Foreign Minister) Tareq Aziz … while he plays golf, his forces are annihilating us …Mrs Bush had the gall to say to a group of school kids: ‘Don’t worry, it’s far away and it wont affect you.’ What about the children here? What double standards. What hypocrisy. Where’s justice?”

Day forty two: “This morning the war stopped. They kept us (up) all night … just in case we had a couple of gasps left, the worst night of bombing of the whole war, relentless …”

3rd March: “Even the high ranking officers are walking back from the south, total breakdown of the system, it takes (up to) ten days to walk from Kuwait to Baghdad, all the time dodging Allied ‘planes … trying to pick off stragglers …” The British flying their Jaguars. “All the wounded who could not run away fast enough, got killed. The others walk with no food or water and simply collapse …”

9th March: “I hope everyone who had a hand in this disastrous mess falls in to the burning oil wells.”

10th March: “No petrol, no electricity, no running water and no telephone … I have five candles burning in my room, what an extravagance.

My first Iris opened today.”

The daily diary ended on 15th April 1991, observations continue until 1995. An undated post script added: “After the war ended, the allies spent all day and night, flying over out heads, breaking the sound barrier. Our torture went on for months … horrific deafening noise, swooping down ..”

On 31st March a yellow love bird flew through her window, they ail outside, so she found her a white mate, in the pet shop: “they immediately began to coo happily at each other”, and made their home in a large wooden cage, where they could fly in and out of the open door. Iraqis have a consuming passion for birds.

Twelve days later, the bees: “have gone crazy in the garden … five or six a poppy, drinking the nectar … five white butterflies are dancing in front of me. The garden is so beautiful now … my white Irises are out.” She had made the dead earth blossom, as her dream, cultivating the poisoned earth, which blighted near the country.

By the 6th June, Nuha was catching up on friends, to find: “People are dying like flies … there is such a high mortality rate of babies …The UN will keep the embargo on till all Iraqis are dead.” There was a cancer epidemic.

In June 1995, she left for Amman, Jordan, combining a major exhibition: “Embargo”, with endless visits to doctors for chronically low platelets. Iraqis were leaving their country in droves to earn harder currency to keep their families. She found a surgeon cutting meat in a butcher, and an aeronautical engineer serving coffee in an art gallery.

Nuha went to Beirut, where she also still had a home. Her health was still plaguing her and Iraq no longer had the facilities to treat anything very much, between the destruction and embargo. Another friend did of cancer – he tried to get a visa for treatment in America, it took so long that he died within three days of arriving. The daughter of a friend died from lack of an asthma inhaler. Vetoed by the UN Sanctions Committee.

And the vibrant artistic community left in droves – and despair. How did he feel about exile, she asked another friend, now in Amman: “I’m lost”, he said. Iraqis lived and breathed their country, for all its complexities. “There is a purpose and a pride you lose, when you don’t have your country”, said another.

Nuha spent the next nine years working, exhibiting and fighting the cancer which was finally diagnosed, with characteristic humour and optimism. I remember one of her last writings, for Middle East International. The heading was: “Letter from Limbo.”

She died in Beirut on 30th August 2004, a victim of the first Gulf war, witness to the second and the occupation. A vibrant lost metaphor for the tragedy of Western belligerence and crimes against humanity, as the same plight, short of miracles, looms for embargoed Syria and Iran.

She was buried in Beirut’s pine forest, lying in a bed of jasmine, with flowers, her favourite adornment, in her irrepressible hair. (iii)





vendredi 2 mars 2012

ITF EU Representative attended the Conference " 50 YEARS AFTER TEST 596: CHINA'S NUCLEAR PROGRAMME IN EAST TURKESTAN AND ITS IMPACT TODAY at the European Parliament

From left to right: Mr. Dolkun Isa, WUC Secretary General, Dr. Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative and Mr. Imerov Abdulmuttelip, President of Belgium Uyghur Association.

In solidarity with the Uyghur people of East Turkistan Dr. Hassan Aydinli, Iraqi Turkmen Front EU Representative,  attended the Conference :
50 YEARS AFTER TEST 596: CHINA'S NUCLEAR PROGRAMME IN EAST TURKESTAN AND ITS IMPACT TODAY at the European Parliament in Brussels on 29th February 2012.

From 1964-1996, 46 confirmed nuclear detonations have taken place at Lop Nor in East Turkistan(also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) and 22 underground tests were undertaken. 200,000 people have died and at least 1.5 million people have been affected by radioactive material during the 32 years of nuclears tests at Lop Nor.

To help lift this silence, László Tőkés MEP, in cooperation with Kristiina Ojuland MEP and Vytautas Landsbergis MEP,  convened a conference, ‘50 Years After Test 596: China’s Nuclear Programme in East Turkestan and Its Impact Today’ at the European Parliament in Brussels on 29 February 2012 in collaboration with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), and the Belgian Uyghur Association.

The conference, ’50 Years After Test 596: China’s Nuclear Programme in East Turkestan and Its Impact Today’, presented a range of experts to testify on an issue that has unjustly received scant attention.  One of the experts is Uyghur doctor Enver Tohti, who at great personal risk helped to raise awareness of the issue’s urgency in the documentary Death on the Silk Road.

Between 1964 and 1996, the People’s Republic of China conducted 46 nuclear tests in East Turkestan, the homeland of millions of Uyghurs. These were the largest series of nuclear tests in the world ever to be conducted in an inhabited area. Some of the bombs were 300 times more powerful than the one exploded in Hiroshima.

23 of the tests conducted by the government of the People’s Republic of China were atmospheric, with nuclear fall out reaching as far as Europe. In addition, research indicates that radiation from the 23 tests conducted underground has reached countries as far away as Japan.

The effect the 46 tests have had on the Uyghur people and their land remains largely undocumented. What is known is that rates of cancer in the region are higher than in the rest of China and cases of leukemia, malignant lymphoma and lung cancer are all elevated. Approximately 8 out of 10 children in the villages near to the four nuclear testing sites at Lop Nur are born with cleft palates, and congenital deformities such as enlarged stomachs are common. Besides the tragic human consequences, environmental concerns over contamination of water, air and land in inhabited areas loom large. Compounding the state of affairs are allegations by former Soviet scientist Ken Alibek that a grave accident occurred at a biological weapons plant near Lop Nur in the 1980s.

In the face of contrary evidence, the Chinese government has denied the existence of far-reaching and ill effects arising from its 46 nuclear tests at Lop Nur. It has routinely denied access to independent researchers investigating the effects of the tests, while at the same time suppressing any internal documents that point to the existence of a human and environmental tragedy. The conference in Brussels is a huge step in ending the silence.

Dr. Hassan Aydinli participated in the debate during the conference on the subject of the compensation of the victims of nuclear test radiation as well as the victims of depleted uranium ammunitions which were used against the Iraqi people by the US occupation forces. 

Mr. Andrew Swan, UNPO Programme Manager

Opening remarks by:

László Tőkés MEP
Kristina ojuland MEP, former Foreign Affairs Minister of Estonia
Vyautas Landsergis MEP
Dolkun Isa, WUC Secretary General
Marino Busdachin, UNPO Secretary General

Panel 1: Three Decades of Nuclear Testing in East Turkestan
Moderator: Andrew Swan, UNPO Programme Manager

48 Detonation Later: The Human ost of the CCP's Nuclear Programme
Dr. Enver Tohti, Uyghur Surgeon and Independent Researcher.

Nuclear Tibet: Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Waste on the Tibetan Plateau
Vincent Metten, EU Policy Director, International Campaign for Tibet (ICT)

Nuclear Devastation in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus, the Urals and Siberia
Robert Knoth, photojournalist and Antoinette de Jong, Journalist, authors of "Certificate no. 000358, Nuclear Devastation in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus, the Urals and Siberia"

Documentary Screening Death on the Silk Road  Channel 4 Television (UK).

Question and Answer Session with Dr. Enver Tohti on his experience

Panel 2: Redressing the Past to Benefit the Future
Moderator: Martin Schulthes, UNPO Project Coordinator

Defining the Scale of the Problem behind Beijing's 'Wall of Secrecy'
Hanno Schedler, Deputy Head of Asi Department, Society for Threatened Peoples (STP)

An Assessment of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue
Jean-Marie Rogue, EU Liaison Officer, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

International Compensation Models and Fair Redress: French Redress for Victims in Polynesia
Dominique Lalanne, Chair Armes Nucléaires STOP, Expert for Observatoire des Armements, France